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