Saturday, February 7, 2015

Debunking Haqqani's Op Ed: "Pakistan's Elusive Quest For Parity"

"The alphabet agencies—ISI, RAW, and so forth—are often the chosen instrument of state policy when there is a conventional (and now a nuclear) balance of power, and the diplomatic route seems barren."  Stephen Cohen

"Pakistan is India’s rival in real terms only as much as Belgium could rival France or Germany and Vietnam could hope to be on a par with China. India’s population is six times larger than Pakistan’s while its economy is 10 times the size of the Pakistani economy. Notwithstanding internal problems, India’s $2 trillion economy has managed consistent growth whereas Pakistan’s $245 billion economy has grown sporadically."  Husain Haqqani

Contrast the words of Husain Haqqani, the disgraced former Pakistan Ambassador to Washington, with the statement of Stephen Cohen,  a seasoned US expert on South Asia, with regards to  India-Pakistan "balance" or "parity". Also note the lack of Haqqani's basic arithmetic skill in his India-Pakistan GDP comparison. The ratio of $2 trillion (exaggerated as of now) to $245 billion is closer to 8, not 10.

Haqqani's latest Op Ed in The Hindu is part of his continuing campaign to please his western and Indian patrons by launching periodic attacks on Pakistan. It makes sense for him. His main target are the book buyers in the United States and India which represent two of the three biggest markets for books in English.

Anyone who has read Haqqani's "Magnificent Delusions" is struck by the fact that almost all of his research is based on  the work of press reporters like Time-Life's photographer Margaret Bourke-White and her fellow American journalists.  Haqqani finds them more credible and insightful than Jinnah, Liaquat, Truman, Eisenhower, Dulles and other top leaders and policy-makers. If one really analyses Haqqani's narrative, one has to conclude that Pakistanis are extraordinarily clever in deceiving the United States and its highly sophisticated policymakers who have been taken for a ride by Pakistanis for over 6 decades.

Haqqani's latest salvo "Pakistan's Elusive Quest For Parity" published in Indian newspaper "The Hindu" begs the following questions:

1.  Why would any country, including Pakistan, wish to seek parity with India which is only slightly better than Afghanistan  in South Asia region in terms of multi-dimensional poverty assessed by Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OHDI)?

2. Why would any country, including Pakistan, wish for parity with India where a farmer commits suicide every 30 minutes?

3. Why would any country, including Pakistan, strive for parity with India where nearly two-thirds of the population still defecates in the open?

4. Why would Pakistan want parity with India which suffers some of the heaviest disease burdens in the world?

5. Why would any country, including Pakistan, seek parity with India which leads the world in child marriages?

6. Why would Pakistan seek parity with India which has among the highest levels of poverty in the world?

Finally, it's important to note that Haqqani's Op Ed plays right into the Indian obsession with Pakistan as manifested in the continuing India-Pakistan de-hyphenation debate.

For the last several years, Indian elites have been quite obsessed about de-hyphenating their country from Pakistan and fusing it with China by inventing such words as "Chindia". However, it's also clear from the Indian media reactions to Kerry's words that India's rivalry with Pakistan inflames far more passion in India than does India's self-proclaimed competition with China.

Robert Kaplan of Stratfor questions the Indian policy elite's obsession with hyphenation with China in a recent piece as follows:

Indian elites can be obsessed with China, even as Chinese elites think much less about India. This is normal. In an unequal rivalry, it is the lesser power that always demonstrates the greater degree of obsession. For instance, Greeks have always been more worried about Turks than Turks have been about Greeks. China's inherent strength in relation to India is more than just a matter of its greater economic capacity, or its more efficient governmental authority.

Kaplan goes on to say the following about India-Pakistan hyphenation:

The best way to gauge the relatively restrained atmosphere of the India-China rivalry is to compare it to the rivalry between India and Pakistan. India and Pakistan abut one another. India's highly populated Ganges River Valley is within 480 kilometers (300 miles) of Pakistan's highly populated Indus River Valley. There is an intimacy to India-Pakistan tensions that simply does not apply to those between India and China. That intimacy is inflamed by a religious element: Pakistan is the modern incarnation of all of the Muslim invasions that have assaulted Hindu northern India throughout history. And then there is the tangled story of the partition of the Asian subcontinent itself to consider -- India and Pakistan were both born in blood together.

It's a rarely acknowledged  fact in India that most Indians are far more obsessed with Pakistan than any other country. But the ruling dynasty's Rahul Gandhi, the man widely expected to be India's future prime minister, did confirm it, according to a news report by America's NPR Radio. "I actually feel we give too much time in our minds to Pakistan," said Rahul Gandhi at a leadership meeting of  the Indian National Congress in 2009.

The rise of the new media and  the emergence of the "Internet Hindus", a term coined by Indian journalist Sagarika Ghose, has removed all doubts about many Indians' Pakistan obsession. She says the “Internet Hindus are like swarms of bees". "They come swarming after you"  pouncing on any mention of Pakistan or Muslims.

Here's a video demolishing the Chindia myth:

No Indian miracle by faizanmaqsood1010

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

India-Pakistan Economic Comparison 2014

An Indian Farmer Commits Suicide Every 30 Minutes

Challenging Gall-Haqqani-Paul Narrative of Pakistan

MPI Shows Depth of Deprivation in India

India Leads the World in Open Defecation

India Leads the World in Child Marriages

India's Share of World's Poor Jumps to 33%

India-Pakistan De-Hyphenation Debate


Mike Z. said...

comments on Haqani are right on the money!

Akber S. said...

Dear Riaz Sahib
While I would like to acknowledge and express appreciation of every one of your "musings", let me do it once to cover all. Excellent, informative and relevant are the words I choose. Thank you for all the hard work it must take to produce this quality consistently.

zorro said...

Riaz sahib, when in america, have you ever touch shoulders with haqqani and what are the thoughts of pak expats on haqqani?...

Riaz Haq said...

zorro: "have you ever touch shoulders with haqqani and what are the thoughts of pak expats on haqqani?...'

Yes, I have met the man a few times before and during his brief ambassadorship. Needless to say he's not popular among Pakistani expats in the US.

He was known as the "most undiplomatic diplomat" who was least concerned about representing Pakistan's position in Washington. But he is some liberals' darling in Pakistan these days.

Here are a couple of posts I wrote about him:

Riaz Haq said...

All very nice, but perhaps it’s not the upward revision to the growth rate we should concentrate on.

For one, despite expectations of an increase in absolute GDP by up to 10 per cent, we got a verdict of “no change”. Colour those, like Mishra, who saw room for a serious upgrade, surprised. More on that below from Capital Economics but, for comparison, the past three series changes have coincided with upward revisions to the GDP, led mostly by services.

This time the services component of GDP was cut even as industry was boosted. As Mishra said on Monday, the change “does make GDP less lop-sided: industry is now 31% (from 25%), services 51% (57%)”, but:

All three industry components: mining, manufacturing and construction were raised. We expected this, and resulted from a larger data set (500,000 enterprises vs. 2500 earlier). For what it’s worth, in our view agriculture is still under- reported: as an example, in the new livestock census (that fed into this GDP), we had noticed the poultry population didn’t reflect the growth in chicken meat consumption and exports. Buffalo population was also incongruent with rising beef exports.

The biggest surprise though is on the cut to services GDP: the largest cut coming from trade and transport. This is a bit counter-intuitive as millions of new stores have sprouted up all over the country.

And here’s Capital Economics’ Shilan Shah with more of the confusing aspects of the revision:

1) What’s happened to nominal GDP? On the market price measure of GDP (which the Statistics Office has said it will now use instead of the factor price series) nominal GDP in FY13/14 was almost identical to what it was under the old methodology, while estimates for FY11/12 were revised lower. (See Chart 1.) We find this puzzling, as downward GDP revisions following rebasing exercises are unusual in emerging economies. Normally, rebasing uncovers new or under-measured sources of activity. It also seems an improbably coincidence that overall nominal GDP for the last fiscal year was the same even as weights of different components have shifted. (See Chart 2.) This would imply that the effect of giving more weight of faster growing sectors almost exactly offset the effect of giving less weight to slower growing ones.

2) What do the revised data mean for key macro indicators? Much of the comment has focussed on the fact that the revised data would imply a smaller current account deficit, and a healthier fiscal position. But given that nominal GDP has remained almost exactly the same, this isn’t the case.

3) What do the revisions tell us about growth in the current fiscal year? In short, not a lot. The revisions have yet to be applied to quarterly data from this fiscal year, meaning that the latest GDP numbers are redundant for now. We suspect that the most recent quarters will be revised on 9th February, when data for Q3 of FY14/15 are due.

4) Are the new GDP data consistent with other indicators? The revisions are difficult to square with other indicators pointing to continued slack in the economy. Even if we discard the industrial production data (which presumably now also need rebasing), soft survey data show that capacity utilisation is low. There is plenty of evidence in the hard data too. For example, vehicle sales contracted by nearly 7% in the last fiscal year. The revisions also jar with movements in the current account deficit, which narrowed sharply in FY13/14. Admittedly, this was in part due to the imposition of gold import restrictions as policymakers aimed to fend off a currency crisis. But imports more generally also fell sharply in this period, suggesting a cooling-off in domestic demand. It is extremely rare for an economy to record such as sharp pick-up in growth even as domestic demand slowed so dramatically.

Sadiq said...

Congratulation for such a nice patriotic and logical analysis of Haqqani propaganda and disinformation. Haqqani (jissay izzat ras na aai) is on a mission following her leader Benazir to dig the roots of Pakistan.

Please keep it up.

Riaz Haq said...

India’s “new and improved” GDP statistics are asking investors to suspend their disbelief. Revised data suggests that growth zoomed in the year to last March, just as the country tightened fiscal and monetary policies to tame inflation, narrow the current account deficit and prevent a currency crisis. Such a thing has not happened in any major economy in at least three decades.

The new calculations, released on Jan. 30, have moved the measurement of national income closer to international norms. But in doing so, India’s official statisticians have produced a puzzling new version of history: the old numbers put the expansion in output in fiscal 2014 at a pedestrian 4.7 percent. Under the new method, growth that year accelerated to 6.9 percent.

The original number was more realistic, and not just because a second year of sub-5 percent growth played a role in helping opposition leader Narendra Modi become prime minister with a landslide election victory.

In the first quarter of that fiscal year the U.S. Federal Reserve hinted at tapering its quantitative easing programme. The rupee collapsed as investors baulked at financing large external deficits in emerging markets. India had to raise interest rates, restrict gold imports and curb budgetary excesses. Though a cheaper currency helped boost exports somewhat, oil prices were still high. The massive fall in imports couldn’t have taken place without domestic demand taking a hit.

By the end of the fiscal year, India’s dependence on foreign capital inflows had dropped by 3 percentage points of GDP. The amended statistics show the same picture. But this lesson in self-reliance now appears to have been puzzlingly painless. The new calculations show growth accelerating by 1.8 percentage points, from a revised 5.1 percent in fiscal 2013.

That conclusion stretches credulity. No large economy has pulled off such a big improvement in its external balance at the same time as such a handsome pickup in output, according to a Breakingviews analysis of 189 nations over 33 years.

Indian officials will most likely have to revise their conclusions. For now, though, investors will miss the old data. For all its faults, it was a more reliable compass. India’s posh new GDP statistics look too good to be true.

Majumdar said...

Prof sb,

How about fixing Pakiland's population numbers, which IIRC havent been updated since 1998, before updating India's GDP?


zorro said...

Riaz sahib, What is your opinion on face to face meetings with haqqani?..

Riaz Haq said...

zorro: "Riaz sahib, What is your opinion on face to face meetings with haqqani?.. "

It seems Husain Haqqani has a chip on his shoulder and a basic sense of insecurity which manifests itself in disdain for his origins, for all things Pakistan. He tries to cover it up by reciting lines from old Urdu poetry on every subject and every occasion.

Riaz Haq said...

#India’s bubble. Pervasive Poverty, Banning #IndiaDaughter, #BeefBan in #Maharashtra #Mumbai. Secular Democracy?

Yasser Latif Hamdani: "Things changed drastically on the fifth day when I started reporting on the abject poverty I experienced in South Delhi and old Delhi; one uncle, whom I have known for a decade and a half and who is a renowned food journalist in India, even threatened to get me deported for “misusing my visa”. It is about marketing boss and no one can be allowed. Shining India sans marketing is a third world country with huge disparities and social inequities. This is an unforgiveable criticism even from someone like me who has principally refused to look at India as the enemy.This is a strange kind of psychosis. Now, if India were a person, it would be an extremely insecure, egoistic and overly prickly individual, ready to draw daggers at anyone who dares criticise it. Much of this was confirmed in the way India reacted to the film India’s Daughter. Many reasons are given for this opposition. One argument was that the airing of the film amounts to contempt of court. This is a flimsy excuse. Another one is that there was no “informed consent”. Without getting into the merits of these arguments, suffice it to say that these arguments would have made sense if India had attempted only to block the airing of the video in its territorial jurisdiction. The Indian government’s notice to the BBC clearly indicates that its aim was to block the airing of the video globally. Not only were YouTube and Google too eager to please the Indian government, even the BBC was threatened and cowered into withdrawing the video from YouTube, citing “copyright infringement”. Basically, theBBC has admitted that it cannot take on the government of India. For people like me — I was the counsel in the YouTube case before the Lahore High Court (LHC) –this complicates things further. On the one hand, the world’s largest democracy, which talks of democracy and secularism with a forked tongue, has effectively censored criticism of misogyny in its society and, on the other hand, the champions of free speech — Google and theBBC — have bent over backwards to accommodate India’s humongous ego. All the moral arguments one had about freedom of speech and open society have gone out the window. ..Amazingly, the ban on India’s Daughter came the same week the state of Maharashtra, where the great cosmopolitan city of Mumbaiwith its huge Muslim population is located, decided to criminalise slaughter and possession of beef. Any person possessing or eating beef in the great state of Maharashtra can now be imprisoned for a period of up to five years and fined Indian Rs 10,000. Consider the fact that Pakistan, which is officially an Islamic state, does not criminalise possessing or eating of pork. This makes this ban even more unconscionable for a country that is so self-righteously pompous about its secular democratic credentials.Of course, this has been a longstanding project of Indian nationalists pre-dating even partition. Gandhi had justified his support for the reactionary Khilafat Movement in the 1920s by saying that he wanted the cows to be spared the Muslim knife. The reasons had nothing to do with vegetarianism or love for animals (lamb slaughter or chicken slaughter has never had any political appeal) but the fact that the cow is a holy animal for the Hindus. Hindu cultural life thus was the bedrock upon which Indian nationalism was sediment. The project has reached fruition in 2015"

Riaz Haq said...

