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Foreign Policy of Pakistan

Foreign Policy of Pakistan

The term on which a state wishes to conduct its international relations is called its foreign policy.
The purpose of foreign policy is to gain for the state such a place in the comity of nations that it
has no difficulty in sustaining its sovereignty and integrity, to give it a voice in the formulations
of international principles favorable to its interests, and to extend its influence beyond its
frontiers and within international fora.
New world order has given new meanings and trends to the international politics. Quickly
changing environments require well-defined inter-state relationships to fulfill the regional and
global needs of the nations. Under the circumstances each nation is required to streamline its
relations with its friends and foes. Thus every nation adopts an attitude and mode of action
towards other states which suits its peculiar circumstances and national interests. In the language
of politics this attitude is called the Foreign Policy of a nation.
According to Professor Northedge:
“The foreign policy of any country is a product of
environmental factors both external and internal to it.”
In the views of Joseph Frankel:
“Theoretically the environment of foreign policy
decisions is limitless. It embraces the whole universe.”
According to Lord Palmerston:
“In international relations there can be no eternal friends nor
there eternal enemies. The only thing eternal is the national
Comprehensive definition,
“A state without the foreign policy is like a ship without the radar
which drifts aimlessly without any direction by every storm and
sweep of events.”

Objectives of Pakistan’s Foreign Policy

Pakistan’s peculiar geographical position has given it a great importance in Asia. Due to its
closeness to China, India, CARs and Gulf States it has adopted a dynamic and well balanced
foreign policy. The objectives of Pakistan’s foreign policy are as under:
1. Safeguard of National Integrity
2. Defense of Ideological Frontiers
3. Economic Development
4. National Honour
5. Respect of International Law
6. Implementation of Accords
7. Friendly Relations with Muslim Countries
Department of Pakistan Studies, University of Wah, Wah Cantt.
Foreign Policy of Pakistan

8. Dignity of Islam
9. Liberation of Kashmir
Safeguard of National Integrity
Safeguard of national integrity is basic objective of Pakistan’s foreign policy because it has to
contend with a sworn enemy India with which it shares 1600 km long border. Unfortunately ever
since partition of Sub-Continent in 1947 India has adopted anti-Pakistan attitude and is bent upon
damaging Pakistan’s interest. For this purpose in the past, India has attacked Pakistan in 1965
and 1971. Thus Pakistan considered the issue of security to be its fundamental interest.
Defence of Ideological Frontiers
Pakistan is an ideology state which was established in1947 on the basis of two-nation theory.
Pakistan’s survival depends on the implementation of the Islamic Ideology on which it had been
established. The Muslim of the Sub-Continent had demanded a separate nation in Lahore
Resolution on 23rd March 1940. Jinnah said,
“No constitutional plan would be workable or acceptable
to the Muslims unless geographical contiguous units are
demarcated into regions which should be so constituted
with such territorial readjustments as may be necessary.”
Thus the preservation of separate identity of Hindus and Muslims as two nations is of utmost
importance for both countries.
Economic Development
Rapid scientific progress during the 20th century brought a revolution in the political, military
and social fields. Western nations like US, Britain, France, Germany and Italy maintained the
level of their economic prosperity. Pakistan was industrially very under-developed at the time of
its independence in August 1947. The annual growth rate of its 76 Million population was 2.5%.
Its per capita income was hardly 50 Dollars and its literacy rate was 16%. At the time of partition
it was decided that Pakistan would get as its share Rs 01 Billion out of Rs 04 Billion present in
the treasury of Government of India but later on India handed over only Rs 200 Million to
Thus in the 50’s Pakistan started its economic journey almost empty handed. Many industrial
units were established through Pakistan Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC).
Subsequently the pace of industrial progress stepped up by establishing Pakistan Steel Mills
Karachi, Pakistan Ordinance Factory (POF) Wah Cantt, Heavy Mechanical Complex (HMC)
Taxila, Aeronautical Complex Kamra, Atomic Plant Kahuta and many plants for the manufacture
of cement, sugar, chemical fertilizer and cloths. Since then Pakistan has made great progress in
the industrial sector and has become self sufficient in many fields. However there is no limit to
the economic progress and like other nations Pakistan aims at achieving more landmarks in the
field of economic development.

