Husain Haqqani — Reimagining Pakistan

Husain Haqqani — Reimagining Pakistan


[MUSIC PLAYING] A very good
afternoon to you all. I’m Ashutosh Varshney, director
of the Center for Contemporary South Asia and a
professor here at Watson and a professor of
political science as well. And this is the opening event
of the semester at our center. The entire schedule
either is outside or will be handed
over to you very soon. And we welcome your
presence at all our events. And it’s a great pleasure
to host and introduce Husain Haqqani,
Ambassador Husain Haqqani. I’ve known him for very long. And there are three
aspects of his career that are worthy of note. He has been a columnist
for a long time. He’s been an academic,
and he’s been a diplomat and a government advisor. So first, let me introduce
him as a journalist, slash columnist. His columns have
regularly appeared in Wall Street Journal, New York
Times, frequently appeared– Wall Street Journal,
New York Times, International Herald Tribune,
LA Times, Financial Times, and with me in the
Indian Express. He has written a lot
for the newspaper for which I am a columnist
in India and a contributing editor. And as a diplomat, he
has served Pakistan in two very important diplomatic
stations, if you will. He was Pakistan’s ambassador
to the United States from 2008 to 2011
and widely credited for managing a very
difficult partnership. He’ll say quite a bit, I
think, about that today. And before that, his
ambassadorial posting was in Sri Lanka in ’92, ’93. In addition, his
role in government has also extended to advising
four Pakistani prime ministers. Husain, that must
be a record, yeah– four Pakistani prime ministers– Yousaf Raza Gillani, Benazir
Bhutto, Nawaz Sharif, and [INAUDIBLE]. As a scholar and
academic, he has been associated with Boston
University as director for the Center for
International Relations and Professor of the
Practice there, also at [INAUDIBLE] in Washington
DC and at the Institute of Politics at the
University of Chicago. And the books that
he has written include one of my favorites
and favorite books in Pakistan, the 2005 book Pakistan– Between Mosque and
Military, very widely read. The next book was soon
after his term as ambassador ended in Washington. The title of that book was
Magnificent Delusions– US, Pakistan, and an Epic
History of Misunderstanding. The next book was
India Versus Pakistan– Why Can’t We Just Be Friends? Good idea– India
Versus Pakistan– Why Can’t We Just Be
Friends? came out in 2016. And today’s talk is based
heavily on a forthcoming book– should be out in April in
the United States, India, and Pakistan, entitled
Reimagining Pakistan. That’s also the title
for this lecture. Currently, Husain is a
senior fellow and director for South and Central Asia
at the Hudson Institute in Washington DC,
where he has made a home now for a long
time, and will remain there for the foreseeable future. So please welcome one
of the most arresting public intellectuals from
Pakistan, Husain Haqqani. [APPLAUSE] Thank you very
much, Dr. Varshney, for that introduction. Whenever you use the
word arrest in relation to a Pakistani public
figure, always be careful. [LAUGHTER] Most of us fear arrest whenever
we do head back to our country. [INAUDIBLE] was once
asked that, you’ve served in many positions. And what do we call you? Shall we call you
Prince [INAUDIBLE]?? Should we call you
Bishop [INAUDIBLE]?? Should we call you
Ambassador [INAUDIBLE]?? And he said, well, I don’t know. So the person who
was asking him said, what do they call you
in the streets of Paris? And he said, nothing good. And I guess when you
were going through, you served four prime ministers,
[INAUDIBLE],, et cetera, the point of it is
that at the end of it, it’s not much good in
terms of what people say back home in Pakistan. Those of you who know Pakistan
or Pakistanis– and I’m sure there are some
in the audience. It’s impossible to
have a mix of students at any major American
campus where there is not at least one or two who are
either of Pakistani origin or are from Pakistan. You will attest to the
fact that Pakistanis are a kind and generous people. Lots of Pakistanis
all over the world as unskilled labor
in the Middle East, as cab drivers and
factory workers in Europe, as doctors, engineers,
bankers, other professionals in North America– they have a reputation for
hard work and efficiency. But none of that takes away from
the fact that Pakistan still continues to be described
around the world as dangerous, unstable,
a country that’s a terrorist incubator, fragile,
and the land of the intolerant. And each one of
these is actually from a newspaper or a
magazine article headline. It is not difficult to
understand the frustration of Pakistanis, both at
home and in the diaspora, over the negative
portrayal of their country. And for the last few
years in particular, a big debate in
Pakistan has been, how do we improve Pakistan’s
image, as if all that is wrong is the image. They are hurt by
adverse comments about anything to
do with Pakistan, because partly it
reflects poorly on them. I’m a good guy. I work very hard, and my
family are all nice people. Why should people look
at Pakistan, my country, negatively? Why should there be bad terms? I’m not a terrorist. Why do they think
Pakistanis are? But the fact remains that
scholarly and media discussion of any country focuses on
its politics and policies and not on the
virtues of its people. So when people abroad talk
about the United States, it’s not about whether the
people in middle America are nice or not. It’s about what
America’s policies are. And the same would apply and
should apply to Pakistan. So to my countrymen, I always
say that no objective analysis can ignore the
disconcerting highlights of Pakistan’s 70-year history. And we must remember that
unlike most countries that have history spanning
over centuries, Pakistan’s history is
only 70 years old– 77 years as an idea,
70 years as a country. And during this period,
what has Pakistan witnessed? Well, four full-fledged
wars; one alleged genocide, perpetrated by the
Pakistani side; loss of half the country’s
land area in conflict– East Pakistan, that has
since become Bangladesh; secession of the
majority population. Usually it’s the minority that
secedes, saying that we are not being treated well. But in Pakistan’s case,
the majority seceded. The Bangladeshis or
the East Pakistanis were the majority of
Pakistan at that time, in terms of population– several proxy or civil wars,
four direct military coups, multiple constitutions,
long periods without constitutional
rule, frequent religious and sectarian strife,
repeated economic failures, numerous political
assassinations, unremitting terrorism,
continued external dependence, and chronic social
under development. And I think most
people would agree that none of those
characterizations is factually incorrect. When Pakistan was created,
political scientists and historians described
Pakistan as an oddity. It was a nation
unlike most others. Instead of shared
language or even history, Pakistan was founded on the
basis of a common religion and the institutions created
under British colonial rule. This raised questions
about the viability of ignoring ethnic and
linguistic diversity, the potential for
conflict between sects as well as between
modernist and obscurantist definitions of Islam, and the
cost of maintaining conflict with India in terms of
economic development. One of Pakistan’s
greatest misfortunes was what it got in the
partition of India. Pakistan received
17% of the revenue sources of British India. I would like people
to note that down, so that they can see the numbers– 17% of British India’s
revenue sources, 19% of British India’s
population, 32%– almost a third– of
British India’s army. So you can see where
the problem may have started,
although my argument in this forthcoming book, which
I invite everyone to read, is that maybe the
seeds of the problem were actually sown even before
the creation of the country. In the early years, still,
despite this uneven picture, most journalists and
scholars highlighted the hopeful aspirations of
Pakistan leaders and scholars. And they did ask the
critical questions. How will Pakistan survive
with two wings that are separated by 1,000 miles? How will it be able to
pull together an economy? How will it survive
the dominance of the military,
which was inevitable, considering that it had– the government had to
allocate more resources for it from day one. Most countries raise an army to
meet the threat that they face. Pakistan had an army,
inherited an army, and so had to raise a threat to
match the size of the military that it had already received. So if you see the early books
that came out on Pakistan, if you go to the library, if
people still go to the library, you will find that
there are books written in the late 1940s
and early 1950s which try to explain why
Pakistan has been created. And they usually explained it
in terms of Hindu-Muslim strife, and they described Pakistan’s
potential as a Western ally, which was in my book, Pakistan– Between Mosque and Military. And also in
Magnificent Delusions, I point out that that was
actually a sales pitch that Pakistan made. We’ve got this army. It’s ready to fight. You want to fight the commies? Pour in the money. We’ll do it for you. And so that was a way of kind
of getting the resources to be able to be functional. And it always described
Pakistan’s salience in strategic terms. And there are many
books of that. I could list those. But they were
British authors who primarily wrote about Pakistan. They included many former
British civil servants, so you have people
like [INAUDIBLE] and Ian Stephens, et cetera. They were all
writing books, which basically advanced the
Pakistani case, so to speak. They explained what they saw as
the inevitability of partition, given the withdrawal of
Britain’s steadying hand and inexorable
Hindu-Muslim differences. The martial virtues of West
Pakistan’s Muslims as likely anti-communist warriors
were extolled in an effort to persuade Western readers,
particularly Americans, of the value of Pakistan as
an ally in the years to come. Scholarship on Pakistan took
a decidedly unfavorable turn after the 1965
India-Pakistan war. The United States had
armed Pakistan in the hope that Pakistan’s military will be
useful against the communists. But Pakistan, as
soon as it got armed, had the [INAUDIBLE] tanks,
had the whatever it was– F6 or something, saber jets– it went to war with India. And that was the first time
that American scholars started raising the question, are
these guys a little too preoccupied with India and with
the resolution of the Kashmir dispute? Pakistan’s army was found
insufficiently effective in that war and attempted to
save its reputation primarily through media image building,
which worked better in Pakistan than it did outside. So even today, I run into
young Pakistanis who say, we’ve come to an American
school for the first time after having completed our
early education in Pakistan. We find as if we are
in parallel universes. We are taught there
we won the 1965 war. Here we learned we
didn’t win the 1965 war. There we learned that in
1971, India intervened to divide Pakistan up. Here we learned that
Indian intervention was less marginal to the fact that
there was a genocide taking place in Bangladesh that
had to be forestalled, and therefore
Bangladesh came about. So that variation is
essentially a result of how a national narrative
has been built in Pakistan that is not necessarily in
accordance with the facts that are generally accepted. So the ’71 war
exposed another thing, which was Pakistan
had had, since 1947, a military doctrine that
the defense of the east lies in the west. That was the one-line phrase
that General [INAUDIBLE],, who commanded Pakistan’s
military from 1951 to 1964 or something, and then as a
supreme commander lasted till 1969– he came up with
it, which basically meant Pakistan will have
only 10,000 troops in East Pakistan or 15,000 troops. And that’s fine, if India
attacks East Pakistan. But India never attacked. And so basically,
it was essentially a national narrative, which is
why I say that in some ways, the Indian threat was
partly manufactured to justify the size
of the armed forces, rather than a genuine
threat that came about. Did many Indians think Pakistan
should not have been created? Absolutely– a lot
of Pakistanis thought that too, probably still do. But that was not going
to mean that India was going to militarily
intervene and undo Pakistan, until, of course, the
circumstances of 1971 came about. The civil war and the
genocide in East Pakistan really created a
lot of discussion about the idea and
prospects of Pakistan. And the titles of books
on Pakistan from that era reflect the outsider skepticism. You just need to go
through the list, just look for a book list
from the 1970s and early ’80s, and you will find a lot
of books with titles that are very– that reveal
themselves to, people are questioning whether this
country is viable or not. So now you can see,
on the one hand, a very skeptical
rest of the world. And Pakistanis,
including myself, who know nothing else
as their nationality except Pakistan, because
we were born there– what happened,
how it came about, et cetera, is less
relevant to us. What matters more is
it is our country. So therefore, it
creates this tension, especially for a Pakistani or
a person of Pakistani origin, as to why the rest of the world
doesn’t think of us nicely. And we somehow still feel
that we have a justification to exist as a nation-state. More recently, especially
after the 1980s, beginning of the
1990s, that skepticism has given way to
apprehension and foreboding. People who’ve been writing books
about Pakistan, for example, have raised questions
about Pakistan’s political orientation,
its inability to maintain democracy, military
