Newspaper Articles

Getting rid of Zardari is what unites them – by Ayaz Amir

Samurai who refuse to learn

Before anything else, the first order of national business should be a ban on the teaching of history. For this is a country with no use for history. We have been going around in circles for the last 60 years and seem destined to move in circles forever. “Frightful thing!” said Hugo, “…an incurable destiny!”

Anyone can have a heart condition. There is nothing special about that. But there is something special about the speculation and frenzy surrounding President Asif Zardari’s heart condition, if it is truly that, and his leaving for Dubai and checking into a hospital. Conspiracy experts, of whom there is no shortage here, are placing this squarely in the context of the ongoing saga dubbed by the commentariat as Memogate.

Confused messages from the government about the president’s departure haven’t helped matters, but this is a secondary issue. The main issue is something more sinister: working overtime to convert an absurdity into a national crisis; and the army and ISI treating the testimony of a known Pakistan-basher as the gospel truth.

Mansoor Ijaz’s memo may have been a serious indictment of the army and may have sought US help to bridle the high command and preempt a coup. But did anyone take it seriously? Certainly not Admiral Mike Mullen who barely remembered receiving it. Ah, but our man in Washington, and President Zardari’s confidant, Husain Haqqani, had a hand in shaping it, a circumstance borne out by the transcript of his BBM exchanges with Mansoor Ijaz. But action has been taken against him. He is no longer our man in Washington.

In most other countries this would be considered enough of a sacrificial offering. Not in Pakistan where, the evidence suggests, the memo is being used for a larger political purpose: bringing down the Zardari presidency and initiating some vague form of change – vague because even the most enthusiastic cheerleaders, and we have a list to choose from, don’t seem too sure about what exactly they want.

Getting rid of Zardari is what unites them. But what comes after? At this point vagueness sets in. This has always been the Pakistani way. We have known what to bring down or destroy: sometimes democracy, sometimes Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, sometimes Benazir Bhutto, occasionally Nawaz Sharif. We have been less clear about the alternatives.

Gen Jim Jones, Obama’s former national security adviser who took Ijaz’s memo to Mullen, has said something harsh about Pakistan, that this was a country bent on self-destruction. Enough in our history tends to support this judgement. We pay India a compliment by saying it wants to destroy us. Often it seems we are self-sufficient in this respect.

There is enough material on record to show the lengths to which, over a period of time, Mansoor Ijaz has gone to malign the Pakistan Army and ISI. There is no shortage of elements in Washington who consider the Pakistan Army a ‘rogue’ army. Ijaz has been of this fraternity. Yet, the Pakistani establishment – for which read the army command and its advanced school of ideology, the ISI – is relying on his word to make out a case against Zardari.

Let’s not delude ourselves. Memogate is not about endangered national security. It was never endangered. Predator missiles were not about to hit the GHQ or our nuclear installations. Memogate is about Zardari, the establishment’s bête noire from day one.

In a TV interview Ijaz has called Zardari a “naïve buffoon”. The memo has over-smartness written all over it. This should rule out any input from a naïve buffoon. Ijaz and Haqqani are of a kind and deserve each other. But Pakistan’s leading school of national ideology has its own way of measuring things. Haqqani, once in the ISI’s good books (long time ago), is the prime villain in this affair and Ijaz the star witness.

A concerted effort is also afoot to lend credence to another Mansoor Ijaz claim: that Zardari and Haqqani could have known of the May 2 assault on Sheikh Osama bin Laden’s Abbottabad hideout. He doesn’t say that there is anything factual to prove this, but that his analysis – some analysis – leads him to this conclusion. No shortage of pundits who are treating this claim seriously. Obama shared the secret with Haqqani who then passed it on to Zardari. Even the gods would be hard put to decide whether to laugh or cry.

But as knives are out, and the flavour of the season is treason and Article Six of the Constitution, the thing most in demand is for heads to roll. The latest target is Wajid Shamsul Hasan, our man in London, who is being taken to task for saying that Pakistan knew about Osama’s hideout and had cooperated with the US assault.