Department of Pakistan Studies, University of Wah, Wah Cantt.
Foreign Policy of Pakistan

National Honour
As an Islamic nation Pakistan has great political and military traditions. The Punjabis, Sindhis,
Balochis and Pathans are all brave people. They have never considered any sacrifice too great for
the preservation of their freedom. Thus preservation of national honour is the main objective of
Pakistan’s foreign policy.
Respect of International Law
Pakistan is the member of United Nations and many international organizations. It has always
showed respect for the UN charter and the international law and has fulfilled its commitments
regarding rights of POW’s, refugees, territorial waters, civil aviation rights and distribution of
Implementation of Accords
Since its independence in August 1947 Pakistan has signed many pacts like the border
agreements with its neighbors, Canal water Agreement with India, Toshkent agreement with
India, Simla Accord with India and Geneva Agreement with Soviet Union and Afghanistan.
Friendly Relations with Muslim Countries
Pakistan is a great Muslim country. It has always developed and maintained friendly relations
with other Muslim countries. It is a member of OIC (Organization of Islamic Conference) and
ECO (Economic Cooperation Organization). Pakistan enjoys good relations with Saudi Arabia,
Turkey, Iran, Kuwait, Jordan, UAE and Indonesia.
Dignity of Islam
Dignity of Islam is the supreme objective of the foreign policy of Pakistan. As an Islamic state it
is modeled on the teachings of Quran and Sunnah. Thus dignity of Islam is the cornerstone of
Pakistan’s foreign policy.
Liberation of Kashmir
India had forcibly occupied the valley of Jammu and Kashmir in 1948 since then Pakistan has
been advocating the right of self determination of Kashmir. During the last 64 years, every
civilian and military government of Pakistan has lent military and moral support to the Kashmiri

Phases of Pakistan’s Foreign Policy

Foreign policy of a nation is shaped by various factors which include its geographical location,
ideology, national integrity and economic development. Out of these factors national integrity
plays an important part. Pakistan has been facing the situation since its freedom in 1947 in
respect of India because it has to compete with continuous threats and aggression by New Delhi.
Right from the beginning India has not missed any opportunity to harm Pakistan. First it invaded
Junagarh, Haiderabad and Kashmir, and then created the problems of refugees and Canal water.
Later on India tried to cripple Pakistan’s economy by refusing to handover its share of assets.
Similarly in early 50’s India conspired with USSR and Afghanistan to create the Pakhtoonistan

Department of Pakistan Studies, University of Wah, Wah Cantt.
Foreign Policy of Pakistan

issue due to which Pakistan had to deploy a large number of its troops to defend the Durand line.
Consequently, in the early years of its independence, Pakistan had to search for friends and thus
joined defense pacts like SEATO and CENTO. During the last 65 years Pakistan’s foreign policy
has witnessed many fluctuations. On the whole the foreign policy of Pakistan can be divided into
the following phases
1. Phase of neutrality (1947-53)
2. Phase of pacts and Alliances (1954-62)
3. Phase of Bilateralism (1963-78)
4. Phase of Non-Alignment (1979 to date)
Phase of Neutrality (1947-53)
After gaining independence in 1947, Pakistan adopted the policy of neutrality. Founder of the
nation, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah wanted to establish friendly relations with all
countries by steering clear of the confrontation by the big powers. Thus he laid the foundation of
Pakistan’s foreign policy on the following eight principles.
1. Friendly relations with all countries should be established.
2. Every co-operation may be extended to the UN for the establishment of peace in the
3. UN charter may be followed in letter and spirit.
4. The colonialism may be opposed.
5. Support may be extended to the right of self-determination of the oppressed people.
6. The cold war between the two super powers may be avoided.
7. The enslaved nations may be helped to gain independence.
8. Interference in the internal affairs of other countries may be avoided.
After the death of Quaid-e-Azam in 1948, Liaqat Ali Khan established friendly relations with
Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Burma. He received invitation of state visits from USA and
USSR. But he turned the Soviet offer and visited USA in 1950. As a result Pakistan earned the
enmity of USSR which complicated the Kashmir problem because Moscow vetoed every effort
by UN to resolve this issue in the 50’s. Due to the Soviet support India backed out from its
commitment to hold plebiscite in the valley of Jammu and Kashmir.
Phase of Pacts and Alliances (1954-62)
The period of Pakistan’s neutrality ended on 8th December 1954, when it joined South East
Asian Treaty Organization (SEATO) along with US, Britain, France, Philippines, Australia,
Thailand and New Zealand. A year later on 23rd September 1955, Pakistan became a member of
Baghdad Pact which had been founded by Turkey and Iraq in February, 1955. Later on Iran
joined this pact in November 1955 and in 1957 US became its member as an observer. However,
due to a military coup in July, 1958, Iraq withdrew from Baghdad pact. It was renamed as
Central Treaty Organization (CENTO) and its headquarter was shifted to Ankara (Turkey).
China and Soviet Union viewed Pakistan’s membership on SEATO and CENTO with suspicion
and mistrust. In April 1955, Pakistan succeeded in removing China’s doubts at the Bandung
Conference which was held in April 1955. Thus the foundation of Pak-China friendship was laid
which became the envoy of others.