Hussain Haqqani, in the same category as sellouts like Gordon Chang, Minxin Pei, Karim Sadjadpour, Fawad Ajami, etc, has a problem with China-Pakistan alliance. Here's his Op Ed in Wall Street Journal:

China’s President Xi Jinping arrived in Islamabad this week with promises of $46 billion in investment for Pakistani infrastructure. If all envisaged projects materialize, Pakistan would get a network of roads, railways and energy pipelines linking Pakistan’s port of Gwadar to China’s westernmost Xinjiang region. China would also build Pakistan’s half of a long-delayed natural-gas pipeline from Iran. This would be a shot in the arm for Pakistan’s faltering economy and consolidate a decades-old strategic partnership.

The Obama administration would also like China to induce Pakistan to abandon its role as a terrorist safe haven. China has been concerned by Pakistan-based jihadists operating in Xinjiang and U.S. officials hope Beijing can be successful in persuading Pakistan to clamp down on the various Islamist groups operating from its soil. But China’s economic reassurances could also reinforce Islamabad’s miscalculations about its regional clout and dangerous ambitions of keeping India strategically off-balance through subconventional means, including terrorism.

Just as Pakistan turned to the U.S. soon after independence in 1947 to seek weapons and economic assistance against India, Pakistan’s leaders today see China as a supporter in their bid to be India’s regional rival. The U.S. disappointed Islamabad by refusing to back its military confrontations with India even while selling Pakistan U.S. weapons (intended for other purposes). Now it might be China’s turn to be the object of unrealistic Pakistani expectations.

Unlike the U.S., China has refrained from lecturing Pakistan’s civilian and military leaders, creating an impression of consistency lacking in U.S.-Pakistan ties. China has been a major supplier of military equipment to Pakistan and was particularly helpful in Pakistan’s development of nuclear weapons.

By supporting Pakistan militarily, China has ensured that a large part of India’s military remains tied down in South Asia and is unable to challenge China in the rest of Asia. But India remains the larger market and China’s willingness to use Pakistan as a secondary deterrent against India hasn’t meant abandoning ties with New Delhi. Chinese trade with India in 2013 was $65 billion, six times its trade with Pakistan. In Pakistan’s 1965 and 1971 wars with India, China disappointed Pakistan by not opening a second front against India.


China’s investment in Pakistan, and indeed investment from other sources, would materialize more easily if Pakistan put its house in order. Instead of exhausting itself in competing with an Indian neighbor six times its size, Pakistan needs to confront religious extremism, eliminate terrorism and pursue economic reforms that they talk about but do not implement. Pakistan’s elite needs to start paying taxes to overcome one of the worst tax-to-GDP ratios in the world. Defense spending needs to be rationalized and critical investments made in education to overcome a paucity of skilled manpower.

More likely, the promise of Chinese money will lead Pakistan’s leaders to think China will become their economic and military patron. Mr. Xi would do well not to let that happen, and instead to emphasize reform. He shouldn’t forget that money does not always buy Pakistan’s favor or encourage change in Pakistan’s policies. China may actually lose popularity in Pakistan once its companies arrive and demand primacy of economic considerations. Then China might find itself where Pakistan’s previous benefactor, the U.S., is today. After having provided $40 billion in aid to Pakistan since 1950, the U.S. is now viewed favorably by only 14% of Pakistanis.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan improving sanitation way faster than #India: Study - The Economic Times

NEW YORK: Pakistan has left India far behind in terms of improving water and sanitation access for their citizens, reveals a new performance index released on Friday.

While Pakistan was ranked five in the new index developed by The Water Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Gillings School of Global Public Health in the US, India occupied an unenviable 92nd position.

High performers also included China, El Salvador, Niger, Egypt, and Maldives. Russia, the Philippines and Brazil on the other hand, were low performers.

The index compares countries regardless of size and income level. By use this method the report deduced that a country’s gross domestic product does not determine performance in improving water and sanitation access for its citizens.

“This means that even countries with limited resources can make great strides if they have the right programmes in place,” said co-author of the report Jamie Bartram, director of The Water Institute at UNC.

“National governments, NGOs, and aid agencies can direct their resources toward building systems and capacity for action in countries that are lagging, and toward implementation where those capacities are in place and performing,” Bartram noted.

Read more at:

Riaz Haq said...

John G. Gill's review of books on Pakistan by TV Paul, Christine Fair and Aqil Shah:

As for the individual books, it would have been interesting to see
Fair and Paul examine how the Pakistan Army defines concepts such as
“friends” and “interests” in the international context. Fair approaches this
in her review of the army’s hagiographic treatment of China as compared
with the generally vitriolic rhetoric reserved for the United States, and
Paul touches on this issue when he depicts Pakistan as viewing the world
through a Hobbesian prism. But it would have been enlightening if they
had carried this line of thinking a few steps further. Shah, on the other
hand, may be too critical of the army in some of its recent interactions with
the civilian elements of the state. The former chief of staff of the Pakistan
army, General Ashfaq Kayani, for one, allegedly tried but failed to elicit
strategic guidance from the civilian leadership. Having cleared and held
zones of militancy such as Swat, the army may also legitimately complain
that civilian authorities are conspicuous by their absence when the time
comes for the military to withdraw. Furthermore, the army is the object of

urgent importunities by groups across the political spectrum whenever a
domestic crisis arises. For example, Shah might have explicitly addressed
the thorny issues associated with the army’s role—if any—when elected
officials undermine the political system through corruption, ineptitude, or
megalomaniac behavior. Breaking out of this destructive cycle requires civil
as well as military vision and steadfastness.
These lacunae and desiderata notwithstanding, all three works are
excellent additions to the growing scholarship on Pakistan and its army.
Policy-relevant and academically rigorous, thoughtful and readable, they
can be recommended highly for decision-makers, staffers, and analysts in
the policy, security, and intelligence communities. They will be especially
valuable for diplomats and military officers assigned to serve in Pakistan or
with Pakistani armed forces.

Riaz Haq said...

From Express Tribune:

Whatever Mr Haqqani’s critics say, he’s not trying for the Padma Bhushan. Turning chameleon again, the gentleman switched from Krishna Menon to John Bolton last April: “[…] American weapons will end up being used to fight or menace India and perceived domestic enemies,” Mr Haqqani wrote for the WSJ, “instead of being deployed against jihadists.” The op-ed was titled, “Why Are We Sending This Attack Helicopter to Pakistan?”

To which Pakistan may have asked, who’s ‘we’? Of late, Pakistan’s former ambassador to the US has become the US’s ambassador to Pakistan — if that ambassador were a nagging neocon with an axe to grind.

But to understand Brand HH and why he’s giving the republic a kicking, we need to go back. From day one, Mr Haqqani has been Team Charhta Suraj: a hired hand for the biggest boys on the playground. At KU, those were quite literally the Jamiat.

