Pakistan Studies 2059

Pakistan’s World Affairs Since 1947


Pakistan’s World Affairs Since 1947

Key Question 16: How important has Pakistan’s role been in world affairs since 1947?

Pakistan’s Relation with the UN (United Nations)


• The United Nations Organization (UNO) was established after World War II.

• In September 1947, Pakistan joined the UNO.

• One of the main reasons for this decision was that India was already a member of the UNO even before the partition.

• Secondly, it also helped Pakistan to be recognized as an independent state.

• It also helped Pakistan to represent its case against the accession of princely states, Kashmir, Hyderabad, and Junagadh.

• It also helped the country in the Canal Water Dispute as with the support of the UNO, Pakistan was able to sign the Indus Water Treaty.

• Pakistan joined the organization to play its role against colonization, racial discrimination, regional and territorial accession.

The UNO:

The UNO has following major organs:

General Assembly:

• The General Assembly is the place of the meeting for all the members of the UN.

• 5 members can represent a country.

• The meeting held once or twice a year, but emergency meetings can be held anytime.

• It is responsible for approving the budget, granting membership to new entrants and supervising all departments.

Security Council:

• Its primary responsibility is to protect peace in the world.

• It has 15 members in total, but 5 members have the veto power namely, China, Russia, the USA, UK, and France.

• The other 10 members are elected to serve 2 years terms.

• The council has the power to order a ceasefire between two countries at war.

• It has also the power to impose an economic boycott if a country refuses to accept the UN decision.

Economic and Social Council:

• It oversees the member countries' social, educational, cultural, economic and health affairs.

• It comprises of 54 members that are elected to serve 3 years period.

• The council held its meeting twice a year and manages the functions of WHO, ILO, and UNESCO.


• It is the headquarter of UNO.

• Over 14000 workers serve there.

• The Secretary-General is the Chief Administrative Officer and elected to serve 5 years period by the General Assembly.

• The Secretary-General is not allowed to take assistance or get influenced by any country.

• It is responsible for investigating disputes, mediate between two countries and respond to the international crisis.

International Court of Justice:

• It is responsible for resolving legal disputes between the two countries peacefully.

• It comprises of 15 judges elected by the General Assembly to serve 9 years term.

• All disputes are resolved by majority votes.

Pakistan and the OIC (Organization of the Islamic Conference)


• It was established when Jews set fire to a part of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in 1969.

• It was established after Muslims around the world realized that to protect the Muslim World necessary steps must be taken.

• It was decided to set up a conference of all Muslim leaders to discuss the threat faced by the Muslims.

The OIC:

• In 1969, the first Summit was held at Rabat, Morocco and in it, the Middle East situation was discussed.

• In 1974, the second Summit was held at Lahore, Pakistan and in it, the Palestine issue was discussed.

• Moreover, in the second Summit, it was decided to set up an Islamic Development Bank and a committee was established to eliminate the disease, poverty, and illiteracy from the Muslim World.

• Till now, a total of 21 Summits has been held.

• The last Summit was held at Mecca, Saudi Arabia in 2019.

• The OIC is also responsible for the advancement of educational, cultural, scientific and trade interests of the Muslim World.

Pakistan’s Relation with Russia (USSR)

• Pakistan's relation with the USSR has seen many ups and downs.

• From 1947 to 1950, Russia has remained neutral when it comes to Pakistan.

• Russia invited the then Prime Minister of Pakistan, Liaquat Ali Khan to visit Moscow.

• At that same time, Liaquat Ali Khan also received an invitation from the USA.

• Liaquat Ali Khan chose to visit Washington and as a result relation with Russia suffered.

• By 1950, the Soviet Union started siding with India on the Kashmir Issue.

• In 1950, Pakistan joined SEATO and CENTO and Russia this as a firm declaration by Pakistan in support of the USA.

• In 1955, Russia officially backed India over the Kashmir Issue.

• Since Russia was keen to establish good relations with Pakistan; in 1956, it again approached Pakistan and offered its aid with a promise to build steel mill only if Pakistan broke its alliance with the USA.

• Pakistan refused Russia’s offer because of their condition.

• In 1961, the relation between the two countries started elevating, Russia offered Pakistan to explore for oil as a gesture of goodwill.

• When India started a war with China and accepted the USA's support in it, Russia became more inclined to strengthen its ties with Pakistan.

• In 1963, Russia gave Pakistan a loan of 11 million pounds and also reverted its stance on the Kashmir issue to neutral.

• Ayub Khan visited Russia to strengthen the relations with Russia further.

• From 1969 to 1971, the relation between the two countries experienced another low.

• In 1971 Russia supported India with military aid and it resulted in the defeat of Pakistan and it lost its East Wing.

• From 1972 to 1977, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto worked towards forming a good relationship with Russia.

• Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto never liked the USA, and he visited Russia in 1972. 

• Russia also set up a steel mill in Karachi, Pakistan.

• The good ties with Russia experienced another low when in 1979 in the war of Afghanistan; Zia-ul-Haq accepted the support of the USA. 

• In 1984, Russia began bombing raids on Pakistan as it disapproved of the nuclear program of Pakistan.

