Dirty tricks brigade at it again

It looks as if this whole ‘Memogate’ issue, as it is being called despite being a dubious drama, has taken the Pakistani media by storm. Why so much attention is being given to a shady character like Mansoor Ijaz is beyond comprehension. A man whose credibility in the international arena is murky to say the least, is being believed over Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US, who has served our country in the most difficult of times. Ambassador Haqqani has denied that he has anything to do with the memo. Admiral (retd) Mike Mullen first denied any knowledge about the memo but later confirmed he had received it. But according to Mr Mullen’s spokesman, “...neither the contents of the memo nor the proof of its existence altered or affected in any way the manner in which Adm. Mullen conducted himself in his relationship with General Kayani and the Pakistani government. He did not find it at all credible and took no note of it then or later. Therefore, he addressed it with no one.” Mr Mullen’s admission in and by itself does not link the memo either to President Asif Zardari or Ambassador Haqqani. This should put to rest the ‘credibility’ of the memo. Had it come from the highest echelons of the civilian government in Pakistan, Mr Mullen would have at least discussed it with someone in his government.

Mr Mansoor Ijaz is considered to be a controversial man with a peculiar agenda; an agenda that seems to be dictated from somewhere else. Thus this so-called Memogate affair should be treated with a healthy dose of scepticism. The thrust of the memo and the characters involved seem like something out of a Hollywood flick and not real life. This is not to say that stranger things have not happened in this ‘land of the pure’ but the credibility of the entire episode should be based on an investigation by the Pakistan government. Instead of acting like the judge and the jury, the Pakistani media should wait for an explanation at the end of a transparent investigation process. The sense of alarm owing to an unnecessary controversy is not justified.

It is the government’s prerogative who to appoint as an ambassador but given the role Ambassador Husain Haqqani has played in highly tense situations in order to keep the US-Pak relationship intact within a relative framework has made the diplomat a thorn in the side of some anti-democratic forces. As long as Mr Haqqani is in Washington, these forces would not get what they want. Now the ghairat (honour) brigade is trying to ratchet up a controversy because of their anti-American and anti-democratic sentiments. The military’s policy vis-à-vis the US-Pakistan relationship has been obstructionist at best. This goes down well with the ghairat brigade.

The government has not yet taken a clear position on the issue. To jump to conclusions on the basis of spurious allegations is not appropriate. Let the government come out with an explanation publicly after thorough investigation. Since enough dust has been kicked up to justify calling the ambassador to Pakistan for an explanation, we must reserve judgement until the whole issue is investigated and put to rest one way or the other.

(my editorial in Daily Times)

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