Let us be on the same page
foreign policy and will not join US camp against Russia. Replying to a newsmen’s question, he also declared that if invited he would be delighted to visit Moscow on a state visit. Alas! he was assassinated in October 1951 while he had received invitation for state visit from Premier Joseph Stalin to take place in May 1952 and one can easily see the connection with this announcement. Then his successors who were not representatives of people destroyed the image and nomenclature of our beloved homeland so that the masses did then realize what was good for them and what not. So since then a political struggle initiated through the socalled Charter of Democracy and NRO is going on to further enhance the US hegemony in this region to establish US Empire. After Liaquat Ali’s assassination, Pakistan got itself drawn on to the side of Western alliances SEATO and CENTO headed by the US during the cold war period.
A new term of detente was coined in International relations for reduction of tension between countries. This term gained popularity during 1970’s when the US Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford tried to draw the USSR into a closer relationship with the USA that was only possible after Pakistan had played the master stroke of bridging the gap between USA and China by facilitating US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger to fly on a secret mission to Beijing. The last and the most successful time of detente between the two super powers came when Mikhail Gorbachev’s presidency of the USSR, which saw multilateral talks for disarmament T HERE is a dearth of good news these days in Pakistan, but one that should give good reason for optimism is the ‘landmark’ agreement for defence cooperation signed between Russia and Pakistan. After many years of rather cold bilateral relations this agreement seems to be a new beginning for Pakistan’s foreign relations and its positioning with the international community. The agreement was signed during the visit of Russian Defence Minister General Sergey Kuzhugetovich Shoygu, who was accompanied by a 41-member high-level delegation of Russian defence officials. The Russian Defence Minister is the highest dignitary of his country undertaking the visit of Pakistan after sudden postponement of the visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin two years ago in October.
Since the aborted visit of Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan to Moscow in 1950, when he preferred to go on a three week state visit to US in May 1950, US asked Pakistan to provide bases and join financial domain that Liaquat Ali Khan considered a sell-off; he instead of refusing presented his demand. When Liaquat Ali asked the US to announce unconditional support of the US for Pakistan on Kashmir, it was flatly refused. He soon realized his mistake and Liaquat Ali Khan declared while still on US soil that as a consequence Pakistan will adhere to an independent agreements SALT and START leading to end of cold war.
Despite our repeated bad experiences with the SEATO and CENTO alliance and especially with the US in 1965, 1971 and 1989, Pakistan each time renewed this alliance despite the bad experiences. While Russia has long been the largest supplier of arms to India while the Pakistani army for decades has been relying on arms provision on the US and even this has been a story with many letdowns: just remember the years of delay in the provision of F-16 despite the fact that the money for the purchase had been paid. Another obstacle in the Russo-Pakistani relations has surely been Russia’s close partnership with India that was cemented by the Indo–Soviet Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Cooperation that had been signed between the two countries in 1971.
Looking at the present defence agreement, it seems that it could open a new chapter not only in the relations between Russia and Pakistan but also mark the beginning of Pakistan’s reorientation of foreign relations towards the newly evolving power alliance in Asia headed by Russia and China. This new direction in international relations is supported by the fact of Russia’s support for Pakistan’s candidature for full membership of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) – another feature of the newly developing international power structure with implications not only for economic cooperation but for defence and security related cooperation as well.
The only worry in this connection is if this agreement signed by the Defence Minister of Pakistan - a person and position that has not been famous for strong political intolerate fluence and good relations with the army - is accepted by the army whole-heartedly. As a matter of fact the visit of the Russian delegation comes at a time when the COAS General Raheel Sharif is in the US on an extended tour seemingly assuring the Americans of Pakistani loyalty and fullfledged intention of dealing with the menace of militancy that has come to Pakistan also as a result of ill-conceived American foreign policy. So, are army and government ‘on the same page’ in this matter?
One hopes intensely so though a recent commentary in the media stated that there was no common page between the army and this government. So far the army has been devising its own policy instead of coordinating with a rather weak and confused government. The ‘ misrepresented’ quotation of Sartaj Aziz in his interview with the BBC may be a good example for the confusion. Therefore, it would have been more comforting if General Raheel would have been present during this highly important visit. We could have waited for his return unless it was from the Russian side to do it now.
The future of Asia and the world will be saved if power balance is shifted by the countries of this region into SCO and other related alliances instead of war mongering US and NATO alliance supported by EU and IMF. The diplomacy and prudent management of International affairs will yield fruitful results by reconciling differences between Russia and Pakistan. GOD Bless Humanity and Pakistan. —The writer is Karachi-based senior columnist.