Outside campus “I also developed a personal bond with [General Zia],” wrote Mr Haqqani. “General Zia was staunchly pro-Western, but had an Islamic vision of sorts that could be captivating. He saw himself as God’s instrument in getting rid of the communists in Afghanistan, which (he correctly foresaw) would mark the disintegration of the Soviet Union.” This paper’s Aakar Patel even suspected HH ghostwrote Mr Sharif’s tribute to General Zia in Shaheed-ul-Islam. Having lent himself to both general and Jamiat, it only followed that Mr Haqqani would fall in love with Nawaz Sharif and the IJI.

But that’s when the mud starts piling up. As the late, great Cowasjee sahib put it, “During Nawaz-I and Benazir-II the most prominent weaver [of lies] and damage-doer was Husain Haqqani.”

As to why belief in democracy was contrary to mocking Asif Ali Zardari, the chairman didn’t say. Nor did his predecessor: Shaheed Mohtarma took Mr Haqqani back in, a liberal reborn.

Enter Squealer 4.0: like a football forward constantly trading up teams, Mr Haqqani hit the jackpot —Ambassadorship in 2008, courtesy President Zardari’s sense of humour. Embraced by America’s red-meat right, The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg saluted the ambassador with a straight face: “A one-time Islamist turned pro-democracy Americaphile.”

Yet it was too good to last. Like a fortune teller, Cowasjee had diagnosed the delusion in ’99: “[Haqqani] considers himself capable, with the necessary help, of climbing up the greasy pole and leading the 140 millions to glory.”

After the Osama raid, the ambassador overshot; he may have thought the ‘necessary help’ would be American intervention, that it would fix the civ-mil imbalance (if with a new imbalance in favour of American civilians). Reads the memo to Mike Mullen, “Should you be willing to do so, Washington’s political/military backing would result in a revamp of the civilian government that … replaces … national security officials with trusted advisers … favourably viewed by Washington.”

His Excellency denies involvement.

Mr Haqqani now occupies that rarest of spaces in American public life: an exile with an agenda. Other worthies include Iraq’s Chalabi and Iran’s Pahlavi Junior — gents the Department of Defence blows hot and cold on, given the season.

But like all spin gurus, the man’s solutions aren’t solid: they range from the West putting Islamabad in its place, to Pakistan preferably castrating itself first. A recent book, Magnificent Delusions, is a study in our ingratitude (even the front cover is a Stars-and-Stripes bonfire).

The trouble is, Husain Haqqani isn’t representative of Pakistan; he’s not even representative of Husain Haqqani five years ago. Pakistan too has moved on: the war has been taken to the militants, at tremendous risk. Confidence is up and terror is low, but it’s a long road ahead. It’s time HH move on as well, if in the direction of the next rising sun (the Chinese Communist Party, perhaps?).

Riaz Haq said...

The Power of Social Media: Emboldened Right-Wing Trolls Who are Attempting an Internet purge -

Yesterday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi participated in a “town hall” meeting at the headquarters of Facebook in Menlo Park, California. At the event, Modi answered pre-screened queries from the audience and Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive officer of Facebook. During this conversation, the prime minister heralded the power of social media as a vehicle for democracy and good governence, before adding that it “allows for accountability instantly.” Modi declared, “I ask all world leaders not to avoid social media and to connect to it.” However, in his eulogy to the power of the internet, the prime minister appeared to have forgotten about an aspect of social media that doesn’t lend itself to either a functional democracy or accountability. It is a spectre that has been haunting journalists in India: that of internet trolls.

The internet is no stranger to trolls—users who post inflammatory, threatening or disruptive messages—with Twitter itself having admitted to not having proper policies in place to protect its users from harassment. The Indian Twitter troll, however, is an oddly specific creature. This troll belongs to a motley digital mob comprised of Hindutva converts, misogynists, minorities, Congress baiters and “sickular”—a pejorative portmanteau coined for those percieved as having a secular point of view—haters, all united by their atavistic chest-thumping bhakti—devotion—for Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The use of social networking platforms by the BJP demonstrates their agility in using technology for the cause of “Hindu Rashtra.” Behind the apparently toxic rants of the Hindutva troll, there is a method and design. It is interesting to note that Modi hosted the 150 social networkers at his official residence on the occasion of the launch of the Digital India Campaign in Delhi. The prime minister could have easily taken up a digitally-enabled education or health project to kick-start his campaign; instead, he chose to meet people who have become a byword in online terror, hate and misogyny—a symbolism ignored by most, the press and the victims included. With Modi pushing for deepening of digitisation, the size and virtual power of his abusive online army will only increase in the days ahead in its political-ideological battle for a “Congress-mukt” Bharat, cold comfort for the likes of Ravish Kumar, Sagarika Ghose and the rest. -

Riaz Haq said...

Mosque and military have shaped the idea of Pakistan: Husain Haqqani

New Delhi: Pakistan's former ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani said the country should not live by the slogan 'Pakistan in Danger' and it should focus on friendly relationship with India.
Haqqani's speech on Thursday was played as a recorded video message at the ongoing Penguin Spring Fever Literary festival as he could not make it to the event.

Clarifying his absence, Haqqani said that he could not avail the visa as he applied late and it takes very long for a Pakistani to get an Indian visa.
"In 1948, Bengali leader Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy said that Pakistan will not prosper if the leaders try to run it on the basis of fear, just as the country was formed on the creation of the fear that Islam is in danger," Haqqani, who has written the book 'Pakistan - Between Mosque and Military', said.
He also said that Pakistan has to overcome the baggage of partition, that is manifested in the forms of militancy and militarism .
"The debate on partition has been going on for long and it was debilitating for the country. It divided the country and led to the formation of Bangladesh. Pakistan can become plural and modern society if we shed the baggage of partition," said Haqqani.
The author also argued that Pakistan's militarism is a result of the difficult relationship between India and Pakistan.
"In my book, I have argued that how mosque and military have shaped the idea of Pakistan," he said.
Stressing on the need for friendly ties with India, he said that the country has to accept criticism in the right earnest.
"People of Pakistan need to understand that the criticism of the policy are not questioning the right of the people of Pakistan to live in peace. It is important to come to terms for Pakistan that progress is important and that modus operandi with India is important," he noted.

"The country is young, 100 million are below the age of 22 and are talented people whose potential is yet to unleash. It is up to the world to see Pakistan as that of poets, of artists, of small and battled liberals, of landed aristocracy or that of an establishment," he said.

Riaz Haq said...

Much has already been said about former Pakistani ambassador to the United States Husain Haqqani’s return to the public sphere after being accused of requesting an American intervention in Pakistani politics. The crux of Haqqani’s argument—to be developed in a forthcoming book on U.S.-Pakistan relations, Magnificent Delusions—is that the United States and Pakistan willfully mislead themselves about what their alliance means, leading to cycles of engagement and disenchantment. These cycles have had serious consequences, including feelings of distrust and betrayal, uncooperative behavior, and acts of violence. Haqqani called for a looser relationship—in his terms, a friendship, not a marriage—to break the cycle and enable the two states to cooperate more effectively in areas of common interest.

