Thursday, January 1, 2015

Magnificent Delusions by Husain Haqqani

Husain Haqqani, the author, is a former Ambassador of Pakistan to US. He was charged with conspiring against the Pak government and had to leave his country and take shelter in the USA. Haqqani a member of Benazir Bhutto's party PPP is an erudite in foreign affairs and Pakistani history. Having access to the corridors of power in the both US and Pak he was privy to secrets and top level Pakistani government and Army functionaries.

Haqqani elucidates the diplomatic and foreign relations between Pak and US starting from the conceptualization of Pakistan, which would serve as a home to Muslims of South East Asia and to the discovery and assassination of infamous mass murderer Osama Bin Laden in Abbotabad, Pakistan in 2011. Haqqani describes how the US has played a pivotal role in harboring, nurturing and supporting the Pakistani establishment in the form of billions of dollars in aid and arms.

The most enlightening facet of the book is how each Pakistani leader starting from the civilian rulers like Liaquat Ali Khan, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto to Military dictators like General Ayub to Zia and to Musharaff have begged for aid and money from the American Presidents. This is a recurrent theme in the book, as Haqqani is taking us through a tour of Pak history and its relationship with the most powerful nation in the world each new leader keeps on repeating the same things to the Americans ad nauseam, Pakistan's strategic location, its powerful military, anti-communism and the viscous machinations of India.
At one point of time it actually becomes a bit boring reading about the same things repeated by each new leader more persistently and with more zeal each time. I'm so surprised at how our neighbors who claim to be the Jewel of the Muslim world have been literally begging their way into sustenance. The whole country is just surviving on large aid provided either by America, Britain, China or Saudi Arabia and other rich Muslim states. Instead of investing in their economy and education, Pak has been redirecting a large sum of their money towards sustaining their over sized army and Jihad against India.
Pakistan diplomats are perhaps the best in the world who for decades have coaxed the American establishment into believing that they did not do enough for Pak, who is their ally. This was the case even when US had no strategic interest in that region. Of course the Pakistanis have always felt that they have been misused by America and have got peanuts in return. The army and other civilian establishments have portrayed themselves as friends and allies of America but behind their back have never admitted to the Pakistani people about this. America is seen as an enemy of Islam and Pakistan, the army portrays that this is not the case to Americans but with their tacit approval and support they prop up these anti american actors.
This review would not be complete without talking about Pakistan's nuclear program and AQ Khan. Pak's nuclear program was started by the so called Quaid e Aam, Bhutto(who was later hanged by his trusted aide General Zia), Zia continued the nuclear weapons programs for Pakistan. Zia was questioned multiple time by various US officials over Pak's nuclear program, Zia kept lying through his teeth! AQ Khan, father of the 'Muslim bomb' later went to sell Pak's nuclear technology to North Korea, Libya and other rogue states.

In conclusion the only reason Pak has not failed as a state, is because of US. US is both a victim and partner in crime of Pakistan. One personal observation after reading this detailed account has been that republican presidents have been more Pak pro and democrats have been more pro Indian.

Haqqani's book is a very good analysis of the delusions of Pak-US relationship. He is critical of his own people and military and is brave enough to stand up against them, Pakistan needs more people like him. An honest account but a tad bit tiresome at times.

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