THIS IS A PAKPOTPOURRI EXCLUSIVE Should Pakistan consider learning from history?
Jawad Raza Khan
Creation of Pakistan in middle of the 20th century raised many eyebrows from east to west and north to south. An ideological Muslim state was created between an imaginary line carved by Mr. Henry Mortimer Durand, the foreign secretary of British India in 1892 and an award by Mr. Redcliff during Partition 1947, yet another British. This is article is not at all another endeavor to throw spotlight on unjust division of India rather, it’s an attempt to present a consolidated document on the dichotomy and derailment of Pakistan’s foreign policy since its very inception.
To begin with let’s see the ground reality in Indian perspective just after three years of its creation: Mr. Purushottamdas Tandon, the newly-elected Congress Party president, who was in charge of India’s foreign policy and Kashmir, while addressing the 56th session of the Indian National Congress at Gandhinagar on September 20, 1950 said that “Congress did not wish India to join either the U.S. or the Soviet bloc, but to maintain friendly relations with both, and to consider every question raised at the U.N. from the viewpoint of justice and world peace; thus India had supported the Soviet policy of admitting Communist China into the U.N., and the Anglo-American policy of naming North Korea an aggressor.
According to Keesing’s Record of World Events, Volume VIII, March, 1951 India, Page 11310. The disadvantage of this policy was that no bloc regarded India as a full ally, and many nations were “biased in favour of Pakistan” as a possible future ally.
With weaker wicket for India after passing of United Nations Security Council Resolution 47, adopted on April 21, 1948, to restore peace and order to the region and prepare for a plebiscite to decide the fate of Kashmir, Pakistan was a hot favourite for strong economic and military alliances.
Harrison Salisbury writes for New York Times on November 06, 1955, “Moscow Eyes South Asia from Kabul to Calcutta”.
“A new struggle between the Soviet Union and the United States is now unfolding on a 7,000-mile front in Asia–the struggle for the “uncommitted third.”
As Russians were looking for breathing space during this Cold War era and Indian non alliance attitude in the wake of UN resolution of Kashmir, Pakistan couldn’t realize the gravity of a strategic partner in regional politics and in the same year went for SEATO and CENTO. Although, CENTO had little formal structure, but it did give the US and Britain access to facilities in Pakistan, facilities like an airbase outside of Peshawar from where U-2 intelligence flights over the Soviet Union were launched.
Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal a research Scholar, School of International Studies Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi in his article “Pak- Russo relation A Review” in July 2007 commented about Pakistan relations with Russia as: Russo-Pakistan relations have come through unfavorable circumstances in a phased manner. In a historical perspective, the first significant Soviet–Pakistan aid agreement was signed in March 1961 for the oil exploration in Pakistan. In September 1966, the Soviet Union and Pakistan concluded an agreement for economic and technical cooperation. At the time of Kosygin’s visit to Pakistan in April 1968, the Soviets offered to assist in the building of a steel plant near Karachi and an atomic power plant in East Pakistan. Pravda (April 19, 1968) noted that the Soviet Union was giving aid to Pakistan for the construction of 21 large industrial undertakings.
Projects like Steel mills Karachi and oil exploration in Baluchistan were strategic agreements of their time and Pakistan was trying to peep beyond the shoulder of the Big Brother (West), more realistically after the dilemma of 1971.
Let’s not forget China at this important juncture of Pakistan’s Foreign policy memoranda, especially in the context of its relations with Russians. Despite of Pakistan entering into SEATO and CENTO, China realized the geo-strategic importance of Pakistan. History bears the testimony of strong economic and military ties between China and Pakistan. Strategic assets of Pakistan in shape of Heavy Industrial Complex Taxila, Aeronautical complex Kamra, Nuclear power projects in Karachi and Chasma, the 8th undeclared wonder of the world Karakorum Highway, Gawader port and many more are……………..
