Imran Khan is not the best interlocutor for India: Husain Haqqani

Recently in an interview with former Pakistani Ambassador to the US  Husain Haqqani, senior journalist Barkha Dutt argued that Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan was the best bet for India, as, according to her, Khan had told her in her recent trip to that country that there won’t be “any dissonance between him and the Pakistan Army”, as they both are on the same page as far as the country’s policy on India is concerned.

Disagreeing with her, Haqqani said, “They both are on the same page but it’s the same page in the wrong book. And the book is that of the military and not that of Imran Khan.” He said Imran Khan was brought into power by the intervention of the Army and intelligence agencies. “He has been in politics since 1997 and didn’t make any headway. All of a sudden in the last 2 years he did. The other side to it is that Imran Khan’s public positions are all the wrong positions. For example, he ran a campaign alleging that Nawaz Sharif was a Modi ke yaar. That basically means that he will not be a Modi ke yaar. What’s wrong with being a Modi ke yaar if you are the prime minister of Pakistan and Mr Narendra Modi is the Prime Minister of India?” Haqqani said Khan mainstreamed terrorists by roping them in the political and security system. “So my disagreement with you (Barkha) is that when somebody agrees with the Pakistani security establishment that does not make them a better interlocutor for India. All that it does is, it actually saves you the trouble of having any interaction or any serious interaction because you know what the answer is going to be… because the Pakistani security establishment has certainly not changed.”

The former diplomat says that he is a Pakistani by citizenship and an Indian by civilization. The former diplomat who is on exile said he doesn’t want to return to Pakistan as he doesn’t feel safe. “I don’t trust the judiciary in Pakistan. Look at what happened to Nawaz Sharif. I called it a judicial coup because there was no trial before he was disqualified. Pakistan has a highly politicized judiciary. It is a troubled state. Why? Because at the time of Partition, we got the preponderance of the military – nearly one-third of the military went to Pakistan and only 17 per cent of the resources. That is why even today we see Imran Khan going from country to country seeking funds. Instead of focusing on our people’s needs, we have focused on rivalry with India.” He said Pakistan is reeling under severe health and social problems. The country has the highest infant mortality in the world. Instead of addressing all these issues, it is directing its energies on containing India.

On the much-hyped Kartarpur corridor, Haqqani said the Pakistani establishment wants a process to start to show to the world that it had started the process. A process for the sake of process. It doesn’t want a process for an outcome. They want to move on things what they considered to be “low-hanging fruit.” “It’s a pattern. What I keep reminding everybody in India and even in the United States is to study the pattern,” Haqqani argued.

Elaborating on the point, the former ambassador said, as far as the “Pakistani establishment is concerned they’ve always been more open to a Punjab-Punjab relationship than they are to India-Pakistan relations. Pakistan is Punjabi dominated country. We must remember that in 1947 the greatest massacre took place in Punjab not elsewhere.” According to him, opening of Kartarpur corridor is inconsequential as it helps only in providing optics. “The real opening would be if people responsible for the Mumbai attacks are actually put on trial or a Pakistani admission that the policies it pursued so far is wrong. If you are not doing that then the rest of it is just for optics.”

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