Following the daring raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan, that killed Osama bin Laden, Pakistan's Ambassador to the United States Husain Haqqani went into diplomatic overdrive. The loquacious envoy has taken his case to Twitter, Charlie Rose, and news outlets across the country to reject his government's complicity in sheltering bin Laden -- even drawing a parallel between the U.S. failure to catch Whitey Bulger and Pakistan's failure to locate the terrorist mastermind.
But only a few years ago, Haqqani's take on Pakistan's relationship with Islamist groups did not track so neatly with the government line. "Washington should no longer condone the Pakistani military's support for Islamic militants, its use of its intelligence apparatus for controlling domestic politics, and its refusal to cede power to a constitutional democratic government," he wrote in his controversial 2005 book, Pakistan: Between Mosque and Military, authored while a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
In the book's conclusion, excerpts of which are printed below, Haqqani had sharp words for the Pakistani military's relationship with extremist groups and its effects on the country's development into a modern state. -Foreign Policy
In an effort to become an ideological state guided by a praetorian military, Pakistan has found itself accentuating its dysfunction, especially during the past two decades. The commitment or lack of commitment of the ordinary Pakistani citizen to Islam has hardly been the major issue in Pakistan's evolution. A large number of otherwise practicing Muslims have demonstrated through the ballot box time and again their desire to embrace pragmatic political and economic ideas. Most Pakistanis would probably be quite content with a state that would cater to their social needs, respect and protect their right to observe religion, and would not invoke Islam as its sole source of legitimacy; but the military's desire to dominate the political system and define Pakistan's national security priorities has been the most significant, although not the only, factor in encouraging an ideological paradigm for Pakistan.
At its birth, Pakistan started life with many disadvantages as the seceding state. Some of its security concerns, such as the need for a credible deterrent against India, are real, but the Pakistani military's desire for institutional supremacy within the country has created psychological and political layers to the Pakistani nation's sense of insecurity. The alliance between mosque and military in Pakistan maintains, and sometimes exaggerates, these psycho-political fears and helps both the Islamists and the generals in their exercise of political power. Support for the Pakistani military by the United States makes it difficult for Pakistan's weak, secular, civil society to assert itself and wean Pakistan from the rhetoric of Islamist ideology toward issues of real concern of Pakistan's citizens.
From the point of view of the United States, Pakistan offers few political choices. Although listed among the U.S. allies in the war on terrorism, Pakistan cannot be easily characterized as either friend or foe. Pakistan has become a major center of radical Islamist ideas and groups, largely because of its policies of support for Islamist militants fighting Indian rule in the disputed territory of Jammu and Kashmir as well as the Taliban in its pursuit of a client regime in Afghanistan. Since September 11, 2001, however, the selective cooperation of Pakistan's military ruler, General Pervez Musharraf - sharing intelligence with the United States and apprehending Al Qaeda members - has led to the assumption that Pakistan might be ready to give up its long-standing ties with radical Islam. At the same time, the United States cannot ignore the fact that Pakistan's status as an Islamic ideological state is rooted deeply in history and is linked closely with both the praetorian ambitions of Pakistan's military and the worldview of Pakistan's elite.
In the foreseeable future, Islam will remain a significant factor in Pakistan's politics. Musharraf and his likely successors from the ranks of the military, promising reform, will continue to seek U.S. economic and military assistance; yet the power of such promises is tempered by the strong links between Pakistan's military-intelligence and apparatus and extremist Islamists.