US birdies all around
The readers will recall that last week I mentioned an analyst Spengler’s article in connection with American plans for the region and his revelation that the US would ‘now export instability into Pakistan.’ This ‘campaign’ was then in its initial phase. Later, Mansoor Ijaz came forth with another article which was laden with new allegations. Along with that, he was also featured on the CNN in a special interview where he criticised the ISI to his heart’s content. If it had been any other country, the ramblings of such a non-state actor would not have been paid heed to. But Pakistan is fertile ground for hearsay and rumours. And we are more than an eager and receptive audience for the same.
Up till now, we had been rowing with India. We had neither the experience of squaring off with the US or quite frankly the cojones to. But the cruelty of fate brought us to such a point that we have to become the US’ target despite our best wishes. The US knows that we can’t hold a candle to it militarily or deal with its pressure otherwise due to our economic compunctions. This is why it is cranking the pressure up and wants us to take its dictation with regards to the Afghan endgame. We are not doing so and it is, thus, trying to push us off the instability ledge.
Let’s focus on Mansoor the menace here. This man wrote a feature for the Financial Times six or seven months after the Abbottabad operation which wasn’t given much importance. But that piece suddenly became the eye of the storm when it was taken up by the Pakistani media three weeks later. During this furore, the ISI chief had a clandestine meeting with him in London. Why did the ISI chief decide upon this rendezvous? I think if he reviews the events that followed, the chief could ascertain whether the chain of happenings that culminated in their one-on-one might have been manufactured.
A review of the events is necessary. The first person who acknowledged the alleged Mansoor Ijaz memo was Admiral Mullen. After that, General James John. Following that, another one of Mr Ijaz’s write-ups graced the pages of Newsweek. That was followed by the interview on CNN. People aware of how things work in the American system know well that such campaigns cannot take off without the patronage of the State Department and Pentagon. This same Mansoor Ijaz has been touring the world on self-appointed missions but never has he been accorded this kind of importance except now that he has started spewing allegations against Pakistan. He is part of these well-laid American plans, the freshest manifestaion of which is what happened on 6th December.
President Zardari went to Dubai for medical reasons. Elements under US influence suddenly put their rumour mills in top gear. Many stories were concocted. The one that was most widely circulated was that President Zardari wanted to go to Dubai but the army leadership took him to the armed forces’ Cardiology Centre for verification where doctors deemed him a hundred percent fit. Another rumour was that the president was told that PML(N) and its affiliates would boycott his speech to the joint session of the parliament. But the truth is that he met no one important on the 8th, 9th and 10th of Muharram. Who could’ve told him this? He only met PM Gilani and Chairman Senate Farooq Naek before going to Dubai. His check-up date in Dubai had been pre-fixed as he is a heart patient who has already undergone angioplasty in New York and has been advised to undergo regular check-ups.
There are a lot of dignitaries who go abroad for their check-ups and these include CM Punjab, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and many others. Similarly, the president too had to go abroad on such a matter. He was supposed to go on the 6th but he was a little reluctant to travel. He wasn’t feeling quite well due to which some doctors, which included military surgeons, checked him up and advised him to go for his check-up. Because the president was still reticent, his son Bilawal was called in who finally persuaded his father to go to Dubai. Bilawal wanted to accompany him but he was stopped from doing so by the president. One report states that the president said to Bilawal that he should stay back to prove that they were not people who would shy away easily.
Events surrounding this incident are proof of the US campaign to destabilise Pakistan. After the entire memo fracas in which Admiral Mullen and General Jones had jumped in followed by the interview of Mansoor ‘the-enemy-of-Pakistan-army’ Ijaz on CNN, the magazine Foreign Policy also stoked the fire by publishing a rumour-ridden report which said President Zardari had gone to Dubai due to being unwell and might resign. It further stated that someone from the PPP would take his place while no such reports were circulating in Pakistan in the wake of the president’s departure. The FP magazine is a well-respected periodical. A report that is filled with so many unverified claims being published in this magazine gives credence to the notion that the US is trying to destabilise Pakistan and is not above using such ‘credible’ journals for its ploys. If we still don’t get why this deluge of Pakistan-related stories is coming from the US, then God save us. The point being stressed in this campaign of allegations is that the civilian government of Pakistan is totally helpless and that the army is the one calling the shots and wants to remove this so-called democratic government.
If one is to even think about it a little, it is apparent that there couldn’t be a worst, more inopportune and dangerous moment for the army to take over. Even if the army is invited to do so, it will not take over right now. Have our experts on military affairs not realised that our army is being maligned deliberately for the past many months by the repeated accusations that it does not let any democratic government work in the country and why would it take over when such things are being said about it? In the current scenario, if any institution is most willing to save the current setup, it is the military. But the Americans somehow want to push the army to take over. Because after that, they can truly up the ante on destabilising Pakistan.
It is my analysis that President Zardari, PM Gilani and the army are opposing this US campaign to create instability in Pakistan vehemently and they are all united in their effort to save democracy. And it should be that the entire nation be united to save democracy at this hour. We can solve our internal spats later but we shouldn’t allow these schisms to be exploited by foreign powers. How ill was President Zardari is pretty apparent from the fact that his daughters were away in Britain while his son was back in Islamabad. But, rumours were still aplenty.
As a closing statement, I would like to say that the most potent attack of the US will be where it tries to divide our armed forces. We should be prepared…
The writer is one of Pakistan’s most widely read columnists.