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Tuesday, 6 December 2011

No reason to rejoice

 The resignation of Mr Hussain Haqqani as Pakistan?s ambassador to Washington marks another turn in Pakistan?s memogate scandal. Mr Haqqani?s resignation, tendered to the Prime Minister instead of the Foreign Minister, will be misinterpreted as an admission of guilt - which it is not.
Mr Haqqani has repeatedly asserted that he has no knowledge of the memo, which Admiral Mike Mullen confirmed having received, sparking off the current intensity of the scandal. This present turn of events brings into sharp focus the relationship between Pakistan?s civilian setup and top military leadership.
There are three main aspects of Memogate to be considered. One is the route of delivery, authenticity and authors of the memo; in short, the logistics. The second is the open invitation of American cooperation in implementing the manifesto of the memo. The last and perhaps most important are those manifesto aims themselves, which have not been examined as closely as they ought to be.
While the first and second are being touted as the justification for the top brass? fury at Mr Haqqani and other authors of the memo, the third is a fascinating description of a civilian government struggling against a military which has traditionally dominated it, as witnessed by history.
One resignation does not answer questions about the primary reason the memo was authored, as mentioned in the opening paragraph: ?assigning blame? and ?military complicity? with respect to the Osama Bin Laden episode and an ?opportunity for civilians to gain the upper hand?. Accusations of complicity or incompetence rose after May 2 against the military are still as pertinent as ever and perhaps less likely to be answered now than they were pre-Memogate.
Another concern voiced in the memo was ?brinkmanship aimed at bringing down the civilian apparatus?. With the token removal of Mr Haqqani, will these accusations be investigated or we will be still remaining mired in the intricacies of Mr Mansoor Ijaz?s fascinating BBM chat style?
As in the memo, an independent inquiry into the allegations was indeed ordered, but where are the results? Will its findings be made public, and if indeed any complicity or incompetence is identified, would the Pakistani people really be enraged by the ?termination of active service officers? so convicted?
The army was not the only one embarrassed and enraged by the May 2 raid. People who were most critical of the violation of sovereignty were equally, if not more, critical of an army, which to them had also embarrassed them, drawing on nearly half the national budget and yet being hoodwinked by the world?s most wanted terrorist a few miles from the Pakistan Military Academy. Such questions were also raised within the ranks, who may desist in vocalizing this sentiment ? though not all did ? but the disappointment is most definitely there throughout the order of the army.
Handing over of Al Qaeda top leadership, with the exception perhaps of Sirajuddin Haqqani would similarly hardly be contentious if portrayed as a victory to the Pakistani people, who simply wish to avoid being implicated in a further incompetence or complicity scandal or suffering a boots on ground humiliation by the enthusiastic Americans with a ?carte blanche? invitation to proceed.
Pakistan?s nuclear assets and their framework of discipline as mentioned in the memo are similarly confusing, given that they are secured with the aid of 100 million dollars of American assistance.
The American?s concerns over their security appear to have been raised in the memo in the post-Musharraf political landscape. What exactly was so reassuring during the previous Army Chief?s tenure is unsatisfactory now? Does Mr Haqqani?s resignation answer this?
Restructuring of our intelligence structure ?in terms of direction and extent of responsibility after the OBL affair? is not simply an American demand ? are we now comfortable that concerns about such responsibility have been satisfied and addressed to our contentment?
Mr Haqqani?s loss to the Zardari government is no more than collateral damage in a skewed relationship always acknowledged as such, but somehow still shrouded in mystery. The first round of names put forward to replace Mr Haqqani in Washington includes former Lt Gen Jehangir Karamat, Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir, UN Ambassador Abdullah Hussain Haroon, former ISI chief Gen Ehsan, former ambassador Dr Maleeha Lodhi, and President?s General Secretary Salman Farooqi.
It does not take the formidable intellect of an analyst to see how and where this list was drawn up or to know who has put whom in their place, in this round.

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