A story on memogate

Published: December 25, 2011
The writer is a defence and political analyst who retired as an air-vice marshal from the air force

The writer is a defence and political analyst who retired as an air-vice marshal from the air force

December 22, the winter solstice, arrived with a venom. It may have been the shortest day of the year but it cast long shadows for the nation. It may have begun as a day of biting cold but ended up with enough fireworks to set this beleaguered country alight. On this day, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani declared that democracy was under threat — what began as the ‘best revenge’ is itself under threat of being avenged.

Television anchor Hamid Mir has claimed threats to his life, especially after he sought to know from the participants on his show whether the army was a Pakistani or a “Punjabi army”. He was finally successful in soliciting from one of them the answer that it was indeed a “Punjabi army”. Hamid, being a committed patriot, would, perhaps, in hindsight, have liked to comment in a different way.

Chaudhry Nisar, Husain Haqqani, Asma Jahangir representing Husain Haqqani and Sheikh Rashid have all claimed receiving death threats.

The diverse composition of the affected tells us that there is more than one agency indulging itself in peddling its wares. Perhaps a commission is needed to investigate this matter.

Come to think of it, there are only three issues to be pursued in the memo inquest. The first, that did Haqqani have anything to do with the memo? Second, was he being sponsored from within Pakistan to pursue the memo option — and this in no way assumes the president to be such a sponsor. And finally, was it the handiwork of the Americans who may have used Mansoor Ijaz because of his connections to Haqqani? Any or all three are possible. Does it not behove our rational sense that the Supreme Court may determine, for the moment only the maintainability of what Mian Nawaz Sharif has petitioned before it? It is not that this is the first time that the Supreme Court has gone this route; they ordered a similar inquest in the NICL case and are still awaiting a report. So what is the panic?

Here is a story. In the days long gone when all was well in the Kingdom and the memo had not yet surfaced, there flowed milk and honey in the great river that connects Rawalpindi and Islamabad. But then a spell was cast by an evil spirit. A memo came to light. It was carried aloft by two leading lights of a great capital of the world. As so often happens, the two broke up soon after their escapade. One who belonged to the Kingdom was hauled and thrown into a dungeon where light had never shone. This was also when ghosts and evil spirits reappeared; rebellious knights with drawn swords and men in long robes lurked in the shadows of the king’s palace, or so it seemed to the King.

Wary of the ways of the palace, our Man of Zenda apprehended rejection despite his proven record of loyalty to the King and a possibility of a convenient disposition to stave off any dangers to the empire and to the King himself. This is when the Zendian decided to elicit the intervention of a far-off benefactor, and through him conveyed to his master the possession of the magic figurine, that if broken, would sniff the life out of the king and spell the end of his empire if the prisoner was betrayed. Fearing for his own life and the appended compulsion to rescue the prisoner, the King directed all to stand together and join battle against the knights and the men in long robes, and against those who speculated to the courts on the origin of the memo and its extended sponsors and forever seek redemption in martyrdom. That is when his prime minister spoke and led the charge. Except that there were only shadows to fight.

The king and his consorts put at stake the kingdom for one man who, disconcertedly, seemed to know far too much. The king’s subjects stood aghast, irrelevant to the power struggle in play, still without gas under their kitchen stoves and any light to brighten their now long-darkened homes.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 26th, 2011.

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (13)

  • antony
    Dec 25, 2011 - 11:13PM

    The King here is COAS asking in the court “Did any one question my authority ” when last night few burglars looted some of the jewels in the palace and killed some guards there.. The Prime minister and other ministers are trembling not to be sent to gallows either fearing they might be suspected of links to burglars or atleast have some doubts about Kings authority ..


  • Dr Kadar Khan FRCS
    Dec 25, 2011 - 11:13PM

    Very confusing. Recommend

  • Explorer
    Dec 26, 2011 - 12:00AM

    Glad to see Shehzad doing what he does best— fictionalizing. In the process, he made a vain bid to trivialize the defiance of Asma and Hamid.


  • Arifq
    Dec 26, 2011 - 12:02AM

    What about the memo? ISI created Trojan, another desperate attempt by establishment to reassert their hegemony over foreign affairs. Thanks to a jingoistic media and plenty of ghairat brigades baying for blood, one head (Haqqani) has already rolled and the crown (Zardari) is next.


  • Dec 26, 2011 - 12:08AM

    Good piece. I liked the style of depicting an ominous reality. A telling tale for the ‘kids’.


  • Malik
    Dec 26, 2011 - 12:25AM

    confrontation right now is not a very good option! forget and forgive is what we have to live with for many coming years before we make things formal!


  • Sarim
    Dec 26, 2011 - 1:20AM

    As always I struggle to get the point in this article.I hope I am the only one. The AVM has chosen a different treatment this time than to his previous ‘aircraft; analogy but its equally boring and inefficient. Anyway ‘assuming’ what he has tried to point out, its unfair to take such a narrow snapshot of time in arriving at an opinion. The King was victoriously ushered in by the knights a few years ago under an arrangement called the NRO ably negotiated by the head knight himself who was then so much loyal to the previous king. Subsequently the present King and head knight conspired to get the previous king out. The head knight although very powerful had given a license to the King and his cohorts for plundering national wealth as long as hey don’t interfere in his life. As a reward the King had given a 3 year extension to the head knight to carry on. Now when the head knight smelled the memo they believed its an interference in their area and hence the confrontation. The story goes on……


  • Meekal Ahmed
    Dec 26, 2011 - 2:05AM


    With due respect, I am sick to death of reading about this damn memo when there are so many other things to worry about. Can we move on to something else?


  • You Said It
    Dec 26, 2011 - 2:11AM

    Confused article.

    That the COAS should be portrayed as a king is perturbing in a democracy.

    The only vital question worth investigating in this whole affair is whether there really was a coup plot after May 2. If so, did Pasha really seek Arab rulers blessings for the coup. And was that on Kayani’s direction?


  • Max
    Dec 26, 2011 - 5:49AM

    @Meekal Ahmed:
    I second it. We have wasted enough time and effort on this nonsense, and that also on the information provided by a third rate person.


  • c.m.sarwar
    Dec 26, 2011 - 6:44AM

    I do not see any reason to panic for any of the actors in this drama.Let the Supreme Court proceed and let’s patiently wait for the outcome.We can also be patient and wait for Abbotabad Commission to finalise proceedings.Unless ,of course,if the players have something to fear and hide.


  • hedgefunder
    Dec 26, 2011 - 3:34PM

    Yes ! Its must be some of those Non State Actors at work here !!!! Such a ungrateful bunch, after all that Pakistan has done for them !!!


  • Ae watching
    Dec 26, 2011 - 10:14PM

    After cockpit analogy this one is rather disarrayed. Wish you pen down facts in straight and simple language to elucidate ………..


More in Opinion