It is well-known that Mr. Husain Haqqani, who served as Pakistan's ambassador to the United States from 2008 to 2011, has a long history of opportunism. He has switched loyalties many times since he began his career in Karachi, Pakistan in 1980s.
Does former Ambassador Haqqani's latest Washington Post Op Ed titled "Yes, the Russian ambassador met Trump’s team. So? That’s what we diplomats do" signal yet another shift in his ever-changing loyalties?
Is the Washington Post Op Ed an attempt by Mr. Haqqani to ingratiate himself with President Donald Trump by defending the Trump campaigns' controversial contacts with Russia? Is he doing what his current employer Hudson Institute, a conservative right-wing think tank, expects him to do? Is he also reminding the Trump administration of the valuable services he rendered to the United States while working as Pakistan's ambassador in Washington by confessing that "I had facilitated the presence of large numbers of CIA operatives" in Pakistan?
Haqqani's Shifting Loyalties:
Husain Haqqani began his career in 1980s as General Zia ul Haq's loyalist when he was affiliated with Islami Jamiat Talaba (IJT), a right-wing student group with close ties to the Jamaat-e-Islami, a political party in Pakistan.
On August 21, 1988, Husain Haqqani covered Gen Zia's funeral as coanchor of PTV, the state-run television network. After the funeral, Haqqani spoke with Los Angeles Times correspondent Mark Fineman and said as follows:
"When Zia was alive, they (Zia's supporters) didn't have to come out. In fact, on most recent Fridays, when I went to prayer, my maulvi (Islamic preacher) has been blasting Zia as a phony and un-Islamic....Yesterday (after Zia's death), he was crying. The basic division in our society is between the Islamicists and the secularists, and this crowd today is saying that the highly religious segment of society cannot be ignored now that Zia is gone."
After the death of the general in a fiery air crash, Haqqani joined Prime Minister Sharif's right-leaning Muslim League and served as his press secretary followed by ambassadorship in Sri Lanka.
When Nawaz Sharif lost his job, Husain Haqqani joined left-leaning Pakistan People's Party and became Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's spokesman.
In a piece published in 1999 by Asian Wall Street Journal, Haqqani explained his changing loyalties in the following words: "Over the last three decades, I have alternated between being attracted to and repulsed by political Islam". The fact is that Mr. Haqqani has always been attracted to whoever is in power.
Currently, Haqqani is doing what is expected of him by his bosses at the right-wing Hudson Institute, a Washington think tank funded by the extreme right groups in the United States. Gatestone Institute, an offshoot of the Hudson Institute, is actively engaged in funding and promoting Islamophobia in America.
Washington Post Op Ed:
Ambassador Husain Haqqani has said in his Washington Post Op Ed that "I had facilitated the presence of large numbers of CIA operatives" in Pakistan.
Here's an excerpt from it.
"Among the security establishment’s grievances against me was the charge that I had facilitated the presence of large numbers of CIA operatives who helped track down bin Laden without the knowledge of Pakistan’s army — even though I had acted under the authorization of Pakistan’s elected civilian leaders."
Since the Op Ed claims to tell the world "what diplomats do" as part of their duties representing their nations abroad, it raises the following questions:
1. Is it part of an ambassador's job to send foreign intelligence agents into his or her own country without the knowledge and consent of his country's intelligence folks?
2. Can an ambassador trust that foreign intelligence operatives will only do what they promise in the ambassador's home country? Could it be that Bin Laden hunt was just an excuse to let in "large numbers of CIA operatives "who most likely have a far wider wider agenda, including tracking Pakistan's nuclear assets and spying that could risk Pakistan security?
3. Can an ambassador trust foreign intelligence agents more than his country's intelligence professionals?
4. How can an ambassador make sure that undercover foreign agents unknown to Pakistan's intelligence agencies would stick to doing only what they say they will do?
Husain Haqqani's Grudge:
Since his dismissal as Pakistan's ambassador in Washington, Mr. Husain Haqqani is nursing a grudge against Pakistan that is evident from his "research recommendations" for US policy on Pakistan.
For example, in a 2015 Wall Street Journal piece, he questioned "why are we sending this attack helicopter to Pakistan?" The "we" here is noteworthy given that he is currently a citizen of Pakistan. Mr. Haqqani's main worry was that "American weapons will end up being used to fight or menace India".
In 2016, Mr. Haqqani argued against US sales of F-16s to Pakistan and agreed with the Indian lobbyists that the F-16s would be used against India, not for fighting terror as Pakistan said.
Pakistan People's Party's Role:
Pakistan People's Party leaders have rejected Husain Haqqani's claim that he "acted under the authorization of Pakistan’s elected civilian leaders" when he "facilitated the presence of large numbers of CIA operatives" in Pakistan.
The PPP parliamentary leader Mr. Khursheed Shah has denounced Haqqani as a traitor and said “This man is issuing statement in an effort to gain attention of new US administration.”
Mr. Husain Haqqani has a long history of changing loyalties. He has often recommended US policy positions that are seen as detrimental to US-Pakistan ties, especially since his 2011 dismissal as Pakistan's ambassador in Washington. He has recently said he "had facilitated the presence of large numbers of CIA operatives" in Pakistan when he served as Pakistani ambassador in Washington from 2008 to 2011. His claim that he did so with Pakistani government's authorization has been rejected by the leaders of the Pakistan People's Party that governed the country at the time.
Here's a video of Riaz Haq rebutting Husain Haqqani: