Zardari's Coup Fears


Is yet another military coup imminent in Pakistan? The possibility was apparently seriously on the mind of the country’s president in May of this year, following the U.S. Special Forces operation that killed Osama bin Laden in the garrison town of Abbottabad.

Of course, no coup ended up taking place. But six months later, and the issue is again being discussed, after reports that President Asif Ali Zardari tried to reach out to the Obama administration in an effort to prevent Pakistani Army Chief Ashfaq Parvez Kayani from staging a coup in the aftermath of the bin Laden operation.

And, according to Pakistani media accounts, the country’s envoy to the United States, Husain Haqqani, may be stepping down after having already written to Zardari offering to resign in the wake of the controversy (Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir is rumored as a possible replacement).  

The simmering tensions between the Pakistani military establishment, led by Kayani, and the political executive, headed by Zardari, have threatened to boil over in meetings the two have held on November 14 and 15.

But what is confusing in all this is the timing. The present political crisis has been triggered by an article in the Financial Times by Pakistani-American business tycoon Mansoor Ijaz. However, the article was published five weeks ago, so why all the fuss now?

Regardless, on October 10, Ijaz referred to a memo, apparently prepared shortly after bin Laden’s killing, mentioning the possibility of a coup. Ijaz claimed that the memo, intended for then-U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen, who in turn was to pass it on to Obama, was shown to him by a “senior Pakistani diplomat…close to President Zardari.” This “senior diplomat” is believed to be Haqqani, although he has denied the claim outright.

Regardless of why this is becoming an issue again a month after it was published, the developments have once again made India wary. India-Pakistan relations have recently appeared to be making progress, with the 17th SAARC summit in the Maldives last week being only the most recent demonstration of India-Pakistan bonhomie. Any upheaval in Pakistan’s domestic politics, though, seems bound to put the brakes on the India-Pakistan peace process.

December 16, 2011 at 09:12

Pakistan and India will make peace as soon as the US stops pitting one against the other. China would also learn well to leave spheres of influence be as, they are as it is going through the problem of asserting itself regionally with the US trying to set up states against it all around it, or promote the states it has already set up against it. Pakistan and Bangladesh have a lot to learn when it comes to dealing with India. India on the other hand would do well to dialog with its neighboring countries without nationalistic rhetoric, which doesn’t promote anything but alienation. One thing though, China and India will both be much better leaders in the global arena than the west ever was or ever will be. Both are great civilizations without secularism (alienation from the essence of being human basically) at their roots. Secularism is the root of all evil, adhere to the 10 precepts in Buddhism, the 10 commandments or the 5 pillars of Islam and you will be on the right path (I’m sure other religions have their equal in the very basic laws of nature). Incubate yourself from philosophy and personal insight as the west has and you don’t know what your ailments are or how to make long term plans that effects multiple beings. I am from Sri Lanka

November 22, 2011 at 18:41

I don’t see those 2 making nice as long as Kashmir is an issue.

November 21, 2011 at 16:28

Peace Process? Yea right and North Korea is also just about ready to make nice with South Korea and give up their nukes. The Pakistani military is not ever going to make peace with India. The whole reason for their existence is to “protect” the country from India. I guess the supposed prospect of such a dream is enough to make a living off blowing hot air up some ignorant American’s skirts for another decade like this author has.

Follow the money…the Pakistani generals are more than happy to keep on cashing in with their paper tiger growls at America and India while some Americans are all too happy to blab on and on and on about Total Fantasy peace prospects. It is in no one’s interest to say “nothing is going to change short of regime change for decades to come in Paksitan…the END”.

Share your thoughts

Your Name
Your Email
required, but not published
Your Comment

Sign up for our weekly newsletter
The Diplomat Brief