Tilting at windmills

In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Mr Husain Haqqani has voiced his fears of being killed by ‘powerful quarters’. “My good friend Salmaan Taseer was killed by a security guard because he heard in the media that the governor had blasphemed. I am being called a traitor and an American lackey in the media with the clear encouragement of certain powerful quarters even though I have not been charged legally with anything,” said the former Pakistani ambassador to the US. Mr Haqqani’s counsel, Asma Jahangir, had already voiced these fears. Ms Jahangir was of the view that either the ISI would kill Mr Haqqani or force him to make a statement that serves their purposes. It is highly unfortunate that despite the fact that Mr Haqqani chose to come back to Pakistan and resigned in the interest of a free and fair investigation, he is being hounded by the media, judiciary and the military alike. Some quarters have taken Mr Haqqani’s resignation as a presumption of guilt and/or responsibility, which is hardly the case. As a responsible civilian democrat, Mr Haqqani resigned to help with the investigation and clear his name. In Pakistan, this is an unprecedented move and it seems it is only civilians who act responsibly. After the Abbottabad raid on May 2, no heads rolled. Nobody from the military resigned. Nobody took responsibility. Even in the purported BBM conversation pertaining to the ISI chief’s trips to some Arab states to oust President Zardari, nobody offered to resign – the same BBM transcripts that are being used against the democratically elected government.

Mansoor Ijaz, the man who started this Memogate crisis, has been contradicting himself and shifting the goalposts every other day. In his 81-page affidavit submitted in the Supreme Court, the only alleged link between Mr Haqqani and the memo are handwritten notes made by Ijaz of a telephone call. None of the text messages and BBMs included in the affidavit referred to the memo. Now it is Mr Haqqani’s word against Ijaz’s. If it is all about some telephone conversation, then what is all the fuss about the BBM transcripts?
Is it not a mockery of justice that a former ambassador is now fearful for his life all because of a case that looks increasingly like tilting at windmills? This also throws open the question once again about who the military is answerable to. If the government is expressing fears that it has to protect a former ambassador with massive security because of ‘powerful quarters’, it means that the military is only answerable to itself and not the government. This brings us again to the civil-military imbalance. The military’s highhandedness has made a mess of Pakistan. It is high time for accountability to be extended to all institutions of state, without exceptions.

(my editorial in Daily Times)


Popular posts from this blog

Religious extremism in Pakistan (Part V)

Freedoms and sport

The myth of September 6, 1965