Cablegate highlights America's deep role in Pak's power politics

Last Updated: Thu, Dec 02, 2010 14:30 hrs

The latest leak of classified U.S. diplomatic cables out of Pakistan have highlighted America's deep role in the country's power politics.

A March 2009 cable reveals that Pakistan Army Chief General Ashfaq Kayani had told former US Ambassador to Pakistan Anne Patterson that he was considering ousting President Asif Ali Zardari in the midst of the country's judicial crisis.

Kayani hoped to replace Zardari with Awami National Party leader Asfandyar Wali Khan.

"We do not believe Army action is imminent. We do believe Kayani was laying down a clear marker so that, if he has to act, he can say he warned the US in advance and gave us ample opportunities to pressure both sides to back down," the cable said, indicating the influence that the Army reasonably presumed the US to have.

One of the leaked cable also revealed that Zardari had told US congressmen that he was concerned about his ouster, a few months before his election as president.

The cables also reveal the extent of his paranoia about possible assassination.

Opposition leader and former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who plays on anti-Americanism to cement his base with the Pakistani right, had also repeatedly reassured Patterson of his "pro-American" credentials in a February 2008 cable.

Maulana Fazlur Rehman, leader of the country's largest Islamist party, too survives on US support, as revealed in a cable, in which he solicited Patterson's backing for becoming Prime Minister.

Meanwhile, Rasul Baksh Rais, a political scientist at the Lahore University of Management Sciences, said that the Pakistan Army is the only one to benefit from the leaked documents, as the government and its political opposition have been embarrassed equally.

"Only those who have always been genuinely critical of US policy can truly hope to benefit from the WikiLeaks information dump," the Christian Science Monitor quoted Rais, as saying

However, he added that it would be back to business as usual once the newness of the WikiLeaks wears off. (ANI)