Advantage from Nato supply route will not last forever: Husain Haqqani

Published: May 18, 2012

Husain Haqqani says a minority in Pakistan wants to hijack the public debate. PHOTO: FILE

With the United States and Pakistan busy behind the scenes, hammering out terms for reopening the Nato supply route, the former Ambassador to US, Husain Haqqani appearing on CNN on Thursday, pointed out that whatever advantage Pakistan stands to gain from the Nato supply routes, it will not last forever.

Speaking on “The Brief”, hosted by Christiane Amanpour, Haqqani said, “Pakistanis have to wake up to the fact that whatever advantages they have as the ground line of communication (GLOCs) provider, that advantage is not going to last forever. As the Americans withdraw, yes, they need Pakistan to withdraw their heavy equipment. But in a worst case scenario, they can say ‘Blow up the equipment, let’s get out of here through other means.’”

“We need to crack down on these extremists for Pakistan’s sake. More Pakistanis have been killed by them than they have killed Americans…. America will leave Afghanistan someday. But we will still be haunted by the remnants.”

However, he said that the main sticking point remained a gulf of trust deficit between the two allies, and a reduced space within Pakistan to openly discuss pragmatic aspects of the troubled bilateral relation. “Look, I am, as a Pakistani, very concerned about the direction of my own country. I am among those who feel that there are elements in Pakistani society who don’t allow us to have an honest and realistic debate about foreign policy.”

“We just want to blame our neighbors, our enemies,” said Haqqani, “we don’t want to take account of what’s wrong at home.”

However, he reminded that there were genuine concerns for Pakistan in Afghanistan, which many felt were being ignored. “We are concerned about the future of Afghanistan. We don’t want India to create a kind of presence in Afghanistan that the US wouldn’t have tolerated if the Soviets had created it in Mexico during the Cold War,” he said

As a solution, the former ambassador proposed honesty. “We both need to have an honest discussion.”

He hinted that a small group of people wished to hijack the public debate for ulterior motives. “Pakistan needs to discuss its relations with the US honestly and openly within its society, instead of allowing a small group of people ideologically motivated and seeking essentially the domination of an Islamist ideology within Pakistan, but unable to get votes. They should not be allowed to dominate the discourse within Pakistan”

On the American side, Haqqani said that in his formal capacity as Ambassador, he often urged US to understand Pakistani sentimentalities. “We helped the Americans fight the Soviets in the ‘80’s and what was the result? Civil war in Afghanistan, the Americans left, we were left with the baby and we paid the price for the civil war. Then 9-11 came, we became partners with the Americans again, and this time when the Americans leave, we will still be picking up the pieces.”

“Your domestic politics and our domestic politics often come in the form of a clash, and when they clash nothing good comes out of it.”

“Talk to any Pakistani for five minutes,” he said, “and by the fifth minute he will be getting angry about America far more than he would about whoever hid Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. Now there’s been a year that’s gone and we haven’t yet prosecuted anyone for hiding and protecting Osama bin Laden there. So my point is, as Pakistanis, we need to take some responsibility.”

Despite this, when Pakistan sought token retribution in the aftermath of the November 26, 2011, when a Nato airstrike killed 24 Pakistanis soldiers, it was ignored. “Pakistan demanded an apology for the Salala incident (the lethal air strike) when Pakistan’s troops were killed. America disregarded that request.”

Haqqani not returning anytime soon

Asked whether Haqqani would be returning to the fray, he said that such a scenario was not possible till the atmosphere for him cooled. “I will not go back to Pakistan for the moment,” he said. “Purely because there are elements there who have been threatening my life.”

He pointed out how progressive thinkers like former Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer was killed by his own security guard. “So until such time as the ideologically motivated hateful rhetoric against me is ending, it’s better for me to stay out.”

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Reader Comments (50)

  • Billoo Bhaya
    May 18, 2012 - 5:51AM

    Liar, Liar!! The man with all the ailments not to answer questions from Memogate Commission is always available to CNN and to advise the US Congress how to proceed against Pakistan. The man who stipulated clauses in the Kerry-Lugar Bill for this very moment and remains the darling of US Congress. Pakistani Nation do you ever wonder why you are in such doodoo??? .

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  • Faisal
    May 18, 2012 - 6:02AM

    Mr Haqqani!! please spare us from your precious advices as you are already an absconder !!!

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  • sal
    May 18, 2012 - 6:13AM

    i hope people like you are also in minority

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  • Khurram
    May 18, 2012 - 6:21AM

    “We are concerned about the future of Afghanistan. We don’t want India to create a kind of presence in Afghanistan that the US wouldn’t have tolerated if the Soviets had created it in Mexico during the Cold War,” he said.
    Mr. Ambassador first of all for your kind information Afghanistan is a sovereign country not our fiefdom and Afghans are free people they are free to choose who they want to be their friends, we have no right what so ever to impose our own will upon them. They have experienced our friendship for that they hate us with a passion. Your above given lines also expose our convoluted mindset and the sickness that we have been living with for the last sixty five years and you with all honesty are fully aware that this India bogey is the very root cause of our every problem. The utmost need for us at this very moment is to change our hostile attitude towards India sooner rather than later before we end up at the dump, I can assure you the rest of the problems will be easy to solve. Before closing off I would also like to say, sir I love Pakistan as much as you do may be even more but I also have the advantage to see things from a different perspective with an open mind.

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  • Animal Farm - Desi
    May 18, 2012 - 6:28AM

    “Contradictions do not exist. Whenever you think that you are facing a contradiction, check your premises. You will find that one of them is wrong.”

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  • Ali
    May 18, 2012 - 6:57AM

    So now that he is not the ambassador he is talking in favor of Pakistan. Earlier he issued 400 visas without informing the FO to US armed guards. What a junk of a man.

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  • May 18, 2012 - 7:21AM

    Stay safe & blessed with your masters “Mr. American Ambassador in Washington“.
    Someone wants to understand what “more loyal than the king” (Shah se zyada Shah ka Wafadar) means; just see this man. He is more faithful to the Americans than they themselves are. Disgusting & we had this man representing us (??) in Washington for 4 years. No wonder we have hit the lowest ebb on all international fora & that we are second on the most negatively perceived nations in the world..
    http://tribune.com.pk/story/380329/iran-pakistan-israel-most-negatively-rated-countries-globally-bbc-poll/

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  • Rao
    May 18, 2012 - 7:47AM

    Haqqani always states to please Amwricans. Waht does he want? Even a layman can understand.He is more sincere with American friends instead of Pakistan.Now he is giving an impression is that NATO,s supply will not safe,will it be the first time/NATO’s suplly has been jeopardising for the last many years, by the way, when he taks about “some” not allow to debate fpreign policy, he should be brave enough to mention these some, Haqqani is a cover and weak intellecutally who can bear pressure,so he left Pakistan.
    Haqqani sahib, now you should write books aganist pakistan and earn royalty……..

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  • anybodyagree
    May 18, 2012 - 7:49AM

    “We just want to blame our neighbors, our enemies,”
    “we don’t want to take account of what’s wrong at home.”
    .
    .
    This is the real truth, we are destroying our own country. . . ????

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  • May 18, 2012 - 7:52AM

    He asks Pakistanis to take responsibility, but to appear relevant he blames America(Although slightly and India).

    He says Pakistan is facing the blowbacks of the Soviet war. Yes, but why is America is to blame? America did not force Pakistan to train and arm the Mujahideens. It did not force weapons and money down Pakistan’s throat. Pakistan did it on its own volition. Now to turn around and say US is the one to blame, ask yourself why!

    Even after the Soviet Union collapse, Pakistan chose, intentional and with purpose, to support the Taliban regime. In fact it was one of 3 Countries in the entire World to recognize it. If the same Taliban ideology permeates into Pakistani culture and geography, why should America be blamed? Did America ask Pakistan to support the cruel Islamic regime?

    It doesn’t stop there, the mujahideen were not disbanded after the Soviet withdrawal- They were routed to Kashmir. Now, if the people who fought in Kashmir turn around to attack US and attack Pakistan itself, why should anyone apart from Pakistan should be blamed?

    In my view, Pakistan tried to act big but the reality didn’t match its ambitions. It faltered. Now, its looking for scapegoats.

