Foreign Policy Blogs

Ambassador to U.S Husain Haqqani Defends Government on Charlie Rose

Yesterday, May 3rd, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the U.S. Husain Haqqani went on Charlie Rose to defend his government’s inaction on the set of circumstances and events surrounding the near capture and, ultimately, targeted killing of Osama bin Laden.

It was a revelatory chat.  For, during that time in one move Ambassador Haqqani tried to quelch the idea that the government of Pakistan had willingly housed bin Laden, while saddling the anti-Zardari military with the burden to prove that precise point.  (Please find a link here to go directly to that conversation with Charlie Rose.)

The best he could offer his interviewer, Charlie Rose, was that there were indeed lapses and faults.  How could the government of Pakistan not have known?  But, he insisted, at worst these lapses arose from incompetence, and lack of coordination; he moved toward the idea that Pakistan has not necessarily been open and trusting in the ways it has shared information with its U.S. allies.  But that’s as far as blame rested with the government.

Sure he said, people must have known that bin Laden was in Abbotabad.  But the government didn’t know. And certainly the government didn’t want bin Laden in Pakistan.  He reminded his interviewer that al Qaeda stands against President Zardari’s civilian government.

Very strong words and humble words.  Ambassador Haqqani’s conversation with Charlie Rose at once gave the U.S media fodder while undercutting the argument for underhanded behavior, strategic chicanery to hide bin Laden.  At the same time his near mea culpa- how could the Pakistani military drop the ball on this issue- was not quite a mea culpa as much as a sharp stick in the eye of the military and intelligence leadership that has often opposed the weak civilian Zardari government.

Now, Ambassador Haqqani is well-known as a friend to the Bhutto-Zardari family, so speaking to the military’s fumble at once signaled that the Zardari government had nothing to do with the narrative presented so far, and showed that the very same civilian government might not hold back American authorities from investigating further on this issue.

Consider the stronger, sharper rhetoric from Washington D.C. and now Kabul. Who do you suppose that benefits-President Zardari or the military?



Faheem Haider

Faheem Haider is a political analyst, writer and artist. He holds advanced research degrees in political economy, political theory and the political economy of development from the London School of Economics and Political Science and New York University. He also studied political psychology at Columbia University. During long stints away from his beloved Washington Square Park, he studied peace and conflict resolution and French history and European politics at the American University in Washington DC and the University of Paris, respectively.

Faheem has research expertise in democratic theory and the political economy of democracy in South Asia. In whatever time he has to spare, Faheem paints, writes, and edits his own blog on the photographic image and its relationship to the political narrative of fascist, liberal and progressivist art.

That work and associated writing can be found at the following link:

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