SPECIAL REPORT | Friday | 23 December 2011
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—Here is an interesting sequence of events that shows how Pakistan’s military and its main foreign intelligence-gathering agency, the ISI, are targeted from the inside by a group of Pakistanis conspiring against a vital pillar of the State.
One day, a group of Pakistanis linked to foreign embassies decides to launch a legal campaign to oust and prosecute the two generals that lead the army and the ISI.
The next day, a rights group based in Hong Kong issues a detailed slanderous paper full of lies and insinuations against our military, mirroring and endorsing biased and motivated propaganda coming from foreign countries. Of course, the Pakistani viewpoint is not reflected in the document.
On the same day, a case is filed in the Supreme Court demanding Army chief Gen. Kayani and ISI’s Lt. Gen. Pasha are tried for treason.
What is Kayani and Pasha’s crime? The two have overreached – in the eyes of the conspirators – in probing whether someone from Pakistan wrote a secret memo to the US government seeking support to mount a coup against the country’s military and intelligence leaderships, replacing them with US stooges.
As government’s probe flounders and suspicions arise of a possible cover-up, the two generals approach the Supreme Court to ensure such a probe happens.
What the generals did was legal and respectful of the law. After all, what spy agency in any country wouldn’t show interest in a conspiracy targeting the institution and involving a foreign government?
Probing possible internal breaches to national security is inherent to the job of ISI and should be backed by the government and the military. But for some reason this did not suit newspaper editor Beena Sarwar, TV producer Fifi Haroon, New America Foundation fellow Najam Sethi, and UN coordinator Marvi Sirmed.
There are indications that Farahnaz Isphahani, President Zardari’s media adviser and Husain Haqqani’s wife, is behind the idea of demanding the resignations of the two generals. But there is no evidence implicating her.
On 18 December, their timeline on Twitter [see the screen shot] goes something like this:
Beenasarwar: it gets curious and curiouser. Firs this Mansoorijaz pops out of the woodwork in USA, now this Shafqatullah in Canada #memogate
Fifiharoon: @beenasarwar you mean it gets more & more ridiculous! We should petition CJ to take suo moto notice of ISI as a threat to Pakistan
Najamsethi: @fifiharoon @beenasarwar What a good idea! We should draft an alternative petition signed by 100 prominent citizens & send it to CPJ ASAP
Marvisirmed: @najamsethi BTW, I have got around 20 citizens on it already. @fifiharoon @beenasarwar
Someone might say this is legal too and nothing wrong in it.
It looks like that. But wait. The conspiracy goes beyond Pakistan’s borders.
The very next day, 19 December, a draft is ready and released as promised by Mr. Sethi. But it comes out of Hong Kong, from the offices of an NGO called Asian Human Rights Commission. The AHRC is a private group dominated by Indian activists.
The group issues an Urgent Appeal.
Also on 19 December a petition is submitted in the Supreme Court in Islamabad against Pakistan Army and ISI chiefs demanding their resignations and trial for treason.
WHO ARE THE CONPIRATORS?
Ms. Beena Sarwar is a cheerleader for Indian supremacy over Pakistan. She endorses Indian political claims in disputes with Pakistan.
Mr. Sethi, along with his wife, work for a US think tank and are recent converts to the US government view on Pakistan and its future. Their daughter, Mira, landed a job at Wall Street Journal, a US paper that promotes anti-Pakistanism. Her first assignment … you guessed it right: attack Pakistan’s military.
Mrs. Marvi Sirmed works for the UN office in Pakistan. She’s been leading frontal attacks on Pakistan’s military and ISI in newspapers and TV appearances, endorsing every word about them coming from adversarial foreign governments. In a recent TV appearance, she ridiculed the entire premise behind Pakistan’s rise as an independent nation. Unfortunately, Pakistani laws do not incriminate anti-state speech. It is not clear if her opinions are endorsed by her employers.
The Indian-dominated rights group released on 19 December the draft that Sethi, Sarwar, Haroon and Sirmed conceived on the 18th.
Now look at how they twist facts and spread lies against Pakistan’s military institutions:
1. FIRST CLAIM: The AHRC decides in its document that Mansoor Ijaz “wrote” the secret memo, implicitly absolving Husain Haqqani from at least coauthoring the memo, if not authoring it outright. This case is being reviewed at the Supreme Court of Pakistan. AHRC unwittingly exposes its bias and political agenda in this one line.
2. SECOND CLAIM: The AHRC meddles in Pakistani politics by attacking the opposition leader Nawaz Sharif, the mover of the petition on the secret memo. AHRC says Sharif was “groomed as a politician during the period of the military dictator.” Of course, the founder of the incumbent ruling party that AHRC seeks to defend was also groomed under a military dictator. This is conveniently overlooked.
3. THIRD CLAIM: AHRC demands that the two generals resign and be put on trial in the same way that Husain Haqqani was forced to resign and stand trial. The comparison is incorrect because the evidence exists on conspiring against the State in Haqqani’s case. The accusation that the army and ISI chiefs are conspiring against an elected government is a conspiracy theory at best.
4. FOURTH CLAIM: AHRC fully endorses in its document the politically motivated US and Indian propaganda against ISI. It concludes its appeal with this sentence: “It is also alleged that the ISI is involved in bomb blasts and assassinations in neighboring countries and providing training to the Mujahideen.”
A couple of foreign governments are targeting Pakistan’s military and intelligence as a policy. The army and ISI chiefs are the preferred targets. Now this objective has been joined by a small group of Pakistanis that shares linkages to the foreign agenda in Pakistan.