Foreign Policy of Pakistan from 1947 to 2012

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  • Topic: Pakistan, Soviet war in Afghanistan, Cold War
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  • Published : December 29, 2012
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Pakistan Foreign Policy: Form 1947 to 2012
Shahnawaz Mohammad Khan PhD Candidate Department of International Relations FUUAST Introduction

Foreign policies generally are designed to help protect a country’s national interest—national security, ideological goals, and economic prosperity. Owing to the anarchic nature of the international political system and the absence of a world government, states tend to feel a high degree of insecurity, as there is no guarantee of the security of a state in the system because war is the legitimate instrument of foreign policy of a state. Hence, each state knows that it has to depend on itself for its preservation and safety. Self-protection is the sole protection in an essentially anarchical system. The primary objective of this paper is to examine Pakistan’s foreign policy making and to analyze it in different eras. Pakistan Foreign Policy

Pakistan’s foreign policy is an important and challenging subject, which has engaged the interest of scholars, analysts and researchers. Thus, the course of Pakistan’s foreign policy has been complex, and has passed through several stages during post independence political development. In the early years it generally adhered to a neutralist course. Then, it departed from this course, and became part of the US Containment Policy against USSR. Consequently, Pakistan got involved into Cold War global politics by entering into the US sponsored military alliances SEATO and CENTO, for the reason that the quest for security and economic development has been at the heart of Pakistan’s foreign policy-making since independence in 1947. Thus, Pakistan’s security environment derives its origins from the circumstances in which it was created. The issues of Pakhtunistan and Durand Line with Afghanistan and Kashmir dispute with India stood out as the major planks of this national security agenda that as yet has been too sacred for the political governments to touch. Under Ayub, grave matters of state security were taken out of the hands of the always untrustworthy political class—Pakistan was to undergo a transition from a homeland for Indian Muslims to a fortress, where its citizens could live more or less “Islamic” lives secure from the predatory India. Historically speaking, since independence, Pakistan’s foreign policy pursued two major objectives i.e. to ensure security through military capability and economic development. In this respect, it is argued that the elements of Pakistan’s security policy bear the imprint of the British colonial legacy. It also has had a profound influence on the Pakistan policy with its neighbour states in post independence era. Hence, the principal objectives of Pakistan’s foreign policy are security and development. Pakistani elites’ approach to security, especially in the context of Afghanistan and India, revolved around military threats, and also the fear of subversion caused by these states to foster secessionist movements. These threats not only posed a danger to the territorial integrity of the country but also challenged the existence of the regimes in power and undermined the legitimizing ideology of the state. Pakistan’s security dilemma is traceable to the historical experience of people’s fear from Indian dominance. Afghanistan’s claims on some parts of Pakistani territory have also been a source of consistent tension between the...
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