Gen Mirza Aslam Beg
Sunday, November 27, 2011 – The Secret Memo was initiated in Washington, by Hussain Haqqani, the Pakistani Ambassador, who dictated the ‘text matter’ to Mansoor Ijaz, the American Businessman, and both flew to London on 10th May, where they met UK Chief of Staff, Sir David Richards and the Secretary Minister of Defence, obtained the seal of approval, and flew back to Washington, where the Memo was handed-over to General James Jones, the National Security advisor, who delivered it to Admiral Mike Mullen. The memo contained the ‘Hybrid Plan’ for Regime Change in Pakistan. In this sordid game of conspiracy, the very important link of New Delhi is missing, to complete the ‘Triangle of conspiracy.’
In order to implement the plan, the findings of the Abbottabad Commission, were to be manipulated, in the same manner as 9/11 enquiry commission promptly gave its findings, putting the blame on Osama and Al-Qaeda, who were punished by launching a full scale invasion of Afghanistan. Afghanistan was also punished for giving refuge to Osama and his followers and the punishment continues with no end, in sight. The Abbottabad Commission, therefore, was expected to blame the Army High Command and ISI for their failure to intercept the intruding Americans, who allegedly killed Osama on Pakistani soil. Thus, under the cover of the findings of the commission, it would have been easy to remove both, the Army Chief and the DGISI, who in any case are on extended terms of service. And then the new National Security Team would have taken-over and placed their ‘loyalists’ at all the important assignments, creating harmony between the civil and military leadership, which is now lacking. If the plan succeeded, it would support the New Af-Pak policy and would facilitate American and NATO troops withdrawal from Afghanistan, under a ‘Safe Exit’ guarantee.
A safe exit could be possible only, with the permission of the new government for the American troops to conduct sweeping operations in North Waziristan and dismantle Haqqani network and terrorist bases. America would then be able to talk to the Taliban from a position of strength and establish ‘loyalists governments’ in Afghanistan, and Pakistan. The conditions would then be conducive to gaining “legitimate access to Pakistan’s nuclear assets”, and handing over of the Pakistanis to India, blamed for the Mumbai terror attack, and “a policy shift in Pakistan’s relations with India”, that is, Pakistan to accept Indian hegemony in the region and shift the bulk of its forces from the eastern borders to the North Western borders with Afghanistan. Develop good neighbourly relations, trade and commerce, by granting the Most Favoured Nations Status, to India. The ‘Utopian Regime’, thus established, could find a person, no better than Hussain Haqqani, as the Prime Minister, to maintain best of relations between Pakistan, India and the United States.
In fact, the process of Regime Change in Pakistan was initiated in September 2011 with MQM splitting with the government and the opposition getting activated to form a grand alliance, for a political movement, but the government of Pakistan, moved-fast and pre-empted the move, striking hard at the MQM. This episode, I had described in my article, titled Pakistan’s Politics and Proxy War, saying that “Zardari has won, conspiracy for regime change has failed and MQM has been cut to size, badly beaten and bruised.” Thus, the first round was won by Zardari but the real trouble begins now with the blowing-up of the Washington-London Memogate conspiracy. The UK Chief of Staff Sir Richards arrived in Islamabad on 22nd Nov and met PM Gillani, to lobby for Hussain Haqqani, who is in the dock. Haqqani has rendered his resignation to the President, saying that Memogate scandal was “a conspiracy against Pakistan and demanded full investigation into the matter, to find the real culprits.”
The Imran Khan phenomenon is developing into “a third political force for a future political dispensation.” The apex court is determined to ensure implementation of its verdicts, which so far have been side-tracked, avoiding prosecution. The Armed Forces are maintaining their cool, ready to play their historic role, destiny has bestowed on them. An atmosphere of fear of the unknown prevails, as the conspiracy spirals, into an International Game.
The frustration of the Pakistanis is increasing under the pressure of bad governance and has turned into ‘a popular demand for change’, earlier than 2013. And the worst that could happen to the government, is the increasing distrust between the civil and military establishments, particularly after the revelations made by Mansoor Ijaz, about the Washington-London Memogate. A very sensitive issue indeed, to be handled carefully by the civil and military leadership. The sensitivity of the matter, relates mainly to the following issues:
There is no proof of involvement of President Zardari, in this game, except the statement by Mansoor Ijaz that, Haqqani had assured him ‘Zardari was on- board’, which may not be true. In this context, Mansoor Ijaz also warned of the consequences, if the plan was exposed, as in 1996, when Benazir Bhutto, a very good friend of Haqqani, was the Prime Minister, a similar plan was hatched, but got exposed and Benazir lost her government. The intriguing aspect is, ‘the linkage’ between the events of 1996 and 2011, by the same two operatives, i.e. Mansoor Ijaz and Hussain Haqqani.
That, there is a National Security Team, comprising civil, military personnel and technocrats, ready to take charge and “ensure harmony, in the new set-up” through replacements and adjustments. It is a dangerous conspiracy, as it divides the loyalties of important government functionaries and the politicians.
The intent and purpose of the change, through these means is, to grant big concessions to America and India, which would result into compromises on very important and critical national security interests of Pakistan. The conspiracy over-rides Pakistan’s sovereignty, as part of an international conspiracy against Pakistan, who has the right to approach the United Nation for action against the perpetrators of this crime.
These are the very hot issues which will be discussed and debated, in the coming months, heating-up the political atmosphere to a boiling point. At this juncture, it would be the responsibility of the Government, the Opposition and the Civil Society, the Courts of Law and the Armed Forces, to steer the movement in the right direction. Destiny beckons them, to be positive and pragmatic, to play their historic role.
—The writer is former COAS, Pakistan