NEW YORK - Pakistan’s former Ambassador to the United States, Husain Haqqani has said that Pakistan and the United States need to focus on friendship and not an alliance. He was speaking about Pakistan-US relations, how that alliance was damaged and Pakistan’s national interest at a lecture at Chautauqua Institute. He was of the view that since Pakistan’s current national interests do not align with the United States, he proposed that the US and Pakistan stop thinking of themselves as an alliance. He said the more Pakistan and the US view each other as allies with deviating national interests, the more difficult it will be to maintain an alliance.
Haqqani is now a Professor of International Relations at Boston University and Director for South and Central Asia at Hudson Institute. He said the two countries should focus on friendship – one in which they trade, engage with each other, and have civil society groups and politicians work with one another. He said Pakistan and the United States have clashing narratives about their alliance. From the Pakistanis’ perspective, the US and Pakistan have been allies for 60 years, but the US has walked away several times and cannot dictate Pakistan’s foreign policy. From the Americans’ perspective, Pakistan is not a true ally. Pakistani public opinion remains anti-American despite the amount of aid the country receives, Husain Haqqani said. And Americans question Pakistan’s involvement with terrorists and its ability to fulfill promises. Haqqani said in terms of favorability, only 12 per cent of Pakistanis have a favorable view of the US and 80 per cent have an unfavorable view, according to a 2012 Pew Research Center poll conducted in Pakistan.