Celebrating humiliations
Muhammad Hassan


The Dawnleaks issue has been resolved but it has left many questions
unanswered. The government, on its part, claims to have established civilian authority and forced the establishment to back off. The powers-thatbe adopted a soft approach to support democracy in the country. However, both sides have been bruised in the process.
According to experts, the findings of the commission to probe the leaks
will be leaked soon. The government is celebrating the "victory" because
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's daughter has been given a clean chit in the
probe after she was accused by the opposition of being the main character
behind the issue. However, the image of the country and the army has
been maligned by the leak, which was its main objective. Whether the leak
was fake or planted, it has advanced the narrative of India against Pakistan.
All government ministers are rejoicing at the "vindication" of Maryam
Nawaz, but nobody is willing to vindicate Pakistan and its armed forces,
which were targeted in the leak.
When the military said it had resolved the dispute with the government
and withdrew a tweet in which it rejected the inquiry commission's report,
it provided an opportunity to the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and social
media to criticize the "retreat." Social media called it a "secret deal" between
two old partners. Some questioned whether the army could have adopted the same approach if the incident had occurred in a government,
other than the PML-N's.
Addressing a press conference, PPP Punjab President Qamar Zaman
Qaira alleged both sides had made a secret deal on the issue as a sudden
"consensus" was reached after initial disagreement. PPP leader Nabeel
Gabol claimed an audio clip was played before the commission in which
Maryam Nawaz was heard asking the newspaper editor for the publication
of the news. "She told the editor that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif wanted
its publication. However, the editor said he would have to seek the permission
of the owner," he told a TV channel.
A "leaked" story in the Dawn newspaper about Punjab Chief Minister
Shahbaz Sharif "confronting" the army for allegedly supporting Jihadi
groups remained a hot topic of discussion for months, even in the army.
Despite several explanations, it emerged that the fake report was fed by
the government to gain sympathies of the world powers to wriggle out of
the Model Town tragedy and Panama Leaks.
The government issued several rebuttals, but its main emphasis was
that the story was true. However, it was a fact that the writer and the newspaper
were carefully selected to make a maximum international impact to
malign the army at a time when it was fighting a decisive war on terrorism
in the country. It also aimed to corroborate Indian allegations that Pakistan
was backing and raising Jihadists to fight a proxy war against it, at a time
when it perpetrated unprecedented atrocities in Occupied Kashmir.
It is a classic example how Pakistani politicians can sacrifice national
interests for their personal gains. According to sources, the English language
newspaper was chosen carefully after long deliberation. First, a
media group, which is known for its staunch opposition to the Pakistan
Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and blind support to the government, was contacted
by the PM's House for the publication of the fabricated news. However, its
owner refused on the grounds that his group was still reeling from confrontation
with the army after an attack on its anchor few years ago and
he could not afford to offend the army anymore. He also told people, who
were interested in publishing the story, that his group had already lost credibility
after unreasonably siding with the PML-N government and suggested
the name of the other newspaper, which was the best for the purpose as
it was more credible and its report would be highlighted by Indian and international
The purpose was served as the report was highlighted by the Indian
and world media. Citing the news item, the Telegraph said Pakistan's
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had accused his military chiefs of leading the
country into diplomatic isolation by failing to act against terror groups. "He
blamed military intelligence for hampering efforts to tackle Pakistan-based
terror groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-i-Mohmmad, which have
masterminded terror attacks in India, and the Haqqani network, which operates
in Afghanistan. Nawaz Sharif also indicated he may reopen a longstalled
investigation into the Mumbai 2008 terror attack, which was carried
out by Lashkar-e-Taiba," it reported.
The next day after the leak, the same newspaper carried another story
on its front page to advance the government agenda to malign the army.
It quoted a ruling party legislator as saying; "Which eggs is Jammat-ud-
Dawa (JuD) Chief Hafiz Saeed laying for us that we are nurturing him?"
During a meeting of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Foreign
Affairs, PML-N lawmaker Rana Muhammad Afzal said, "The efficacy
of our foreign policy speaks for itself when we couldn't curtail Hafiz Saeed.
India has built such a case against us about the JuD chief that during the
meeting on Kashmir, foreign delegates mention him as the bone of contention
between Pakistan and India," he maintained. He recalled a trip to
France, where he had been tasked with explaining the worsening situation
in Kashmir, and said that the name of Hafiz Saeed was brought up time
and again by foreign delegates. In a way, he was backing the Indian and
US allegations that the Pakistan army was protecting militants to advance
its agenda in India and Afghanistan.
The government took at least seven months to complete the investigations.
It was also not willing to act upon the recommendations of the commission.
Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi
and Former Principal Infomation Officer (PIO) Rao Tehseen were sacked.
Earlier, Information Minister Pervez Rashid was forced to resign. They
were accused of not being able to stop the fake news. The question is;
how could they stop it? If they had not given the points to the newspaper,
who was the actual mastermind? If it was not a security breach, why were
the three officials punished?
It appears the establishment has accepted the three "sacrifices" for the
sake of democracy as an Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) statement
said the Pakistani army "reiterates its firm commitment and continued resolve
to uphold the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and
support the democratic process." It avoided confrontation with the government,
which was bent upon seeking "political martyrdom." People, who
were expecting martial law, were disappointed but the establishment, despite
being all powerful, chose to side with democracy for the greater national