The sending of a memo to Admiral Mike Mullen when he was Chairman of the US Defence Chiefs of Staff Committee, by US-Pakistani businessman Mansoor Ijaz, is hedged about by sufficient qualifications and caveats to be rendered dubious, but clearly there is enough in it to result in Pakistans Ambassador to the USA, Hussain Haqqani, returning to Pakistan and presenting himself for enquiry, including the offer of his BlackBerry and his computer for investigation, with the offer to resign. The accepting of that offer allayed nothing, and the government stayed in crisis, because this was supposed be a beginning, not an end to the crisis. It has led to a move that Haqqanis investigation be carried out not just by the government, but also by the PPP core committee, while Mian Nawaz Sharif, the PML-N Chief, has called for an enquiry to be sent up within 10 days, failing which he would go to all the superior courts of the country. Apparently impatient with that deadline, given before Ambassador Haqqanis arrival in Islamabad, let alone the resignation, Mian Nawaz filed his writ the day after Haqqanis resignation, with the plea that the President, the Prime Minister, the COAS and the DG ISI appear. At the root of this is a memo, purportedly by President Asif Zardari, given to Admiral Mullen by Ijaz through National Security Adviser General (retd) Jim Jones. The memo is damaging, as it gives the USA things which it has no right to ask a sovereign country, including the right of veto over its higher appointments. The government has realised the seriousness of the charge, and the armed forces have reacted harshly to the sending of the memo, which reveals the gap in perception that makes the armed forces and the PPP such poor partners in ruling. It is noteworthy that even if the President knew the memo not to have been sent by him, he regarded it as unworthy of notice but the matter has apparently caused a stir in the armed forces, which regard the memo as credible. The main reason is that the memo expresses a view, despite nine years of Musharraf, which the PPP still has of the military, which is primarily adversarial. The PPP, which has as its Chairman someone who would remember its founding, long regarded itself as a vanguard party in the Leninist mould, with the military refusing to submit to it by accepting that vanguard role. It is an interesting paradox that the late Benazir Bhutto had abandoned that role before taking power, but her conflicts with the military she replaced are legendary. One of the patterns observable in Pakistans history is the refusal of the military to act as the prop of any political party. If a political leader tries, the military would prefer to take over itself. It has attempted to create a political platform for itself, but the platform of the Zia era has been taken over by Mian Nawaz Sharif, and of the Musharraf era by the Chaudhrys while Musharraf himself has formed a platform which has not won military backing so far. The military has refused to act as a prop for the PPP, something that the party has resented, and thought of in the same apocalyptic terms that have been expressed in the memo. That reflects how the PPP would like to see the Abbottabad raid used to rein in the military, and subordinate it to the PPP. That the memo does lead back, in some fashion, to Haqqani, is shown by his resignation, which took place after a meeting attended by the President, the Prime Minister, the COAS and the DG ISI. It may need exanimation on how the Troika of old has expanded to a quartet, with the DG ISI a separate player now apparently, but the fact of the matter is that Ambassador Haqqani was not able to explain away the memo. It is true that, as Admiral Mullen said, the memo is not credible, and not something that could have been sent by any head of state or his representative, but it is also true that the PPP opinion is sufficiently reflected in it to make the quartet think the matter of sufficient seriousness to require the resignation of the Ambassador in Washington. The memo will not go away. Clearly, those sending it were used to a pre-media diplomacy, to the era when the State was the State, and it was strong. But equally, it was sent by those whose conception of the State did not extend to the concept that it was inadvisable to thrust before another State the weaknesses of that State. It is noticeable that the memo was predicated on the assumption that the armed forces would do Admiral Mullens bidding, and that the armed forces were ready to do the bidding of the US government, not its own. Unfortunately, this has been the experience ever since the first military coup. The military has not asked for American permission, but after all coups, it has shown concern that the USA provide the new regime recognition. As foreign countries must deal with whatever government rules over a State, ultimately any State has to deal with whatever government is in power in another State. The best example is not so much Pakistan as the USSR, with which the USA differed ideologically to the extent of seeing it as its main rival worldwide, but with which it allied itself in World War II. The widespread demand for a judicial enquiry reflects the fact that there is need for Ambassador Haqqani, and preferably Mansoor Ijaz, to make public statements. For there to be a public enquiry, not one behind closed doors. However, the primary question is unanswered, and will remain unanswered if the President continues to claim immunity, which is: What was the role of President Asif Zardari in the whole business. The attempt to make the Prime Minister take the rap will not wash. Nor is there any particular concern about a Pakistani-American businessman. Did the President know of the memo? Apparently, he could not, or certainly not have sanctioned it, because that would have meant he approved of its contents. However, memory goes back to another President, Pervez Musharraf, who gave the USA everything it asked for in a demand that was supposed to be a maximalist negotiating position, not what was acceptable or even expected. The memo was not very long, but it has brought Pakistan face to face with some very basic questions. Foremost is the role of the armed forces in Pakistan. Almost equal is the role of the USA in Pakistani politics. The whole affair is predicated on the USA being able to intervene in Pakistani politics. Since the present government has its US-friendliness as one of its claims, the dispute is thus about whether it is more able to serve the USA, or the armed forces. An interesting aspect is that the USA chose this moment for the controversy to blow, for it was given life by important confirmations from American officials. Mullen, in particular, went back on his initial denial. The government would clearly prefer not to have this crisis join the ones created by Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Zulfiqar Mirza, but it cannot brush it under the carpet. The cost of protecting the President from the consequences of his actions clearly extends into his present tenure, and the PPP has to decide if the national interest, which lies in a full investigation into what happened, is somehow below any party interest, which needs the matter to be hushed up. Why the USA wants this matter in the public eye now should give those of its friends in office food for thought. The writer is a veteran journalist and founding member as well as Executive Editor of TheNation. Email: