Former member of PTI Chairman Advisory Committee and Central Tarbiyati Council Abdul Quayyum Khan Kundi issued a press statement in response to Mr. Zardari interview with Hamid Mir:
In his interview with Hamid Mir on Geo News, former President Asif Ali Zardari confirmed that appointment of Ambassador Hussain Haqqani was part of a deal or muk mukka. He said he disagreed with Hussain Haqqani and his views but still appointed him as an ambassador to achieve a specific agenda he had in mind. He did not elaborate what that agenda was but when we look at some key events after the appointment of Mr. Haqqani the most significant was the passage of Kerry-Lugar Bill. In other words, Mr. Zardari closed his eyes to the issuance of visas so that he can get Kerry-Lugar bill approved. Now I would request Mr. Zardari to confirm or deny this. And if that was not the objective then what was it. He has the responsibility to inform the nation about it.
I was the first person to send a public statement about Mr. Haqqani revelations which was later picked up by almost all media and talk shows. I had two objectives in mind when I sent that statement. First that Pakistan’s foreign policy has been running on an ad-hoc basis since Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan’s time. Our decision makers have made choices that have hurt interest of Pakistan in the long term and there is a long list of such decisions starting from joining CETO, SENTO, allowing USA to use airbase for spy flights over former USSR; becoming frontline state to resist USSR invasion of Afghanistan; and again becoming frontline state when the USA attacked Taliban government in Afghanistan. Most of these decisions were taken without deep institutional thinking and vetting of options. This trend still continues and ad-hocism rules our foreign policy decisions.
The second objective I had was to highlight that politicians and Generals breach diplomatic and institutional protocol to arrive at decisions and give commitments which cause a lot of problem for the nation. Their personal ambition in most cases is the driving force which they align with the national interest to make a justification for it.
When Husain Haqqani issued was highlighted instead of addressing the root cause both PML-N and PPP engaged in a ping pong game. They blamed each other rather than try to address the institutional and structure issue.
We have to fix both of these issues. To tackle the first issue there should be a development of think tanks that conduct research and develop options. There should be the institutionalization of discussion on foreign policy approach between all stakeholders. Executive level committees should be formed where principals from all stakeholders meet on regular basis. Not every meeting has to be presided by the PM to be effective. Personal interests should be taken out of the equation by requiring everyone to follow systems and processes.
Finally, despite my deep political disagreements with Mr. Zardari, I believe he was quite good at foreign policy and played a key role in improving relations with Russia, China, and Iran. He also reduced tensions with Afghanistan which ran high during the tenure of General Musharraf. One country that he failed to make any progress with was Saudi Arabia. Instead of leading efforts on Saudi Arabia himself, he should have assigned this responsibility to someone else which he failed to do.
Here is link to the interview of Mr. Zardari: