Pakistan’s Foreign Policy

Pakistan was born under inauspicious circumstances. As with all other countries, Pakistan’s Foreign Policy is determined by the inescapable facts of history and of geography and by special influences which may be of transitory nature. In the words of P.A Reynolds, the Foreign Policy is defined as under:-

The range of actions taken by varying sections of the government of a state in its relations with other bodies similarly acting on the international stage, in order to advance the national interests.

Foreign Policy consists of the external actions taken by decision makers with the intention of achieving long-range goals and short-term objectives. Action is constrained by the perceived circumstances of the state, which includes its geography, its economy, its demography its political structure, culture and tradition, its military-strategy situation. But action is taken with reference to other bodies (states) similarly acting on the international stage, and is likewise constrained by their action. This may be called the international environment of decision-makers.


  1. Security
  2. Ideology
  3. National Interests
  4. Diplomacy
  5. Public Opinion
  6. Decision making
  1. Security
  2. Ideology
  3. National interests
  4. Détente and peaceful relations
  5. Non alignment
  6. Close relations with Muslim countries
  7. Support f independence movements

As a matter of fact, a la any other country, the logically primary influence on foreign policy of Pakistan lies in the goals that policy seeks to achieve. These are normally security, welfare, and preservation or promotion of values. The search for security is perennial. All foreign policies of all states are basically influenced by it. For three centuries, for example, French decision –makers sought to establish France’s eastern and north-eastern frontier on the Rhine. In the case of Pakistan If the main concern of the Christian West is containment of Chinese Communism, the main concern of Muslim Pakistan, is the containment of militarist and militant Hinduism. The fact remains that Pakistan jointed the CENTO, SEATO, etc in the mid of 1950s largely to protect her interests against the future aggression of India.

No state is autarkic, or self- sufficient, at least in the only sense that is politically relevant. Every state can be economically self-sufficient in the sense that the territory in question could support some number of people at some standard of living. Deficiencies whether of materials, or food, or markets, or capital, or technical skills, do exist and the foreign policy of a state must endeavor to arrange their supply. Pakistan’s earnest involvement in the international political arena has been mainly due to the fact that it wanted to make up its deficiencies in certain fields.

Third among basic goals is the desire to preserve or promote values. Since Pakistan had come into existence in the name of Islam hence promotion of cordial and close relationships with the Muslim states has formed the cardinal principle of Pakistan’s foreign policy. Pakistan’s membership of OIC and unswerving support for the just cause of Palestinians speak volumes about our efforts in this connection.

A Critical View of Pakistan’s Foreign Policy and our Future Strategy:
Our Foreign Policy is one of the friendliness and
goodwill towards all the nations of the world We
do not cherish aggressive designs against any
country or nation. We believe in the principle of
honesty and fairplay in national and international
dealings. Pakistan will never be found lacking in
upholding priciples of the United Nations’ Charter.

(Quaid-e-Azam, Feb: 1948)

The perusal of the above passage entails that the Quaid wanted Pakistan to play a honourable role based on the principles and norms of International Law in the arena of international politics. However the study of External Policy of Pakistan over the last 50 years of independence manifests that Pakistan’s geo-political location on the world map and her strategic vulnerability viz-a-viz India could not permit her to pursue that independent policy. Resultantly the foreign Policy of Pakistan has passed through the following several phases of development, responding to the changing pattern of relationship with the big powers.

  1. Era of Neutrality
  2. Era of Allainces
  3. Era of Bilateralism
  4. Era of Non-alignment

Relations with distant Godfathers are no substitute for bonds in the region of a country’s location. Pakistan can have the best relations with the US, but if it loses out in its neighborhood , with hostility form Iran and Afghanistan , distancing from Central Asia and a cooling off with China , then it would end up undermining its core interests. It is all the more essential for the success of the foreign policy of Pakistan that it has to be rooted in domestic base which includes political stability, national consensus, sound economy, effective deterrence and above all, quality of leadership.

Pakistan’s priority should be a Foreign Policy that has no disconnect either with domestic politics or with regional realities. An effective policy requires domestic stability and a national consensus on issues. The upshot of the above account is that, the Government and people of Pakistan should remain on their guards, for in International relations there are neither eternal friends nor eternal enemies, the only thing eternal is the National Interest. Thus it requires that through deft diplomacy , using innovative and novel means we must strive to promote our interests and at the same time keep a triangular balance among the world giants i.e The U.S, The China ,and the E.U.

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