Pakistan’s Foreign Policy
PAKISTAN’S FOREIGN POLICY
“The foreign policy of a country is in a sense a projection of its internal policies ,social, political and economic.”
(F. M. Muhammad Ayub Khan)
Pakistan was born under inauspicious circumstances. As with all other countries, Pakistan’s Foreign Policy is determined by the inescapable facts of history and of geography and by special influences which may be of transitory nature. In the words of P.A Reynolds, the Foreign Policy is defined as under:-
“The range of actions taken by varying sections of the government of a state in its relations with other bodies similarly acting on the international stage, in order to advance the national interests.”
Foreign Policy consists of the external actions taken by decision makers with the intention of achieving long-range goals and short-term objectives. Action is constrained by the perceived circumstances of the state, which includes its geography, its economy, its demography its political structure, culture and tradition, its military-strategy situation. But action is taken with reference to other bodies (states) similarly acting on the international stage, and is likewise constrained by their action. This may be called the international environment of decision-makers.
DETERMINANTS OF PAKISTAN’S FOREIGN POLICY
1. Security, 2. Ideology 3. National Interests 4. Diplomacy 5. Public Opinion
6. Decision making
PRINCIPLES OF PAKSITAN’S FOREIGN POLICY
1. Security 2. Ideology 3.National interests 4. Détente and peaceful relations . 5. Non alignment 6. Close relations with Muslim countries 7. Support f independence movements
As a matter of fact, a la any other country, the logically primary influence on foreign policy of Pakistan lies in the goals that policy seeks to achieve. These are normally security, welfare, and preservation or promotion of values. The search for security is perennial. All foreign policies of all states are basically influenced by it. For three centuries, for example, French decision –makers sought to establish France’s eastern and north-eastern frontier on the Rhine. In the case of Pakistan If the main concern of the Christian West is containment of Chinese Communism, the main concern of Muslim Pakistan, is the containment of militarist and militant Hinduism. The fact remains that Pakistan jointed the CENTO, SEATO, etc in the mid of 1950s largely to protect her interests against the future aggression of India.
No state is autarkic, or self- sufficient, at least in the only sense that is politically relevant. Every state can be economically self-sufficient in the sense that the territory in question could support some number of people at some standard of living. Deficiencies whether of materials, or food, or markets, or capital, or technical skills, do exist and the foreign policy of a state must endeavor to arrange their supply. Pakistan’s earnest involvement in the international political arena has been mainly due to the fact that it wanted to make up its deficiencies in certain fields.
Third among basic goals is the desire to preserve or promote values. Since Pakistan had come into existence in the name of Islam hence promotion of cordial and close relationships with the Muslim states has formed the cardinal principle of Pakistan’s foreign policy. Pakistan’s membership of OIC and unswerving support for the just cause of Palestinians speak volumes about our efforts in this connection.
A Critical View of Pakistan’s Foreign Policy and our Future Strategy:
“Our Foreign Policy is one of the friendliness and
goodwill towards all the nations of the world We
do not cherish aggressive designs against any
country or nation. We believe in the principle of
honesty and fairplay in national and international
dealings. Pakistan will never be found lacking in
upholding priciples of the United Nations’ Charter.”
(Quaid-e-Azam, Feb: 1948)
The perusal of the above passage entails that the “Quaid” wanted Pakistan to play a honourable role based on the principles and norms of International Law in the arena of international politics. However the study of External Policy of Pakistan over the last 50 years of independence manifests that Pakistan’s geo-political location on the world map and her strategic vulnerability viz-a-viz India could not permit her to pursue that independent policy. Resultantly the foreign Policy of Pakistan has passed through the following several phases of development, responding to the changing pattern of relationship with the big powers.
1. Era of Neutrality
2. Era of Allainces
3. Era of Bilateralism
4. Era of Non-alignment
A critical analysis of the foreign policy pursued in the last half of a century transpires that Pakistan’s Foreign Policy has largely revolved around a triangle of India , China and the U.S with the objectives to counter India, befriend China (an enemy of India), and serving the U.S interests
4. Era of Non-alignment
A critical analysis of the foreign policy pursued in the last half of a century transpires that Pakistan’s Foreign Policy has largely revolved around a triangle of India , China and the U.S with the objectives to counter India, befriend China (an enemy of India), and serving the U.S interests as in the 1960, 1971, 1980s and in the aftermath of Sept: 11, or seeking its involvement through scare scenarios like the Bomb, Drugs and fundamentalism.
The future strategy of Pakistan in its foreing policy must be a “shift from traditional diplamcy to economic diplomacy as well as cultural diplomacy”
Relations with distant Godfathers are no substitute for bonds in the region of a country’s location. Pakistan can have the best relations with the US, but if it loses out in its neighborhood , with hostility form Iran and Afghanistan , distancing from Central Asia and a cooling off with China , then it would end up undermining its core interests. It is all the more essential for the success of the foreign policy of Pakistan that it has to be rooted in domestic base which includes political stability, national consensus, sound economy, effective deterrence and above all, quality of leadership.