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  • syed baqar ahsan
    May 18, 2012 - 8:22AM

    For sure, you are for others,the only bad luck to us was that you were born here,the memo was also your sincere effort to ruin Pakistan,The only mistake you committed on memo you forgot to sign otherwise American would been everywhere in Pakistan like Afghanistan.

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  • Mirza
    May 18, 2012 - 8:29AM

    HH should be ashamed of himself for telling the truth. He should not talk about OBL’s presence in army base and not expose our weaknesses which are plenty. He is such a powerful man in world politics that “he wrote Kerry-Lugar Bill” and him not Mansoor Ijaz has been writing against Pakistan all these years. The vitriol against HH is proving him right that he should not return to Pakistan. We are such naive people that we forced him to work independently by forcing him out of the govt. We thought he had no voice in the world.

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  • ahmad
    May 18, 2012 - 8:41AM

    Very thought provoking & genius article…. specially for Deep State……

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  • hafeez
    May 18, 2012 - 8:42AM

    husain haqqani who always sensible and a well wisher of pakistan. but conservative middle class urban fellows will not understand.

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  • kaalchakra
    May 18, 2012 - 8:42AM

    He did lift my spirits considerably by comparing Pakistan to USA and Afghanistan to Mexico. Afganistan is a brotherly nation and Pakistan definitely cannot tolerate Afghanistanis do many things without seeking elder brother’s permission first.

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  • samo
    May 18, 2012 - 8:44AM

    I like Haqqani, dont care what others say about him.

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  • syed baqar ahsan
    May 18, 2012 - 8:47AM

    Mr Haqqani and USA,its not impossible to proof that CIA is the mastermind in bring the Osama and company in Pakistan and subsequently placed him in Abbottabad for right time to cash on.Go through the time square initial ticker when this drama news appeared.The fault with us was we allowed American to establish network under the grab of small financial packages and sponsoring general and politicians to launch worldwide attack by using our soil innocent people like Ajmal Kasab.wherever we resisted/difficulty faced by USA used KSA,UK, UAE,Turkey to pressurrizes

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  • syed Imran
    May 18, 2012 - 9:42AM

    This man should be ashamed of his character he displayed. with no shame he is ever ready to ridicule his so called country which he doesnt own but for perks and priviliges.

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  • vasan
    May 18, 2012 - 9:59AM

    The advantage of NATO routes was lost already for 5000USD per container.

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  • maxwood
    May 18, 2012 - 10:29AM

    Haqqani should be the last man to talk about the affairs of Pakistan, most importantly current affairs of Pakistan.

    People like him have one advantage, and i.e. foolish stock of people are gathered as Pakistani Nation.

    He started as student activist and was one of the initiator of agitation culture in Karachi University.

    There has to be some legislation which would stop these people to even have a breathe after secretion of their venom against ;; for Pakistan.

    Take the example of Ms. Halen Thomas, she been the most respected person linked to the WHITE HOUSE. The moment she utter something against the policy of the country (USA), she was out.

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  • Concerned
    May 18, 2012 - 10:54AM

    The former US ambassador is certainly talking sense on the decades old ill-concieved policy of looking both ways which has resulted in double trouble of spoiling relations with US and India and deaths of thousands of innocent civilians as well the security forces at home. Its a policy of playing with the fire for too long and getting charred in the process but still not learnt any lessons.

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  • MalangJan
    May 18, 2012 - 11:30AM

    @KaalChakra..”He did lift my spirits considerably by comparing Pakistan to USA and Afghanistan to Mexico. Afganistan is a brotherly nation and Pakistan definitely cannot tolerate Afghanistanis do many things without seeking elder brother’s permission first”.

    This is the problem with the Pakistani way of thinking. Look, how moderate & progressive this Haqani is. He will do anything for American just to be seen progressive but when it comes to Afghanistan or India, he behaves like Jalal-u-Din Haqanis.

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  • John B
    May 18, 2012 - 11:31AM

    In the end, what he says is true. In couple of years, NATO will leave, the supply route revenue will dry up. The US may not think that reopening the supply route is a favor to her and PAK cannot use this reopening to bargain more in the future.

    All supplies after 2014 will be Afghanistan import or donation , so no tariff milking either. As for India, she is a darling of Afghanistan and she is going to be there for good.

    No US administration will forego India for PAK.

