Ever since, Pakistan emerged on the map of the world, it has always been in search of alliance for its security, survival and sustainability. The history of Pak-US relations had a history of roller coaster rider. During the ties between the two nations, there have been more ebbs than flaws. Due to trust deficit on the both sides, relations between the two nations have been tumultuous.
Being a Muslim State and anti-Communist which had its roots from Khilafat Movement and capitalist bloc. The United States policy is based on self-interest towards the world in general and Pakistan in particular.
There is no permanent friend for the US as saying goes “There is no permanent friend and permanent enemy in international politics, only interests are permanent”. The US is major player of this game among the nations of the world.
Defence Alliance SEATO And CENTO:
In 1950s and 1960s, Pakistan’s inability to match India in military and economic spheres and for search of security led it to enter into two American-sponsored alliances namely Baghdad Pact or Central Treaty Organization (CENTO) and South East Asian Treaty Organization (SEATO). Although these pacts actually were to contain Soviet Union baked communism but this fact cannot be altogether denied that these pacts really strengthened the relationship between the two nations. At that time relationships with the US were so close and friendly that it was called the ‘United States allied ally’ in Asia. Pakistan tried unsuccessfully to get assistance in its wars with India through CENTO, but this was rejected under the idea that CENTO was aimed at containing the USSR, not India. Pakistan formally left SEATO in 1973, because the organization had failed to provide it with assistance in its ongoing conflict against India.
Note on SEATO and CENTO: Pakistan grievances about the military pacts were based on lack of understanding. There was no ambiguity about the US motivations. It could be only invoked against the communist aggression. However, Pakistan had secured significant military aid through pacts which was actually used to fight against India in 1965 war.
Indo-Pak Wars Of 1965 And 1971:
The suspension of US military aid during 1965 Indo-Pak war generated the feeling in Pakistan that the US was not a reliable ally. Although, the US suspended, military aid to both countries involved in conflict, the suspension affected Pakistan much more, and India still received military aid from Soviet.
Gradually, relations improved and arms sales were renewed in 1975. But again in April 1979, the US cut off economic aid, except that of food assistance, as required under the Symington Amendment to the US Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, due to concerns about Pakistan’s nuclear programme.
US role in Indo-Pak war 1965: The United States had been the principal supplier of military material to India and Pakistan since 1947. While India had pursued a policy of nominal non-alignment, Pakistan was a member of both CENTO and SEATO and a purported (claimed, supposed) ally of the West in its struggle against Communism. Well before the conflict began, however, Britain and the United States had suspected Pakistan of joining both alliances out of opportunism to acquire advanced weapons for a war against India. They had therefore limited their military aid to Pakistan to maintain the existing balance of power in the subcontinent. Following the start of the 1965 war, both the United States and Britain took the view that the conflict was largely Pakistan’s fault, and suspended all arms shipments to both India and Pakistan.
US role in Indo-Pak war 1971: The United States supported Pakistan both politically and materially. President Richard Nixon and his Secretary of State Henry Kissinger refused to use rhetoric in a hopeless attempt to intervene in a large civil war. They needed Pakistan to help stop Soviet expansion into South Asia in informal alliance with India. Pakistan was a close formal ally of the United States and was also on good terms with the People’s Republic of China, with whom Nixon had been negotiating a rapprochement and where he intended to visit in February 1972. Nixon feared that an Indian invasion of West Pakistan would mean total Soviet domination of the region, and that it would seriously undermine the global position of the United States and the regional position of America’s new tacit ally, China. Nixon encouraged countries like Jordan and Iran to send military supplies to Pakistan while also encouraging China to increase its arms supplies to Pakistan. The Nixon administration also ignored reports it received of the “genocidal” activities of the Pakistani Army in East Pakistan, most notably the Blood telegram. This prompted widespread criticism and condemnation both by the United States Congress and in the international press.
