This latest diatribe confirms the designs of Pakistan’s anti-Pakistan ambassador which were already put into action by him through Kerry Lugar Bill and infamous Memo against country’s military. It is yet to be seen if he is a lone ranger or has the backing of powerful elements of politics in Pakistan. The disgraced former ambassador to the US, Husain Haqqani has, however, rendered one good service to the country of his origin. He has advised his benefactors in the US to break away from Pakistan so that Pakistan and its military establishment learn a lesson. He has tried to assure his patrons in the US that the military would not be able to stand up to the might of the US.
He laments that the United States has sought to change Pakistan’s strategic focus from competing with India and seeking more influence in Afghanistan to protecting its own internal stability and economic development. But even though Pakistan has continued to depend on U.S. military and economic support, it has not changed its behavior much.
In an article titled, Breaking Up Is Not Hard to Do, in the latest issue of Foreign Affairs, he writes that large amounts of U.S. aid have simply failed to invigorate Pakistan’s economy. From birth, Pakistan was saddled with a huge army it could not pay for and plenty of monsters to destroy. He advises the US that by coming to terms with the reality that Pakistan and the US have divergent interests, Washington would be freer to explore new ways of pressuring Pakistan and achieving its own goals in the region. Islamabad, meanwhile, could finally pursue its regional ambitions, which would either succeed once and for all or, more likely, teach Pakistani officials the limitations of their country’s power. He describes how Pakistan is perceived as one of the most hated nations in the US and how Pakistanis dislike Americans and Pakistanis’ dislike of America dates back to 1950s and 1060s.
But the relationship between the United States and Pakistan has never been good. In 2002, at arguably the height of U.S.-Pakistani cooperation against terrorism, a Pew poll found that 63 percent of Americans had unfavorable views of Pakistan, making it the fifth most disliked nation, behind Colombia, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, and North Korea. Before that, in 1980, soon after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, a Harris poll showed that a majority of Americans viewed Pakistan unfavorably, despite the fact that 53 percent supported U.S. military action to defend the country against communism. During the 1950s and 1960s, Pakistan did not feature in U.S. opinion polls, but its leaders often complained of unfavorable press in the United States.
He describes Pakistan from 1947 when no one was particularly sympathetic to this new country. It was the time when Pakistani leaders turned to the United States, reasoning that Washington would be willing to foot some of the bill given Pakistan’s strategically important location at the intersection of the Middle East and South Asia. He explains how Jinnah was advocating Pakistan’s case in an interview to Bourke-White who, like many Americans after her, was skeptical. She sensed that behind the bluster was insecurity and a “bankruptcy of ideas . . . a nation drawing its spurious warmth from the embers of an antique religious fanaticism, fanned into a new blaze.”
He also laments how ungrateful Pakistanis are who do not remember how persistently Jinnah and his ambassadors lobbied the United States for recognition and friendship in those earlier years. He goes on to narrate how various ambassadors worked hard to win the Americans in return for Pakistan’s becoming a part of anti-Soviet security arrangement, SEATO and CENTO. The relations were inherently difficult as US dumped Pakistan on each occasion when it did not needed it. Haqqani ridicules Pakistan’s regional ambitions and its desire to be treated at par with India and suggests to his US sponsors to end US-Pakistan alliance. “If the alliance ended”, he writes, “Pakistan could find out whether its regional policy objective of competing with India was attainable without U.S. support.”
He talks about Pakistan’s historical “support for terrorist groups” and says that now for the first time, the issue also became a sore point.
He tries his best to build a strategic partnership got nowhere, says Haqqani, but the lack of full civilian control over Pakistan’s military and intelligence services meant that, as ever, the two countries were working toward different outcomes. He pins all his hopes to supremacy of civilians to improve the relations between Pakistan and the US.
He also advises the US to realize that Pakistan is not indispensable and that this realization should be at the core of a new relationship, which Haqqani suggests should be non-allied relationship. The United States should be unambiguous in defining its interests and then acting on them without worrying excessively about the reaction in Islamabad. He wants the US to teach Pakistani military a lesson by pressing ahead with drone strikes on terrorist suspects. “These will raise hackles in Islamabad and Rawalpindi”, he writes, “where the Pakistani military leadership is based. Pakistani military leaders might make noise about shooting down U.S. drones, but they will think long and hard before actually doing so, in light of the potential escalation of hostilities that could follow. Given its weak hand (which will grow even weaker as U.S. military aid dries up), Pakistan will probably refrain from directly confronting the United States.” This will force Pakistan’s national security elites recognize the limits of their power, the country might eventually seek a renewed partnership with the United States — but this time with greater humility and an awareness of what it can and cannot get.
If Americans take his advice seriously, this could be blessing in disguise to a predominant majority of Pakistanis who have to pay dearly for American aid which only benefits a small elite group. But the question is; will the Americans prepared to do it?
It is quite amazing that a person who had anti-Pakistan sentiments and who has the audacity to ask Americans to teach Pakistan a lesson was appointed ambassador to look after Pakistan’s interests in the US. His treasonous outbursts against his country of origin clearly suggest that those who appointed him Pakistan’s ambassador also need to answer why he was relied upon to fight Pakistan’s case. This also strengthens the case of high treason against him pending in the apex court.
- Memo case: Hussain Haqqani granted ‘last chance’ to appear before SC (thenewstribe.com)
- Hussain Haqqani expresses distrust over security measures in Pakistan (thenewstribe.com)