Former Fox News analyst at center of Pakistani firestorm

Posted on | november 21, 2011 | No Comments

Mansoor Ijaz

Pakistan’s powerful army has become enraged after a secret memo indicated President Asif Ali Zardari’s government asked for U.S. help to prevent a military coup following the Navy SEAL raid in May that killed Osama bin Laden. – Washington Post, November 18, 2011.

Former Fox News Channel Middle East analyst, businessman Mansoor Ijaz, is at the center of a political firestorm within the Pakistani government as a result of a Washington Post story that appeared in that newspaper on Friday.

The crisis began when Mansoor, a Pakistani-American business tycoon, was asked by a top Pakistani diplomat — Ambassador to the U.S. Hussain Haqqani — to deliver a message from President Asif Ali Zardari to U.S. General Mike Mullen, the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The alleged memorandum to Mullen said the Pakistan’s President Zardari was seeking helping in controlling his own army.

Pakistan’s powerful army has become enraged after learning the secret memo indicated President Asif Ali Zardari’s government asked for U.S. help to prevent a military coup following the Navy SEAL raid in May that killed Osama bin Laden.

While Haqqani denies drafting any memo and also offered his resignation to quell an uprising, Gen. Mullen’s office has reportedly confirmed that a memo had been received.

However, officials at the Pentagon said simply it is Pakistan’s internal problem and the U.S. would not interfere. The Mansoor Ijaz released the text of the memo to the media after denials by Pakistan’s U.S. envoy and other government officials.

The opposition parties have mounted pressure on the Pakistani government to clarify its positions on U.S. relations, terrorism and Islamic freedom fighters as well as the main opposition Pakistan Muslim League.

The PML has called for a special session of the parliament to discuss the memo issue, and the opposition has also asked for Haqqani to be arrested for treason once he returns to Pakistan from the United States.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yusuf Gilani promised opposition leaders and the National Assembly, Lower House of the parliament on Friday, that he had recalled Ambassador Haqqani in order to question him about the reported memo.

Middle East news reports allege that Pakistani President Zardari has denied sending any memo he has written to Gen. Mike Mullen. He reportedly told a meeting of the ruling party that he possesses direct access to the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.S. President Barack Obama so “why he should use a mediator for contacts with the United States.”

The Interior Minister told reporters that the ambassador has been called by the president and the prime minister to give explanation and his point of view.

The controversial memo has added to the problems of the Pakistani government, which is already facing the deadly insurgents, the tough political opposition, energy and power shortage, and economic difficulties.

The memo issue is believed to be the most serious matter as the man who claimed to have delivered the document — Mansoor Ijaz — stands by his claim that he was approached by the Pakistani Ambassador and asked to deliver a message to Mike Mullen.

Mansoor also said that he has provided evidence to the Pakistani authorities: “I am ready to go to Pakistan to provide more details.”

The memo is viewed as a challenge for Pakistan and its weak, beleaguered government. The issue is considered very sensitive as the controversial document has sought the U.S. help to tighten ” control over the army.”

Anne-Marie Slaughter, a former U.S. State Department director of policy planning, said during a security conference in Canada that the Obama administration would still be ready to assist allies when needed; however, it would no longer be at the forefront of trying to solve the world’s problems.

Instead, the U.S. would rely on other countries to take the lead, as Britain, France, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates did in Libya, she said.

AUTHOR: Jim Kouri
E-MAIL: COPmagazine [at]


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