By Khalid Hashmani
The non-democratic forces in Pakistan that include elements from military, judiciary and some their protege political parties are fast moving to take over Pakistan. The goal of their unholy alliance is to bring back dictatorship and impose their twisted views on the people of Pakistan. It is time for all those who wish to democracy to prevail and Pakistan to move towards the vision of 1940 resolution to fight back and prevent undemocratic forces to succeed in their evil designs.
Plot of deadly Consequences
The conspiracies to find a way of least resistance with minimal political backlash have been going on for some time. First, one of their operatives implements a set-up to lure former ambassador of Pakistan in USA (Husain Haqqani) into a plot to write a fake memo on the behalf of civilian government to the US government. The memo asks for help in case of a military attempt to topple the elected civilian government and help it to reduce the control of military over Pakistan’s decision-making process. In return, the civilian government allegedly promises USA to nominate international members of a commission and reduce the role of ISI in protection of nuclear arsenal of Pakistan. The writer of that memo (Mansoor Ijaz) then turns around and writes a story in a newspaper that he wrote and sent a letter to a US official on behest of the Pakistani ambassador. Immediately thereafter, the head of the Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency (General Pasha) flies to meet Mansoor Ijaz to London and takes his statement without securing any authorization from the civilian government of Pakistan. After returning to Pakistan, the ISI General files that statement with the Supreme Court against the civilian government. The Supreme Court which has already hostile to the Civilian Government for the delay in restoring the former Chief Justice who was fired by former dictator General Musharaaf shows more than eagerness to move against the civilian government.
Mr Ijaz also alleged in an interview in December that soon after the Bin Laden raid, the Chief of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency (General Pasha) visited several Arab capitals in an attempt to secure their support for toppling of the civilian government.
In a move that many call as violation of constitution, the Supreme Court has appointed a commission for further investigation and actions. Many fear that it just a matter of few days when the biased court will give verdict against the democratically elected civilian government. This verdict that will be implemented by the military which appears to have developed the dislike for the present government for its attempts to secure control of foreign affairs and country’s security matters from the military.
Many Pakistanis strongly suspect that this plot is thinly veiled attempt by the hostile Supreme Court and present military leaders to push the current government from power. One commentator is quoted as saying “You could say what we’re seeing is a slow and gradual coup taking place, eating into the moral authority of the civilian government.” Another Pakistani said “A national political crisis has been engineered on the basis of an unsigned memo, the contents of which are exceedingly unrealistic but have somehow compromised national security.”
The consequence if this deadly plot succeed would be that both President Zardari and former US ambassador, Husain Haqqani could face treason charges. The history of Pakistan’s high courts provides ample evidence that Sindhi politicians never receive justice from them. Like President Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, this President Asif Zardari too could end-up in gallows.
What does Husain Haqqani and Civilian Government say?
Haqqani has strongly denied that he drafted the memo. He has maintained his innocence and says that he has served Pakistan with dignity and honor. Haqqani is now living in the Prime Minister’s house because of this fear.
The supporters of Husain say that Supreme Court ignored due process of law and took up Mr. Sharif’s petition instead of sending it to a trial court first.
The well-known Human Rights advocate and former President of Pakistan Supreme Court Bar Association, Asma Jahangir, who is representing Husain Haqqani says that instead of examining the available evidence, Supreme Court id trying to find ways to find new evidence. Asma further says Haqqani without security would easily be picked up and forced to say what they want to hear She has refused to appear before the Commission created by the Supreme Court and has said that she does not trust judiciary. Asma has further stated that Haqqani faces danger from the military and intelligence agencies.
Asma says that without being charged with anything, the Supreme Court of Pakistan imposed a travel ban on Haqqani and banned him from leaving Pakistan without allowing Haqqani or his attorney appear before the court.
Asma says that the verdict was the “darkest day for the judiciary because the apex court has subjected fundamental rights to national security. Terming the court’s judgment ‘disappointing’, Asma said, “today we feel that the military authority is superior to the civilian authority. Today, the struggle for the transition to democracy has been blocked.” And, “I am forced to think if it is the judiciary of the people or the judiciary of the establishment.”
She and many others are extremely disappointed particularly because the Supreme Court has provided the petitioners with relief beyond what they had sought.
Ms Jahangir says that the Supreme Court’s decision on the petition was a victory for the country’s establishment, and it was being used to transform the country into a ‘security state’.
The government says that since Pakistan is a parliamentary democracy the appropriate forum for any such inquiry should be the parliament. According to the government “the Parliamentary Committee on National Security was already looking into the case and that should be the proper venue not the Supreme Court.”
Mansoor Ijaz and his previous history of false claims
Mansoor Ijaz is American born business with Pakistani ancestry. He is the chairman and founder of the Crescent Investment Management Company and a frequent commentator on US media on Pakistan and Afghanistan.
