Former Pakistan ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani said on Thursday that Pakistan should first normalise its relations with India and then try to resolve the Kashmir issue. “Other countries have disputes but they do not hold themselves prisoners to those disputes. China and Taiwan have healthy trade relations. The ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries have majority of trade amongst themselves. The NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) countries — the US, Canada and Mexico, conduct 50 per cent of trade amongst themselves.
Pakistan can do other things like trade, travel and education and then talk about Kashmir, instead of doing it the other way round,” he said. Haqqani was speaking at the National Center for Performing Arts on Thursday evening at the launch of his new book, Reimagining Pakistan: Transforming a Dysfunctional Nuclear State. The former diplomat has written three other books on Pakistan.
In a conversation with writer Anil Dharker, Haqqani said that Pakistan needs to be pragmatic about resolving the Kashmir dispute. “Indian and Pakistani policy has not benefitted the people of Kashmir. First normalise relations with India and Afghanistan and then may be it is time to realise Mr Jinnah’s dream of relations between India and Pakistan being on the lines of the USA and Canada,” he said.
Haqqani was also critical of Pakistan’s judiciary, after the Supreme Court issued a warrant for his arrest in February. Haqqani, who resigned from the government, is based in Washington D.C., where he works for a think-tank.
“Pakistan’s judiciary has never been independent since 1950 and has been adjunct to the deep state. The judiciary’s role is subservient to the deep state,” he said.
He also added that Pakistan needs to find an identity for itself apart from what it has created for itself. “The two elements of Pakistan’s identity are religion and antipathy towards India. Pakistan needs a national purpose other than being antagonistic towards India,” he said.