PakistanÃ‚Â is the second largestÃ‚Â Muslim-majority country in terms of population (afterÃ‚Â Indonesia) and its status as aÃ‚Â declared nuclear power, being the only Islamic nation to have that status, plays a part in its international role.
PakistanÃ‚Â has a fiercely independent foreign policy, especially when it comes to issues such as development ofÃ‚Â nuclear weapons, construction of nuclear reactors, foreign military purchases and other issues that are vital to its national interests. On the other hand, Pakistan’s economy is rather integrated into the world with strong ties to theÃ‚Â EUÃ‚Â and economic aliances and agreements with many other Asian nations. Pakistan has a strategic geo-political location at the corridor of world major maritime oil supply lines, and has close proximity to the resource and oil rich central Asian countries. Pakistan is an important member of theÃ‚Â Organisation of Islamic CooperationÃ‚Â (OIC), is ranked by the US as aÃ‚Â major non-NATO allyÃ‚Â in theÃ‚Â war against terrorism, and has a highly disciplined and professional military.
TheÃ‚Â foreign policy of PakistanÃ‚Â sets out in the way it interacts with foreign nations and to determine its standard of interactions for its organizations, corporations and individual citizens.Ã‚Â Backed by the semi-agricultural and semi-industrializedÃ‚Â economy, Pakistan is theÃ‚Â 42nd largestÃ‚Â (nominal GDP) andÃ‚Â 25th largestÃ‚Â (purchasing power) economic power in the world, with a defence budget of $6.98 billion, which accounts for approximatelyÃ‚Â ~0.37% of global military spending. TheÃ‚Â Foreign Minister of PakistanÃ‚Â is the official charged with state-to-state diplomacy, although theÃ‚Â Prime ministermaintains an ultimate authority over foreign policy.Ã‚Â The state foreign policy includes defining theÃ‚Â national interest, as well as the economic interest and strategies chosen both to safeguard that and to achieve its policy goals.Ã‚Â Following theÃ‚Â general electionÃ‚Â held onÃ‚Â May 2013, Tariq Fatimi andÃ‚Â NSAÃ‚Â Sartaj AzizÃ‚Â are designated as advisers to theÃ‚Â Prime Ministeron foreign and strategic policies.
Since itsÃ‚Â independence in 1947, Pakistan’s foreign policy has encompassed difficult relations with the neighbouringÃ‚Â Soviet UnionÃ‚Â (USSR) who maintained a close military and ideological interaction with the neighbouring countries such asÃ‚Â AfghanistanÃ‚Â (in theÃ‚Â West) andÃ‚Â IndiaÃ‚Â (inÃ‚Â East) as well asÃ‚Â East Pakistan.Ã‚Â During most of 1947Ã¢â‚¬â€œ1991, the USSR support was given toÃ‚Â India; especially on the core-issue ofÃ‚Â Kashmir, over which it has fought three wars.Ã‚Â During the 1960s, Pakistan’s relations with East Pakistan and neighbouringÃ‚Â AfghanistanÃ‚Â have also been extremely difficult due to the latter’s contest over theÃ‚Â Durand Line. The foreign relations withÃ‚Â Iran,Ã‚Â Saudi ArabiaÃ‚Â andÃ‚Â ChinaÃ‚Â remains extremely important and based on the extensive cooperation in national security and economical interests in theÃ‚Â Persian GulfÃ‚Â and wide-ranging bilateral relations with the United States and other Western countries. With theÃ‚Â growing influenceÃ‚Â ofÃ‚Â USSRÃ‚Â in the region, Pakistan cemented close security relations withÃ‚Â ChinaÃ‚Â in Asia and Poland in Europe during most of theÃ‚Â Cold War. While Pakistan’s had “on-off relations” with theÃ‚Â United States, Pakistan assisted President NixonÃ‚Â reapproach withÃ‚Â China and other East Asian countries.
In 1947,Ã‚Â Muhammad Ali Jinnah, founder of the state of Pakistan, clearly described the principles and objectives of Pakistan’s foreign policy in a broadcast message, which is featured prominently in a quotation on the homepage of Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs website: “The foundation of our foreign policy is friendship with all nations across the globe.”
Pakistan-United States relations
The United States has played an important role in the young history of Pakistan, being one of the first countries to recognize their independence on 14 August 1947.Ã‚Â The relationship between the two countries went through varying levels of friendliness, but Pakistan consistently found themselves on the United States side of issues faced during the Cold War.Ã‚Â Pakistan served as a geostrategic position for United States military bases during the Cold War since it bordered the Soviet Union and China.Ã‚Â These positive relations would fall apart following successful cooperation in fighting the Soviet Union’s influence inÃ‚Â Central AsiaÃ‚Â and the subsequent fall of the Soviet Union. ln reaction to Pakistan’s new nuclear capacity, the United States would pass theÃ‚Â Pressler AmendmentÃ‚Â approving sanctions against Pakistan,Ã‚Â but relations would restrengthen followingÃ‚Â 9/11Ã‚Â with Pakistan’s warm response following the tragedy. Aid would be given to Pakistan for the first time again in 2002, and the 2000s saw an extension of this friendly relationship.
