Sultan M Hali
HUSSAIN Haqqani had been Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States from 2008 to 2011 but was more loyal to his hosts rather than his country of origin. He continues denigrating Pakistan through his writings as well as comments on the electronic media. In his latest Op-Ed ‘To Win Afghanistan, Get Tough on Pakistan’ published in the New York Times of July 6, 2017, Haqqani advises the Trump administration to consider taking away Pakistan’s status as a major non-NATO ally, which would limit its priority access to American military technology. Aid to Pakistan should be linked to a sequence and timeline for specific actions against Taliban leaders.
Sanctions against individuals and institutions involved in facilitating Pakistan-based Taliban leaders and pursuing Taliban reconciliation talks without depending on Pakistan could be other measures signaling a firmer United States stance. Haqqani’s warped logic is that “Moving away from an incentive-based approach would not be punishing Pakistan. The United States would be acting as a friend, helping Pakistan realize through tough measures that the gravest threat to its future comes from religious extremism it is fostering in its effort to compete with India.”
To build his case for the Trump administration to get tough on Pakistan, he claims that as Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States for the new civilian government, Haqqani urged Pakistan’s civil and military leaders to engage with Americans honestly instead of sticking to blanket denials. He conveniently glosses over his role in issuing unauthorized visas and travel documents to malicious organizations like Black Water and their wily operatives like Raymond Davis who wreaked havoc in Pakistan through their surrogates in the terror mongers group while surreptitiously gathering data on Pakistan’s strategic weapons in a bid to neutralize them.
Hussain Haqqani remains oblivious to his heinous plot of hatching the “Memogate Conspiracy” to disparage Pakistan Army and its premier intelligence agency, the ISI. When Hussain’ Haqqani’s detestable role in the intrigue was revealed, he beat a hasty retreat to the US. In the above named opinion piece, while defending Indian role in Afghanistan, Haqqani opines that President Ashraf Ghani, recently asked India to train Afghan military officers and repair military aircraft after frustration with Pakistan, which failed to fulfill promises of restraining the Taliban and forcing them to the negotiating table. India is known to have established four consulates and ten trade missions in Afghanistan. According to analyst Christine Fair of Foreign Policy magazine, all fourteen Indian missions in Afghanistan house RAW operatives. Definitely they are not stamping Indian visas but are engaged in hatching terrorist plots against Pakistan, sponsoring the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and the IS (Daesh). Hussain Haqqani ridicules Pakistan’s concerns and calls it paranoia.
Pakistan has ample evidence that RAW and the Afgan secret service, National Directorate of Security (NDS) are aiding and abetting the TTP, whose top leadership has established safe havens in Afghanistan, from where they plot and execute terror attacks in mainland Pakistan. Mr. Haqqani finds it expedient to omit this precious truth. Haqqani appears concerned that India was not invited to the peace talks sponsored by China, Russia and Pakistan but feigns blissful ignorance of the US refusing to attend the Afghan peace talks in Moscow and instead dropping the “Mother of All Bombs” on alleged IS targets in Afghanistan on the eve of the Moscow peace talks.
There is ample discussion of US drone attacks in Pakistan while finding us culpable of not forcing the Taliban to come to the peace talks. Hussain Haqqani, of all the people, should be cognizant of the factor when Islamabad did take the initiative of organizing peace talks with the Taliban participating, just as the second round of talks was to commence, Indian-US-Afghan collusion sabotaged the parleys with the disclosure that Taliban head honcho Mullah Omar had died two years earlier and his death was being kept a secret.
Mullah Omar’s successor, Mullah Akhtar Mansour, who was willing to smoke the peace pipe was ruthlessly executed through a drone strike by CIA while crossing from Iran into Pakistan. Hussain Haqqani, whose parents migrated from India to Pakistan, should be aware of the treatment meted out by Indians to Muslims especially the Kashmiri Muslims, who are suffering brutally under successive regimes in IOK yet he claims that “Both India and Pakistan have a lot of blood on their hands in Kashmir and seem in no hurry to resolve their disagreement, which is rooted in the psychosis resulting from the subcontinent’s bitter partition.
Haqqani advises President Trump to avoid being a peace broker between India and Pakistan regarding the Kashmir imbroglio. He proclaims that “Linking the outcome in Afghanistan to resolution of India-Pakistan issues would keep the United States embroiled there for a very long time.”
Harping on the old tune of President Trump’s review of American policy in Afghanistan should involve adopting a tougher approach to Pakistan; Hussain Haqqani tries to sink in that the Bush administration gave Pakistan $12.4 billion in aid, and the Obama administration forked over $21 billion. These incentives did not make Pakistan more amenable to cutting off support for the Afghan Taliban. The financial assistance provided to Pakistan by the US in no way compensates for the over 70,000 Pakistanis killed in the war on terror or the over one Trillion Dollars financial loss incurred to Pakistan because of terror attacks. Hussain Haqqani may pander to US and India for deriding Pakistan but his twisting of facts exposes his own deceit and guile.
—The writer is retired PAF Group Captain and a TV talk show host.
Sultan M Hali