Enraged patriots forget that when the assault took place and our army was caught with its pants down, and we were being hard put to explain what Osama bin Laden had been doing all this time in the shadow of PMA Kakul, about the smartest thing to say was that, no, we weren’t caught unawares, we knew what was afoot.

This was the government’s first reaction and PM Gilani was smart enough to even congratulate the Americans. But this was before the army command, red in the face, swept into the act and raised the banner of violated sovereignty. Osama bin Laden hadn’t violated our sovereignty but the Americans had. When it comes to selective patriotism there is no one to beat us.

The line I plugged the first day on television was precisely the line the government had taken…that there was no way the Americans could have come to Abbottabad without our knowledge and cooperation. It was only when evening came that the truth sunk in that we had truly been had. By then the civilians had been driven into a corner and the army had taken over, and it was a sight not for pretty eyes, so palpable was the army’s confusion.

Even so, Osama’s Abbottabad discovery should have been an occasion for profound self-introspection. How did we get ourselves into this mess? But we turned all our anger on the Americans.

Some things never change. The delayed reaction to Kargil was Musharraf’s treacherous coup of October ‘99. Instead of Musharraf being put in the dock for Kargil, Nawaz Sharif was put in the dock for plane hijacking, a strange reversal of events.

The delayed reaction to the embarrassment and humiliation of May 2 is Memogate, another exercise in extended irony. No one has been made to answer for the multiple failures of Abbottabad: the failure to detect the Sheikh’s presence on our soil; the failure to detect the incoming American helicopters as, in the silence of that moonless night, they came skimming over our mountains. But for a piece of paper with shared input from two outstanding charlatans the knives are out for another luckless head of a civilian dispensation.

Whatever revisionist twist the PPP may now give to the events of ‘99, it rejoiced when Nawaz Sharif was overthrown, and only changed its stance when Musharraf did not take it as a sleeping partner. Today the PML-N, forgetting the history of its own sorrows, is being too clever by half, thinking it is acting as an instrument of national rejuvenation. Pity our delusions. It is paving the way for the fulfillment of other ambitions.

In the run-up to Oct ‘99, the Grand Democratic Alliance put together by Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan raised the cry that Pakistan and Nawaz Sharif could not co-exist together. The coup de grace was administered, as always, by Pakistan’s highest court of constitutional authority, 111 Brigade. But the atmosphere was made conducive by Pakistan’s leading democrats. In our case certainly, the road to hell is paved with the noblest intentions.

In 1988 President Ghulam Ishaq Khan and Gen Aslam Beg acted on the principle that Pakistan and Benazir Bhutto could not coexist together. In 1977 the parties of the PNA were prepared to go to any lengths to get rid of Bhutto. Today the same mantra revolves around the person of President Zardari: with him around Pakistan’s survival is at stake.

We go around in circles and refuse to learn. Perhaps we deserve our fate.


Source: The News

Source: Daily Jang

About the author

Junaid Qaiser


Click here to post a comment
  • Democracy must prevail.After all,AZ is elected prez.He should stay till elections then the nation decides!Media is hugely biased against him at the moment

    fawad faheem
    Saudi Arabia
    “The road to hell is paved with the noblest intentions”. I think that says it all. Thanks to Ayaz Amir for being a voice of reason in this abyss

    Ayaz sb, Excellent piece of writing. But as you said no one is here to learn. by the way, Nawaz Sharif has issued a very good statment, saying nation should stand up against any efforts to impose martial law. so he has learnt and one is very please his stance against military adverturists.

    BB paid price for violating COD courtsey Kiyani& Mush. Imran Khanwill bell the Cat. His inexperience makes him Armys best choice. Are we doomed ? Turkeys Gul is a hero for taming his army. harif in on the dot but also on cross hair.

    M. Afzal Khan
    Ayaz Amir your have done the greatest service to this country by writing this article, I wish CJ, Nawaz Sharif read it, for folks who are not impress I have only one message, “being able to read english does not mean you can understand” so better improve your knowledge things here are not as simple as they look.

    All he said is true but is not that the right time for nawaz sharif to support the democracy in stead of playing others game or we should wait for another decade of military rule in Pakistan.

    jamil ahmad
    Pakistan must see the elephant in the room: army/ISI. Zardari may not represent genuine democratic aspirations but he does symbolize a system of government that is not military dictatorship: a version of Pakistani democracy, and by virtue of that, targeting him will take Pakistan nowhere but to another dictatorship.


  • It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad worldCyril Almeida | Opinion | From the Newspaper Yesterday

    JUST when you think this place can’t get any loopier…

    Now that news of the coup that never was is abating and safe passage has proved illusory, what happened anyway?

    Zardari’s innner circle is tight and it’s become even tighter in recent times. But in the land of perma-crisis, where the highest house on the hill is under the most intense of scrutiny, information does trickle out.

    Zardari has not quite been himself lately. Obama and the Americans aren’t the only ones who felt AZ wasn’t quite all there after speaking to him: it’s an opinion shared by others here. While Zardari’s minders have tried to cover it up, they can’t prevent the boss from talking when he wants to.

    A president under pressure and talking weird leaves the country suddenly in mysterious circumstances — it was a script too tempting for the political opposition and a media waiting to pounce to pass up on.

    Cue madness and mayhem here.

    Aggrieved as they may be, blame for the speculation lies primarily with the PPP PR machine. Contradictory, nonsense messages put out about the health and whereabouts of the man who sits at the apex of the government isn’t a good idea in the best of circumstances. In the context of the past few weeks, it was sure to ignite a firestorm.

    Surely, though, there was something more to it, some may argue. If nothing else, the crafty AZ had decamped to plot a fresh strategy to fight back against his enemies, the least-conspiratorial conspiracy theory goes.

    Maybe. And maybe we do have a president who is few cards short of a deck, or worse.

    But reality isn’t determined by the state of Zardari’s mind alone. The get-Zardari brigade may want him out, sections of the media, political opposition and army may want him out, but they’re still stuck with the same old problem: how do you get him out?

    The only obvious constitutional mechanism: impeachment. But the numbers in parliament simply do not add up. Two-thirds is unthinkable and a simple majority, necessary to get the impeachment ball rolling, is difficult to conjure up in either the
    National Assembly or the Senate.

    Next is the quasi-constitutional option: use the courts to unseat Zardari, on the grounds he is unfit to hold office because of various cases and allegations against him or because holding dual office is against the spirit of the constitution or via the doctrine of necessity dressed up as some fancy new legal theory.

    But that would take the court on to decidedly political terrain, something some on the bench may not be willing to go along with. And it still leaves the awkward question of a third coup, soft or hard, on a certain judge’s watch. One he sanctified, the other he rejected, can he afford to dabble in a third?

    Since a hard coup is dismissed by one and all — not even the highest power may be able to save a would-be saviour if he decided to climb into the snake pit just now — that leaves the instrument of the impotent but hopeful: a mistake by AZ.Hound him, harass him, provoke him, test him, see if Zardari makes a mistake and then pounce on it and hope it leads to an unravelling.

    After all, a loopy memo no one took seriously decapitated Haqqani. The fishing in that pond is continuing, and other hooks are being tossed in elsewhere. When you want your man but don’t know how to get him, you keep trying.

    It helps to have a massively unpopular figure as a target, a hound-like media ready to tear after any rabbit flung in its path and a country which seems to have just two settings: more crisis and less crisis.

    Unhappily for the get-Zardari brigade the ones who ultimately matter, the boys in uniform, aren’t willing to bite yet. Sure they curse their fate and grind their teeth but self-interest can be a wonderful thing: it helps man endure much pain.Oust Zardari
    and get what out of it? A caretaker government that buys some time and little else? Fresh elections in which Sharif, who still won’t play ball with the army, or a wounded Zardari/PPP will get another shot against each other or the untested IK? It
    doesn’t make sense.

    But for the clowns at the amateur hour known as the PPP PR machine, the last week could have been one of ordinary rumour and speculation. Instead, they let it snowball into an epic media circus.

    So is Zardari safe until the end of his term in Sept ’13? Not quite.

    Outside the core of the get-Zardari brigade, the ones who want him out because they just can’t stomach the idea of him as president, is a bigger group with much self-interest at stake.

