Blatant lies and 'national interest'
Ever since WikiLeaks started releasing US diplomatic cables, we continue to discover one thing or another every day. Some new revelations about the power equation in Pakistan are not just interesting but quite revealing. The Wikileaks drama and its fallout have affected many in this country too. Politicians stand exposed - the true colours of many are visible to us all. We now know just how blatant lies are told and how much hypocrisy exists even among those who put on all kinds of pious airs. It is for these reasons that so much anger has been generated by the Wikileaks affair, with the Defence Committee of the Cabinet stating during its meeting that 'national interest' has been hurt. Others have expressed similar sentiments. But perhaps just the opposite is true. While that very convenient term - ' national interest' - is raised often in our country - and indeed also in others - there is considerable room for debate over what exactly it means. In many ways, letting people know what is true serves the interest of a nation better than the vague notion referred to by politicians who seek only to cover up their misdeeds. Of course, everywhere politicians engage in actions that are dubious in nature. The fact that organisations such as Wikileaks are capable of bringing these out into the open could persuade them to think just a little bit harder about the consequences of what they are doing and why they should avoid doing so. The concept of integrity needs to be revived. Indeed it is this that top leaders should be looking at, rather than hurling blame the way of Julian Assange and his team. The Cabinet, for instance, needs to review the disclosures and assess its own actions in the light of what has been revealed. Other political parties and players need to do just the same. At present we are seeing an attempt at damage control by some groups. This is understandable. The same exercise is taking place around the world. But that is not enough. What is vital is that some process of learning should take place and all those in power remember that what they do and say, in this new age of technology, will not necessarily remain hidden forever.