Zardari’s secret memo promised to punish Mumbai attackers

By Arun Kumar,IANS,

Washington : Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari’s alleged secret memo to a top US military leader promised a new Pakistani national security leadership that would work with the Indian government to punish the perpetrators of the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attack.

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As the “memo-gate” rocked Pakistan with then chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen confirming the existence of the memo about a feared military coup, The Cable blog of Foreign Policy magazine Thursday published what it called its contents.

The memo offered a six-point plan to reshape Pakistan’s national security leadership, cleaning house of elements within the powerful military and intelligence agencies that have supported Islamic radicals and the Taliban, drastically altering Pakistani foreign policy — and requesting US help to avoid a military coup, The Cable said.

Promising to alter the leadership favour of US interests, it promised to bring a transparency and “discipline” to Pakistan’s nuclear programme, cut ties with Section S of the ISI, which is “charged with maintaining relations to the Taliban, Haqqani network” and other rogue elements, and work with the Indian government to punish the perpetrators of the 2008 terrorist attack in Mumbai.

Zardari, according to the memo cited by the Cable, promised to start a formal “independent” inquiry to investigate the harbouring of Osama bin Laden and take suggestions from Washington on who would conduct that inquiry. It would identify and punish the Pakistani officials responsible for harbouring bin Laden, the memo said.

The memo pledged that Pakistan would then hand over top Al Qaeda and Taliban leaders residing in Pakistan, including Ayman Al Zawahiri, Mullah Omar, and Sirajuddin Haqqani, or give US military forces a “green light” to conduct the necessary operations to capture or kill them on Pakistani soil, with the support of Islamabad. “This commitment has the backing of the top echelon on the civilian side of our house,” the memo stated.

The memo — delivered just nine days after the killing of bin Laden — requested Mullen’s help “in conveying a strong, urgent and direct message to (Pakistani Army Chief of Staff) Gen. (Ashfaq Parvez) Kayani that delivers Washington’s demand for him and (Inter-Services Intelligence chief) Gen. (Ahmad Shuja) Pasha to end their brinkmanship aimed at bringing down the civilian apparatus”.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at [email protected])