    Constitutionally, the latest the next general election can be held is May 2013. Even if Zardari doesn’t stretch this parliament’s existence to the absolute maximum, as things stand he will still be president come the next general election.A partisan president with a hand-picked caretaker government and sacks of money to throw around: it’s not exactly a combination Zardari’s adversaries will relish competing against. The political opposition because it means the electoral pitch will be queered against it. The boys in uniform because they’re the ones who prefer queering the pitch and deciding such stuff.

    So there will be an almighty attempt to nudge Zardari out eventually. Just not for the reason or at the time many suppose.

    Whom God wishes to destroy he first makes mad: it still applies. But madness must come from up above, not thrust on from the desperate below. For sure, there’s been a case of madness in Pakistan this week, but it’s not quite where many are assuming it occurred.

  • econbuddy Yasin Janjua
    Qoute of the Day: I suppose it takes a thief to catch a thief, Ayaz Amir on Mansoor Ijaz and Hussain Haqqani
    11 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply

    econbuddy Yasin Janjua
    And let’s not forget what Haqqani has always been about: a hot ISI favourite in Zia’s time, Ayaz Amir is at his best

    Naveed_Ikram Naveed Ikram
    Thank You Ayaz Amir. You’ve told us all how one can rise above oneself and speak truth.
    18 minutes ago Favorite Retweet Reply

    nasratbaloch nasratullah
    Samurai who refuse to learn – Ayaz Amir: via @AddThis
    1 hour ago

    saqibmusvi syed saqib abbas mus
    @M_Tarar it was a great piece by ayaz amir,specially PML-N MNA,seems still some people can see above the party politics
    3 hours ago

    M_Tarar Mutazalzaluzzaman T
    lol Ayaz Amir burning Sheeda Tulli by bringing up Shakeel Awan and Haneef Abbasi’s wins in Pindi. Ayaz Amir sb is a national treasure.
    4 hours ago

    M_Tarar Mutazalzaluzzaman T
    Sheeda Tulli says that Ayaz Amir is anti-army because he must’ve been thrown out of the army as a captain.
    4 hours ago

    Policy Matters – 9 December 2011-Ayaz Amir (PML-N), Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad (AML) and Azam Khan Sawati



    Memogate: Opposition bays for blood
    Published: November 19, 2011


    The opposition seems to be all set to make the most of the government’s new crisis.
    In the National Assembly on Friday, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz called for a joint session of the parliament, with the opposition leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan saying “This issue won’t get resolved by somebody’s resignation. It constitutes a treason charge.” President Asif Ali Zardari will have to prove his innocence, Khan added.
    Khan said the government must explain what was secretively going on between the civilian and military authorities since Pakistani-American Mansoor Ijaz published an article in the Financial Times claiming that President Asif Ali Zardari had offered to replace Pakistan’s military and intelligence leadership.
    PML-N MNA Ayaz Amir went as far as to say that the threat democracy faces today is bigger than ever. The situation is “grave” and the military’s concerns “genuine.” Support to democracy apart, this is highly irresponsible. It is utterly bizarre behaviour, he added.
    Amir said that after Mullen’s acknowledgment of receiving the memo and the exchange of Blackberry messages between Haqqani and Ijaz that were published by a newspaper on Friday the ambassador’s involvement cannot be denied.


    Ayaz Amir writes:

    But in a land not famous for an excess of imagination what is there to expect? Are the keepers of the sacred flame, the guardians of national security, on anything better? Not if we judge matters by something which in any other clime would be treated as a national absurdity: the Hussain Haqqani-inspired memo to what it is safe to assume must have been a startled Admiral Mike Mullen, sent through a messenger with a well-earned reputation for self-promotion.
    A charlatan as a conduit: this takes some doing. If President Zardari has anything to do with this he deserves to be fired not for endangering national security, or putting patriotism on the line, but for outright stupidity. When the crowd in Julius Caesar catches one Cinna, taking him to be one of the conspirators, he shouts, “I am Cinna the poet.” Someone from the crowd retorts, “Hang him for his bad verses.” If anyone deserves hanging it should be for stupidity. Or, in Haqqani’s case, for being too clever by half, his regular failing over the years.
    The army is miffed at Haqqani. Indeed it always was, considering him to be a suspect piece of goods, but only now has the opportunity come its way to fix him. PM Gilani, always the most pragmatic of souls – they don’t come more pragmatic than from Multan – would feel not the slightest compunction in letting Haqqani go, as a sacrifice, so to speak, to appease military anger.
    But will this satisfy the usual conspirators whose real aim is not Haqqani’s scalp but Zardari’s? For some time now they have been urging General Headquarters and the army’s think-tank, the ISI, to go the entire distance and get rid of Zardari. The way they are going on about this memo suggests that this is their last chance before Zardari rides out yet another storm. He has shown a capacity for survival that no one would have given him credit for when he stepped into the presidency. Talk of a cat’s nine lives. This accounts for the conspirators’ desperation.
    But Zardari it seems is set to survive this round of turmoil too. All the signs suggest it will be Haqqani’s head, although he is too smart to run the risk of catching a plane to Islamabad, and that’s about it. The army won’t be pleased but then what choice does it have? Short of activating Pakistan’s highest constitutional authority, 111 Brigade, the generals in command can only knit their brows and keep a stern face. As for a voluntary exit from the scene, what many a conspirator has dearly wished, that is unlikely to happen.
    The political class, not used to the politics of routine, is already out of patience and here it is being asked to exercise patience for another year. As the party in power, the PPP is quite happy to let things drift. Time also suits Imran Khan. It doesn’t suit the PML-N which, for this reason, is the most desperate for early elections. But can it afford to bring the walls of the temple down? That is its dilemma.

  • Ayaz Mir is a not a polite critic, he is a coward critic. What he does not want to say by himself (although that being his ultimate wish) he uses the shoulders of other quoters. Cunning guy? No, a coward! Why so? Because some day somewhere he might have read “audi artem partem”. So, he does not want himself to be included with those Don Quixotes that jump in the air without having the proof in their hands. In this free world every person has a right to own their personal opinion but certainly not binding on others. He has quoted Victor Hugo. Hugo is famous for fiction writings with historical touch (Hunchback of Notre Dame) and certainly his quote in this article is a misquote. We are NOT moving in a circle, we never were. We are moving astray outside the circumference of the circle, which please note. Moving in a circle means civilization, rule of law, having their own tenet and belief but respect the other believers. We are in a jungle of no holds barred. Without imposing my personal opinion I try to put hereunder the fact sheet:

    – Mansoor Ijaz handed over a memo in his own writing to Mullen: it is a fact.
    – Mansoor Ijaz claims he wrote that memo on the directives of Hussain Haqqani. Haqqani denies it.
    – Mansoor in rebuttal produces Blackberry emails exchanged between the two and some recorded phone calls.
    – Hussain Haqqani reaches Pakistan, resigns from the post and offers himself for investigation.
    – What transpires in the Inquiry conducted by the President, Army Chief and ISI Chief, nobody knows.
    – In the meantime the Nawaz Sharif’s petition is admitted in the SC without hearing a single word from the Attorney General, thought he was present in the court during the proceeding.
    – It is not wise to predict what would happen on Dec. 19, 2011, but looks like things are not good for Asif Zardari, as SC has become an instrument in the cooking.
    – USA is watching with interest the development in Pakistan, what is in their mind nobody knows here. But the logical conclusion is that friction developed between Pak Army and USA after OBL killing, is so deep that the US government would not be able to justify the military take over in Pakistan in their Congress. In nut shell, they do not tolerate this idea. Another strong speculation is, military wants civil puppet government with iron hands behind the curtain. For this, they have already erected a statue of Imran Khan.
    – It is the utter desire of majority of media to see removal of Zardari from the scene. So far so good. But what after this? Nobody thinks about this. Can Imran Khan justify the West and cover the misadventures of military. No Sir, he lacks grey matter in his brains.

    If Imran is the choice of Establishment, it would be the most unfortunate thing for Pakistan. May Allah save us.