What’s cooking? Insert, Hussain Haqqani

By: | Muhammad Ali Azlan |

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The Hudson Institute is an American conservative non-profit think tank based in Washington, D.C.

It was founded in 1961 in Croton-on-Hudson, New York, by futurist, military strategist, and systems theorist Herman Kahn and his colleagues at the ‘RAND Corporation’.

A recent write-up from the premier security think-tank of America had the notorious Hussain Haqqani writing in collusion with miss Lisa Curtis, The article entitled “A New U.S. Approach to Pakistan: Enforcing Aid Conditions without Cutting Ties.”

Haqqani is currently a Senior Fellow and Director for South and Central Asia at the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C. and co-editor of Hudson’s signature journal “Current Trends in Islamist Ideology.”

Hussain Haqqani has been at the epicenter of  changing dynamics and varying American policies with regards to South Asia, particularly Pakistan.

Let’s refresh our memories about who the esteemed gentleman is and his “unforgettable” role in Pakistani Politics.

Haqqani worked as a journalist from 1980 to 1988, and then as political adviser for Nawaz Sharif and spokesperson for Benazir Bhutto. From 1992 to 1993 he was ambassador to Sri Lanka. In 1999, he was exiled following criticisms against the government of then-President Pervez Musharraf. From 2004 to 2008 he taught international relations at Boston University.]

He was appointed as Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States in April 2008, but his tenure ended after the Memogate incident, when the claim was made that he had been “insufficiently protective” of Pakistan’s interests.

A judicial commission was set up by the Supreme Court of Pakistan to probe the allegations against him. According to the commission’s report which was issued in June 2012, Haqqani was declared guilty of authoring a memo which called for direct US intervention into Pakistan, though Pakistan’s Supreme Court noted that, “the commission was only expressing an opinion”.

Haqqani worked as a journalist from 1980–88. He covered the war in Afghanistan for Voice of America radio; served as the Pakistan and Afghanistan correspondent for Far Eastern Economic Review; and worked in Hong Kong as the East Asian correspondent for the London-based Arabia: the Islamic World Review as well as the Jamaat-e-Islami newspaper Jasarat.

Haqqani started his political career at the University of Karachi, where he joined Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba, the student wing of the Jamaat-e-Islami and became president of the student union.

He started his national political career as a supporter of Zia-ul-Haq.

In 1988, he worked in the political campaign for an alliance led by Nawaz Sharif, who was subsequently elected Prime Minister. In 1990 he became Sharif’s special assistant and until 1992 functioned as his spokesman.

From 1993 to 1995, he was spokesman to Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

Haqqani reportedly asked a Pakistani American businessman Mansoor Ijaz to pass a message to the Americans and drafted a memorandum with Ijaz, at the request of then President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari upon the pretence that the Pakistani military was planning to intervene in the civilian governmental setup (planning a coup d’état).

Ijaz revealed this in an opinion column in the Financial Times in October 2011, and mentioned that the message was communicated in an undated and unsigned memo sent to Admiral Michael Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the US military. Later released to the press, the memo also spoke of a “unique window of opportunity” for the civilian government to gain the upper hand due to the military’s complicity in the Bin Laden affair.

Haqqani resigned but denied writing the memo. He was recalled to Pakistan and accused of high treason.

On the basis of a petition filed by the “PML-N”, the Supreme Court of Pakistan launched an investigation overriding the government, which had also started a parliamentary investigation.

The Wall Street Journal described Haqqani as “a hostage” while he was in Pakistan and published an interview with him from the Prime Minister’s house in which he outlined why he was hated by Pakistan’s intelligence services and “Jihadi” groups.

Michel Hirsh, writing in The Atlantic, described Haqqani as “The Last Friendly Pakistani” towards the US Jeffrey Goldberg, writing for The Atlantic and Bloomberg News, has been a consistent supporter of Haqqani, calling him “The Hardest Working Man in Washington”, Simon Tisdall of The Guardian called Haqqani “an instinctive ally of the west” and attributed Memogate to the ambassador’s difficult relationship with Pakistan intelligence service.

 

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