Hussain Haqqani’s years in exile in the United States have made him a frequent critic of Pakistani military and state policies; although all his criticism essentially repeats the same basic line. His recent article for the Wall Street Journal – a modified version of an article published previously in February – shows that how the same analysis can’t be utilised for every occasion without making fundamental errors, and perhaps that the rigours of a self-imposed exile can be made easier with a credible resume and an eager audience.

Mr Haqqani has criticised the sale of U.S military equipment to Pakistan, saying that Pakistan’s past policies indicate that it will be used to rival India, not target terrorists. His assertions would have held more weight if during his tenure as Pakistan’s ambassador to the U.S he had not wholeheartedly tried to procure similar deals; let alone the extensive military cooperation he did manage to facilitate. Personal credibility aside, the article is stocked with inconsistencies. Pakistan is buying this military equipment as a customer, not receiving it as an aid package linked with its foreign policy performance, yet Mr Haqqani’s statements alludes otherwise; after mentioning the fact that this is a sale, the rest of his article uses instances of aid packages to offer analogies to the present situation, muddling the distinction between the two to push his point. Secondly he fails to take into account Pakistan’s current military operations against terrorists in the tribal belt or the National Action Plan implemented nationwide; both of which have been lauded internationally and domestically as effective, successful and positive actions. Most importantly, he fails to substantiate the central point of his argument, that the weapons will be used against India. Contrary to Mr Haqqani’s beliefs, Pakistan’s recent military acquisitions have been militant specific: IED resistant vehicles (MRAPs), night vision, navigational technology, and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles modelled on U.S drones. Pakistan’s existing Cobra helicopters have been used extensively in Zarb-e-Azb and Khyber One, and have been instrumental in achieving victory. The present sale of helicopters, attached missiles and navigational technology is merely an upgrade on what we already posses. How can Pakistan use this equipment to destabilise Indian held Kashmir – according to Mr Haqqani’s claims – when insurgents there are armed with Kalashnikovs and hand grenades?

Mr Haqqani does have a valid point – his only one – that the quest for military parity is dangerous and it is fuelling an unaffordable arms race in South Asia. But the fact remains, that it takes two nations to start an arms race. Mr Haqqani does not criticise the sale of U.S weapons and technology to India, neither their nuclear cooperation. Rather, in his quest to ceaselessly criticise Pakistan’s India policy he damages Pakistan’s legitimate efforts to eradicate terrorism.