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Surviving on Delusions

by Khaled Ahmed
Illustration by Minhaj Ahmed Rafi

Illustration by Minhaj Ahmed Rafi

Husain Haqqani’s Magnificent Delusions tells you what Islamabad and Rawalpindi will not.

[dropcap]D[/dropcap]espite the change of guards in Islamabad and Rawalpindi, Pakistan is continuing to experience the consequences of its chronic misdiagnosis of terrorism.

Take Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province. Its government, led by Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, has blocked the NATO supply route through the province in a bid to force Washington into calling off its drone attacks—on Al Qaeda and Taliban terrorists—which it says result in the loss of innocent lives as collateral damage.

Few can protest against PTI because the rationale of its disruption of the supply route is based on an all-parties consensus in Pakistan against drone attacks. This consensus is based on yet another all-parties consensus tasking the Pakistani government with holding “peace” talks with the Taliban. Given the fact that 80 percent of Pakistanis, according to a recent survey, hate the United States, it appears as if Pakistan is set to pursue a Taliban-dictated change in its foreign policy. Another unavoidable perception is that, given Pakistan’s international isolation, the state is in the process of shifting its allegiance to the Taliban as legitimate rulers. The state survives on its robust delusion-dependency.

Defeated by terrorism and broken in spirit, people in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa are now gradually shifting their loyalty from the dysfunctional state to a new social contract with the Taliban, who they think will stop killing them under a superior Islamic order. This is a delusion encouraged by populist isolation. According to latest reports, the business community of the province pays “protection” money to the terrorists while ignoring the Federal Board of Revenue. The people have become submissive to terror under the leadership of Khan’s PTI: they had, in 2008, rejected the government of clerics close to the Taliban and elected the “secular” Awami National Party, only to see its leaders killed by suicide-bombers and the population decimated by IEDs.

The Taliban are issuing orders they believe will be carried out. They have warned the media against projecting the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government negatively, particularly Syed Munawar Hasan, chief of PTI ally Jamaat-e-Islami, who broke new ground in jurisprudence last month by declaring the Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud a “martyr” after he was killed by a drone. Shockingly, people in rural Sindh, fallen inconspicuously to the persuasive power of banned but renamed terrorist-religious organizations, have started rejecting polio vaccination of their children in tacit obeisance to the coming dominion of the Taliban. Many parts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa have already done so.

Some Pakistanis think it is wrong on the part of their leaders to succumb to populism aroused by terrorism and to embrace isolationism through an anti-America campaign. The Pakistan Army itself changed tack last August when its then-chief, Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, declared from Abbottabad that Pakistan was threatened from within (meaning the Taliban), and not from without (meaning India and the U.S.). And yet the powerful clerical-jihadist Defense of Pakistan Council organization has been allowed by its alleged patrons within the Army to demonstrate its massive nonstate-actor strength in the big cities, supporting jihad against both India and the U.S., thus indirectly rejecting the Kayani doctrine. Why is Pakistan behaving the way it is on the eve of another war that will start in the region by the end of 2014?

If you want to delve into the mystery of Pakistan as a state, the book to read is Magnificent Delusions: Pakistan, the United States, and an Epic History of Misunderstanding by Pakistan’s ex-ambassador to Washington Husain Haqqani, whose earlier thoughts in 2005’s Pakistan: between Mosque and Military on state conduct had deeply offended the Pakistan Army. Today’s delusion-based politics is traced by him to Pakistan’s national-security paradigm. Haqqani’s diagnosis is rare, but others share his opinion. A similar thematic shot-across-the-bow was fired earlier by ex-foreign secretary Riaz Muhammad Khan in his 2011 book Afghanistan and Pakistan: Conflict and Resistance to Modernity.

Birth of a Frozen Paradigm

[dropcap]B[/dropcap]efore we examine Haqqani’s diagnosis of the Pakistani state in Magnificent Delusions let’s examine the offense his earlier book gave to the Army, who finally got him to resign from his post as ambassador in 2011 leaning on the still-ongoing case against him of treason against the state at the Supreme Court.

In Pakistan: between Mosque and Military, Haqqani’s thesis was that Pakistani nationalism was shaped in an anti-India mold to favor the military during the early years and during interregnums when political parties ruled Pakistan under the tutelage of the military. By the time politicians realized that nationalism was actually helping the military remain on top, they had also become alive to the already-formed public mind that would not accept any alteration in nationalism without a trauma.

Haqqani investigated the doctrine of “strategic depth” that continues to fashion the Pakistani military’s worldview. He traces it, not to the timeline of Pakistan Army’s decision to support the Taliban, but to Aslam Siddiqi’s 1960 book Pakistan Seeks Security. Siddiqi leans on British jurist Alexander Fraser Tytler’s suggestion that the areas which today form Afghanistan and Pakistan be fused into one. Siddiqi’s typically military addendum to the theory was that since it can’t be done by force— “fusion will lead to confusion”—Islamic ideology may be put to use. Today this very formulation is recoiling on Pakistan in the shape of the Taliban, whose allegiance is to Mullah Omar, not to Pakistan.

What came first, the Army-sponsored India policy or Islamic extremism?

The India-centrism of this thinking is backed by an almost universal resistance in Pakistan to any changes in the anti-India curriculum of textbooks which the provinces will not change despite orders from the central government. The resistance is not only from the bent mind of the state machinery but also from the mind within the Army, who will not remove their nexus with nonstate actors they used in the past and might use again after 2014 when civil war breaks out in Afghanistan. There is reference in the book to Fazlur Rehman Khaleel of Harkat-ul-Mujahideen who was the logistics man of Osama bin Laden and had cosigned the 1998 fatwa of death against the Americans with him. He is still one of the central figures of the Defense of Pakistan Council in addition to Hafiz Saeed, the man for whose head the Americans will pay $10 million. He was in the camp, together with five Inter-Services Intelligence officers, when the U.S. unsuccessfully targeted bin Laden in Afghanistan after an Al Qaeda bombing of the American ship USS Cole in 2000.

Today, the Defense of Pakistan Council is widely accused of being a policy tool of the ISI, used to deter Islamabad from getting too friendly with India. Khaleel was once head of the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen fighting the state’s covert wars; he shared command with another terrorist wanted in India, Masood Azhar. Both were close to bin Laden, who was upset when they fell out, with the latter creating his own Jaish-e-Muhammad militia. Bin Laden helped financially in this split, compensating both. When Azhar was arrested in India while pursuing Pakistan’s proxy jihad, a secret plan was made to spring him from prison. An Indian airliner was hijacked and made to land in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan and its passengers swapped to free Azhar. The still-functional Mansehra camp near Abbottabad, training nonstate actors in terrorism, was set up by Azhar, as disclosed by Adnan Rasheed, an Air Force officer-turned-terrorist sprung by the Taliban from Bannu jail last year. Needles to say, bin Laden was living in Abbottabad for five years to be close to the camp he was allegedly funding.

What came first, the Army-sponsored India policy or Army-sponsored Islamic extremism? Haqqani ends the book proving that it was the India-centrism of Pakistan that finally brought it to Islamic extremism. The myth of India not accepting and spoiling to attack Pakistan was concocted and survives the acquisition of nuclear deterrence by Pakistan. The Army used jihad in the asymmetric war the world calls cross-border terrorism; it used the mosque to muster the warriors it needed to sharpen its revisionist irredentism.

Prophetically, Haqqani thought normalization of relations with India was the only available solvent to what the soldier and cleric had done to Pakistan. He desired the survival of Pakistan through change of policy in light of the theory of gradual adjustment to circumstances. But the Army desired longevity through consensual stasis based on the refusal to adjust.

Haqqani moved to the U.S. in 2002 after serving in the Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto governments in the 1990s. He produced his 2005 book while in exile and shared it with Bhutto and her husband, Asif Ali Zardari, while Sharif licked his wounds in exile in Saudi Arabia. Haqqani’s latest book draws from his work with both Bhutto and Sharif.

Delusions of Grandeur

[dropcap]I[/dropcap]n his latest book, Haqqani lays down his stance: “I have always been convinced that the United States remains a force for good in the world. Pakistan has benefited from its relations with the United States and would benefit even more if it could overcome erroneous assumptions about its own national security and role in the world. Instead of seeking close security ties based on false promises, Pakistan must face its history and diversity honestly, and it should be neither dependent on nor resentful of the world’s most powerful nation.”

He studied the relations between the United States and its other partners to “figure out why almost all post-World War II U.S. allies have found prosperity and stability through this partnership, whereas Pakistan has not.” But when he tried to reestablish Pakistan-U.S. relations on mutual trust as ambassador, the “major power centers in my own country resisted my vision,” he writes. The ISI was let loose on him; the anti-U.S. media in Pakistan was likewise unleashed with accusations against him of safeguarding U.S. interests and helping the CIA expand its network of spies in Pakistan.

