December issue 2010

By | Editorial | News & Politics | Opinion | Published 14 years ago

While Wikileak’s exposure of the shenanigans of Pakistan’s top guns has provided some light relief to the Pakistani public, it must cause many sleepless nights to those under the scanner.

Thanks to whistle-blower Julian Assange, we now know that Mr Asif Zardari has plans to install his sister Faryal Talpur as president in the event of his death (another will in the offing?) and put his children in the care of UAE’s rulers. The army chief has a better opinion of Ms Talpur than her brother, but his first choice is no, not Nawaz Sharif (General Kayani doesn’t trust him at all), but ANP’s Asfandyar Wali Khan, who took refuge in the Presidential Palace after that suicide attempt on his life in Charsadda and has barely been seen since.

There is no accounting for tastes!

Speaking of tastes, we know exactly how Saudi royalty views the Pakistan Army (“they are our winning horses”) and Zardari (“he stands in the way of Pakistan’s progress…if the head is rotten, it affects the whole body”).

If the ecstatic PML-N were clapping their hands in glee, they needn’t, for UAE’s crown prince says, “Nawaz is not dirty but dangerous,” and he can’t be trusted. Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry can’t trust him either, for, if Wikileaks is to be believed, Nawaz shockingly was not keen on the justice’s reinstatement.

There seems to be a trust deficit all round including between the President and PM’s house. Gilani’s meeting with the Sharifs, when the president was on a foreign tour, set alarm bells ringing.

With the US, it’s a relationship of obsequiousness. Mr Zardari refers to the US as our “security blanket,” and Wikileaks confirms our fascination with, and dependence on, the US — only they can make or break leaders. Maulana Fazlur Rehman, one of the biggest critics of America, invited the then US ambassador for dinner to solicit her support for his candidacy for prime minister. What is particularly disconcerting however is our leaders’ penchant for carrying tales against each other to “Big Brother.” Zardari tattles about Kayani; he about Zardari.

Why then are we so surprised when the Americans want to micromanage our domestic politics?

Wikileaks has confirmed several stories in the Pakistani media that were variously branded as “speculation,” “gossip,” “rumour.” It reveals that the drone attacks were conducted with our approval and that the US army was indeed operating in North and South Waziristan alongside our army, as the media faithfully reported.

What the media didn’t report was the ISI chief’s call to Israeli officials warning them that their interests in India could be targeted. And the story that some Americans were assigned the task of removing enriched uranium from Pakistan’s nuclear facility, but were denied visas on the ground that this could cause a storm if the media got wind of it.

That storm was averted but Wikileaks has caused a tsunami in certain quarters, setting the conspiracy theorists in motion…

The National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting terms it a plot to divide the Muslim world, a media group sees it as an attempt to discredit the Pakistan Army, and the US/Israel bashers view it as a CIA/Mossad conspiracy against Pakistan. So what else is new?

What should be of consequence to us is whether the info supplied by Wikileaks is true or false.

Is it not true that politicians and generals have indulged in a lot of doublespeak? Is it not true that they prostrate themselves before the Americans? Is it not true that this army is as political as they come? So why are we casting aspersions on the validity of Wikileaks or questioning its motives?

The US has not exactly emerged out of this mess smelling like roses. It has now embarked on a damage-control mission. Why, Ms Clinton even rang Mr Zardari from Central Asia.

The one question that appears to most minds is: If the US cannot secure something as simple as its own classified diplomatic mail, how can it hope to secure Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal?

Look for the December 2010 issue of Newsline on newsstands around Pakistan.

Rehana Hakim is one of the core team of journalists that helped start Newsline. She has been the editor-in-chief since 1996.

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