In some respects, this is not a revolutionary opinion. Pakistani distaste for America’s involvement is well-known, from the neatly-painted signs at Jamaat-e-Islami protests to the widespread nationalist grievance that followed the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. Polls suggest that about three quarters of Pakistanis see America as an enemy. American distaste for Pakistan is just as deep. For many Americans, for instance, the mention of Pakistan conjures of images of a flag-burning mob, while among the foreign policy elite it is not rare to hear that Pakistan’s nuclear weapons are a more serious danger to America than any that Iran might acquire. The cover of The Atlantic branded Islamabad “The Ally From Hell;” nobody in Haqqani’s audience at the Center for the National Interest last month moved when he asked for a show of hands from those who thought the U.S. should have told the ISI before going after bin Laden.

What is revolutionary is that the call for 'divorce' is now coming from a man who spent three and a half years trying to keep the marriage together, for in spite of all the criticism of Washington and Islamabad’s dysfunctional relationship, few are willing to live with the risks of separation. Many American security officials have grave concerns about the security of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons. A close relationship with Pakistan, they reason, allows the U.S. to press for stronger safeguards and, in the event of a radical coup or other crisis, gives Washington more ways to keep the bombs out of the most dangerous hands. The United States has reportedly provided guidance on securing nuclear facilities and creating stringent launch procedures, even though Pakistan has understandably kept Americans away from the physical facilities. American efforts to deepen this cooperation have been rebuffed, but officials have expressed satisfaction with the general safety of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, and Islamabad is believed to keep its weapons systems partially disassembled, a lower state of readiness than America’s own. However, worries abound that in a nuclear crisis with India, Pakistan’s nuclear forces would disperse from their secured bases to ensure some would survive an Indian strike, and, according to some reports, Pakistan moves some warheads in unmarked vans even in peacetime. Enterprising extremists could seize some of these wandering weapons.

Haqqani argued that America’s worries about Pakistan’s bombs are not realistic and thus do not justify the alliance. After all, he noted, America did not provide assistance in securing the nuclear weapons of its rivals during the tensions of the Cold War, yet the weapons were not accidentally launched or seized by terrorists. Haqqani has a valid point. With or without American involvement, Pakistan’s government has a vital interest in the security of its nuclear weapons. Nuclear irresponsibility could have grave consequences for Pakistan’s international relations, and would increase the risk of accidental war. Pakistan’s leaders would be insane not to take steps to secure their bombs and clarify the chain of command.

Riaz Haq said...

Let’s have quick look of Mr Hussain Haqqani’s [Nowadays an American Scholar who lecture on Democracy] dirty and filthy past while he was part and parcel of Army-Jamat-e-Islami Axis which is riddled witch scandals and corruption. A detailed CV of Husaain Haqqani is at the end to corroborate the comment.

With brainwashing on the one hand and erosion of academic freedom on the other, the campuses (once temples of learning and enlightenment) have been turned into centres of rowdyism and repositories of deadly weapon. Students belonging to various schools of religious thought, regional and ethnic groups, particularly the Islami Jamiat-e-Tulba (the student wing of Jamat-e-Islami) , have played havoc with educational institutions. Professors were another target of the victimization carried out in this period. Members of the IJT launched a concerted campaign against professors known for their liberal views. In Punjab University, particularly, many professors were forced to resign, others were sacked.

The situation was no different in the Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad, which had in the 70s attracted many brilliant Pakistanis who were teaching abroad. As the harassment became unbearable, most of these professors went back. To what extent fundamentalists blocked scientific knowledge can be assessed by one incident at the Karachi University, where a zoology lecturer was stopped from teaching Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. Similar incidents occurred frequently in the philosophy and the economics department. The situation has worsened wit the passage of time. During that period, a policy of appeasement towards the IJT made matter worse. Guns boomed at the Karachi University Campus for the first time in 1979 when, according to Imran Shirvanee, Raja Javed, a supporter of IJT, used a sten gun ‘to tackle the opposition.’ When the pen and free expression are throttled, the only means open to tackle opposition is a firearm. At that time, the IJT was the ruling party in Karachi University politics with Hussain Haqqani, Raja Javed was his close aide.

Haqqani is a man of many roles. The former Far Eastern Economic Review correspondent was the media advisor to Punjab Chief Minister Nawaz Sharif when Benazir Bhutto was at the centre {1988-1990}. He switched to serve caretaker Prime Minister Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi in 1990, and then switched back again to serve Sharif when he was elected Prime Minister. In 1992, he was sent to Sri Lanka as Pakistan’s High Commissioner. On the eve of Nawaz Sharif’s dismissal on 18 April 1993, he jumped the sinking ship and joined President Ghulam Ishaq Khan bandwagon. Immediately, he was rewarded by being made a special assistant to the caretaker Prime Minister Mir Balakh Sher Mazari with the rank of Minister of State. Asked by BBC if he now deserved a mention in the Guinness Book of Records for switching loyalties so often, his reply was classic: I was always with the President.’”

Mr Haqqani. Right from this student politics with the Jamaat’s student wing, the dreaded Islami Jamiat-e-Tulaba, at Karachi University there is much that Mr Haqqani is answerable for. The violence at the university and the brutal suppression of free speech that the IJT imposed on the campus in those days was done with Mr Haqqani very much an active player. Many still say that he was the architect of the IJT’s policy of using brute force to suppress opposition opinion. We next saw him on PTV – which was a kind of a launching pad for him -during the 1985 partyless elections. It was an election which destroyed Pakistan’s politics in more ways than one and much that we see wrong with Pakistan’s politics today dates back to that election. It was because of the destructive potential of the election that every liberal and progressive party in the country boycotted those elections. Yet there was Mr Haqqani at his most articulate, lauding the farcical exercise as if it was the best thing that had happened to the country since its birth.

Riaz Haq said...

PPP and Zardari now recognize Husain Haqqani is toxic. Unfortunately it's too late. A lot of damage has already been done and continues to done to Pakistan by this Benedict Arnold. I think Iqbal's lines about Mir Jaafar and Mir Sadiq apply to this guy more than anyone else "Jaafar uz Bangal Sadiq uz Dakan/ Nang e Millat Nang e Deen Nange Watan"

Riaz Haq said...

India's ex National Security Advisor and Foreign Secretary J.N. Dixit (1936-2005) :

"The reason Britain partitioned India was to fragment Hindu areas into political entities and ensure Pakistan's emergence as the largest and most cohesive political power in the subcontinent. Pakistan's ultimate aim is to fragment India. Pakistani invasion of Kashmir in 1948 and subsequent wars are part of this continuous exercise. The Kargil war and the proxy war in Jammu and Kashmir are the latest example of this pressure. India has not been decisive and surgical in resisting Pakistani subversion. India has voluntarily given concessions to Pakistan despite defeating it in all major conflicts. Pakistan's long term objective is to ensure that India does not emerge as the most influential power in the South Asian region. The Pakistani power structure has a powerful antagonism toward Hindu-majority civil society in India. Pakistan has sought the support of a large number of Muslim countries and Asian and Western powers (China ad the US) to keep India on the defensive. Pakistan's continued questioning of Indian secularism, democracy and constitutional institutions is a deliberate attempt to generate friction within India. Pakistani support of the secessionist and insurgent forces in Jammu and Kashmir, in Punjab and in the north-eastern states of India confirms this impression."

Riaz Haq said...