Islam and nationalism were the passwords with which even the erudite Pakistani approached the Pakistan-America equation. There was grave moral doubt not unmixed with self-flagellation about the conduct of Pakistan in getting involved with the global hegemon. The pragmatism of foreign policy was booby-trapped with piety. On the other hand, the U.S. found fault with Pakistan as an ally on the following counts: Pakistan developed nuclear weapons while promising the United States that it would not; the U.S. helped arm and train mujahideen against the Soviets during the 1980s, but Pakistan chose to keep these militants well-armed and sufficiently funded even after the Soviet withdrawal in 1989; and from the American perspective, Pakistan’s crackdown on terrorist groups, particularly after 9/11, was half-hearted at best.

I.Q. Ambushed by Ideology

[dropcap]W[/dropcap]hile serving in Sharif’s government in 1992, Haqqani saw the prime minister receive a letter of protest from the-then U.S. Secretary of State James Baker through Ambassador Nicholas Platt “which he left unread on his table.” He saw that during the meeting of the bigwigs of the state convened to discuss the letter—including the Army chief and ISI head—the letter was still lying unopened in front of him. Sharif asked Haqqani to summarize its contents while the prime minister himself “gave instructions to his staff regarding snacks he wanted served to all of us—Sharif often asked for specific food items during meetings, as if it helped him concentrate his mind.”

Haqqani noted that the letter contained the following plaints: “Your intelligence service, the [ISI], and elements of the Army, are supporting Kashmiri and Sikh militants who carry out acts of terrorism, providing weapons, training, and assistance in infiltration. We’re talking about direct covert government of Pakistan support.” There was no reaction from the various pillars of the national-security establishment except from ISI chief Javed Nasir—notorious for an I.Q. effectively ambushed by “high-church” Islam, complete with a flowing beard—who spoke first and wrongly accused Platt of being a Jew working for the alleged Indo-Zionist lobby.

In the case of Nasir, the prime minister had grievously erred in his selection of ISI chief. Take a sampling of the level of intellect of the Pakistani state as Nasir spoke: “The jihad in Kashmir is at a critical stage and cannot be disrupted. We have been covering our tracks so far and will cover them even better in the future. These are empty threats. The United States could not declare Pakistan a terrorist state because of our strategic importance. The Saudis and Pakistan are America’s only allies in the greater Middle East, so the United States needs Pakistan to deal with the changing situation in Muslim Central Asia after the Soviet collapse. All we need to do is to buy more time and improve our diplomatic effort. The focus should be on Indian atrocities in Kashmir, not on our support for the Kashmiri resistance.”

Will Kayani’s successor take Pakistan out of its delusional worldview based on deceit?

What was the effect of this patently idiotic strategic positioning? Prime Minister Sharif “agreed with Nasir’s assessment, which reflected the consensus of the meeting.” Only Haqqani and the foreign secretary argued that Pakistan needed to reconsider Pakistani support for Kashmiri militants as “it would undermine Pakistani diplomacy, get Pakistan labeled a terrorism sponsor, and was unlikely to result in a settlement of the Kashmir dispute.” The foreign secretary actually said that Pakistan would probably be more successful by focusing on diplomacy and political action in favor of the Kashmiris instead of “setting off bombs.” Nasir’s response, a cliché that echoes on cable TV even today when retired military officers fulminate against India, was that “the Hindus do not understand any language other than force.”

The meeting finally dismissed the concerns raised in Baker’s letter. Sharif said, “As long as Pakistan could be useful to the United States, the United States would remain favorably disposed toward Pakistan.” The ISI chief was sure he knew how to take care of the CIA: “We know what they need and we give it to them in bits and pieces to keep them happy.” On this, Sharif said, “It is important to talk to Americans nicely while doing whatever you have to,” and that “there are always enough disagreements among American policymakers that anyone can find someone who supports them.”

According to Sharif, Pakistan could deal with allegations of sponsoring terrorism by reaching out to the American media and Congress. He would allocate $2 million “as the first step” for that purpose and announced at the meeting that Haqqani “would be in charge of this expanded lobbying effort.” Haqqani adds: “He did not allow me to speak, and I had to wait until the next day to turn down the assignment.”

