Our politicians are blessed with a remarkable ability. They can make mountains out of molehills or even dunghills. Before the last Presidential Election, the UPFA as well as the JVP let out a howl of protest against what they termed a secret pact between Ranil and Prabhakaran. They obviously blew a tacit understanding that some UNPers were believed to have with the LTTE out of proportions to discredit the UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe.
Today, Mr. Wickremesinghe, in an apparent bid to avenge injustice the UPFA caused to him at that vital election, is demanding an explanation from President Mahinda Rajapakse on the alleged secret pact between the LTTE and the government. Mr. Wickremesinghe doesn`t seem to be satisfied with the explanation that Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremenayake provided in Parliament recently.
Although Mr. Wickremesinghe, regardless of his real motive, has a right to question the President on such a serious allegation against him and his government, it is doubtful whether the President will tell us the truth even if such an agreement really exists. Mr. Wickremesinghe`s endeavour exemplifies the popular saying, horage ammagen pena ahanawa vagai (like trying to elicit information about a thief from his clairvoyant mother). It is strange that the Opposition Leader has forgotten that the President, too, is a politician. The good habit of telling the truth is alien to politicians, isn`t it?
This is a country where parliamentarians don`t even reveal their financial assets to Parliament. So, how can politicians be expected to divulge information about secret pacts? You can bet your bottom dollar that the Opposition Leader will fail to make at least his parliamentarians declare their assets in keeping with the law!
The ousted ministers, Mangala Samaraweera and Sripathy Sooriyarachchi, who levelled that allegation against the President, have confounded the public with contradictory statements over the past few weeks. When they were asked at their last press conference at the Parliamentary Complex why they hadn`t revealed the alleged pact to the people before the Presidential Election, Mangala claimed they had not been aware of it at that time. But, later Sripathy told the press that he had been privy to the initial negotiations with the LTTE, which led to the alleged agreement. In so saying, he has unwittingly contradicted Mangala. As regards that particular statement, a logical conclusion is that either Mangala lied to the people or Sripathy had misled Mangala.
Thus, it could be seen that neither the SLFP dissidents nor the President could be relied on in finding whether such a pact really exists. Mr. Wickremesinghe also keeps posing rhetorical questions to the President without furnishing credible evidence. So, we are left with only one person to make inquiries from. Prabhakaran is his name.
But, the problem is that he, too, cannot tell us the truth even if the allegation at issue is true. If the military campaign in the Eastern Province is being conducted according to some secret pact, as the dissidents claim, then, having lost ignominiously in that sector, in terms of men, material and land, he will find it suicidal to come out with the truth. It may be argued that even if the allegation is false, Prabhakran can still cash in on it and land the President in the soup by claiming that he has an agreement with the government. But, if he ever does so, he will find himself in a bigger soup than the President in that he has no way of preventing his cadres taking his claim seriously?whatever he says, it may be recalled, is the gospel truth to them?and condemning him for the colossal loss that the outfit has suffered in the East. They will want to know from him why he ever agreed to give up the East ?which, Mangala and Sripathy say, is the case?to retain the North, which he could have got from the former President Chandrika Kumaratunga in 1994, when she offered it on a platter to him sans elections for ten years. That way, his cadres will argue, he could have retained control over both the North and the East without firing a shot.
However, the LTTE needs to be asked about the alleged pact. Finding Prabhakaran may be problematic but at least his factotum Tamilchelvam should be contacted for a comment. The LTTE`s response will be interesting.
Unfortunately, not even the omniscient JVP can enlighten us on this matter. Rathu Sahodarayas are behaving just like those proverbial monkeys. They hear no evil, see no evil and speak no evil on the so-called Mahinda-Prabhakran pact. They are in an unenviable position. They have had to run with Mahinda and hunt with Mangala, who is becoming embarrassing to them by the day because he clings to the alleged secret-pact, which the JVP wants to avoid like the plague.
The SLFP dissidents have called for a Parliamentary Select Committee to probe their allegation. The UNP has lent its support to them. The government ought to readily agree to a PSC probe if it has nothing to hide.
Let that Committee probe all the secret deals that successive governments and individual politicians and businessmen are alleged to have had with the LTTE. The public has a right to know the truth.