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Militarism, militancy not good for Pakistan's future: Husain Haqqani

ANI | Updated: Apr 10, 2018 22:40 IST

New Delhi [India] April 10 (ANI): Militarism and militancy are not going to ensure a better future for Pakistan, said former Pakistani Ambassador to the United States Husain Haqqani on Tuesday.

Talking exclusively to ANI, the former Pakistani diplomat talked about Pakistani military's intervention in politics, terrorism, Pashtun uprising and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

Maintaining that Pakistani military is not trained to intervene in the country's politics, Haqqani said military interventions in Pakistani politics have resulted in political chaos.

"Military interventions going back to 1958 have only brought war, destruction, or political chaos in the country. Pakistani people will start loving their military when it stops interfering and intervening in politics. If public opinion in Pakistan becomes so critical of the military's role in politics that the military realizes that its interventions are not acceptable to the people then the military's behaviour will also have to change," Haqqani said.

The Pakistani military has historically been interfering in the country's politics and has dethroned democratically elected governments many times.

Talking about jihadi elements getting safe havens in Pakistan, the former diplomat said, "As far as militants and jihadi outfits are concerned, they have already brought Pakistan on the brink of global sanctions. I think it is time to get rid of militancy without any conditions and Pakistani people can demand of their government action against militants."

Haqqani said it is high time that Pakistan corrects its pro-terror image in the world.

"Terrorism has become an issue that is now not only hurting India, Pakistan relations but also US-Pakistan relations. Many other countries are also becoming negative in their approach to Pakistan. So, Pakistan will have to change that perception around the world," Haqqani said.

He also said that Pakistan also needs to take action against Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) co-founder and Jama'at-ud-Da'wah (JUD) Hafiz Saeed as people like him do not bring pride to Pakistan.

"When somebody (Hafiz Saeed) has been declared a terrorist by the global community then all countries should act against such a person and Pakistan also needs to take steps that will redeem it in the eyes of the world. International opinion should not be flouted in the manner it has been by Pakistan in relation to Hafiz Saeed," Haqqani said.

Replying a question about Saeed's foray into politics, Haqqani hoped that Saeed does not make it to Parliament in Pakistan and said efforts to "mainstream a terrorist" is going to be problematic for Pakistan in terms of its relations with several countries of the world.

He said Saeed's political face 'the Milli Muslim League' has been recognized by the US as another name for the LeT.

"As far as the Milli Muslim League is concerned, the United States has just recognized it as another name for Lashkar-e-Taiba. One can keep changing the name many times but unless you change your actions, changing names will not change reality."

Expressing his views about the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Haqqani said China's investment in Pakistan is strategic so Islamabad should be alert as to not become indebted to China.

"China considers Pakistan as its strategic instrument for keeping in check India's ambitions in Asia. It also considers Pakistan as a secondary deterrent. Therefore, China's investment in Pakistan is strategic. That said, China does have a very capitalistic outlook right now. And, once they have invested heavily in, they will not go back without having their pound of flesh as they did in Sri Lanka in the case of Hambantota port," Haqqani said.

He added that Pakistan will get benefit out of the CPEC if it has a strong economic base.

"If Pakistan ends up becoming highly indebted to China, without creating jobs for its own people, then the CPEC will end up becoming a liability rather than an asset."

Talking about Pashtun movement in Pakistan, the former Pakistani diplomat said Pashtuns are not foreign agents as being alleged by the government but people who have been deprived of their just rights.

"Pashtuns have acted totally spontaneously and without any serious political organisation and that basically shows how a young Pakistani population is quite disgruntled with the situation they face. Pashtun Tahafuz Movement leaders are being termed as traitors and foreign agents. They are not foreign agents but they are people facing injustice and standing up for their rights," Haqqani said.

He also said that there will be many movements like Pashtun Tahafuz across Pakistan because Pakistani state has ignored too many people within the country to pursue objectives that have nothing to do with providing education, healthcare and justice to the poorest of poor.

Haqqani, who has written a book titled 'Reimagining Pakistan', said Pakistan should actually become a pragmatic state instead of an ideological nation that it has been trying to become from the last 70 years.

He said priorities of Pakistani people are being ignored due to religion-based ideology.

"The problem with having a religion based ideology and an ideology that envisages the country's largest neighbour (India) as the permanent enemy is that peoples' priorities get ignored," Haqqani said.

The diplomat turned author said instead of being obsessed with religion and with India as enemy, Pakistan should look after its own people as the nation with world's sixth largest has its economy on the 42nd number in the world. (ANI)