It may take a while to fully and comprehensively fathom the extent of humiliating intrigue and duplicity at play in the conduct of inter-state relations, but, on the basis of what has already been released by WikiLeaks, one can say that the principal players on the Pakistani side have lost all moral ground to remain in any position of authority. When P. J. Crowley, spokesman of the State Department, was quizzed by Betty Anderson, he said that it was a secret document and had nothing further to say on the issue. That is as far as an acknowledgement can come regarding the authenticity of the leaked papers.
For starters, just imagine how some of the world leaders perceived our president. King Abdullah considered him the greatest obstacle to the countrys progress. He is quoted as having said that When the head is rotten, it affects the whole body. Abu Dhabi Crown Prince called him dirty but not dangerous (while Nawaz Sharif was dangerous but not dirty). Former UK Chief of Defence Staff Sir Jock Stirrup is reported to have called him a numbskull while Peter Ricketts considered him as having not much sense of how to govern a country.
The number of occasions when political and personal matters as well as state secrets were discussed with the US officials for advice and information is countless. President Zardari complained to the US Vice President Joe Biden that Kayani will take me out and to the British Foreign Secretary David Miliband how the military and the ISI had kept him in the dark about critical information. In a conversation with ambassador Patterson, Mr. Zardari called the US our safety blanket and explained how Benazir had returned (to Pakistan) despite threats because of support and clearance from the US. He promised amnesty for General Musharraf from prosecution under US pressure and wanted his sister Faryal Talpur to succeed him as president if he were assassinated.
Prime Minister Gilani opposed a break in the US drone attacks while his public posture remained one of severe condemnation. He made a mockery of the parliament by reportedly telling the US ambassador: Well protest in the National Assembly and then ignore it. Maulana Fazal ur Rehman sought American support to become the prime minister. He also gave an impression that his votes in the parliament were for sale.
In the wake of the Long March for an independent judiciary, COAS General Kayani is reported to have told the US ambassador that he might, however reluctantly, have to persuade President Zardari to resign if the situation sharply deteriorates. He also hinted at Asfandyar Wali as a possible replacement leaving intact the PPP-led coalition government of Prime Minister Gilani.
This and much more that may still be coming is material enough for any democratic and civilised leadership to have quit forthwith. Not a hint of that here. The basis of all international law springs from an understanding and appreciation of what is right and what is not. It is the moral credentials that give credence and legitimacy to what may be decided within the domain of jurisprudence. Much that one may try, one cannot find anything right with the discourses that our leadership had with the US diplomats that, too, of not much standing and stature. They seemed willing, even eager, to spill out whatever was desired and then some more. It appears that everything that has happened in the country during the course of the last three years was conditioned to the approval and consent of the US administration.
Whether this engagement was voluntary or dictated by circumstances, there is no escaping the blame for the incumbent leadership. They have duly stamped Pakistan as a servile and client state of the US. They have damaged, dented and demeaned the relationship as it should have existed between two sovereign states. They enslaved Pakistan to the will and whims of the US. The right to rule that the leaders get in the name of a people-friendly agenda was rendered subservient to the pursuit and fulfilment of the US dictates. The trust and confidence that the people repose in their leaders in the name of democracy was compromised beyond repair and the noble name of the country ravaged beyond recognition. Our leaders come across as people who are only concerned about their own survival which is mostly at the cost of Pakistans interest and honour. Trust in them has been denuded. The fear is that faith in democracy would also be lost.
While an open conspiracy of this nature and magnitude compromising the states sovereignty does not require any further procedure for adjudication, I believe that an independent judicial commission should be appointed forthwith to ascertain the nature and extent of damage caused to the national cause and sovereignty and apportion blame on the players who are found responsible. That should be the starting point to begin our struggle for liberty from the hegemonic hold that the US has over our leadership and, consequently, our fate. We have to reinvent our freedom and move away decisively from being conditioned as slaves. As Cassius proclaims in Julius Caesar: The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings.
The writer is a media consultant to the Chief Minister, Punjab.