“Our foreign policy is one of friendliness and goodwill towards all the nations of the world. We do not cherish aggressive designs against any country or nation…Pakistan will never be found lacking in upholding the principles of the United Nations Charter.” said Jinnah the founder of the country that acquired independence from British Raj. Unfortunately for the country, the leader of this constitutional independence through a democratic legal struggle of millions of Muslims of the subcontinent left this mortal world after providing one year of leadership.
Just at that time, the world witnessed the end of World War II and emergence of ‘cold war’ between two super powers: USA and USSR. The first Prime Minister of Pakistan Liaquat Ali Khan on invitation by US President Truman visited America in May 1950 as against the invitation by Soviet Union. This visit laid the foundation of our foreign policy with a bias to a country with capitalist economy versus the socialist one which was adopted by India after its Prime Minister Nehru visit to USSR in 1955.
Pakistan military received US training, equipment and strategies to fight the communism but in-fact it was to protect US interests in Asia versus India which became a close ally of USSR. Pakistan during its course of friendship with US has suffered tremendous human and material losses at the hands of terrorists – many of them with roots linking them with CIA.
Just after success of communists revolution lead by Mao Zedong, Pakistan established diplomatic relations with People’s Republic of China in 1950 which continued to grow irrespective of changed governments in both countries and today after 68 years relations are known as: ‘friendly and brotherly’, ‘higher than mountains and deeper than the oceans’ and have withstood the tests of time. It is also a matter of record that Pakistan helped establish diplomatic relations between China and USA, with its positive impact on global dialogue and peace.
The declassified documents of the US State Department released from time to time, indicate how US administration has worked against the interests of Pakistan. The first blow was when despite being allies, conspiracy was reportedly hatched to assassinate its first Premier, which destabilised the democracy, just because Pakistan took a principled stand of not participating in Korean War and not using its influence over Iran for the US efforts to secure the transfer of Iranian oil fields. Later, the American U-2 spy aircraft flying out of American base in Badaber Peshawar was downed in USSR airspace with its negative repercussions on Pakistan. It is a historic fact that Pakistan provided total and complete logistics, military intelligence and its territory to end the occupation of USSR from Afghanistan. Last but not the least, Pakistan helping US fight AlQaeda, subsequent to 9/11.
The relations between two countries which were allies in Baghdad Pact, CENTO and SEATO went nose dive after Pakistan successfully tested its indigenous nuclear capability. Pakistan’s conventional weapon system primarily of USA and west origin suffered due to US embargoes forcing Pakistan to look for alternate source of suppliers. This was blessing in disguise. We found dependable China coming forward to help in setting up Heavy Mechanical Complex in Pakistan for tanks and other needs, co-production of JF-17 and P-22 Frigates and above all to help in production of clean nuclear energy to meet Pakistan’s power generation needs for is economic development.
While the earlier US administration realised the importance of relations with Pakistan, the current Trump administration has adapted threatening, aggressive, hostile, coercive and illogical stance to the detriment of mutual relations. This American u-turn of policy is neither supported by saner elements in their country nor independent countries, and in Pakistan it is totally rejected by government, parliament, political parties and all self respecting people of Pakistan. America has isolated itself and even those of us who have had long interaction with US find it difficult to desist from condemning such a policy.
Where are the think tanks? Where are the strategic studies groups? They need to come out in open without regard to funding and support they may have been getting from US government and remind of the historic role Pakistan has played, its geopolitical position and its power to influence events in these fast growing economies. Our institutions must also rise to the occasion by renewed dedication to education and research to develop our human resource to meet any adventurism against our strategic assets. Let history not repeat itself when payments made for F-16 was forfeited without delivering the ordered equipment.
People and government in Pakistan must tighten its belt by reducing dependence on imports specially from unfriendly countries and be self reliant by using Pakistan goods. In current crises which is forced on us, we must forge unity amongst our ranks, adopt simple living (in former Premier Z. A. Bhutto’s words ‘eat grass’) and not succumb to unethical pressures on free people of a sovereign country. We must set example for freedom fighters of Kashmir that no amount of price is high for independence. Jinnah’s liberated country must remain independent.
At the same time, American people of all shades of opinion must rise against their current administration to protect their own interests in this nuclear armed region and force the internal change in the interest of world peace.
— The writer is former federal minister and senator of Pakistan