Pakistan’s ‘memo’ scandal puts the civilian leadership on the defense. The military and media, through their direct and indirect interlocutors, are presenting it a case for treason. The ambitious generals may even go further, exploiting it to the extent of Kargal scandal. The whole issue is told and retold in Pakistan without doubting the intentions of the possible beneficiaries of the scandal.
At first, it should never be used as an excuse for dislodging or discrediting a civilian façade of the powerful military. Second, the military must surrender its power in handling War on Terror, relations with the US, Afghanistan, India and nuclear security issues to the elected governments to avoid room for possible counter-manuring against the highly unpopular political agenda of the GHQ. Third, if the memo is a case for treason, the Wikileaks revelation of General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani’s plot of dismissing the elected president Asif Ali Zardari should also be treated as a treason case.
Selling former cricket star Imran Khan as recipe to Pakistan’s solution and his emergence on the political scene, out of the blue, speak volumes of the GHQ-made plots in Pakistan. Silencing voices on what Osama bin Laden, the founder of the terrorist al-Qaeda, was doing in Abbottabad and how he managed a safe haven over there for more than five years are questions that need to be answered by the sitting generals led by General Kayani. Under what circumstances they got the extensions? And can anyone in Pakistan dare to fight a treason case against the sitting or retired generals who aborted the constitution, dislodged the elected governments, imprisoned the political leaders, showed them to the world and public as corrupt, incompetent and anti-state elements and if possible executed them (Gen Zia got death sentence for Pakistan’s popular leader Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto) or killed them in dubious circumstances (Benazir Bhutto and Nawab Akbar Bugti are the latest examples).
Washington is a place for lobbying for good causes. Thousands of lobbyists on the K street are there to win the US government support in fight against hunger, AIDS, pollution, illiteracy, dictatorship, autocracy, unconstitutional moves and corruption. Pakistan’s military and civil governments are no exceptions. The military leadership has always discredited Pakistan’s political leaders in talks with the US officials. The last military dictator (retd) General Pervez Musharraf has on more than one occasion presented Pakistan’s civilian leaders as corrupt and incompetent at all western capitals, including Washington DC throughout his more than nine years military rule. The civilian government too has the right to expose the enemies of democracy and friends of chaos to its allies and peace loving nations of the world.
The post-May 2nd Pakistan was full of rumors. It exposed the vulnerability of the country’s most powerful military—US forces gunned down the world’s most wanted man Osama bin Laden at his spacious mansion just close to a military base in garrison city Abbottabad. The legend in Pakistan is that military generals have always attacked democracy whenever it has tried to hide its moments of fall and embarrassment.
As the memo was delivered to one of the high ranking US military officials soon after the killing of Osama bin Laden, it basically conveyed the threats to democracy in Pakistan’s political circles. It was in the hindsight of everyone that probably the civilian leaders would be ‘national interested’ to cover up the huge embarrassment at the international arena. Those fears were well-placed in weeks after the May 2nd raid. That a Pakistani diplomat conveyed those fears via an interlocutor, Mansoor Ijaz, are unconvincing claims. The disclosure of the memo, one thing is sure, is not serving the already weak democratic set-up. Its beneficiaries are, rather, men in uniform. It becomes more convincing as the ISI chief general Shuja Pasha called on the Pakistani American news breaker Mansoor Ijaz in London to collect the evidences from him (as claimed by Mr Ijaz). Isn’t a plot hatched against the civilian elected government irrespective of the fact that the Pakistani diplomat was involved in it or not?