Pakistan’s priority should be a Foreign Policy that has no disconnect either with domestic politics or with regional realities. An effective policy requires domestic stability and a national consensus on issues.
The upshot of the above account is that, the Government and people of Pakistan should remain on their guards, for in International relations there are neither eternal friends nor eternal enemies, the only thing eternal is the “National Interest”. Thus it requires that through deft diplomacy , using innovative and novel means we must strive to promote our interests and at the same time keep a triangular balance among the world giants i.e The U.S, The China ,and the E.U.
Any sorta supplementation by friends is most welcome.
Last edited by Argus; Thursday, March 17, 2005 at 02:06 AM.
State of relations with the US
State of relations with the US
By Javid Husain
NOW that the initial government-encouraged euphoria over the recent offer by Washington to sell F-16 aircraft to Islamabad has subsided to some extent and the heady feeling of being a major non-NATO ally of the US is being replaced by growing concerns over the fast developing US-India strategic partnership as evidenced by the US-India Defence Pact signed at the end of June and the subsequent Indo-US nuclear deal, time has come to take an objective and detached look at Pakistan-US relations.
Historically speaking, Pakistan’s relations with the United States have gone through several phases of close cooperation and estrangement. The current phase of close Pakistan-US relations began with the U-turn in Pakistan’s pro-Taliban policy in the wake of the events of 9/11 leading to the full resumption of the US economic and military assistance to Pakistan and its designation as a non-NATO ally.
Pakistan-US relations have seen many ups and downs, and there is no guarantee that the future course of this relationship is going to be any different despite the reassuring statements made from time to time in both Washington and Islamabad. The strength of this relationship obviously will depend on the convergence of the national interests of the two countries: the greater the convergence, the stronger with this relationship be.
Let us see what the US global and regional interests in South Asia are and the extent to which they converge with Pakistan’s national interests.
The over-arching US strategic objective since the end of the cold war and the collapse of the Soviet Union is to remain the predominant global power as it is now and to prevent the rise of another power capable of challenging its global supremacy. President Bush couldn’t have said it more unequivocally when he declared at West Point on June 1, 2002, “ America has, and intends to keep, military strengths beyond challenge, thereby making the destabilizing arms races of other eras pointless, and limiting rivalries to trade and other pursuits of peace.”
In other words, the main US strategic objective is to keep this world unipolar as long as possible and to block or at least to slow down the emergence of a multipolar world. US strategic objectives in various regions basically flow from the main goal of establishing the US global hegemony or Pax Americana.
Although it has almost become a cliche to say that the 21st century would be the Asian century, it still is a valid statement. Asia, currently with the second largest economy in the world (Japan), the fast growing economy of China with the estimated GDP of $1.78 trillion, with two of the biggest countries in the world in terms of population (China and India), with the fast growing military muscle of China, Japan, India and South Korea, with most of the world oil and gas reserves, and with the dynamic economies of the Asean and South Korea, is a continent which is destined to play an increasingly important role in international politics in the 21st century.
It is understandable, therefore, that the US would like to be actively involved in the security architecture in Asia. According to a senior US official quoted recently in New Delhi, “The worst outcome for the US is an Asia from which we are excluded... The key challenge for the US over the past 100 years has been to remain engaged everywhere and not allow any other industrial power to dominate a given region. If I were China, I would be working on kicking the US out of Asia. Right now, we have a lot of alliances but there is no architecture embedding us in Asia. This worries us.”
The US views China as posing in due course a challenge to its power and influence in Asia as the latter’s economic and military power grows further. Washington is therefore engaged in building up a security structure aimed at containing China. The US alliances with Japan and South Korea will play this role in the Far East. The developments of the past few years clearly indicate that the US has decided to build up India in the hope that it will ultimately emerge as a counterweight to China on the Asian continent and help in containing China on its southern periphery.
Conversely, India needs the support of the US for building itself up as a major global power and establishing its hegemony in South Asia. The fast growing strategic partnership between the US and India neatly dovetails the strategic objectives of a global hegemon and an aspiring regional hegemon. (In view of the recent Indo-China agreement establishing a strategic partnership between them, it remains to be seen how India will play its cards in dealing with the two contradictory partnerships.). India is also a big market for the US exports and armaments.
The landmark event in the fast developing US-India strategic partnership, in the wake of the announcement from Washington in March this year that the US intended to help India become a “major world power in the 21st century” was the signing in Washington on June 28, 2005, of “the new framework for US-India defence relationship” by the defence ministers of the two countries. This defence pact, which talks about the common belief of the two largest democracies in freedom, democracy and the rule of law, will support, and will be an element of, the broader US-India strategic partnership.
