U.S-Pak relations: the Memo Conundrum and a Shooting War
Rasheed Hasan Khan
The last days of the departing year 2011 are very eventful. In a sense they constitute defining moments in the history of Pakistan-U.S. relations. Perhaps the gravest event was the attack on the Salala Check Post by N.A.T.O. forces on 26 November 2011 causing the death of twenty four soldiers of the Pak Army and injuries to many more. Two check posts were totally demolished. This caused a virtual collapse in a relationship already beset with grave problems. The Government of Pakistan retaliated by (a) blocking the supply line of the NATO forces from the Karachi port and (b) ordering the closure of Shamsi air base in Balochistan. Drones operations in Pakistan were based at this site. Though both these measures had been decided tentatively, in the A.P.C. and the Joint session of the Parliament held in May 2011, convened in the aftermath of the raid by US forces in Abbotabad, they had not been implemented at that time or later, for reasons unknown. The world is now breathlessly waiting for the unfolding of the next act in the drama.
It may not be proper to say “I told you so”, but the fact is that all patriotic and progressive people have been warning the various governments, since the inception of Pakistan, against U.S. Imperialism and its designs. But sad to say, they were vilified, and branded as agents of International Communist Movement; out to undo the “free world” and the land of the pure- Pakistan. Yet history has proved them right again and again. Their persistence in the anti-imperialist struggle has been matched only by the ruling class’s persistence in subservience to Imperialism. Once again Pakistan is confronted with the harsh reality. The salvation of Pakistan lies in Self Reliance. Imperialist powers use “aid” as a lever to further their hegemonic designs to dominate the world. Will the ruling classes make the right choice this time around? Only time will tell.
The memo scandal is an enigma wrapped in a conundrum. The most recent update in the drama is the admission of the case filed by Mian Nawaz Sharif before the Supreme Court of Pakistan. The Supreme Court, comprising a bench of nine judges, has also issued ten directives related to this case. Among them, the President of Pakistan, Chief of Army Staff, D.G. I.S.I., and of course the main actors in the drama, namely, Mansoor Ijaz and Hussain Haqqani have been asked to submit written statements in regards to this case. The genesis of the memo scandal dates back to May 2011, when Mansoor Ijaz at the alleged behest of Hussain Haqqani, secretly prepared and delivered a memo to Adm. Mullen (The purported text is published in this issue of apnakal). In short, the memo was a request to pressurize the Pakistani military establishment to desist from overthrowing the elected civilian government in return for a set of concessions to the US.( According to Mr. Ijaz, the project had the approval of Mr. Asif Zardari,President of Pakistan). But this proved to be a damp squib. Adm. Mullen recently stated that he ignored the memo since he doubted the bon a fides of the memo. Anyway, there was silence for about six months when Mansoor Ijaz, the man of mystery, told all!! This put a veritable hive in the bonnet of the military establishment and it mobilized its considerable leverage to investigate the case and bring the culprits to book. Mian Nawaz Sharif, who had launched a ‘Go Zardari’ movement sometime back, knocked on the door of the Supreme Court and filed a case that the scandal be investigated and the culprits penalized. There are many unanswered questions here and many inexplicable twist and turns that need careful appraisal. We sincerely hope that the Supreme Court is able to unravel this enigma and resolve the crises between the two arms of the state and create the conditions for a united stand against Imperialist designs.
Pakistan today is facing a grave situation in the region. After the success of the NATO and US campaign against Libya, the Imperialists have fixed their sights on Syria and Iran. Without doubt an Imperialist campaign against Iran is going to seriously affect Pakistan. While the decade long Afghan war continues to create conditions of instability on the political and economic front, the US policies of hegemony and its intent to use Pakistan as a cat’s paw for its imperialist designs in the region, make it imperative that all patriotic and progressive people unite to defend the cause of National Freedom, Sovereignty, and Territorial Integrity of Pakistan. Today every Pakistani must fight to realize the goal of Self Reliance, Democracy and freedom from Imperialist Hegemony, and then only can we hope to achieve our destiny as a free and just society.