Pakistan’s former ambassador to the United States says the two countries must “divorce” as allies rather than prolong a dysfunctional marriage.
“If in 65 years, you haven’t been able to find sufficient common ground to live together, and you had three separations and four reaffirmations of marriage, then maybe the better way is to find friendship outside of the marital bond,” Husain Haqqani said, addressing the Center for the National Interest, a Washington think tank, on Wednesday.
“I’m not for [the US] declaring Pakistan an enemy,” Haqqani said, adding that his reason for proposing a “parting of ways” is due to the idea that “the important things can actually be addressed.”
He pointed to a survey by the Pew Research Center released in June, which indicated that nearly three-in-four Pakistanis considered the United States an enemy, although the US provides Pakistan with billions of dollars in aid.
“If this was an election campaign… you would advise the senator with these kinds of favorability ratings to pull out of the race, instead of spending more money.”
He also said there is friction between Pakistan’s civilian government and military about having good relations with the United States.
Haqqani noted that Pakistan’s military needed to be under greater civilian control, adding that the country’s national interests are defined “by generals, not by civilian leaders.”
He referred to the US assassination drone strikes, anticipating that the United States would push ahead with the campaign even in a post-alliance future.
“I have no realistic expectation of the United States ending the drone campaign and (no realistic expectation of) Pakistan accepting it,” he said.
Pakistani officials and opposition parties have shown their outrage at the drone strikes that have claimed the lives of many people in Pakistan’s tribal areas bordering Afghanistan.
Despite the Pakistani government’s repeated calls on Washington to end the drone attacks, the US government continues its strikes on the tribal regions of the country.
Washington claims its drone strikes target militants, although casualty figures clearly indicate that Pakistani civilians are the main victims of the attacks.
The killing of Pakistani civilians, including women and children, by the US drone strikes have strained relations between the two allies, prompting Pakistani officials to send warnings to the US administration over the assaults.
Pakistanis have held many demonstrations to condemn the United States’ violations of their country’s sovereignty.