Husain Haqqani, the former Pakistani Ambassador to the US, has urged Pakistan to reassess its approach to global affairs and prioritize pragmatism. In an article for The News, Haqqani emphasized the need for Pakistan to adapt to the changing global landscape.
Over the years, elements within Pakistan’s government and military have faced accusations of supporting jihadist groups in India and Afghanistan, allegations that Pakistan vehemently denies. Haqqani argued that Pakistan’s focus on internal power struggles and regional conflicts, particularly concerning jihad in neighboring countries, has hindered its ability to comprehend the significant global changes that have occurred since the end of the Cold War.
Haqqani highlighted that Pakistan had the opportunity to benefit from its historical alliance with the United States during the Cold War. However, he lamented that Pakistan made the unwise choice of embracing anti-American sentiments, further exacerbating its long-standing negativity toward India.
He pointed to the example of China and India, two nations engaged in a rivalry, yet they have continued to trade while keeping political and security matters separate from their economic interests. Haqqani acknowledged China’s growing assertiveness in shaping the global order under President Xi Jinping but noted that shared economic interests between China and the West have acted as a restraint on hardliners from both sides, contributing to global peace.
Haqqani also cited the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as an example of pragmatism. Despite its vocal support for Palestinian rights and criticism of certain Israeli policies, the UAE took a leadership role in the ‘Abraham Peace Accords’ in 2020, normalizing relations between Arab nations and Israel, with potential benefits for both sides.
In conclusion, Haqqani emphasized that Pakistan needs to shift its focus from political disputes, ideological pursuits, and delusions of grandeur. Instead, he called for a greater emphasis on developing an educated workforce, fostering wealth creation, and nurturing leadership capable of adapting to global changes. Haqqani’s plea for pragmatism reflects the evolving dynamics of international relations and the need for nations to align their interests with the rapidly changing global landscape.