A big ‘thank you’ to the boys at ISI & other instruments of authoritarian enforcement for helping with publicity for my book ‘Reimagining #Pakistan.’ Remember, release is on April 9. A case a day will be really good ? https://t.co/EwGgBZtGo7
— Husain Haqqani (@husainhaqqani) March 21, 2018
Is Husain Haqqani one of the best living Hindustani leaders?
13 thoughts on “Husain Haqqani”
HH is a deeply problematic person (though yes, he speaks sense sometimes). He was supposed to be the Pakistani Ambassador to the US. As such he was supposed to represent the views of the Pakistani government (that’s what Ambassadors do. Which is why I could never be a diplomat of any country. I want the freedom to represent my own views). The joke was that he was the “US Ambassador to Washington” rather than the Pakistani one. HH is also the kind of person who has a record of going with whoever is in power and whoever can help advance his career. He used to be an “islamist” and was with PML-N (look this up), then he was a “liberal” and was with Benazir. Now he’s anti-Pakistan and in the US camp. What will be his next avatar one wonders? He’s the very definition of “native informant”.
In any case, there are charges against him in Pakistan regarding “Memogate”. He should be asked to come back and face justice (as should General Mush and anyone else who is absconding from the courts).
Thanks for sharing your perspective Kabir. Is the reason some regard Husain Haqqani as being in the US camp because he favors closer Indian Pakistani relations? [Full disclosure, this is what I favor.] Husain Haqqani has visited India many times. His family is closely tied to Nizammudin Dargah and to a Nizami Sufi master.
Husain Haqqani always speaks to Indians with a great deal of respect and affection, which is music to my ears.
What are everyone’s thoughts on whether Husain Haqqani is a native agent? Kabir says yes. Does anyone else also think so?
Closer India-Pakistan relations are not the issue. Nawaz Sharif favors closer India-Pakistan relations. He hugged Modiji at the airport! (And the boys in uniform were not happy about that let me tell you…) Shahbaz Sharif is big on Punjab-Punjab interaction. He knows it’s what Pakistan needs to develop.
HH is working with Lisa Curtis of the Heritage Foundation on how the US should “punish” Pakistan. Trust me, there are very few Pakistanis who like this man.
Plus, as I mentioned, if you used to be with Nawaz Sharif, then moved to be with his sworn enemy, Shaheed Benazir, then moved to be with the Hudson Institute, what does that say about you? Opportunist is a kind word.
Pakistan’s Supreme Court gives the government 30 days to bring Husain Haqqani back to face justice.
Kabir, Hussain Haqqani to my understanding was trying to give the elected government of Pakistan more influence over the Pakistani Army and ISI Directorate. To the degree this is true, the real “guilty” party is the PM Hussain served.
Some Pakistanis and some Americans (with the obvious support of India) want to increase civilian economic aid to Pakistan while decreasing aid in high end military capability. Obviously this is deeply unpopular with the Pakistani Army. Is supporting this treason?
Are there some perspectives on Hussain other than mine and Kabir’s?
Kabir, why does Pakistan need high end F-16s or high end military capability in general. Pakistan needs inexpensive and effective COIN capabilities.
What about a compromise? The international community agrees to spend $30 billion on buying Pakistani manufactured JF-17s, spares, upgrades and maintenance measured in life cycle costs.
Pakistan gets 80% of the aircraft. The Afghan Air Force (AAF) gets 20%. The Pakistani economy gets a big boost. India even pays for part of the aircraft order (as part of India’s foreign aid to the AAF). In return Pakistan agrees to forgo developing high end military capabilities. We can even increase the size of the order to include many other Pakistani manufactured military items (with a a lot of them being exported to the ANA and AAF).
I know for a fact that the Pakistani Army would strongly oppose this. But might the Pakistani people go for it? It would be a godsend to the Pakistani economy and give the Afghans some real military capability. Plus in the long run Afghanistan would be dependent on Pakistani spare parts and Pakistani maintenance/technical personnel.
I suggested this idea many years ago. Even Americans wouldn’t go for it because they thought the Pakistanis would flip out, causing surging anti Americanism. Plus the foreign aid would be difficult to pass through Congress and allied legislatures given the then open secret of Pakistani aid to Al Qaeda and Al Qaeda linked groups. [Today it is no longer a secret but back then everyone was pretending not to know.]
This is the kind of stuff that Hussain Haqqani might go for. That doesn’t make him a traitor to Pakistan does it? Can others chime in?
