Understanding Pakistan Project Team August 23rd, 2007
By: Athar Osama
When I was writing this post this morning, the Supreme Court of Pakistan had not decided this case in the favor of Nawaz Sharif and his family’s “inalienable and unqualified” right to return to Pakistan. Then Understanding Pakistan’s long-planned switchover from its servers to the new (much faster one!) ran into some glitches and the site remained inaccessible for several hours. I wanted to comment upon and archive the original copy of Nawaz-Government deal. Now, with the decision already made much of the post has been made redundant but I will do so anyway to if only to archive this agreement on Understanding Pakistan. So, here is my post, as it stood in the morning (I shall return to it later to update it with new developments)
When Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhary was reinstated several weeks ago, I predicted–and prayed–that this would usher in a new era of judicial independence in Pakistan (here). Several ground breaking cases, I said, were likely to come before the Chaudhary Court. Among these cases was the the likely challenge to the exile of the Sharif family and the challenge to the constitutionality of General Musharraf’s dual appointments. The first of these challenges is now before the court.
While the legal battle has only started, one interesting thing that has recently come to light is the copy of the agreement between the Government and the Sharif family. The Government–for the first time in Pakistan’s history–has submitted something of value before the court and Dawn, to its credit, has made it publicly available for all of us to see and comment upon.
(Figure: Copy of the document signed by Nawaz Sharif on December 2, 2000. Source: Dawn.com, August 23, 2007)
The document titled “Confidentiality and Hold Harmless Agreement” shows that the Sharifs had also agreed not to engage in any business or political activities or any other activities of any nature against the interest of Pakistan, or relating to their incarceration, for a period of 10 years. They had also undertaken not to disclose to any party either the name of the ‘gentleman’ or of the country involved in their release from Pakistan and relocation, without their consent.
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Understanding Pakistan Project Team May 25th, 2007
The American Government, including the State Department and CIA, released a number of original documents relating to Pakistan’s early history because either somebody filed a Freedom of Information Request or they were just deemed not enough sensitive enough–with several decades having passed–that it was considered OK to declassify them and make them available to the general public. We will attempt to bring some of these documents to you–not necessarily because they reflect truth in their entirety–but because they provide a unique perspective of a foreign country and its intelligence operation on events happening in Pakistan.
One that especially caught my attention with the Memo CIA wrote on Liaquat’s Assasination in 1951. It is interesting, how the CIA assessed–perhaps rightly so–that none of the likely contenders of the Prime Ministerial spot that survived Liaquat was capable enough to succeed him. The memo seems to shed the doubt (only a doubt, nothing implied here) on Khaksars as being behind Liaquat’s assassination (I don’t think anything has been brought to light on that matter ever). It also carried CVs of three likely successors at the end.
By the way, before the memo, this is what General Ayub Khan had to say on the politicians’ reaction on Liaquat’s death in his book, Friends not Masters:
“…I met several members of the new Cabinet in Karachi–Prime Minister Khawaja Nazimuddin … and others. None of them mentioned Liaquat Ali’s name, nor did I hear a word of sympathy or regret from any of of them. Governor-General Ghulam Mohammad seemed equally unaware of the fact that the country has lost an eminent and capable Prime Minister…I wondered at how callous, cold-blooded, and selfish people could be…It seemed that every one of them had got himself promoted…It was disgusting and revolting…I got the distinct impression that they were all feeling relieved that the only person who might have kept them under control had disappeated from scene…” (quoted in: Cloughley , 1991, p.29)
Some of this might be exaggerated because Ayub was no fan of the politicians and the book was written in his later years when he had an axe to grind from bringing disrepute to them but some it might be accurate too.
Anyways, now the CIA memo:
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