14 August 1947 marked the emergence of a new Islamic state on the world map for the Muslims of Indian Sub-continent. The foundation of this state lies on the religious grounds. Religion became the compelling force behind the creation of Pakistan. As the founder of this state Quaid-e-Azam mobilized Muslims on the name of religion to get their separate state to live freely. But the motive of Quaid was to establish a secular state for Muslims. After partition religious factor did not fade away in the politics. Ulema of the country kept trying to use religion for political motives. But until Quaid was alive, he did not allow any religious interference in the politics. But Jinnah did not long survive the birth of Pakistan, and the government quickly came under pressure from the ulema to give the new nation a more Islamic character. After the demise of Quaid-e-Azam, Liaqat Ali Khan could not control the interference of religious scholars. First objective resolution which Liaqat Ali Khan presented showed the evident influence of religious in politics. So, the upcoming governments after Liaqat Ali Khan either military or civilian government could not block the religious interference. The constitution of 1956 declared name of the country as “Islamic Republic of Pakistan”. Other than these factors Pakistan always remain on the fore fronts for supporting the oppressed Muslims in all over the world. The influence of religion can also see in the Muslims of sub-continent before partition. They have religious sentiments with not only the Muslims of sub-continent but with the Muslims of all over the world. They supported the Palestinian Muslims and raised voice in Support of them. There also started khilafat movement in sub-continent in the Support of Caliphate of Turkey. After partition, Pakistan remained active in freedom struggle of many Muslim states Bosnia, Indonesia, Afghanistan, Libya, Morocco to name a few. First as the Muslims of united India and then independent Muslim state stand for Muslims rights.
Islamic ideology becomes an important determinant in making of foreign policy of Pakistan. The former governments of Ayub Khan and Liaqat Ali khan made their foreign policy more inclined toward the western countries. But with the change of government the foreign policy of the country also changed. Loss of East Pakistan in 1971 was one of the major reasons behind the change in foreign policy of country. Bhutto diverted the principle of foreign policy of Pakistan from western counties toward Muslim countries of Central Asia, Gulf states, and Middle Eastern countries. Bhutto served in government during the Ayub era as foreign minister, and he was against the Ayub pro-western policy. He claimed that when he was foreign minister all Muslim nations supported Pakistan during its 1965 war with India. He started making strong relations with Muslim countries including Saudi, Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Oman, Afghanistan, Kuwait, and many other. As an economically under-developed state, Bhutto wanted to expand the sources of economic aid for our country. The relation with Muslim world were on ideological basis but it also proved beneficial in material terms including economic, and defense assistance. This paper will briefly explain and analyze the Pakistan’s diplomatic relations with Muslim world under Bhutto government and the bearings of that relations.
Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto served in office first as president and then as prime minister from December 1971 to 1977. In the political history of Pakistan, Bhutto is remembered for his charmistic and diplomatic characteristics. He is considered as wise politician as he knows how to turn any event in his own favor. Same is the case with the event of separation of East Pakistan. This 1971 loss proved a turning point in the politics of Pakistan. He viewed this event as betrayal from the west as west neither intervene to stop war nor it was able to secure territorial integrity of Pakistan. This event changed the geopolitical situation of Pakistan. He used succession of East Pakistan as opportunity to invoke element of pan-Islamism in foreign policy. He wanted to create Third world order of Muslim countries. He believed in close affinity with Muslim nations. He introduced the policy of bilateralism. The ideology of Bhutto regarding foreign policy principles includes “evolution of bilateralism, Third World mobilization through the creation of a new economic order, criticism of nuclear proliferation and establishment of special relations with the Muslim countries of the world on the bases of pan-Islamism.” He raised his voice for the issues which Muslims were facing all around the world. He visited different Muslim countries soon after he came into power. He did not appoint any foreign minister. He himself assumed the office of foreign minister ship. This increasing relation with Muslim world also had psychological impact on the nation. It boosted the morale of deprived nation of Pakistan. These relations also gave Pakistan economic benefits. Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Libya, Iran, Iraq, and UAE provide economic assistance to Pakistan. Foreign relation with different Muslim nations were not remained smooth. There were ups and downs in the relations with Muslim countries. There were happened changes in the policy toward Saudi, Turkey, Iran, and Iraq. Geographical factor, economy, and security interests were the few factors which had influence on changing patterns of foreign policy.
