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Haqqani heckled at meeting

June 29, 2008

WASHINGTON, June 28: A row between Ambassador Husain Haqqani and supporters of the Jamaat-i-Islami overshadowed the meeting of Pakistani Physicians in North America on Friday.

“Go Haqqani, go,” shouted the Jamaat supporters and their slogan echoed in the large convention centre of a Washington hotel where representatives from the US Congress, State Department and various think-tanks were also present, mainly to hear Supreme Court Bar Association president Aitzaz Ahsan talk about the lawyers’ movement.

The row started when the son of a prominent Jamaat leader interrupted Mr Haqqani who was telling the audience that relationships between nations are based on ground realities, and not “whims and desires” of a few individuals.

The Jamaat leader recited half a dozen emotive couplets to insist that emotions do matter.

“Foreign relations are not discussed in poetry,” said Mr Haqqani. “Saddam Husain’s last speech was also full of poetry but it could not save him or his nation.”

He then urged the hecklers to “grow up” and learn.

This annoyed the Jamaat supporters who got up, shouting “go Haqqani go” and “Haqqani is an American agent.”