Pak politicians to be `careful` in dealing with US diplomats

The ruling Pakistan People`s Party feels that the disclosure of US diplomatic cables have been beneficial to return of popular rule in the country as it has forced the military to clarify its position regarding democracy.

Last Updated: Dec 08, 2010, 16:32 PM IST

Lahore: The ruling Pakistan People`s Party
feels that the disclosure of US diplomatic cables have been
beneficial to return of popular rule in the country as it has
forced the military to clarify its position regarding
democracy, a party leader has said.

"Our government feels strengthened now," the PPP
leader, who did not want to be identified, said.

One of the secret cables quoted former US envoy Anne
Patterson as saying that army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani
had conveyed to her that "regardless of how much he disliked
(President Asif Ali) Zardari, he distrusted (PML-N chief)
Nawaz (Sharif) even more".

The cable also revealed that the army chief had
considered the possibility of removing Zardari last year.

After Kayani`s feelings about President Zardari and
Sharif became public, the chief military spokesman clarified
that the army chief held the country`s political leadership in
esteem and would support democracy while remaining within the
confines of the constitution.

The PPP leader was of the view that political leaders
and government functionaries would be "very careful" in
dealing with diplomats.

"Who knows whether the classified information we talk
about will be in the newspapers three months later," he said.
He observed that the release of the secret cables will
have a far reaching impact and US ambassadors worldwide will
have to be "more smart" while discharging their duties.

Sharif`s main opposition PML-N party appears to be
happier than other political parties about the release of the
secret cables, which revealed many "untold" stories and
vindicated its stance on different issues.

The PML-N also does not believe in any conspiracy
theory about the release of the cables.

"The US is after the founder of WikiLeaks, Julian
Assange, which shows that it has nothing to do with the
leaks," PML-N spokesman Pervaiz Rashid said.

Rashid said the release of the cables was a "good
omen" for Pakistani politics.

"It will help the leaders to stop playing a
double-faced role with the people. Now they will think many
times before speaking to an ambassador behind closed doors
about matters which they cannot mention in public," he said.

A top government official close to President Zardari
told PTI that the release of the secret cables carried a
"lesson" for everyone.

"Not only will the politicians and the army personnel
be careful, but the next six months or so will be very
difficult for US diplomats as they deal with the situation
arising from the leaks," the official said.

The leadership of major political parties will be on
their guard while interacting with diplomats, especially those
from the US, and not open up as they used to in the past, he
said. Rashid said the religious parties should feel relieved
that none of the cables was about the period of the Afghan
"jihad".
"Otherwise we would come to know who had taken how
many dollars in the name of jihad," the PML-N spokesman said.

Observers said top leaders of major political parties
and officials of the Pakistan Army will be "extra careful" in
speaking their mind during future meetings with foreign envoys
after the sensational expose of secret US diplomatic cables.

Though leaders of the main political parties are not
willing to publicly admit that the disclosures have forced
them to be careful in making "loose" comments about other
Pakistani or foreign leaders during meetings with diplomats,
they said the leak of the secret cables will have a
"devastating" impact on diplomacy.

However, the US government does not think that the
cables will have a far reaching impact on bilateral relations
with Pakistan.

"What you see are diplomats doing the work of
diplomacy: reporting and analyzing and providing information,
solving problems, worrying about big, complex challenges," US
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said in a statement.

PTI