WikiLeaks’ & Pak embarrassment

M Ashraf Mirza

Diplomatic cables from the US Embassies across the world released by WikiLeaks have exposed the United States on many counts especially that Washington can never be a friend of any country.

It’s proven that the US embassies have been playing a criminal and duplicitous role to undermine other countries politically, economically and militarily. Understandably, the leaked cables are usual confidential reports from an envoy to his country’s foreign office but the manner in which the American diplomats are being used to the detriment of other nations is simply disgusting. The release of diplomatic cables by WikiLeaks have not only created commotion and panic across the world, but has proven the US as an irresponsible, dubious and undependable nation that not only indulges in unwarranted intrusion into other nations’ internal affairs, but also is incapable of protecting the state secrets. It has certainly made much more difficult for nations to be America’s friend.

The leaks have also developed a sense of mistrust and lack of confidence in the US diplomats, who are bound to face difficulty in interaction with other countries’ diplomats and political and military leadership. No one would like to open up with the US diplomats across the world in the fear of possible exposure of what transpires between them. Although US ambassador to Pakistan, Cameron Munter, has clarified that ‘the United States deeply regrets the disclosure of any information that was intended to be confidential. And we condemn it,’ but the enough damage has already been done.According to a leaked cable, the British government instigated Mr Zardari to take over the ISI about two years ago. It was, in fact, a dirty move to pit the political and military institutions against each other. It did leave bad taste in the government’s mouth as Interior Minister Rehman Malik’s ‘take over pronouncement’ was immediately repudiated by the Pak army. Interestingly, a cable quoted by the WikiLeaks has acknowledged that Pakistanj has evolved a well structured system of security for its nuclear programme. Yet in keeping with the West’s orchestrated vicious propaganda against Pakistan’s nuclear assets, it has mentioned Russia’s concern about Pakistan’s nuclear devices and missile system. Isn’t it an irony that Pakistan’s nuclear assets’ security structure is appreciated by the United States, but it’s unabatedly being vitiated at others’ behest on one count or the other to create doubt and misgivings about the ability of our ability to protect our nuclear assets.

Pakistan’s case is, however, classic. The details of secret and behind the door conversations disclosed by the WikiLeaks have stunned the Pakistani society. The cables focus the extremely tenuous relationship between Washington and Pakistan that is supposedly its principal ally in its war on terror. The cables indicate US mistrust and even contempt for President Zardari and suspicion toward the military and its intelligence arm ISI. Many of the cables expose Washington and Islamabad as partners in carrying out deception against the Pakistani people. The release of diplomatic cables has, in fact, devastated the state of Pakistan. It has created mistrust and suspicion among the political leaders and government on the one hand and politicians and military on the other despite clarification by the ISPR that the COAS held all political leaders in high esteem. It has also disclosed that US was opposed to the restoration of Iftikhar Chaudhry as Chief Justice of Pakistan. It’s proven that US ambassador Anne W. Patterson’s conduct of an undue obtrusion into Islamabad’s political, economic and military affairs. Pakistan was focused in her cables as more of a client state rather than a sovereign country. The disparaging remarks by the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Al-Nahyan calling President Zardari as ‘dirty’ and Nawaz Sharif as ‘dangerous’ projects how even other nations consider of Pakistan’s leadership. Saudi King Abdullah’s description of President Zardari as great obstacle to Pakistan’s progress also highlights what even our friends think about our leaders.

Pakistan’s politicians and leaders also made mockery of themselves in their interaction with the US envoy. President Zardari’s act of showing BB’s will to prove genuineness of his succession to the PPP leadership and Maulana Fazlurrehman’s bid to seek US help for Prime Ministership were as incredible as amusing. That Benazir returned to Pakistan after seeking clearance from Washington speaks of the extent of US intrusion into our country’s internal affairs. And that President Zardari told a US Congressional delegation in May 2008 that ‘we won’t act without consulting with you’ also speaks volumes about the level of our leaders’ submission to Washington.

Interestingly, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has telephoned President Zardari to affirm that WikiLeaks cables will not be allowed to cast shadow on the ‘strategic partnership’ between Pakistan and the United States. Frankly there was hardly any need for her to ring up Mr Zardari to assure that the Pak-US strategic partnership will remain unaffected despite WikiLeaks disclosures since the Pakistani leader is too obliged to Washington for coming into power. This is what he has said more than once in his interaction with the US ambassador, according to the WikiLeaks cables.

The WikiLeaks disclosures have also exposed Pakistan government’s double standards in the context of the war on terror. A cable has quoted Prime Minister Gilani giving his nod to the drone attacks that have killed hundreds of innocent people. ‘You continue the attacks and we will protest in the National Assembly’ to camouflage the situation. It was widely understood that this was the real position of the Pakistani government.

But having it produced verbatim in the form of a US diplomatic cable has only further inflamed the hatred that the Pakistani people feel for both the politicians in Islamabad and their patrons in Washington. The cables have also confirmed that US Special Operations troops are participating in combat operations in the tribal area although the government has overtly declared its unyielding opposition to any US ground troops fighting on Pakistani soil. Cables from US representatives in Islamabad boasted of the Pakistani government’s agreement to allow the US counterinsurgency troops to operate inside the country, describing it as a “sea change in thinking” on the part of the Pakistan government. The embassy cautioned that the agreement had to remain secret, as it would be deeply unpopular with the Pakistani people.

The political and military leadership has, however, tried to control the damage done by the WikiLeaks disclosures at a meeting of the Defence Committee of the Cabinet. According to reports, embarrassment was writ large on the participants’ faces as most of them have been quoted in the leaks in one way or the other. The meeting, however, condemned the leaks and termed it as an attempt to tarnish the country’s image.

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