Husain Haqqani

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Hussain Haqqani)
Jump to: navigation, search
Husain Haqqani
حسین حقّانی
24th Pakistan Ambassador to the United States
In office
13 April 2008 – 22 November 2011
Preceded by Mahmud Ali Durrani
Succeeded by Sherry Rehman
High Commissioner of Pakistan to Sri Lanka
In office
11 May 1992 – 28 June 1993
Preceded by Tariq Mir
Succeeded by Tariq Altaf
Personal details
Born (1956-07-01) 1 July 1956 (age 59)
Karachi, Pakistan
Spouse(s) Farahnaz Ispahani
Children 3 daughters
1 son
Alma mater University of Karachi
Profession Journalist
Religion Islam

Husain Haqqani (Urdu: حسین حقّانی; born 1 July 1956), alternately spelled Hussain Haqqani, is a Pakistani political author and the former Pakistan Ambassador to the United States. He was appointed as the Pakistan ambassador in April 2008, after being exiled in 1999 following criticisms against the government of then-President Pervez Musharraf. He resigned on 22 November 2011 following allegations of his involvement in the Memogate controversy.[1]

Prior to serving as Ambassador to the United States, Haqqani held several positions including as an adviser to three former Pakistani prime ministers and as envoy to Sri Lanka. In additions, Haqqani has also been a journalist, scholar and educator. He is currently a Senior Fellow and Director for South and Central Asia at the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C. and co-editor of Hudson's signature journal Current Trends in Islamist Ideology.[2] Haqqani was the Director of the Center of International Relations and a Professor of the Practice of International Relations at Boston University.[3] He is currently Resident Fellow at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics.[4]

Early life[edit]

Haqqani began his interest in journalism in high school. In 1973 he joined Karachi University. He frequently visited the library at the US consulate, reading volumes of American history. Later, when students wanted to attack the consulate as part of a protest against the United States, Haqqani refused.[5] Haqqani received a B.A. degree with distinction in 1977 and a MA degree with distinction in international relations in 1980 from the University of Karachi.[6]



Haqqani worked as a full-time journalist from 1980–88. He covered the war in Afghanistan for Voice of America radio; served as the Pakistan and Afghanistan correspondent for Far Eastern Economic Review; and worked in Hong Kong as the East Asian correspondent for the London-based Arabia: the Islamic World Review.[citation needed] He worked for the state broadcaster Pakistan Television during the general elections of 1985.[7]


Haqqani started his political career at the University of Karachi, where he became President of the Karachi University Students Union[8] which was dominated by the Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba, the student wing of the Jamaat-e-Islami.[7] Haqqani explained his association with Islamists as a student in an article in the Asian Wall Street Journal. "Over the last three decades, I have alternated between being attracted to and repulsed by political Islam."[8] In recent years, he has emerged as a staunch critic of radical Islamist groups.[9][10]

In 1988, he worked in the political campaign for an alliance led by Nawaz Sharif; In 1990, he was special assistant to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif; from 1990–92, he was special assistant and spokesman for Prime Minister Sharif; from 1992–93, he became one of Pakistan's youngest ambassadors, serving in Sri Lanka; from 1993–95, he was spokesman to Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto; from 1995–96, he was chairman of the House Building Finance Corporation.[6]

From 2004–08, Haqqani was an associate professor for international relations at Boston University. In addition, he co-chaired the Project on Islam and Democracy at the Hudson Institute in Washington, and was co-editor of the international scholarly journal Current Trends in Islamist Ideology. Among his numerous writing credits are "Pakistan Between Mosque and Military" for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; "Islam's Medieval Outposts" for the journal Foreign Policy, and "The Role of Islam in Pakistan's Future" for Washington Quarterly.[citation needed][11][12]

Alleged secret memo and resignation[edit]

Main article: Memogate (Pakistan)

In 2011, American businessman Mansoor Ijaz said Haqqani asked him to deliver a secret memorandum to Adm. Mike Mullen, then chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, asking for US intervention to prevent a military takeover in Pakistan.[13][14] Haqqani denied the accusations.[15] He was summoned to Islamabad by Prime Minister Yousef Raza Gilani to discuss the allegations and afterwards tendered his resignation.[15] While a judicial commission organised by the Pakistan Supreme Court investigated,[16] Haqqani was not allowed to leave the country.[17] He sought refuge in the presidential palace and later the Prime Minister's residence, citing threats to his life by extremist groups who accused him of treason.[18] In January 2012, Pakistan's Supreme Court allowed Haqqani to leave the country temporarily to attend hearings remotely.[19]