intervention in politics, endemic corruption, questions
about nuclear security, perennial difficulties in
relationships with neighbors, including Afghanistan
now, and also difficulties with the world’s major powers. America was a major ally
of Pakistan for many years. And now you see the
kind of criticism, skepticism of Pakistan coming
out of the United States. Think about it. President Eisenhower declared
Pakistan the most allied ally of the United States. He said that, by the way, in
the year of my birth, 1956. Now, what did President Trump
say recently about Pakistan? Everybody remembers, because
everybody remembers President Trump’s tweets, right? So what are the titles of books
on Pakistan, if you go shopping for books on Pakistan now? They range from titles like
Allen McGrath’s The Destruction of Pakistan’s Democracy;
Christophe Jaffrelot’s Pakistan– Nationalism Without a Nation;
Owen Bennett-Jones’s book, Pakistan– Eye of the Storm; Mary
Weaver’s Pakistan– Deep Inside the World’s
Most Frightening State; Pamela Constable’s
Playing with Fire– Pakistan at War with Itself, et
cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Now, Pakistan has
certainly come a long way since it emerged
as a new country on the world stage 70 years ago. When Pakistan’s first prime
minister, Liaquat Ali Khan, flew to the United
States in 1950, he encountered several reminders
of Americans’ ignorance about Pakistan. Vice President Alben Barkley
introduced him to the US Senate as the Prime Minister
of Pakistan, which, as you all know– exact quote– “Which, as you all know,
was a part of India.” According to the account
of a British diplomat, he was sitting next to Prime
Minister Liaquat Ali Khan and an American businessman. And the map of Pakistan
in those days– and try and visualize that
map, in which what is today Bangladesh and what
is today Pakistan were both part of Pakistan,
and in between was India. But they had done one of those
colorful things, in which they hadn’t written anything. It was just a picture. And this American
businessman asked Liaquat whether the blank space between
the two parts of Pakistan, as shown on the
menu, was Africa. So no one is that oblivious
of Pakistan anymore. That is one thing Pakistanis
can certainly take comfort in. But if anything, Pakistan has
become a country of concern to Americans and the
rest of the world, after having been an
ally for several decades. Although Pakistan lost its
eastern wing, Bangladesh, it has managed to survive. And in the Pakistani narrative,
survival is important. The way Pakistanis discuss
Pakistan’s own history and the way they
are taught it is, this was a country
that was created in the tooth of
immense opposition. And look at us. We’ve survived. We are still standing. Pakistan’s civil servants
and economists have written. There’s a book edited by
Dr. Maleeha Lodhi, who is our ambassador to the
United Nations right now, titled Pakistan– Beyond the Crisis State. It’s a lot of
backslapping, you know. We produced x amount
of wheat in 1947. Look, we are producing
so much more now. We had only this many
students in colleges, but look at what we have
now, et cetera, et cetera. And they point out,
rightly, that Pakistanis are living longer than at the
time of the country’s birth. And the country’s literacy
rate and per capita income have also gone up significantly. But Pakistanis, when they are
looking for sources of pride, list the nuclear
armed military, which is one of the world’s
largest fighting forces– number six in the world,
by in absolute numbers, and number ninth in firepower. And they also take pride
in the achievements of many individual
Pakistanis, who have excelled in global
business, world sports, or gone on to win
international recognition, including two Nobel prizes,
although there too there is a tragedy. One of the Nobel prizes was won
by a member of the Ahmadiyya community, which is considered
non-Muslim in Pakistan. And therefore, there
is a lot of criticism whenever somebody refers
to him as Pakistan’s first Muslim Nobel winner. There’s an unnecessary
debate about– instead of accepting
the pride in him, there’s always this debate
about– he wasn’t Muslim, because the sect
that he belongs to is deemed non-Muslim under
the Pakistani constitution. And that too, by the
way, is a unique thing. Pakistan is the
only country that has gone to define a
particular sect as not being part of a particular religion
through a constitutional amendment. What country does that? There are many people in
the United States, go down– I just flew in this
morning from the South. There are many people in the
American South, evangelical Christians, whom, if you ask
them, do consider Mormons– members of the Church of
Latter-Day Saints of Jesus Christ, the Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-Day Saints, LDS Church– do consider them Christians? And they’ll say, no,
they are not Christians. But you don’t have a
constitutional amendment that says they can’t call
themselves Christians. Pakistan has that. So– But not originally, in 1970. 1974. 1974. Yeah, so there are other things
in the global imagination. Pakistan is the country chosen
by terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden as his home for the
last several years of his life. Pakistan is identified
as a country prone to military coups. It is known for its strict
blasphemy laws, targeting religious minorities as well
as for imprisonment, murder, and lynching of individuals
for religious reasons. International media
coverage highlights Pakistan’s sponsorship
of terrorist groups, such as [INAUDIBLE],,
which conducted the Mumbai attacks in 2008; the Afghan
Taliban and the Haqqani network that
attacked NATO troops and Western civilians
in Afghanistan. Now, in the view of
Pakistan’s privileged classes, Pakistan is just too important
in geostrategic terms to be ignored. So according to this belief, if
the US turns against Pakistan, we don’t give a whatever. It will only become more
attractive as a partner to other global powers– China and Russia. If you read Pakistan’s
newspapers these days, that’s the theme there. America is going,
declining power– China, rising power,
about to come. Pakistan has already attained
its place in the sun, having tested nuclear weapons. We are only one
of seven countries in the world that have nuclear
weapons in a declared manner. We are foreordained
to be a major power. And how we view ourself
is more important than how others view us. Now, there is always a gulf
between how a nation see itself and how others see it. But the Gulf is much
bigger in case of Pakistan than in the case
of most countries. Pakistanis often do not
see much of the criticism of their country as valid. Outsiders describe
it, whatever they might choose– incubator
of terrorism, crisis state, et cetera, a state perpetually
on the brink of failure. Pakistanis say, ah, none
of that is about to happen. This is all an image problem. The more criticism comes about,
the more defensive Pakistanis get about it. And the need to say no,
no, no– we are much better than what you think we are. And so there is this what
I call parallel universes of description. Inside Pakistan, there’s
a lot less debate about Pakistan’s weaknesses
and failings and problems than there is
outside of the world. Now, how has Pakistan
reached this point? Before that, let me say
a few words about why I have the topic today,
re-imagining Pakistan, and why I’ve written a book on it. Several years ago, actually–
you might remember, Dr. Varshney– you invited Salman
Rushdie and a bunch of us, in the context of his
book Midnight’s Children, to the University of Michigan. And there I had an exchange
with Mr. Rushdie on stage. Mr. Rushdie had said that
if nations are imagined communities, as Benedict
Anderson points out, then Pakistan is a
poorly-imagined nation, to which I had said,
that may well be true. But what do you
suggest for those who have known no other
identity except Pakistani, those who have been born Pakistanis? And our numbers are increasing. In fact, now– in 2003
it was a little less, but now it is almost 92%
of Pakistan’s population were born Pakistanis. So for us, the
only solution would be that we should
re-imagine Pakistan, to which Mr. Rushdie’s
reply was, well, Mr. Haqqani, if somebody’s going
to try and re-imagine Pakistan, it might as well be you. And so since 2003, it’s been
kind of jelling and working in my head as to,
yeah, this country does need re-imagination. Even when I served
as ambassador, I would get into arguments
with our military leaders, et cetera, and others
that the imagination of Pakistan as it is is flawed. What is the flaw? Pakistan imagines itself
as a, quote unquote, “ideological state.” It had to be created because
the Muslims on the subcontinent could not live together
with the non-Muslims in the same country. The problem with
that argument is that right now, neither all
the Muslims of the subcontinent live in Pakistan–
in fact, a majority is not Pakistani, after the
separation of Bangladesh. Bangladesh and India
together account for 2/3 of the Muslims
of the subcontinent. Pakistan accounts for only 1/3. Second, India’s Muslim
population is rising. It might, according to
certain projections, rise or increase more than the
Muslim population of Pakistan. What does that do for
this theory of Muslims and non-Muslims cannot
live under the same flag, under the same country? An easier way out would
be to try and say– in 1947, for a
number of reasons, a country was created
called Pakistan. This is the starting point. And this country should run
according to this, this, this, this, this vision. And that vision has
to be articulated. So this book,
Reimagining Pakistan is attempting to
try and do that. It analyzes the historic issues. For example, in the
Pakistani narrative, a lot is said that
when Pakistan was born, civil servants
arrived in Karachi. And they sat on old
boxes because there wasn’t accommodation, and
there wasn’t paper to write on. And they used thorns from
trees instead of paper clips, et cetera– all true. But why did that happen? It happened because the Muslim
League was the party that led Pakistan to independence. The Muslim League elite
had paid no attention to what would happen
after independence. They were so busy polarizing
Muslim versus non-Muslim to be able to succeed politically–
and we see that polarization process right now,
going on here. So you can understand how
polarization works sometimes, because it’s a good way
of getting people’s votes. But then when it comes time
to translate into policy, it’s not always easy. And so the truth is Pakistan
had a choice at that time. It could have made the
capital in Lahore, which was an older city,
had a long history as a provincial capital. Punjab, the province of
which it was the capital, was being divided. It would have a lot
of accommodation of government accommodation. But Pakistan’s
leaders at that time chose Karachi, because
it was the birthplace of the founder of the
nation, an emotional reason. And so they found
themselves making a capital in a city
which simply did not have the resources or the means. Similarly, other things–
Pakistan’s dispute over Kashmir,
Pakistanis sometimes totally ignore the fact
that until the last minute, Pakistan’s founder
was negotiating with non-Muslim majority
princely states, talking to the
maharajah of Jodhpur, accepting the accession of
the princely state of Junagur, which was a Hindu majority
state, but a Muslim ruler. In the case of Jodhpur, it
was particularly interesting because the ruler was Hindu. The majority
population was Hindu. And yet, he was
willing to say, well, the princes can
accede to anybody. So why don’t you
accede to Pakistan? And so that kind of takes
away the major argument that Pakistanis feel
applies to Kashmir, where the princely ruler
was non-Muslim, was a Hindu, and the majority of the
population was Muslim. So there was no consistency
in those arguments. And what I think,
70 years later, is needed is an
attempt to try and get beyond all those arguments,
beyond the arguments of creation and imagining
a future in which there is some acceptance of
the accidents that led to the creation of Pakistan. Pakistan is now a
territorial state. It is secured by a large
military and the possession of nuclear weapons. More than 95% of its citizens
are Pakistanis by birth and have known no
other nationality. Contemporary Pakistan need
not seek national identity in the idea of a
separate homeland for Muslims of the Indian
subcontinent, which was always vehemently debated since
it was first mooted. But insecurity
remains the hallmark of Pakistan’s political and
intellectual conversation. Even comment about, say,
Pakistan’s relatively low ranking among nations
for book readership, and you will get attacked. All of you, if you want to
find out how that feels, just start following
me on Twitter. Every time I say something
like new UNESCO study shows Pakistanis read
less books per capita than 179 other countries,
choo, the tweets start. You traitor, how dare you? Da-da-da-da-da, meaning
if you’re a Pakistani, all you should say is
hallelujah, Pakistan– long live Pakistan,
onwards to greater glory. Most Pakistanis
cling emotionally to the two-nation theory that
led to the partition of British India and the
creation of Pakistan, instead of viewing
themselves as citizens of a modern territorial state. For them, it is important
still to win the argument over Pakistan’s conception. Any discussion of
poor performance in the economic or social
sphere or about differences among Pakistan’s
ethnic groups is often described as questioning the
country’s very right to exist, which it is not. The world, by and large,
recognizes and respects Pakistan as a
significant country, not withstanding
scholarly reservations about the two-nation theory. Even Indians, most of whom
see Pakistan’s emergence with a sense of
historic loss, no longer question Pakistan’s
existence, even if they dispute the reasoning
behind its creation. But that has done
little to transform Pakistan’s nationalism away
from the ideological debates preceding its foundations. For Pakistanis born after
1947, being Pakistani by birth should be a matter
of fact, not one that requires rationalization
by a state ideology. Still, a
self-justifying attitude over the two-nation theory
underlines almost all discussions in the country. It is almost as if
Pakistanis still need to convince
themselves and the world that their decision to create
a new country was right. The reason for
this defensiveness might lie in the
unique circumstances of Pakistan’s emergence
as a nation and a state. Unlike nation states
that evolved over time, Pakistan was the product of
a conscious political demand. Even the name of
the new country, where none existed
before, was deliberately crafted as an acronym of
its component provinces, as well as a word
with a meaning. And the meaning of
that word, of course, is the Land of the Pure. Pakistan’s founder,
Muhammad Ali Jinnah, was a brilliant politician who
pulled together diverse groups and rallied them to the cause
of protecting undivided India’s Muslims by grouping
Muslim majority provinces. Historian [INAUDIBLE],, not far
from here at Tufts University, points out that to garner
wide support, Jinnah, quote, “Could not afford
to state precisely what the demand for Pakistan
was intended to accomplish. The demand for
Pakistan, therefore, had to be specifically ambiguous
and imprecise to command general support, something
specifically Muslim, though unspecific in
every other respect.” And therein lies Pakistan’s
original problem. The ambiguities that
characterized the demand for Pakistan could
not persist once that demand was fulfilled
with the creation of an independent country. Just as invoking religion
enabled Jinnah to rally Muslims to the demand for
Pakistan, his successors chose to run the country by
summoning Islamic sentiment in varying degrees. Many of Pakistan’s problems,
from falling behind in secular education to the
rise of Islamist extremism, can be traced to the
country’s founding on the basis of a
religious nationalism. Some of the difficulties
awaiting Pakistan– forging a nation out of
disparate ethnic groups connected to each other
mainly by religion, costly competition with
a much larger neighbor, mobilizing resources for a
new country from a geographic region that did not yield much
revenue before independence, being caught between
competing global powers– had been predicted by
critics throughout the 1940s. And they were ignored. And ironically, some
of these critics were Muslims and very
prominent Muslims. But there was a tendency at that
time among the leadership that was leading Pakistan
to independence to be dismissive about anybody
who criticized the idea or questioned it. And the same
process has actually been internalized and made
national policy in Pakistan– hence, people like me being
seen as critics or traitors, instead of being seen as
people reviewing or analyzing the state of the nation. So where is Pakistan today? Most of the Pakistani
discourse is about how if only Pakistan’s founder,
Mr. Jinnah, had lived longer, or if only this had happened,
if only India had done this, or if America had done that– but nations must
take responsibility for what they do, the
choices that they make and their leaders make. These are more excuses
than explanations for Pakistan’s turbulent
past and uneasy present. Pakistan is a semi-authoritarian
state and a national security state. And those are the two realities
that none of us can dispute. The Pakistani national
narrative, to sustain itself, has a preponderance
of conspiracy theories about external forces and
their domestic henchmen harming Pakistan. And that is a constant feature. In fact, my book has a whole
chapter on conspiracy theories, and you will find some
of them very interesting. One of the funniest in
it is about a theory that came out in Pakistani
media a few years ago. Someone reported that a
child, a baby, an infant had been killed by rats. A bunch of rats jumped on
it, and the baby was lying, and so the rats ate
the baby, basically. That became a conspiracy
theory a few days later, that the CIA has bred special
large, massive, man-eating rats to be able to punish the people
of that region, bordering Afghanistan, for having
Islamist sympathies. And no one saw the massive,
specially bred rats. No one could produce a picture. But the story got circulated
for days and days and days. What propels that? I analyze that in my book,
and I reach the conclusion that it’s partly orchestrated
and methodically done, similarly that the floods
in Pakistan in 2010 were orchestrated
by the Americans through some kind of
special technology that raises the levels
of seas and rivers. India, of course, is constantly
conspiring against Pakistan. Now, India is going in a
more Pakistani direction, which I call the
Pakistanization of India. That’s a separate
subject for which I am quite happy to come
a couple of semesters from now to give a
separate lecture. But on the Pakistani side,
these conspiracy theories and half-truths are
a real, real issue. And then there are
the perennial debates. You rightly pointed out that
the [INAUDIBLE] question– when [INAUDIBLE] were
declared, non-Muslims was not originally in Pakistan’s law. It was inserted in the
constitution in 1974. But then we must remember
that the constitution that Pakistan has now
started out only in 1973. And the debate about it
started way back in 1953. Who is a Muslim? And ’74 was kind of an
attempt to settle that debate by declaring one
community as non-Muslim, except that then that
raised the question of, will there be other sects
that can be declared non-Muslim, which
is why now there is a movement in
Pakistan to declare the Shias as non-Muslim. Considering that
there are almost 70, 72 sects and denominations
of Islam in Pakistan, it would be a very
complicated process if one starts going, one
by one, saying according to the beliefs of this, such
and such group is non-Muslim. So those debates will remain
as long as Pakistan insists on being a Islamic republic. Much of the
dysfunction in Pakistan has to do with conflicting
views on certain core questions. How Islamic is
Pakistan meant to be? What does it mean to be an
Islamic state in modern times? What should be the
balance of power between a central
Pakistani government and the various
provinces which represent virtually various nationalities
and ethnic groups? Must Pakistanis forever
be at war with India to justify its existence
as a separate state? If so, how can it
avoid dominance by the military and the
mullahs and the militants? Now, policy debates
in most countries involve acknowledgment
of threats and challenges alongside discussion of
strengths and opportunities. In Pakistan,
however, there seems to be an obsession with
the country’s image at the expense of ignoring
unpleasant realities. What are those
unpleasant realities? Let me just go
over some of them. Very interesting, I was just
researching for this book, and I came upon this article. I was looking for
Pakistan, positive– what are people, hashtag
Pakistan positive, people keep doing that. So I found those and then
looked at the stories behind each one of those
Pakistan– one of the stories was that in 2002,
Pakistan’s stock market was listed as one of the
best-performing stock markets in the world. So Pakistani newspapers
all went saying, wow, bells and whistles. Our stock market is
performing very well, et cetera, et cetera. None of them mentioned that
Pakistan’s– the Karachi Stock Exchange, which is
Pakistan’s main stock market, its market capitalization,
then and now in 2016, was very small. In 2016, it stood
at $89 billion, which compares unfavorably
with even the Bangladesh Stock Exchange, whose market
capitalization is $320 billion. So basically, a small
market doing very well in terms of its returns– headline is, doing
very well in returns, not mentioning that, hey,
we are far too small, even in our own region, compared to
that part that left us and left us at a time when Henry
Kissinger described it as the basket case,
if anyone remembers. In 1971, Henry
Kissinger’s reasoning for not supporting the
creation of Bangladesh was, if Bangladesh
is created, it would be a basket case, because
it’s not productive enough. It’s not economically
successful enough. Today, Bangladesh– in
fact, just two months ago, Bangladesh’s per
capita income exceeded Pakistan’s by a few
dollars for the first time. So instead of the binary
debate over whether Pakistan is a success story or a
failure about to materialize, it is important to assess
both the achievements and disappointments
of the last 70 years. Pakistan has certainly made some
progress since its inception. There’s no dispute about it. Life expectancy in 1951 was 40. It’s 66 now. There are fewer Pakistanis
living in poverty. The literacy rate
has quintupled. Is that the correct
pronunciation, quintuple, whatever that means– five times, right–
since independence. The literacy rate in 1947 was
11%, rising to 53% recently. But these figures can’t be seen
in isolation from what others have done, just by comparison. Pakistan’s literacy rate
rose from 11% to 56%, but India’s rose from
12% in 1947 to 75%. How did a 1% difference
between India and Pakistan become a more than 20%
difference or almost 20% difference 70 years later? They must have done
something differently and something right. We must have done
something differently and something wrong. And if you study it, you
find that for 15 years after independence, Pakistan
made no allocation for literacy in its national budget. Between ’47 and ’57,
Pakistan’s literacy rate actually remained
unchanged or even declined, albeit marginally. Even now, 40% of Pakistan’s
population cannot read or write. 57% of Pakistan’s adult
population above the age of 15, 31% of men and 45% of Pakistani
women, remain illiterate. Pakistan is home to the third
largest illiterate population globally, and there
are only 15 countries in the world with a lower
literacy rate than Pakistan. Think about it. So if there are 193 members
of the United Nations, the Pakistani literacy
rate is higher than only 15 of them, which means it’s less
than all the rest of them. There’s a huge education crisis. I could go on and on
about it, but I won’t. All I will point out
is that Pakistan also has the highest number of out
of school age children, children between the age of 5 and 15,
in anywhere in the world. Now, what is the
consequence of this? Please just tell me when
you want me to stop. I can stop quickly. The low rate of literacy
and inadequate investment in education has
led to a decline in Pakistan’s technological
base, which in turn hampers economic modernization. There are 43 countries
in the world that are poorer than Pakistan
on a per capita GDP basis, but 24 of them send more
children to primary school than Pakistan does. Not only that– in terms of
global rankings of Pakistan’s quality of education
also, Pakistan has not done very well. So we have a unique
situation in which Pakistan has low spending on
education and low spending on public health
care, which means that its ranking in what is
known as human development is very low. Pakistan is the
sixth largest nation in the world by population,
has the sixth largest army. Its army is– its military
is the 11th most powerful, in terms of firepower. But it is only 26th by
size of GDP on a PPP basis and 42nd on a nominal basis. Is it that difficult
to understand what the core argument here is? Pakistan’s desire to compete
with a country 6 times larger than it by population, 10 times
larger than it by GDP size, is doomed to failure for the
simple reason that Pakistan is economically and, in
terms of human capital, not being competitive. Pakistan’s economy, based
on its GDP per capita, is ranked 171 out
of 229 economies. Almost 2/3 of
Pakistan’s population lives on less than $2 per day. The global competitiveness
report by the World Economic Forum ranked Pakistan’s
overall ability to compete in the global economy
at 122 out of 138 countries. Pakistan’s higher
education and training was ranked at 123 in the world,
and it had a very poor score. They have a score, and
then they do rankings. And the score was 2.9 out of 7. Although textiles are the
country’s major industry, and Pakistan is a major
cotton-producing nation the world, Pakistan is not even
a leader in value-added textile production. Bangladesh, that does
not produce cotton, has a higher value of textile
exports than Pakistan, which is a major producer
of cotton textiles. Why is that? Because Bangladesh
does value addition. Pakistan does not. Now, let me [INAUDIBLE]
the following. When you were talking,
before this lecture, you said the book will also have
an alternative vision about how to move forward. So you want me to
jump to the vision, rather than describing
the situation? OK, fine. No, no, it’s for
you to decide that. But in the next
10 minutes or so, if you lay out that
vision that you think Pakistanis should debate them. Absolutely, absolutely,
absolutely, we’ll come to that. So how does Pakistan
start re-imagining itself? After much consideration, I
have reached the conclusion that the key to it would
be its view of self. Who are we as a nation? The Pakistani answer to who we
are as a nation is essentially, we are the Muslim part
of South Asia, which was forced to become
independent because we could not live alongside or be
partners with India. It’s a view of itself as a
nation of martial races, which is a theory that goes back
to the British era, when the British recruited. Why did Pakistan end up with
one third of the British Indian Army? Partly because the
British recruitment policy was one in which
