Lies that gained currency
Very briefly, a quick survey of the foreign policy from 1947 to 1977 particularly but even thereafter on acquisition of Nuclear capability would show that basically Pakistani rulers at their time pursued independent foreign policy , each with a different style, but one thing was common in all of them, if independent foreign policy means giving the highest priority to Pakistan’s national interests. As against this a subservient foreign policy would mean serving foreign interests first and foremost subordinating national interests to foreign interests or equating foreign interest the same thing as national interest. It can be said that out of sixty five years, Pakistan pursued an independent foreign policy by choice for about two decades or pursued national- interest first policies. This period included: 7 years of the Founding Fathers who took no foreign loans or aid from any foreign powers, did not join any bloc, plus 9 years of Ayub’s- Pakistan- first policy from 1960 to 1969, plus more assertive 6 years of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s foreign policy ; plus some years of Nawaz Sharif’ like N-explosion in May 1998.
The Quaid declared : “By the grace of God we shall build up this new greatest Muslim Sovereign state in the world with complete unity, discipline and faith. Muslim India will discharge its responsibility with full credit and make its contribution towards world peace.
Prof Rajmohan Gandhi, a grandson of Gandhiji, in his book Understanding the Muslim Mind at its page 273 has quoted Liaquat himself as saying: “ Pakistan is neither tied to the apron strings of American bloc nor is a camp follower of the Communist bloc. It has steered clear of inter bloc rivalry and has an absolutely independent foreign policy ”.
On China – Liaquat recognized Mao’s Revolutionary China during his visit to US, when US was hostile to China and isolated it in international community. Korean War- Liaquat refused to send Pak troops as part of “UN Forces” to fight North Korea and did not recognize South Korea- even after US tried through Turkey to persuade Pakistan to send troops in the UN Forces in Korean War.
Pakistan gave staunch support to Palestine and Arab Causes , pursued anti-colonial campaign in UN specially against French and Italian colonies, in UN went with Asian and African group against western proposals – obtained freedom for Algeria, Maghreb, Libya, Somalia etc. which are proof of Pakistan’s independent foreign policy , no subservience to US or the West.
Liaquat added a new dimension to Pak foreign policy namely: emphasis on friendly relations with non-Muslim Asian countries, viz., China, Japan and Burma.
His next move was to espouse the anti-colonial causes of Italian and French colonies, anti-racist causes in Africa and becoming in fact the spokesman of the Arab cause in Palestine. Pakistan refused to recognize Israel repeatedly. At Commonwealth PMs Conference in 1949 Britain proposed to give Israel CW Membership. It is recorded in CW PMs’ printed Minutes that Liaquat said Pakistan will quit CW if Israel is given CW Membership. Thinking that PM Bogra was very pro-America he might agree with this proposal, Britain reopened this question. Bogra said Pakistan will leave CW if this is done. This too is recorded in printed Minutes of CW PMs Conferences. When during his US visit American financiers wanted to tempt Liaquat by offering all financial help and military supplies to Pakistan if he recognized Israel. Liaquat replied “Gentlemen, my soul is not for sale”
Pakistan entered SEATO and CENTO in 1954/55. But even thereafter it adopted national-interests first policy for at least two decades .
Our Nuclear program is one of the most outstanding examples of Pakistan pursuing its national interests under all conditions. Seven times U.S applied sanctions and even after they did not deter Pakistan, in late 70s US planned destruction of Kahuta N- Plant through Israel Air Force’s “surgical strikes” , using Indian air bases.
As regards Aid, in Quid ‘s and Liaquat’ 7 years Pakistan took no foreign loans or aid from any foreign powers nor it joined any bloc Liaquat made it clear in his US trip that he was not on a mission to seek aid. Only two of his statements are quoted below: On 26th May 1950 at M I T speech he said” With monotonous reiteration during my days in America, I have appealed for international cooperation . Some may have thought that I am asking for charity. I do not ask for charity I only ask for the help of more experienced countries to put our own men to work and to make our own resources yield their wealth. “ In the same speech he made it clear that Pakistan does not subscribe to the view that it develop through other countries resources or help. The addiction to aid was due to the rulers doing politics through bribing fellow politicians to buy political support, luxurious living beyond their means, or obtaining aid for budget support. They are not used for any development projects and even if they were had they been paid back like people take bank loans, and return them through the income generated by the loans, we would not have been eternally damned people. South Korea, Brazil took “aid” and paid them back and today some of them are Asian Tigers , Brazil is a prosperous country. On the other hand every day we are under greater and greater debt. Why? This is because later we took loans for “Budget Support” or for spending money for political purposes- lavish living being part of it. South Korea took loans or Aid, but in twenty years time paid back and became an Asian Tiger.
Why can we not do so? . The magnitude of aid has gone so fast. In 1967 it was $ 6.5 billion, and now in 2011 it stands at $ 69 billion, if my figures are correct. No one is preaching confrontationalism. That no career diplomat would preach. What is being said is that Pakistan must with dignity and coolly ensure its independence We stand for normal if not cordial bilateral relations with all powers that matter but on the basis of ” friends not masters” or mutual benefits as sovereign nation not as errand boys. In modern world mutual respect ensures peace and economic cooperation.
Pakistan is no “small country”, does not need to depend on aid- After all quite a few Asian countries took aid, paid it back, and are classified as Asian Tigers. We could do so too. Once Pakistan was a leader of the Muslim world, a respected trend setter in Afro-Asian countries and it still has all the ingredients of a regional power, it only needs a committed national leadership. Will the World Power Group’s new security system based on use of brute force succeed? Possibly not. Iraq and Afghanistan more than Iraq, has wounded the sole Super Power if the lesson from Korean and the Viet Nam wars has been forgotten. Europe too is embroiled in economic troubles; American economy is in bad shape which puts brakes on its arrogance of power. China is emerging to counter the anti- imperialist ambitions of such powers.