• The hostile relations between the two countries continued till 1988 since in the same year Russia withdrew from Afghanistan.

• In 1991, many high-level trips were exchanged between the two countries.

• In 1994, the Russian foreign minister visited Pakistan.

• Russia backed off from giving unconditional support to India.

• In 1998, Pakistan’s Prime Minister accepted Russia’s invitation and visited Moscow.

• In 2003, Pervez Musharraf visited Russia. 

• In 2007 Mikhail Fardkov visited Pakistan.

• In 2018, the bilateral trade between the two countries reaches 800 million dollars.

Pakistan’s Relation with the USA

• In 1947, Pakistan decided to ally itself with the USA.

• However, at that time the USA was busy with India to form an anti-communist alliance and did not show much enthusiasm to ally with Pakistan.

• The lack of enthusiasm was because the USA was in support of a united India before 1947.

• Liaquat Ali Khan was frustrated with the USA's attitude towards Pakistan and decided to visit Russia in 1949.

• Following the visit to Russia, Liaquat Ali Khan immediately received an offer to visit the USA.

• In 1950, Liaquat Ali Khan visited the USA and planned to build Pakistan Embassy there.

• India was reluctant to sign an anti-communist alliance with the USA in return for economic and military aid.

• Pakistan took it as an opportunity and signed the alliance as a result aid started flowing in Pakistan.

• In 1954, the Mutual Defence Assistance Agreement was signed by the USA and Pakistan. 

• In 1954, SEATO was established and Pakistan became its member.

• In 1955, the Baghdad Pact was also signed which was later renamed as CENTO (The Central Asian Treaty Organization).

• In 1972, Bhutto withdrew Pakistan from SEATO.

• In 1962, China and India were at war and the USA supported India with military aid.

• This made Pakistan unhappy and Ayub Khan visited China in 1962.

• In 1965, Ayub Khan also visited Russia.

• Even though, Ayub Khan displeased the USA by forming good ties with Russia and China; he is also considered an ambassador for building a good relationship with the USA. 

• Ayub Khan allowed the USA to build airspace in Pakistan. 

• But when Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto came to power things changed as he never liked the USA.

• When Martial Law was imposed by Zia-ul-Haq things got, even more, worse between the two countries as the USA did not approve of Military reign.  

• In 1979, the US Embassy in Islamabad was burnt to ashes.

• In the same year, things got better between the two countries when Russia attacked Afghanistan and Ayub Khan decided to fight the war with American Aid.

• In 1988, when the Geneva Accords were signed, Pakistan lost its strategic importance to the USA.

• Since Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was very motivated to make Pakistan a nuclear power, it also angered the USA.

• The Pressler Amendment stated that the USA can aid only those countries that are not Nuclear power and are not trying to be one.

• That was one of the reasons that aid during Benazir’s rule was very low.

• In 1996, the USA's defense secretary declared the Pressler Amendment a mistake.

• In 1996, Hillary Clinton and her daughter visited Pakistan and the relations between the two countries improved.

Pakistan’s Relation with the UK (United Kingdom)

• After the formation of Pakistan in 1947, the country maintained good ties with the United Kingdom as a result of the colonial attachment of more than 100 years.

• Pakistan joined CENTO and SEATO and the UK was also a very important member of these organizations.

• In 1965, to solve KUTCH and RANN dispute with India, the UK played an integral role.

• In the 1965 war with India, UK remained neutral but terminated the sales of weapons to Pakistan.

• In the 1971 war, the UK took the neutral role and advised Pakistan to find a political solution to the crisis.

• During the Afghan War, the UK offered unconditional financial support to Pakistan for the settlement of the Afghan refugees.

• The UK has remained a crucial trading partner and an important ally of Pakistan.

• In 1972, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto withdrew Pakistan from the Commonwealth i.e. an organization for all the former British colonies including the UK.

• Pakistan remained cut off from the Commonwealth from 1972-1988.

• In 1989, Benazir Bhutto rejoined Pakistan in the Commonwealth.

• The Commonwealth has also supported Pakistan with aid including countries like Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

• Pakistan received substantial aid for the Mangla Dam, Warsak Project and the development of irrigation and railway system. 

Pakistan’s Relation with China

• During the early years of Pakistan, there were not very friendly ties between the two countries because Pakistan was under the USA's influence.

• In 1950, Pakistan recognized China’s communist government.

• Pakistan also supported China in regaining the UNO membership.

• In 1959, Pakistan displeased China why condemning the military action in Tibet.

• In 1963, to avoid any conflict the boundary between the two countries was demarcated.

• In the 1960s, a series of trade agreements were signed.

• China granted Pakistan with 600 million dollars of interest-free loans and became the largest importer of Pakistan's cotton.

• Pakistan developed the Heavy Mechanical Complex at Texela and imported industrial machinery.

• Regular flights to China were started by the Pakistan International Airport that also helped in improved business ties between the two countries.

• The Karakoram Highway helped in tourism and trade between the two countries.

• China supported Pakistan on its stand towards the Kashmir issue.

• In 1971 crises, under the influence of Russia, China did not support Pakistan.

