The army is offended with Husain Haqqani because he allegedly plotted against its leadership, while he was Pakistan’s ambassador in Washington. Some people thought that he even inserted the punitive anti-army conditionalities in the Kerry-Lugar Bill of 2009.
Did the Americans copy these caveats from Husain Haqqani’s book Pakistan: Between Mosque and Military (Carnegie Endowment 2005)? What did Haqqani write that was so offensive to the army? He is facing a trial for treason, which is likely to attract the death penalty. And the judges are surprisingly hostile to him because the judiciary, by accepting the case, might be conflating Pakistani nationalism with loyalty to Pakistan Army. It is not to blame; the Constitution itself does so.
The book highlights the pattern of army and Religious Organisations working in tandem. It also traces another doctrine — that of “strategic depth”, which came to grief with 9/11 — to early formulations of strategy. Because Pakistan did not have geographical depth when militarily confronted by a 1,000-mile deep India, the army posited “fusion of the defence of Afghanistan and Pakistan”.
Haqqani traces it, not to the timeline of Pakistan Army’s decision to support the Taliban, but to Aslam Siddiqi’s 1960 book Pakistan Seeks Security. Siddiqi leans on Sir William Kerr Fraser-Tytler’s suggestion that the two states be fused into one. Siddiqi’s typically military addendum to the theory was that since it cannot be done by force (“fusion will lead to confusion”), Islamic ideology may be put to use. I am sure that today, Siddiqi will admit that it is the ‘fusion’ of Talibanisation with Pakistan that has led to more ‘confusion’.
Haqqani says that the army’s cohabitation with the mosque came through the intermediation of Nawaz Sharif. Pressured by the ISI and Qazi Hussain Ahmad, Nawaz Sharif toed the line on Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. An actual attempt at an overthrow was led by a major general who was “allegedly” patronised by the ex-ISI chief General Javed Nasir of the Tablighi Jamaat. A “weak” army chief was also to be targeted by the coup-plotters together with Benazir Bhutto and her government.
Haqqani reveals that the heavily bearded ISI chief, Javed Nasir, authorised the 1993 attack — through the Indian underworld figure Daud Ibrahim — on the Bombay Stock Exchange, which killed 250 people as revenge for the destruction of the Babri Mosque by Hindu fanatics. Javed Nasir’s list of “enemies of Islam” at the ISI included “the United States, Hindu leadership of India and the Zionists”. The covert Kashmir policy swung out of control under Benazir in 1993 as Mast Gul, a Jamaat-e-Islami hero of Charar Sharif, was lionised by the ISI against her wishes!
In 1998, Nawaz Sharif was compelled to mend fences with the Lashkar-e-Taiba in Muridke, near Lahore, when the governor of Punjab and the federal information minister called on its leader and praised him and his terrorist forays into India.
Haqqani also mentions the October 2001 attack by the Jaish-e-Muhammad on the Kashmir assembly in Srinagar. Then in December the same year, the Lashkar-e-Taiba attacked the Indian parliament, bringing the Indian Army eyeball-to-eyeball with the Pakistan Army on the borders. General (retd) Pervez Musharraf arrested Hafiz Saeed but let him go after keeping him in safe custody for some time.
There is reference to Fazlur Rehman Khaleel of the Harkatul Mujahideen. Khaleel was the logistics man for Osama bin Laden and had co-signed the 1998 fatwa of death against the Americans with OBL. He has a ‘safe house’ in Islamabad.
What came first, the army-sponsored India policy or army-sponsored Islamic extremism? Haqqani says it was India-centrism that finally brought Pakistan to Islamic extremism. The myth of India not accepting Pakistan and attacking Pakistan lives on even after the acquisition of nuclear deterrence.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 3rd, 2012.
More in OpinionThe state has no business deciding someone’s faith