It commits the two countries to cooperation in missile defence, combating terrorism and violent religious extremism, preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, technology transfer and defence trade. It also mentions that the US-India defence cooperation in a short span of time had advanced to unprecedented levels unimaginable in 1995. There are already reports of the offer by the US to sell to India F-16 and F-18 aircraft, and the Patriot PAC-3 anti-missile system.
The US-India defence pact was soon followed by a nuclear agreement between the two sides, concluded during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to the US. This would enable India to acquire nuclear reactors and technology for peaceful purposes in disregard of the restrictions imposed by the US Nuclear Non-Proliferation Act and the guidelines of the nuclear suppliers’ group. Interestingly, the US officials commenting on the Indo-US nuclear deal have indicated that the Bush administration is unlikely to offer a similar deal to Pakistan.
In short, the US is developing its strategic partnership with India in pursuance of its grand design for Asia in which India is expected to play a key role. The concept of a strategic partnership implies an element of equality between the two partners. Consequently, India will expect the US to be sensitive to its ambition of emerging as a great power — something which the US has already conceded in the hope of establishing its hegemony in South Asia and the Indian Ocean region.
It is also likely, despite the assurances given by the US secretary of state to our foreign minister and by president Bush to our president, that the US in its efforts to build up India as a counterweight to China will ignore the requirements of a strategic balance in South Asia.
In contrast with the US-India strategic partnership, which is based on the convergence of the long-term fundamental interests of the two countries, the current Pakistan-US relationship has a shaky foundation. As far as common beliefs are concerned, Pakistan’s track record in practising democracy is far less appealing than that of India as we still appear to be groping for a democratic system which suits the genius of our people. Pakistan’s all-weather friendship with China has been a pillar of strength and security. It has neither the capacity nor the desire to counter China in any way. Therefore, it cannot help in fulfilling the most fundamental US strategic objective on the Asian continent of containing China.
The US willingness to build up India as a major power runs contrary to Pakistan’s consistent efforts to oppose Indian hegemony in South Asia. The wave of religious extremism, which has fractured and brutalized our society in the aftermath of the Afghan jihad against the Soviet occupation and the subsequent militancy in Afghanistan and Kashmir, remains a source of concern to the US as numerous articles and stories in its media indicate. As for the peaceful settlement of Kashmir, which is the core issue for Pakistan in its relations with India, the US interest does not go beyond mere verbal encouragement to the two sides to try to reach a negotiated settlement of all their differences as the recent pronouncement by President Bush during the visit of the Indian prime minister to Washington indicates. Its real objective is to prevent Pakistan from doing anything which would raise tensions in Pakistan-India relations.
It is true that the US appreciates the important role that Pakistan is playing in the war against terrorism and has rewarded us with economic and military assistance as well as the status of a major non-NATO ally. However, going through the articles and commentaries appearing in the US, one gets the uneasy feeling that Washington regards Pakistan both as a problem and as an important ally in the war against terror.
No wonder there is constant pressure on Pakistan to do more than what it has already done in ridding its society of the scourge of violent religious extremism, in combating which both the US and India are committed to cooperate under the US-India defence pact of June, 2005.
By now it is crystal clear that behind the facade of “dehyphenating” US relations with India and Pakistan as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice described it or having “individual relationships” with these two countries as US Under-Secretary of State Nicholas Burns recently put it, Washington has decided to place its relations with India at a higher plane in terms of priority and importance than those with Pakistan.
The current US-Pakistan relationship, therefore, suffers from serious limitations and uncertainties. First of all, there is no question of an element of equality in an alliance between a superpower and a middle-ranking country like Pakistan. The grant of the non-NATO ally status to Pakistan basically means that it has accepted a subordinate role in the service of the US strategic interests in return for economic and military assistance. Secondly, the convergence of their strategic interests is currently limited to the war on terror in which we are playing a key role in collaboration with the US instead of Pakistan being a part of any grand US strategic design.
This makes the relationship extremely fragile and uncertain, especially keeping in view the internal societal convulsions through which Pakistan is passing and the past US track record. Thirdly, the promised sale of F-16 aircraft and other US military equipment to Pakistan may meet our essential needs for maintaining a credible deterrent. However, looked at more closely from the US point of view, it is meant to keep Pakistan, especially its military establishment, on a tight leash in the service of the US strategic interests in the foreseeable future.
This is the reality that we face behind the smokescreen of empty rhetoric and assurances which are full of sound and fury signifying nothing. It is time to face the realities as they are so as not to be confronted with disappointments and unpleasant surprises down the road. Our objective should be to adopt a new mix of internal and external policies which would safeguard our national interests and provide a more solid and durable foundation for our friendship with the US as we cannot afford to be on less than friendly and cordial terms with it.
It is axiomatic that we must keep our national interests supreme in the management of Pakistan-US relations. Therefore, while there are several factors relevant to Pakistan-US relations which we cannot change, there are others that we can modify to our advantage in strengthening this vital relationship. The promotion of a stable democratic order in Pakistan, based on national consensus, is one such factor which is not only desirable in its own right but would also help in bringing the two countries closer together. The same is true of improving the performance of the economy, raising the standard of human development in the country, particularly through increased attention to education and health, and ridding ourselves of the scourge of obscurantism, retrogression and religious extremism.
In the realm of foreign affairs, we need to broaden our options at the regional and global levels while persisting in our policy of friendship with the US. However, we should not develop our relations with it, marked as it as by serious limitations and uncertainties, at the expense of our friendly relations with neighbours such as China and Iran.
As the saying goes, one can choose one’s friends but not one’s neighbours. A coherent regional policy should be the central element of our over-all foreign policy. In particular, we should avoid a repetition of the strategic blunders of the 1990s when we pursued the pro-Taliban policy in Afghanistan which isolated us regionally and globally besides encouraging religious extremism and klashnikov culture in our society. We are still living with the disastrous consequences of that ill-conceived policy both internally and externally.
For a coherent regional policy
For a coherent regional policy
By Javid Husain
IN my last article on the state of Pakistan-US relations, I emphasized the need for Pakistan to adopt a coherent regional policy as the central element of our overall foreign policy. I would now venture to add that since the end of the Cold War, the absence of a well thought-out regional policy has been one of the fundamental weaknesses of our foreign policy.
Following the end of the cold war, Pakistan was faced with the serious challenge of coming to grips with the new international and regional scenario with a view to safeguarding and promoting its national interests.
The emerging global scenario was characterized by the victory of democracy and market economy, the trend towards regionalism as evidenced by the growth of the European Union and other regional organizations, the weakened bargaining position of the Third World nations, and emergence or anticipated emergence of new centres of power like the EU, Japan, China, Russia, India, Brazil and the Asean, and the growing importance of such global issues as the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, human rights and the environment.
At the regional level, India propelled by economic reforms pulled far ahead of Pakistan in economic and military terms as the latter suffered from endemic political instability and the termination of US military and economic assistance. The India-China detente gathered speed as their relations developed, particularly in the economic and commercial fields. Afghanistan became embroiled in a civil war after getting rid of the Soviet occupation.
The Central Asian Republics and Azerbaijan, besides Afghanistan, joined the Economic Cooperation Organization to broaden their foreign policy and economic options and to reduce their dependence on Russia. Iran began the process of recovery from the ravages of the eight-year Iran-Iraq war together with a gradual process of reforms to provide a modicum of economic and cultural freedom to its people.
The Iraq-Kuwait war and the subsequent developments that brought Iraq down on its knees, further entrenched US power and influence in the Middle East, strengthened Israel’s security by eliminating Iraq as a possible threat, tightened the US stranglehold on the vast oil and gas resources of the region, and opened up possibilities for the US to give a new political and ideological orientation to the Middle Eastern countries. India’s political, economic and cultural relations with the Gulf countries gained considerably in strength.
This was the global and regional setting in which Pakistan had to steer its foreign policy during the 1990s and beyond. Let us see how good a job our policymakers did in dealing with these challenges.
At the global level, we failed as a nation to appreciate the importance of the growing trend towards democracy and the primacy of economic strength. Consequently, the 1990s were marked by political instability culminating in the military takeover of October 1999. The recognition of the primacy of economic strength basically would have required us to allocate a much higher proportion of our budgetary resources to economic and social development than to military expenditure. During most of the decade of 1990s, we did exactly the reverse according to the latest issue of the Pakistan Economic Survey.
On the average, during the 1990s, the government allocated 5.6 per cent and 4.7 per cent of the GDP respectively to defence and development expenditure. During 2004-05, the development expenditure amounted to only 2.9 per cent of the GDP. This was obviously the result of a misconceived national security policy which over-emphasized its military dimension at the expense of the political and economic dimensions.
We alienated ourselves regionally and internationally during most of the 1990s because of the mishandling of our Afghanistan and Kashmir/India policies. These policies, which were out of sync with the global environment, lacked any grand strategic design, vision or far-sightedness. The demands of these policies far outstripped our resources presenting us with the classic situation of a strategic overstretch. We were also faced with the danger of being branded as a terrorist state. The simultaneous pursuit of activist policies on both Kashmir and Afghanistan was obviously imprudent making these policies untenable in the long run. It was, therefore, just a matter of time before the force of circumstances would force us to change these policies.
Our pro-Taliban policy was particularly ill-conceived with disastrous consequences for Pakistan both internally and externally. Internally, this policy brutalized our society by promoting the klashnikov culture, encouraged obscurantism and tore apart the social fabric of the country by fomenting religious extremism. Externally, it damaged our relations with Iran and most of the Central Asian Republics besides creating misgivings even in China.
Interestingly, the pro-Taliban policy was partly justified on the basis of our desire to promote trade and economic links with the Central Asian Republics, precisely the countries with which our relations were being damaged by that policy. The Taliban’s policies tarnished the image of Pakistan. The process of regional economic cooperation launched through the expansion of the Economic Cooperation Organization in 1992, which looked so promising at that time, was virtually stalled during most of the 1990s primarily because of the clash of the Afghan policies of Iran and Pakistan.
The mere fact that the Taliban regime was recognized only by Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the UAE was sufficient to establish our isolation at regional and global levels. Our pro-Taliban policy was, therefore, not sustainable. However, our policymakers single-mindedly pursued it in total disregard of wiser counsel and strategic compulsions until they reached the precipice of 9/11. It was only then we brought about a U-turn in our policy to avert the impending disaster.
Our regional policy must be based squarely on a dynamic analysis of the power realities of the region within the framework of the prevailing global environment. Two considerations should reign supreme: we should never again allow ourselves to be isolated at the regional level and we should prevent the emergence of a situation where a regional country or group of countries can pose a threat to our security or our economic well-being.
In short, we should learn to build up alliances and coalitions at the regional level to counter an existing or emerging threat to our security instead of relying exclusively on the support of non-regional powers which in any case has not proved reliable in the past.
As long as our disputes with India are unresolved and its quest for regional domination continues, it would remain a potential threat to Pakistan’s security. We should neither exaggerate nor minimize the nature of this threat. In the past, our India policy has swung from one extreme to the other.
While Kargil reflected one extreme, the current unrealistic euphoria is another. An economic union with India, as some scholars suggest, would mean the loss of economic independence for Pakistan and may presage even the loss of political independence for the country. For a change, we should practise some moderation in our India policy.
We should definitely continue our policy of defusing tensions and undertaking confidence building measures with India (including trade on the basis of a level playing field) to reduce the risk of outbreak of an armed conflict and to build up a climate of mutual trust necessary for the resolution of outstanding disputes. While we should keep on pressing for an early settlement of these disputes, it would be unrealistic to expect that a satisfactory final settlement of the Kashmir dispute is around the corner. In fact, since the present power realities favour India and since the dispute carries heavy emotional and historical baggage on both sides, we should adopt a two-stage approach.
In the first stage we should aim at improvement in the human rights situation in the Indian-occupied Kashmir, demilitarization or withdrawal of the bulk of the Indian forces from the territory as the level of insurgency goes down and granting autonomy to its people. In the second stage covering a longer time frame, we should go for a final settlement of the dispute.
Friendship with both Afghanistan and Iran is a strategic imperative for Pakistan. In the case of Afghanistan, we should resist the temptation to get involved in its internal affairs while extending support and cooperation to it in the restoration of internal peace and in the gigantic task of economic reconstruction.
Iran has been a source of support to us in the past on critical occasions. We should not fritter away the friendship with this important brotherly country. In the present context, we should oppose any military action to deal with Iran’s nuclear issue which must be resolved through peaceful means. While our relations with the US have their own unique importance, we should, to use an American term, dehyphenate them from our relations with Iran. The Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project which is in the interest of all the three countries should be pursued vigorously by us despite Washington’s reservations.
Generally speaking, Pakistan and Iran should develop their cooperation in all fields. It is true that the two countries are competitors in some areas. But they should not allow this competition to be transformed into confrontation, a mistake they committed in Afghanistan during the 1990s.
China has been Pakistan’s steadfast friend since the 1960s. It is difficult to exaggerate the critical importance of this friendship for Pakistan. While by and large this relationship is still sound, our economic and commercial relations with China compared with those of India are relatively weak and need to be developed further. We must build bridges of understanding and cooperation with Russia, which is an important player in our neighbourhood, besides developing relations with the Central Asian Republics and the GCC countries where we have lost ground to India during the past few years.
In keeping with the global trend toward schemes of regional economic cooperation, Pakistan must also engage itself in this process. At present, Pakistan is a member of both the ECO and the SAARC. But we need to be clear about our priorities where these two organizations are concerned.
The experience of the EU indicates the following conditions for the success of the process of regional economic cooperation and integration: economic complementarities, geographical proximity, cultural affinities and the absence of serious disputes among the member states. Out of the ECO and the Saarc, only the ECO fulfils these conditions. For Pakistan, therefore, the ECO should be the organization of choice for the purpose of regional economic cooperation and integration. It must, however, remain engaged in the Saarc but for more limited economic objectives.
The recent admission of Pakistan as an observer into the Shanghai Cooperation Organization was a welcome development because this will help us promote mutual understanding and strengthen our friendship and cooperation with China, Russia and the Central Asian Republics.
BY:MUKHTIAR ALI SHAR
Foreign Relations Of Pakistan
Pakistan is the second largest Muslim country in terms of population, and its status as a declared nuclear power, being the only Islamic nation to have that status, plays a part in its international role.
Pakistan is an active member of the United Nations. Historically, its foreign policy has encompassed difficult relations with India, a desire for a stable Afghanistan, long-standing close relations with the People's Republic of China, extensive security and economic interests in the Persian Gulf and wide-ranging bilateral relations with the United States and other Western countries.
Wary of Soviet expansion, Pakistan had stong relations with both the United States of America and the People's Republic of China during much of the Cold War. It was a member of the CENTO and SEATO military alliances. Its alliance with the United States was especially close after the Soviets invaded the neighboring country of Afghanistan).
Pakistan's relations with India have improved recently and this has opened up Pakistan's foreign policy to issues beyond security. This development might completely change the complexion of Pakistan's foreign relations.
In 1964, Pakistan signed the Regional Cooperation for Development (RCD) Pact with Turkey and Iran, when all three countries were closely allied with the U.S., and as neighbors of the Soviet Union, wary of perceived Soviet expansionism. To this day, Pakistan has a close relationship with Turkey. RCD became defunct after the Iranian Revolution, and a Pakistani-Turkish initiative led to the founding of the Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO) in 1985.
Pakistan is also an important member of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC). Pakistan has used the OIC as a forum for Enlightened Moderation, its plan to promote a renaissance and enlightenment in the Islamic world.
Bilateral and regional relations
Main article: Relations between India and Pakistan
Since partition, relations between Pakistan and India have been characterized by rivalry and suspicion. Although many issues divide the two countries, the most sensitive one since independence has been the
status of Kashmir.
At the time of partition, the princely state of Kashmir, though ruled by a Hindu Maharajah, had an overwhelmingly Muslim population. When the Maharajah hesitated in acceding to either Pakistan or India in 1947, some of his Muslim subjects, aided by tribesmen from Pakistan, revolted in favor of joining Pakistan. India has long alleged that regular troops from Pakistan had participated in the partial occupation of Kashmir from the Western front. In exchange for military assistance in containing the revolt, the Kashmiri ruler offered his allegiance to India. Indian troops occupied the central & eastern portion of Kashmir, including its capital, Srinagar, while the west-north western part came under Pakistani control. (See First Kashmir War)
India addressed this dispute in the United Nations on January 1, 1948. One year later, the UN arranged a cease-fire along a line dividing Kashmir, but leaving the northern end of the line undemarcated and the vale of Kashmir (with the majority of the population) under Indian control. India and Pakistan agreed with Indian resolutions which called for a UN-supervised plebiscite to determine the state's future.
Full-scale hostilities erupted in September 1965, when insurgents believed to have been trained and supplied by Pakistan were operating in India-controlled Kashmir. Hostilities ceased three weeks later, following mediation efforts by the UN and interested countries. In January 1966, Indian and Pakistani representatives met in Tashkent, U.S.S.R., and agreed to attempt a peaceful settlement of Kashmir and their other differences.
Following the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, Pakistan President Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi met in the mountain town of Shimla, India, in July 1972 for the Shimla Accord. They agreed to a line of control in Kashmir resulting from the December 17, 1971 cease-fire, and endorsed the principle of settlement of bilateral disputes through peaceful means. In 1974, Pakistan and India agreed to resume postal and telecommunications linkages, and to enact measures to facilitate travel. Trade and diplomatic relations were restored in 1976 after a hiatus of five years.
India's nuclear test in 1974 generated great uncertainty in Pakistan and is generally acknowledged to have been the impetus for Pakistan's nuclear weapons development program. In 1983, the Pakistani and Indian governments accused each other of aiding separatists in their respective countries, i.e., Sikhs in India's Punjab state and Sindhis in Pakistan's Sindh province. In April 1984, tensions erupted after troops were deployed to the Siachen Glacier, a high-altitude desolate area close to the China border left undemarcated by the cease-fire agreement (Karachi Agreement) signed by Pakistan and India in 1949.
Tensions diminished after Rajiv Gandhi became Prime Minister in November 1984 and after a group of Sikh hijackers was brought to trial by Pakistan in March 1985. In December 1985, President Zia and Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi pledged not to attack each other's nuclear facilities. (A formal "no attack" agreement was signed in January 1991.) In early 1986, the Indian and Pakistani governments began high-level talks to resolve the Siachen Glacier border dispute and to improve trade.
Bilateral tensions increased in early 1990, when Kashmiri militants began a campaign of violence against Indian Government authority in Jammu and Kashmir. Subsequent high-level bilateral meetings relieved the tensions between India and Pakistan, but relations worsened again after the destruction of the Babri Mosque by Hindu extremists in December 1992 and terrorist bombings in Bombay in March 1993. Talks between the Foreign Secretaries of both countries in January 1994 resulted in deadlock.
In the last several years, the Indo-Pakistani relationship has veered sharply between rapprochement and conflict. After taking office in February 1997, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif moved to resume official dialog with India. A number of meetings at the foreign secretary and prime ministerial level took place, with positive atmospherics but little concrete progress. The relationship improved markedly when Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee traveled to Lahore for a summit with Sharif in February 1999. There was considerable hope that the meeting could lead to a breakthrough. Unfortunately, in spring 1999 infiltrators from Pakistan occupied positions on the Indian side of the Line of Control in the remote, mountainous area of Kashmir near Kargil, threatening the ability of India to supply its forces on Siachen Glacier. By early summer, serious fighting flared in the Kargil sector. The infiltrators withdrew following a meeting between Prime Minister Sharif and President Bill Clinton in July. Relations between India and Pakistan have since been particularly strained, especially since the October 12, 1999 coup in Islamabad. India has time and again, alleged that Pakistan provides monetary and material support to Kashmiri militants, a charge which Pakistan has always denied. The last few years have been particularly cantankerous in this regard, with India accusing Pakistan of abetting cross-border terrorism from its territory. Pakistan claims to provide only moral support to the fighters and maintains that the conflict is indigenous in nature. Hopes of peaceful resolution of issues through dialogue have met a stalemate a number of times over the issue. On June 20, 2004, both countries agreed to extend a nuclear testing ban and to set up a hotline between their foreign secretaries aimed at preventing misunderstandings that might lead to a nuclear war. 
Pakistan shares a long and porous border with Afghanistan (also called the Durand Line). The border is poorly marked. The problem is exacerbated by close relations between the fiercely-inependent Pashtun peoples who live on both sides of the border.
Following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, the Pakistani Government played a vital role in supporting the Afghan resistance movement and assisting Afghan refugees. After the Soviet withdrawal in February 1989, Pakistan, with cooperation from the world community, continued to provide extensive support for displaced Afghans. In 1999, the United States provided approximately $70 million in humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan and Afghan refugees in Pakistan, mainly through multilateral organizations and NGOs.
The overthrow of the Taliban Regime in November 2001 has seen somewhat strained relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan. The present administration in Kabul feels that the remnants of the former Taliban government are being supported by certain factions within Pakistan. It has been rumoured that Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden is, or has been, hiding in Pakistan's border region with Afghanistan.
A large share of Afghanistan's foreign trade is either with, or passes through, Pakistan.
Under military leader Ayub Khan, Pakistan sought to improve relations with the Soviet Union; trade and cultural exchanges between the two countries increased between 1966 and 1971. However, Soviet criticism of Pakistan's position in the 1971 war with India weakened bilateral relations, and many Pakistanis believed that the August 1971 Indo-Soviet Treaty of Friendship, Peace and Cooperation encouraged Indian belligerency. Subsequent Soviet arms sales to India, amounting to billions of dollars on concessional terms, reinforced this argument.
During the 1980s, tensions increased between the Soviet Union and Pakistan because of the latter's key role in helping to organize political and material support for the Afghan rebel forces. The withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan and the collapse of the former Soviet Union resulted in significantly improved bilateral relations, but Pakistan's support for and recognition of the Taliban regime in neighboring Afghanistan remained an ongoing source of tension. Later on, government of Pakistan changed its policy towards Taliban when it was realized that it was protecting Osama Bin Laden and joined US forces in helping overthrow them. d
People's Republic of China
In 1950, Pakistan was among the first countries to break relations with the Taiwan and recognize the People's Republic of China (P.R.C.). Following the Sino-Indian hostilities of 1962, Pakistan's relations with the PRC became stronger; since then, the two countries have regularly exchanged high-level visits resulting in a variety of agreements. The PRC has provided economic, military, and technical assistance to Pakistan.
Favorable relations with the PRC have been a pillar of Pakistan's foreign policy. The PRC strongly supported Pakistan's opposition to Soviet involvement in Afghanistan and is perceived by Pakistan as a regional counterweight to India and the USSR.
Historically, Pakistan has had close geopolitical and cultural-religious linkages with Iran. However, strains in the relationship appeared in the 1990s, when Pakistan and Iran supported opposing factions in the Afghan conflict. Also, some Pakistanis suspect Iranian support for the sectarian violence which has plagued Pakistan. Nevertheless, Pakistan pursues an active diplomatic relationship with Iran, including recent overtures to seek a negotiated settlement between Afghanistan's warring factions.
United Kingdom and the Commonwealth
Pakistan has been a member of the Commonwealth of Nations since independence in 1947. It was not a member of the British Commonwealth from 1972 until 1989, because of the Commonwealth's recognition of Bangladesh. It was readmitted to full membership of the Commonwealth in October 1989. It was suspended with the overthrow of the democratically elected government in 1999. Its full membership has been reinstated with the backing of the United Kingdom and Australia for Pakistan's support in the War on Terrorism. Pakistan maintains diplomatic relations with all Commonwealth countries even though it does not have its own High Commission in each capital.
Persian Gulf and Arab states
Despite popular support by many people in Pakistan for Iraq in 1991, the Pakistani government supported the coalition against Iraq's invasion of Kuwait and sent 11,600 troops. Pakistan enjoys close ties with the governments of the Persian Gulf particularly Saudi Arabia and the United
United States of America
Origins, CENTO, SEATO and the Cold War
The United States and Pakistan established diplomatic relations in 1947. The U.S. agreement to provide economic and military assistance to Pakistan and the latter's partnership in the Baghdad Pact, CENTO and SEATO strengthened relations between the two nations. At the time, its relationship with the U.S. was so close and friendly that it was called the United States's "most-allied ally" in Asia . Pakistanis felt betrayed and ill-compensated for the risks incurred in supporting the U.S. - after the U-2 Crisis of 1960, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev had threatened the nuclear annihilation of Pakistani cities. The U.S. suspension of military assistance during the 1965 Indo-Pakistan war generated a widespread feeling in Pakistan that the United States was not a reliable ally. Even though the United States suspended military assistance to both countries involved in the conflict, the suspension of aid affected Pakistan much more severely. Gradually, relations improved and arms sales were renewed in 1975. Then, in April 1979, the United States cut off economic assistance to Pakistan, except food assistance, as required under the Symington Amendment to the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, due to concerns about Pakistan's nuclear program.
Anti-Soviet Alliance in the Afghan War
The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979 highlighted the common interest of Pakistan and the United States in peace and stability in South Asia. In 1981, the United States and Pakistan agreed on a $3.2-billion military and economic assistance program aimed at helping Pakistan deal with the heightened threat to security in the region and its economic development needs. With U.S. assistance - in the largest covert operation in history - Pakistan armed and supplied anti-Soviet fighters in Afghanistan, eventually defeating the Soviets, who withdrew in 1988.
Nuclear Sanctions Recognizing national security concerns and accepting Pakistan's assurances that it did not intend to construct a nuclear weapon, Congress waived restrictions (Symington Amendment) on military assistance to Pakistan. In March 1986, the two countries agreed on a second multi-year (FY 1988-93) $4-billion economic development and security assistance program. On October 1, 1990, however, the United States suspended all military assistance and new economic aid to Pakistan under the Pressler Amendment, which required that the President certify annually that Pakistan "does not possess a nuclear explosive device."
Nuclear Weapon Tests
India's decision to conduct nuclear tests in May 1998 and Pakistan's matching response set back U.S. relations in the region, which had seen renewed U.S. Government interest during the second Clinton Administration. A presidential visit scheduled for the first quarter of 1998 was postponed and, under the Glenn Amendment, sanctions restricted the provision of credits, military sales, economic assistance, and loans to the government. An intensive dialogue on nuclear nonproliferation and security issues between Deputy Secretary Talbott and Foreign Secretary Shamshad Ahmad was initiated, with discussions focusing on CTBT signature and ratification, FMCT negotiations, export controls, and a nuclear restraint regime. The October 1999 overthrow of the democratically elected Sharif government triggered an additional layer of sanctions under Section 508 of the Foreign Appropriations Act which include restrictions on foreign military financing and economic assistance. U.S. Government assistance to Pakistan was limited mainly to refugee and counter-narcotics assistance.
Pakistan moved decisively to ally itself with the United States in its war against Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda. It provided the U.S. a number of military airports and bases, for its attack on Afghanistan. It has arrested over five hundred Al-Qaeda members and handed them over to the U.S. President George W. Bush and senior U.S. officers have been lavish in their praise of Pakistani efforts. Since this strategic re-alignment towards U.S. policy, economic and military assistance has been flowing from the U.S. to Pakistan. In June 2004, President Bush designated Pakistan as a major non-NATO ally, making it eligible, among other things, to purchase advanced American military technology.
Status of Kashmir with India
Water-sharing problems with India over the Indus River (Wular Barrage)
Pakistan is also a producer of illicit opium and hashish for the international drug trade (poppy cultivation in 1999 - 15.7 km², a 48% drop from 1998 because of eradication and alternative development); key transit area for Southwest Asian heroin moving to Western markets; narcotics still move from Afghanistan into Balochistan, Pakistan.
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