On the other hand in the same time and space, for Pakistanis, the United States plays concurrent, exasperating roles as partial supporter, guardian, interrupter and harasser. For more than five decades, the United States has provided armaments, agricultural aid and alliances; every promise has brought enduring difficulties. Military aid supported military dictators, foreign aid brought a huge U.S. presence and the Afghanistan war brought, and continues to bring, millions of refugees, guns and drugs. At the same time, critique seems to accompany every act of seeming generosity: U.S. statements are full of hectoring about the sorry state of Pakistan’s economy, democracy and foreign entanglements. For many Pakistanis, the U.S. has always been part of the problem, an inappropriate, self-appointed conscience.
Pak US Relations as Ally
Last 11 years saw great game of Tug of War with Pakistan not as a participant but as rope between the players of the Great Game. Famous carrot and stick policy of west remains the headlines for Pakistan. Following can be put up as the summary of Pakistan’s worst years of its history with its so called status of an important US ally in the war on terror.
Pakistan picked up more than 40000 funerals of Pakistani brothers both civilians and security officials; Pakistan is now one of the most dangerous countries in the world; Economy has been shattered; The strongest pillar of Pakistan its ideology is now the most confused preposition; Pakistan is now discussed as a failed and dysfunctional state, suspiciously incapable to guard its nuclear installation; Terrorism which was effectively used in this world as tactical weapon, has invented its new facet of strategic terrorism (PNS Mehran).
With all the mentioned benefits accomplished by Pakistan, the world is witnessing yet another paradigm shift in US policy against its own ally, hence strengthening dozens of conspiracy theories, discussed at length regarding dismemberment of nuclear Pakistan.
Although Pakistan did joined hands with US for eliminating terrorism from the globe but at the same time also realized the importance Russian influence and importance in the region. Just after 18 months of 9/11 President of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf visited Russia on the invitation of Putin (The first visit by a Pakistani leader for 30 years since Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in 1970s). The visit can be termed as historic as it brought President of Russia for the first time in the history of Pakistan to its soil. This was indeed a great break through which led Pakistan to organize the first ever solo Pakistan exhibition in St. Petersburg in early September 2004. Years of 2004 and 2005 also witnessed some important MoUs signed for oil exploration in Pakistan.
In anticipation of a visit of Putin to Pakistan Indian media reacted very strongly especially when Russian delegation visited Pakistan in late 2000, concurrently when Putin was visiting old friend India. In an article published in Indian Daily The Hindu on September 2000 written by C Raja Mohan “In choosing to be the first Soviet or Russian supremo ever to visit Pakistan, President Vladimir Putin has set in motion a new phase in the Russian policy towards the subcontinent. The move could begin to unfreeze the historically one-sided Russian engagement of the archrivals in the subcontinent, India and Pakistan”.
Meanwhile, collaborative actions in Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), grouping organized by China and Russia that also includes Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, offered Pakistan and Russia to understand each other’s concerns. Under insistence from Putin, Islamabad’s move to join SCO, a regional grouping, dominated by China and Russia further cemented the ties with Moscow. SCO offered Pakistan to join Russia, China and Central Asian States to advance its national interest as well. Most Russian desired that Pakistan joins SCO as a full member.
The Current Situation
The OBL fiasco from Abbottabad; Parliament’s collective voice to reconsider relation with US; No breather from drones; Eve of Strategic terrorism in the back drop PNS Mehran catastrophe; Indian betrayal to Russia in form of cancellation of jets deal has forced Pakistan and Russia to start building up the relations in their best interest.
Recent visit of President Zardari to Russia coupled with Russian Army Chief visiting GHQ can indeed be taken as melting of the tip of iceberg. Pakistan and Russia must sieze this opportunity as Pakistan’s closeness to China is yet another factor that Russia always takes very seriously.
The Last Say
Ideological nation like Pakistan possess ideology as the most effective weapon to counter disunity amongst the masses. On the other hand nation’s own ideology has nothing to do with the world outside, as far as the political dynamics of modern international relations are concerned. Pakistan’s fight to counter terrorism inside Pakistan for the rest of the world and fall of communism after the disintegration of Soviet Union, has left no irritants for Russia and Pakistan to join hands and work for the betterment of the region. This can prove to be a very vital step for a safer and prosperous world living in peace with harmony.
THE WRITER IS A POLITICAL COMMENTATOR BASED IN ISLAMABAD.