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
Nawaz Sharif’s participation in Narendra Modi’s inauguration may be the first time a Pakistani prime minister has attended such celebrations in India, but it is just one of many occasions that have been billed as an opportunity for laying the foundations of a new relationship between India and Pakistan.
In 1950, Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan travelled to Delhi and signed the Liaquat-Nehru pact, which was expected to resolve the issues created by the violent Partition of 1947 that gave birth to Pakistan. But the optimism about the agreement died within a year with the assassination of its Pakistani signatory. Pakistan went through several years of political instability while the army gained influence in policymaking.
Then, once General (later Field Marshal) Ayub Khan assumed the reins of power directly in a coup d’etat in 1958, it was argued that a Pakistani military leader was better positioned to normalise relations with India than the weak politicians who preceded him.
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.