they had or wanted to have one third of the
recruitment from what they called the martial
races of Punjab and the Muslim martial races. So they had Punjabi
Hindus, Punjabi Sikhs, and Punjabi Muslims. They did not consider the
Bengalis or the Madrassis as martial races and did
not recruit from there. It goes all the way back
to Lord Roberts of Kandahar and his Martial Races of India. And so Pakistan’s whole
national view, therefore, is shaped by religion
and antipathy towards the much
larger neighbor, India. And the beginning of any
re-imagining of Pakistan would have to tackle
these two issues– first, an understanding that
the individual can be pious. The society can be religious,
but the state must be secular. In Pakistan, to say
that you are secular is, nowadays, inviting death,
because you would immediately be accused of being a
potential blasphemer, whereas at the beginning of
Pakistan, and even until 1971, large political parties
described themselves as secular. So the Awami
League, for example, which ended up being
restricted to East Pakistan and ended up leading East
Bangladesh to independence, declared itself in
its party constitution as a party standing
for a secular Pakistan. The National Army Party, which
was banned in 1973 or ’74 by the prime
minister, [INAUDIBLE],, that described itself as
a secular political party. Now only one major
political party describes itself as a secular
party in its own constitution, and that is the MQM in Karachi. Every other political
party has ended up adopting some variation. So for the Pakistan
People’s Party, with which I have had a
relatively long association, even they describe
in their thing as a party that is committed
to Islam, democracy, and socialism, instead
of saying religion should not be a matter
for legislation. And it should be left
to the individual. So this debate on secularism
has to start all over again. Second, the debate over
relations with India– the antipathy towards India
is an easy way to generate– and competition with India is an
easy way to generate or create a national identity. The other is always easy. But sometimes it takes absurd
manifestations in Pakistan. The Pakistani cricket
team beats India in the Champions trophy in
England, and what happens? The Pakistan Army
Chief announces that the Pakistani cricket
team has saved national honor, and therefore the
cricket team members will be sent for
pilgrimage to Mecca at the expense of
the Pakistani army, as if it’s a matter of national
security and national defense that Pakistan should not let
India win a cricket match. That attitude
essentially feeds a kind of hatred and negativity,
which saps Pakistan’s energies, but also does not allow a
positive Pakistani nationalism to emerge– also ensures that
Pakistan’s resources continue to be diverted towards
endless warfare and competition with India, instead of
looking at opportunities. So for example, Pakistanis
are putting a lot of store in China’s investments and
infrastructure in Pakistan, which will connect
Pakistan only to China. The fact of the matter is
that East-West connectivity is equally important, the
traditional and historic trade links between all of the
countries of South Asia. And Pakistan needs to
have trade and tourism with and from India, which would
add significantly to Pakistan’s gross domestic product. The third part of
re-imagining Pakistan is an absolute
consensus on democracy. It’s absolutely essential. Pakistan has not
had that consensus. Pakistan’s elite has
always had a strong segment that talks about an Islamic
form of government that allows people like
[INAUDIBLE],, subsequently also even Mr. Nawaz
Sharif, at one point, wanted to enforce sharia. So the sharia becomes a
substitute for democracy. And the absence of
democracy particularly affects the smaller provinces
and ethnic groups of Pakistan, because their only
hope of having a share of the big
Pakistani economic pie is by having democratic
representation in their own respective
regional or state assemblies. The next important feature
of re-imagining Pakistan is to re-imagine it
as a confederation or a federation of ethnicities. That denial of ethnic
identity has to end. Pakistan right now
has a unique situation in the federal system
where one ethnic group, one unit of the federation,
Punjab, accounts for more than half the population. And so theoretically,
you can actually form the federal government
with votes from only one part of the country. And the other groups
can be excluded from the federal government. And that single
group, the Punjabi, also accounts for 72%
of the military, when they are 54% of the population. That also makes them
powerful, in terms of being able to get a
major share of resources. It enables people
from Punjab to settle in other parts of the country,
especially Balochistan, where the Balochis are now
slowly becoming a minority. And lastly, Pakistan’s
re-imagining would have to involve an
acceptance that no nation can become a great power by
standing on the shoulders of another country. Great power status
or national power essentially comes from
a number of things– human capital, your economic
base, your military strength. It cannot come primarily from
offering yourself as an ally to other nations and
getting them to pour money into your economy
or your military. Since Ashu is getting
ready to start the question and answers– I can feel that. I think I should stop here
with the re-imagining. Those are the five major
areas of re-imagining. And how will it be done will
be the next question, I think. And the answer to
that question is, it will only be
possible if it starts being debated and discussed. If you have a conformist
notion of nationalism, if you do not allow
dissident voices to voice what alternative visions
there can be for the country; if you say that
anybody who advocates normal relations with
India is an Indian agent; if you say anybody who says,
let’s not depend on the United States, is an
American agent; if you say anybody who opposes
terrorism because it’s in the name of religion,
and then says A, there should be no terrorism,
and B, the name of religion should not be used for
political purposes, then that person is
against religion– you basically are creating
a recipe for failure of the country from within. I’m not one of those who
wants Pakistan to fail. I’m not one of those
who’s predicting the failure of Pakistan
in the very near future. But I do see that the current
situation is not necessarily going to bring either
success or glory to Pakistan. In the days to come,
we will see Pakistan coming under greater criticism
and attack from the rest of the world, rather than less. And Pakistanis need to
wake up to that situation. As far as the rest of
the world is concerned, instead of continuing to pour
money into Pakistan and letting it build itself as a
militarized, militant-infested nation. The rest of the world’s
policies towards Pakistan have to recognize its own
internal dilemmas, problems, and failures. I’ll stop here, and we can
start the questions and answers. [APPLAUSE] Thank you, Husain– I’m sure there are
lots of questions. Let me start with some
comparative reflection. I think you’ve thought about
it perhaps even more than when we discussed it last time, when
you were in Boston at Boston University, before you went away
to Washington as ambassador. If we look at comparative
history of nations and adversarial relations
between nations, and we ask, are there any parallels to the
India-Pakistani relationship in history, several examples
do emerge, actually. For example, let me
give you just two. And I’m sure there are others. Linda Colley, a professor
of history, British history, at Princeton, has a famous
book called Britons. And the argument
is that Britain, the various constituents
of Britain– Scotland, Wales, and England– could not have fused
together, could not have come together, without a
feeling of enmity, vis-a-vis Catholic France, right? Now, there are other
arguments in that book, including how the Scots and
the English came together, partly because of Indian
empire, the argument being that Scotland was never
more than 10% of Britain. But Scots were anywhere
between 25% to 40% of the British people in India
during 1757 to 1947, right? So that’s another. But the beginning
of that argument is that British national
cohesion required– she says that it required, in
the beginning, this cohesion, coming together of
the fractious English and Scots in particular,
if not the Welsh, of a vigorous
adversarial relationship, even enmity, with
Catholic France. Now, you say that
there’s another argument about, for example,
USA-Canada relationship, which we have discussed. But I think no one takes that– I’ll summarize it in a minute. Yeah, and we can think of other
places which have had that. So Pakistan actually,
comparatively speaking, is not the only
country which requires, if you will, enmity vis-a-vis
another nation in order to generate cohesion, right? So how would you react to that? And this is just one example,
and the best example we know, of British, French relationship. We can think of others. How would you react
to this parallel? First of all, I think that it
helped the Scots, the Welsh, and the English that
they were all on one relatively small island. And in case of Pakistan– and none of them was
part of somebody else or did not have an overlapping
ethnicity or culture with somebody else. With continental Europe, OK. With continental Europe–
in case of Pakistan, the Pashtuns have
affinity with Afghanistan, and the Baloch have an overlap
with Iranian Balochistan and Afghan Balochistan. The Sindhis have had
an independent kingdom at one point and have had
much less affinity with Punjab than they had eastward
in the beginning. And their language, et
cetera, is very unique. And the one that is the
strongest– so for example, in England, in case of Britain,
England was the heartland. Pakistan does not have
a heartland that way, and Pakistan is a
far newer creation. It’s not an island. Punjab is the only
part that, because of its military
history, ends up having the hostility towards India,
which Sindhis do not have. And survey after survey has
indicated that most Baloch, most Sindhis, and most Pashtuns
do not have the same views about India or about the rest of
the world that the Punjabis do. And then within
Punjab, also, there’s an ethnic issue between
the Saraiki speakers and the Punjabi speakers. So the British cohesion
model just simply is not easily applicable. But there are lessons
to be learned, and I’m sure that that’s
what our elite is hoping. My view is that we live
in a different time. And at that time, it
may have been possible. And being an island helped,
whereas we are not an island. Second, we could
get away with it if we did not have this constant
prodding of India, meaning that the British, while
they may have generated constant antipathy towards– The French. –the French, they did
not constantly have a– they were not in a permanent
state of battle with them. Pakistan, on the other hand,
has in 70 years had four wars. And the terrorism
war is continuing, and two can play
it, unfortunately, as Pakistan has
rightly pointed out, that India may be trying to do
something similar in Pakistan. So all of that could
harm Pakistan more, before the cohesion that you
are talking about is achieved. So in my example, I
say we could end up in a slightly
different situation. We could end up like Yugoslavia,
where the cohesion has not yet been achieved. But the forces that
have been unleashed as a result of trying to
achieve that cohesion then end up playing out in
terms of internal conflict. And that’s not a good thing. I also cite the example– so
the America-Canada example is that when Mr.
Jinnah was asked, after the creation of Pakistan,
how did he foresee relations between India and
Pakistan, he said, I’d like us to live like
America and Canada, which basically means a very different
relationship than we have. The Canadians do not resent
America being militarily more powerful or being bigger. I don’t think that there
will be riots in Canada if the Toronto Blue Jays
lose to the Boston Red Sox. There’s no major
issue of that nature. The borders are open. And basically,
there’s criticism, and the Canadians take
pride in their more social democratic orientation– And pacifist. And pacifism, but basically
nobody nurtures a grudge. My whole argument
is based on the fact that in Pakistan, it’s not– the grudge is
nurtured by Pakistan’s military intelligence
complex, and with the help of a very small body
of political activists. And dare I say, then there is
also a huge difference of size. So the difference of size
between Great Britain and France was not that
significant in terms of numbers of population, in
terms of military strength, et cetera. The gap between
India and Pakistan is much larger and
becoming bigger. The size of population
difference is one is to six. So maybe Pakistanis
can breed faster, and they are breeding faster,
have a higher population growth rate, which has
its own downsides as well. But what can it be? It can become one is to five,
supposing India’s population declines a little– Pakistan’s rises faster. It will become one is to five. It’ll still be a one
is to five ratio. The economy size,
however, is 1 is to 10. And India’s growth rate
is higher at the moment, and that could end up
becoming a much bigger gap. Since the economy is critical
for the size of the military you can maintain,
therefore, that will become a factor as well. And so it is less
sustainable in our case. And so I cite a totally
unusual comparison, and I say let’s try
and visualize Belgium in 1830, a new country– primarily the
Spanish Netherlands, Catholic, predominantly
Catholic, but declares independence,
becomes independent. What if Belgium had
thought like Pakistan, that we will create unity
between the Flemish and Walloon population of
