UNNECESSARY HYPE! A lie may take care of the present, but it has no future
January 27, 2012
The minions of the State have achieved what they intended. Since coming of the memo scandal to surface, some stalwarts of the ruling coalition have been issuing threatening statements, ostensibly to prevent Mansoor Ijaz from coming to Pakistan. Their statements and actions led one to believe that some functionaries of the State did not want Mansoor Ijaz to come to Pakistan and appear before the Supreme Court-constituted Judicial Commission, probing the Memogate scandal, in utter disregard to the principle that protection of the witness is one of the primary responsibilities of the government. Even the Minister responsible for law and order had himself been hurling threats that could create fear and awe in the mind of Mansoor Ijaz about his security in Pakistan and deter him from visiting the country. Here one may quote Interior Minister Rehman Malik as having said: Ijaz could be detained and investigated under Article 6 of the Constitution for hatching a conspiracy to topple Benazir’s Government in 1989; Ijaz could be involved in other cases also and stopped from leaving the country. If Ijaz was wanted in connection with some crimes and conspiracies, why did the government not take action against him during the last more than two decades? On the contrary, there are reports that a couple of our national leaders had been meeting him during this period. Anyhow, such statements led people to ask probing questions. For instance, some people asked: Why were State minions afraid of facing Mansoor Ijaz and rebutting his allegations in front of the Judicial Commission? Don’t they know that ‘truth fears no questions?’ On the other hand, the stalwarts of the ruling coalition have been maintaining that there was no need for a judicial probe or filing of a case before the Supreme Court when the government had already constituted a parliamentary committee to look into this affair.
On January 22, Prime Minister Gilani also joined the band wagon, saying that Mansoor Ijaz has been spitting venom against Pakistan, its establishment and governments for a long time and “does not deserve the protocol being sought for him” during his appearance before an investigation commission “because that will require billions of rupees” and will also be against the constitution and law. “The Interior Ministry, in accordance with the rules of business, will provide security” to Mansoor Ijaz, the accuser in the memo case, and “if required may call the army or Rangers for assistance to the civil government,” he added. Earlier, PM Gilani had stated that since the matter was already before a parliamentary committee his government does not want to get the memo conspiracy probed by the judiciary even if it costs the country another bout of martial law.
Finally, citing security concerns and expressing apprehensions about the possibility of tempering with/destruction of the forensic evidence in his possession and also holding him indefinitely in Pakistan by putting his name on ECL, Mansoor Ijaz decided, on January 23, 2012 not to come to Islamabad till the government made security arrangements to his satisfaction. However, his lawyer Akram Sheikh informed media-persons that Mansoor Ijaz was willing to record his statement before the Commission either in London or in Zurich. Two days earlier, Mansoor Ijaz had said that he was not afraid of any threats and nothing could stop him from visiting Pakistan. Reacting to this development, Hussain Haqqani’s legal counsel, Hafiz Ahsan Ahmad Khokhar has requested the court to close the right of recording the evidence for Mansoor Ijaz for his failure to appear before the Judicial Commission. Till October last year, hardly anybody in Pakistan knew about Mansoor Ijaz, a naturalized American businessman of Pakistan origin, who has a home in Monaco, lives in high style on the French Rivera, and has connections with CIA and Pentagon. Ijaz owns ‘Crescent Investment Management LLC’ in partnership with Lt. General (R) James Alan Abrahamson (former director of President Reagan’s Strategic Defence Initiative), Prince Alfred of Liechtenstein and CIA’s former Director James Woolsey, and has made money as an investor. A writer-lobbyist forever looking for opportunities to play the role of a messenger or mediator to further US interests, Ijaz is reputed to be adept at advancing his personal agenda with different governments. A decade ago, he lobbied with Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, urging him to split Jammu and Kashmir into three parts as a possible solution to the intractable dispute. Ijaz approached the Vajpayee government with pretensions that he had Washington’s official backing. Ijaz also claimed to have brokered talks, in 1992, between Sudan and the Clinton administration on OBL’s possible extradition to the US, and said that he was an advisor to Nelson Mandela’s “unity government” in South Africa. But according to Bruce Riedel (a former CIA officer who chaired President Obama’s Afghanistan-Pakistan Strategy), Ijaz has a long track record of fabricating false information and self-promotion.
One of the leading newspapers of America, Washington Post refers to Mansoor Ijaz as a “quixotic accuser” who, in his covering letter to US General James Logan Jones, accompanying the infamous memo, wrote: “This document has the support of the President of Pakistan.” (The cover note, along with all other documentation, has reportedly been submitted to the court in Pakistan). This has led critics to raise the question: If Ijaz was acting on Zardari’s behalf (or Haqqani’s, for that matter) should he have registered as an agent of a foreign government, as required under the American law? That’s just one of the wrinkles in a story so colourful and unlikely that it would have been branded unrealistic, if written as fiction, the newspaper added.
But, Ijaz has now become a well-known person in Pakistan due to the craze of the minions of the Islamic Republic to remain in the headlines and comment on every issue under the sun or reply to every question posed to them by the journalists, caring little for the public perception or impact of their outbursts...Perhaps, they need to follow the proverb: If speech is sliver, silence is gold. Had they acted prudently, Mansoor Ijaz would not have received high-pitched publicity and the resultant media hype.
A memo, which was reportedly crafted by some scheming minds on May 10, 2011, has become instrumental in making Mansoor Ijaz a well-known person in Pakistan, largely due to the statements by persons who had continuously been reminding him of consequences if he dared to come to Pakistan. Through their statements, these people have succeeded in preventing Mansoor Ijaz from undertaking his visit to Pakistan, but it is a short-term success which might be laden with difficulties and even land those people and their patrons in trouble in the times to come! Written with the objectives to change the national security parameters in Pakistan and enable the civilian rulers to exercise absolute control over armed forces, the memo first came to light through an article in London’s Financial Times (October 10, 2011) by Mansoor Ijaz. Going through it, even a layman would arrive at the conclusion that the memo is loaded with provisions and initiatives, which are detrimental to Pakistan’s nuclear programme, the army and the security establishment besides submitting the country completely to Washington’s whims and wishes. Naturally, it alarmed everyone in Pakistan for being a serious conspiracy against Pakistan and its defence institutions. But, in the beginning, the government rejected it as a non-issue. It also tried to avoid fair and independent investigations into the memogate scandal.
When the Supreme Court took up the “memo case,” in keeping with this pattern, the ruling PPP leaders, instead of facilitating justice through thorough and incisive investigations into serious allegations against a Pakistani ambassador, started harping on the theme of conspiracies against the democratically elected government. However, the Supreme Court seems determined to investigate the origin and authenticity of the Memo and bring the shoddy characters to book. Finally, to remove lurking suspicions, concerns and apprehensions being expressed by Ijaz about his security, Interior Minister Rehman Malik appeared before the Judicial Commission on January 24, 2012 and extended assurances for making foolproof arrangements for Mansoor Ijaz’s security. But, Ijaz has again expressed his reservations about coming to Pakistan, citing his lack of confidence in Rehman Malik as the reason.
To give Mansoor Ijaz another opportunity to record his statement, the Judicial Commission has fixed February 9, 2012 as the next date of hearing.