By Babar Ayaz
Pinning the responsibility of writing the much-talked about ‘Memo’ on Husain Haqqani means implicating President Asif Zardari. The Justice Faez Isa commission is trying to investigate ‘a conspiracy’ which is supposedly damaging for the country. All the focus of the ultra-nationalist politicians and media is that the alleged ‘Memo’ had promised the US administration a pro-US policy national security set-up by replacing the present COAS and DG ISI.
Initially it seems that the DG ISI jumped on the opportunity to get rid of Husain Haqqani who had exposed the nexus between the mosque and the military. But in this enthusiasm a finer point which is crucial for the Pakistan army was overlooked inadvertently or deliberately. If the commission, which has been formed on Mian Nawaz Sharif’s petition by our active judiciary, comes to the conclusion that the moving fingers that wrote the ‘Memo’ were that of scheming Zardari and his man on the spot Haqqani, one thing is proved that the civilian government of Pakistan is announcing officially to the US that the armed forces of Pakistan are not under their control.
The immediate consequence of this would be equally damaging for Pakistan’s military perhaps more than the civilian government. The ‘Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act 2009’ passed by the US Congress popularly known as the Kerry-Lugar bill clearly states in “Title II—Security Assistance for Pakistan” that military or security aid is linked by the US with not only strengthening the democratic institutions, but also with the establishment of the supremacy of the civilian government over the military establishment. (Emphasis added).
Remember this clause was resented by the Khakis and their co-evolutionists when the Act was passed. This is where the US was blamed for being intrusive because it changes the power structure which has been there for over 50 years in Pakistan. As long as all the loans and aid were given for the military with strings it was acceptable with a meek opposition. But when the military aid is linked with the certification that democratic government enjoys its due constitutional position or not, it’s blasphemy. Come on wake up democrats!
So our wise strategists at the GHQ and their camp-followers in the foreign office must now be worried about Justice Isa commission’s findings. Perhaps they never wanted to stretch the Memo issue this far. They got the scalp of Haqqani and had put the government at the back foot — that was enough. But then Mian Sahib spoiled the game which was meant to be between the two teams – the military and the civilian set up.
So the real problem would be that if the commission declares that the government was involved in writing the Memo, it would be extremely difficult for the US State Department to convince the Congress Appropriation Committee that there is civilian supremacy over the military establishment in Pakistan. That would eventually lead to the stoppage of $1.5 billion annual goodies for boys in the Khakis. Hence it is good if flamboyant Mansoor Ijaz does not come to Pakistan. In the absence of the prime accuser (not witness) there is no way that Haqqani and through him President Zardari can be held responsible. This suits all, the GHQ, the civilian government and perhaps the US administration also which in any case wants to patch up with our military establishment after killing our jawans in NATO incursions. (firstname.lastname@example.org)