Belgium by projecting France or Germany or somebody
else as the Netherlands, as the eternal enemy. Now, Netherlands would have
been slightly more manageable, perhaps, as an eternal enemy. But France and Germany– Belgium would have had
to make a whole lot more chocolate than it
does to be able to compete with France in everything. And they didn’t do that. They went for a totally
different vision. Belgium ended up becoming
the center of a more unified Europe, taking advantage of
the conflict between, say, for example, Germany and France. Why couldn’t Pakistan do that? China and India are the
main adversaries in Asia. Pakistan could be the
one that could actually be the one that straddles
the two, in terms of taking economic
advantage– roads and oil pipelines running from north
to south and east to west. And Pakistan could be
the economic beneficiary. So that’s the kind
of vision I lay out, and I know that it will be– the purpose is, of course,
to generate debate, and not just between you and
me, but between a lot of people. In the book, you discuss
the Belgian analogy. I discuss the Belgian analogy. I discuss the
Yugoslavia analogy. I discuss what you talk
about, sustaining nationalism through a common adversary
and the success stories and potential failures as well. And then in case of
Yugoslavia, I actually cite literature that shows that
the Yugoslavs thought that they were strategically located. And they were
strategically located. And then when they stopped
being a Soviet ally, they became like
a bridge country. But then the Soviet
Union collapsed. So you can’t build the
future– so 210 million people, Pakistanis, our future
should not depend on how America views the world
or how China views the world, because they can
change their worldview. And does that mean our entire
life changes because of that? And that’s exactly
what happened. We thought we were at the
center of the universe during the Cold War. And then the Cold War ended. And then we’ve become important
again because of terrorism, but in a very negative way. So is it more important
to be important to others, whether in a negative
way or a positive way, or whether by becoming allies
and getting into trouble because of that, or thinking
about your own people and investing in them? This Belgian analogy
is very creative. This is the first time
I’ve heard you say it. Thank you very much. This is very interesting,
worth thinking about further, thank you. It’s been 15 years
of reflecting on it and thinking of every
possible analogy. Right, OK, let’s
open up for Q&A– yes? I have a question. So I guess in light
of the analogies that you’ve provided
of other nations, and given that you’ve
mentioned the space for Twitter and other
technological, social media spaces, how do you think
that technology might emerge as a disruptor, either positive
or negative, in Pakistan’s pursuit of its re-imagination? So the problem with technology
is that technology always ends up being managed by
somebody or the other. I know young people want
to think of a new universe in which, just because they
are tweeting and they are– but very frankly, you
are being totally swamped with stuff that is being
generated by troll farms in St. Petersburg. And in case of the
Pakistan-India Twitter space or Facebook space, there
are troll farms in India, and there are troll farms
in Pakistan being managed by various intelligence
services and various actors, et cetera, et cetera. So since it’s open to abuse,
the technology’s potential for positive impact
gets reduced. And if some solution
can be found to that– like, for example,
one of the things is if there was a
way that people could access their Twitter
accounts and their Facebook accounts only by
their fingerprint, thereby every individual
having one account, then those technologies
will be a positive thing. Then they will have a more
democratic impact, perhaps. But right now, they are
open to manipulation. And they are open
to manipulation, and they are open to
making you and me actually enter echo chambers, which
is what is happening. So in the case of Pakistan,
first of all, the state manages the social media. So I don’t know if you know– Pakistan is one of those
countries where Google has agreed, as part of the
terms of entering the market, to excluding certain sites
from its aggregations. Facebook has agreed to
censorship of sorts. They don’t use the
word censorship. They all use the words cultural
and religious sensitivities, but that’s what it is. China has that. And Twitter also allows
a lot of restrictions on certain accounts. So therefore, the
debate gets skewed. The New York Times story on
troll farms was very scary. This is about last
week, seven days ago, so it’s a lead story
in New York Times. So to give you a
first-person account, I read the New York
Times story also, and I read a little more
on the subject [INAUDIBLE].. But there was a time when I
was getting a lot of threats on Twitter, like we’ll kill you. We’ll do this to you. We’ll do that to you, et cetera. So I ended up submitting
some of them to the FBI. And I found out that 700
threats came from 17 accounts, essentially– I mean 17, what do
you call them, ISPs. So 17 computers were
generating the accounts that were amounting to
1,700 threatening accounts. So that’s what the
reality of that world is. The person you’ve been arguing
with vehemently on Twitter for the last five
days may actually just be a bot who’s automatically
set to reply to you, based on the words
which you use. And that is not going
to change any minds. What we are talking about is
changing of minds and outlooks. And that’s not going to change
if people with resources, and countries with resources,
and governments with resources are going to manipulate
that process. Yeah, your talk was
very interesting. Thank you for that. I wanted to touch on two
things that you discussed. One was the summarization
of Pakistan, and the pro-military sentiment
in Pakistani population as well. And both of these things are
just not only in the state, but also very much present
in the public opinion. And that’s why if you
criticize one of these things, one of the two
things, both of them, you can be on the hit
list of most people, and especially in Punjab. So how do you– I am, so yeah. So how do you
navigate such a line between talking
about these things, but also re-imagining Pakistan. Well, the reason
why I am able to or I can afford to
re-imagine Pakistan is because I am not
physically there right now. And I think that’s
a good thing to do. Sometimes being in
exile is a good idea. What I’m hoping
for is that there will be enough people
in Pakistan who will read the book, which
will be notable as well. And there will be some debate. There is some– there’s small
space for discussion and debate in Pakistan. There is. And every few weeks
on average, something happens that makes people
say, hmm, maybe, yeah, we need to check this. Like, for example,
some young man gets– what’s the word for it? He is beaten to death
at a university campus, and people say, god, what’s
happened to our society? And then you have
a situation where the terrorists come and attack a
school and kill schoolchildren. And then people– so
hopefully, the worsening of the Islamization problem– the fact that 3,000 people held
Islamabad hostage recently, and the government, and
especially the military, just buckled under– will generate enough
of a reaction. After all, Iran
and Saudi Arabia, where there’s been
a similar process of top-down
Islamization, et cetera, has also generated reaction
because, after all, human beings do have
an innate desire to not be forced into
believing certain things, and especially when
beliefs conflict. And Pakistan is unique
in the sense that– just look at the leadership
that created Pakistan. Mr. Jinnah was a Shia. [INAUDIBLE] was, of course,
head of the Ismaili community, who supported– [INAUDIBLE] was a Sunni of
the [INAUDIBLE] orientation. There were others. [INAUDIBLE],, who became
Pakistan’s foreign minister, was an Ahmadi. So there were all
these sects of Islam that were represented in
the elite at that time. Now, if you’re going
to say that only one of those interpretations
is the true Islam, then obviously that will
also generate conflict. So it’s interesting that
Ahmadis, Ahmadi Muslims, who are actually
conservative Muslims in their religious
orientation, they have now become one
of the strongest advocates of secularism, because
the Islamization has ended up marginalizing them. Similarly, Shias are strong
advocates of secularism because they see that
this process of going after a limited
interpretation– because that’s what happens with
religious interpretation. It starts off as all
Christians against everybody. But then it turns out, and
then– and, by the way, now that we’ve taken care of
those heathens, by the way, you’re not Christian enough. And that’s what’s
happening in Pakistan. It started out with
all Muslims saying, we can’t live with Hindus,
then everybody getting together and saying, can’t
live with the Ahmadis. Now some people are trying
and saying, oh, by the way, the Sunnis can’t
live with the Shias. And then among the Sunnis,
there’s the [INAUDIBLE].. And then among the
[INAUDIBLE],, there is also those who are
more Sufi-oriented and those more [INAUDIBLE],,
et cetera, et cetera. I personally think–
and, now, I know that it sounds not
very hopeful when you say that your hope is that
the worsening situation will be the source of the hope. But that’s my hope,
that the awareness in the younger generation
of Pakistanis, that this is a recipe for
constant trouble. And it’s going to hold us back– is going to be where the
change will come from. When the low-level– to use
social science language, you said, when the low-level
equilibrium cannot go any lower– Equilibrium, absolutely– Cannot go any lower. I personally feel
it’s almost there. It’s almost there,
because the number of conflicts within
Pakistan are just enormous. Yes, ma’am, your had was up– yours, yeah. Well, I found this fascinating,
and I really know very little about this part of the world. Last year in this room, I
saw a documentary on India, just on one night in Delhi,
every night in Delhi, 6 million people looking
for a place to sleep. It would seem to me that
all this re-imagining has to take into consideration
this unbelievable poverty, and lack of facilities,
and lack of housing. I don’t know where– the population has to
somehow or the government has to somehow solve
immeasurable problems here before they can– like imagining a dinner
or food on the table. It seems to me that it’s
all theoretical and– I would argue, actually– [INAUDIBLE] Can it be said that an attack
on poverty and deprivation– a very, very clearly
identifiable attack on poverty and deprivation– would be a necessary condition
for the act of re-imagination? Or do you think that’s not the
way it should be [INAUDIBLE]?? I think the
re-imagination is going to be the attack on
poverty and deprivation, because look at it another way. So what is the cause
of the poverty? It’s not like the land
is producing less. It is obviously producing more. It’s not like the industrial
output has fallen. It’s actually
risen, [INAUDIBLE].. What has changed? So two things have happened. One is, of course,
the inequality in terms of income
distribution, but also, the disproportionate allocation
of resources for the military, the disproportionate
allocation of resources for ideological agendas. So you build a fancy,
fancier mosque, whereas a perfectly functional
mosque already exists. But you want to do it
as a political symbol. And so therefore, you invest
lots of money into it. And therefore, you
don’t have the money to allocate to the
poorest of the poor. And so that re-imagining
has to be done primarily– and it may involve the elites
more than it may involve the general masses– that, you know what? We cannot live in these islands
of prosperity for ourselves, amid this sea of deprivation,
while we maintain ourselves by keeping alive these
ideological precepts, which have no economic or
poverty alleviation result or consequence whatsoever. There’s no way Pakistan will
be able to give jobs to– now, Pakistan’s
median age is 23. So 210 million people,
105 million people are below the age of 23. It’s a very young population. So a young population
basically means that you have to think about
their jobs, their lives moving forward. And if, essentially,
you are only breeding religious
extremist sentiment, those people are not
employable, on the one hand. On the other hand, the military
cannot employ everybody. So you basically have to
have an economic orientation. And you’ll get an
economic orientation only if you re-imagine
yourself as a nation of people, rather than a nation
of cheerleaders for a huge military and an
ideology that is abstract. So in this argument,
then, attack on poverty is an integral part
of the re-imagination, not a prior condition
for re-imagination. It’s neither a prior condition– Integral part of the– It’s interrelated. Yeah, so I’ll go here
first [INAUDIBLE].. So you seem to lament the
fact that a lot of people in Pakistan regard you
as some kind of traitor or some kind of boogeyman
in the United States. So do you think that’s the
result of your ideas more, or the result of
some of the actions that you might have
taken in the past? Like what actions? It’s mainly the ideas. Basically, not everybody
is thinking about me. I’m not vain enough to think
that everybody knows me or everybody thinks about me. It’s what the
military says, what the propaganda on Pakistan’s
military controlled media goes. Pakistan doesn’t
have a free media. I hope you know that. And so it’s a portrayal. As far as actions are concerned,
when I was ambassador, until towards the very end–
and that was after the Osama bin Laden raid– nobody seemed to have
a problem with me. So obviously, it’s
