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WikiLeaks has strengthened Pak govt, says PPP

Source: PTI
December 08, 2010 15:58 IST
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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, told PTI. One of the secret cables quoted former US envoy Anne Patterson as saying that army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani had conveyed to her that "regardless of how much he disliked (President Asif Ali) Zardari, he distrusted (Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz 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, hesaid.

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.

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