Husain Haqqani is former Ambassador of Pakistan to the United States (2008–2011). He is currently Senior Fellow and Director for South and Central Asia at the Hudson Institute and co-edits the journal ‘Current Trends in Islamist Ideology’ published by Hudson Institute’s Center for Islam, Democracy and Future of the Muslim World.
Media & Appearances
India has rejected the politics of loyalty and legacy. Can Pakistan move on too?
In his book, The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation, American political psychologist Drew Westen argues that feelings trump cold analysis in the making of political choices. What, then, was the dominant sentiment that resulted in the massive mandate for Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party in India’s latest general election?
As an India-friendly Pakistani currently living in exile in the US, I observed the Indian election through the media as well as the eyes of many Indian friends. That, admittedly, does not qualify me as an authority on Indian politics. But as Benazir Bhutto used to say “There is a bit of India in every Pakistani and there is an element of Pakistan in every Indian.”
Pakistan’s democrats admire Indian democracy and have always done so, even at the risk of being accused of being pro-Indian by the country’s military-dominated establishment.
WASHINGTON — The meeting between President Obama and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at the White House on Wednesday is the most recent attempt by American and Pakistani leaders to reset a fraught relationship.
Husain Haqqani, Pakistan’s former ambassador to Washington, has documented that legacy of mistrust in a new book, “Magnificent Delusions” (Public Affairs, Nov. 5). Mr. Haqqani, a former adviser to Mr. Sharif who now teaches at Boston University, was a victim of those toxic ties, forced out in 2011 amid allegations, which he denies, that he sought American help to rein in the Pakistani military.
Although Malala Yusufzai did not win the Nobel Peace Prize, the mere fact that a 16 year old was seriously considered for the honor is significant. Such global attention for a teenager would be cause for national celebration in almost any country of the world. Not in bitterly divided, conspiracy theory-prone Pakistan.
He may be a figurehead, but the president who is elected today is worth keeping an eye on for signs of where Pakistan is going.
Pakistan will elect a new figurehead president Tuesday, completing the first successful transition in the country’s history from one elected civilian government to another. The man widely expected to win the election, Mamnoon Hussain, is a virtually unknown member of the conservative Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N), the political party led by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, which returned to office in legislative elections held in May. Sharif will now control all constitutional levers of power.
Governing Pakistan and addressing its myriad problems, including the continuing menace of terrorism, will be no easier for Sharif than for his predecessors.
In May Pakistan’s electorate voted largely along ethnic lines. Sharif’s majority is derived primarily from support in Punjab, Pakistan’s most populous province, which is home to an overpowering majority of the country’s soldiers, civil servants, journalists, and judges.