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PHASES OF PAKISTAN FOREIGN POLICY ON KASHMIR: The historical perspective of Pakistan’s foreign policy falls in five broad phases.

First Phase

The first period covers the time when the UN enforced cease-fire during the 1949 to 1965 War over Kashmir. When the Kashmiris Raja announced an alliance with India, a war started between Pakistan and India. Tribal men liberated the present Azad Kashmir. India went to the United Nations and the UN stopped the war passing a resolution favoring the right of self-determination. During that period all the big powers turned their eyes and directly or indirectly supported India. China was the only neighbor supporting Pakistan. That situation brought up and downs in the foreign policy of Pakistan.

During this period Pakistan allied itself with the West by joining the Baghdad Pact and its successor, CENTO, and SEATO. During that period the Kashmir issue remained the major point in Pakistan foreign policy.

Second Phase

The second phase runs from 1965 to the 1971 crisis in East Pakistan. The 1965 War, which was sparked by the Jammu and Kashmir issue, had led to a drastic reduction in economic and military assistance of which Pakistan has just recently recovered from. The increase in defense needed to be added together with the decline in foreign assistance was probably the main reason for the economic difficulties and aggravated political problems. India played on this crisis and eventually imposed war on Pakistan.

Third Phase

During the third phase from 1971 to 1989, Pakistan remained engaged in rebuilding itself and facing the challenge of the Soviet military intervention in neighboring Afghanistan, which lasted for over a decade till 1979, and has spawned a conflict that continues to hurt Afghanistan now. Although Pakistan attention was focused on Afghanistan but Kashmir remained the pivotal point of Pakistan’s foreign policy.

Fourth Phase

The fourth phase covers the period from 1990 to the nuclear tests in 1998. That was a new democratic era. There were alternative governments of Benazir and Nawaz Sharif but the Kashmir issue remained the dominant factor in Pakistan’s foreign policy. After the disintegration of USSR, USA is the only superpower and despite Pakistan’s friendship with the USA, US could not play a positive role to resolve Kashmir issue.

Two important events from a security perspective took place around 1990. The USA clamped economic and military sanctions on Pakistan under the Pressler Amendment. That same year the intensification of the freedom movement in Kashmir led to the massive deployment of Indian troops in Kashmir.

Fifth Phase

During the last two years the current phase, have witnessed important developments in Pakistan’s foreign policy. These include the former Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif’s initiative to, resume bilateral dialogues with India soon after taking office. The nuclear tests that radically altered the security environment of all of South Asia, the security dialogue with, the United States and the crisis in Kargil. These developments combined with the continuing conflict in Afghanistan, represent the major decisions of Pakistan policymakers. Meanwhile, trade and economy have acquired increasing importance in their foreign relations.

Pakistan, over the years, has been a controversy hot spot in the world and deservedly. But many different stereotypes of the country and the people of the country do not give a fair representation of the area. Pakistan is now a place of great economic respect, military, power, and undeniable religious ethics, and deserves recognition and affiliation with the rest of the world. And Pakistan offered many alternative solutions and invited India for pacific settlement but neither India nor the supers gave any encouraging attention. Recently, foreign ministers’ level meetings between the two countries in Islamabad in July 2010 failed.