Let's stick with the facts, Mr Prime Minister
Troubled relations have given way to calmer times between Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gaillani and the army leadership. Good for them and for us all. But before we say why this is potentially good let us remind you, Mr Prime Minister, of a key fact that you have surprisingly forgotten. Or maybe decided to! In the heat of your oration in Lahore you told the press something to the effect that “Aap press keh israar par main nai Husain Haqqani sai resignation lai lee.” You further added that he was innocent. With Mansoor Ijaz’s predictable moves, you may be right about Husain Haqqani.
However, what you are not right about is what forced you to ask for Haqqani sahib’s resignation. It was the DG ISI’s 22 October meeting with Mansoor Ijaz, after which the army chief believed the DG ISI had returned with strong evidence implicating the then ambassador Husain Haqqani as the co-author and instigator of the infamous Memo. You then took General Kayani’s advice and asked the ambassador to return to Pakistan. He did that and then after a very brief Q & A session in the presence of the President, the army chief, the DG ISI and yourself, Haqqani sb handed in his resignation.
This is the honest truth. The media merely reported what various players in the Memo saga said. Media, no monolith in its views and accesses, reported this with varying thrusts and emphasis. But at no time did the media force your or the military’s hand. To claim that would be a sheer concoction of facts. Media writes the first draft of history, and we must be honest.
If you are too, then you will be a co-author of the first draft Mr Prime Minister! Anyhow, now to other urgent matters. Maybe now we can expect saner and sustained engagement with the problems that the people of Pakistan are handed down, not only because of international issues like increase in oil prices, the shortage of energy, fear of food insecurity, rising inflation etc, but more importantly because of the fact that the government’s top functionaries have made light of their responsibilities. The list is unending. The Prime Minister’s choice of appointees to important positions is really questionable; the corrupt that get cover under a Chief Executive who on the home and the cabinet front has rarely shown to be tough on corruption issues. By default or by design, RPPs scandal, the Haj scandal and now his former press secretary’s corruption have become public knowledge.
Admittedly, in the last few weeks the media focused on the Memo saga and the civil-military tensions. In fact in the fear that the elected civilian government maybe in danger of direct or indirect khaki onslaught, many in the media stood by constitutional democracy. But none of this was intended to convey that the government, and indeed the Prime Minister as the Chief Executive, is any less answerable for the mounting problems that the public faces. Take the energy crisis, gas and electricity loadshedding and their downstream impact on the industry, and no less than thousands and thousands, who are expected to lose their jobs if there is an industrial slowdown.
Where is, Mr Prime Minister, the report that your former minister Shaukat Tareen presented to your cabinet in 2010 and the cabinet actually adopted it? And yet the slowly sinking public sector organisations, ranging from PIA to Railways to Steel Mill, all testify that implementing the Tareen report must not have been a priority. And for the daily killings of Pakistan’s citizens in Balochistan, your government has shown no willingness to go beyond political grandstanding and symbolic trips.
Please, get on with the real task, Mr Prime Minster. Democracy is no longer in danger, all of you stakeholders in power know how to stay and survive. The President knows how to keep the coalition members together while your parliamentary presence also helps. What about delivering the fruits of democracy to the people? You in the Centre and the Chief Ministers in their provinces.
The writer is the host of Policy Matters and Director Current Affairs Dunya News. She is also a Fellow of the Asia Centre at the Harvard University.