Husain Haqqani has always been willing to speak his mind even when it does not follow the popular opinion. His willingness to point out when the emperor is wearing no clothes has earned him the hatred of many of his fellow countrymen but it has also earned him a place advising multiple Prime Ministers and serving as Ambassador to the US which is known as the hardest job in the world. These are positions that are difficult because success requires someone who is able to give correct advise and not simply tell the powers that be what they want to hear. This is why Haqqani’s scientist-like fixation with facts and evidence even when they are inconvenient and unpopular has made him both listened to around the world and equally controversial at home. Husain Haqqani found himself in the spot light again after it was reported that he has said that Pakistan no longer enjoys international support on Kashmir. The reaction to these reports has been emotional as can be expected given both the issue and the speaker, but if we can set our emotions aside, could Haqqani’s advise actually help the Kashmiri cause?
UN Security Council Resolution 47 is the backbone to our case for Kashmir, and it is routinely reminded by the Foreign Office and our politicians and diplomats at the UN. However, it must be noted that this resolution was passed in 1948 – before most of Pakistani people were even born. Despite constant pressure from our side, the UN has been almost silent on the issue since. It is a silence that is very meaningful, too. In 2010, the UN removed Kashmir from the list of disputed territory despite Pakistan’s protest. Pakistan’s acting envoy to UN at the time Amjad Hussain Sial said he hoped it was an accidental oversight. But what kind of wishful thinking is this? Even if it is true, it means that Kashmir issue is so unimportant to the rest of the world that they forgot it even exists? Hardly an endorsement of our strategy.
Five years later, Husain Haqqani has said what everyone knows but nobody is willing to admit: Pakistan’s position on Kashmir does not have international support. This is clear even from the very obvious fact that our leaders give media statements about pressing our case at the UN, but never actually make any difference when they do. Does this mean our position is wrong? Obviously not. Does it mean that we should give up? Of course not. It only means that our strategy till date is clearly not working. If something doesn’t work, you don’t do more of it, you try something else. If we want a resolution to Kashmir we need to find a new way of supporting the Kashmiri cause. For decades we have tried to help Kashmir using the way of jihad and pressure tactics, and what has it gotten us? Our position actually has less international support than when we started. You don’t have to like Husain Haqqani to know that he is right on this one. If we really want to help the Kashmiri cause, we need to stop stubbornly letting our own ego decide our strategy and listen to new ideas.