Last Sunday, former Ambassador Husain Haqqani was nominated in FIRs in three different police stations of Kohat, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The charges brought against him included ‘hate speech’ and writing books and articles against the armed forces and the ‘sovereignty of Pakistan’.Earlier, the former envoy had been a target of a malicious campaign on electronic and social media, where he was accused of portraying Pakistan in an unfavourable light. That the US State Department does not hold a very high opinion of our authorities is fairly obvious given that it has been seeking indiscriminate action against extremists and we have yet to write off certain networks, lashkars and jaishs. By pointing out these facts, and by expressing his opinions on the matter, Husain Haqqani is in fact doing Pakistan a favour, since the extremist outfits that remain the bone of contention in the matter are no well-wishers of the country and its people.As a matter of fact, Haqqani’s views, no matter how strongly expressed, do not fall under the category of hate speech. Criticism of the armed forces is often met with severe allegations and this is evident from the way space for dissenters is fast shrinking in this country. Regardless of one’s agreement or disagreement with Haqqani, it must be said clearly and loudly that there is nothing wrong, legally and constitutionally, with critical remarks about the armed forces. The latter is an institution of the state, and just like any other its performance has to be assessed with a critical eye. That is the only way to ensure that it continues to serve its constitutional duties effectively. One may disagree with what Haqqani writes but he is well within his rights to express his views and to recollect his memories from the days when he was serving the country. Many retired diplomats have written about their experiences, often to the dismay of successive Pakistani governments.FIRs over such frivolous charges and non-issues should not be entertained by the authorities concerned. There are plenty of real issues needing their attention. * Published in Daily Times, January 24th 2018.