Feb 10, 2009
PAKISTAN AND ITS FOREIGN RELATIONS
After September 11, 2001, Pakistan's prominence in the international community increased significantly, as it pledged its alliance with the U.S. in the war on terror and made a commitment to eliminate terrorist camps on its territory. Historically, Pakistan has had difficult and volatile relations with India, long-standing close relations with China, extensive security and economic interests in the Persian Gulf, and wide-ranging bilateral relations with the United States and other Western countries. It expresses a strong desire for a stable Afghanistan.IndiaSince partition, relations between Pakistan and India have been characterized by rivalry and suspicion. Although many issues divide the two countries, the most sensitive one since independence has been the status of Kashmir.At the time of partition, the princely state of Kashmir, though ruled by a Hindu Maharajah, had an overwhelmingly Muslim population. When the Maharajah hesitated in acceding to either Pakistan or India in 1947, some of his Muslim subjects, later aided by tribesmen from Pakistan, revolted in favor of joining Pakistan. In exchange for military assistance in containing the revolt, the Kashmiri ruler offered his allegiance to India. Indian troops occupied the eastern portion of Kashmir, including its capital, Srinagar, while the western part came under Pakistani control.India submitted this dispute to the United Nations on January 1, 1948. One year later, the UN arranged a cease-fire along a line dividing Kashmir but leaving the northern end of the line not demarcated and the Vale of Kashmir (with the majority of the population) under Indian control. India and Pakistan agreed to a resolution that called for a UN-supervised plebiscite to determine the state's future This plebiscite has not occurred because the main precondition, the withdrawal of both nations’ forces from Kashmir, has failed to take place.Full-scale hostilities erupted in September 1965, when India alleged that insurgents trained and supplied by Pakistan were operating in India-controlled Kashmir. Hostilities ceased 3 weeks later, following mediation efforts by the UN and interested countries. In January 1966, the leaders of India and Pakistan met in Tashkent, U.S.S.R., and agreed to attempt a peaceful settlement of Kashmir and their other differences.Following the 1971 Indo-Pakistan conflict, President Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi met in the hill station of Shimla, India, in July 1972. They agreed to a line of control in Kashmir resulting from the December 17, 1971, cease-fire, and endorsed the principle of settlement of bilateral disputes through peaceful means. In 1974, Pakistan and India agreed to resume postal and telecommunications linkages and to enact measures to facilitate travel. Trade and diplomatic relations were restored in 1976 after a hiatus of 5 years.India's nuclear test in 1974 generated great uncertainty in Pakistan and is generally acknowledged to have been the impetus for Pakistan's nuclear weapons development program. In 1983, the Pakistani and Indian Governments accused each other of aiding separatists in their respective countries--Sikhs in India's Punjab state and Sindhis in Pakistan's Sindh province. In April 1984, tensions erupted after troops were deployed to the Siachen Glacier, a high-altitude, desolate area close to the China border not demarcated by the cease-fire agreement (Karachi Agreement) signed by Pakistan and India in 1949.Tensions diminished after Rajiv Gandhi became Prime Minister in November 1984 and after a group of Sikh hijackers was brought to trial by Pakistan in March 1985. In December 1985, President Zia and Prime Minister Gandhi pledged not to attack each other's nuclear facilities. A formal "no attack" agreement was signed in January 1991. In early 1986, the Indian and Pakistani Governments began high-level talks to resolve the Siachen Glacier border dispute and to improve trade.Bilateral tensions increased in early 1990, when Kashmiri militants began a campaign of violence against Indian Government authority in Jammu and Kashmir. Subsequent high-level bilateral meetings relieved the tensions between India and Pakistan, but relations worsened again after the destruction of the Ayodhya mosque by Hindu extremists in December 1992 and terrorist bombings in Bombay in March 1993. Talks between the Foreign Secretaries of both countries in January 1994 ended in deadlock.More recently, the Indo-Pakistani relationship has veered sharply between rapprochement and conflict. After taking office in February 1997, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif moved to resume official dialog with India. A number of meetings at the foreign secretary and prime ministerial level took place, with positive atmospherics but little concrete progress. The relationship improved markedly when Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee traveled to Lahore for a summit with Sharif in February 1999. There was considerable hope that the meeting could lead to a breakthrough.In spring 1999, infiltrators from Pakistan occupied positions on the Indian side of the Line of Control in the remote, mountainous area of Kashmir near Kargil, threatening the ability of India to supply its forces on Siachen Glacier. By early summer, serious fighting flared in the Kargil sector. The infiltrators withdrew following a meeting between Prime Minister Sharif and President Clinton in July. Relations between India and Pakistan were particularly strained during the 1999 coup in