Diary

Husain Haqqani & Pakistan

If you want to see why Pakistan is being supported, check out this profile.

…As the Obama administration struggles with another darkening crisis in Pakistan, Mr. Haqqani has become an influential figure in Washington…

The crisis has given Mr. Haqqani, 52, access to the highest levels of the Obama administration and Congress, the latest twist in a lifetime spent navigating Pakistan’s treacherous political shoals.

He speaks several times a week with Richard C. Holbrooke, the administration’s special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, who calls him “one of the most skilled ambassadors I have ever seen.” He figures he has met with 90 members of Congress. And he is a fixture on CNN, the op-ed pages of newspapers and at research groups around Washington.

…Mr. Haqqani speaks in lucid, well-rounded sentences that suggest his background as a journalist and commentator. He is catnip for American journalists, offering a mix of high-minded analysis and street-corner gossip.

…His book “Pakistan: Between Mosque and Military” offered a nuanced analysis of how the armed forces and Islamist groups have used one another in an effort to build influence in the country.

…Mr. Holbrooke, himself no slouch in the media-mastery department, said, “Some ambassadors’ influence is derived logically from the country they represent; Husain Haqqani’s influence is derived from his absolute mastery of the American media.”

Mr. Haqqani’s ties to the Bhutto family run deep. On the day Ms. Bhutto was killed, Mr. Haqqani recalls taping interviews with television stations for 12 hours. At times, he broke down in tears on camera.

Mr. Haqqani’s wife, Farahnaz Ispahani, is a member of the Pakistani Parliament and a spokeswoman for Mr. Zardari.

…“I see my role as helping Americans understand that Pakistan is undergoing a transformation,” he said. “Then I have to persuade Americans to help Pakistan with that transformation.”…