In Pakistan privilege doesn’t necessarily come from the ownership of capital, industry, and large holdings of cultivatable land but through control of the state apparatus. It is, therefore, not suprising that Pakistan’s leading newspaper Dawn refers to Army Chief Kayani as the most powerful man in the country. In a story headlined “Kayani Calls for talks with India,” we were reminded twice that military’s top boss is also Pakistan’s top dog.
In my latest column in Viewpoint I suggested that whether Husain Haqqani gets justice or not, the Memogate debacle is a watershed moment for Pakistan’s Civil-Military balance and a historic opportunity for the proponents of democracy to seize control of the ‘real’ state.
Vali Nasr, professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and a senior fellow in foreign policy at the Brookings Institution in his latest Bloomberg column agrees:
“Impassioned appeals to the Supreme Court to find President Asif Ali Zardari a traitor backfired on the army and intelligence chiefs when the credibility of their witness, who had claimed that Zardari was colluding with the U.S. against the military, dissolved amid the man’s ever-changing story and his cameo in a mud-wrestling video.”
No one can doubt that the “Memogate” hysteria, created by a section of the Pakistani media and subsequently by the Supreme Court, places this entire circus in the realm of a fishing exercise rather than a legally authorized investigation.
I was surprised by the statement of former Director General of ISI, Ahmad Shuja Pasha to the Memogate Commission, in which he unashamedly conceded that his agency conducted no investigation and simply took Mansoor Ijaz at his words.
I am uploading the entire document for you review but here are some key, noteworthy points:
Q: In your meeting with Mr. Musawer Mansoor Ijaz in London did he disclose the identity of the person under whose instructions the Memorandum was prepared?
A (Pasha): No
Q: After meeting with Mr. Ijaz in London did you meet with Mr. Husain Haqqani to inquire about the said memorandum?
A (Pasha): No
Q: After meeting with Mr. Ijaz in London did you prepare a report?
A (Pasha): No
Q: Is it correct that you did not meet with Mr. Husain Haqqani to verify the memorandum because of the strained relations between the Political and Military leadership of Pakistan?
A(Pasha): It is not correct that the leadership was strained.
Q: I put it to you that before proceeding to London to meet Mr Ijaz you did not obtain permission from either the President of Pakistan or the Prime Minister of Pakistan?
A (Pasha): It is correct.
Q: I put it to you that you did not obtain any written permission from Army Chief before meeting with Mr. Ijaz in London?
A (Pasha): Correct.
Q: Did Mr. Ijaz produce any witness to corroborate his assertion except the Blackberry handset and his computer?
Q: I put it to you that the contents of the Blackberry handset of Mr. Ijaz and what his computer contained were fabrication?
A (Pasha): What I saw did not look to be fabricated but the matter can be better determined by forensics.
Q: Did you make any attempt to examine the Blackberry handset of Mr. Husain Haqqani?
A (Pasha): No. I had reported the matter to the Political leadership and the Military leadership.
Q: Do you know where the Blackberry handsets of Mr. Husain Haqqani are?
A (Pasha): No
Q: Does ISI have the capacity to ascertain the exchange of Blackberry messages between two Blackberry users?
A (Pasha): No
If you scroll to the last page you will find that Pasha concedes he was instructed to go to London by the Army Chief. Memogate will go down in Pakistan’s history as a misstep that broke the camels back with GHQ finally conceding that they conduct fishing expeditions against civilian leadership, sitting heads of government, elected representatives of the Pakistani people and ambassadors of the civilian government.
But it is not only GHQ that has defaced itself, the judiciary is also doing all they can to maintain the status quo, instead of helping Pakistan transition to a democratic society guaranteeing human rights and freedoms. Because of the quintessential position the judiciary holds as one of the three main pillars of the political system, the judiciary must assist Pakistan’s transition to a truly democratic country.
I don’t ask for much- simply the judiciary in Pakistan should solve disputes between the individuals and the state, guarantee individual rights and freedoms, and protect the rule of law by scrutinizing the power of special interest groups (GHQ). Unlike other democratic countries, the Pakistani judiciary seems obsessed with rendering the executive and legislative branch dysfunctional by making purely political decisions.
Because of its tendency to step outside of its boundaries to support special interest groups (GHQ), the judiciary has become the focal point of disputes in Pakistan.
But enough is enough- the Pakistani people appear ready to break away from the shackles of Internal Colonialism – they are not willing to live the second-class life of a “bloody civilian.” In the words of Malcom X, let’s put the GHQ leadership on the notice because Pakistani people want “complete freedom, justice and equality by any means necessary.”