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Old Thursday, January 05, 2006
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The Non-Aligned Movement presently comprises 113 members as compared to the 25 that attended the first Summit held in erstwhile Yugoslavia in 1961. The Movement traces its origin to the Bandung Conference of 1955, which was co-sponsored by Pakistan, alongwith India, Sri Lanka, Burma and Indonesia. Pakistan, however, did not attend the first Summit due to its membership of the CENTO and SEATO. Pakistan has participated in the deliberations of NAM as a guest until its assumption of full membership during the 1979 Havana Summit.

The 1961 Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement determined that a country seeking membership must fulfill the following criteria:

i. Should either follow or show a trend in favour of an independent and non-aligned policy, based on the co-existence of states with different political and social systems.

ii. Should be consistently supporting the movements for national independence.

iii. Should not be a member of a multilateral military alliance concluded in the context of Great Power conflicts.

iv. If the country has a bilateral military agreement with a Great Power, or is a member of a regional defence pact, the agreement or pact should not be one deliberately concluded in the context of Great Power conflicts.

v. If the country has conceded military bases to a Foreign Power, the concession should not have been made in the context of Great Power conflicts.

The above stated criteria, which laid the foundation of the Movement over four decades ago, does not contain any reference to ideological pre-requisites for its existence. NAM was not created to confront the socialist block nor the western powers. Its essence was not linked to ideologies but to provide a forum for countries pursuing independent and non-aligned policies. All its principles are still valid regardless the political regime which might prevail in the world. This visionary character of its fundamentals has led to countries becoming NAM members or observers even after the end of the Cold War.

In the post-Cold War transformed world, the Non-Aligned Movement has evolved the view that the collapse of the bipolar system has not ended injustice and inequality or eradicated conflicts to bring about a universal, just and durable peace. Instead it has led to a more complex and disquieting world situation. The NAM, therefore, places emphasis on working further towards the establishment of a new system of international relations characterized by an absence of war, fear and all forms of intolerance, and based on peace, justice, equality, democracy and full respect for principles enshrined in the UN Charter and international law.

The Non-Aligned Movement has also recognized that Cold War era legacies such as foreign occupation, foreign military bases, the use or threat of use of force, pressure, interference in internal affairs and sanctions are inconsistent with international law and still constitute a major disturbing factor to establishing fair and equitable international relations. NAM member states have, therefore, emphasized the need to continue with their collective efforts for the removal of all such legacies.

Pakistan shares the view that the Non-Aligned Movement has made an admirable contribution in the past to the cause of freedom and liberty, to the struggle against colonialism and racial discrimination. It represented the voice of a large majority of the newly-independent developing countries in support of their common interests, cause of freedom and respect for human rights. Pakistan has also advocated the need for the Movement to continue to promote peace and economic development amongst its member states, since the two are inter-related. Without development there can neither be peace nor security. Similarly, development cannot be attained in the absence of peace.

Pakistan has continued to play an important role in the deliberations of NAM and is regarded as one of its key members. We have substantially contributed to NAM’s unity and solidarity as well as in giving the movement an independent and objective perspective. We have actively participated in the NAM Summits and Ministerial meetings. The last XII NAM Summit was held on 2-3 September 1998 in Durban, South Africa. The Summit concluded with the adoption of a Final Document which spelt out NAM’s perspective on contemporary political, security, economic and social issues.

While referring to Kashmir in his opening address at the XII Summit, then President Mandela of South Africa and Chairman of NAM, stated, “all of us remain concerned that the issue of Jammu and Kashmir should be solved through peaceful negotiations and should be willing to lend all the strength we have to the resolution of this matter”.

Pakistan was instrumental in evolving NAM consensus positions on the following important issues:


In view of the unresolved Kashmir issue, it has been our efforts that the NAM decisions reflect an emphasis on peaceful settlement of disputes. We have, therefore, consistently urged the Movement to expeditiously evolve a mechanism for conflict resolution. In this context, the Final Document of the XII NAM Summit, held in Durban, had reiterated the need to secure a peaceful settlement of all outstanding issues in South Asia.


Pakistan has fully supported NAM’s principled position on the issue of global nuclear disarmament within a time-bound framework. On the question of the South Asian nuclear tests, the XII NAM Summit affirmed “the need for bilateral dialogue to secure peaceful solutions to all outstanding issues and the promotion of confidence and security building measures and mutual trust”. The Summit also opposed unilateral, coercive or discriminatory measures being applied against Non-Aligned countries. This is a clear endorsement of Pakistan’s position that a solution to the situation arising from the nuclear tests cannot be promoted in an atmosphere of coercion and pressure.


Ever since its inception, NAM has consistently reiterated the continued validity of the fundamental right of all peoples to self-determination, the exercise of which, in the case of peoples under colonial or alien domination and foreign occupation, is essential to ensure the eradication of all these situations and to guarantee universal respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. In this regard, the Movement has strongly condemned ongoing brutal repression of the legitimate aspirations for self-determination of peoples under colonial, alien domination and foreign occupation in various regions of the world.


The XII NAM Summit had stressed the need to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, regardless of race, religion or nationality of the victims or perpetrators of terrorism. The Summit, however, endorsed, in principle, the call for the definition of terrorism and to differentiate it from the legitimate struggle of peoples under colonial or alien domination and foreign occupation, for self-determination and national liberation.


The XII NAM Summit inter-alia reaffirmed that Security Council reform must be adopted by a two-third majority of the UN membership and that there should be no imposed time limit. The Non-Aligned countries have so far consistently maintained the position that, in absence of consensus or general agreement, expansion should take place only in the non-permanent category.


Since NAM predominantly comprises developing countries, it has consistently paid considerable attention on economic issues. The Movement has maintained its long-standing position on the need for conscious steps to regulate the market measures as a means of ensuring that growth in the world economy and trade is both dynamic as well as equitable. Accordingly, the Movement has rejected recent efforts to inject new conditionalities and protectionism, such as the insertion of the labour standards issues in the World Trade Organization. NAM has called for the urgent convening by the United Nations of a global monetary conference to address the old and new problems of the international financial system.

Pakistan desires to see NAM play an increasingly effective role in all international fora, particularly in the United Nations. It is important that the Movement safeguards and preserves the principled positions evolved by it on a wide range of international issues.
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Old Thursday, January 05, 2006
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Redefining NAM’s role
By Shamshad Ahmad Khan

THE numerical strength of both G-77 and NAM (non-aligned movement) has been a major factor in decision-making at the UN and in all conferences held under the auspices of the UN system. For many years, the Third World states have had the voting strength to constitute two-thirds majority on any issue of importance to them. Their voting pre-eminence, however, remained inconsequential because of the widening gap between the “power to decide” and the “power to implement” decisions.

This grim reality is evident from the fate of the outcomes of a series of UN’s major conferences and summits held since 1990s on different aspects of a development agenda. In particular, the decisions and commitments made at the last three global conferences, namely the Millennium Summit (New York, 2000), the International Conference on Financing for Development (Monterrey-Mexico, 2002) and the World Summit on Sustainable Development (Johannesburg, 2002) remain unimplemented.

During the chilling Cold War era, East and West represented the bipolarity of the world. The Cold War has ended. East-West rivalry is no longer dividing the world. In fact, there is now a visible strategic convergence between the two with Nato admitting as its members some of the former Warsaw Pact countries of Eastern Europe, and with Russia becoming a member of the US-sponsored Partnership for Peace, G-8 and Contact Group.

Today’s world is now divided between the “West and the Rest” and as before, between two unequal halves, one embarrassingly rich and the other desperately poor. The income gap between the rich and the poor has never been so wider in human history. While the West is endowed with abundance of wealth and affluence, the “Rest” which includes developing countries of all sorts and regions representing the overwhelming part of humanity languishes in poverty and backwardness.

The top 20 per cent of the world’s people, living in the richest countries, account for 86 per cent of the world’s GDP, 82 per cent of its export market, and 68 per cent of all foreign direct investments (FDIs). While the per capita income of 80 developing countries had fallen significantly during the last decade, the net worth of the world’s 200 richest people more than doubled from $400 billion in 1994 to over $1,000 billion in 1998.

No wonder, the number of LDCs (least developed countries so categorized on the basis of their low GDP, human resources and economic diversification indices) has more than doubled from 24 in 1971 to 50 today. The “grotesque inequalities” in the world are regularly highlighted in annual human development reports. According to the last report, the wealth of the three richest persons of the world is greater than the combined GNP of the 50 least developed countries (LDCs) with 600 million people. More than a billion people, one in every six human beings, live on less than a dollar a day.

These are no doubt, staggering figures. The Third World has had no belle ipoque to signify its better times, if any. It has experienced no industrial revolution, no economic miracle, no educational upsurge, no social renaissance, no political emancipation, and no worker’s movement. Today, with few exceptions, poor countries are poorer and rich richer.

The poor and dispossessed nations, emerging from centuries of exploitation of their lands by the colonial powers find themselves totally marginalized in the global economy. With economic disparities increasing, the overwhelming majority of developing countries remains deprived of the benefits of economic growth and continues to suffer abject poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy and larger socio-economic asymmetry.

Globalization has not helped the situation; it has actually aggravated global economic disparities, worsening conditions for the poor. The fact of the matter is that the market-driven process of globalization, integrating national economies into the world economy, is an asymmetric one, with some winners but many losers. Growth and development have not and cannot automatically bring about reduction in inequality. The growing size of the pie does not ensure that everyone will get his or her piece of the pie.

One may ask why there are so many poor people in the world at a time of such abundance of wealth. Absence of level-playing field is one of the major reasons, and level playing is not possible between strong and weak economies unless international regulatory measures are in place to control the predatory policies of the more powerful players. The signs of a resurgence of the 19th century economic adventurism through military force are no less alarming for the developing world.

While the developing world is treated with sermons about the advantages of deregulation and liberalization, the developed countries hardly apply these principles to their own markets which in most cases are almost like closed fortresses. Major areas of export interest to developing countries are either closed or protected through subsidies and other means. WTO has yet to establish what the Monterrey Consensus on Financing for Development (2002) envisaged as “a universal, rule-based, open, non-discriminatory and equitable multilateral trading system”.

Meaningful trade liberalization through removal of trade barriers as well as trade-distorting subsidies, particularly in sectors of special export interest to developing countries, including agriculture, also remains as elusive as ever. Since the world’s poor people, those living below the international poverty line of two dollars per day, work mostly in agriculture and labour-intensive manufactures, these sectors present the greatest trade barriers, putting the world’s poor at a particular disadvantage.

All this notwithstanding, there is no denying the fact that the basic ownership of development rests with each developing country. Instead of remaining dependent on the “largesse” of industrialized nations, the developing countries need to forge closer trade links and genuine cooperation among themselves to build their mutual capacity for sustainable development and sustained economic growth. They are rich in terms of resources, talent, skills and manpower and have the necessary technological base as well as an unparalleled market of their own. What they need is enough space to harness their own resources and to capitalize on their overall potential.

Unfortunately, all is not well with the Third World. Most developing countries suffer serious governance and rule of law problems rooted in their authoritarian and non-representative political culture. Democracy is distorted and misused. Corruption is a way of life in most Third World countries. Some of them are mired in perpetual intra-state or inter-state conflicts. There is something fundamentally wrong with the Third World’s approach in striking a balance between its problems, its remedial needs and its impulse for change.

What is even more disturbing is that the world’s two largest regions, Africa and South Asia, both rich in natural and human resources, are the biggest victims of poverty and violence. Both continue to be the scene of endemic instability as a result of conflicts and hostilities, unresolved disputes, unaddressed historical grievances, and deep-rooted communal and religious estrangement.

In order to put their house in order, the developing countries, be they in Africa, Asia or Latin America or in the equally backward Muslim world, must own and fulfil their responsibility to improve their system of governance and rule of law and to re-order their national priorities. They must create a domestic socio-political environment that helps, not impedes, a healthy transformation of their societies.

Despite all the contributions that G-77 and NAM have made through their negotiating skills on the economic and political causes of the developing world in global forums and within the UN system, there is very little to credit them with any substantive or perceptible socio-economic change on the global horizon. The debate and acrimony in multilateral forums on behalf of the developing countries, nothing has come out of the UN’s development agenda that could build a genuine partnership for universalizing affluence and elimination of poverty, hunger and disease.

Both G-77 and NAM have limited operational capacity in the absence of any organizational structure or a permanent secretariat. They had neither the means to change the political and economic systems of developing countries, nor could they redress the global economic inequalities by enabling the resource-rich countries among them to capitalize on their natural wealth.

At best, they have maintained group discipline in formulating common positions on major global issues. On the other hand, the traditional triad of affluence and power comprising the European states, the US and Japan has been building upon its economic as well as technological gains and monopoly, despite all that talk about fairness and equity, remain the sole determinant in global trade and finance.

With the East and West no longer being strategic rivals, the notion of non-alignment has become more or less anachronistic. The relevance of non-alignment and the Non-Aligned Movement is being questioned both within and outside its membership. Today’s unipolarity has given rise to new strategic alliances with some of the stalwarts and founding fathers of the non-aligned movement becoming aligned with the unrivalled “pole of power.” While on global economic issues, G-77 retains its relevance, NAM needs to redefine its role in the post-Cold War world.

The Cold War has ended but most of its legacies are still there which notably include “foreign occupation, foreign military bases, the use or threat or use of force, pressure, interference in internal affairs and coercive sanctions.” Global peace and stability are facing new threats. Developing countries remain under pressures to conform to an agenda “which is being defined and driven by others.”

The role of NAM as a movement and as an organization, therefore, acquires even greater importance. It can serve as a balancing factor in the unipolar world and help promote a new system of international relations based on peace, justice, equality, democracy and development. Perhaps the only change that it needs is in its name. Understandably, and for historical reasons, its acronym, NAM is irreplaceable but it should now stand for “New Age Movement” rather than timeworn and rusty “Non-Aligned Movement.” This would neither alter the historical outlook and rationale of the organization nor dilute its importance or relevance as a movement and as a process.
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