The Army chief, Gen. Jehangir Karamat, whom the prime minister was to get rid of later, made some sane remarks. He said that it was not in Pakistan’s interest to get into a confrontation with the United States, but “we cannot shut down military operations against India either.” He suggested that Pakistan get off the hook with the United States by making some changes in its pattern of support for the Kashmiri militancy without shutting down the entire clandestine operation—and that is precisely the policy Pakistan adopted over the next few years until Gen. Pervez Musharraf switched off the jihad in 2003 after committing the blunder of Kargil and overthrowing the intellectually-unfocused prime minister.

This meeting decided Haqqani’s future in a way. Disagreeing with what was said in the meeting, he wished to resign, but was instead sent as ambassador to Sri Lanka.

Fear of a Liberated Intellect

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he book is not introspective enough to take us through the process of Haqqani’s intellectual transformation—from the salad days of dragging the steel ball of state ideology around his ankle as a member of the youth wing of Jamaat-e-Islami to the realization of long kept-on-hold self-realization as he grew up to face the realities of state power—but it nevertheless points the way to how Pakistan can get out of the choppy waters of military-led ideology of war-making on borrowed money.

The military leaned on jihad to frontload its narrative. It had the scope of delusional innovation too, as Gen. Aslam Beg, made Army chief in 1988, once told Haqqani: “Pakistan needs to show its spine to the United States; a nuclear Pakistan would tie up with Iran and China in order to create a third pole in a multipolar world.” The general had no clue about the Chinese mind and was obviously not reading the carefully worded signals from Beijing, busy at that very moment to “normalizing” its relations with India.

But Beg was stupidly “defiant” while a wilier ISI chief Hamid Gul went on duping the Americans into thinking he was their man while advancing a more lethal and Islamist version of Beg’s view of how “the ISI could wage covert wars throughout the region and change Pakistan’s fortunes.” Today, in the aftermath of bin Laden’s discovery in Abbottabad, Gul is busy trundling out the story that bin Laden had actually died his natural death in 2005 and that the 2011 U.S. operation which killed him was a “put-up” job. One Supreme Court judge has actually been heard in private repeating the story, an obvious plant from a divided national-security establishment.

The ISI briefed Bhutto about the Taliban’s rise as a local phenomenon. She worried about their reported misogyny and their propensity for violence and asked Haqqani for his views on the ISI position that “they could bring peace to Afghanistan and secure Pakistan’s interests”: “I said that the ISI had previously said the same thing about Pakhtun warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. Bhutto agreed but laughed saying that we civilians could not stop the ISI even if we wanted to.”

Ijlal Zaidi, a senior bureaucrat serving Bhutto, was worried about the “Talban’s core beliefs,” wondering whether madrassah students with a narrow worldview and no modern education were equipped to run a country: “They will ruin whatever is left of Afghanistan. They will kill the Shia and then they will come after Pakistan.” Haqqani observes: “The ISI’s Maj. Gen. Aziz Khan said he could not understand why so many people in the Bhutto government were so averse to the spread of Islam.” This was a clear pointer to the crux of the crisis that now engulfs Pakistan: the ideology of the state of Pakistan is the same as that of the Taliban, whose “purity” stands as a living rebuke to politicians grappling with the pragmatism of living in the present world. Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. recognized the Taliban government in 1996, but Pakistan was the only country to allow them an embassy on its soil.

ISI’s Khan probably knew where he was taking Pakistan. He was the architect under Musharraf of the infamous Kargil Operation, which even China condemned at the U.N. Security Council as it came to grief. The jihadists became a part of the ISI’s covert ambition to conquer countries other than Afghanistan. Bhutto had been warned about it but could do nothing. She was told by the Philippines government during a visit that Pakistanis were fighting alongside Muslim extremists battling for autonomy in Mindanao. Russia said they were among the Islamists fighting in Chechnya. Arab governments in Egypt, Algeria, and Jordan also complained that their terrorists were among those living in Pakistan since the anti-Soviet Afghan jihad: “But when the issue was raised in government meetings, ISI and Interior Ministry officials dismissed the reports as Western propaganda.”

