Dr. A. Z. Hi­lali Chair­man De­part­ment of Po­lit­i­cal Sci­ence, Univer­sity of Pe­shawar.

The Diplomatic Insight - - Contents -

Since the in­cep­tion of Pak­istan (1947), its diplo­matic re­la­tions with the for­mer Soviet Union were hos­tile, tense and un­pleas­ant due to the Cold War ide­o­log­i­cal bar­ri­ers. Se­cu­rity es­tab­lish­ment of Pak­istan was skep­ti­cal of it due to the Moscow-New Delhi part­ner­ship. In the cir­cum­stance, Pak­istan had no op­tion and aligned it­self with the United States and be­came known as the “most al­lied ally of the West”, through not one, but four mu­tual se­cu­rity ar­range­ments with the prin­ci­pal ac­tor of the ColdWar in an epic bat­tle. So, the ColdWar was an era of bit­ter choices for Pak­istan be­cause the strug­gle be­tween com­mu­nist and cap­i­tal­ist worlds dam­aged the coun­try in terms of po­lit­i­cal, strate­gic and eco­nomic fields dur­ing the Cold War. So, the time has ar­rived that both coun­tries have come out from the ColdWar syn­drome and build new re­la­tions on the ba­sis of new geopo­lit­i­cal re­al­i­ties and move for­ward to­gether to emerge as a eco­nomic power of the re­gions. Pak­istan's strate­gic lo­ca­tion in the heart of South and South­west Asia is sig­nif­i­cant in the world be­cause it is the corner stone of the Per­sian Gulf and shares a com­mon border with China. It stands across the great moun­tain passes par­tic­u­larly Khy­ber and Bolan through which no coun­try can ac­cess to the im­por­tant parts ofAsi­aw­ith­out the air and land sup­port of Pak­istan. So, the coun­try sit­u­a­tion vir­tu­ally con­sti­tutes a de­fen­sive shield for past to present and also the gate­way from East to West. But re­gret­tably, Pak­istan's se­cu­rity man­age­ment has al­ways failed to take ad­van­tages of their geo-po­lit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion and be­cause of the weak­nesses of the lead­er­ship, the strate­gic im­por­tance seems to con­vert into bleed­ing wound to the coun­try and na­tion. For nearly five decades, Pak­istan's for­eign pol­icy and diplo­macy has be­come the hostage of con­ser­va­tive mafia which re­stricted coun­try from Moscow and put all eggs in one bas­ket against the in­ter­ests of the coun­try. Al­though it proved that in all cri­sis times, Western friends never gave credit of Pak­istan's align­ment and left it alone and be­come neu­tral. Their friend­ship and re­la­tion­ship has been ex­posed a num­bers of time be­cause they shut their eyes dur­ing 1965 and 1971 wars and also left stranded af­ter the col­lapse of the Soviet Union. In the con­tem­po­rary time, war on ter­ror has badly dam­aged Pak­istan econ­omy and so­cial in­fra­struc­ture that is also ap­prox­i­mately $70 bil­lion but not will­ing to give at­ten­tion. In fact, Pak­istan's con­ser­va­tive hawks be­lieve that US would help the coun­try which will just join thewest­ern club against com­mu­nism and in re­turn the US will help res­cue coun­try from eco­nomic poverty and be­lieve that Western Europe and Amer­ica would be­come ma­jor trad­ing part­ner of Pak­istan. There is no doubt that theUS helped Pak­istan to re­build its econ­omy af­ter the 1950s but its eco­nomic as­sis­tance and in­vest­ment cre­ated de­pen­dence and eco­nomic in­tox­i­ca­tion rather than self-suf­fi­ciency. Pak­istan was the ma­jor re­cip­i­ent of US eco­nomic and mil­i­tary as­sis­tance but did not emerge as a strong eco­nom­i­cally vi­brant coun­try like Ja­pan, Korea, Is­rael and Tai­wan and in­di­rectly its as­sis­tance weak­ened the coun­try's in­dus­trial in­fra­struc­ture. Thus, US aid had been very ef­fec­tive in pre­vent­ing the spread of com­mu­nism and pro­mote west­ern­iza­tion but failed to estab­lish strong demo­crat­i­cally based eco­nomic wel­fare so­ci­ety. On the other hand, the Soviet Union of­fered Pak­istan tech­ni­cal know-how for peace­ful uses of atomic en­ergy and trans­fer of tech­nol­ogy for more than 130 in­dus­trial projects dur­ing 1956 to 1985 which Pak­istan turned down to please theUS andWest­ern al­lies. Pak­istan SteelMill of­fered by the Soviet For­eign Min­is­ter Molo­tov in 1955-56 but was ac­tu­ally ac­cepted by Zul­fikar Ali Bhutto in 1972. In a good­will ges­ture, the Soviet Union signed a trade agree­ment and gave 'the sta­tus of the most favoured na­tion' to Pak­istan re­gard­ing im­ports and ex­ports but plan was sab­o­taged by the western lob­bies in Pak­istan. Leader of Soviet Par­lia­men­tary del­e­ga­tion, I. A. Bene­dic­tov, paid a visit to Pak­istan in Fe­bru­ary 1958 and ex­pressed his coun­try's will­ing­ness to give eco­nomic and tech­ni­cal as­sis­tance to Pak­istan, mainly in agri­cul­ture, control of floods and de­sali­na­tion, control of pests and soil ero­sion but Is­lam­abad failed to fi­nal­ize the mat­ter. Moscow many time re­newed its of­fer of as­sis­tance to help ex­plore nat­u­ral re­sources in­clud­ing oil and gas but western bureau­cracy al­ways cre­ated hur­dles and the coun­try was de­prived of en­ergy re­sources.

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