Friday, November 18, 2011

Change in the air ...finding sense amidst COAS - MemoGate

Once again Pakistan is a at cross-road, Imran Khan is apparently gaining steam which is evident from the recent PTI rally in Lahore, US-Pakistan relationship are jittery to say the least, Civilian-Military nexus is in flux and more so now as a result of the recent MemoGate scandal.

Rumors are abound of a potential military coup d'etat against the current PPP government. While President Asif Zardari appears to be in a self preservation mode to appease the army at any cost, even if it means scapegoating his trusted advisers such as the U.S. Ambassador Husain Haqqani who has been summoned to Islamabad to brief the President on the MemoGate scandal.  Of ocourse this would not be Pakistan if you  did not have rumors to support rumors where Ambassador Haqqani has been accused of being the principal architect of "The Memo" that was delivered to Admiral Mike Mullen via a well connected American businessman / lobbyist of Pakistani decent Mansoor Ijaz, apparently also a member of the Ahmadi* sect of Islam.

GHQ (Pakistan Armed Forces Head Quarters) under the leadership of General Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani has been advising President Asif Zardari to replace Ambassador Husain Haqqani, who apparently has a mixed reputation amongst military and intelligence top brass. A short list of proposed replacements for Haqqani has been presented, with the first being the current Foreign Minister Salman Bashir and second (though I am unsure on how strong the source is) Dr Maleeha Lodhi who has already served twice as the Pakistani Ambassador to Washington DC.

There are several loose ends, referring back to the MemoGate scandal which bring up questions such as: If the civilian apparatus was in fact involved in drafting the memo to Admiral Mike Mullen, then why have a third party such as Mansoor Ijaz deliver it, especially given his"phishy" history? Also with close ties between Pakistan's civilian leadership and the Obama Administration why couldn't the such a memo be sent through regular diplomatic channels, unless there was a threat of it being intercepted by military intelligence gate keepers? Then on the accusation that Ambassador Husain Haqqani as the architect of the memo -- if that were the case then why, given his close relationships in Washington, not to mention well respected diplomat would he not deliver the memo through more secure channels -- perhaps orally vs written?

Personally I don't buy into the whole notion that Ambassador Haqqani had a role in drafting memo. After reading the memo, the language style is not that of the Ambassadors style, not to mention too sloppy for him. The responsible party for this memo mess rest in the able hands of the one and only, though some may argue "only" as an understatement as Mansoor Ijaz couldn't have acted alone. If that were they case then who or what else was behind the Memo?

*According to Ordinance XX of the Supreme Court of Pakistan Ahmadi community are barred from being referred to as Muslim

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