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Not lobbying against Pakistan’s interests says ex-envoy, after Aziz’s remarks

Islamabad : Reacting strongly to the comments made by Sartaj Aziz, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s advisor on foreign affairs, the country’s ex-envoy to the United States, Husain Haqqani, said that he was not lobbying against Islamabad’s interests as claimed by the former.

Addressing lawmakers in the National Assembly yesterday, Aziz claimed that a former Pakistani ambassador to the U.S. was ‘ lobbying against his own country’ and ‘creating hurdles for the government’, the Dawn reported.

He however, did not mention the name of the ambassador.

Haqqani, in his rejoinder said he knew that Aziz was talking about him because another minister had attacked him by name with similar claims.

Government officials should take “responsibility for failed policies, instead of looking for scapegoats to divert attention from criticism at home,” the Dawn quoted him, as saying.

“A former Pakistani ambassador is working against his own country in the U.S.,” Aziz said, adding that Pakistan’s diplomatic mission in the U.S. is facing challenges due to the former ambassador’s campaign.

Haqqani in a statement clarified that he is now a scholar in the U.S. and not a lobbyist.

He pointed out that if his opinions as a scholar carry so much weight that U.S. policy is being affected, then the Pakistan Foreign Ministry should try to influence his opinions rather than treating him like a pariah and making false allegations against him in the Pakistani media.

“Pakistan’s difficulties in the U.S. were the result of years of supporting ‘jihadis’ and making excuses that are having less and less effect on Americans. Moreover, Pakistan’s dependence on US aid made it susceptible to changes in the US national mood and attitude,” Haqqani said in a statement.

Elaborating on the reasons for the trust deficit witnessed in relations between Islamabad and Washington US relations, he said, “I did not make the AQ Khan network, support the Taliban as they killed US soldiers in Afghanistan or allow UN designated terrorist groups to function openly so there is no point in blaming me for these policy failures. Neither I nor any other former ambassador was responsible for the OBL fiasco.”

Aziz with revealing the identity of the person had said “The Foreign Office has serious reservation on the activities of the said person in the US.”

The adviser also said that Islamabad is ‘making successful efforts’ against New Delhi’s Nuclear Suppliers Group membership.

His remarks comes days after Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj said that New Delhi is “not opposed” to Islamabad’s entry to the NSG.

Aziz said Islamabad is pursuing a balanced policy based on non-interference and protection of national interests and nuclear assets. (ANI)