Determinants of Pakistan Foreign Policy


Pakistan Foreign Policy

Foreign policy is the key element in the process by which a state translates its broadly conceived goals and interests into concrete courses of action to attain these objectives and preserve interests.” (Padelford and Lincaln)
Foreign policy consists of decisions and actions, which involve to some appreciable extant relations between one state and others.” (Prop: Joseph Frankel)
To write about the factor determining the foreign policy of Pakistan is not easy as one would think. It is the task beset by number of problems. The environment in which the foreign policy of Pakistan operates is limited by obvious reason of security and economic weakness. The foreign policy of Pakistan is influenced by so many factors:


Pakistan is considered an Islamic ideological state. Although this “Islamic Ideology” and to impose Islamic teaching has been remained only a slogan of the every political party. None of them sincerely worked in this context. Being an ideological sate most of its relations with the external world are based on this theme. Especially Pakistan relations with the other Muslim world remained brotherly because of its ideological status. Ideology also brought some compulsions in the decision making process. As Pakistan could not extend its relations with Israel and India. Similarly in the early phases Pakistan joined American block just because of ideology. So the first and most important determinants of Pakistan foreign policy are Islamic Ideology.


Just after the creation of Pakistan it faced so many problems. These were the refugees’ problem, the water problems, administrative problems and security problems. To cope with the problems Pakistan was seeking help, because of its poor economic and poor security conditions. India and Afghanistan appeared as a threat to Pakistan. Afghanistan was backing the Pukhtoonistan issue, which was claiming is boundaries to River Jehlum. Pakistan required a huge economic and military aid. So the foreign policy makers closed towards west for economic and military assistance. The visit of Prime Minister Liaqat Ali Khan to USA and joining American Block was the prominent measure, which Pakistan took in security connection.

National Interests:

According to Britannica Encyclopedia the term national interest is “The continuing aims or ends for which a nation acts.” This is the continuous process to develop the economic condition or another sector of the country. According to palmer stone, “In international relations there can be no eternal enemy, no can there be eternal friend, and only eternal is the national interest.” So national interest is one of the most important determinants of Pakistan foreign policy.

Close Relations with Muslim World:

The Muslims of subcontinent always remains the great supporters of pan-Islamism. They always desired for the unity of Muslim world. This was the reason that before partition they supported Khilafat Movement and Hijrat Movement. The forefathers of Pakistan consider the creation of Pakistan a step towards this aim. Being an ideological state Pakistan always promote relations with other Muslim countries. Pakistan has so far did not recognize Israel in this connection. Because Pakistan is a Muslim country and the ideology of Pakistan is Islam. One of the objectives of Pakistan is to establish friendly and cordial relations with Muslim world.

 Support to the Independence Movements:

To support the independence movements all over the world is the permanent determinant of Pakistan’s foreign policy. In this regard the following steps were taken till now. Pakistan morally, political and diplomatically supported Kashmiries people against the immoral occupation of Indians. This country always stressed over the right of self-determination of the kashmiries people. Pakistan also stressed United Nation to implement its resolution of 1948.

Close Relations with Western Nations:

Another most important determinant of Pakistan’s foreign policy is close relations with Western Nations, because Pakistan was born economically and militarily weak. Pakistan needed friends and allies who could render material aid and come to secure incase of aggression. In 1950 Liaqat aAli Khan visited USA at the invitation of President Truman. The tour was a great success as it strengthened the bonds of friendship between the two. Similarly Pakistan joined SEATO and CENTO with the west. Pakistan has a strong relation with common wealth and European countries.

 Geo-Political Factor:

The geographical situation of the country has some implication for its external behavior. Napoleon once said that “The foreign policy of a country is determined by its geography. The geography of a country including climate, fertility and location influence the country foreign policy.” This is no less true about Pakistan. She was unfortunate in that she lived under the shadow of super power in the north i.e. India. Consequently Pakistan to a considerable extent was not free to pursue a policy of its own choice.
Pakistan had a unique geography up to 1971 in the sense that her two parts, east and west were separated by the enemy territory of more than one thousand miles in length. Pakistan therefore had to spend more on defense as compared to other developing countries. So Pakistan has always established relations with outside keeping in view the geographical politicians. Because up to December 1991 Pakistan lay in between three big neighbors i.e. USSR, China and India.

 Economic Development:

Other most important determinant of Pakistan’s foreign policy is economic development because economic development is the process, which not only affects the economic relations but also socio cultural, political and military relations of the states. In order to overcome the financial problems and to secure place among the industrialized nations Pakistan has attached great importance for trade and other economic relations with developed and developing countries on bilateral basis. Pakistan has received economic and financial assistance from the western countries, USA and World financial institutions like IBRD and IMF.


In Pakistan leaders play very important role in the determination of foreign policy. In Pakistan all the leaders formulate foreign policy keeping in mind the party program and charter. So, leadership exercises great influence on the foreign policy of Pakistan.

 Advancement in Technology:

Advancement in technology that affects the military and economic capabilities of a state also exercise great influence on the foreign policy of Pakistan. From the very birth Pakistan has established cordial relations with the western countries such for technological development.