The US and Pakistan should stop pretending they are allies and amicably “divorce”, Pakistan’s former ambassador to Washington said, citing unrealistic expectations in both countries that include US hopes Islamabad will sever its links to extremists.
“If in 65 years, you haven’t been able to find sufficient common ground to live together, and you had three separations and four reaffirmations of marriage, then maybe the better way is to find friendship outside of the marital bond,” Husain Haqqani said on Wednesday, addressing the Center for the National Interest, a Washington think tank.
A post-alliance future would allow both countries to hold more realistic expectations of each other, cooperating where possible but perhaps without the sense of betrayal, which has become acute in Pakistan.
He said Pakistan’s military needed to be under greater civilian control, adding Pakistan’s national interests are defined “by generals, not by civilian leaders”. He said it was just as unrealistic for Pakistanis to think that the United States would side with Pakistan by launching war on India as it was for the United States to think Pakistan would give up its nuclear weapons or sever ties with extremists.
But he also doled out criticism of US policymaking, saying it was too often short-sighted.