Pak-US Relations During Afghanistan Crisis:
The US policy took a U-turn after Soviets intervention in Afghanistan and Pakistan fought a proxy war as a part of US policy to contain Soviet backed communism. When Soviet invaded Afghanistan in 1979, the convergence of interests between the two nations again brought them close to each other. With the US assistance largest covert operation of history, Pakistan trained, armed and supplied anti-Soviet mujahedeen to Afghanistan, eventually defeating Soviets, who withdrew in 1988. After the disintegration of former Soviet Union and victory of Western bloc, Pakistan did not remain that much dear to the US and bright colours of their close relations got dim after Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan. It was the period when Pakistan remained under immense pressure due to its ongoing nuclear programme to match with India, to which Pakistan was determined and committed to its completion because it considered it as a weapon for its survival. In the 1980s Pakistan was a vital partner in evicting the Soviet Union from Afghanistan, even though its covert nuclear program drew much criticism.
Note on Pakistan’s role in Afghan crisis: Secondly Pakistani policymakers have considered it was in Pakistan own’s interest to oppose the Soviet Union military occupation in Afghanistan. Pakistan stared support to the afghan resistance even before the US did so. The US has its own global policy of opposing communism and it has nothing to do and it is not correct that it has compelled Pakistan to join the war. However, Pakistan gained significant benefits during Afghan war as military, economic and diplomatic aid from US plus a blind eye towards its growing nuclear program.
Relations After 9/11:
To maintain its hegemony, the US needed allies since the phenomenon of regionalism has emerged. After tragic incident of 9/11, the US started the so-called war on terrorism and Pakistan became its frontline and major non-NATO ally. When the US geo-strategic interests are so dictated, relations with Pakistan warmed up, followed by military aid and economic assistance.
One factor of mistrust has remained pinching though Pakistan armed forces through its operations in the Tribal areas which are the sanctuaries of Taliban and al-Qaida, still Pakistan and its premier intelligence agency ISI is accused of covertly supporting Taliban and providing them assistance to launch their operations against the US-led allied forces. Because of the US dualism policy, anti-American sentiments are found in both the common people and even at government level.
Before 9/11, Pakistan was under four US sanctions:
First, President Bush (senior), under Section 620.E of Foreign Assistance Act or the Pressler Amendment, it is normally known as the suspended economic assistance and military sales to Pakistan in October, 1990.
Second, after the nuclear explosion by Pakistan, another set of military and economic sanctions was imposed on Pakistan under Arms Export Control Act.
Third, under the democracy law, sanctions were applied on Pakistan, when General Musharraf assume power in Pakistan on 12 October, 1999.
Fourth, in November 2000, the US applied two years sanctions on Pakistan’s Ministry of Defence and Pakistan’s Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Organization, for receiving nuclear technology and equipment from China.
Pakistan is perhaps the most important US ally in the war on terror. Not only has Pakistan lost more personals than any other ally, critical fuels for vehicles and aircraft used in the war effort in Afghanistan moves through Pakistan without difficulty. Without this logistical support, bot operation Enduring Freedom and NATO operations in Afghanistan would prove very difficult to sustain without interruption. Pakistan is strategically very important for the US to sustain in Afghanistan. There-quarters of supplies for US troops in Afghanistan either move through or over Pakistan.
US Reaction To Pakistan’s Nuclear Tests:
Pakistan’s nuclear programme reached to its logical conclusion on 28th and 30th May 1998 when it conducted six nuclear tests to become the Seventh nuclear power of the world. The nuclear capability gave Pakistan nuclear deterrent against India which it needed badly after 1974 when India had exploded its first nuclear device. The people of Pakistan in particular and the Muslim nations in general expressed their jubilation over Pakistan’s nuclear achievement. But the US, Japan, Canada, Netherlands and Australia expressed their indignation and at once announced the imposition of sanctions on military and economic assistance.