According to the web site: https://beenasarwar.wordpress.com/2012/01/04/some-facts-about-husain-haqqani-and-memogate/
He has made false claims of this nature in the past as well. The web site says that in mid-1990s he claimed that he had close ties to the Sudanese government and would be able to help the Clinton administration get Osama Bin Laden. Subsequently, the US government and the 9/11 Commission that interviewed Ijaz found no credible evidence in what he said. The web site also relates other stories that question his credibility. For example, in 1999 Ijaz claimed to be the American envoy to India and Pakistan to help resolve the Kashmir and in 2004 he claimed that chemical warheads were being smuggled into Iraq for an attack on American troops which he later denied.
What other key persons mentioned in this story say?
- Admiral Mullen has stated that when he received the memo from General Jones, he did not find it credible and took no action on it.
- The leader of Pakistan’s political party called PML-N Opposition leader Nawaz Sharif is the leading petitioner before the Supreme Court.
- General Pasha (head of ISI) himself conducted a forensic investigation and submitted affidavit in Supreme Court.
- General Kiyani, the army chief has submitted an affidavit that he believes the ‘memo’ was genuine.
- In a rally in Lahore on October 30, 2011, the leader of Pakistan Tahreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) Imran Khan announced that Ambassador Husain Haqqani was the author of memo. Some Pakistanis suspect that Imran Khan is a part of the same plot. However, a Pakistani journalist Muhammad Malick, working with GEO News said that he briefed Imran Khan about the Ambassador Haqqani’s involvement in memo just before the Lahore meeting.
- General Jones in his affidavit to the Pakistan Supreme Court stated that while he did pass on the memo to Admiral Mullen he does not believe Amb Haqqani had anything to do with the memo
1. May 2, 2011 – Assault on Osma bin Laden in Abbottabad.
2. May 9, 2011 – Mansoor Ijaz says that Ambassador Husain Haqqani sent him a BlackBerry message to draft the memo. The memo was delivered to Admiral Mullen on May 10, 2011.
3. October 10, 2011, Mansoor Ijaz wrote a column in the Financial Times revealing that he had helped deliver the memo to Admiral Mullen that was drafted by a Pakistani official on the behest of President Zardari. The column did not explicitly identify Haqqani as the author of memo.
4. Sometime in October, Mansoor Ijaz secretly met the ISI chief, Lieutenant-General Ahmed Shuja Pasha, at a hotel in London and told General that Ambassador Husain Haqqani wrote the memo.
5. October 30, 2011 – Imran Khan announced that Ambassador Husain Haqqani was the author of memo.
6. November 17, 2011 – The entire content of the memo published on the web site of Foreign Policy magazine.
7. November 27, 2011 – Haqqani resigns as the Pakistani ambassador to the USA.
8. December 1, 2011 – The Pakistan Supreme Court placed former ambassador Husain Haqqani on the Exit Control List (ECL) barring him from leaving the country.
9. December 23, 2011 – former Prime Minister and leader of the main opposition party, PML-N, Nawaz Sharif filed a petition in the Supreme Court of Pakistan claiming that under article 184(3) of the Constitution, the SCP could take up any issue of public importance.
10. December 30, 2011 – Pakistan’s Supreme Court set up a 3-member judicial commission to investigate the issue.
11. January 1, 2012 – Asma Jahangir announced that she was quitting the case as she did not have faith in the commission that has been set up by the Supreme Court.
12. January 15, 2011 – Reports are circulating that Mansoor Ijaz has already flown or will soon fly to Pakistan and that a special Army plane will be provided to him for security reasons.
What to do to prevent/resist dictatorship in Pakistan?
The pro-democracy Pakistanis should shed apathy, become active and resolve to prevent the hard won democracy in Pakistan. The statements such as the one recently issued that the Prime Minister should be answerable to the Parliament and people should be welcomed and encouraged. The goal should be send military back to their barracks and re-organize all intelligence services so that they are under fully operational control of the democratically elected civilian government. A strong campaign to reorganize supreme court that will have equal representation of four judges from each province. Only the people of highest integrity and honor and not susceptible to pressure of either civilian government or military establishment be appointed to the Supreme Court. The judges always adhere to the rule of law and constitution. A mass movement is needed to change the current constitution that will comply in letter sprit of the 1940 resolution. Those Pakistanis living overseas should create awareness among the people of global community as to what is happening in Pakistan and seek their support in effort to prevent and resist return of dictatorship in Pakistan.
About Author: Mr. Khalid Hashmani is a Washington DC-based veteran human rights activist. He is the founding President of Sindhi Association of North America (SANA) and a Coordinator of Sindhi Excellence Team (SET) that participates in advocacy activities on behalf of rural Sindhis. (KHashmani@hotmail.com )