• In 1986, China and Pakistan signed the Nuclear Cooperation Treaty.

• China gave Pakistan the Chashma Nuclear Power Plant situated at Mianwali.


Pakistan’s Relation with India

• India is the closest neighbor of Pakistan.

• Pakistan shares a 2000 KM border with India that is spread from the Arabian Sea to the Mountains in Kashmir.

• The relationship between both countries is strained from the start.

• Kashmir issue is the main reason behind the bad relations as both countries have fought several wars because of it. 

• In 1948 an agreement was signed for the neutral tribunal to demarcate the exact borders in Assam and East Bengal.

• In 1948, there was a war for Kashmir, then in 1965.

• In 1950, an agreement was signed between Nehru and Liaquat Ali Khan; according to this agreement, both countries were responsible for protecting their minorities.

• In 1960, the Indus Water Treaty was signed between the two countries.

• In 1966, the Tashkent Agreement was signed to resolve disputes peacefully.

• In 1971, India intervened in Pakistan’s Civil War and supported East Pakistan as a resulted Pakistan lost its East Wing.

• The Simla Agreement was signed by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto to free the War Prisoners.

• In 1974, India tested its nuclear device.

• The hatred between both countries made Pakistan step up its nuclear game.

• In 1998, India tested 5 of its nuclear devices.

• In the same year, Pakistan also tested its nuclear device at Ras Koh hills.

• In the 1980s India accused Pakistan of supporting Sikhs of India who were demanding a separate homeland for themselves, Khalistan.

• There was an assassination against Indira Gandhi, and Rajiv Gandhi Pakistan for his mother’s death.

• In 1999, the Kargil conflict further increased the hostility between both countries. 

• There are strong cultural ties between the two countries.

Pakistan’s Relation with Bangladesh

• Bangladesh came into existence as separate countries after a war between both the countries in 1971.

• In the initial years of Bangladesh's formation, the relation between both the countries remained strained.

• Pakistan was reluctant to recognize Bangladesh as an independent country for 2 years.

• In 1974, at the second summit of OIC at Lahore, Pakistan recognized Bangladesh.

• In 1975, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto visited Bangladesh and proper diplomatic relations were formed between the two countries.

• In 1976, the communication links and air services established between the two countries.

• In 1979, trade agreements were signed.

• During the rule of President Zia-ur-Rahman, good relations developed.

• In the floods of 1985 and 1988, Pakistan offered material and food aid to Bangladesh.

• Pakistan imports jute goods, jute, and tea from Bangladesh.

• Pakistan exports sports goods, machinery, cloth and spare parts to Bangladesh.

• Both countries support each other on international forums.

• Bangladesh supports Pakistan on the Kashmir issue.

• Both are members of SAARC.

Pakistan’s Relationship with Iran

• Pakistan shares its western border with Iran.

• From the very beginning, they share air, road and rail links.

• Iran was the first country to recognize Pakistan.

• In 1950, King Raza Shah and Liaquat Ali Khan exchanged visits.

• From medieval times, there exist strong cultural ties between both countries.

• Iran and Pakistan both are inclined to form good ties with the USA.

• In 1954, both countries joined CENTO.

• Many trade agreements have been signed between the two countries.

• In 1965, Regional Cooperation for Development (RCD) was established that strengthen economic and cultural bonds.

• Iran helped Pakistan during the War of 1965 and 1971.

• Iran supported Pakistan on the Kashmir issue.

• In 1979, an Islamic Revolution came in Iran and the country became very hostile towards the USA that also affected its relationship with Pakistan.

• An Iranian diplomat was also killed in Lahore.

• When a democratic government was set up in Iran the relationship improved.

• In 1979, Pakistan and Iran withdrew from CENTO.

• During the invasion of Russia in Afghanistan from 1979 to 1988, Iran supported Pakistan.

Pakistan’s Relation with Afghanistan

• Pakistan shares a border with Afghanistan in the north-west.

• Both the countries have strong language, religion, cultural and historic bonds.

• Kabul and Kandahar were parts of India during the Mughal rule.

• When Pakistan came into existence, Afghanistan showed a hostile attitude towards Pakistan under the influence of India and Russia.

• In 1947, Afghanistan opposed Pakistan’s membership in UNO.

• Afghanistan refused to accept the Durand Line as the boundary between the two countries.

• In 1956, Iskander Mirza and then Ayub Khan visited Afghanistan to form good ties with Afghanistan.

• In 1955 and 1961, Pakistan Embassy in Kabul was attacked violating diplomatic relations.

• Afghanistan and Pakistan restored good ties during Ayub Khan’s rule.

• Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s reign also experienced good relations with Iran.

• In the 1965 and 1971 wars, Afghanistan remained neutral.

• During the time of successive Prime Ministers in Afghanistan, the relation between the two countries experienced a downfall.

• In 1979, Russian invaded Afghanistan and Pakistan supported the Mujahideen in Afghanistan.

• During the Afghan War 1979 – 1988, Pakistan also gave shelter to 3 million Afghan refugees.

• Pakistan paid a heavy price Afghan and Russian planes bombed Pakistan’s territories several times.

• Drug trafficking also affected Pakistan severely.

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