ISSN 2330-717X

Hussain Haqqani: A Diplomat Of Pakistan? – OpEd


Hussain Haqqani, Pakistan’s former diplomat to the US from April 2008 to November 2011, has appeared to be more a loyalist to the US and less a stalwart to Pakistan in recent years. In Pakistan diplomatic corps he is better known as ‘Washington’s ambassador to Pakistan.’ He particularly played a major part in the Memogate scandal, asking US assistance against the Pakistan military in May 2012 and was exposed by Pakistan’s premier intelligence agency (ISI).

However, the recent evidence of Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz has brought the former diplomat to the Supreme Court of Pakistan. Now the Chief Justice of Pakistan is pressing the executive to extradite the man from abroad so as to finalize and decide the long-awaited infamous security issue of Pakistan.

The memo was alleged to have been drafted by Hussain Haqqani at the behest of some important political figure in the country and was delivered to high-ranking US official, Mike Mullen. The scandal, taken to Pakistan’s Supreme Court by then opposition leader and former PM of Pakistan Mr Nawaz Sharif led to Hussain Haqqani’s resignation. A judicial commission was formed to investigate the scandal in 2012, and submitted its report to the apex Court, which found Hussain Haqqani guilty of authoring the controversial memorandum and adding that the former US envoy was not loyal to the country.

Opposition and treasury political parties of Pakistan have condemned Haqqani’s recent column in The Washington Post, in which he has confessed that he had helped the US forces in eliminating Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan, without the knowledge of government and the Inter-Services Intelligence.

In that article, Haqqani said his efforts, “Eventually enabled the United States to discover and eliminate bin Laden without depending on Pakistan’s intelligence service or military, which were suspected of sympathy toward Islamist militants.”

Haqqani belonged to Pakistan People’s Party, which has distanced itself from the former ambassador. PPP spokesperson Farhatullah Babar, in a recent statement, said, his party does not agree with Haqqani’s opinion or analysis and therefore, connecting his work with the PPP is wrong. Khurshid Shah, while addressing the parliament stated that, “We shouldn’t give importance to people who commit treason while sitting abroad.”

Haqqani is also accused of working for Indian interests. Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif, during a National Assembly briefing, said that a deal with the United States for the procurement of eight F-16 fighter jets is facing delays due to some ‘lobbyists’ working against us.

Asif said, “The Indian lobby, with the ‘former envoy’ to the US, is also working against us, saying that these F-16s should not be given to us as it will only be used against India.” But despite lobbies’ efforts, Pakistan believes the US is committed to providing  eight F-16 fighter jets as these jets are essentially required for Operation Zarb-e-Azb, anti-terrorist activities.

Pakistan is paying for the violation of the set criteria that allowed people like Haqqani, to become a top most diplomat. At least now Pakistan political parties must learn to appoint traditional career diplomats in sensitive countries and avoid political appointees without due diligence.

Haqqani and his wife spared no occasion to spit venom against Pakistan, its institutions and ideology, particularly, security structure, whether it was the platform of SAATH (South Asians against Terrorism and for Human Rights) or TLDF (Times Literature Festival Delhi) or any event conducted at the Carnegie Endowment or the Stimson Center.

Haqqani, along with his spouse, is busy authoring anti-Pakistan books on ‘demand’ like “Pakistan: Between Mosque and Military”, “Magnificent Delusions: Pakistan, the United States and an Epic History of Misunderstandings” and “Purifying the Land of the Pure; Pakistan’s Religious Minorities”. The key content of his speeches and write-ups include: Pakistan is ‘dangerous’, ‘unstable’, and ‘the land of the intolerant’ people. As such, Haqqani promotes inter-provincial hatred, spreads despair and chaos, all of which results in maligning the image of Pakistan.

In an article in the New York Times, Haqqani asked Trump to get tough on Pakistan if he wants to win Afghanistan. No, one can expect such language from a former diplomat of his own country. Haqqani further blamed his own country by stating that, “Although the Taliban are controlling 40 percent of Afghanistan’s territory, they operate from the safety of Pakistan.” He also opined that for Islamabad, the alliance with the United States has been more about securing weapons, diplomatic support and economic aid in its confrontation with India. As per Haqqani’s opinion, India is a peaceful country and Pakistan a troublesome one. He totally forgets and overlooks Pakistan’s dismemberment by India in 1971, the situation in Indian-controlled Kashmir and continuous Indian sponsored terrorism in KPK and Baluchistan.

According to some reports, Haqqani is writing a book with title ‘Reimaging Pakistan: Transforming a Dysfunctional Nuclear state’. Even the Indian publisher of the book mentions that the former Pakistan’s ambassador to the US does not see anything worthwhile in Pakistan, and its institutions, especially Pakistan’s military.

Probably as an award, for his anti-Pakistan activities, all three of his daughters and a son are studying in world top class institutes as American nationals.

Three FIR’s were lodged against Haqqani in different police stations of KPK in December last year, for defaming Pakistan and harming its people. These complaints alleged that Haqqani had issued Pakistani visas to operators and killers of hostile intelligence agencies that caused numerous human losses in KPK. The sections of the Pakistan Penal Code applied by police in the FIRs are 120B (hatching a criminal conspiracy) and 121A (waging a war against Pakistan).

There are also reports that Haqqani had stolen and misappropriated secret funds. The Federal Investigation Agency has also registered a case against Haqqani for committing, criminal breach of trust, and misuse of authority and embezzlement of funds. The case was registered under Section 3, 4, 409, 420, and 109 of Pakistan Penal Code following an inquiry conducted by the anti-corruption authorities.

We Pakistanis are the biggest victims of terrorism — of which around 70,000 lives have been sacrificed — the struggling economy and unrest in Afghanistan, but the porous Pak-Afghan border allows infiltrators to access each other’s soil very easily, which allowed Osama bin Laden’s presence in Pakistan, while at the same time gives a chance for people like Haqqani to retain US sympathies by misleading American officials.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan issued last week an arrest warrant for Haqqani. As per reports, he was directed to appear in the Memogate case by a three-member bench, formed on February 1, 2018 to resume the hearing. Additional Attorney General, Rana Waqar told the court that the FIA (Federal Investigation Agency) has made a request to Interpol for a red warrant against Haqqani. He also added that a committee had also been constituted to take up the issue with relevant authorities in the United States.

Now it has become the responsibility of Pakistani media to expose such ‘Mir Jaafar and Mir sadiq’ on every domestic forum so that greed and lust for power should not overcome patriotism.

In the end, I want to add a saying for the people like Mr Hussain Haqqani that, “Traitors despise even those to whom they have rendered service.”

*Atta Rasool Malik hails from semi-tribal areas of Pakistan. He is a veteran and holds an MPhil degree in international relations’ from National Defence University in Islamabad. His interests include politics of South Asia, the Middle East and Islamic & Jewish theology.

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