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  • Shyam
    May 18, 2012 - 11:33AM

    We just want to blame our neighbors, our enemies,

    Pakistan needs to grow up and stop seeing other nations as “Friends” or “Enemies”. There are no such words in international relations dictionary

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  • Ammad Malik
    May 18, 2012 - 11:38AM

    HH is a stupid man if he thinks his country men understand logic and reason. We are the great nation of Pakistan, we don’t care for such things.

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  • Sudhir
    May 18, 2012 - 11:48AM

    Haqqani, a traitor who is loyal to his US masters and speaks their language, will not come back to face the Memo case.

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  • Umer
    May 18, 2012 - 12:01PM

    None of the Haqani haters have any concrete evidence against him despite the best efforts of the establishment. Yet everyone seems to be happy to indulge in baseless propaganda against him. Those calling him absconder should get their friend Mansoor Ijaz in Pakistan and prosecute him for anti-Pakistan activities.Recommend

  • Umer
    May 18, 2012 - 12:06PM

    As most Haqani haters are pro-establishment PTI fans so for their information there was once a court hearing in California too. Read up on that court case’s history and who
    absconded in that case.

    Hint: The same person who has run away from the country as soon as decision to open NATO supplies is made, as the decision is made by the establishment and he can’t blame the civilian government for it.

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  • Nasir
    May 18, 2012 - 12:25PM

    He is right – Pakistanis live in LA LA land and has a conspiracy theory mentality. We blame the rest of the world but will never admit there is something wrong at home.

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  • ibnesafi
    May 18, 2012 - 12:28PM

    I thought he was having his heart fixed some where in US. To be honest, he should have his head examined. that may need more fixing to do.

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  • ishtiaer hussain
    May 18, 2012 - 12:31PM

    TRUE PATRIOT; HUSSAIN HAQQANI. But unfortunately in Pakistan, a person who is loyal more to the religious ideology than to the country itself is considered a patriot. At the bottom of the divide, it’s all the question about whether the religion or the country comes first. According to a BBC survey, Iran, Pakistan and Israel are the world’s most lowly rated countres in respect of global reputation. What is common between these countries? In these countries, religious ideologies trump common sense, pragmatism and human wisdom.

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  • zeeshan
    May 18, 2012 - 12:47PM

    This is man who always played negative role for his own interest, he played worst role in Logger bill and put humiliate clauses, he was protecting American interest as an ambassador. He always attempted to degrade Pakistan and Pakistani interests.He is puppet of American and acts as they ask to him. Now he is advising what have to do Pakistan and he is asking i am panic to come Pakistan. He wants to destabilize Pakistan at the order of their masters.

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  • anwar
    May 18, 2012 - 1:04PM

    Neither will you live forever

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  • Kij
    May 18, 2012 - 2:14PM

    Traitors can’t speak for Pakistan…

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  • SK
    May 18, 2012 - 2:49PM

    traitor…

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  • faraz
    May 18, 2012 - 3:03PM

    Who has authorized Haqani to speak on behalf of Pakistan? He is no more a representative of Pakistan/Government of Pakistan and should keep quiet on issues that are no more his responsibility to speak about!

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  • Shahid
    May 18, 2012 - 3:06PM

    Why does Mr Haqqani think the revenue from American supplies is the ultimate cure for pakistan’s dwindling economy? After Americans leave, this country would do far better by establishing trade and energy routes thereby actualizing its potential as a hub of regional trade. Real problem is with American imperialism and hagemony, thrusted on weak states by using superior military technology. Mr Haqqani should do some soul searching for his conduct all through the years he remained Pakistan’s ambassodor in America. He appeared more sympathetic to American interests as well as concerns than to his own country.

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  • faraz
    May 18, 2012 - 3:11PM

    @Ammad Malik: As if rest of the world is running on logic and reason!

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  • Imran Con
    May 18, 2012 - 3:52PM

    Most of these comments are just proving him right.

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  • ali gilani
    May 18, 2012 - 3:54PM

    @Sudhir:”speaks their language” now I pity you have said that, it is not “his” masters’ language, it is the language of people of the world living outside of Pakistan. I’m sure you hate it but still you read this language here. What a double standard. Hussain Haqqani is a patriot and a gentleman unlike you, who probably go to General Zia’s grave and recite some hateful stuff every year and you will vote for Mian.

