Haqqani advice to Pak army: Look at borders,not politics

Radicals need to be combated intellectually,ideologically and politically.

Written by Shubhajit Roy | New Delhi | Published:February 28, 2013 1:19 am

Hussain Haqqani,Islamabad’s former ambassador to Washington who resigned after the ‘memogate’ incident of 2011,Wednesday said his country’s army needed to concentrate on defending Pakistan’s borders,not on telling its politicians what to do inside.

“I want my army to succeed in the areas of responsibility for which they are raised… Armies are raised to defend frontiers… they are not raised to tell their political leaders what to do inside their country,” Haqqani said during a talk on ‘Democratic Pakistan — Vision and Reality’ which he delivered at Jamia Millia Islamia.

Haqqani resigned under pressure from the Pakistani army after he was accused of drafting,along with President Asif Ali Zardari,a memo allegedly seeking US help against a possible military coup in the aftermath of Osama bin Laden’s killing.

In June 2012,a judicial commission found Haqqani guilty. Haqqani,who has been an adviser to three prime ministers and currently professor of Practice of International Relations at Boston University,denies the allegations.

On Pakistan’s approach to terrorism,he said,“When Pakistan is accused internationally of being a country that has been tolerant towards terrorism,people like me argue within our country that this is not a problem others need to address. This is a problem we need to address… in the interest of Pakistan,because we are the victims of terrorism.”

“Terrorism,” Haqqani said,“hurts our neighbours,the US,affects the international community,that is important but what is more important is that terrorism hurts the people of Pakistan most… and why is that? It is because the policy of nurturing jihadi groups with the intention of creating a sub-conventional capability of influencing the region,that decision was taken by an authoritarian regime under General Zia-ul Haq without any national debate,without national discussion. What benefits it will bring to the people of Pakistan were not subjected to democratic discourse.”

“The only lashkar in Pakistan that should be legal is the lashkar of Pakistan army and paramilitary forces subject to civilian oversight. There should not be other lashkars,and there shouldn’t be other armies or sipahas. As long as those lashkars and sipahas exist,they are a threat to Pakistan… Radicals need to be combated intellectually,ideologically and politically.”

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