Pakistan and the US will Have to Work Together: Haqqani
Washington, DC: Pakistan and the United States will have to work together as sovereign partners to confront terrorism militarily, politically and through economic means, said Ambassador Husain Haqqani January 15 while addressing international students and faculty members at the University of District of Columbia in Washington DC.
The Ambassador said that the United States cannot solve its problems without the world’s support and the optimism created in the international community with the election of President-elect Barack Obama and Joe Biden needs to be reflected in future US policies. President Obama has selected a very experienced team and Pakistan is looking forward to working with the new administration, he observed.
Haqqani said that Pakistan is the second largest Muslim country in the world. It is a nuclear power and its strategic location is such that it can provide a link to the Middle East, Central & West Asia and South Asia.
The Ambassador emphasized that Pakistan is undergoing a transition from dictatorship to democracy. “Pakistan continues to pay the price: the legacy of dictatorship, the fatigue of fanaticism, the dismemberment of civil society and the destruction of our democratic infrastructure”, he said.
Poverty, he asserted, continues to fuel extremism and has created a culture of grievance and victimhood. The challenge of confronting terrorists who have a vast support network is huge; Pakistan’s fledgling democracy needs help from the rest of the world.
Ambassador Haqqani said that the international community and the US can help Pakistan economically to meet its enormous challenges. He said Pakistan is one of the largest producers of cotton and yet “we are not able to freely export our textiles to the United States as market access remains limited. It is important that the new administration expand market access for textile exports from Pakistan as allowing greater market access to Pakistani products will be very important for future Pakistan-US relations.”
On terrorism, the Ambassador said that Pakistan is the victims of terrorism. It has more terrorists attacks now than seven years ago. It is getting the blowback effect from civilian casualties in the tribal areas. Pakistan’s sovereignty must be respected by its allies. Avoiding civilian casualties in war is a great challenge.
He added that the international community must resolve the problems of injustice and inequality which are considered the root causes of terrorism.
On Pakistan-India relations and the recent Mumbai incident, the Ambassador said that the important thing to remember is that Pakistan is a victim of terrorism as also India. We need to put the burden of history behind us, work together, and make sure both of us get rid of this terrorist menace that afflicts both of our countries. Unfortunately, in the anger that has followed the Mumbai terrorist incident, there have been people in India who have been calling for war. But we would like both governments to work together.
“Pakistan and India are neighbors and we don’t need to discuss history right now; we need to discuss the future of our children”, he added.