Double-dealing Mind

[dropcap]C[/dropcap]ould Pakistan help all this? Sharif told the-then deputy secretary of the U.S. State Department Strobe Talbott that he was helpless in the face of military dominance combined with the coercive power of the fundamentalists: “If he wanted what the Americans wanted—to not test the bomb—Talbott would find himself dealing not with a clean-shaven moderate like himself but instead with an Islamic fundamentalist.” But he had the son of old dictator Gen. Ayub Khan, Gohar Ayub, heading the Foreign Office, which recited the Army’s line to all comers, accompanied by foreign secretary Shamshad Ahmad, who symbolized the Foreign Office bureaucracy as a satrapy of the Army where diplomats advanced the thinking of General Headquarters. Talking to Talbott, Ayub would call India a “habitual aggressor and hegemon” and describe the United States as “a fair-weather friend.” When Talbott spoke, “Ayub and Foreign Secretary Ahmad rolled their eyes, mumbled imprecations under their breath, and constantly interrupted.”

In his 2004 book Engaging India: Diplomacy, Democracy and the Bomb, Talbott writes: “While [Indian foreign minister] Jaswant Singh’s team was highly disciplined, some of Shamshad Ahmad’s colleagues tended to be querulous, surly, and sometimes abusive. On one occasion, early in our dealings, a member of the Pakistani delegation exploded at our observation that his country seemed always to react in kneejerk fashion to Indian moves. He rose out of his chair and lunged at Bruce Riedel or me, depending on whose neck he could get his fingers around first. He had to be physically restrained.” The said Pakistani diplomat was later sent as ambassador to the U.S. by the Sharif government.

Haqqani discloses that the 2008 Mumbai attacks, which Pakistan refuses to own as linked to its covert war strategy against India, were carried out by Pakistanis and quotes ISI chief Shuja Pasha as admitting to CIA director Michael Hayden that “the planners of the Mumbai attacks included some retired Pakistan Army officers” and that “the attackers had ISI links, but this had not been an authorized ISI operation.” This remark is significant because it signals splits of strategic ideology within the Army. When in 1996, the warlord controlling Kabul, Ahmad Shah Massoud paraded on TV ISI officers arrested while fighting on the side of the Taliban, Islamabad’s response was the same: these were retired officers.

Is the Army split on ideology between the normal India-centric officer and the ideological jihadist officer who also wants Pakistan changed on the lines advocated by the Taliban? Is the Army actually reconciled with Kayani’s Abbottabad doctrine that Pakistan is threatened from within? Was he under threat from the same elements who tried to kill Musharraf for his pro-America and anti-jihad policy tweaks in the past? Are the generals acting as guardians of national security with an ear cocked to what the ideological elements within are saying about them? Or, like Pasha, are all of them using extremism to extract more concessions from the U.S., which has actually been defeated in Afghanistan by the Afghan policy pursued by Rawalpindi?

Haqqani’s book offers evidence that the ISI dangerously stoked the fires of honor-based, intense nationalism to scare the U.S. into offering more assistance to a “beleaguered” Pakistani leadership: “Pasha and the ISI continued to propel hypernationalist sentiment. Pasha once told me that this was one of the few tools Pakistan had for leveraging itself in an asymmetric relationship,” writes Haqqani.

Split from Within

[dropcap]H[/dropcap]aqqani believes that Pakistan and the U.S. are embarked on mutually opposed policies in Afghanistan; plus Pakistan is also under an ideological siege that views the U.S. as a hegemon in decline hobnobbing with India to the detriment of Pakistan’s own India strategy. He recommends to both sides to come clean on their strategic targets and reestablish the current edifice of mutual distrust and fear on a more pragmatic footing. He is more critical of Pakistan in light of the “scandals” it endlessly spawns because of its internal lack of cohesion.

Read this chastening passage: “Soon after the Abbottabad raid, [U.S. special envoy Marc] Grossman and CIA Deputy Director Michael Morrell traveled to Islamabad to propose actions that Pakistan could take to build confidence in its commitment to fight terrorism. They shared intelligence about a bomb-making factory run by the Haqqani network in North Waziristan. According to the CIA, Al Qaeda as well as the Taliban and Pakistani jihadist groups used improvised-explosive devices made at this factory. Kayani and Pasha promised that the Pakistan Army would send in troops to shut down the illicit factory. A few days later the CIA sent time-stamped photographs showing the facility being dismantled hours before the Army’s arrival. The dismantling began after a man on a motorcycle went into the factory, thus leading to speculation that he had come to tip off the terrorists about the impending Army operation.”

Kayani who handled the Afghan policy has retired. Will his successor take Pakistan out of its delusional worldview based on deceit? In September 2011, Kayani’s American counterpart and friend Adm. Mike Mullen testified to the U.S. Congress that the Haqqani network was “a veritable arm” of Pakistan’s ISI and that anti-India terror organization Lashkar-e-Taiba was part of the Pakistani government’s policy and served Islamabad’s interests. After that, the ISI broke with the CIA and the Army broke with the Pentagon. And now Pakistan is afloat on the basis of the unconvincing policy that the Americans should stop their drone attacks without demanding that Pakistan expel Afghan terrorists from North Waziristan.

