Former Ambassador to the US Hussain Haqqani.—File Photo

ISLAMABAD: Husain Haqqani took up the assignment of ambassador to the United States, the country's highest diplomatic posting, in April 2008 soon after Pakistan People's Party came into power.

Being a political appointee and someone thought to be close to President Asif Ali Zardari, Mr Haqqani had to struggle for his survival for much of his three-year tenure as ambassador.

In 2009, he battled the controversy at home over Kerry-Lugar-Berman aid legislation, which he had pushed.

The legislation annoyed the military establishment because some of its provisions were thought to be disrespectful to the military establishment.

At that point it appeared that he might not be able to complete his tenure as it was then an open secret that the military leadership had asked the civilian government to sack him. But Haqqani, known for fighting back, reinvented himself and tried to earn the confidence of the powers that be, whom he once strongly criticised.

Smaller controversies kept cropping up and only earlier this year he was accused of granting visas to a large number of 'CIA spies'.

The 'memogate' scandal, however, finally made him stumble.

Many think Haqqani's woes were not because of his strong anti-army views but because of an ongoing struggle between the military and civilian leadership for control over who managed the relations with the United States.

Mr Haqqani, a former journalist, has been living in the US for 10 years, where he earlier remained associated with Carnegie Endowment and Boston University.

He was one of the more influential Pakistani figures in Washington where he was said to be on first name basis with key administration officials and congressional leaders.

The former ambassador is known as an outspoken critic of the military. His book 'Pakistan: Between Mosque and Military' had detailed the military's relations with jihadi elements — a despised nexus in the West.

Mr Haqqani also served as high commissioner in Sri Lanka and remained a close aide of both Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto. He started his political career as a student activist with ultraconservative Jamiat, a student wing of Jamaat-i-Islami.

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