ISLAMABAD: Former Pakistan ambassador to the US, Hussain Haqqani, on Tuesday said he was not lobbying against Pakistan's interests, reacting strongly to Sartaj Aziz's 'allegations' from earlier in the day.
Aziz, while addressing lawmakers in the National Assembly, had claimed a former Pakistani ambassador to the US - without naming anyone - was 'lobbying against his own country' and 'creating hurdles for the government'.
In his rejoinder, Haqqani said he knew Aziz was talking about him because another minister had attacked him by name with similar claims.
Government officials should take "responsibility for failed policies" instead of "looking for scapegoats to divert attention from criticism at home" he said.
"A former Pakistani ambassador is working against his own country in the US," Aziz had stated during the NA session, adding that Pakistan's diplomatic mission in the US is facing challenges due to the former ambassador's campaign.
“I am now a scholar in the US, not a lobbyist,” Haqqani's statement said.
He added that if his opinions as a scholar carry so much weight that US policy is being affected by them, then the Pakistan Foreign Ministry should try to influence his opinions rather than treating him like a pariah and making false allegations against him in the Pakistani media.
"Pakistan’s difficulties in the US were the result of years of supporting 'jihadis' and making excuses that are having less and less effect on Americans. Moreover, Pakistan’s dependence on US aid made it susceptible to changes in the US national mood and attitude," elaborated Haqqani in the statement released.
“I did not make the AQ Khan network, support the Taliban as they killed US soldiers in Afghanistan or allow UN designated terrorist groups to function openly so there is no point in blaming me for these policy failures. Neither I nor any other former ambassador was responsible for the OBL fiasco,” said Haqqani, elaborating on the reasons for the trust deficit witnessed in Pak-US relations.
"This person is trying to tackle all our diplomatic efforts in boosting the bilateral ties between Pakistan and the United States," Aziz had said earlier today.
Without revealing the identity of the person, the adviser had added, "The Foreign Office has serious reservation on the activities of the said person in the US."
'Making successful efforts for non-entry of India to NSG'
Aziz also said that Pakistan is 'making successful efforts' against India's Nuclear Suppliers Group membership.
The adviser's remarks come just days after Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj said India is "not opposed" to Pakistan's entry to the NSG.
Winding up a discussion on demands for grants, the adviser rejected the impression that Pakistan is being isolated and said Pakistan has to prioritise foreign policy on the basis of new alignments taking place in the world.
Aziz said Pakistan is pursuing a balanced policy based on non-interference and protection of national interests and nuclear assets.
Aziz said the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, CASA-1000, and the Tapi and Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline projects are concrete achievements that will help increase regional connectivity.
He also claimed that Pakistan's political role would be enhanced through membership of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.
He highlighted Pakistan's 'historic and religious' relations with Muslim countries, saying that ties with Iran are "moving in the right direction", and that after the lifting of sanctions against the Republic, Pak-Iran relations will be strengthened.
Pakistan is pursuing a 'no-favourite' policy regarding Afghanistan and making efforts to establish peace in the country by means of the Quadrilateral Coordination Group. Work is in progress with respect to border management along the Pak-Afghan border, Aziz said.
Opposition members, however, criticised the government's foreign policy, saying that Pakistan is becoming isolated and stressed the need for good relations with neighbouring countries.
The opposition demanded that foreign policy should be reviewed keeping in mind shifts taking place in the region.
They pointed out that economy should be strengthened to support an independent foreign policy and termed the efforts of the Foreign Office with regards to gaining NSG membership insufficient.
Those who took part in the discussion included Shaikh Rashid Ahmad, Syed Naveed Qamar, Dr Shireen Mazari, Shaikh Salahuddin, Ayesha Syed, Jamshed Dasti, Mussarat Rafique Mahesar, Imran Khattak, Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui and Shazia Marri.