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National

January 17, 2012

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Difference between honourable and disgraceful resignations

Difference between honourable and disgraceful resignations
LAHORE: Unlike Pakistan, where premiers, presidents and top government functionaries sling on until the bitter end and do not relinquish charge no matter what happens, many of their counterparts around the world opt to hang their boots with grace.
Even the most disgraced international rulers like former US President Richard Nixon and the scandal-plagued ex-Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi had the skills to read the writing on the wall and consequently saved their blushes by tendering timely resignations
Following the humiliation he had to face at the hands of the US Supreme Court and legislators sitting in the American legislative houses, President Richard Nixon had finally left office on August 9, 1974 instead of being booted out through an otherwise looming impeachment motion.
His resignation letter, addressed to the then Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, had stated: “I hereby resign the office of the President of the United States.”
Just ahead of his likely impeachment and a day before call it a day; Nixon was quoted as saying by the US Press: “I brought myself down. I impeached myself by resigning. To leave office before my term is completed is opposed to every instinct in my body. But as President, I must put the interests of America first. Therefore, I shall resign the presidency effective at noon tomorrow.”
Haunted by courts, scams and an ailing economy, former Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi found it appropriate during November 2011 to bid adieu to the throne he had been holding tight for 17 years.
He had failed in addressing Italy’s debt woes and restore faith in the faltering economies of the Euro-zone, deeming it was time to salvage his little pride.
Even the likes of Brigadier John Profumo (1915-2006), the defamed British Secretary of State for War between 1960 and 1963, had decided to go home on his own following his involvement in a 1963 scandal involving a prostitute.
After his relationship with a call girl called Christine Keeler, who was also simultaneously having an affair with the Soviet naval attache in London, had become public—- Profumo had thought it was time for him to pack up and even withdraw from politics. Here follows a list of resignations coming from far more respectable leaders and top officials in power corridors:
Maurice Harold Macmillan, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from January 10, 1957 to October 18, 1963 also felt the heat of his War Secretary John Profumo’s affair with a call girl and fell sick soon after. He was reportedly being hounded from office by a backbench minority.
The “Profumo Affair” had undoubtedly damaged the credibility of Macmillan’s government. He was diagnosed incorrectly with inoperable prostate cancer at the same time.
Although he had survived a Parliamentary vote, Premier Macmillan decided to resign on October 18, 1963 due to ill health.
Interestingly, PM Macmillan lived for more than 23 years after he was erroneously diagnosed with prostate cancer.
Quite recently on May 31, 2010, German President Horst Kohler (born 1943) had resigned after a controversy over his comment in relation to his country’s overseas military deployments. A lot of German politicians had criticised the comments made by President Kohler in this context.
Also a former International Monetary Fund head from 2000 to 2004 and President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development from 1998 to 2000, Kohler was President of Germany from 2004 to 2010.
Former British Premier Anthony Charles Blair (born 1953) had served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from May 2, 1997 to June 27, 2007. As the casualties of the Iraq War mounted, Blair was accused of misleading Parliament. His popularity hence dropped dramatically. The Labour party’s overall majority in the 2005 general election also dipped substantially.
As pressure mounted on Blair to resign, he succumbed to the popular demand. Blair also resigned from his seat in the House of Commons.
Former British Conservative politician, Richard Geoffrey Howe (born 1926), who was Margaret Thatcher’s longest-serving cabinet minister, had resigned honourably on November 1, 1990 after disagreement with the head of government. His resignation was triggered by mounting pressure on PM Thatcher after she had declared for the first time that Britain would never enter a single currency zone. Howe chose to send a powerful message of dissent.
In the famous resignation speech in the House of Commons on November 13, 1990, he had attacked Thatcher for running increasingly serious risks for the future of the country and chastised her for undermining the policies proposed by her own Chancellor and Governor of the Bank of England. Just days after Howe’s historic speech, Thatcher had herself resigned on November 22, 1990.
Margaret Hilda Thatcher (born 1925) had served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990. She resigned as Prime Minister and party leader in November 1990 after a party colleague, Michael Heseltine, had challenged her leadership of the Conservative Party.
Actually, discontent with Thatcher’s leadership of the party had been growing over the latter years of her tenure. Although Thatcher faced no serious threat of losing to the challenge thrown at her, she felt her political impregnability was undermined.
A former Leader of the British House of Commons, Robin Cook, had decided to tender his resignation over the Iraq invasion in 2003. Robin Cook’s resignation had earned him a standing ovation in the House of Commons.
In 1977, Indian intelligence agency RAW’s first chief, Rameshwar Nath Kao, had decided to call it a day after his mentor and ex-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was defeated and the government of Morarji Desai had assumed power.
Kao was very close to Indira Gandhi and this fact was known to all her political opponents, who had publicly attacked the deposed premier (during her tenure) for spying on them through the RAW boss. Under no illusions of how the Morarji Desai regime would treat him, Rameshwar Kao quietly went home on his own. He returned when Indira made a comeback in 1980 and worked as her security advisor, besides serving her son Rajiv Gandhi.
Kao was even blamed for giving a lot of advice to the Indira regime during the 1984 Operation Blue Star against Sikhs in Amritsar.
Most of us would know that on June 4, 2004, the then CIA Director, George Tenet, had resigned from his position after serving for seven years. According to BBC, “Under George Tenet, the American CIA has been at the heart of criticism over faulty intelligence in the run-up to the Iraqi war and over whether 9/11 could have been prevented. George Tenet is one of the longest-serving CIA chiefs.” Tenet has served under Presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush.
During November 2011, Kuwait’s prime minister resigned along with his government, following a growing row with his parliamentary opponents about alleged corruption.
Premier Sheikh Nasser al-Mohammad al-Sabah had been under pressure over allegations that 15 MPs were paid bribes to support the government. Opposition lawmakers and protesters stormed parliament earlier this month to demand his resignation. During August 2011, Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan announced his resignation, following accusations that he fumbled his government’s response to the March 11, 2011 Tsunami disaster and nuclear crisis.
He had agreed to step down after Parliament passed key pieces of legislation - one on the budget and two that would compel the nation’s utilities to buy renewable energies such as solar and wind power.
Former Indian Home Minister Shivraj Patil had resigned after the November 26, 2008 Mumbai attacks. He became the first high-profile political casualty of the terrorist attacks on Mumbai, offering his resignation to take responsibility for the violence, which claimed at least 192 lives.
Donald Rumsfeld, who served as the 13th US Secretary of Defense from 1975 to 1977 under President Gerald Ford and as the 21st Secretary of Defense from 2001 to 2006 under George W. Bush, had relinquished charge in November 2006, just months after eight retired American generals and admirals had called for his ouster.
Rumsfeld, all know, was crucial in planning the United States’ response to the September 11, 2001 attacks, which included two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Former Israeli Defence and Foreign Minister, Moshe Dayan (1915-1981), had resigned from his post in October 1979 after entering into a row with Prime Minister Begin over negotiations with the Palestinians on the occupied territories. As Israeli Foreign Minister, he was instrumental in drawing up the Camp David Accords, a peace agreement with Egypt Begin and Dayan had different views on the subject.
As the Premier did not like Dayan’s idea, he did not appoint him as in charge of the team negotiating with the Palestinians. Dayan opted to leave with respect.
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