In 2013, Nawaz Sharif is back, presiding over a Pakistan on the verge of bankruptcy and in need of international help; in 1998, he was in a similar situation after stealing the thunder of the Army by testing the nuclear bomb. Caught in a spiral of inflation and terrorism-induced capital flight, he is endangered by public anger and the rising tide of pro-Taliban defiance of the United States. Will his partial acquiescence in the country’s shift of allegiance to the Taliban save him and the country? Elements in the Army are still believed to be backing warlike organizations such as the Defense of Pakistan Council to restrict his options of survival.

Haqqani gets the last word here. “Pakistan cannot pursue its dreams of being India’s military equal by seeking American aid,” he writes. “If $40 billion in U.S. aid has not won Pakistani hearts and minds, billions more will not do the trick. Unless Pakistanis define their national interest differently from how their leaders have for over six decades, the U.S.-Pakistan alliance is only a mirage. The relationship needs redefinition, based on recognition of divergent interests and an acknowledgement of mutual mistrust. Only then will Pakistan and the United States share the same reality.”

From our Dec. 21, 2013, issue.

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Pakistani December 16, 2013 - 10:30 pm

Khaled Ahmed has a gift. I wish someone would heed to his advise on changing narratives.

Sajid Ali Khan (@Sajid_Ali_Khan) December 18, 2013 - 9:56 pm

In this column Khalid Ahmed seems to have swallowed H.Haqqani’s self-important view of the world. E.g. …Haqqani lays down his stance: “I have always been convinced that the United States remains a force for good in the world… .” Balmy. Just take the USA’s blitz on Iraq, justified by a pack of lies. And the earlier blitz on a more or less defenceless Afghanistan on 7th Oct 2001 – on of the most grotesque attacks of modern history. Haqqani seems, on the evidence of Ahmed’s column that it was the Pakistan state who should obey his views rather than he, as ambassador for Pakistan, should be obliged to put Pakistan’s views to the USA. And so on.

Nassr December 19, 2013 - 5:15 pm

The boundaries between secular or religiosity based nationalist ideologies of redemption through revisionist irredentism are inextricable blurred. Different peoples have followed such paradigms for centuries despite its failures or the successes thus gained. It is similar to the Zionists naming their settlements in Israel after ancient biblical towns and their children after Old Testament heroes because the land conquered in 1967 was returned to its rightful owners as promised to their biblical ancestors, by the God. The sacralized Hinduization of Indian nationalism generated a reciprocal response through a Two Nation Theory that led to the partition of sub-continent in 1947. The constitutional democracy based on universal suffrage did not emerge from popular pressures from within the Indian society and neither was it wrested by the people from the state. It was given to them by the political choice of an intellectual elite. And now, the emergence of revisionist irredentism and sacralized Indian identity has become a reality through religious politicization of its Indian Hindu polity. The counter currents do tend to stop or limit such a spread and success would be gained by those who retain the majority. In India’s case, surprisingly the religious extremism exercised through revisionist irredentism is winning. However in the case of Pakistan the religious extremists are not gaining through use to terror and would ultimately lose, but not before causing more suffering and pain. The problem with Haqqanis of Pakistan is that they smack of a colonial master-slave heritage. Instead of identifying Pakistan’s interests they tend to equate these as deceit as if no other nation safeguarded its interests through such deceit, as it were. I wonder if he has mentioned American deceit as compared to our right to survive through tribulations generated not by us, irrespective of our own weaknesses. No mention of US clandestine operations and spread of Indian supported terror inside Pakistan – ofcourse not, as it would diminish the viability of his objectivity.

Samandar kay us par (@zukham) December 19, 2013 - 9:44 pm

What else is there to say?
Army in Pakistan has always been and will remain the prime threat to country’s own existence.
Unfortunately there aren’t lot of sane voices like Hussein Haqqani.