Pakistan needs military parity with our “enemy” India. As long as your Army chief talks about fighting a “two front war” (Pakistan and China), we will do what is necessary to defend the homeland. In any case, I don’t make policy for the Pakistan Army.
My point in sharing this link was that this is breaking news today. The highest court in the land has asked the government to ensure HH comes home to face justice. If he is still a Pakistani national, then he must face justice, just like all other Pakistani nationals (including General Musharraf for his unconstitutional military coup). If HH has acquired foreign citizenship, than nothing can be done and the question is moot.
I’m done with this discussion. Let’s see what the Pakistani government does.
P.S. For many Pakistanis (not me personally), crossing the Army is indeed treason.
Kabir, doesn’t Pakistan’s 300 nuclear weapons and current arsenal of intermediate to long range missiles give Pakistan enough deterrence to avoid any attack by India, China, Russia, America and Iran?
Pakistan’s economy is a tiny fraction the size of India’s. How can Pakistan possibly hope to rival India’s military capabilities. At best Pakistan and seek close alliances with other great powers to play them against each other (playing the US, Russia, Europe, Japan, China, India, Iran). But Pakistan doesn’t even need to do that. Aren’t Pakistan’s nuclear weapons sufficient?
The proposal I outlined would give an astronomical boost to Pakistan’s arms industry and Pakistan’s economy. I would support massive economic aid to Pakistan in addition to this as part of a grand bargain where Pakistan transformed into a Jihadi free, moderate, muslim majority country. A country where all Pakistanis enjoyed freedom of art, speech and thought. A rich Pakistan similar to Malaysia, Turkey or Gujarat.
Don’t worry about whether we “transform into a Jihadi-free….”. That is an intra-Pakistani discussion. It is up to us what kind of a Muslim country we want to be and what kind of interpretations of Islam we want to live by. It is extremely condescending to hear from an Indian’s mouth what kind of a country Pakistan should be. For the record, I do think religion has too much place in public life. But that is something for me to discuss with my countrymen.
China is not going to attack Pakistan. China is giving us lots of money and developing Gwadar (CPEC). Russia is not going to attack Pakistan. I don’t think Iran has any intention of attacking Pakistan. The only country we need to worry about is India, where people talk about “surgical strikes” and crossing Pakistan’s borders. Please try. Pakistan Army is there to make sure that no Indian misadventures happen. That is why we have troops on the LOC and the Working Boundary between Pakistani Punjab and “J and K”. As for nuclear weapons, they didn’t stop India and Pakistan from going to war in Kargil.
As long as India invests in military technology which we think is supposed to be used against us, we will invest in military technology to use against India. That’s just reality.
I would not mention Gujarat to a Pakistani ever again. That was where your current PM carried out a pogrom against the Muslim minority. Don’t get me started. Rushdie has an essay entitled “March 2002: God in Gujarat” (pgs. 344-346 in “Step Across This Line”). It is far more scathing about BJP and Hindutva than I could ever be. Read it and weep. Sir Salman says it better than I ever could
Finland is scared of Russia. Finland doesn’t militarily try to match Russia. That is madness.
Indian GDP is $3 trillion. Pakistan’s GDP is $300 billion. No country other than Pakistan thinks this way. Even North Korea isn’t this extreme. If you want Pakistan to have a $100 billion/year military than first focus on transforming Pakistan into an Asian Tiger a la Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, Dubai, India, China, Vietnam. This requires deep free market neo-liberal reforms and good relations with foreign countries.
Views of Pakistan are almost identical between India, US, Europe, Japan, Russia, China, Iran, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Jordan, UAE, Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco. Pretty much across the world.
Pakistan was put on the terror watch list by KSA, Qatar, UAE and China.
Kabir, do you appreciate how delicate Pakistan’s international position is? Pakistan can’t borrow money right now! Pakistan desperately needs vast amounts of international aid, trade, investment, cross border product development, business travel, work travel, tourism. Do you really want Pakistan to become another Venezuela (has more oil reserves than any other country on earth while being one of the poorest countries on earth)? Pakistan has more than 300 nuclear weapons. The world cannot and should not tolerate a destabilized Pakistan. You do realize that Jihadis are willing to kill every human on earth if they believe Allah wants them too; right? You do realize that many of them are mentally deluded, right?
Some Pakistani comments cause despair to vast majority of the people in the world who are not Pakistani.
