The body of this email is attributed to Vali Nasr, a leading expert on the Middle East, who was a senior adviser to Richard Holbrooke when the latter was US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The email from US presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton’s mailbox is one of thousands recently declassified by the US government. Jacob Sullivan, who sent the email, was Hillary Clinton’s deputy chief of staff during her time as secretary of state.

The time period suggested by the email’s date, Jan 11, is the same week that the Supreme Court was hearing both — a review petition on the Memogate case and a contempt of court case against then prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.

On Jan 16, the court had issued a show cause for contempt of court to the prime minister, as he had not written to Swiss authorities to reopen cases against then president Asif Ali Zardari.

The NRO (National Reconciliation Ordinance) case, as it was popularly known, was seen to pose a threat to the government’s existence — until Mr Gilani was disqualified and smoothly replaced, defying the rumour that abounded in the country at the time.

However, it is not clear if the email refers to the contempt case or the Memogate crisis as it adds later that, “Zardari has flown to Dubai. He has said he will return tomorrow. Whether he does or not could be a big indicator.”

Published in Dawn, February 7th, 2016

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