Acid rain for AAZ
Dr Ghayur Ayub
Imran Khan is clever. He took the two major issues - corruption and injustice, wrapped them in the slogan 'Tsunami' and tossed them into the court of the emotive Pakistani youth. The frustrated youth gave him a resounding response. The political waves created by his Tsunami spread panic among his opposition. Zardari called it 'Zunami'. He most probably wanted to say 'Zuma'ani' (double meaning) but in his usual dis-articulate oration, his tongue slipped. I wrote about the term in my article titled, 'Change is imminent' in August 2010 stating, “One ‘No’ by Ch Iftekhar on March 9th, 2007 turned out to be a turning point for the country...(and)...things started to change from then on. We saw the emergence of; a vibrant media; a strong superior judiciary; and awakened public...The three became a Tsunami for the corrupt elites” In another article two years ago, I wrote that the imminent change would ride on the saddle of the judiciary, backed by the army.
Up until now, two things came in the way for the change; reaching to an acceptable point of understanding between the judiciary and army; and the timing. For some reason, the judiciary and army though on the same track and running in the same direction, ran at different speeds. At that time, the opposition was reluctant to play an effective role, and allowed mis-governance by the government and corruption to grow. Recent emergence of Imran Khan as the third force speeded up the time rate and things started to happen which should have happened two years ago.
Also, thanks to that arrogant Mansoor Ijaz, whose only link to Pakistan is his lineage and name; otherwise he is a thorough-bred American. To satisfy his ego and quest for fame, he wrote a mind boggling article in Financial Times in October which shook the foundation of Pakistan. If it wasn't for the vibrant media, Zardari's government would have pushed it under the carpet making it part of an untold history of Pakistan. But it came out in open and as a result, the Supreme Court of Pakistan constituted a judicial commission to investigate the issue and affix responsibility. The news was like raindrops of hope falling on those filled with despondency and sizzling drops of acid rain on those who shot their hope. .
Let us locate those drops and linked them before they dry and disappear;
- The most important drop is the one which might fall on Asif Ali Zardari as a result of Memogate. He must be seeing it coming which was obvious from sudden 'attack', needing urgent hospital admission followed by his controversial address and irrational behaviour at Ghari Khuda Bukhsh. In his speech AAZ sounded casual, using words like 'Beta' (sonny) and derogatorily attacking CJP calling him judge Iftekhar Chaudry and then indirectly warning America that he was planning to open a new economic regional block and letting through the gas pipeline from Iran, etc.
- Resurgence of Aitezaz from the cold was linked by some to the first drop while others connected it to Javed Hashmi joining PTI. Aitezaz Ahsan is a smart cookie. In his first resurging speech, he eroded AAZ's address on two counts. First he cleverly isolated AAZ from BB's mission by comparing Imam Hussain's journey from Madina to Karbala with BB's journey from Dubai to Karachi. He said Imam Hussain was advised by his friends in Madina against the journey and AAZ advised BB not to go to Karachi. Imam was adamant in his mission so was BB in her. Then he gave a soft punch by telling AAZ to concentrate on PPP's 'Falahi' work, knowing fully well that just a few minutes earlier AAZ announced that his government completed 80% of PPP's agenda. Everyone knows that the PPP's agenda was 'Falahi' in nature based on 'Roti, Kapra, aur Makan'.
The raindrops kept falling;
- The Americans must have taken AAZ's remarks with a pinch of salt after his recent insulting behavioural session with Ambassador Munter followed by a disjointed telephonic conversation with Obama. If Kissinger were to listen to all this he would have remembered how ZAB slipped out of line some four decades ago. What happened to him is history.
- Against the recent sour relationship between CIA and ISI, the agency wouldn't like to lose the democratically elected president at this crucial stage when Americans are preparing to leave Afghanistan. The sudden dash of the ISI chief to Qatar to meet his counterpart from US has to be to build a new understanding.
- Again, the two armies came on head to head after the attack in Mohmand agency which killed 24 soldiers. The relationship between the two armies could not have been so low in the Pak-US history. Could the Americans afford to lose AAZ before smoothing its relation with the Pak army? No wonder the two army chiefs are reportedly making fresh connections.
- And what about the recent policy change of the US towards Taliban? The Americans detached them from Al Qaeda; then they let Qatar open a Taliban office; made Karzai agree to the opening of the office; released Mullah Khair Khwa and Mullah Noori- the two most important Taliban detainees from Guantanamo Bay, and then finally officially announced that the Americans are in talks with Taliban. This is all part of the exit policy. In this game Pakistan has an important role to play. Having sour relation with Pakistani politicians, armed forces and establishment does not suit the Americans. They would rather lose the rebellious AAZ (whose ratings at home are at rock bottom anyway) than losing the only powerful institution of Pakistan. At the same time they are looking for a new political figure to fill the political space.
- Imran Khan, just before his mammoth show of strength in Lahore and Karachi, started to go slow on anti-American and anti-MQM rhetoric, though he continued to stress on talking to the Taliban. Was it a coincidence that Americans changed anti-Taliban stance at the same time? Simultaneously, Imran Khan started taking politicians once close to Musharaf into the fold of PTI. To enhance his credibility and make the situation worse for Nawaz Sharif (who is not in the good books of the Americans) he attracted Javed Hashmi.
- Among these splashing drops, the decision on Memogate is four weeks away. The non technical enquiry has already been completed by ISI. To give it a technical completion, forensic investigation is the key which lies with BBM, Canada.
- The White House being hurt from the unpredictable AAZ must be looking for a new political friend in Imran Khan, and Pentagon and Langley reviving its relationship with Pak army and ISI respectively. The US, in such circumstance can put back-door pressure on Canada and Black Berry Company to provide the desired record.
- Lastly if the results implicate Hussain Haqqani in Memogate, would he offer his head on the block or save his skin by becoming an approver? According to Sheikh Rasheed, HH has already offered his services in case of the inevitable. After all, he is a known mega-opportunist and relentless survivor.
With the drops splashing around it is not difficult to presume AAZ would be getting scalded by the acid rain in the end.