Memogate: Indian perspective

November 26, 2011


THERE are moments when all politicians should respond in a united manner when national interests are at stake. The recent Memogate scandal in Pakistan is one such example.

Whether Husain Haqqani really helped in writing that memo and if he did, whether he acted on his own initiative or was instructed by his superiors from Islamabad is not clear.

But what is clear is that help was sought from the US military to pressure the Pakistan army and ISI chiefs because they were caught napping when the American SEALs came stealthily to eliminate Osama bin Laden in his house in Abbottabad, just a short distance from the Pakistan Military Academy.

Whether President Zardari or Prime Minister Gilani instructed Mr Haqqani to do so is beside the point. What is relevant is whether what was requested of Mike Mullen was in the interest of Pakistan.

Democracy has just returned to Pakistan and can be crushed quite easily in its nascent stage. Pakistani politicians are just learning to run their country under a democratic system.

We Indians feel that our politicians also are still learning to conduct themselves in a democratic manner even after 60+ (almost) uninterrupted years of democratic rule. So it is unfair to compare their performance with more mature democracies.

Most of the democratic governments in Pakistan have been dismissed by its armed forces when an excuse was available to them. That is what happened when Ayub Khan, Yahya Khan, Ziaul Haq and Pervez Musharraf grabbed power. So it is in the interest of Pakistan to strengthen institutions of democracy by asserting themselves when the armed forces have been weakened by their own negligence.

A Pakistan columnist appreciated the way all the three branches of the US government closed ranks and came to the defence of Raymond Davis, a CIA contractor known to be a mole.

I feel senior Pakistani politicians like Nawaz Sharif, Imran Khan and others should also close ranks and support President Zardari today against their common adversary.

From an Indian perspective, it is very important that democratic rule stays in Pakistan because India and Pakistan are coming closer than ever before. In fact, the Indian prime minister went as far as calling his Pakistani counterpart as a ‘man of peace’, something the Indians took with a pinch of salt.

K. B. KALE Jakarta