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Thursday, 24 November 2011

Truth and nothing but the truth

 Hussain Haqqani, Pakistan?s envoy to the US has resigned, or perhaps has been forced to resign. However, a statement from the prime minister?s office said that an investigation into the affair would be conducted ?at an appropriate level? and would be ?carried out fairly, objectively and without bias.?
Hussain Haqqani has been insisting that he has nothing to do with the memo that was sent to former US military chief Admiral Mike Mullen. The memo was reportedly sent to Mike Mullen by Mansoor Ijaz, but later it transpired that it was sent through former US national security advisor James L. Jones. The memo accuses Pakistan army chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani of planning to bring down the government in the aftermath of the raid on Osama bin Laden on May 2. It asks Mike Mullen to use his influence to stop it. It says ?the government will allow the US to propose names of officials to investigate bin Laden?s presence in Pakistan, facilitate American attempts to target militants like Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri and Taliban chief Mullah Omar, and allow the US greater oversight of Pakistan?s nuclear weapons?.
Haqqani in his book ?Pakistan between Mosque and military?, had analysed and traced the origins of the relationships between Islamist groups and military, and disparaging Pakistan and its army. One would not know on whose behest the memo was written to Mike Mullen, which would only be known after the investigation. However, the CIA hand behind this memo to create fissures between the civil and military leadership cannot be ruled out.
Indeed, Ijaz Mansoor is as dubious character as Hussain Haqqani is. However, there is a perception that even if Haqqani can prove that he is not involved in memo scandal, his role in issuing visas to CIA operatives and his book in which he demonised Pakistan and its institutions were enough to deserve his sack. Having said that, the US statement in the wake of accusations against Hussain Haqqani is intriguing. The US State Department stressed the need to continue the democratic process in Pakistan, when Ambassador Hussain Haqqani had just left for Pakistan three days ago to appear before a parliamentary committee to try and put a lid on the ?memogate? scandal. ?We clearly support the democratically elected government of Pakistan, as well as its constitutional processes,? State Department spokesman Mark Toner told a briefing in Washington.
After outgoing US top soldier Admiral Mike Mullen?s initial denial of having received the controversial top secret memo, Pakistani-American Mansoor Ijaz?s disclosure lost much of its credence with the Pakistani public, which anyway had not taken very seriously his article in the British daily Financial Times. The very premise his memo act was hinged on was too incongruous with the prevalent public mood at the time when it was purportedly undertaken to be plausible. In the Abbottabad American commandos raid?s aftermath, in the eyes of public outrage was the military, not the civilian leadership which indeed had vehemently come to the military?s defence in the face of hostile outpourings in its failure to prevent this foreign aggression on our territory.
It is just unthinkable in such conditions the military would have even imagined of takeover. His article thus didn?t cut much ice with an incredulous public. And those familiar with his background and proclivities dismissed it as merely a mischievous piece aimed at self-aggrandisement and self-promotion. Of course, there could be other characters involved in it, which would be known during the inquiry.
It really is puzzling to comprehend, in the first place, what instigation or provocation was it that impelled Mansoor Ijaz to break the confidentiality of an act that on his own assertion was undertaken in utter secrecy, to which, apart from him, only two other Pakistani personalities were a privy and no Pakistani institution, including the foreign office, was in the loop. Then what was it that led him to spill the beans and after so many months? It doesn?t look quite a straight matter. The firm positions that the Pakistan military leadership has taken on certain issues, particularly on a military operation in North Waziristan, has put Washington in a huff, as it expects unarguably not defiance but obedience from Pakistan?s every state arm.
An independent high-level, high-powered probe under the Supreme Court?s oversight must be instituted unfailingly to know the truth and the whole truth. The probe must have investigative access to the top. There can be no holy cows when it comes to the nation?s sovereignty, solidarity and dignity. And no diplomatic niceties should be allowed to stand in the way of unraveling the entire truth. A complete harmony between the state?s civil power and military power is of utmost import to face up to the dire challenges confronting the nation internally and externally.

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