Pakistan continues to confront venomous propaganda against its armed forces and the ISI coming from the foreign and local media. They have joined together in efforts to discredit the guardians of Pakistan’s ideological and geographical borders. The base of the current heinous propaganda and instigations against the ISI and the army is a memo that was sent to former US Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen on May 10 through the then US National Security Advisor General James Jones by a US businessman of Pakistani origin. Mansoor Ijaz. He says that he wrote the memo at the alleged behest of Pakistan Ambassador to the US Hussain Haqqani who has since resigned from his post. The memo passed to Admiral Mullen after US raid in Abbottabad on May 2 requested US backing for a proposal to install a new, Washington friendly civilian security team to assert tighter control over Pakistan’s military that would also end ISI’s relations with Haqqani network and that the memo had the approval of the ‘boss’.
The issue however came to full light in an op-ed written by Mansoor Ijaz in ‘Financial Times’ of London on October 10 revealing that the memo was indeed delivered to Admiral Mullen. The contents of the memo were certainly outrageous and tantamount to conspiring against Pakistan Army the ISI and national security, besides having a great moral dimension on its population.
In comes the possible role of US wherein a US intelligence source was referred to by IJaz who on December 15 said that ISI Chief visited Arab countries to solicit approval of their leaders to dislodge the government. Ijaz who has written a number of articles against the security establishment of Pakistan and this particular memo indicate some deliberate design to pitch the civilian leadership against the security establishment of Pakistan that has thwarted US designs on its security and integrity more than once. Also, the security establishment has stood steadfast in taking bold and patriotic decisions in stopping the Nato supply through its borders into Afghanistan in retaliation of Nato’s brutal attack on its military check posts within its own borders, a move that may dent US war efforts in Afghanistan. There are variations too in some of Ijaz’s subsequent statements on the issue that also point to some hidden manipulators behind his moves. The memo issue has created a firestorm in Pakistan and taking benefit out of the situation some of the established negative voices have launched their own campaigns to instigate divisions between the political setup and the military basing their assumptions on Ijaz’s revelations without taking pains of going deeper in probable shakers behind his moves and without realising the implications of their propaganda on our national security. Ijaz has an established penchant for political intrigues and calls himself a democrat, secularist and a friend of the West. Whatever his personal views, including that the President and the Pakistani ambassador in US knew of the Abbottabad raid, tantamount to undercutting Pakistani democracy and poisoning of US-Pak military-to-military relations.
PM Gilani and the Chief of Army Staff General Kayani met on December 16 and strongly rejected that there existed a rift between the political leadership and the military. PM reiterated that the government and the state institutions remained committed to their constitutional role and obligations to a democratic and prosperous future for Pakistan. Still, the ongoing hullabaloo over the memo scandal casts doubts on the civil-military relationship which has become the major target for foreign intelligence agencies and the local naysayer of amity between the state institutions in Pakistan. New turns and twists continue to be injected into the media regularly by certain media moguls and exploited to achieve vested interests concurrently affecting the harmony within the state institutions. The incessant anti Pakistan voices seem to have found a new lease of life in harping on the memogate scandal wherein the security establishment continues to be demonized to achieve their agendas.
Nevertheless, to trace out the perpetrators of the memo that incidentally has a serious implication for our national security, the Supreme Court of Pakistan has been approached to determine the same. “There is a need to fully examine the facts and circumstances leading to the conception and issuance of the memo”, so has said the Chief of the Army Staff on the memo issue. The spirit behind writing and passing on the memo to US CJCS needs to be dispassionately investigated. There are two possibilities that either Ijaz spoke the truth, though he has a negative track record on political intrigues, or the transition to a mature democracy in Pakistan is being questioned. Whatever the truth that comes out of the investigations, it may have the potential to push Pakistan and the US towards a dangerous confrontation. So instead of casting reckless aspersions on the Pakistan’s security establishment it would be better for opinionmakers to wait for the Supreme Court’s verdict on the real authors of the memo gate affair.