Chicago Council on Global Affairs To Host Ambassador Husain Haqqani
By Ellen Cannon
At a time when U.S.-Pakistan relations remain filled with tensions causing U.S. military and political leaders to ask Pakistan “which side are you on?”, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, will host Husain Haqqani, the Ambassador of the Islamic Republic to Pakistan to the United States. Ambassador Husain will discuss Pakistan’s future as well as U.S.-Pakistani relations on October 28, 2011 at a public luncheon at the Chicago Club.
Ambassador Haqqani has a long career in government, diplomacy, journalism and academics. He became Ambassador to the U.S. in 2008. His career in the civil service included being advisor to three Pakistani prime ministers, and served as Pakistan’s Ambassador to Sri Lanka. He has been a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute where he co-chaired their Islam and Democracy Project. He was a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He is currently on leave from Boston University where he is an associate professor of international relations.
Last week, Ambassador Haqqani addressed a gathering of Pakistani-American community members held in Portland at Oregon State University. Among other topics he spoke about he did discuss “the challenges that remain in the wide-ranging bilateral ties” between the U.S. and Pakistan and suggested that “relations are coming back to normal course through quiet diplomacy.” He told the Portland group, “Both Islamabad and Washington realize we need each other and a strong positive relationship is in the best interests of our two countries and their peoples.” (www.dawn.com, 10.16.2011)
U.S.-Pakistan relations have been seriously challenged over the last few years stemming from Pakistan’s failure to reduce and remove the dangerous impact of the terrorist Haqqani network on U.S. interests and forces. Senator Carl Levin, (D-Michigan) , Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Commission, warned Pakistan in an address delivered last week at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, D.C. that, “Pakistan cannot evade its responsibility for its role in allowing and supporting the attacks of the Haqqani network…Pakistan officials cannot expect normal relations with the U.S. as long as they protect terrorists and deny a connection with the insurgent Haqqani network.: (www.freepress). Senator Levin bluntly stated, “Pakistan could lose an ally if it fails to take responsibility for allowing and supporting the attacks because the U.S. will always defend its troops…We have a right to target not only forces and artillery attacking our forces in Afghanistan from across the border in Pakistan, but to target the people controlling those forces as well.” (www.chicagotribune.com,10/22/11)
Prior to his departure as head of the Joint Chief of Staffs, Admiral Mike Mullen described the Haqqani network as a “veritable arm” of Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) spy agency. Admiral Mullen accused the ISI of fighting a “proxy war” in Afghanistan through the Haqqani group. At a congressional hearing he further stated, “By exporting violence, Pakistan has eroded their internal security and their position in the region. They have undermined their international credibility and threatened their economic well-being.” (Ellen Cannon, knotmove.com, “Senator Kirk and Admiral Mullen Agree on Terror Threat of Haqqani”)
Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL), a member of the senate Armed Services Committee, advocates cutting U.S. funding to Pakistan and making it conditional to their halting Haqqani terrorist attacks against U. S. forces and interests. Senator Kirk noted that the Senate Appropriations Committee plans to cut aid to Pakistan from $3billion to $1 billion as a result of Pakistan’s role in supporting terrorist planning and execution of the Mumbai massacre, the harboring of Bin Laden less than one mile from Pakistan’s national military academy, the September 10th bombing and a more audacious guerilla assault on the Kabul U.S. Embassy, NATO headquarters and other buildings that killed 20 people and lasted more than 20 hours, for the likely role Pakistan played in the truck bomb assault of the U.S. base in Wardak, seriously wounding 77 soldiers, and the assassination of former Afghan President Burhanaddin Rabbianbi, who was leading a government effort to broker peace with the Taliban.(Ellen Cannon, knotmove.com, “Senator Kirk Calls for Shift in US Terror Policy : Tilt Towards India”)
Over the weekend Secretary Hillary Clinton along with CIA Director Patraeus and General Dempsey, the Head of the Joint Chiefs, met with Pakistani officials in Islamabad. Reports of the meeting suggest that the U.S. made its interests known, but at the same time softened its tone to Pakistani leadership. Following the meeting, State Department officials confirmed that a frank but good discussion took place. Secretary Clinton underscored the importance that Pakistan plays in the region as well the importance of Pakistan as an ally in future relations with the United States.
His Excellency Husain Haqqani, Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan will speak at the Chicago Club at noon on October 28, 2011.