No one wants to fight Pakistan. No one is Pakistan’s enemy. Everyone is rooting for a successful Pakistan. The alternative is too scary to imagine.
There is only one religion the religion of love. There is only one language, the language of the heart. There is only one country, the country of humanity.
Does anyone else have any perspectives?
“There is only one religion the religion of love. There is only one language, the language of the heart. There is only one country, the country of humanity. ”
This is sweet but it’s not reality. Perhaps I’m much more cynical than you.
Pakistan and India are “enemies”. I’m not endorsing this, but this is reality. Do I wish it wasn’t this way? Of course. In 1965, the Indians almost captured Lahore. It was our brave soldiers who made sure Lahore is still a Pakistani city and still a part of our heartland. Excuse me if I am slightly suspicious of Bharat’s intentions. Bharat broke Pakistan into two in 1971. Mrs. G. was very proud of that fact. So we don’t trust you and we have good reasons not to trust you. Changing attitudes requires dialogue. And dialogue is not happening (thanks to stupidity on both sides).
When Modi ji boasts of “surgical strikes” in AJK (there is some debate whether our border was crossed or not–Pak Army says it wasn’t. I have no idea), how do you think Pak Army is going to respond? In any case, Pakistan’s security policy is made by Pak Army, not by the civilian government and not by me. The Army sees India (Bharat) as its eternal enemy.
I have relatives who fought India in the various wars (mother’s side). I also have relatives in India (father’s side). My maternal great-aunt used to start crying whenever anyone criticized Pak Army. It’s a real thing. That was a bit of an extreme reaction, but many people in Pakistan adore the Army and will not hear a word against them.
Pakistan is a complicated place….
As for “Jihadis”, neither the PML-N nor the Pak Army is going to let Pakistan fall to “Jihadis”. We just give the mullahs a few things they want and keep them under control. It’s worked so far…
Having read HH’s three books (Pakistan: between Mosque and military, Magnificient Delusions, and India vs Pakistan: Why Can’t we just be friends) and having met him once in DC, I have a few things to say about him. One of my areas of interest is Pakistan’s political history in the 1990s (and I wrote a series of articles for Dawn Urdu about that particular period), a time during which HH was a prominent figure. Yes, he can be described as a turn-coat (JI->Nawaz->PPP->Tried a hand at getting a ministry from Musharraf and his Op-Ed in WaPo soon after Trump became Pres extolling how HH played an instrumental role in helping Us get OBL) and someone with a silver tongue. However, most of what he wrote in books holds true as you can construct your own opinions but not your own facts. The India-Pakistan rivalry is a constructed myth to sustain military’s supremacy over political affairs in Pakistan. Starting from 1947 Kashmir war till this day, Pakistan’s policy towards India and other neighbors had been determined not by elected officials or Foreign Service bureaucrats but by narrow-minded military men.
Abdul, could you write an article that can be posted on Brown Pundit? Both about HH and his three books?
Can you elaborate on why HH is a turn-coat? Many Pakistanis see the Jihadis as an existential threat to Pakistan and are trying to eliminate them any way they can. If there methods are unorthodox, can they still be patriots from their own point of view?
“Officially” OBL was an enemy of the Pakistani State. HH was following Pakistani “official” policy. Of course HH was conflicting with covert unofficial policy. But to declare HH a turncoat, wouldn’t someone need to acknowledge that Pakistan’s de facto policy was to support Jihadi Islamists against Pakistani minorities and the rest of the world?
Is there any evidence that HH was ever less than loyal to the parliament and the elected Pakistani government?
To be clear I don’t know all the answers and I might be wrong. Abdul, what are your thoughts regarding:
Thanks again for your observations.
I’ve met HH in DC as well and heard him speak. He is personally a nice man. That doesn’t mean he is not deeply problematic in Pakistan. My limited point is that the Supreme Court has asked the government to bring him back to face justice for the crimes he has been charged with. If he is still a Pakistani national, then he should come back and face justice.
“The India Pakistan rivalry is a constructed myth”– that’s a little simplistic. The Congress Party didn’t think Pakistan would last 10 years. There have been four wars and India did have a hand in breaking East Pakistan away (not that we were handling that situation very well on our own). Those four wars are objective facts. The territorial dispute over India-held Kashmir is an objective fact.
The military does have an outsized role in foreign policy, which is not their job. That is another objective fact on which I agree with you.
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