Drones violate sovereignty, but so do militants using Pakistani soil: Haqqani

Published: December 12, 2012

The former ambassador criticised Pakistan for not using the full force of the state to crush militants. PHOTO: FILE

WASHINGTON: Former Pakistan ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani on Tuesday said that while his country was a victim of terror, it was also to blame for not using full force of the state to crush militant groups.

Speaking at the launch of the Asia Society’s report on the US and South Asia after Afghanistan, the former Pakistani ambassador emphasised that Pakistan has to cut all ties with the militant groups.

The former diplomat added that Pakistan’s sovereignty was being violated, not just by the US drone strikes, but also by militant groups that use the country as a base to carry out attacks.

The event’s speakers included former US ambassadors to Pakistan Wendy Chamberlin and Cameron Munter, former US Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs Karl Inderfurth and the report’s author and Asia Society fellow Alexander Evans.

Pakistan’s ties with US

In the panel discussion, former US Ambassador Cameron Munter said that while he always disagreed with Haqqani’s remarks about a ‘divorce’ between US and Pakistan, he said there was a need to move away from the bilateralisation of US-Pakistan ties.

“We can have a relationship based on agreed principles, not as defined by labels,” said Munter, adding that they should deal in areas which both countries had in common.

Haqqani said that the US has made an error by having solely military to military and intelligence to intelligence relationship with Pakistan. Those close links, Haqqani said, have led to skewed decision making in Pakistan.

“We need to continue military and intelligence relationship, but not make it the centrepiece of the relationship.”

In response to a question, the former Pakistani Ambassador jokingly remarked that he has gotten in trouble in the past for making remarks about the Pakistani Army and the ISI.

Asked about the unilateral drone strikes, Haqqani said that drones as an element of policy was understandable, and they have been effective. However, if they are to be the only policy, then they would not be successful.

Education must take priority in Pakistan

In response to a question, Haqqani said that Pakistan’s education crisis needs to become a priority.

Ambassador Wendy Chamberlin echoed Haqqani’s comments and said that Pakistan government’s investment in education was minuscule, adding that it was then interesting that Pakistan had pledged $10 million to a UNESCO fund for education.

Adopting a fresh approach to South Asia

The Asia Society report calls for the US to adopt a fresh approach to its South Asia policy.

The reports recommendations include a structured US approach to the India-US bilateral relationship, development of a realistic, medium-term strategy for Pakistan and an “enhanced approach to regional strategy that incorporates South and East Asia.”

Reader Comments (15)

  • Pro Truth
    Dec 12, 2012 - 7:07AM

    I would rate Cameron Munter more sincere towards Pakistan than Haqqani. Haqqani only prolong his life in media by speaking against Pakistan!

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  • basudeb dey
    Dec 12, 2012 - 7:14AM

    Very intelligent and farsighted diplomat I have seen in the history of Pakistan.

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  • Conspiracy Theorist
    Dec 12, 2012 - 7:43AM

    You can talk now Mr.Haqqani. You don’t matter anymore.

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  • Raj - USA
    Dec 12, 2012 - 8:09AM

    Yes, drones violate sovereignty. The question is whose sovereignty is being violated. It is the terrorists who are controlling these areas. So it is their sovereignty that is being violated. Pakistan should first regain sovereignty over these areas before it starts complaining of violations of its sovereignty. When you claim sovereignty over any area, you also are responsible for all actions by the terrorists who conduct their operations from those areas.

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  • WhistleBlower
    Dec 12, 2012 - 8:20AM

    Mr. Haqqani – If you are divorce with Pakistan is finalized then please forget about Pakistan and move on. But if you still want to be in a relationship with that country then come back home. You have a big fan club following in Pakistan waiting for you to show up once again:)

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  • Mirza
    Dec 12, 2012 - 8:42AM

    There is a big difference between drone attacks against known terrorists and terrorists going against innocent Pakistani civilians. While the drones focus and target the known terrorists in an act of active war the terrorists target Pakistani civilians. They do not target the civilians by mistake to spread the terror. There is no fear of terror attacks in most of the Pakistan by drone strikes.

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  • Abdul Malik
    Dec 12, 2012 - 8:53AM

    very rightly brought out By Hussain Haqqani…………. More important is to dual policies need to be eliminated by NATO/ISAF also ……..
    and what if the drone strikes continue even after US exit from Afghanistan….. when there will be no cause for militants to act inside afghanistan ………..

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  • Tamiz ud din
    Dec 12, 2012 - 8:59AM

    I do not agree with your article, because it is half truth and half lie.

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  • Nabeel Khan
    Dec 12, 2012 - 9:02AM

    Some people really deserve to die !!

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  • Saif Shamsi
    Dec 12, 2012 - 10:51AM

    Drones have blurred the line between war and assassination. Somebody suspected of plotting a terrorist attack on the soil of the US or the UK would be subject to arrest and prosecution. But if the suspects are in the tribal areas of Pakistan, they can simply be blown away

    http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/06133786-42c1-11e2-a4e4-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2EoWCk9pW

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  • Javed
    Dec 12, 2012 - 10:53AM

    Haqqani ever the opportunist, living in United States and passing long-distance leadership to Pakistan. Sir, please continue eating your burgers at American dime and dont let the door hit you on your way out.

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  • immi khan
    Dec 12, 2012 - 2:05PM

    Mr. Haqqani’s loyalty towards Pakistan has been in question ever since the Memogate affair…thats why he will never be taken seriously by anyone here in Pakistan.

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  • Sara
    Dec 12, 2012 - 3:08PM

    He makes an important point…why are terrorists allowed to roam the streets of Pakistan freely. The state refuses to take action against them, and they continue to kill Pakistani citizens. Why is that? Is it because the army is sponsoring them and the politicians have no guts?

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  • Syed
    Dec 12, 2012 - 6:48PM

    Pakistan needs to cut ties with ALL TERRORISTS GROUPS. These terrorists groups will never be loyal to you or anyone. They are all a cancer. Most unfortunately for Pakistan is its current location. China, India, Afghanistan, Iran and the ocean. There is so much external pressure and our country lacks sincere and smart leadership. One thing is for sure that these terrorists are no one’s friends and we must eliminate them and take total control of the country.

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  • Rao Amjad Ali
    Dec 13, 2012 - 11:30AM

    The fact is that foreign jihadi elements were invited, promoted and paid, in part, by the US in the aftermath of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. Not only did al-Qaeda grow out of that process, a number of smaller affiliates sprang from it as well which later carried out an insurgency project against the Indian army in disputed Kashmir and subsequently paved the way for the fundamentalists to consolidate an influential national network of medressahs whose graduates, now in hundreds of thousands, are a formidable force.

    The war on terror cannot be won without neutralising the medressahs. Quite apart from the duplicitous role of the intelligence apparatus even with the best of intentions the Pakistan army’s 700,000 strong men and women will not be able to achieve this objective in the foreseeable future. Only strong democratic institutions coupled with a much more tamed military leadership has the best chance of converting the medressahs and stamping out terror groups from Pakistan.

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