Hashim Ali Khan December 19, 2013 - 10:20 pm

lets Face the Facts we Pakistanis has lost the war against TTP and Now the Defacto rulers of FATA and KPK are Talibans. Thank You very Much Imran Khan, Syed Munawar Hasan, Mian Nawaz Sharif and Ansar Abbasi for confusing the Nation and making them lose the will to resist. NOW LETS NEGOTIATE SURRENDER

wajih December 21, 2013 - 12:21 pm

The review is confusing at one point where it discusses a meeting where a letter from US was being discussed and says that Army Chief Karamat made some sane remarks during the meeting. Now the time frame in which the meeting seems to have taken place is 1990-91 when Hussain Haqqani was information secretary in first Nawaz government and bearded lt Gen Javed Nasir was the ISI chief. At at time Beg and later Asif Nawaz were the army chief. Karamat only become chief in 1996 and asked to resign during the second tenure of Nawaz as PM. In this way the article quotes book of narrating Karamat’s comments in a meeting as army chief in 1990-1 when he was five years away from taking on the post.

R R Tanoli January 17, 2014 - 11:04 pm

After reading the book, I have decided with a firm belief to give a point by point rebuttal of this fallacious account including sponsored mythologies, bigoted narratives, distorted references and erroneous beliefs. Hussain Haqqani undoubtedly “The Traitor”, already renowned for his malicious activities against our military and intelligence agencies is incapable of looking at the past objectively or with any kind of intellectual ability. The objectives of this book are as treasonous as the contents and intentions of memo case.
The crux of the whole book is to promote issues of identity in Pakistan with prime emphasis is to disparage our national symbols and characters, maligning our armed forces, raising questions on our nuclear capabilities, promoting secularism and trying to tarnish our image in the international forum.
There is no doubt that Pakistan has a turbulent history since inception but the most unfortunate thing that happened to the country is the bulk of traitors trying to denigrate the very existence of Pakistan. The Muslims of sub-continent added through a river of blood to reach Pakistan and they offered countless sacrifices. Undoubtedly our forefathers have achieved their national purpose but after the independence the most important issue is the defense of Pakistan, which is of two types:-
a. The defense of ideological frontiers
b. The defense of geographical frontiers
This book is primarily designed to tempt people against the ideology of Pakistan and to stimulate misinterpretation regarding two nations theory. One can only pity those who refuse to accept that Pakistan is an Islamic ideological state or those who say that the creation of Pakistan (God forbid) was the greatest sin (Later the same group raised the issue of Pashtunistan!). Still worse, they neither leave Pakistan nor stop spitting venom against her and even continue to interfere in her affairs. Likes of them are indeed called “hypocrites” by the Holy Quran. Their state has been described in these words: (They are) distracted in mind even in the midst of it, Being (sincerely) for neither one group nor for another….” (IV – 143).
One would tend to believe that their outward stance is merely a way of earning money as only one statement in the paper against Pakistan would be sufficient to fetch them rewards from our enemies from within and without. It is indeed the easiest means of earning money. How can a country win wars if it has been changed from its ideological basis? The country which is already entangled with Taliban led militancy, nationalist insurgency; ethnic political and sectarian violence is a lucrative target to be exploited on the ideological fronts. The defense of ideological frontiers of Pakistan thus implies that we should watch and guard against the activities of such unsuspecting, but deadly enemies of Pakistan.
The first step towards identifying the contours of response to the defense of our geographical frontiers is the correct perception of threat. Enemies are applying direct as well as indirect strategies, which include naked aggression, subversion, cultural offensive, economic aid offensive, technical aid offensive and the so called peace offensive. We must wake up to assess and respond to the seemingly innocuous but otherwise more dangerous dimensions of the threat. There are many vulnerabilities that undermine the security of Pakistan and has been exploited by our enemies and among them India stands first. To cite Ehsan Mehmood Khan, “Due to the history and nature of their relationship, Pakistan and India are expected to remain embroiled in a war of weapons or of words.”
As far as Indians mindset and traits are concerned, these are well defined by Naveed Tajamal (Investigative Historical Researcher) that, “Hindus will always sing sweet songs as a lullaby, yet hone the blades, to plunge as and when given the chance.” We are used to Indian routine to indulge in war mongering every few years or so. They have never accepted the reality of our independence since inception and are still singing the song of Maha Bharat. Their entire doctrines are based on the devilish Chanakian philosophy. To cite Raja Mujtaba, “Indian track record suggests that whenever they want to launch any offensive against Pakistan be it military, diplomatic or political, they stage activities at home and throw the blame on Pakistan.”
