Linkage of memo with nuclear program
Indo-US-Israeli nexus has all along been vying to denuclearize Pakistan but its nefarious designs have been thwarted by our armed forces and the ISI. Apart from overt and covert machinations to achieve their sinister objective, propaganda was used as a tool to tarnish the image of the two institutions and to creat an impression that Pak nukes were unsafe and liable to fall into wrong hands. For this purpose, extremist threat was overplayed and the Army ridiculed that it is incapable of defeating the militants and protecting the nuclear arsenal. It was a well-conceived effort to frighten the world and to force Pakistan to accept the US proposal of joint security apparatus of nukes, or to hand over the nukes to USA/UN for safe custody, or to open it for inspection by IAEA and accept its safeguards.
When Pakistan turned down the proposal of joint control, asserting that fears expressed were unfounded and that its multi-layered safety and security system was second to none, the propagandists then took up a new theme asserting that sympathizers of Jihadis working inside the nuclear facilities could steal the nukes and hand them over to the militant groups thus jeopardizing world security. This theme was also applied upon the Army and ISI, alleging that some elements within these organizations were sympathetic towards al-Qaeda and Taliban. Idea was to make the heads of nuclear facilities, Army and ISI carryout in-house weeding out. The thrown outs were to be subsequently cultivated by CIA for their own use.
The guardians of nuclear program have not only to cater for external threat but threat from rulers as well. Contents of treasonous memo have horrified the nation. Apart from several other undertakings, it promises nuclear program to be placed under a ‘more veritable, transparent regime’ acceptable to the US. Instead of clearing their positions, the suspects have taken a stand that memo is a non-issue and that Supreme Court is not authorized to probe it. They have got highly miffed over Gen Kayani and Lt Gen Pasha submitting their replies to Supreme Court asserting that memo is a reality and must be probed. Their resistance to an impartial inquest is giving rise to suspicions that they might be involved.
The people are now reflecting upon Zardari’s announcement in November 2008 when he said that Pakistan will not exercise the option of ‘first nuclear use’ against India. This was in contravention to Pakistan’s nuclear doctrine and compromised its deterrence value against a conventionally much stronger adversary. Another worrying thing for the people is drastic cut in the yearly fund allocation for nuclear program since 2008 which has impacted its research work and advancement. Budget has been slashed well knowing that India is upgrading and expanding its nuclear strength as a result of discriminatory Indo-US civil nuclear deal. Not only that, this government has pursued Gen Musharraf’s policy of not raising objections on the nuclear deal at the IAEA. These acts which are against national interests together with corruption and inefficiency of the ruling regime which have made the lives of the have-nots miserable are sufficient to make the people apprehensive about the motives of the rulers.
People groaning under the weight of poverty are suspecting that there might have been a secret understanding between Washington and democratic government to push back the country into the stranglehold of IMF so as to bleed the state economy, to destroy the public sector enterprises, to create acute energy crisis and to bring the country to a stage of a failed state. In their view, the underlying idea behind the gory scheme could be to present fait accompli to them to opt for survival or for nuclear program. They recall President Zardari’s maiden visit to Washington in September 2008 during which he had asked the so-called Friends-of-Pakistan to provide $100 billion to enable him to solve the problems of Pakistan. They feel he on the quiet had put Pakistan’s nuclear program on sale.
The people also recall PM Gilani’s issuance of an executive order in August 2008, placing the ISI under America’s chosen man Rahman Malik. Gilani had taken that step on the direction of the US which felt that without cutting the long arm of the ISI, its sinister objectives against nuclear program would be difficult to achieve. Memo affair has now revealed that Section-S of ISI dealing with external operations troubled the adversaries of Pakistan the most. On taking over, Rahmn Malik was to disband S-Section and the Section dealing with Kashmir, undertake large-scale weeding out to shunt out conservative and anti-American elements and replacing them with liberal minded pro-American and pro-Indian officers.
The PPP had carried out such an exercise in its two tenures under Benazir Bhutto. In the first tenure, retired Lt Gen Kalue was made the DG ISI. He was mandated to destroy the record maintained on anti-state activities of Al-Zulfiqar including Murtaza Bhutto. Officers dedicated to Kashmir cause were posted out and the nuclear program was put on hold to allay the US concerns. Kashmir House signboard in Islamabad was removed when Rajiv visited Pakistan in 1989. In her second stint, the long arm of ISI was truncated.
The current regime was all set to settle the Kashmir dispute on Indian terms by accepting Line of Control as the border. This is evident from Zardari’s statement in 2008 that the nation will soon hear goods news about Kashmir. He is on record having declared Kashmiri freedom fighters as terrorists. Despite the passage of 18th Amendment the legislature under Gilani is a dummy and real powers are still in Zardari’s hands with NRO cleaned Salman Faruqui, his principal adviser acting as de facto PM.
Gilani’s uncalled for outbursts against the Army and ISI betrayed his inner anxieties. His master sitting in Presidency suffered a mild stroke and has lost his appetite and sleep since he is haunted by NRO and memogate. Petrified Husain Haqqani, supposedly the key actor in memo scandal is cursing the DG ISI for nailing him. Haqqani’s dream of becoming national security adviser has shattered. He is pulling his hair and wailing as to why he made the mistake of coming to Pakistan. He is kept in the PM House fearing that he may not become an approver and spill the beans. He is equally afraid of intelligence agencies and Zardari. Scared stiff Wajid Shams is feigning illness to avoid facing Abbottabad judicial commission since he knows his linkage with 2 May fiasco will get established.
Ill-reputed Asma Jahangir who committed the blunder of defending the most reviled man under the misplaced hope that she will earn fame rued her decision. Having ascertained that the card of Gen Jim Jones didn’t work, and that the noose around his client’s neck was tightening, she considered it wise to leave poor Haqqani in a lurch. Jim Jones affidavit has reinforced the impression that the US civil and military leaders utter lies brazenly. Shameless Babar Awan in his bid to get in good books of Zardari and to get another prized appointment is using all his tricks to malign Supreme Court but has got soiled himself. Nawaz Sharif has enhanced his stature by submitting his petition concerning memo in Supreme Court. The latter is playing its cards deftly to reach to the bottom of memo case and all eyes are focused on Chief Justice Iftikhar. Last but not the least, the credit for nailing Haqqani goes to Gen Pasha. Had he not obtained the incriminating material from Mansoor Ijaz on 22 October, and had Gen Kayani not told the PM and President firmly to get Haqqani back, Haqqani would have still been Ambassador in Washington and working against interests of Pakistan.
The writer is a retired Brig and a freelance columnist. Email:firstname.lastname@example.org