Indian PM Nehru's Defense MInister Krishna Menon:

"In Pakistan's view the Partition is only the beginning. Her idea is to get a jumping-off ground to take the whole of was from the Mughals that the British took over (India). Now the British having gone, they (Muslims) must come back (to rule all of India)"

Riaz Haq said...

On Hussain Haqqani by Haider Mehdi.
My considered view is that HH was turned by the Indians in the early 80's, when he was in Hong Kong as a rabid Islamist, writing for the now defunct, Far Eastern Economic Review.
And this is where his journey started, to embed himself as an Indian mole, in Pakistan's governance structures.
And because of his radical Islamist views, he also caught Gen. Zia's fancy, the then Pakistani military dictator, who himself was a dyed in the wool, radical fundamentalist.
I don't have any evidence to substantiate my hypothesis, except Haqqani's subsequent actions, behaviors and career moves.
Incredibly, he's changed more political ideologies than a kid's diapers, to suit his masters, both Indian and Pakistani, and the needs of the times.
From a rabid Islamist Taliban like activist, to a right wing democrat, to a supporter of military intervention, to left wing secularist, he's been to pretty much every base!
Working for the enemy is not uncommon. Personal and political biases, political philosophy, ego, greed, power, privilege, position, money, anger, bitterness, all contribute in creating a Kim Philby, the British MI6 mole embedded by the Russians, or a Gunter Guillaume, the East German spy, working as West German Chancellor Willy Brandt's assistant, or our very own Hussain Haqqani.
Here's why I think HH is or was an Indian mole.
1. He has known anti Pakistan views which he has held for a long time. Believes that partition was a very bad idea, and also holds very uncharitable views about the Quaid.
2. He managed to wrangle himself into both the PMLN and PPP governments. And willing to work in any role which gave him access and proximity, to power centers.
He was Ambassador to Sri Lanka under Nawaz. Secretary Information under BB. Then, Chairman, House Building Finance Corporation (imagine HBFC) again under her.
He desperately tried to join Gen. Musharraf's government. Offered his unconditional services to do "anything". Wanted to become Musharraf's media advisor. I know this from several horses.
And remember, this offer to Gen. Musharraf, from a man, who now presents himself to the world as the great upholder of democracy in Pakistan and virulently against military intervention.
Finally, he becomes the Pakistani Ambassador to the USA, under Asif Zardari, where he probably caused the most damage.
If his Memogate ploy had been successful, he was well on his way to National Security advisor with the ISI under him. God knows what the Army would have done to him. But that's another story. And then it was a short walk to either Interior or Defence Minister, and finally the ultimate prize. PM of Pakistan.
An Indian mole as a Pakistani PM!
He is unbelievably brilliant and masterfully cunning. Smooth as a snake and vicious as a viper. Can mesmerize anyone with his Lukhnawi charm, destroy you with his devastating intellect and make Lucifer look like Gabriel, especially in his writings.
Now that he stands exposed, at least to most Pakistanis, he now presents himself to the West, as their poster boy of democracy and anti militarism.
He has perhaps been one of the biggest factors in arming the anti Pakistan and pro Indian lobbies in the US, with information and evidence acquired through the very sensitive positions he occupied in the "service" of Pakistan.
He now works for the Hudson Institute, in Washington D.C. a known pro Israeli and pro Indian think tank, and makes himself relevant by espousing anti Pakistan narratives, cunningly presented as liberal and anti militarism views.
They liberally fund his research and his books and writings. In addition, he is actively supported and indirectly funded by staunchly anti-Pakistani and pro-Indian lobbies in the USA. And he gets himself invited or is invited to major anti Pakistan forums such as the one pictured below.

Riaz Haq said...

As ambassador, Mr. Husain Haqqani behaved like "One Man Think Tank" who was "eager to share his own views, which often dovetailed American criticisms of Pakistan’s military".

American officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they did not want to be seen as meddling in Pakistan’s internal affairs, said they hoped Ms. Rehman’s range of contacts within Pakistan’s military and its government and among rights groups could potentially make her a more effective interlocutor than her predecessor, who was very much seen as Mr. Zardari’s man, although he did argue the military’s case when needed.

The American officials were also pleased by Ms. Rehman’s speedy appointment, which assuaged fears of prolonged standoff between the military and civilian authorities over the ambassadorship, arguably Pakistan’s most important diplomatic posting. “The military doesn’t need more excuses to disregard the president and prime minister,” said one American official. “That they all found a way to agree quickly is a positive. They need an ambassador in Washington; we need them to have an ambassador in Washington.”

But experts in Pakistan and the United States cautioned that American officials should not view Ms. Rehman’s social liberalism, which is common among Pakistan’s elite, as a sign that she will fall in line with Washington’s views on what is best for Pakistan.

“Folks in Washington will expect her national security agenda to be as liberal as her domestic agenda,” said Shamila N. Chaudhary, a South Asia analyst at the Eurasia Group who previously served as the director for Pakistan and Afghanistan at the National Security Council.

“She’s coming here to represent the government, and that includes the military,” Ms. Chaudhary said.

Mr. Haqqani, in contrast, at times behaved as “a one-man think tank,” said one American official. The ambassador would often privately voice criticism of the military that he had publicly laid out before taking on his role, the official said.

Mr. Haqqani’s eagerness to share his own views, which often dovetailed American criticisms of Pakistan’s military and its longstanding ties to militant groups, had over the past year led to a diminishing of his influence in Washington, especially in the White House, said a pair of American officials. “There were questions about his influence at home and whether he could be trusted to accurately convey what his principals were thinking,” said one of the American officials.

Riaz Haq said...

How the #American #CIA Infiltrated the World's #Literature Using Famous Writers as Tools … via @VICE

"The CIA's influence in publishing was on the covert ops side, and it was done as propaganda. It was a control of how intellectuals thought about the US."

The new book, Finks, reveals how great writers such as Baldwin, Márquez, and Hemingway became soldiers in America's cultural Cold War.

When the CIA's connections to the Paris Review and two dozen other magazines were revealed in 1966, the backlash was swift but uneven. Some publications crumbled, taking their editors down with them, while other publishers and writers emerged relatively unscathed, chalking it up to youthful indiscretion or else defending the CIA as a "nonviolent and honorable" force for good. But in an illuminating new book Finks: How the CIA Tricked the World's Best Writers, writer Joel Whitney debunks the myth of a once-moral intelligence agency, revealing an extensive list of writers involved in transforming America's image in countries we destabilized with coups, assassinations, and other all-American interventions.

The CIA developed several guises to throw money at young, burgeoning writers, creating a cultural propaganda strategy with literary outposts around the world, from Lebanon to Uganda, India to Latin America. The same agency that occasionally undermined democracies for the sake of fighting Communism also launched the Congress for Cultural Freedoms (CCF). The CCF built editorial strategies for each of these literary outposts, allowing them to control the conversation in countries where readers might otherwise resist the American perspective. The Paris Review, whose co-founder Peter Matthiessen was a CIA agent, would sell its commissioned interviews to the magazine's counterparts in Germany, Japan, and elsewhere. Mundo Nuevo was created to offer a moderate-left perspective to earn trust among Latin American readers, effectively muting more radical perspectives during the Cuban Revolution. Sometimes the agency would provide editors with funding and content; other times it would work directly with writers to shape the discourse. Through these acts, the CCF weaponized the era's most progressive intellectuals as the American answer to the Soviet spin machine.