not about actions. It is about ideas. [INAUDIBLE] The so-called
actions are an excuse to be able to attack the ideas. The ideas have existed
for a much longer time. [INAUDIBLE] [INAUDIBLE] I want to recap what
the book is doing and then ask some
questions about how to get where you propose. So what I understand is the
book is, on the one hand, an argument about why
Pakistan is messed up. There’s this gulf between
its perception of itself, compared with the perception
others have of it. So there’s this kind of– the title of your book,
Magical Delusions? Magnificent Delusions. So there’s this ongoing
magnificent delusion. Then the book is also
a political agent, because you want to
propose what to re-imagine. So what I took– but what
I observed when you kind of recant who’s doing
the re-imagining, all the titles that you list,
which are very relevant– it’s all elites. So it’s all the
occupations you’ve held. So it’s journalists,
scholars, and diplomats. And that’s all factually true. I’m curious whether
we can expect there to be a radical
re-imagining if it’s, once again, elites at the table. What process or
procedures could there be where there is both the
contributions like your book, coming from the top, among
those who are resourced and are articulate and so on, with
the groups on the bottom. What kinds of round-tables
or debates or consultations need to occur, so we
can get to, for example, a Pakistan where there is
constitutional recognition of minorities, like
the [INAUDIBLE]?? There is proportional
representation in the military, so Punjabis are not
overrepresented. And what are the messy,
tedious, boring steps to get to that newly
imagined Pakistan? So let me reformulate this
also, using another idea, which is that you can conceptualize a
nation’s politics as consisting of two layers– elite politics
and mass politics, right? And that’s a reasonably
defensible proposition in many countries. And so [? Rahul ?] is
asking, it seems to me, how do we turn your
arguments, which would be debated
in elite politics, into matters in mass politics
and shaping of the opinion down on the street level? And Is that important at all? I think it is
important, but it’ll take a much longer discussion
totally devoted to that. But let me begin by saying
that Pakistan itself– it was the consequence or
result of elite politics. If you realize that
in 1945, ’46, only 15% of British India’s
population was allowed to vote in the election
in which the Muslim League won and, therefore– and the
Muslim League got just a little over half of the
overall Muslim vote, because the votes
were by communities. So in fact, that was
one of the reasons why it became such a problem. If it had been a
genuine mass movement, then there wouldn’t be the
need to sustain an ideology at the top to keep it. The ideology was
a way to make sure that no new populist movement
came about from below. That was, for example,
the earliest ones to react to Pakistan
centralized decision making were the
Bengalis, who said, OK, we’ve created this country
in the name of religion. But that doesn’t mean we
have to accept the language that we don’t speak as the
sole national language, because Urdu was declared
Pakistan’s national language. And so they reacted to that. So it was reactions
like that that made the elite decide
that, you know what? Keep the religious sentiment as
the main organizing principle. So basically, the elite– obviously, there are benefits
of any such organizing principle to the elite. That’s why they keep them. I’m hoping to actually take
advantage of the divisions within the elite, because,
after all, the elite also thinks about– what does this mean
for us down the road? So if the mullahs are going
to– because, after all, Mr. Jinnah was not a mullah. The top Muslim League
leaders were not mullahs. They were using religion as
a political organizing tool. And then the mullahs became
important, because once you say we are trying to
create a homeland or a country for Islam, then somebody
shows up and says, OK, I know more
about Islam than you. So I’m going to take over now. And so the non-Islamized
elite is the one that I am hoping will adopt the
idea and thereby transfer it, because every elite
group in Pakistan has some mass support as well. That’s how they survive. And so they will then use it as
a new basis for new politics. Like critical allies. [INAUDIBLE] You mentioned the
international context earlier. And so what are the
dynamics internationally that you think would facilitate
re-imagining Pakistan? And do you think that these
international dynamics are going in the right
direction or not? For example, US-Pakistani
relationships [INAUDIBLE].. Look, yeah,
international dynamics don’t always go in
the same direction. So you can’t say they’re
going in the right direction or wrong. Bottom line is I think that
Pakistan’s dysfunction owes a lot to its alliance
with the United States in a very unusual way. On the one hand,
it helped Pakistan to compensate for its lack
of economic resources, et cetera, in the beginning,
the inability of Pakistan to– of India to be generous at
the settlement of partition, to give Pakistan its share
of the assets, et cetera. And America kind of moved in. But $43 billion in
assistance and reimbursements later, the United States
feels that Pakistan’s national interests, as
Pakistan defines it, is not congruent with
America’s national interests. So the reason why
Pakistan has been able to sustain its
militarist, militant approach has been because there has
been an economic cushion. The reason that Pakistan
was able to wage war in 1965 was because it thought
it had better– there was a one is to three
military balance at that time. And they thought
that quality-wise, we have better equipment, because
they had the [INAUDIBLE] tanks, which were American. And they had better planes. And the Pakistani Air Force
did perform quite well in 1965. But in military terms, sheer
numbers do end up mattering. And so if Pakistan
is not able to get American military
equipment at low prices or subsidized prices,
as we’ve got so far, then the realization
that this is a fool’s errand, this
competition, may be easier. Similarly, Middle
Eastern countries, recognizing that
providing endless jobs for unskilled Pakistani labor
that can send remittances– that that is not– and many of them
did have a policy of discriminating
in favor of Pakistan that they have now changed. Now they have said,
you know what? It’s going to be merit
based, like whoever has the better organized
group of laborers that will come and work. Plus, they don’t have
the kind of money they had before
in relative terms. So that will have an effect. China is the only one. And China, in my
opinion, sees Pakistan as a secondary deterrent. If Pakistan has 400,000 Indian
troops engaged on its border, then China doesn’t have
to worry about that. I think China’s little
fantasy with Pakistan and Pakistan’s
fascination with China will also come to some kind
of– there will be a shock moment there as well. Something will
happen in Xinjiang. It’ll be traced
down to Pakistan, and then China will
also– so eventually, there will be an
international kind of– the recognition is already
happening in a very small way. But the international stars
haven’t aligned completely so far. For example, January 1– Pakistanis were shocked with
what President Trump said. I wasn’t. I was actually with my
family on the beach. And when I started getting
calls from the media, and I said, oh, what has
he said that’s so unusual? And it was just the words. They didn’t expect a president
of the United States to say that, because President
Bush and President Obama– and I dealt with both of them– they delivered very
tough messages, but they were delivered
very privately. And this was the first
time, boom, you know? So it was a shock [INAUDIBLE]. But more shocking is
the new White House– stuck in the details
of a White House press release the other day was
that new rules of engagement have been given to American
forces in Afghanistan. And they are that they
will be free to go after terrorist safe havens
in Afghanistan and Pakistan. That’s very significant. Now, if something happens
along those lines, then there will definitely be a
waking up in Lahore, Islamabad, and Karachi that
hasn’t happened before. But it’s not going
to be overnight. It’s not going to be quick. Pakistanis are a little
smug, with due respect to my countrymen in
the room, about how all is going to be OK– we are too important. It’s like a bit of “too big
to fail” kind of attitude. And so external
factors will have to be sustained
for a longer time to have the desired
effect in making people think that maybe we need
to change something at home. Can I– Sorry, it’s easy to
burn American flags and say they don’t understand,
and what are they doing? And they’ve done it before,
than to change internal policy on that basis. The deepening of
friendship with China is likely to spur national
re-imagination or constrain it? So first of all, I
don’t buy that there is a deepening of relationship. You don’t. I think Pakistan and China
are as close as they ever have been. I see. It’s just that China’s
putting a little more money, and it’s putting it in loans. And so Pakistan will be
straddled with a huge debt problem down the road,
just like Sri Lanka is. So I don’t buy this
that it’s a deepening. The relationship
is already deep. And it is one of the factors
that constrains re-imagining, because every time you
have an external cushion, the tendency to think that
your own policies are actually having a bad impact
on your own– it’s like if you have a shot
available for the consequences of your bad health, like
all these pills for managing cholesterol, people
don’t exercise when they can pop a pill. And so China is the
Lipitor for Pakistan’s permanent cholesterol problem. They don’t want to
exercise, because China is there to pick up the slack. Look, a very simple thing–
when I was ambassador, I had a huge delegation
of Pakistan’s textile manufacturers
in Washington DC. And they were asking us to
lobby for and ask for a new US legislation that
would give Pakistan certain specific concessions
for Pakistani textile products. So I had my staff do a
research paper for me before I would meet
this huge all-Pakistan textile manufacturers
association delegation. And in the research,
I realized something that I hadn’t realized before. The range of products that
Pakistan exports to the US has not changed. The year was 2010, so
I had asked somebody to do a study from 1960 to 2010. It turned out that the
range was the same. So Pakistan was exporting
knitted underwear, and it was exporting
knitted underwear now. We had no share of the
boxer shorts market, so I call it the
boxer shorts problem. So we had this meeting. So I asked these people. I said, you know what? Somewhere along the road,
Americans changed habits. They stopped wearing–
at least men stopped wearing knitted underwear,
and a lot of them started wearing boxer shorts. Why didn’t you start
manufacturing boxer shorts? They all looked at each
other and said, none of us thought about it. We already had facilities to do
it, and so we kept producing. I think that’s an attitudinal
problem, rather than a– because they were doing
well, and so what they wanted was that America should
somehow give more concessions for Pakistan to sell more boxer
shorts instead of [INAUDIBLE].. And then that reminded
me of a discussion I had with the late
Dr. [INAUDIBLE],, who was our planning
minister, finance minister, and great economist and
developed the Human Development Index. And he used to
say at that time– and I’m talking about 1990, ’91. He used to say to me,
you know, look at– the Indians are changing
their profile of exports. So software is becoming
a major export. Jewelry is becoming a major– They’re not a textile-exporting
nation anymore. And now, of course,
India exports machinery. The second most-selling
tractor brand in America is an Indian tractor, Mahindra. You wouldn’t think that. Pakistan is still stuck, so
it’s a kind of a mind thing that all you need to do
is go to the government, and our government then
will go to Uncle Sam, now to Auntie China,
and then we’ll be able to get things done. And that is an
attitudinal problem that needs to be
changed in a bigger way. Yes, sir. First of all, [INAUDIBLE]
for your speech. I really enjoyed it. As you talk about how when
you re-imagine Pakistan, that it should move away from
an Islamic form of government or Islamic form of
government towards secular, how do you imagine
Pakistan’s role in the Muslim world, the OIC? And what role should
it play, and should it change necessarily? Well, first of all,
OIC is just the OIC. Let’s be honest. It has no teeth. It has no substantive anything. It’s just a grouping. There are many such
groupings of nations, and OIC is one of them. It has never really had
any effective character, except maybe certain UN voting
trends in which, for example, we blocked UN adoption of
a universal condemnation of blasphemy laws,
et cetera, et cetera. On those things,
we get together. Other than that, the
OIC is toothless. As far as Pakistan’s role in
the Muslim world is concerned, I think Pakistan– we overplay the Muslim card. Every Muslim country makes
decisions in its own interest. None of them make
them in the interest of some imaginary [INAUDIBLE]. We cling to it because it
makes us feel a little secure and gives us a little
feeling of numbers. Otherwise, the reality
of the matter is that– and it has happened
time after time. Kashmir is one example. Pakistan claims that
Kashmir is our core issue. Well, why have we never been
able to get a resolution on Kashmir in the UN since
1957, which was the last time we got it, and that,
too, when America helped us and supported us? Why won’t the
Muslim countries all get together and
vote for us in the UN on Kashmir in a General
Assembly resolution or even try and get us a