There happened some important event during the era of Bhutto government which changed the Pakistan’s image at international level. Pakistan was seemed like the fort of Islam. It raised voice at international level for the liberation of Muslims struggling in different parts of the world including Palestine, Libya, Kashmir and highlighted Arab-Israel issue. This made Pakistan the stronghold of Muslim nations. The other important event was second Islamic Summit which was organized by Bhutto in Feb 1974 in Lahore. This event boosted the importance of Pakistan among the Muslim countries. This summit was attended by heads of almost thirty-two Muslim states. In this summit different issues were discussed including Arab-Israel issue, oil embargo by Arabs, and many agreements were made to improve trade relations, and to provide economic and defense aid to the under-developed and developing countries. In this summit Pakistan recognized the government of Mujib-ur-Rehman in Bangladesh. This summit enhanced the relations of Pakistan with Muslim countries. The other important event during Bhutto time was Iranian revolution which change the discourse of relation between Muslim countries. This revolution impacted Pak-Iran relations and impacted relations with Saudi. Bhutto was credited for his policy of nuclear program. He named it Islamic bomb to get Support from Islamic countries. He once said that, if necessary, Pakistani would eat grass to produce the bomb to show the seriousness and need of making nuclear bomb. To make development in Pakistan’s Nuclear program, he wrote: “We were on the verge of full nuclear capability when I left the government to come to this death cell. We know that Israel and South Africa have full nuclear capability. The Christian, Jewish and Hindu civilizations have this capability. Only the Islamic civilization was without it, but that position was about to change.”
Makah and Medina are remained a source of close affiliation of Muslims with Saudi. In the start of Bhutto era, the relation between two countries were not fruitful. As Bhutto belonged to Shia school of thought and Saudi has majority of conservative suni. This was the main reason behind the unpleasant relation between two countries. Bhutto did his best to warmer relation with Saudi. Pakistan established relation with Saudi at both religious and political levels. His policy of Islamic socialism, and nationalization policy changed Saudi’s attitude toward Bhutto’s Pakistan. There was established two-way relations. At economic level, Saudi provide economic assistance for several developments in Pakistan after the loss of East Pakistan. Trade facilities were increased. Pakistan exported rice, cotton, fabric, and other essentials to kingdom. Saudi provided cash transfer to Pakistan when its foreign currency reserves were low. At defense level, both signed defense agreements. Saudi provided funds for strengthening its military as after 1971 loss Pakistan’s military was weak. Pakistan army was sent to Saudi for training of their corps. Pakistan provided them with training opportunities. Military units of Pakistan also stationed in Saudi. There were exchange of visits between both countries. Bhutto visited Saudi four times. King Khaled of Saudi also visited Pakistan in 1976. The famous “King Faisal Mosque” was completed with the funds provided by Saudi. The 1974 second Islamic Summit hosted by Pakistan in Lahore in which more than thirty Muslim countries took part. This summit was hosted with the assistance of King Faisal of Saudi. Saudi was also present in it. In this summit Arab-Israel issue was discussed. Saudi provided funds for establishment of many religious institutions including Ahl-e-Hadith, Deobandi madrassas and funded already existing religious institutions. These institutions also got funds from private sources. Iranian revolution based on Shia school of thought considered as major event in changing policy of Saudi. Iranian revolution was like a threat to Saudi and Sunni ideology. Therefore, Saudi increased their funds to anti-Shia organizations and institutions. Pakistan also got funds on the name of Islamic Bomb. The collective amount of economic aid received from Saudi during 1970s was almost 130 to 140 million dollars.
