Monday, 26 December 2011

Memogate who is next to go and what is at stake? Dr Shabir Choudhry

Memogate who is next to go and what is at stake?
Dr Shabir Choudhry 26 December 2011

When memo scandal was named as a ‘memogate’, it was clear that it was not an ordinary scandal. This scandal was called ‘memogate’ because of Watergate scandal in America which led to down fall of the then President of America, Richard Nixon. The memogate scandal has all the required ingredients to leave a lasting mark on history of Bhutto’s Pakistan (Jinnah’s Pakistan could not survive the experiments and split in to two with imprisonment of more than Pakistan army in December 1971).

When the memogate scandal became public, the government foolishly tried to cover it up, as nothing had happened; but people cognizant with the Pakistani politics knew that heads will role over this issue. Even when it became a storm the government still failed to fully understand its severity. They failed to understand that real rulers of Pakistan have made up their minds; and won’t settle with some cosmetic changes – head of Hussain Haqqani was insufficient to settle the matter.

Furthermore, like Zardari, Haqqani is also a fighter; and would not go down quietly. He came from America on the assurance that he will be safe in Pakistan. Not only he lost his job, but he is also treated by some as a ‘traitor’ and an ‘agent’, although nothing has been proved against him in any court of law. If he cannot save his skin, he will surely spill the beans; and that is known to his friend Asif Ali Zardari as well.

The government also failed to understand that this country was established in name of Muslims; but not to advance cause of Islam or for the welfare of its citizens. The creation of Pakistan resulted in division of the Muslims of South Asia; and that weakened them and not empowered them. The country was established to serve interests of certain classes of people and certain countries; and they are doing that at the cost of national interest of Pakistan and interest of the people.

In this unfortunate country, known as an Islamic Republic of Pakistan, there is very little Islam and no democracy; however, people are fooled in name of democracy and Islam. Whether we like it or not, there was no democracy in the Muslim League, hence no democracy was passed on to the country and the society. The country was run and controlled by people with undemocratic attitudes, and gradually power shifted to the British trained bureaucracy, which served their masters to the best of their ability.

Corruption, hypocrisy and nepotism were systematically practised in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan; and conspiracies against people and the country were never sincerely investigated. East Pakistan was not lost in one day. There is a long history behind it; and it started with the order that Bengalis, although being in a majority, had to learn Urdu, as it was declared a national language without any consultation or any assembly decision.

There is a long history and tradition in Pakistan to oppress people, deprive them of fundamental rights; and then accuse the victims of being ‘anti Pakistan’, ‘agent’ and ‘traitor’. Same was done to the people of East Pakistan. They were victims of injustice and yet they were accused of treason. Apart from the Bengalis other sub nationalities of Pakistan are also oppressed and deprived of fundamental rights; and just like Bengalis they are labelled as ‘traitors’.

Real rulers of Pakistan are very clever and have mastered the art of governance and manipulation. They know how to use people in name of religion and democracy. They hate real democracy and accountability. Also they hate peace in Pakistan and in the region, and to advance their agenda they train people in name of jihad and send them to neighbouring countries, a fact that has been acknowledged by retired army officers.

Whether it is a murder of Liaquat Ali Khan, Rawalpindi Conspiracy Case, Ager Tala Conspiracy Case, Ojery Explosions Case, loss of East Pakistan, General Zia Ul Haq’s death, or Benazir Bhutto’s assassination, full facts of these events will never be known to the people, but all these events have left a lasting impact on Pakistan. Memogate, unlike some other events, is before the Supreme Court of Pakistan and in the coming days we may know some more facts about the case.

However, one may ask, is knowing of more facts about this case is sufficient? Will that save democracy in Pakistan? Will that help Pakistan to resolve its electricity, gas, economic and other acute problems? Will that help Pakistan to establish peace in Balochistan, FATA and others areas of Pakistan? Will that help Pakistan to end trust deficit with America and its neighbours?

Answer to all the above is no. Memogate was not planned to achieve any of the above; if anything, it was meant to destabilise Pakistan. Whoever is behind this conspiracy planned it meticulously, and executed it very efficiently to keep the pot boiling that it could generate more heat and interest. It became so hot that President of Islamic Republic of Pakistan and Supreme Commander of Pakistani forces had to flee the country under pretext of ‘illness.’ He came back after some assurances from those who were guarantors to the deal which installed the PPP government.

But this is not an end to this drama; at least, this is not what is on the script. Army has made it a matter of pride and honour. If they give in, not only they will lose face, but it will be a beginning of a long journey on a slippery ground which will surely take away its powers, which they have enjoyed for decades and which they desperately want to keep even if that means the country loses many other things.

The fight is on. It is not only contest between the army and the government; there are other players in it too. Supreme Court has a big role in all this. Some government officials, including the President are trying their level best to provoke the Supreme Court for some action. Judiciary is doing its best to avoid it, as they don’t want to appear to become a party in this political game. The government is also face to face with the top brass of the army on memogate and on some other issues. This government has badly failed to deliver and is looking for a political martyrdom that it can go to people and play victim or use the Sindh Card.

Whatever the desire of the army, situation is not suitable for a military takeover, because unlike on the previous occasions this time all opposition parties, especially Nawaz League are totally against this. And despite the pressure, Zaradri is not ready to relinquish his powers. So what is the way forward? Whether they accept it or not, the PPP government wants a clash, as it suits them. They have a strategy in place, as to what to do in case they are booted out. However, direct military take over does not suit the army no matter how desperately they want to get rid of the Zardari government.

While some institutions of Pakistan have collapsed or on the verge of collapsing, army, judiciary and the army on a course to clash with no one ready to back down, Imran Khan talks of brining tsunami to Pakistan. Tsunami, wherever it has come, has only brought trouble and misery for the people; I wonder why it would be different for Pakistan. What this means is that Pakistan and the people of this unfortunate country are heading for a big disaster in 2012.

Roots of the present crises could be traced back to Abbotabad fiasco. It was a set back for the Pakistan army that consumes lion’s share of the Pakistan’s budget; but the civilian government called it a great victory. One wonders, victory for whom?

Memogate is fully loaded. It has potential to cause chaos, destabilise and even destroy Pakistan; and the Pakistani establishment and politicians also have the same ability. It is a deadly combination. If all those directly or indirectly associated with this scandal think rationally, act rationally and don’t consider their ego bigger and more important than Pakistan then they can diffuse this bomb. However, if the past history is anything to go by then one can say that they will look after their interest and plunge the country in another crisis in which many head will role. It will result in more instability, and bloodshed and even break up of Pakistan. May Allah swt help and guide us all.

Writer is Director Diplomatic Committee of Kashmir National Party, political analyst and author of many books and booklets. Also he is Director Institute of Kashmir View:

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