resolution in the Security Council, where I don’t think
India has a veto anymore. And I don’t think Russia
will veto on behalf of India. So why don’t we do it? We don’t do it, because we
don’t have that support. But we don’t want to acknowledge
it to our own people, because we’ve been brought
up on this whole romance of the Muslim
world as an entity. [INAUDIBLE] I wanted to, on this point
of re-imagining Pakistan, mention the role of democracy. And I was curious to
hear your thoughts on the role of the
Pakistan People’s Party in re-imagined Pakistan. At least in my mind,
[INAUDIBLE] since the rise of mass politics
in Pakistan, it’s the first truly
national party we’ve had in Pakistan, [INAUDIBLE]. And a couple of
Punjabi ones as well. [INAUDIBLE] Also, the party ostensibly that
has fought for women’s rights and even for minority
rights [INAUDIBLE].. Yet even the People’s Party is
the party, as you mentioned, [INAUDIBLE] for all of us
who care for minority rights, that [INAUDIBLE] were
declared non-Muslims, a leftist, progressive
party in Pakistan. That is one of the anomalies
we have [INAUDIBLE].. The People’s Party
took a thrashing in the previous
election, as you know, and so it’s also associated with
my governments and corruption. But if there is this hope
for re-imagining of Pakistan, I’m wondering if you
can detach yourself from your own
association from it. What role can the party
play right now in that? It’s not just the
People’s Party. I would hope that in
the re-imagination, the A&P would have a role. The Baloch parties
would have a role. Possibly even the MQM
might have a role, and [INAUDIBLE] nationalist
parties might have a role. The PPP– I mean, it’s
a complicated history. The party’s history
is complicated. If you see my writings,
I have not always been completely
charitable to the party, because I think that– I am all for compromise. All of us, our lives are
made up of compromises. But they always have to
sometimes take a stand. And I think that the
ground that has been seeded has been far greater than
the party has actually stood its ground. So in fact, one
of the reasons why it has ended up getting
the political or electoral thrashing is partly because
of malgovernance and partly because, what does it stand for? So right now, I don’t see it
trying to re-imagine anything. Right now all I see is another
series of compromises, trying to get some lost ground back,
possibly with an understanding with the establishment in
some parts, an understanding with the religious groups in
another, et cetera, et cetera. When a transition
in leadership takes place, which eventually
it will, then we will see if the new
leadership of the party, the next generation,
[INAUDIBLE] or anybody else from that generation
is able to effectively say, you know what? We do need to be part of the
process of re-imagination. One word about the whole
[INAUDIBLE] saga of 1974– in Pakistan– Between
Mosque and Military, I have written about it,
not in as much detail as my wife, Farahnaz Ispahani,
has written in Purifying the Land of the Pure. Ironically, she found
it in her research. I had overlooked it when
I was writing Pakistan– Between Mosque and Military,
that Mr. [INAUDIBLE] both saw the 1974
decision on Ahmadis as, quote unquote, “The
solution of a problem.” [INAUDIBLE] saw it as
a solution in terms that, OK, I’ve done a
constitutional amendment. I’ve declared them, but there
will be no actual consequences. And [INAUDIBLE] saw
it as a solution that, OK, now you’ve solved it. You’ve determined. You’ve given the
answer to the question. Now we’ll go forward
with the action. And both statements
[INAUDIBLE] on the same day. Both had the same headline– old problem solved. And it was just ironic of how
political leaders can sometimes make a compromise
without realizing what others who are
part of that compromise may want out of that compromise. And as you know, after he lost
power and [INAUDIBLE] came, the real teeth came. And the Ordinance
20 and Ordinance 21 came about, which actually
put restrictions on Ahmadis and made it virtually
impossible for them to follow their
religion, because Ahmadis consider themselves Muslims. So their own religion
tells them that you have to consider yourself Muslim. But the law of the land says,
if you do anything that is like a Muslim, like say [NON-ENGLISH]
in a public place, or if you, say, refer to your– whoever you consider to be
a prophet and his family members with certain titles,
then you can go to prison. And that was something
[INAUDIBLE] had not envisaged, but he made a compromise
without looking at the– And my whole– someday, I
will write a book on the PPP as well. And my view is that the PPP has
done a lot of that throughout. And one of those things
on which they compromise without thinking about
longer-term compromises was when I was asked to
resign, because even that had implications that the
military can actually decide whose actions
are patriotic or not, without any transparency. A guy says this happened. The intelligence chief
says, yeah, his version seems reasonable, and that’s
the end of the matter. And you get the
judges and everybody to say, without a proper
process of a open trial and a proper examination
of witnesses, et cetera, and they compromised. And right now, also,
they are compromising on a number of things. So I think the PPP’s
role will change only with a change of leaders. So Husain, the– Don’t make that into
a headline, though. The point, then,
is that [INAUDIBLE] didn’t take the constitutional
amendment seriously. He just thought it
was a formal move. It would have no teeth. Yeah, he thought that
it was a formal move, because it would
have no legislation and no legal
consequences behind it. And [INAUDIBLE]. And the first legal
consequence that was forced was, OK, passports, especially
for Hajj, et cetera, people now have to sign a form
that they are not Ahmadis to be able to
get a passport that will say that your
religion is Islam to be able to go for Hajj. [INAUDIBLE] And so that was the
first consequence that happened right under him. But after him, the
consequences multiplied, because [INAUDIBLE] had then
made all these ordinances and laws. So constitutions have to be– which is why I actually– I always say that one other
big problem in Pakistan is that their constitutional
amendments come too quickly. Pakistan’s constitution
has a much smaller life than the American Constitution
and has had more amendments. Why amend the constitution? The constitution should be
an overarching document, because, after all,
it’s the laws that make all the difference. And therefore, giving in to
the constitutional amendment was the mistake. Allow me– Sorry, if only a
law had been made, we could have overturned the law
with a simple majority later. But the constitution
requires a 2/3, and 2/3 is now virtually
impossible in two houses because of the way
politics is fragmented, and the various provinces have
different political parties. And so the senate will forever
have a very strong tendency not to change it. So that [INAUDIBLE]. Now, the last question,
I’m going to ask– there’s a few minutes left. This is an important one. I think some people
want to ask that. And I don’t mean this to be,
Husain, a frivolous question. I want this to be
a serious question. And I hope you’ll see
it in that spirit. What are the
implications of the rise of Imran Khan in his party
for Pakistan’s politics in the coming years? Does it hurt the
re-imagining process? Does it aid it? Or it’s irrelevant to the
possibility of re-imagining. It’s not necessarily
irrelevant, but what it does is, it creates– so his slogan is change,
whereas everything he stands for is not change. The only thing he
promises to change is that he will be the leader. And, therefore, he’s
financially less corrupt. So I understand a large
number of young people who don’t like corruption
sort of saying, OK, the People’s
Party is corrupt. The Muslim League is corrupt. Enough of those, they
have dynastic leadership. We don’t like them. So this guy is it. But other than that,
what does he stand for? He has consistently supported
the Taliban at different times. He hobnobs consistently
with the army. He totally disrespects
other politicians, so he will be
extremely authoritarian if he ever gets power. I’m still one of those
who’s thinking he won’t. And knowing him
personally, as I do, all you have to do is
try to find any coherence in his arguments at any stage– there isn’t. And so what he has
created is, essentially, a political party
that, on the one hand, combines the hopes of those who
want a non-corrupt government with a large segment of the
pro-military establishment– Backing him. –backing him. And therefore, he
is unlikely to help the process of re-imagination. If anything, he
will end up being a semi-authoritarian figure
who works very closely with the military and will
probably have a very bad falling out with them, because
the one great thing in Imran Khan is the belief in
Imran Khan’s greatness. And so that’s such a– when you have this narcissistic
personality disorder, leaders of that genre, we all
know how they behave and the impact they
have on nations. So this prediction, then, is
that he cannot remain a yes-boy of the military. And the military [INAUDIBLE]. No, at some point there will be
something that will trip him. It’s like, look, he has had
positive judgments from judges. But when he didn’t
have one or two, he started criticizing them. Then he got the judges
back on his side. Than he– so he sort
of waxes and wanes. And so my prediction is that
if he were to come to power, he would start off as a
protegee of the military. But like all of the past
protegees of the military, going back several decades,
he’ll end up turning on them. But more important
than that, he has no experience of governance. He is only a– he’s a product of this new
celebrity-leader culture that we are seeing
across the world. Somebody who’s well
known and who’s famous, and therefore people– I mean, he’s been in
politics since 1997. The first election
he ran for in 1997, he put candidates in every seat
for every seat of parliament, one-none. And his party, at that time,
raised more money than the two other political parties,
got fewer votes than the two other political parties,
spent more money than two other
political parties. If you remember,
the 1997 election was the first time political
parties were allowed to advertise on television. And they bought– Imran Khan’s party
bought a whole bucket load of television advertising,
all of it with Imran Khan, and new broom will
sweep clean, et cetera, a new bat will hit every
ball for a 6, et cetera– got no votes. And the first time
he got elected, he got elected with
Musharraf’s backing and [INAUDIBLE] backing. And so I am not particularly– first of all, I have
a personal aversion to this celebrity-politician
thing, you know? Somebody who hasn’t been– I think, like all occupations,
politics is an occupation. And people should spend
time doing it the right way, by working through
the political process and working, getting elected
to parliament, serving in it. Even in this parliament,
in which he has been there for the last four
or five years, he’s hardly ever gone to
parliament, which shows his disdain for the process. But all he does say is, I’ll
make a great prime minister. And those who support
him believe that. Well– [INAUDIBLE] One minute left, so your
question will be 15 seconds. So you mentioned [INAUDIBLE]
recent protest in Islamabad. There was 3,000 [INAUDIBLE]. So in your vision of
re-imagining Pakistan, how should the government
deal with incidents like that? Well, if they are peaceful, and
they come for a demonstration, they do a demonstration like
anybody else and go home. If they try to do a sit-in,
the military and the police remove them. But then after that took
place, if they threaten to bring protesters into
every city in the country, is it not better to negotiate
with them and send them home? So basically, you will
allow a small number of people who want to speak
for God to tell people how to interpret God’s
word all along, constantly? It has gone back all the way– 1953, similar, in fact, worse
demonstrations were held. And the military– [INAUDIBLE] [INAUDIBLE] riots, the
military came out and said no. You’re not going to
destroy property, and you’re not going
to attack people. And that’s the end of that. The government stood firm. The military stood firm. And you can do that. You should have done
that a long time ago, but you can do it even
now, if you have the will. But if the military is
going to actually use the mullahs for
political effect, then you will continue
to have these things. It will be– [INAUDIBLE] was, at
least, a scholar who wrote an exegesis of the Quran. Then it was Mullah [INAUDIBLE]
who was also quite a scholar– move forward, forward, forward. Now we have [INAUDIBLE],,
who does nothing but use abusive language, which nobody
should use from the pulpit. So the quality of religious
leadership has declined. But their influence
has increased. And that is not necessarily
good for Pakistan. And I think it’s time for
the military and governments to stand up. And it’s amazing how
they don’t compromise. So for example, if this
was a PPP demonstration, would there be a compromise? If I could manage 3,000
supporters in Islamabad who said, set Husain Haqqani free
from false allegations, et cetera, and make sure that
he can come back to Pakistan safely, and we won’t go home– will they compromise
with those 3,000 and say, OK, Mr.
Haqqani, get on a plane. Please come home. They won’t. So why do they do it with them? Because their hearts
are with one another. Well, I hope you’ll
agree– we’ve seen a remarkable display
of public intellectualism, thank you very much. Thank you very much. Join us outside for a
reception, and we can keep the conversation going. [MUSIC PLAYING]

