By Sarah Eleazar
The Memogate Scandal: An enthralling tale of betrayal, deceit and cloak-and-dagger diplomacy, featuring only the highest echelons of our nations scaffold, President Zardari, Ex-Ambassador to US Hussain Haqqani, The COAS General Kiyani, ISI Chief Gen. Pasha, one rogue backchannel facilitator Mansur Ijaz and a few American players who washed their hands of this dirty business; lies shrouded in mystery getting embroiled by the day. Before the issue was referred to the Parliament Security Committee Nawaz Sharif filed his petition in the Supreme Court. While the SC takes its time to pass its verdict, back tracking the events leading to Nawaz Sharif filing a case at the SC, should help.
The purpose of this time line is to make sense of different versions of the Memogate story and clear misconceptions if any owing to excess of analysis but lack of clarity on this issue.
2-5-2011, Abottabad, Pakistan: Operation Geronimo: What according to avid twitter user Shoaib Akhter, started off as a ‘hum of helicopters and shaking of windows’ turned out to be the biggest most important covert operation in the history of USA: the capture and assassination of Osama Bin Laden who had been alluding capture for the past ten years, supposedly in Tora Bora caves in Afghanistan. This covert operation marked the nadir for US-Pak foreign relations. Not only had America not taken the military or the government into confidence over the issue, it was a gesture of no-confidence in its long time ally Pakistan. Pakistan viewed this as a blatant violation of his sovereignty as a country and condemned all sorts of unilateral operations the US might think it has license to. 1
03-05-2011 – 08-05-2011, General James Jones claims Mansur Ijaz contacted him via email: Former US national security adviser James Jones states he was contacted by Mansur Ijaz a few days before 9th May 2011 and told about the memo. Haqqani, according to Jones, probably doesn’t know anything about the memo. 2
09-05-2011 (12:31:00) – 10-05-2011, Mansur Ijaz: Haqqani contacts Ijaz regarding Memo: According to Wall Street Mogul and American patriot, Mansur Ijaz, Hussain Haqqani was in London on 9th May 2011 when he received a Blackberry message from Haqqani requesting a meeting. It is over a conversation on a Blackberry that Hussain Haqqani dictated the infamous memo to Ijaz, who agreed to act as the steno and bearer for the letter. 3
10-05-2011 14:00:00, General Jim Jones Forwards the Memo to Mike Mullen: The memo was then emailed to General Jim Jones who Mansur Ijaz was familiar with in a personal capacity. The email was not marked as classified and simply carried a request to forward the attached memo to General Mike Mullen, which he did. 4,5
10-10-2011, Time to Take on Pakistan’s Jihadist Spies, The Financial times, by Mansur Ijaz: Mansoor Ijaz’s op-ed published in The Financial Times on Oct, 10, 2011, revealed for the first time the existence of the memo. While this piece initially went unnoticed, it didn’t take a lot of time for the ISI and rival political parties to catch on. 6
22-10-2011, Gen, Shuhja Pasha meets Ijaz: Following Ijaz’s article regarding the memo, Pakistani media took some time to pick up on the issue but when it did, there was no going back. ISI Chief Lt. Gen Shuja Pasha travelled to London to collect the evidence Mansur Ijaz had to offer and returned considerably ‘satisfied’ with it. 7
8-11-2011, Mullen Denies ever Receiving the Memo: Mullen had no recollection of ever receiving the memo and denied its existence, only later to go back on his claims saying he hadn’t taken it seriously and had ignored it but it did in fact exist. 8
9-11-2011, Farahnaz Ispahani denies Mansoor Ijaz’s Allegations on twitter: Zardari’s media spokesperson and Hussain Haqqani’s wife, Farahnaz Ispahani vehemently denounced the allegations against her husband on twitter saying: ‘the end result: a population raised on a diet of conspiracy. The wild claims of Mansur Ijaz.’ 9
16-11-2011, The Troika calls for an emergency meeting regarding the memo: Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gillani, President Asif Zardari and General Kiyani set an emergency meeting at the Presidency to discuss this issue. 10 Haqqani is summoned to Pakistan. 11
17-11- 2011: Mansur Ijaz tells Dawn that it was Hussain Haqqani indeed the senior diplomat he was alluding to in his Financial Times op-ed. Pakistani media takes this issue and blows it up with the memo-gate scandal being the most talked about issue since the capture and killing of OBL. 12
19-11-2011, Barrister Zafarullah Khan files the first petition in the apex court regarding Memogate inquiry. 13
21-11-2011, Gen. Jim Jones confirms he was the go-between Mansur Ijaz and Admiral Mike Mullen. His claims however were contrary to what Mansur Ijaz had stated and according to Gen. James Jones, Mansur Ijaz first contacted him regarding the secret memo even before Hussain Haqqani was supposed to have contacted Ijaz; creating a new twist in the story. 14 Advocate Tahir Asad filed a second petition to the Supreme Court demanding a probe into Memogate.
22-11-2011, Hussain Haqqani, Ambassador to the US Resigns: Hussain Haqqani handed in his resignation on 22nd November 2011, earlier he was asked by the Prime minister to hand in his resignation. Sherry Rehman was appointed the new ambassador the next day. 15
23-25/ 11/2011, Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz Group files seven petitions in the Supreme Court, making the President, Chief of the Army Staff, Husain Haqqani and Mansoor Ijaz party to the case. 16
The Memogate Issue is currently being investigated, statements flying to and fro the SC Pakistan from around the World, with conflicting statements emerging and story lines going awry. Asma Jehangir presented her arguments before the CJ today. Further developments regarding the case will follow.
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