LAHORE Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilanis insistence that the memo controversy is a 'non-issue being blown up by some people for no reason has raised many an eyebrow as it has serious implications for the integrity and competence of both the army chief and the ISI director general, who are among the respondents in a petition moved on the subject in the Supreme Court. The premier thinks that after a statement made by former US Gen James Jones against Mansoor Ijaz, the memo is no longer an issue. He says conspirators are trying to avoid the Senate elections due in March, which the PPP believes to win with big margins because of the favourable composition of the existing provincial assemblies. Although the army and the government have different points of view on the memo issue, the latter has consistently been trying to convey an impression that Mansoor Ijazs allegations should not be given much importance as he is not a trustworthy person. A meeting between the prime minister and the army chief on Friday night was used to rubbish the impression that the government and the army had divergent positions on the subject. On Saturday, when reporters pointed out that Gen Kayani and the ISI chief had filed replies in the Supreme Court on the memo, the prime minister said they had done so because the court had issued notices to them. Rejecting the perception about difference of opinion between the army and the government, he said: The COAS and the ISI chief fall under the ambit of the federal government. How can they take a different stand? They have to stand with me. They are with us. But on Sunday, an English language newspaper reported that the army and the ISI would stick to their statements already submitted to the apex court and would not change their positions after the Gilani-Kayani meeting. The memo issue is very serious, no matter what the governments position. A man no less than the ISI director general had personally flown to London to meet Mansoor Ijaz and ascertain whether the US businessman of Pakistani origin had proofs in support of his allegations against Husain Haqqani. He was satisfied with what Mansoor Ijaz shared with him, and it was only after then that he briefed the army chief about the subject. Husain Haqqani was called to Islamabad and asked to explain his position at a meeting which was attended by the president, the prime minister, the army chief and the ISI director general. The very fact that the prime minister ordered the ambassador to tender resignation immediately which was also immediately complied with adequately establishes that Haqqani was not in a position to defend himself. In spite of this development, if the prime minister says that the memo controversy is a non-issue, it will mean that he is not giving due importance to the judgment of the army chief and the ISI boss. In other words the competence and integrity of those generals is being questioned who are responsible for defending the country against all threats. If the ISI chiefs judgment about the proofs he has acquired from Mansoor Ijaz, and the satisfaction expressed thereupon by the army chief, are questionable, then there is no justification for them to retain their official positions. Likewise, it will also call into question the extensions in services granted to the two. The prime minister must remember the July 2010 night when casually dressed and nervousness visible on his face, he appeared on TV to extend the term of Gen Kayani as army chief for another three years. The nation is going through difficult times in this war against terrorists. Gen Kayani has successfully led us in this war and his staying on is in our best interest, said the prime minister, acknowledging the capability of the general. The extension could have been granted through a routine statement, without the prime minister taking the trouble of appearing on the TV. Similarly, Gen Pashas term was extended twice by the prime minister for one year each. Now his term will come to an end in March, if not further extended. The prime ministers decision to retain them in their positions was admission of their capabilities. In the prevailing situation the Supreme Court should be allowed to decide the matter and the government should present its point of view before the bench. Anybody who knows Husain Haqqani must be aware of his 'credibility. He can do anything to serve his personal interests.If Mansoor Ijaz was a dubious character, as being alleged, it should be ascertained why Pakistans ambassador was in contact with him. Knowledgeable sources say that Haqqani had political ambitions and he had prepared the alleged plot to please the Americans and then with their support reach the top political office.