While the CIA's involvement in anti-Communist propaganda has been long known, the extent of its influence—particularly in the early careers of the left's most beloved writers—is shocking. Whitney, the co-founder and editor at large of the literary magazine Guernica, spent four years digging through archives, yielding an exhaustive list—James Baldwin, Gabriel García Márquez, Richard Wright, and Ernest Hemingway all served varying levels of utility to Uncle Sam. (Not that the CIA's interest were only in letters: Expressionists Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko were also championed by arms of the agency.)

But don't let that ruin Love in the Time of Cholera. Whitney explains with methodical clarity how each writer became a tool for the CIA. This nuance not only salvages many of the classics from being junked as solely propaganda, but it serves as a cautionary tale for those trying to navigate today's "post-truth" media landscape. In an era where Facebook algorithms dictate the national discourse, even the most well-meaning journalist is prone to stories that distract on behalf of the US government.

"It was often a way to change the subject from the civil rights fight at home," Whitney said of the CIA's content strategy during the Cold War. We can easily draw parallels to today, where the nation's most dire issues are rarely our viral subjects. With Donald Trump's presidency just weeks away, Finks arrives at a crucial time, exposing the political machinery that can affect which stories are shared and which are silenced.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's Tariq Ali, a Pakistani left-wing intellectual who graduated from Oxford, where he studied philosophy, politics, and economics, and was President of the Oxford Union. on Husain Haqqani:

One of Zardari and his late wife’s trusted bagmen in Washington, Husain Haqqani, whose links to the US intelligence agencies since the 1970s made him a useful intermediary and whom Zardari appointed as Pakistan’s ambassador to Washington, has been forced to resign. Haqqani, often referred to as the US ambassador to Pakistan, appears to have been caught red-handed: he allegedly asked Mansoor Ijaz, a multi-millionaire close to the US defense establishment, to carry a message to Admiral Mike Mullen pleading for help against the Pakistani military and offering in return to disband the Haqqani network and the ISI and carry out all US instructions.

Mullen denied that he had received any message. A military underling contradicted him. Mullen changed his story and said a message had been received and ignored. When the ISI discovered this ‘act of treachery’, Haqqani, instead of saying that he was acting under orders from Zardari, denied the entire story. Unfortunately for him, the ISI boss, General Pasha, had met up with Ijaz and been given the Blackberry with the messages and instructions. Haqqani had no option but to resign. Demands for his trial and hanging (the two often go together when the military is involved) are proliferating. Zardari is standing by his man. The military wants his head. And now Nato has entered the fray. This story is not yet over.

Riaz Haq said...

India is far ahead of Pakistan in more ways than I can count :-)

Here are some:

1. India leads the world in open absolute numbers and percentages.

2. India leads the world in child absolute numbers and percentages.

3. India has more poor, hungry and illiterate people than any other country in the world. In percentage terms, the poverty rate in India is 2X higher than in Pakistan.

4. More farmers have killed themselves in India than any other country in the world.

5. Top 1% of Indians own 58% of India's wealth, 2nd only to Russia's 70%.

6. India has a mass murderer Modi as its elected leader.

7. India has more slaves than any other country in the world.

8. India has had more anti-minority riots than any other country in the world.

9. India is only one of only two countries where Apartheid is still rampant....the other is Israel.

10. There are more active insurgencies in India than any other country in the world.

And yet, India is a "secular democracy"!!!!!

All of the above are easily verifiable facts from credible sources which track such data.

Riaz Haq said...

Can US President take Hudson Institute report on Pakistan seriously?

by Jamal Hussain

Dismissed for suspected anti-state activities, which he vehemently denies, accusing the Pakistan Army of orchestrating a plot to implicate him in a false case. HH settled in the USA and currently is the Director for South Asia and Central Asia at Hudson Institute. He has authored three books on Pakistan where his animosity towards the Pakistan Army is apparent.

He is known to carry a grudge against the Pakistan Army that a clear majority of Pakistanis consider the only state institution which secures the country from foreign domination. With such a credential of HH, should one expect objectivity if he heads a policy paper advising the US administration on how to deal with Pakistan?

Lisa Curtis, the co-author is a retired CIA employee who has also served as a diplomat in Pakistan and India. With her CIA background where the confrontation of the CIA with the Pakistani intelligence agency the ISI is an open secret, can one expect an impartial approach when dealing with Pakistan where the ISI is known to provide key inputs on the conduct of the nation’s foreign policy?

Among the signatories, Christine Fair, Polly Nayak and Aparna Pande ring alarm bells. Christine Fair, who once was considered the darling of the Pakistan Army, is now known for her anti-Pakistan sentiments. Her earlier work on drones and her pro-drone stance and viewpoints has been denounced as “surprisingly weak” by Brooking Institution and journalist Glenn Greenwald dismissed it as “rank propaganda.”

n 2011 and 2012 she received funding from the US embassy in Islamabad to conduct a survey on public opinion concerning militancy. Her journalistic sources have been questioned for their credibility and she has been accused of having a conflict of interest due to her past work with the US government think tanks, as well as the CIA.

In the Pakistani media, she has been accused of double standards, partisanship towards India and has been criticized for her contacts with dissident leaders from Baluchistan, a link which raises serious questions “if her interest in Pakistan is merely academic.”

Polly Nayak, a South Asian expert and currently an independent consultant retired from CIA in late 2002 as a senior executive. Her views on Pakistan, like those of Lisa Curtis, would not be free from the bias that colors CIA’s opinion about Pakistan and Pakistan’s premier intelligence agency the ISI, which is viewed as an ally only when its help is desperately sought— otherwise a nemesis.

Aparna Pande is a born Indian working for the Hudson Institute and her writings mirror the rabidly anti-Pakistan stance of the Indian government under Narendra Modi.


Avoid viewing and portraying Pakistan as an ally, is the first policy recommendation of the briefing paper. The USA has never considered Pakistan as a true ally and has used this term only when it suited them. It considers Pakistan as a rentier state and hires it for a price to pursue policies to promote their regional and global agenda.

Yes, Pakistan has often willingly accepted the US offer, at a considerable price to its security and well-being. Even though the military aid package of 1954 and the collaboration in the 1980s to oust the Soviets from Afghanistan was on a reciprocal basis where both sides viewed it as a win-win situation, the USA benefitted far more from them while Pakistan, in the long run, paid a very heavy price for the liaisons.

The Mutual Defence Assistance Agreement of 1954 turned Pakistan as the bulwark against any spread of communism that was primarily aimed at containment of the USSR. The defense pact ruled the USSR, the rival superpower, and a neighbor of Pakistan to an extent where they established a strategic partnership with India, the country’s principal security threat and enemy, which had unlawfully and illegally occupied two-thirds of Kashmir.

Riaz Haq said...

Ex #Pakistan Envoy Husain Haqqani: "I had facilitated the presence of large numbers of #CIA operatives" in #Pakistan

"Among the security establishment’s grievances against me was the charge that I had facilitated the presence of large numbers of CIA operatives who helped track down bin Laden without the knowledge of Pakistan’s army — even though I had acted under the authorization of Pakistan’s elected civilian leaders."