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  • faraz
    May 18, 2012 - 4:32PM

    @BruteForce: Oh, so Pakistan backed Mujahideen on its own, without any support from the US! Wow, that’s news. Open your eyes and see who benefited the most ending cold war era and who suffered the most during and after that war!

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  • larkidesi
    May 18, 2012 - 5:08PM

    i have read the above and the comments. its intresting to see that hardly and i mean HARDLY any of the comments show that they like this guy Husain Haqqani. And not everybody could be wrong or could they?
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  • Imran Mohammad
    May 18, 2012 - 5:25PM

    Would honorable (Ex) Ambassador like to asnswer following:

    When ( Allegedly) Gen Zia was nurturing extremists, where was he? What he doing those days?
    Who promoted his career as journalist?
    From which party did he launch his political career? hint..hint.. it has word ‘Islamic’ in its name !!!

    Read this for more ‘expose’ of this ‘intellectual’ liberal:

    http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-14590-In-his-true-colours-why-is-sacked-ambassador-shy-of-the-truth

    If ET does not publish the link, read article by Ahmad Noorani in ‘The News’ ( May 14th).

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  • Nand
    May 18, 2012 - 5:33PM

    @faraz: ‘Who has authorized Haqani to speak on behalf of Pakistan?’
    The same authority that allows you to write comments here.

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  • Abdul Rahman Khan
    May 18, 2012 - 6:12PM

    Mr Haqqani is speaking american language to coerce pakistan to rush up to open the nato supply route. He is also threatening pakistan that if it is not done, America can blow up her equipment before leaving afghanistan thus closing the chapter of nato supply route for good. Mr Haqqani has not cooperated with the memo gate commission which has proved his guilt. Recommend

  • jeevan
    May 18, 2012 - 6:42PM

    There you go… Mr Haqqani talks about big issues.. a guilty man who have to face justice on memo gate issue

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  • Cautious
    May 18, 2012 - 7:19PM

    Haqqani gave up his job and traveled to Pakistan under adverse conditions to testify — and it didn’t buy him anything from the rabid people who hate anything associated with America. I don’t blame him a bit for not going back – his arguments that the environment in Pakistan puts his life at risk is reasonable. Even after quitting his job Haqqani seems to do a better job presenting Pakistan’s position than your current Ambassador — reminds me a bit of Musharraf who also does does a decent job of articulating Pakistan’s position. Go figure.

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  • FactCheck
    May 18, 2012 - 8:02PM

    @Khurram:

    Unfortunately Pakistan is not the US. India can, will and already has. What you seem to forget is, Pak brought misery to Afghanistan for past 30 plus years. India is building roads, Afghan Parliment, Hospitals, water purification and distribution system, training police force, trianing civil servants, helping in setting up the adiministration.

    Afghanistan and India has very long history and many cultural aspects they share. Your claim to fame is Pakistan is Muslim but anyone who has studied history know that there no similarity between Pathans, Sndhi’s, Punjabis.and Baluchi’s.

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  • May 18, 2012 - 8:17PM

    @faraz:

    “. Open your eyes and see who benefited the most ending cold war era and who suffered the most during and after that war! “

    Do read my comment again. US provided money and weapons, everything else Pakistan provided to the Mujahideens.

    What does it matter who benefited or suffered when talking about facts?

    Pakistan chose to support the US against SU and faced the consequences. Only Pakistan is to blame for thinking it can play with the big boys.

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  • Mirza
    May 18, 2012 - 10:12PM

    It is ironic that HH who shamelessly pleaded Pakistan’s case in the US especially after OBL was found in Abbottabad Base. The rightwing hate groups hated him even then and they still hate him when once again HH is coming out with lame excuses to support Pakistan’s weak position.
    HH is branded traitor by his opponents even before the PCO SC, and three HC CJ facade is concluded. The rightwing verdict is out against HH before the court’s. At the same time Mansoor Ijaz has been treated as if he is a Pakistani hero, despite his long record of spitting venom against Pakistan, army, and ISI all these years. MI’s allegations that the army and ISI were planning to overthrow the elected govt after OBL’s death, were never refuted or investigated. He is a liar in every other sense except when he went against the current govt.

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