As the War on Terror continued to linger, the United States and Pakistan would disagree on strategies while also accusing each other of various things. This dynamic would reach a head following a few incidents highlighted by the operation toÃ‚Â kill Osama bin LadenÃ‚Â inÃ‚Â Abbottabad.Ã‚Â While these incidents wore down the trust between the two nations, the two would continue to share a healthy relationship. Although the two countries do not view each other favorably in polls, the two governments share an important relationship featuring multiple types of aid to Pakistan, important military cooperation and collaboration, and a strategic ally in Central Asia for the United StatesÃ‚Â The United States and Pakistan’s relationship persists of promoting trade and regional economic cooperation, this type of relationship is beneficial for both countries and gives incentive for continuing friendly relations.Ã‚Â U.S. also has concerns regarding Pakistan include regional and global terrorism; Afghan stability; democratization and human rights protection; the ongoing Kashmir problem and Pakistan-India tensions; and economic development.
After Independence, Pakistan vigorously pursued bilateral relations with other Muslim countriesÃ‚Â and made a wholehearted bid for leadership of theÃ‚Â Muslim world, or at least for leadership in achieving its unity.Ã‚Â TheÃ‚Â AliÃ‚Â brothers had sought to project Pakistan as the natural leader of the Islamic world, in large part due to its large manpower and military strength.Ã‚Â A top-rankingÃ‚Â Muslim LeagueÃ‚Â leader,Ã‚Â Khaliquzzaman, declared that Pakistan would bring together all Muslim countries intoÃ‚Â IslamistanÃ‚Â Ã¢â‚¬â€œ a pan-Islamic entity.Ã‚Â Such developments (alongside Pakistan’s creation) did not get American approval and British Prime MinisterÃ‚Â Clement AttleeÃ‚Â voiced international opinion at the time by stating that he wished that India and Pakistan would re-unite.Ã‚Â Since most of theÃ‚Â Arab worldÃ‚Â was undergoing a nationalist awakening at the time, there was little attraction to Pakistan’s Pan-Islamic aspirations.Ã‚Â Some of the Arab countries saw the ‘Islamistan’ project as a Pakistani attempt to dominate other Muslim states.
Pakistan vigorously championed the right of self-determination for Muslims around the world. Pakistan’s efforts for the independence movements ofÃ‚Â Indonesia, Algeria, Tunisia,Ã‚Â MoroccoÃ‚Â and Eritrea were significant and initially led to close ties between these countries and Pakistan.Ã‚Â However, Pakistan also masterminded an attack on the Afghan city ofÃ‚Â JalalabadÃ‚Â during theÃ‚Â Afghan Civil WarÃ‚Â to establish an Islamic government there. Pakistan had wished to forment an ‘Islamic Revolution’ which would transcend national borders covering Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asia.
On the other hand, Pakistan’s relations withÃ‚Â IranÃ‚Â have been strained at times due to sectarian tensions.Ã‚Â Iran andÃ‚Â Saudi ArabiaÃ‚Â used Pakistan as a battleground for their proxy sectarian war and by the 1990s, Pakistan’s support for the SunniÃ‚Â TalibanÃ‚Â organisation in Afghanistan became a problem forÃ‚Â ShiaÃ‚Â Iran which opposed a Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.Ã‚Â Tensions between Iran and Pakistan intensified in 1998, when Iran accused Pakistan of war crimes as Pakistani warplanes bombarded Afghanistan’s last Shia stronghold in support of the Taliban.
Pakistan was a member of theÃ‚Â CommonwealthÃ‚Â from 1947 to 1956 under the name ‘Dominion of Pakistan‘. From 1956 to 1972, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan was aÃ‚Â Commonwealth republic, when it was withdrawn in protest at the Commonwealth’s support ofÃ‚Â East Pakistan‘s secession andÃ‚Â Bangladesh‘s independence. In 1989, Pakistan regained its status as aÃ‚Â Commonwealth republic, which remains the case, despite Pakistan’sÃ‚Â suspension from the Commonwealth of NationsÃ‚Â between 1999 and 2008.
Since 1947, Pakistan’s relations have been difficult with regional neighbors,Ã‚Â IndiaÃ‚Â over the geopolitical issues. In fact, India and Pakistan have foughtÃ‚Â three conventional warsthroughout the 20th century over the issue ofÃ‚Â Kashmir.Ã‚Â There has been attempts to unite the countries but since 1940, Muhammad Ali Jinnah and his Muslim League had demanded an independent Pakistan, whose Muslims would have their own government rather than remaining subordinate to India’s Hindu majority.Ã‚Â There are many sources of tension between the two countries but the issues over the absence of trade and normal discourse, size disparities, and three geostrategic issues: Kashmir, water, and the Siachen Glacier, are the biggest.Ã‚Â The continuing dispute over the status of Kashmir inflames opinions in both nations and makes friendly relations difficult. In the 1960s, the problems over theÃ‚Â Durand LineÃ‚Â escalated withÃ‚Â AfghanistanÃ‚Â which led to open hostilities in the 1970s. Pakistan is the leading member of theÃ‚Â Coffee ClubÃ‚Â to oppose Indian membership in theÃ‚Â United Nations Security Council.