Commission upholds Army’s stance

Mohammad Jamil

The Memo Commission, headed by Chief Justice Balochistan High Court Justice Qazi Faiz Isa, has submitted its report to the Supreme Court, and according to its finding the memorandum was real and was authored by Hussain Haqqani former Pakistan ambassador to the US. The commission’s report has vindicated Army’s stand on the issue, and credit of course goes to General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and former ISI chief General Ahmed Shuja Pasha for having withstood internal and external pressures in exposing the fifth columnist. The report has also confirmed that former Ambassador to the US Hussain Haqqani has been disloyal to the state. The sealed report presented by Memo Commission was unsealed and read out to the apex court’s nine-member bench, which stated that the former ambassador was a functionary of government of Pakistan but, he was not loyal to the country.

The report also stated that Hussain Haqqani violated the Constitution of Pakistan to prove that the civil government in Islamabad is a friend to the US and can help the US in its non-proliferation efforts. The bench directed the report should be issued to all the petitioners and the media. While commenting on the report, Hussain Haqqani said that the memo commission’s proceedings were one-sided, as it refused to hear him and will be challenged by his lawyers. Fact of the matter is that Hussain Haqqani was given the chance to appear before the court to clear his position, which he did not avail. Before leaving for the US, he had promised that he would come back to appear before the court on four days’ notice only, but he did not honour his commitment. He also did not cooperate in that he did not give his pin-codes of his two blackberries, and took the position that he has lost his blackberries; which sounds a sheer lie.

Meanwhile, Hussain Haqqani’s lawyer and former president of Supreme Court Bar Association Asma Jahangir commented that it is not appropriate to declare him a traitor. She perhaps did not read the commission’s report properly because Hussain Haqqani has so far been declared as disloyal to the state, and it is up to the apex court to proceed on the case and give the final verdict, which may declare him a traitor. It is unfortunate that Ms. Asma Jahangir, a renowned lawyer and Human Rights activist, has been criticizing the army and intelligence agencies in one way or another. She claimed the other day that she has been informed through a reliable source about threat to her life from security agencies of Pakistan. Ministry of Defence offered her security which she declined. Being a renowned lawyer, she should take the matter to the court rather than taking these sensitive matters in media for maligning security agencies. Ms. Asma neither trusts NAB nor security agencies; but she should at least trust the Supreme Court of Pakistan and tell the court about the ‘reliable source’. It has to be recalled that the memo had accused 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 asked Mike Mullen to use his influence to stop it. It said: “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”. By going through the last two pages of Haqqani’s book ‘Pakistan between Mosque and military’, one can reach the conclusion that he had authored the memo. The book had analysed and traced the origins of the relationships between Islamist groups and military, thus disparaging Pakistan and its Army.

In fact, the problem with the US started when Pakistan military leadership took firm position on certain issues vis-à-vis Kerry-Lugar Law, Raymond Davis episode and particularly resistance to a military operation in North Waziristan. This had put Washington in a huff, as it expected not defiance but obedience from Pakistan’s every state arm, as the previous civil and military leaders had spoiled American leadership’s habits. The fact remains that Chief of Army Staff Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and then ISI chief Ahmed Shuja Pasha have had the spine to say ‘No’ to CIA’s dictates, and this was the reason that the CIA went berserk, and used each every opportunity to denigrate Pakistan’s military and premier intelligence agency. There is not an iota of doubt that attacks on army headquarters in Rawalpindi and Mehran Base were part of the plan to demoralize military and to lower the prestige of armed forces in the eyes of people of Pakistan. It has to be said that Pakistan’s armed forces are the national pride; and the ISI being eyes and ears of the armed forces, is the first line of defence. The primary function of such agencies throughout the world is to watch the country’s interest by keeping an eye on the enemy agencies and subversive elements that are out to harm the country. And Pakistan is no exception. After American commandos raid in Abbottabad on 2nd May 2011, efforts were made to lower the prestige of the armed forces and the ISI in the eyes of public. The tirade against the ISI had in fact been started during former president General Pervez Musharraf’s visit to US and Britain in 2008, when it was alleged that ISI was involved in helping Taliban. Pervez Musharraf, however, had defended ISI stating that it was a disciplined force; thus dispelling the impression that the ISI had some agenda different to that of the government.

Having that said, the relations between the US and Pakistan are at the lowest ebb, and this speaks volumes about the poor performance of Hussain Haqqani as Pakistan’s ambassador in the US. After attack on Salala checkpost, Pakistan stopped the NATO supplies to Afghanistan, it is now more than six months that both countries have not been able to reach an agreement. Pakistan wants new rules of engagement in accordance with the decisions of the Defence Committee of the Cabinet and the verdict given in the joint sitting of the Parliament. Pakistan still insists on apology by the US for attack on Salala check post, and would continue its efforts to convince the US that drone attacks stir anti-American sentiments. Pakistan vows that it will not accept violation of its sovereignty; and that the US should share intelligence with Pakistan and also inform Pakistan before launching drone attacks.

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