In Husain Haqqani's Op Ed titled "Yes, the Russian Ambassador met Trump's team. So? That's what we diplomats do", it seems that Husain Haqqani has tried to achieve the following objectives:

1. Be on President Trump's good side by defending contacts between Trump campaign and Russian officials.

2. Show how he helped the United States by facilitating the entry of large numbers of CIA agents in Pakistan when he was Pakistan's envoy.

3. Cover his own back by saying he had the support of the ruling PPP at the time.

Meanwhile, PPP leader Khurshid Shah has denied the PPP government approved Haqqani's actions and declared Haqqani a traitor.

An ambassador of a country sending foreign intelligence agents into his own..that's what's wrong with the big picture.

The OBL hunt was just an excuse to let in "large numbers of CIA operatives "who most likely have a far wider wider agenda, including tracking Pakistan's nuclear assets and spying that could risk Pak security. As undercover foreign agents unknown to Pakistan's intelligence agencies, there was no way to track what these CIA operatives were doing in Pakistan.

An ambassador of any other country would have been tried for treason in similar circumstances.

Riaz Haq said...

Why #India Should Worry More About #China Than #Pakistan But #Modi Obsessed with Pak #Islamophobia #Hindutva #Doklam

Ask most security analysts, political observers, international relations experts or even your average layperson on the street, and they'd say India's biggest security threat is Pakistan. After all we've shared a long and fraught history since Partition, fought four wars with them and endured terror attacks emanating from their soil. Unsurprisingly, much of Indian foreign policy and defence strategy has been oriented vis-à-vis Pakistan.

Unfortunately, India's preoccupation with Pakistan could cost us since it has meant we have neglected other hostile neighbours, particularly China. The result is events such as the ongoing Sino-India border standoff, in which China has been calling for the independence of Sikkim. Another negative fallout is that the India-Pakistan conflict has literally hyphenated the two nations, bringing them on the same level as one another.

Our policymakers have not seen China as India's "peer" (unlike Pakistan). Thus, India hasn't really tried to balance out China even in South Asia.
Now, both these factors have clear disadvantages for India. Firstly, the "internationalisation" of the Indo-Pak conflict has put the two states as "equal players" on many international forums, almost to the extent where analysts of global politics take the names of these two countries in same breath. Despite being a smaller state than India, in almost every aspect, Pakistan has had the audacity to look India eye to eye. Much of this owes to the fact that India has traditionally punched "below its weight" while Pakistan has done the opposite.

The second problem is much bigger. Because India has been so engrossed in dealing with Pakistan, China's growing power goes "unchecked". There is a deeper problem behind this—our policymakers have not seen China as India's "peer" (unlike Pakistan). Thus, India hasn't really tried to balance out China even in South Asia. That is evident in the fact that China has much deeper economic ties with most of India's immediate neighbours than India does.


Indian policymakers need to also understand the fact China and Pakistan are all-weather friends. This complicates matters considerably. Yes, India does have international allies but how much can they be relied on? In 1962, when the Indo-China war happened, the then Soviet Union didn't come in support of India openly against China, despite being India's all-weather friend then.

Surely, the India of today is a much bigger power than the India of 1962. India's capabilities have increased but so have China's. India is a nuclear power state now but again, so is China. It's high time India develops home-grown defence technologies to reduce the fiscal burden of imports.

To sum up, the time has come to re-orient our defence policies. Pak-centric policies won't do much good to India in the longer run. Once India engages to maintain balance of power vis-à-vis China, it would emerge as a much stronger power than it is today. Such a feat will take time and patience but if India succeeds, its influence will grow both in its immediate as well as extended neighbourhood. It will also stymie China's march towards becoming a regional hegemon.

Riaz Haq said...

Excerpt of "Our Man", US diplomat Richard Holbrooke's biography by George Packer

Holbrooke returned from Islamabad and told Ambassador Haqqani about his talk with Kayani and Pasha. “Your army wants a balance of power with India,” Holbrooke said. “The civilians want more money for economic development. What if we offer both of them what they want?” “That’s a great formula,” Haqqani replied. “But what if the army doesn’t just want to be able to defend against India—because, is there a real threat? What if what they want is pride and prestige equal to that of India? Look at the record.” (Pakistan's Ambassador Husain) Haqqani—who was distrusted in both Washington and Islamabad—began a campaign to educate Holbrooke in Pakistani reality. The lessons began in the SRAP office during working hours but continued evenings and weekends at Georgetown restaurants and movie theaters and ice cream parlors, where Haqqani always paid.


(Pakistani Ambassador Husain) Haqqani told him (Richard Holbrooke) that the ISI didn’t want the United States to know Pakistan too well. Haqqani once heard Pasha say, “You civilians are wrong—there is no way Holbrooke has our interests at heart. He’s a Jew.” Haqqani explained to Holbrooke that the Pakistani military was deceiving itself as well as America—imagining an Indian menace in order to justify the outsized power and budget it had claimed ever since the founding of the state. Why would the generals cut a deal over the Taliban that would only deflate their significance by reducing tensions with India? Holbrooke’s effort to change Pakistan’s perception of its national interest was doomed, because the perception was based on delusions. As for Pakistan’s politicians, they would always promise things they couldn’t deliver because they didn’t have the popular standing at home. The public was divided on violent Islamists but nearly united in its strident anti-Americanism, which no amount of flood relief could change. But the promises kept coming along with the deceptions, because the generals and the politicians needed the Americans. It was like theater, Haqqani said. The whole region was a theater in which everyone understood their part, except the Americans.

Packer, George. Our Man . Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Riaz Haq said...

Excerpt of "Our Man", US diplomat Richard Holbrooke's biography by George Packer

As for Pakistan’s politicians, they would always promise things they couldn’t deliver because they didn’t have the popular standing at home. The public was divided on violent Islamists but nearly united in its strident anti-Americanism, which no amount of flood relief could change. But the promises kept coming along with the deceptions, because the generals and the politicians needed the Americans. It was like theater, Haqqani said. The whole region was a theater in which everyone understood their part, except the Americans.

These lessons were delivered below the waterline. They bore no resemblance to the ambassador’s official cables to the foreign secretary in Islamabad after his formal meetings with Holbrooke, in which he echoed the Pakistani military’s suspicion of every American move. His cables were part of the theater. Holbrooke’s labors were gargantuan. The contemplation of them wears me out. Repeated trips to Islamabad, strategic dialogues in Washington, donor meetings in Tokyo and Madrid, the bilats, the trilats, the fifth draft of the thirty-seventh memo, the sheer output of words—in pursuit of a chimera. All the while knowing what he was dealing with—all the while thinking he could do it anyway, with another memo, another meeting… One evening he was sitting in Haqqani’s library when the ambassador took a copy of To End a War off the shelf. He opened the book and read aloud a description description of the Balkan presidents at Dayton—their selfishness, their lack of concern for the lives of their people. “Do you feel that you’re dealing with a similar situation now?” Haqqani asked. “God, I’d forgotten about that,” Holbrooke said. “Maybe it’s true.” Haqqani asked what Holbrooke was hoping to achieve. “I am trying to get the Pakistani military to be incrementally less deceitful toward the United States.”

Packer, George. Our Man . Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.