Husain Haqqani, former Pakistani ambassador to the US. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Husain Haqqani, who served as Pakistan’s ambassador to the US from April 2008 to November 2011, has appeared to be more loyal to the US than to Pakistan for many years. In the Pakistani diplomatic corps, he is better known as “Washington’s ambassador to Pakistan.”

In particular, he played a major part in the “Memogate” scandal, allegedly asking for US assistance against the Pakistani military in May 2012. He was exposed by Pakistan’s premier intelligence agency, the ISI. However, the concrete evidence of Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz has brought the former diplomat to the attention of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. Now Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar is pressing the executive to seek Haqqani’s extradition from abroad so as to bring this infamous security issue to a conclusion.

The memo in question was alleged to have been drafted by Haqqani at the behest of some important political figure in the country and was delivered to a high-ranking US official, Mike Mullen. The scandal was taken to the Supreme Court by Nawaz Sharif, who was then opposition leader and later prime minister, which led to Haqqani’s resignation. Then a judicial commission formed to investigate the scandal in 2012 submitted its report to the apex court, holding Haqqani guilty of authoring the controversial memorandum and adding that the former envoy was not loyal to his own country.

Pakistani political parties have condemned his column published last year in The Washington Post, in which he confessed that he had helped the US forces in eliminating Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan, without the knowledge of the government or the Inter-Services Intelligence.

He said that in part, 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 the Pakistan Peoples Party, which has distanced itself from the former ambassador. PPP spokesman Farhatullah Babar has said his party did not agree with Haqqani’s opinion or analysis and that therefore, connecting his work with the PPP was wrong.

Khurshid Shah, leader of the opposition, while addressing the National Assembly, stated: “We shouldn’t give importance to people who commit treason while sitting abroad.”

Pakistan is paying the price for violations of set criteria and procedures that allowed people like Haqqani to become top diplomats. At least now Pakistani political parties must learn to post-traditional career diplomats in sensitive countries and avoid making political appointments without due diligence.

Spitting venom

Haqqani and his wife Farahnaz Ispahani have spared no opportunity to spit venom against Pakistan, its institutions and ideology, particularly its security structure.

In an article in The New York Times last July, Haqqani asked US President Donald Trump to get tough on Pakistan if he wants to win in Afghanistan. No one can expect such language from a former diplomat about his own country.

He further blamed his own country by stating, “Although the Taliban are controlling 40% 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. In his opinion, India is a peaceful country and Pakistan a troublesome one.

According to some reports, Haqqani is writing a book with the title “Reimaging Pakistan: Transforming a Dysfunctional Nuclear State.” Even the Indian publisher of the book has reportedly said that the former Pakistani ambassador to the US does not see anything worthwhile in Pakistan, its institutions, and especially its military.

We Pakistanis are the biggest victims of terrorism, having sacrificed around 70,000 lives, our economic well-being and a lot more for the peace in Afghanistan, but the porous border allows infiltrators to access each other’s soil very easily, which resulted in bin Laden’s presence in Pakistan and has given an opportunity for people like Haqqani to retain US sympathies by misleading American officials.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan has issued 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 to resume hearing the case involving the former ambassador. And more recently, the Federal Investigation Agency has made a request to Interpol for a red warrant against Haqqani.

Now it has become the responsibility of Pakistani media to expose on every domestic forum those who betray the country so that greed and lust for power should not overcome patriotism.

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

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Atta Rasool Malik

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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