77 thoughts on “Husain Haqqani — Reimagining Pakistan

  1. I would argue that Pakistan has not survived. What has survived is "Bakistan". A majority 54% population seceded in 1971 as Bangladesh.

  2. Unfortunately, this suave, erudite scholar is termed a traitor in Pukistan.
    That is the caliber of that nation.
    At the end of the day, Pukistan is an ideological state that would never wear from its raison detre which is Islam and the 2 nation theory.
    One can write books on re imagining Pakistan but it ain't gonna happen simply due to the reason i have stated above.

  3. Husain Haqqani and his host Ashutosh Varshney are both delusional. Husain Haqqani is an opportunist and Ashutosh Varshney is a Nehruvian fundamentalist. Both would quote from Western sources and would rarely refer to any Asian scholars. They both have very little knowledge about the Indian sub-continent. Both have made money on imaginary narratives and continue to spread misinformation about India and Pakistan. Haqqani Sahab the two nation theory was not conceived in 1946. The idea was articulated by Sir Syed Ahmad Khan in 1885 after Allan Octavian Hume formed Indian National Congress and chose only 2 Muslim delegates as against 58 Hindu delegates. Sir Syed Ahmad Khan initiated the 'Aligarh Movement' which helped the formation of Indian Muslim League in 1906. I can go on and on but instead suggest both the kids (Husain and Ashutosh) to forget about Mohammed Ali Jinnah and Jawahar Lal Nehru for a few years and start fresh research on the topic discussed by digging up Asian sources and specifically Sub-Continent sources. Reality is very different than these fantasies being dished out by Western educated elites.

  4. Pakistan should reimagined itself as sindhis Punjabis pushtuns baluchs and become independent countries.

  5. Only solution for Pakistan. Start pre imagination. How to annex with motherland bharat. As was before 1947. Accept mistake happened.

  6. Pakistanisation of India very interesting.
    What India needs is a new Left leaning political party that does not cater to any dynastic ambitions and are truly secular. Nationalism is good, but ultra nationalism blinds us of our own fault-lines.

  7. Mr Haqquani, your country will not go to the UNSC for a resolution for Kashmir, because it will tell Pakistan to remove its troops and all the Pakistani people from Gilgit Baltistan and "Azad Kashmir" before India reduces its troops. The Pak army does not want the Indian army to move into Muzzaffarabad and get rid of all the so-called camps for "Azadi Loving Kashmiri terrorists" who are not really Kashmiris, but Pakistanis and other hired help from other muslim countries. You may not want to voice this, but you are a professor and cannot say that you do not know what the UNSC Resolutions said. Pakistan was declared an aggressor which even Pakistan had to admit to, instead of hiding behind the "kabayli" myth.

  8. Did i hear NAPAK-ISTAN & INDIA freinds?
    Are you kidding.
    For that you have to brain wash 2 generations of madrasas to be rational

  9. Half the land in dispute? Only Bangladesh?
    How about BALOCHISTAN and KASHMIR?
    Only 10 or 20% land oficially Pakistan that too CHARITY

  10. For the people born as pakistani as you say, dont exist because they have been mentally taken back centuries in madrasas
    Based on relgious fundamentals
    For people born before, at least know the reality.
    But born later, are though feeded and know nothing else.

  11. Indians are cheering up here haha – Indians chooses a terrorist as PM Modi – these Indians are nuts they enjoy Indian piglets of Indian army killing Kashmiri's – only great Pakistan can allow dissent not rouge country India – gauri lankesh was killed by Brahmins when she talks for Dalits lower caste Hindus and Kashmiri's

  12. Indian prime minster Hindu terrorist Modi was banned from USA travel till late 2000 now same terrorist is chosen by Indian as prime minster

  13. actually, the ordinary common Pakistanis disagree with u and give a lanat on your ugly face. You cannot win outside if people are not with u in your own country. Not ten people will come on streets for u even now americans dont take him seriously that he has presonal issues.

  14. You are the best we want peace between Afghanistan , India and Pakistan and Pakistan must Know they waist 70 year and fighting with your brothers Afghan and Indian people . Pakistani people week up. Time to bring change.

  15. Hussain Haqqani is always brilliant. His discourse is not only engaging but also clear and concise . What a shame that Pakistan could not retain such an erudite analyst!

  16. Pakistanisation of India ,The word does not match with India as the history, ,constitution, Institutional Freedom, parliamentary system and power distributions at the deferent stages are unmatched with India. Now first I will talk about history ,since partition India remained secular state and None of the institution can differentiate to deliver by religion,cast and creed ,as constitutional guidelines does not allow .where as Pakistan became a Islamic state and forced sharia Law even on non Muslims , School curriculum infected with religious hatred other then Islam caused radicalization of Pakistan .
    Constitution of India is much stronger which distributed Powers to each and every pillars of Democracy to function without any influence of Politically empowered person or party to derail the democracy and preserve the right of citizen of India .like Judiciary,CAG ,election commission etc. and these institutions are core bodies to Preserve the national interest under the Umbrella of Constitution of India .
    In Pakistan it is reverse . therefore pak army plays its roll in governance and Dictates the pak institutions such as Judiciary which has supposedly to Punish them for derailing democracy and Violation of constitution .
    Therefore If the state is secular there r less chances of Pakistanisation of India despite having intolerance in some sections in regards to religious belief and faith .

  17. The "acts of intolerance against Muslims" in India feeds the confirmation bias of an average Pakistani – as they constantly need to feel the appropriateness of their existence.

  18. Sir Hussain Haqani, you are summoned from Pakistan Supreme Court in conspiracy case against pakistan. please come back home and proof you innocence in court.

  19. i will say endian business men living UK Vijay Maliya nad Nariv Modi are both more intelligent compare to hussain haqani.

  20. Those who applaud Husain Haqqani, do you also think that Arundhati Roy is also one of the sanest voice in India or just Pakistan rebels sound good to you??

  21. Its clear beyond doubt that Pakistan was created by the imperial British using their classic policy of "divide & rule" through their british bred agent Jinnah, so as to maintain influence & as a buffer a between post independent India with intact economic interests and potential expansion of communist russia ( right after Berlin fell to red army in WW-2 ) having significant links with political leadership of the time in indian nationalist movement – indian Congress & indian communists etc.

  22. Pakistani who immigrate globally and great danger to humanity with its extremist ideology. There are very few exclusions such as Mr.Haqqani.

  23. In fact one of the major reason for creation of Pakistan was the jailing of Gandhi specifically Nehru 1942-46,thereby giving free reign to Jinnah to spread adversity towards Hindus. Another being Churchill behind Jinnah during WW2.

  24. i have no issues with Hussain Haqqani and his stance about how Pakistan is run. I however want to know if he is vocal also against the policies or the country he is currently living in (and is probably also a citizen of),. The whole world knows about US and its stupid wars , did he ever mention that? Ever criticized it? i would love to know if he has a book about it or some video clip if someone can share.

  25. this man is a Piq Who Sells His Mother For Money Why Should We Believe a Pimp He Selling Us A story Which We Like Leave this Drainage and Live Peacefully

  26. #  Ex-ambassador Hussain Haqqani waits for his new passport at Pakistan Embassy, Washington DC (21 August 2016).

    #  Pakistan foreign minister Khawaja Asif accused ex-ambassador to the United States, Hussain Haqqani of "authoring" President Donald Trump's new South Asia  policy. (24 August 2017).

    #  Pakistan Supreme Court issues arrest warrent for Hussain Haqqani (15 February 2018). 

    #  Pakistan government is waiting for an INTERPOL response to its request regarding arrest of Hussain Haqqani, former ambassador of Pakistan to the  US (26 February 2018).

    #  Pakistan government plans to try ex-ambassador Hussain Haqqani over fund misuse (28 February 2018). 

    #  Pakistan Supreme Court ordered government authorities to take steps to bring former ambassador to the United States Hussain Haqqani back to Pakistan within 30 days (28 March 2018).                            >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

  27. Hussain Haqqani is a disgruntled Pakistani who is trying here to make a case against Pakistan,Mr Haqqani has a ckeckered past.He started off with the jamat e islami in student days,later made somewhat of a name in journalism because of his political acumen,later joined the administration of nawaz sharif a right wing politician.Later on haqqani joined the peoples party which was a left wing liberal party,haqqani has also colluded with the agencies and what not
    Most of his facts are correct but his interpretation is totally wrong and malafide.This man has always been his own man,an opportunist of machiavellian proportions,Its saddening to se this man unjustly repudiate Pakistan only because he cant enjoy the fruits of power,
    .

  28. A well reasoned presentation. All those Pakistanis who are hurt by his pointing out the shortcomings are calling him a traitor. Guess what! The shoe is on your foot. You will befalling i n your patriotic duty if you ignore the warnings and let Pakistan hurl itself toward becoming a failed state. So you know who is the traitor.

  29. Buy this book. Hussain haqqani only honest analyst of Pakistan. He seed clearly and thinks critically. This is a trait totally lacking in Pakistanis

  30. @39:00 On the one hand this person portrays himself as being intellectual and scholarly, while simultaneously explaining Pakistanis' insecurities using obscure conspiracy theories that no reputed Pakistani newspaper has ever reported.

  31. he is the riight man who really unerstans the probeems of pak and soutions. internationally well recognised thinker. people must spport him

  32. Thank god China look after us.india Chor corrupted sending terrorist to Pakistani people's don't likes india.indian makes dirty movies.and supplies girls.wholes world.because India movies lots of children rapist.hussain haqqani they people's Isarel agents.RAW agent.india can't look after own country so poor people's in india.try to accupied another country.

  33. The introduction was 'meh'…. bugger needs to be better prepared and speak more clearly

    Followed by a great, lucid narration by Husain Haqqani saab… clear, succinct, matter-of-fact and no-holds barred. May your tribe increase, sir.

  34. Ashutosh seems so bored, clownish and clueless (and a CC younger brother of Bill Barr) … gosh! Can't imagine why/how he is the 'moderator' and a totally boring starter/introducer…. Get your act together, dude.

  35. 26/5/19 – A privilege to listen to him explain the whole him. one must definatly to listen to him and read his book Reimagining Pakistan if he/she wants to understand Pakistan in a better way. Thumbs UP

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