Hussain Haqqani’s article in the Washington Post has sent multiple signals in different directions. Most Pakistani analysts think that it has embarrassed the leadership of Pakistan People’s Party. No one in Pakistan is keen to know the brass tacks of a dirty game against Pakistan’s interests. It is common knowledge that a coterie within the PPP from 2008 to 2013 bent backwards to appease United States of America. In quest of civilian control (Memo Scandal) they wanted to make Pakistan’s security establishment a scapegoat for US failures in Afghanistan. This hype of civil-military Relations through a Transparency organisation was carried to a new level by holding workshops for political parties. This perception was sold to President Obama who at various points of time tried teaching a lesson to Pakistan’s armed forces. He needed someone to blame for his failed policy in Afghanistan and the article is providing the pretext. During his tenure US-Pakistan relations reached their nadir. Though the importance of this context in the security paradigm of Pakistan cannot be neglected, singular over-analysis is likely to eclipse the true intentions of the writer and his accomplices I call the new team.

The writer is part of a conservative think tank called Hudson’s Institute that primarily caters to the Republican Party. In the quest of promoting American leadership and global engagement it also provides advice to the Democrats. From this platform, Haqqani usually joins Lisa Curtis, Christine Fair and some Indian groups to act as advocates of US policies in Pakistan. But this group also competes with other Indian and American groups for space on President Trump’s table as Pakistan experts. Soon men like Zalmay Khalilzad, Bruce Riedel and Ayesha Saddiqa et al will join the list of self-styled experts promoting unchallenged greatness for USA. They will all compete for space with the new team.

An American commentator aptly summed up the substance of his article by commenting, “‘Hudson Institute, a conservative think tank’. That ought to tell you how credible Hassain Haqqani happens to be”. In Pakistan’s murky and immoral politics, his credentials indicate how easy it is for self-centered operatives and fly-by-night adventurists to flourish and survive. Haqqani has entered unfamiliar waters of US think tanks. He will be useful for as long as he can advance their policies in Pakistan. His past cannot reflect his future and does not auger well for his mentors and him.

At a first glance it appears a smart choice for the writer and his employers to team up in order to advance US policy objectives in Pakistan. Haqqani with his portfolio of having been a member of a religious party that led the US sponsored Afghan War during the Soviet occupation, an active member of Islami Jamhoori Ittehad, propagandist for Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) and a handpicked lobbyist of Benazir Bhutto had the most suitable credentials to play this role.  Yet he remains a bone disgorged by every party.

Analysts can now work on the time lines of President Obama’s two tenures during which Pakistan-US relations reached their peak, punctuated by the cases of missing containers, indiscriminate issue of visas to US contractors and CIA personnel, Memo Scandal, Raymond Davis, Abbottabad raid and finally Salala raid against a border post of Pakistan Army. But all this was known in Pakistan even before it happened. A glance of my analysis in 2011 before and after the Abbotabad raid reveals the extent of leaks. Here are a few excerpts.

“2009-2010 had been remarkable years of Pakistan’s fight against militancy. During this time, joint intelligence operations led by Pakistan resulted in elimination of numerous prized targets from TTP and Al Qaida. Many high value targets deemed missing believed killed were neutralised, some amongst them US nationals. But by mid 2010, this cooperation began to wane due to the direct influx of CIA agents into Pakistan. This influx was not part of the working agreements between ISI and CIA. Counter security identified hundreds of locations in Pakistan in which US agents had located covertly. Some of these locations were heavily fortified and the activities inside them were always dubious. After much rallying, Pakistan was able to force the closure of some of these locations but not all. Meanwhile, the network of CIA’s local informers was spreading, a reason why CIA forced budgetary reallocation for its operations in Pakistan. With huge funds to play around, CIA could now buy off anyone including Al Qaida agents whose data Pakistan had shared with USA. Then came the Raymond Davis shooting and some issues became public” (The Nation, May 7, 2011, Pakistan’s Long War has begun).

“Kakul Operation to kill OBL had complicity from within. As events unfold there is more than appears to the public eye. I may not be surprised if sooner or later, this complicity links to high quarters. Indiscriminate visas, container scandals, free movements of US operatives and souring of the Army-State Department relationship indicate a division within the establishment (Pentagon-State Department)...Saleem Shahzad reported that USA had finally traced the whereabouts and movements of OBL and some operations would follow. He was assassinated” (The Nation, June 21, 2011, Sensationalism: The unkindest cut of all.)

There is a long list of belatedly similar admissions by Haqqani, enough to preclude him from any further association with Pakistan’s political and security establishment.

This mid-level adventurist has got all he could from Pakistan. He was an Islamist in the Jihadi fold picked up by the intelligence establishment to further Zia Ul Haq’s politics, joined  Nawaz Sharif to lead the smear campaign against Benazir Bhutto and her mother, turned on his mentor Nawaz Sharif, appeased Musharraf with no consequence and finally joined Benazir Bhutto’s entourage in exile. Surprisingly he earned two ambassadorships. He has outlived his utility for USA and can only make noises like many Pakistanis who rot and grace talk shows in USA, Canada and India.

The language and paraphrasing of the article in Washington Post betrays the process and deliberations it went through in the Hudson’s Institute and Washington Post. The language and style is more American than British. Traditionally, articles for Washington post undergo strict reviews, editing and change in language. The contents of the article are deliberate insertions with specific purposes.

Haqqani by his admissions of contact on policy matters with ex President Obama’s campaign team is actually passing the slur to Democrats they levied on President Trump. Drawing similarities of his meetings as Pakistan’s envoy with the Democrat Campaign Team, he is saying what Democrats accuse President Trump of in his contacts with Russia. In other words, Haqaani, the acclaimed professor and expert of Hudon’s Institute is dancing to catch President Trump’s attention.

The article claims the good done for USA. This means it is time for pay back.  Knowing that Zardari recently visited USA, it is logical to conclude that discussions between the two (ex-supporters of Democrats) discussed their options in light of President Trump’s victory. At a time when Haqqani deemed opportune, he switched sides.

The writer is convinced of his ability to open a new can of dirty tricks. This is what Pakistan People’s Party and the security establishment will be thinking about. The good news is that such conjectures have already been made and the nation has short memory. The government in light of the Abbottabad Commission Report will be in a better position to assert itself. It stands to make political mileage. For sure, no political party in Pakistan will ever trust Haqqani twice. Though these stratagems may cause embarrassment by opening old sores, they will not benefit him.

As for USA, he may never be able to make a deal with President Trump, the real estate tycoon and dealmaker.