Pak concerned over 'India's influence in Afghanistan'

Last Updated : 29 July 2010, 08:14 IST
Last Updated : 29 July 2010, 08:14 IST

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"The Pakistani government is working very hard at bringing about normalcy in relations with India, but there are outstanding issues that keep cropping up there as well," Haqqani told the popular Charlie Rose Show of the PBS.

"We are concerned about the influence of India in Afghanistan because we have had conflict with India and we do not want to have a situation in which we are caught in a pincer movement," he said in response to a question.

But, Haqqani said, the solution to that lies in talking to both the Indians and Afghans, which Pakistan is doing.

The Ambassador said that within Pakistan, one must understand that whether it is the ISI or the army, they all operate in the context of Pakistan's politics and the country's constitutional arrangements.

"The government in Pakistan, including our military and our intelligence services, are very clear about the future direction. We want good relations with our neighbours, have no intention of trying to carve out a sphere of influence in Afghanistan," he said.
Haqqani said Pakistan worries about a sudden withdrawal of US-led forces from Afghanistan that might leave it in a situation similar to the one immediately after the Soviet withdrawal in 1988, which left the Afghans without any direction and resources to deal with the aftermath.

"So we are concerned about that," he said.In response to another question, Haqqani said there is a concern that India is "not reconciled to our sort of nationhood and statehood." And so those are concerns that are reflected in public opinion, he said.
"The government also has to deal with the view that the United States has not been a consistent friend of Pakistan. And if we do too much at the behest of the United States, the US could leave us in the lurch and walk away...," he said.

Asserting that Pakistan is a close ally of the US, Haqqani rued that its "concerns about India" has not been addressed.

"Look, Pakistan and the United States have just had a very difficult relationship over the last six decades. Pakistan became an ally of the United States in the 50s. We were part of the Southeast Asia and the Central Treaty Organisations," he said.

"And yet Pakistan's concerns about India were not addressed by the Americans and several concerns about our region were not understood or fully comprehended by Pakistan's various leaders," Haqqani said.

Published 29 July 2010, 08:12 IST

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