Sherry Rehman as envoy to US a surprise: Pakistani daily

November 24th, 2011 - 12:19 pm ICT by IANS  

Taliban Islamabad, Nov 24 (IANS) The appointment of former minister Sherry Rehman as Pakistan’s ambassador to the US comes as a surprise, a daily said while warning that “the government should not see this as an escape-route” to bury the controversy over a secret memo.

Rehman was appointed the envoy after Husain Haqqani quit Tuesday over the memo to Washington that said President Asif Ali Zardari feared a military coup after US commandos killed Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad May 2.

The News International said in an editorial that it had been a bleak year so far for Pakistan, “even by its own harrowing standards”.

“We have seen one tumultuous event after the other unfold at breakneck speed…The last thing we needed was the scandal of top government officials allegedly asking for US help in exerting pressure on the Pakistan Army in exchange for overhauling Pakistan’s national security team.

“But Memogate we got.”

“So where do we go from here?” it wondered.

It said the government moved quickly to fill the post left vacant by Haqqani’s exit.

The editorial added: “The appointment has come as a surprise, not least because Rehman stood down from her role as information minister in 2009 over disagreements with President Zardari.”

It went on to say that Rehman has made an in-camera presentation on national security to a joint session of parliament, “novel in a country where women are almost never taken seriously on security matters”.

In April 2009, she made an impassioned plea urging parliament not to abandon Swat to the Taliban.

“In Rehman, we may have a civilian and democratic leader whose views on Pakistan’s relations with the outside world, especially the US, Afghanistan and India, are well known and will not be a surprise to anyone in the days ahead.”

The editorial warned that “the government should not see this as an escape-route, an opening to bury Memogate under the rug”.

Stressing that a “purposeful inquiry must be initiated”, it said that meaningful and believable results must be produced and action must be taken against those responsible for it.

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