“One surgical strike cannot solve the India-Pakistan problem. I fully understand India’s anger against Pakistan because of terrorism. But why is it spending so much time on Pakistan?” asks Hussain Haqqani, Pakistan’s former ambassador to the US, now in forced exile.
Speaking to The Sunday Express at Hudson Institute, Washington, a global think tank, where he is Senior Fellow and Director, South and Central Asia, Haqqani said Pakistan was in denial about terrorism.
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“Pakistan has some legitimate grievances and concerns about India,” he said. “But it won’t be heard at international forums until it ends terrorism. Pakistan can’t have the cake of terrorism and eat it too.”
At the same time, Haqqani said, military action by India has its limits of effectiveness.
“It is not kinetic military action by India that will make Pakistan understand the ground reality. Consistent and sustained political, economic and diplomatic efforts alone will bring change in Pakistan,” he said. This is because “a few soldiers getting killed in military operations such as the one carried out by India won’t make any
difference to Pakistan since it loses many citizens in terror attacks on its soil”.
Haqqani, once a close aide of Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the late Benazir Bhutto, found himself on the wrong side of the establishment in his country after he criticised then President General Pervez Musharraf.
Later, as ambassador to the US, he was held guilty of authoring a memo that called for direct American intervention in Pakistan during Sharif’s regime and has ever since been persona non grata in Pakistan.
Terrorism, Haqqani said, has created havoc in Pakistan as well. “I am not saying Pakistan should end terrorism for India. But it ought to give it up for its own sake.”