War On Terrorism And Pakistan’s Role:
The U.S.-Pakistan partnership in the war in Afghanistan has been both challenging and complex. While Pakistan’s military has cooperated with its U.S. counterpart and has incurred tremendous losses itself, it has resisted American pressure to act against prominent anti-U.S. groups operating in Afghanistan from Pakistani soil. From the Western perspective, Pakistan has deliberately played a “double game” in South Asia by picking and choosing which militant outfits to target, while leaving out those that have been directly responsible for the deaths of Western forces in Afghanistan.
The potential for divergent strategic objectives between Pakistan and the United States was inherent in the circumstances that led the two to partner in the “war on terrorism.” The United States was seeking to eliminate al-Qa`ida and the Taliban from Afghanistan and wanted full Pakistani support. Pakistan’s dilemma was that it had supported the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and Islamist militants in Indian Kashmir for years; it feared that an abrupt reversal in policy would cause an internal backlash. Moreover, its strategic calculus had always been India-centric, and a fear of a “two-front” scenario—whereby animosity with India was compounded by an unfriendly or irredentist Afghanistan—had preoccupied the county’s military minds for decades. Therefore, while Pakistan agreed to support the U.S. effort in Afghanistan, at no cost did it want its intervention to upend its balance vis-à-vis India or to create an unfriendly scenario in Afghanistan.
To ensure full Pakistani support, the United States needed to institute an incentive structure to convince Islamabad to alter its strategic calculus. To date, however, the United States has failed in this endeavor. In fact, U.S. strategy in Afghanistan became the reason for Pakistan’s growing, not lessening, reluctance to support U.S. policy. In the view of Pakistan’s military, U.S. involvement in Afghanistan further aggravated the regional imbalance regarding India and brought to power an antagonistic government in Kabul. Furthermore, Pakistan has been gradually challenged from within as Pakistani Islamist militants continue to make their country’s partnership with the United States the pretext to launch attacks and destabilize the state
Trust is the main factor for sustainable relations between the States. This factor is unfortunately missing in case of the Pak-US relations and both are suffering from the disease of trust deficit. From the very beginning till the present time, Washington has been using Pakistan as a tactical level instrument and never trusted Pakistan as its strategic ally.
Throughout the history of their relations, the US has never tried to build up long term and equal bilateral relations with Pakistan. It always saw Pakistan as a tissue paper to use and deposed at the time of need. Due to this policy of the US, irreparable anti-American sentiments exist among Pakistanis.
There are three main reasons behind negative feelings about America. One involves American policies towards Pakistan such as its failure to Pakistan’s aid during 1971 War, using Pakistan for its own interest, and imposing sanctions on Pakistan’s peaceful nuclear program while supporting India’s nuclear program, providing military aid to India, Pakistan’s strategic rival. Moreover, Washington has turned blind eyes over the atrocities being committed by Indian forces in Kashmir.
Second reason deals with American global policy, including support of Israel, opposition to Iran’s present government and the use of force against small third World nations. Huge public has also been exasperated over US involvement in war against Muslim Nations as Gulf War 1990, Afghan war in 2001 and Invasion of Iraq in 2003. However, US have been close ally to many Muslim countries. Furthermore, US forced Israel to withdraw from west bank and Gaza. In addition to Bosnia and Kosovo became independent recently because of US efforts. US forced Israel to withdraw from Sinai in 1956 an also in 1978.
Third reason deals with American involvement in Pakistan, for example support to military regimes and now violence of Pakistan’s integrity and accusing Pakistan for playing dual game with US despite the sacrifices given by its soldiers and civilians during the War on Terror. US Drone strikes also trigger public resentment in Pakistan.
First of all, they should remove trust deficit and ensure full cooperation to exterminate this common enemy from the region which can hurt both US and Pakistan’s interests in this region of South Asia. Then the US should also review its policies towards the weaker Muslim States and should play a serious role in solving the issue of Kashmir. There is need by the US to remove the mutual trust-deficit with Pakistan and build a relationship rooted in the ground realities and driven by the mutual benefit.
