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'India should tell Pakistan to set own house in order'

Posted on Jan 18 2014 | IANS

By Vikas Datta, Jaipur, Jan 18 : India should tell Pakistani leaders who make a litany of complaints over unsettled issues to instead look inwards and solve their country's and society's own shortcomings and provide a functional government, a former Pakistani envoy to the US said here Saturday.

"Pakistan doesn't need any more ideology in its governance but instead needs to become a functional government," Hussain Haqqani, author of a book on Pakistani-US relations, said at a session of the Jaipur Literary Festival.

"Any time Pakistani leaders make complaints over unsettled issues, India should tell them to look inwards and solve their own issues - the sharply declining school enrollment, the falling level of exports which are just 10 percent of its GDP, its low tax collections and so on," he said.

Making Pakistan insecure is not a solution, he said, but noted that Pakistan must also realise that as a nuclear weapon state, its existence is not in danger.

Pointing out that the two countries inhabited a subcontinent, Haqqani said India and Pakistan shared 5,000 years of common history and just 66 years as two nations after independence in 1947.

Noting that he was one of the 95 percent of the Pakistani population born after the Partition, and thus "did not need a raison d'etre" for his existence, Haqqani said schoolgirl Malala Yousufzai, who was shot and critically injured by the Pakistani Taliban for advocating education for girls, was a role model for the country, and not Lashkar-e-Taiba founder Hafeez Saeed.

He said the US and India must work together to nudge Pakistan towards a functional government as well as identify the links between its establishment and jihadis and exert pressure for these to be snapped to tackle the problem of terrorism.

Former Indian foreign secretary Shyam Saran, former Pakistani envoy to the US Hussain Haqqani and former US envoy to India Robert Blackwill at the Jaipur Literary Festival.

He contended that some causes for the dysfunction in the Pakistani polity stemmed out of its relations with the US and these had three consequences.

"Pakistan became more belligerent in its relations with India, Pakistanis cherish their independence and did not like the idea of becoming a client state of the US, and thirdly, the country became too dependent on the US."

On the relations as outlined in his book "Magnificent Delusions: Pakistan, the United States, and an Epic History of Misunderstanding", Haqqani said it was strange how the delusion was that the US never got it wanted from Pakistan, in terms of military support in the Korean or Vietnam wars.

The only place where they cooperated was against the Soviets in Afghanistan and "the consequences of this were not good for the world", he said.

In his remarks, Robert Blackwill, a former US envoy to India and advisor to president George W. Bush, said Haqqani's "deeply researched" book showed how successive Pakistani regimes "systematically" and "comprehensively" lied to the US on everything on terror to their activities in Afghanistan.

"America always gave the Pakistanis the benefit of doubt and never woke up to what they were doing," he said.

However, it was not that the US did not benefit from its ties with Pakistan, he said, adding that the top three benefits were Pakistan's help in opening ties with China, the assistance in Afghanistan during Soviet presence there and after 9/11, allowing US forces to set up bases on its territory.

Asked for similiar delusions in India-US relations, Blackwill quipped he was "not suicidal" to list Indian delusions to an Indian audience, but said both countries had misapprehensions about each other and during the Cold War period, India was the only democracy that the US did not have good ties with.

He identified the ties as still fragile in the short term but stable in the long term so far as their thinking on the rise of China was concerned.

The session was moderated by former Indian foreign secretary Shyam Saran.

(Vikas Datta can be contacted at

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