ISLAMABAD: Husain Haqqani’s suspension has added fuel to the memo controversy instead of settling it. Now the whole nation is anxious to know the facts i.e. what the unceremoniously removed ambassador did and if President Asif Ali Zardari had any role in the scandal.
An independent inquiry, completely free from the influence of the present rulers, is a must now to establish if memogate was part of the Washington’s conspiracy to target Pakistan’s nuclear programme, the ISI and the Pakistan Army.
To get to the truth Haqqani is the man from where the probe is to start for which he is required to stay in Pakistan till the time the inquiry is completed and he is exonerated or otherwise Haqqani has not been proved guilty but has been made the prime accused by the government, which according to the prime minister office’s announcement has sought resignation from Haqqani. Whether his name would be placed on the ECL by the government or he would be taken into custody, depends on the level of accusations against Haqqani. Will the security agencies use their weight and skills to get the truth out of Haqqani?
Haqqani was looked at with suspicion as Pakistan’s ambassador from day one. The later developments that include the controversial parts of the Kerry-Lugar Act that had allegedly the input of Haqqani; and the disputed issuance of thousands of visas to Americans, including US spies, by Pakistan’s embassy increased apprehensions against Haqqani at home.
The latest memo has, however, proved to be devastating for him. It has raised fundamental questions here whether memogate has a Washington connection or was it the alleged work of only Haqqani and some other player in Pakistan.
Over three years back, a few top security officials had met some senior PML-N leaders to get it conveyed to the PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif that through some key players of the present PPP regime the US was desirous of making its choice appointments at the top echelons of the Pakistan Army, the ISI and even in the nuclear-related Strategic Plans Division to target the ISI, Pakistan’s nuclear programme and the military.
Nawaz Sharif, however, did not take the message seriously. Later developments, however, proved what the security institutions of Pakistan had feared. Just before leaving for his first official visit to the United States, Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani had upset the whole of Pakistan by shifting the ISI under the control of the interior minister. But within a few hours he had to undo this.
Later the Kerry-Lugar Bill, which was enacted by the US legislature, contained some highly objectionable provisions, which not only hit the Pakistan’s nuclear programme but also the institution of Pakistan Army and the security institution (the ISI). The government was not much bothered about such provisions until a press release issued by the ISPR following corps commanders’ meeting, conveying military’s rejection to certain parts of the Kerry-Lugar Bill. Haqqani was alleged to have his role in the preparation of Kerry-Lugar Bill.
And now the memo, whose complete text has already been published, again attacks the Pakistan Army, the country’s nuclear programme and the security institutions.
The memo sought for Washington’s direct intervention in conveying a strong, urgent and direct message to Gen Kayani and Gen Pasha to end their brinkmanship aimed at bringing down the civilian apparatus. In return, the memo promises to give US military forces a “green light” to conduct the necessary operations to capture or kill al-Qaeda leadership on Pakistani soil. It conveys that a new national security team would be prepared to the satisfaction of Washington.
The team would develop an acceptable framework of discipline for the nuclear programme. It also pledges to eliminate Section S of the ISI charged with maintaining relations to the Taliban, Haqqani network, etc.
It also commits to cooperate fully under the new national security team’s guidance with the Indian government on bringing all perpetrators of Pakistani origin to account for the 2008 Mumbai attacks, whether outside government or inside any part of the government, including its intelligence agencies. This is all very serious. Only an independent inquiry would uncover the real conspiracy behind all this.