Wicked Leaks!

Written by SAO  •  Cover Stories  •  January 2011 PDF Print E-mail

Out of the total number of U.S. embassy cables released by WikiLeaks, Pakistan features in about 10 percent. Here is a quick look at the extent to which America is involved in Pakistani politics:

Asif Ali Zardari
President of Pakistan
Described as “our best ally” by U.S. Ambassador Anne Patterson, President Asif Ali Zardari sees the U.S. as “our safety blanket” which helped Benazir return to Pakistan. In May 2008, he is quoted as saying that in times of great strain with the army, the judiciary and political opponent Nawaz Sharif, he shared his woes with U.S. officials, apparently for help. He was then “pressurized” by the Americans and the Army into according Musharraf a dignified retirement and later to restore Iftikhar Chaudhry as chief justice.

Nawaz Sharif
Former Prime Minister of Pakistan
Viewed by the Americans as an Islamist having sympathies with the Taliban and their affiliates, Nawaz Sharif, in a cable in May 2008, tells U.S. officials that he is “pro-American” and is “hurt” that the U.S. doesn’t remember his deploying Pakistani troops in Saudi Arabia during the first Gulf War. He also thanked Anne Patterson for the appointment of General Kayani as Pakistani army chief. Claimed to be under the “special hold” of the Saudis, Sharif has also been alleged to support Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) against India.

Yousuf Raza Gillani
Prime Minister
The premier is said to have urged the Americans to repatriate convicted Pakistani citizen Aafia Siddiqui so that he could “control the streets” and set the ground for rapprochement with the Sharifs. In August 2008, he told the Americans to continue with drone strikes as long as these target the right people. “We’ll protest in the National Assembly and then ignore it,” he is quoted to have said.

Gen. Ashfaq Pervez Kayani
Army Chief
In March 2009, the then U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan, Anne Patterson met Gen. Kayani “atleast four times” in one week where the General “used” her to convey his concern to Zardari for the ongoing political crisis in the country. Expressing disdain for the civilian leadership, Gen. Kayani said he doesn’t want the hot seat. “If I had wanted to do this, I would have done it during the long march,” he tells U.S. officials, rejecting coup rumors.

Gen (R) Pervez Musharraf
Former President
Cited as a “strong, forceful leader they [Saudis] know they can trust”, Pervez Musharraf informs U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri “might” be in Pakistan’s Bajaur Agency, but that Mullah Omar never entered the country. According to one cable release, he was mulling after just six months of the 2008 general elections to replace the freshly elected government with that of technocrats. Musharraf asked the U.S. government to assure PM Gilani that Washington’s support for Musharraf would continue, the cable added.

Maulana Fazlur Rehman
Chief, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam
The Maulana lobbied Patterson in November 2007, seeking U.S. support for his ambition to become prime minister. “He has made it clear,” reads the ambassador’s cable, “that … his still significant number of votes are up for sale.” 

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