Islamabad. Then, just weeks after the September 11, 2001 attack on the United States, an attack on India's Parliament on December 13 further strained this relationship.The prospects for better relations between India and Pakistan improved in early January 2004 when a summit meeting of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) permitted India’s Prime Minister Vajpayee to meet with President Musharraf. Both leaders agreed to establish a Composite Dialogue to resolve their disputes. The Composite Dialogue focuses on eight issues: confidence building measures, Kashmir, Wullar barrage, promotion of friendly exchanges, Siachen glacier, Sir creek, terrorism and drug trafficking, and economic and commercial cooperation. The first round of the Composite Dialogue was held in New Delhi on June 27-28, 2004.Relations further improved when President Musharraf met Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New York in October 2004. Additional steps aimed at improving relations were announced when Indian Foreign Minister Natwar Singh visited Islamabad in February 2005 and in April 2005 when President Musharraf traveled to India to view a cricket match and hold discussions. In a further display of improved relations, bus service commenced from Pakistan-controlled Kashmir to Srinagar in April 2005. After a destructive earthquake hit the Kashmir region in October 2005, the two countries cooperated with each other to deal with the humanitarian crisis.Musharraf and Singh last met in September 2006 at the Non-Aligned Summit in Havana. At this meeting, the two leaders condemned all acts of terrorism and agreed to continue the search for options acceptable to both sides for a peaceful, negotiated settlement of all issues, including the issue of Jammu and Kashmir. The foreign secretaries of both nations opened the fourth round of the Composite Dialogue in Islamabad on March 13-14, 2007.AfghanistanFollowing the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the Pakistani Government played a vital role in supporting the Afghan resistance movement and assisting Afghan refugees. After the Soviet withdrawal in February 1989, Pakistan, with cooperation from the world community, continued to provide extensive support for displaced Afghans. Continued turmoil in Afghanistan prevented the refugees from returning to their country. In 1999, more than 1.2 million registered Afghan refugees remained in Pakistan. Pakistan was one of three countries to recognize the Taliban regime of Afghanistan. International pressure after September 11, 2001, prompted Pakistan to reassess its relations with the Taliban regime and support the U.S. and international coalition in Operation Enduring Freedom to remove the Taliban from power. Pakistan has publicly expressed its support to Afghanistan's President Karzai and has pledged $100 million toward Afghanistan's reconstruction. Both nations are also working to strengthen cooperation along their rugged border, including making preparations to hold joint jirgas in their restive border areas.People's Republic of ChinaIn 1950, Pakistan was among the first countries to recognize the People's Republic of China (PRC). Following the Sino-Indian hostilities of 1962, Pakistan's relations with China became stronger; since then, the countries have regularly exchanged high-level visits resulting in various agreements. China has provided economic, military, and technical assistance to Pakistan. Favorable relations with China have been a pillar of Pakistan's foreign policy. The PRC strongly supported Pakistan's opposition to Soviet involvement in Afghanistan and is perceived by Pakistan as a regional counterweight to India and Russia.Iran and the Persian GulfHistorically, Pakistan has had close geopolitical and cultural-religious linkages with Iran. However, strains in the relationship appeared following the Iranian revolution. Pakistan and Iran supported different factions in the Afghan conflict. Also, some Pakistanis suspect Iranian government support for the sectarian violence that has plagued Pakistan. However, relations between the countries have improved since their policies toward Afghanistan have converged with the fall of the Taliban. Both countries contend that they are on the road to strong and lasting friendly relations.Pakistan historically has provided military personnel to strengthen Gulf-state defenses and to reinforce its own security interests in the area.U.S.-PAKISTAN RELATIONSThe United States and Pakistan established diplomatic relations in 1947. The U.S. agreement to provide economic and military assistance to Pakistan and the latter's partnership in the Baghdad Pact/CENTO and SEATO strengthened relations between the nations. However, the U.S. suspension of military assistance during the 1965 Indo-Pakistan war generated a widespread feeling in Pakistan that the United States was not a reliable ally. Even though the United States suspended military assistance to both countries involved in the conflict, the suspension of aid affected Pakistan much more severely. Gradually, relations improved, and arms sales were renewed in 1975. Then, in April 1979, the United States cut off economic assistance to Pakistan, except food assistance, as required under the Symington Amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, due to concerns about Pakistan's nuclear program.The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979 highlighted the common interest of Pakistan and the United States in peace and stability in South Asia. In 1981, the United States and Pakistan agreed on a $3.2 billion military and economic assistance program aimed at helping Pakistan deal with the heightened threat to security in the region and its economic development needs.Recognizing national security concerns and accepting Pakistan's assurances that it did not intend to construct a nuclear weapon, Congress waived restrictions (Symington Amendment) on military assistance to Pakistan. In March 1986, the two countries agreed on a second multi-year (FY 1988-93) $4 billion economic development and security assistance program. On October 1, 1990, however, the United States suspended all military assistance and new economic aid to Pakistan under the Pressler Amendment, which required that the President certify annually that Pakistan "does not possess a nuclear explosive device."Several incidents of violence against American officials and U.S. mission employees in Pakistan have marred the relationship. In November 1979, false rumors that the United States had participated in the seizure of the Grand Mosque in Mecca provoked a mob attack on the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad in which the chancery was set on fire resulting in the loss of life of American and Pakistani staff. In 1989, an attack on the American Center in Islamabad resulted in six Pakistanis being killed in crossfire with the police. In March 1995, two American employees of the consulate in Karachi were killed and one wounded in an attack on the home-to-office shuttle. In November 1997, four U.S. businessmen were brutally murdered while being driven to work in Karachi. In March 2002 a suicide attacker detonated explosives in a church in Islamabad, killing two Americans associated with the Embassy and three others. There were also unsuccessful attacks by terrorists on the Consulate General in Karachi in May 2002. Another bomb was detonated near American and other businesses in Karachi in November 2005, killing three people and wounding 15 others. On March 2, 2006, a suicide bomber detonated a car packed with explosives as a vehicle carrying an American Foreign Service officer passed by on its way to Consulate Karachi. The diplomat, the Consulate’s locally-employed driver and three other people were killed in the blast; 52 others were wounded.The decision by India to conduct nuclear tests in May 1998 and Pakistan's matching response set back U.S. relations in the region, which had seen renewed U.S. Government interest during the second Clinton Administration. A presidential visit scheduled for the first quarter of 1998 was postponed and, under the Glenn Amendment, sanctions restricted the provision of credits, military sales, economic assistance, and loans to the government. The October 1999 overthrow of the democratically elected Sharif government triggered an additional layer of sanctions under Section 508 of the Foreign Appropriations Act, which include restrictions on foreign military financing and economic assistance. U.S. Government assistance to Pakistan was subsequently limited mainly to refugee and counter-narcotics assistance.The U.S.-Pakistan relationship changed significantly once Pakistan agreed to support the U.S. campaign to eliminate the Taliban in Afghanistan and to join the United States in the Global War on Terror. Since September 2001, Pakistan has provided extensive assistance in the war on terror by capturing more than 600 al-Qaida members and their allies. The United States has stepped up its economic assistance to Pakistan, providing debt relief and support for a major effort for education reform. During President Musharraf's visit to the United States in 2003, President Bush announced that the United States would provide Pakistan with $3 billion in economic and military aid over 5 years. This assistance package commenced during FY 2005.Following the region’s tragic October 8, 2005 earthquake, the United States responded immediately and generously to Pakistan’s call for assistance. The response was consistent with U.S. humanitarian values and our deep commitment to Pakistan. At the subsequent reconstruction conference in Islamabad on November 19, 2005, the U.S. announced a $510 million commitment to Pakistan for earthquake relief and reconstruction, including humanitarian assistance, military support for relief operations, and anticipated U.S. private contributions.President Bush and President Musharraf have affirmed the long-term, strategic partnership between their two countries. In 2004, the United States recognized closer bilateral ties with Pakistan by designating Pakistan as a Major Non-NATO Ally. President Bush visited Pakistan in March 2006, where he and President Musharraf reaffirmed their shared commitment to a broad and lasting strategic partnership, agreeing to continue their cooperation on a number of issues including: the war on terror, security in the region, strengthening democratic institutions, trade and investment, education, and earthquake relief and reconstruction.The United States and Pakistan concluded the sale to Pakistan of F-16 aircraft in late 2006, further reflecting their deepening strategic partnership. President Musharraf visited Washington in September 2006, where he held a bilateral meeting with President Bush and also participated in a trilateral meeting with President Bush and President Karzai of Afghanistan. The U.S.-Pakistan strategic partnership is based on the shared interests of the United States and Pakistan in building stable and sustainable democracy and in promoting peace and security, stability, prosperity, and democracy in South Asia and across the globe.