Monday June 17, 2024

The roots of diplomacy

By Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani
July 07, 2017

Ex-CIA contractor Raymond Davis’s book has caused uproar across the country. In order to understand this issue, we must have examine the diplomatic history of Pakistan and the US.

At the time of Independence, the international community was divided into two blocs. The Communist Bloc was led by the USSR and mostly comprised countries that were ruled under dictatorships. On the other hand, the Western Bloc – which was led by the US – promoted human rights, democracy and freedom.

Despite receiving an invitation from the USSR to join the Communist bloc, Liaquat Ali Khan, the first prime minister of Pakistan, decided to join Western Bloc.          During its first visit to the US on May 1950, a high-level delegation from Pakistan, which was led by Liaquat Ali Khan, was warmly welcomed by the US government. The delegation was personally received by the then US president Harry Truman. A parade was organised in honour of the Pakistani delegates and they were accorded red-carpet treatment in New York. This marked the beginning of strategic bilateral relations between both countries on the basis of equality, mutual cooperation and dignity.

Pakistan has a long history of powerful rulers who provided out-of-the-way cooperation to the US. During his tenure, former president Ayub Khan succeeded in establishing close relations with the US and allowed the US to launch the U-2 spy plane from Peshawar airbase. The plane was shot down by the USSR and an American pilot was captured. However, in his autobiography, Friends, Not Masters, Ayub explained the bitter realities of Pak-US relations. In 1971, the eastern wing of Pakistan was separated during the tenure of General Yahya Khan. But the US naval vessel never arrived to offer assistance.        

Following the USSR invasion in Afghanistan, Pakistan – as an active part of anti-communist alliance – decided to launch a guerrilla war against the USSR. General Ziaul Haq was ruling the country at that time. Through US assistance, Pakistan was successful in defeating the USSR and enabled the US to emerge as the sole superpower. At the same time, extremist elements also increased their influence in Pakistani society. The facts behind the mysterious death of General Zia and other high-profile officials in the aviation crash are still unknown.     

The politics of the 1990s revolves around two major parties: the PML-N and the PPP. Both parties came into power through a democratic process. But neither party was allowed to complete its tenure. Political instability compelled the democratic leadership to look towards the US support at any cost. Four political governments were dismissed due to corruption charges. The then US president Bill Clinton also paid a short visit to a Musharraf-led Pakistan at the end of his lengthier trip to the Subcontinent. During his visit, he stressed the importance of democracy and the need to curb terrorism. However, he ignored all the contributions that Pakistan made during the cold war.

After 9/11, Pakistan once again became a key ally to the US in the war against terror. Since then, thousands of lives have been lost in various terror attacks. Suicide attacks became routine across the country. But the US continued to insist that Pakistan should do more to combat terror.

Following the Charter of Democracy, the PML-N respected the decision to bring PPP into power. The Raymond Davis incident, the killing of Osama bin Laden and the Memogate scandal were emerged during the PPP’s tenure. The US was involved in these incidents. However, the facts were never disclosed by the PPP government. A large number of visas were also allegedly issued to the American spies during that period.  

At the moment, when the country is moving towards progress and military operations Zarb-e-Azb and Raddul Fasaad are seeking to restore stability, the dissemination of Raymond Davis’s on social media comes with an ulterior motives. It seeks to demoralise the people and malign the political and military leadership. The warm welcome given to Liaquat Ali Khan in 1950 shows that the US wanted to establish bilateral relations with Pakistan on the basis of equality. However, the ruling elite have used Pak-US relations to fulfill their personal agendas.

The US must understand that elements like Raymond Davis bring bad name to the American people as a whole. Furthermore, we must also ensure that our national interests – and not the personal interests of a few – gain priority. Our political and military leadership find a way to define the national interest collectively. There is also a pressing need to make Pakistan a strong economic power to shield it from foreign influences.         


The writer is a member of the National Assembly and patron-in-chief of the Pakistan Hindu Council.

Twitter: @RVankwani