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Democracies, including India, should support Sindh, Balochistan: Ex-Pak diplomat Hussain Haqqani

Says new Pakistan PM Imran Khan is the creation of military, ‘don’t think Imran Khan would confront the military’

Majid Alam | Jaipur |

All democratic countries should support the rights of the people of Sindh and Balochistan, former Pakistan diplomat Hussain Haqqani said on Friday. Speaking on South Asia with former National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon and economist Prasenjit Basu at the ongoing Jaipur Literature Festival, Haqqani said India was no exception to this. The former Ambassador of Pakistan to the US and Sri Lanka has been a vocal critique of the state and military.

Speaking on the recently elected Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, Haqqani said, “Imran Khan is the creation of military. He has been in politics for the last 30 years and I don’t think he will quit too early.”

He added, “Nawaz Sharif had wide support in spite of being a Punjabi. Maybe Imran Khan would have the same support for confronting the military, but I don’t see him confronting it right now. I don’t think Imran Khan would confront the military.”

Speaking on the future of Pakistan, Hussain Haqqani said, “As far as the future of Pakistan in concerned, I deliberately talk about the future of South Asia because the future as a whole is much better together.” Responding to a question on whether Pakistan was a poorly imagined country, Haqqani said, “Pakistan is a reality now. The focus should be on finding commonality rather than looking out for what divides us.”

Shiv Shankar Menon, National Security Advisor to the former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, was also present as one of the panelists. He spoke about India’s role in South Asia. Menon also advocated for more trade with Pakistan and collaboration of universities to find common problems marring agriculture.

On the Indo-Pakistan relations, Menon advocated a change in the mindset of Indians. He said, “I want the future generation to overcome the hatred and culture that exists between India and Pakistan”. He added that Indian should be able to see the neighbour as a neighbour. There should be more of bridge building and breaking walls.

The focus of the talks was on peace building and more trade in South Asia. On the Kartarpur corridor, which has been recently opened for Sikh pilgrimage to Pakistan, Shivshankar Menon said there should be more travel between India and Pakistan.