Department of Pakistan Studies, University of Wah, Wah Cantt.
Foreign Policy of Pakistan

Phase of Bilateralism (1963-78)

From the term bilateralism is meant that kind of foreign policy in which a balance is maintained
between the relations with other powers. Ayub khan was pioneer of Pakistan‘s policy of
bilateralism. According to him “if we would not establish normal relations with all three big
neighbours the best thing was to have an understanding with two of them. It was on this bases
that I set out to normalize our relations with Peoples Republic of China and the Soviet Union. In
this sense our geographical location and political compulsions determine the course of our
foreign policy.” Thus during the period from 1963-78, Pakistan took drastic steps to develop
friendly relations with all the major powers. In this connection Ayub khan visited china in 1964
and exchanged views with Chinese leaders. After the 1965 Indo-Pak war, Soviet Union arranged
for the Toshkent Declaration which was signed in January 1966 by Pakistani president Ayub
khan and Indian P.M Lal Bahadur Shastri,. Similarly Z. A. Bhutto Pakistan’s P.M visited
Moscow in 1972 and 1974. His visits brought the two nations together and Soviet Union agreed
to finance the Karachi Steel Mills project. In 1972 Pakistan withdrew from SEATO and the
Commonwealth because of their inability to come its assistance in the East-Pakistan crises. In
1972, Bhutto concluded Simla Agreement with India which finally resulted in the repatriation of
POWs. Later on in 1974, second OIC Summit Conference was held in Lahore in which
Bangladesh also took part as a free nation. Mr Z. A. Bhutto was instrumental in establishing
close relations with China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Libya, UAE, Kowait, Jorden, Indonesia and
Phase of Non-Alignment (1979 to date)
In 1979 Pakistan embarked upon a period of non-Alignment by withdrawing from CENTO
because this pact had lost its practical utility. After serving its links with all defense alliances
Pakistan showed interest in joining the Non- Aligned movement. Consequently, the ninth summit
meeting of the NAM held in Havana (Cuba) in August 1979 ratified full membership of
Pakistan. General Zia-ul- Haq attended this meeting and demanded with drawl of Israeli forces
from occupied Arab territories. Later on, Pakistan played an important part in the NAM which
helped it to develop cordial relations with the socialist countries. Pakistan used this platform to
pleat the cause of its peaceful atomic program. During the period of Soviet occupation of
Afghanistan (1979-1988) the 110 countries of NAM lent full support to Pakistan.
Currently Pakistan is an important member of the Non-Aligned Movement. It is actively playing
a role in promoting the interests of the developing countries. Main projects of Pakistan’s foreign
policy are as under:
1. To maintain non-alignment in international Affairs.
2. To establish cordial relations with neighbouring countries.
3. To establish friendly relations with USA.
4. To maintain cordial relations with China.
5. To establish cordial relations with Russia.
6. To promote friendly relations with all the Muslim nations of the world.
7. To help the oppressed people of Kashmir and Palestine in their just causes.
8. To safeguard the security of Pakistan.
9. To defend the ideological frontiers of Pakistan.

Department of Pakistan Studies, University of Wah, Wah Cantt.
Foreign Policy of Pakistan

Australia, New Zealand & United States signed treaty on 1st Sep, 1951 in San Francisco.
South East Asian Treaty Organization
Australia, France, New Zealand, Thailand, Pakistan, Philippines, UK & USA
Also Known as NATO, North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
Signed on 8th Sep, 1954 in Manila. Dissolved on 30th June, 1977.
Central Treaty Organization
Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Turkey & UK
Until March 1959, known as Baghdad Pact and METO, Middle East Treaty Organization.

Signed on 24th Feb 1955 in Baghdad as a military pact between Turkey and Iraq. Iraq withdrew
from the organization in 1958. The pact was joined on 4th April by Great Britain, on 23rd
September by Pakistan, and on 3rd November by Iran. Pact Dissolved in 1979.

CARs, Central Asian Republics.

Azerbaijan, Kazkhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkamanistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan.

USSR, Union of Soviet Socialist Republic.

Department of Pakistan Studies, University of Wah, Wah Cantt.