Dr. Muhammad Ali Ehsan |
Very interesting facts have come out in open since our erstwhile ambassador to the United States, Mr. Husain Haqqani, wrote his now infamous article (March 10, 2017) in the Washington Post titled: “Yes, the Russian ambassador met Trump’s team. So? That’s what we diplomats do?”
I am no diplomat but considering what Mr. Husain Haqqani has done, or is still doing concerns me. Especially so, since I recently taught a course on ‘diplomacy and conflict resolution’ in a Karachi university, where I explained to my students ‘what diplomats should do?’ But in class, there was no distinction between practical and theory.
A verse from Allama Iqbal (scholar, philosopher, poet and above all a man who inspired the Pakistan movement) succinctly describes Hussain Haqqani’s outlook on his role:
It is nothing to talk about if I transform base selves into gold,
The passion of the voice is the only alchemy I know;
Innocent Diplomat or Accomplice to Manipulations of the Pakistan people?
But whatever disclosures he makes and what is known otherwise suggests clearly that Ambassador Haqqani was not merely facilitating but for all practical purposes was lynchpin of a policy; he was the one who was guiding and making the policy.
I know that Mr. Husain Haqqani (a very articulate speaker and writer) has had an illustrious academic and diplomatic career. But, his ‘jaded’ and cynical views about Pakistan, only reflect that his views have not only lost their objectivity, but these are also hardly in line with the soch (thought) and fikr (concer
He writes in his article, ‘I had facilitated the presence of a large number of CIA operatives who helped track down bin Laden without the knowledge of Pakistan’s army – even though I acted under the authorization of Pakistan’s elected civilian leaders’. This admission by Mr. Haqanni does not make him a hero, in fact, the kind of clandestine ‘authorization that he got from the civilian leadership’ only makes him an accomplice rather than an innocent diplomat that he wants to project himself as.
“Collateral damage worries you Americans it does not worry me”
– Asif Zardari
Mr. Haqqani had already written in detail about the ‘Pakistan military and ISI’s entanglement with Islamic extremism’ in his book ‘Pakistan-Between Mosque and Military’ published in 2005. But when the Vice President of the USA, Joe Biden, told President Zardari that ‘we cannot fix Afghanistan without your help’, the military in Pakistan had little idea about what President Zardari meant when he replied ‘I can’t fix Pakistan without your help’. For the United States, President Zardari guided and controlled foreseeable Pakistan fixing. For this, Joe Biden was also most graciously awarded Hilal-i-Imtiaz, by the PPP government, the second highest civilian award of Pakistan.
Modi works for the interest of his people: who do our Politicians work for?
Prior to this meeting, President Zardari had already indicated to the Americans the kind of government that he was likely to head in Pakistan. On Nov 12, 2008, the CIA Director Mike Hayden, had gone to New York City to meet the visiting Pakistani President and discuss the possibly expanded Predator drone strikes inside Pakistan. President Zardari is quoted to have said, “Collateral damage worries you Americans; it does not worry me”. This, Mike Hayden says, gave CIA the green signal as far as drone strikes in Pakistan were concerned. This synchronizes well with the facts on ground, since very few, hardly 1-2 drone strikes had taken place as long as Gen. Musharraf was in control of things before Feb 2008.
‘When Presidents become negotiators, no escape routes are left… Concessions are irrevocable without dishonor’
– H. Kissinger, The White House Years – 2011
Can we, for a moment, imagine PM Modi of India visiting the United States immediately after his election and giving a one-on-one audience to Director CIA? We must accept that Prime Minister Modi of India despite harboring ‘anti-Pakistani grudges’ is a political man who is anti-Pakistani to the core but very ‘Indiannized’. Question we need to ask ourselves is: What Kind of men we have been putting in highest political offices or executive positions? Were they trying to change the strategic direction of the country according to their personal interests and putting new spins on the politics of the country only to secure themselves in Washington?
Lion King (1994) was a wonderful animated movie that most of us had the privilege of watching. Mufasa died only because his evil brother Scar betrayed him. It’s not the betrayal that I remember most – it’s the cry of help that Simba raises as his father lies dying – ‘help – somebody, anybody’.
Military intelligence can go wrong, so can operational intelligence, but do we have the political intelligence to set such wrongs right?
The military also makes mistakes and the holder of political offices at that time (Gen Musharaff and Gen Yahya Khan) are accused by the civilian leadership for ‘hiding behind their uniforms’ but my question to the civilian leadership is – why can’t they also hide behind their own national flag?
‘I had facilitated the presence of a large number of CIA operatives who helped track down bin Laden without the knowledge of Pakistan’s army – even though I acted under the authorization of Pakistan’s elected civilian leaders’.
– Hussain Haqqani
Role of Diplomat: behind the scene scheming and duplicity against their country?
Mr. Hussain Haqqani writes in his article, ‘Ambassadors do not make policy; they only facilitate understanding between countries that leads to policy making in their respective capitals.’ But whatever disclosures he makes and what is known otherwise suggests clearly that Ambassador Haqqani was not merely facilitating but for all practical purposes was lynchpin of a policy; he was the one who was guiding and making the policy. I ask what kind of diplomacy associates itself with behind the-scenes-scheming, duplicity and double dealing (even when authorized by the civilian leadership) against your own state?
Which ambassador can he name that indulges in such ambassadorial acts that tantamount to betraying your own country? What policy making does a diplomat help engineer when he becomes part of a ‘crooked anti-state plot’ of facilitating the positioning of foreign spies in his own country?
Diplomacy – the modern concept of it emphasizes more on openness, bilateral and multi-lateral agreements and above all led and directed by the unquestionable conduct of a diplomat who is nationalist to the core (doesn’t compromise on national interests).
The more balanced view on Pakistan’s national security by Mr. Hussan Haqqani’s is expressed not in the Washington Post article but his book ‘Magnificent Delusions – Pakistan, The United States and the epic history of misunderstanding’ wherein he writes, ‘although the army and ISI had made it difficult to alter Pakistan’s national security policies, civilian leaders incompetence and lack of perception had also impeded their success, as had their reputation for corruption’.
Where are all the promised commission reports?
The civilian leadership of Pakistan released the Hamood-ur-Rehman Commission report only after it was leaked by Indian media (2000). Other commission reports including The Abbottabad commission report, Justice Baqar Najfi’s Judicial Commission report on Model Town Killings, the Memo Gate commission report and the Dawn leak commission report are all victims of ‘back and forth and drag on’ political strategies of the governments in Pakistan – To top this all ‘Panama Leaks’ stands out as the dragon among the ‘devils of delays and drag on’ strategies that the governments, and the system they control, in Pakistan practice and execute.
Guess what- the poor people of Pakistan that vote such political elites to the political offices and the corridors of power can do nothing about it? Come next elections they would again stand in line to vote without once thinking ‘are they not replacing one political crook with another’?
Lastly, Lion King (1994) was a wonderful animated movie that most of us had the privilege of watching. Mufasa died only because his evil brother Scar betrayed him. It’s not the betrayal that I remember most – it’s the cry of help that Simba raises as his father lies dying – ‘help – somebody, anybody’.
Dr. Muhammad Ali Ehsan, did his doctorate in International Relations from Karachi Univ; where he also teaches. His Phd work is on ‘Civil Military Relations in Pakistan’. He served for 25 years, in Pakistan Army, and remained an Instructor in Pakistan Military Academy. He tweets at: @Muhammadaliehsa