Husain Haqqani’s press corps – by Nadir Hassan

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If there is anyone more upset than the PPP government about what increasingly looks like the end of Husain Haqqani’s tenure in Washington, it is Islamabad’s press corps. During his time as Pakistan’s ambassador to the US, Haqqani was always freely available for comment and loved nothing more than to give an unsolicited titbit or two, ironically enough, usually on BBM.

But journalists are also finally realising how Haqqani may have played them. Soon after Mansoor Ijaz wrote his infamous column in the Financial Times, Haqqani was quick to get into action. He was typically vigorous in giving off-the-record briefings, all of them trashing Ijaz as a fabulist. He would begin by praising Ijaz, calling him a successful businessman who has plenty of contacts in the US, only to end up burying him. He would rhetorically wonder what made Ijaz think he had any skills as a freelance diplomat and then say that he may have contacts but none of them actually pay any attention to him.

Haqqani, possibly reliving his days as a journalist, also loved telling journalists which stories they should be actually doing, with his stories somehow coincidentally deflecting attention from any controversy facing him. In the memo affair, he had spent a considerable amount of time trying to convince reporters to do an expose on Ijaz and his delusions.

While the ultimate fate of the PPP government will now rest with the military, the PML-N will be close behind trying to take advantage.


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