In June 2012, the Judicial Commission released a report concluding that the memorandum was authentic and that Haqqani was its "originator and architect".[20]:119 The justices further found that Haqqani had undermined the country's security and that Haqqani misled Ijaz to believe the memorandum had the Pakistani president's approval.[21] Pakistan's Supreme Court noted that the commission was only expressing its opinion, and there had been neither official finding of facts nor determination of guilt in the case.[22] The New York Times described the Judicial Commission as ‘controversial,’ its proceedings as ‘politically charged’ and its findings as offering ‘little clarity on either the authorship of the memo or the motivations behind the episode.’[23]

Haqqani said the Commission's report was one-sided and defended his patriotism[24] and his innocence.[25] Haqqani has not returned to Pakistan, citing threats on his life.[26] Time magazine described it as “a move that may reflect Pakistan’s desire to sweep away the last shaming vestiges of the discovery — and killing — of Osama bin Laden in a garrison city less than 64 km from its capital. [27]


Haqqani has authored two books on Pakistan. The first, Pakistan: Between Mosque and Military, was published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in 2005. In the book, Haqqani examines the relationship between Pakistan's armed forces and Islamist groups as a function of Pakistan's search for identity and security.[28][29] Haqqani's second book, Magnificent Delusions: Pakistan, the United States, and an Epic History of Misunderstanding, was published by PublicAffairs on November 5, 2013. In this book, Haqqani reviews the history of U.S.-Pakistan relations. Magnificent Delusions was included in a list of the "best books about the rest of the world" by The Daily Beast, who called it "compulsory reading for members of Congress and officials at the State Department."[30]


Husain Haqqani has described radical Islam as "the single most dangerous idea that has emerged in the Muslim world".[31] He has called on Pakistan to crack down on Islamist militants, and has cautioned the U.S. against trying to negotiate with the Afghan Taliban, who he describes as "a movement with an extreme ideology [that] will not compromise easily on their deeply held beliefs."[32][33]

He said the historical bilateral relationship was "erratic", citing US engagement from the early Cold War to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, when the US government backed Afghan fighters by funnelling support through the Pakistani channels. He is sceptical that completely stabilising the relationship can be accomplished during the tenure of one ambassador, but seeks to "lay the foundations of a relationship that is multidimensional: political, military, cultural, economic and social".[34]

The Wall Street Journal described Haqqani as "a hostage" while he was in Pakistan and published an interview with him from the Prime Minister's house in which he outlined why he was hated by Pakistan's intelligence services and Jihadi groups.[35] Michel Hirsh, writing in The Atlantic, described Haqqani as "The Last Friendly Pakistani" towards the US[36] Jeffrey Goldberg, writing for The Atlantic and Bloomberg News, has been a consistent supporter of Haqqani, calling him "The Hardest Working Man in Washington" and criticising Pakistan's military and security services[37][38] Simon Tisdall of The Guardian called Haqqani "an instinctive ally of the west" and attributed Memogate to the ambassador's difficult relationship with Pakistan intelligence service.[39]

Personal life[edit]

In March 2000, Haqqani married Farahnaz Ispahani, a former producer at CNN and MSNBC, member of the Pakistani National Assembly, and the granddaughter of Mirza Abol Hassan Ispahani, Pakistan's first ambassador to Washington. The Pakistan Ambassador's residence in Washington was purchased and donated by her grandfather.[11] Haqqani has lived in the United States since 2002.[40]

Pakistan Embassy residence in Washington, D.C.


