Time to move on

January 25, 2012


THE high drama over memogate has given way to low farce. Yesterday, the high-powered judicial commission formed to assist the Supreme Court ascertain the ‘origin, credibility and purpose’ of the memo tried several times to convince a reluctant Mansoor Ijaz to travel to Pakistan and appear before the commission.

But all the commission managed to do was postpone its next hearing till Feb 9 and give another chance — the last chance, apparently — to Mr Ijaz to make up his mind whether or not he will travel to Pakistan. The only saving grace in yesterday’s events was the decision by the judicial commission to not travel outside Pakistan to record Mr Ijaz’s statement. Had the commission decided otherwise, the whiff of circus around what should be sober legal proceedings would have become overwhelming.

However, let’s concentrate on the person of Mr Ijaz for now. Here is a man whose desperation for being in the media limelight is rivalled perhaps only by his knack for making embarrassing decisions (Exhibit A being the bawdy music video in which Mr Ijaz made a cringe-worthy cameo appearance). He is not a Pakistani citizen; openly acknowledges his ignorance about Pakistan — anyone who does not understand a reference to 1971, as Mr Ijaz claims he did not regarding one of his conversations with Husain Haqqani, is an unlikely candidate to try and reshape this country’s future — and appears to have little interest in Pakistan beyond using it is as a prop in his megalomaniacal schemes. How Mr Ijaz was cast as the central character in a plot to undermine Pakistan’s national security and sovereignty is something that ought to be to the eternal shame of all those involved in creating the hysteria over the memo affair.

In a more rational and sensible world, Mr Ijaz’s theatrics and whims yesterday, as communicated by his lawyer to the commission and the breathless media waiting outside, ought to have drawn the heaviest of censure and his role in pitting institutions of the state against one another should have been propelled towards the dustbin of history by now. It seems an eternity ago that Husain Haqqani was sacrificed by the political government and still nothing has been established beyond that a memo was delivered to Adm Mike Mullen from Mansoor Ijaz setting out a fanciful list of concessions that no civilian government in Pakistan’s history, or foreseeable future, would have had the ability to deliver on. It’s time to let Mr Ijaz return to whatever else catches his fancy elsewhere in the world. He should not be allowed to hold this country hostage to his dangerous shenanigans anymore.