NEW DELHI: The Pakistani Army has perfected the art of the “non-coup coup”, which is to run affairs without taking over power directly, the country’s former envoy to the US Husain Haqqani said on Monday.
The military’s role in Pakistan was the product of the country’s worldview which is of a “country under siege”, he said, at the launch of his book ‘Reimagining Pakistan: Transforming a Dysfunctional Nuclear State’ here.
He also said that Pakistan has to “absolutely shut down” terror infrastructure.
“We have become threat perceivers. America is conspiring against us. China, we haven’t got there yet, but it will come. How can a nation be a prosperous model nation when it thinks the whole world is conspiring against it,” the former diplomat said.
Haqqani served as Pakistan’s ambassador from 2008 to 2011 in the US and was removed for his alleged role in what is known as the Memogate controversy, which revolved around a memorandum seeking help of the Obama administration in the wake of the Osama bin Laden raid to avert a military takeover of the civilian government in his country.
A culture of conformity prevails in Pakistan and that is why despite being such a populous country fewer books are published there than in Romania or Greece, he said.
Asked about who is the next ‘ladla’ in Pakistan, an allusion to who does the Pakistan military wants in-charge of the country after the next election, Haqqani said, “Pakistan military has now perfected the art of the non-coup coup.”
“How to run affairs without actually taking over power directly and for that they use an assortment of Pakistani political characters and operators. Right now everybody except Mr Nawaz Sharif seems to be willing to be an instrument for that policy.”
The military would always want to have somebody who would not challenge its authority, he said.
Haqqani also asserted that Indians should not wish for misfortune for Pakistan.
“Indians should actually want Pakistan to be stable, strong and reimagined, that should be the Indian agenda,” he told the audience, among whom was Indian high commissioner to Pakistan Ajay Bisaria.
“Any chorus about how Pakistan is either about to break up or ought to break up only feeds extremism in Pakistan with dire consequences for India. Indians should be among Pakistan’s best well wishers,” said Haqqani, who has also served as the Pakistani ambassador to Sri Lanka from 1992 to 1993.
Urging Pakistan to take cue from Belgium which had not been obsessed about matching its military might with France, he said Islamabad should also not just be looking to compete with India.
On being “wanted” in Pakistan, Haqqani said it was due to a “culture of points-scoring on evening TV shows” and he did not have any serious charges to answer.
Earlier this year, Haqqani was booked in Pakistan for allegedly giving hate speeches and writing books and articles defaming the military and the government, according to media reports.