No Muslim can relax having known the unholy intentions of Hindus but the pseudo intellectuals like Mr. Haqqani generated the paid narratives that Pakistan has always used the aid to purchase equipments that could be used in a war against her neighbors. He doesn’t know that our military strategy is based on Defensive-Offensive doctrine contrary to the Indians whose doctrine is Offensive-Defensive. The writer accused Pakistan with the unproven allegation that Pakistan government is willing using her soil to mount terrorist attacks on another country. Behind this idea, he is supporting the idea of our enemies to declare Pakistan as an epicenter of terrorism by the UN to get legitimacy to freely trash the freedom movement in Kashmir and would have further extended it to attack Pakistan in the same cover. Had his conscience been alive and his heart blessed with the ability to identify the truth, he would have actually told the facts.
Furthermore, the relations between Pakistan and US always remained unpredictable because historically it is proven that US always used Pakistan for her interests and then dumped us. US has a history of allying with weaker nation to fulfill its own agenda of balance in a given region and later to abandon the allies. Pakistan has a good experience of dealing with the US as an ‘ally’ and can thus opine better. After 9/11, the great game for economic gains has once again emerged in this part of the world and brought Pakistan into lime light. Once again we have seen that the US wants to exploit its position to use Asian trade routes to her own advantage to fulfill the global designs. On the other hand US has many good reasons to see India as a strategic partner and has vital interests in a balance of power in this region within the bounds of US agenda. Therefore India is playing a central role in the US security calculus which is clearly manifested in the unprecedented expansion of Indian military capabilities.
This poses great security challenge to Pakistan when viewed in the Indian hegemonic perspective. It would be a do or die situation for Pakistan. In that case Pakistan would be at liberty to practice whatever it has in the arsenal. On the other hand, the writer made a hue and cry on the military budget but forget the divine rule of Allah that is, “Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power, including steeds of war, to strike terror into (the hearts of) the enemies of Allah and your enemies and others besides whom ye may not know but whom Allah doth know. Whatever ye shall spend in the case of Allah shall be repaid unto you, and ye shall not be treated unjustly. (VIII-60)
Similarly, in my view, the relationship between the US and Pak in geopolitics, arms transfer and economic assistance through the early years and since have not only made the headlines but have also received pronounced academic attention. To the contrary, areas of cultural exchange, academic bilateralism, training programs and their impact on Pakistani society and to the lesser extent on its American counterpart are the least explored aspects of the US-Pak relationship.
He simply doesn’t know the distinction between national and international forces, and between the economic and security dimensions of foreign policy. The link between geography and foreign policy is the crux of international politics. Besides that it is much better to subdue the enemy without fighting in keeping with the Sun Tzu’s maxims. This precept is being used in the modern warfare, which is much more deceptive and deceitful compared with the traditional meaning and manifestation of war. This is happening with Pakistan nowadays. The labels of “failed state”, State sponsoring terrorism, the most corrupt state etc are part of an intense psychological campaign against us. If we continue measuring ourselves with the yardstick that the west devised for us, we will never come out of the defeatism and negativism that have afflicted us. We must understand the psychological war and guard ourselves against it.
This book is the deliberate butchery of history that “The Traitor” undertook in his rather mediocre and one sided piece. Misinterpretation of Quaid e Azam M Ali Jinnah is the treacherous crime committed by the maniac. He does not lose any opportunity in this book to spit venom against the Great Leader Quaid. As if Jinnah would care to receive respect from him. My opinion for The Traitor is to join the Hindus and their western patrons whom he supported all his live and whom he holds in high esteem even now. He is shamelessly obdurate. He presented the narrow vision of Islam and wanted to promote secularism despite the fact already cleared that Islam is not just a religion but a complete way of life then how come Islam is not a political religion. There is a vast difference between Christen concept of religion and Islamic concept. It is ridiculous from Islamic point of view to believe that Allah is to be obeyed in private life alone and he is incapable of guiding our collective life. The writer is extremely confused and coward because he does not have guts to respond to the west leveling allegations against Islam out of sheer malice and at this time he would like to hide his face, purely because of his lack of faith and intense inferiority complex.
This book is once again the same untruth and lies like his previous work that formed the basis of much confusion and chaos. We should mark them because there is no room for negligence when it comes to deal with the enemies of Pakistan. The people of Pakistan must know them very well because these self styled “secularist liberals” are severely damaging our solidarity and enhancing hatred among masses. One wonders what possesses him to write so viciously. The version of history he is trying to sell has been long discarded by objective writers and historians. But one thing is sure that he will be remembered in the history as The Traitor.


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