Haqqani denies report about Kashmir war game
By Khalid Hasan
WASHINGON: Hussain Haqqani has denied that he led the Pakistan team at the simulation on Kashmir reported in this paper Sunday. He has also denied that the exercise was organised by the State Department, attributing its sponsorship to the Washington Law College.
Mr Haqqani, currently a scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, says the assumptions made in the Daily Times report are akin to “conspiracy theorising.” He points out that in such “games” team members follow “instructions” given to them and do not reflect their own positions, the idea being to see the limits to which a position might take a side.
According to Mr Haqqani, “I was not the team leader of the Pakistan team nor was responsible for the game’s instructions or rules. A Pakistani lawyer was the other Pakistani on the team while the Indian team had only two ‘authentic’ Indians, the rest being Americans playing the role of Pakistanis and Indians. The Kashmiri team also comprised primarily American students, lawyers and professors. There were one or two South Asians.”
Mr Haqqani explains that simulations involve role-playing, are a routine tool at international relations schools and are not always part of a “sinister international conspiracy.” According to him, “In this case, the war game was from the perspective of public international law. The real issue at the end of the simulation was the Indian delegation’s insistence on ‘normalisation of relations’ and ‘end to terrorism’ while the Pakistani team insisted on the recognition of the primacy of Kashmir. It is wrong to suggest that the Pakistani position was the same as the Indian one.”