It seems that, as time draws near for the appearance of the COAS and the DG ISI before the Chief Justices’ Commission probing the memogate affair, the Prime Minister has only now realized that the submissions they filed to the Supreme Court were not through the ministry, and were thus of no legal effect. It was also strange for him to make this statement when the Supreme Court had not only decided the case, but that this statement was made in an interview with China Online Television, ensuring that this particular manifestation of displeasure would be disseminated in China at the very time that the COAS was on a visit there. That it is inappropriate to wash dirty linen in public is one thing, but there is another aspect that the Prime Minister should have considered. A state representative abroad, who has gone on state expense, is only as effective as the backing he gets from his home government. At the same time, former Ambassador to the USA, Mr Hussain Haqqani has filed a review petition in the Supreme Court to stay the commission’s proceedings even as he appeared before it. However, his appearance proved to be a catalogue of denials. Even his Blackberry set was unavailable for examination, which he claimed was an official set he had left behind in Washington.

It is worth noting that the Prime Minister’s claim has not been followed by a similar review petition, which indicates that even the government itself knows that there is not enough merit to lead to any change in the verdict.

The Chief Justices’ Commission may be the best chance of a neutral investigation into the whole memogate affair. If the government continues in an attitude of non-cooperation, the purpose of the commission, which is an investigation which both answers the nation’s questions about the memogate, and which is not under government influence, will not be helped. While the government’s purpose, which quite rightly is to allay all doubts raised, will not be fulfilled. Though PML-N President Mian Nawaz Sharif was labouring at partisan purposes, he was expressing national sentiment when he said that the Parliamentary Committee on National Security, which the government favours to carry out an investigation, was doing nothing on the memogate affair. This is because, having a built-in PPP majority, the committee is hardly impartial. The government must not only avoid maligning its representatives when they are abroad, and that too when they are representing the country, but it must also support the work of the commission. Otherwise, the verdict setting the commission up will join the others it still defies.