  1. ^ "Pakistan US ambassador Haqqani resigns over 'memogate' ' 22 November 2011, BBC News
  2. ^ "Hudson Institute Biography". 
  3. ^ "Boston University Faculty Biography". 
  4. ^ "Husain Haqqani: Fall 2015 Resident Fellow". 
  5. ^ Pakistan Daily Times, October 25, 2008
  6. ^ a b Boston University, curriculum vitae
  7. ^ a b Sehgal, Ikram (17 May 2012). "The 'Haqqani' network". The News International. 
  8. ^ a b "The Day I Broke With the Revolution". 
  9. ^ "Haqqani on Muslim Brotherhood’s real agenda". 
  10. ^ "Ambassador Husain Haqqani and Jeffrey Goldberg at the April 2011 Faith Angle Forum". 
  11. ^ a b "Haqqani Back in D.C., Where Everybody Knows His Name". 
  12. ^ "Ambassador Durrani likely to be made security adviser", The News, March 29, 2008
  13. ^ Desk Correspondent (18 November 2011). "Mansoor Ijaz names Haqqani as his source". Dawn. Retrieved 23 November 2011. 
  14. ^ Mullen Memorandum "Secret Pakistan Memo to Adm Mike Mullen", The Washington Post, 2011-11-17, Accessed 1 April 2014.
  15. ^ a b Salman Masood (18 November 2011). "Pakistani Envoy Offers to Resign Over Memo". New York Times. Retrieved 23 November 2011. 
  16. ^ Tanveer, Rana "Memogate: Supreme Court admits Nawaz petition for regular hearing", The Express Tribune, 28 November 2011. Accessed 2014-03-24.
  17. ^ Verma, Smitha "I have no desire to become a martyr", Telegraph India, 2013-11-03, Accessed 2 April 2014.
  18. ^ BBC News Asia "Pakistan 'memogate' envoy Husain Haqqani gets travel ban", BBC, 1 December 2011. Accessed 2014-04-01.
  19. ^ BBC News Asia "Pakistan 'memogate': Husain Haqqani travel ban lifted", BBC, 30 January 2012. Accessed 2014-04-16.
  20. ^ Pakistan Judicial Commission "Pages 108–121, Judicial Commission Report", Supreme Court of Pakistan, 12 June 2012. Accessed 2014-03-24.
  21. ^ Ahmad, Fasih and Taseer, Shehrbano "Pakistan: Judges Rebuke Haqqani in Memogate Scandal", The Daily Beast, 2012-06-13, Accessed 2 April 2014.
  22. ^ INP (2012-07-12). "Memo commission didn't declare Husain Haqqani traitor: Supreme Court". The Nation. Retrieved 16 April 2014. 
  23. ^ "Pakistanis allege ex-envoy sought US deal", The New York Times, 2012-06-13, Accessed 5 October 2015.
  24. ^ Frum, David "Haqqani: I am No Traitor", The Daily Beast, 2012-06-16, Accessed 2 April 2014.
  25. ^ Hirsh, Michael "The Last Friendly Pakistani", The Atlantic, 2011-11-23, Accessed 2 April 2014.
  26. ^ Masood, Salman "Former Ambassador to U.S. Cites Threats in Pakistan Over Memo Case", New York Times, 29 March 2012. Accessed 2014-04-16.
  27. ^ Aslam, Jahanzeb "Why Does Pakistan Call This Man a Traitor?", TIME, 2012-06-14, Accessed 5 October 2015.
  28. ^ Ayres, Alyssa (28 July 2005). "The Ambivalent Ally". The Wall Street Journal. 
  29. ^ "Book Discussion on Pakistan: Between Mosque and Military". C-SPAN. 26 July 2005. 
  30. ^ Komireddi, Kapil (24 December 2013). "Best Books About the Rest of the World". The Daily Beast. 
  31. ^ "Our Radical Islamic BFF, Saudi Arabia". 
  32. ^ "Pakistan should heed Husain Haqqani's urgent message of reform". 
  33. ^ "Don't Talk With the Taliban". 
  34. ^ "Associated Press Of Pakistan ( Pakistan's Premier NEWS Agency )". 
  35. ^ Mira Sethi (21 January 2012). "The Weekend Interview with Husain Haqqani: A Hostage in Pakistan - WSJ". WSJ. 
  36. ^ Michael Hirsh. "The Last Friendly Pakistani". The Atlantic. 
  37. ^ Jeffrey Goldberg. "The Pakistani Army Wins a Battle Over Husain Haqqani, but Continues to Lose a War". The Atlantic. 
  38. ^ Jeffrey Goldberg. "Ambassador Haqqani: 'I Am a Pakistani, I Will Die a Pakistani'". The Atlantic. 
  39. ^ Tisdall, Simon (23 November 2011). "Husain Haqqani's downfall becomes Pakistan's latest political football". The Guardian (London). 
  40. ^ Dhume, Sadanand (24 November 2011). "A U.S.-Pakistan Reset". The Wall Street Journal. 

External links[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Tariq M. Mir
Pakistan Ambassador to Sri Lanka
Succeeded by
Tariq Altaf
Preceded by
Mahmud Ali Durrani
Pakistan Ambassador to the United States
Succeeded by
Sherry Rehman