Ex-envoy opposes US arms for Pakistan to fight extremism

Published April 21, 2015
Pakistan's former ambassador to United States Husain Haqqani (C) exits the Supreme Court after meeting his lawyer Asma Jehangir, in Haqqani's defence in the secret memo scandal case, in Islamabad on December 22, 2011. — AFP/file
Pakistan's former ambassador to United States Husain Haqqani (C) exits the Supreme Court after meeting his lawyer Asma Jehangir, in Haqqani's defence in the secret memo scandal case, in Islamabad on December 22, 2011. — AFP/file

NEW YORK: Hussain Haqqani, Pakistan’s former ambassador to the United States, has strongly opposed the use of American military aid to fight extremists in Pakistan and said instead it will fuel conflict in South Asia.

The Obama administration announced this month to sell almost $1 billion worth of attack helicopters, missiles and other equipment to Pakistan.

Read: US, Pakistan must ‘divorce’ as allies: Husain Haqqani

Mr Haqqani said that: “Pakistan’s failure to tackle its jihadist challenge is not the result of a lack of arms but reflects an absence of will.

He said: “With nuclear weapons, Pakistan no longer has any reason to feel insecure about being overrun by a larger Indian conventional force.

For the US to continue supplying a Pakistani military that is much larger than the country can afford, will only invigorate Pakistani militancy and militarism at the expense of its 200 million people, one-third of whom continue to live at less than a dollar a day per household.”

Also read: Husain Haqqani resigns, ready to face inquiry

The former ambassador said that unless Pakistan changes its worldview, American weapons will end up being used to fight or menace India and perceived domestic enemies instead of being deployed against jihadists.

“Competition with India remains the overriding consideration in Pakistan’s foreign and domestic policies. By aiding Pakistan over the years—some $40 billion since 1950, according to the Congressional Research Service—the US has fed Pakistan’s delusion of being India’s regional military equal.

Seeking security against a much larger neighbour is a rational objective but seeking parity with it on a constant basis is not.

Instead of selling more military equipment to Pakistan, Mr Haqqani said, US officials should convince Pakistan that its ambitions of rivaling India are akin to Belgium trying to rival France or Germany.

Published in Dawn, April 21st, 2015

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