Pakistan's Ambassador Dominates Twitter


Washington is a city that loves to tweet—more than 200 members of Congress are avid users of Twitter, obsessively sharing their real-time thoughts on every legislative decision to pass through the House or Senate these days. And now the rage has spread to D.C.'s foreign diplomats: the earliest adopter was Mexican Ambassador Arturo Sarukhán, who began using Twitter to discuss his schedule and give a shout-out to notable Mexicans. Now a new man leads the embassy Twitter pack: Pakistani Ambassador Husain Haqqani, whose prolific tweets on subjects ranging from Middle East security to Urdu poetry have earned him an avid following among young Pakistanis in the States and abroad.

For the most part, Haqqani's tone is thoughtful and casual—quoting Cicero, JFK, and Benazir Bhutto to push youth to participate more in politics, or taking on reporters who misrepresent the complexities of the Middle East. And when bilateral tensions run high between the U.S. and Islamabad, his tweets tend to take a measured and moderate line. After a tense intelligence-sharing episode between the two nations last month forced a CIA station chief to flee Pakistan amid death threats, Haqqani was the first official to admit, via Twitter, that the backlash had gotten out of hand. It's just the sort of reasonable discourse that both countries need these days—even if it's only in 140-character spurts.