The US should not extend its war on terrorism to the territory of Pakistan and let the Pakistani armed forces to do their job, as they are well trained to perform their duties. According to recent reports, India by using its secret agency RAW, is exploiting these circumstances to destabilize Pakistan, it’s crystal clear that a destabilized Pakistan is not in the interest of US as it will hamper efforts to wipe out terrorism.
On the other hand, the US is extending its hands towards India by signing the nuclear deal with Delhi. This discriminatory attitude of US should be changed if it really wants to ensure Pakistan’s unrestricted and full cooperation in this ongoing war on terror. If the US really wants to minimize anti-US sentiments in Pakistan, it must help Islamabad in energy sector as a priority.
The US really has to revise its policy towards South Asia region abandoning its discriminatory attitude towards Pakistan as compared to India. It must consider Islamabad request for a civil nuclear deal similar to the one gifted to Delhi US must respect Pakistan’s sensitivities.
US-India Relations And Pakistan
Indo-US Strategic Partnership And Implications For Pakistan:
The US is using different means, methods, techniques, ways, tools and linkages to advance its policy goals in South Asia and its strategic agreement with India signed in June 2005 and July 2005 (Unclear deals) are the most recent and the best examples of Indo-US strategic partnership after 9/11 events.
The Indo-US nuclear deal has much implication for the deterrence stability between the nuclear belligerents in South Asia as the nuclear facilities provided through this agreement will spare many Indian nuclear faculties which it has been using for civilian purposes and India will be able to manufacture abundant nuclear warheads out of them. On the other hand, Pakistan found a straight forward negative response for civilian nuclear deal despite the havoc created by the power shortage in the already thriving industrial sector. Then US and Israel backed Indian missile defense system will be another dent to Pakistan’s stability.
India in Permanent UN Security Council and Pakistan’s concern:
President Obama’s three-day visit to India was predicated on two major objectives-US economic recession and war in Afghanistan.
During his visit in 2008, Obama signed 20 business deals worth US 10 billion dollars with India. He also sent message to Pakistan during his visit that “terrorists’ safe places in its territory are unacceptable”. To appease India, Obama also asked Pakistan to bring to justice the perpetrators of the 2008 Mumbai attacks. While addressing the Indian Parliament, he supported Indian desire to become the permanent member of United Nations Security Council (UNSC).
After Obama’s support to
India on the UN seat issue, Pakistan’s Foreign Office reacted immediately and
requested Obama not to back New Delhi because of its role in suppression of
Kashmiri’s and its hegemonic designs in the smaller countries of the region.
India has egregious track record of stranded relations with almost all its neighboring
countries, not to say about Pakistan. It has disputes with Bangladesh over
water, with Sri Lanka for tis backing of Tamils and Nepal for its interference
in Kathmandu’s internal affairs.
Obama’s support for India’s UN bid has compounded Pakistan’s concerns over its rival designs in Afghanistan. Pakistan is already anxious at its nuclear-armed rival’s growing role in Afghanistan and fears India is trying to gain a foothold along its Western borders.
Pakistan is also concerned about India’s entrance in Nuclear Suppliers Group being backed by America.
as mediator in Indo-Pak Tensions:
President Obama during his visit also offered to play a role in reducing Indo-Pak tensions. The efforts of the sole superpower in reducing tensions between the two nuclear states can help maintain peace in the region. But the problem is that US is willing to mediate provided both India and Pakistan request. But India is not ready to accept any third party mediation and insist all the issues including Kashmir will be resolved bilateral negotiations as per Tashkent and Simla Agreement.
US role in Kashmir Issue:
Washington has been unsympathetic to appeals of help from the people of Kashmir. On Kashmir, Obama said, “We will continue to welcome dialogue between India and Pakistan, even as we recognize that disputes between your two countries can only be resolved by the people of your two countries. US could play role in resolving the dispute if both the sides asked to do so but it could not impose any solution on the both sides.” Obama kept quiet about human rights violations by the Indian occupation forces, contrary to what human rights organizations have been saying against brutal killings in the valley.
For complete Pakistan Affairs notes click here.