In 1964, Pakistan signed RCD pact with Turkey, and Iran during Ayub government. This pact strengthened the relation between Pakistan and Iran. Iran is also an Islamic state. Pakistan moved forward to make good relations with Iran. Iran also had interests in Pakistan. Fear of Soviet expansion and Arab radicalism also kept the imperialistic regime of the Shah fully occupied. Pakistan has strategic location which impacted the security of Iran. As after the loss of east Pakistan, West Pakistan was militarily weak which was threat to national security of Iran. It provided military and economic aid to Pakistan for developing its military. After the British left South Asia, Iran wanted to become regional power. It started building up its regional power following the oil embargo of 1973. This change in regional power proved beneficial for Pakistan and so, it supported Iran. The collaboration between both countries increased. Both countries helped each other in normalizing their relations with rival countries. Iran helped in normalizing Pakistan’s relation with Afghanistan. As Iran has security threat from US and Arab states, Pakistan helped in normalizing its relations with Arab states. At economic level, Iran provided financial and economic assistance to Pakistan. It provided loan of almost 730 million dollars. The trade between both countries also flourished and increased four times. The relation between both countries were smooth until the Iranian revolution. This revolution marked the shift in foreign policy of the country. Iran joined non-align movement and tried to dissolve RCD, but Pakistan wanted to save it. This revolution weakened the Pak-Iran relations.
Afghanistan is a neighboring state with Islami ideology. After joining the office, Bhutto visited Afghanistan three weeks later. This visit was aimed at establishing good relation between both countries. In the start of Bhutto government, the relation between two countries was not healthy. Bhutto visited Afghanistan after coming into power to discuss the territorial issues between two countries. Iran helped in improving the relation between both countries. It provided two billion dollars for economic and development aid to Afghanistan for improving relations. After the coup of 1973, Sardar Muhammad Daud came to power. Bhutto went quickly to recognize the new government of Afghanistan. He offered friendship to M. Daud, but the relation remained unhealthy. M. Daud was remained the leading force behind the Pakhtunistan. During 1972 to 1973 Afghanistan faced worst drought. Pakistan provided with drought relief to Afghanistan. Pakistan provided trade facilities to Afghanistan. In the earth quick of 1976, Pakistan again provided relief supplies to Afghanistan. Famine and earth quick damaged Afghanistan severely. This changed the attitude of M. Daud toward Pakistan. He developed receptive attitude toward peace struggles of Pakistan. Both countries signed agreement of non-interference on June 10, 1975. There were exchange of visits in 1976.
There were many other Muslim states which includes Libya, Turkey, Kuwait, Oman, Iraq, Egypt, Bangladesh, UAE, Gulf States, and Syria to name a few. All these states directly and indirectly affected Pakistan politics. Bhutto visited all these states in 1972 aimed at establishing direct relations with Muslim states. The policy of bilateralism was adopted by Bhutto. Pakistan had number of economic and defense agreement with these countries. Pakistan provided military training and technical assistance to these countries Iraq, Oman, Saudi, UAE, and Kuwait. Pakistan had good relationship with Muammar Qaddafi of Libya. It provided financial assistance for the rebuilding of Mirage Fighter Aircraft. But relation between Libya and Pakistan could not last long due the Shah of Iran. Gulf states are rich in oil. 60% of the world oil resources are present in Gulf states. After the independence from Britain, they looked toward Sunni, non-Arab Pakistan for the security of their territory. Defense agreements were increased with Gulf States. Turkey is a Muslim state but a secular form of government. Pakistan had signed defense agreement with Turkey before Bhutto government which was known as RCD. Pakistan for its part has received steadfast Turkish support on the Kashmir issue and some degree of military assistance during the two wars with India. All these Muslim states provided Pakistan with economic assistance, cultural cooperation agreements, defense agreement, and these countries became a largest export market for Pakistan.
Keeping in view the multiple facts, Pakistan’s foreign policy under Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto can be concluded as there seems a shift in it. Bhutto introduced new policy in foreign relations. In historical perspective, every event of past had both significance and some drawbacks. Bhutto attempts to bring change in foreign policy proved beneficial for Pakistan in many perspectives, but it also had some negative impacts as well. Bhutto wanted to establish bilateral relations with each Muslim country. Relations with Muslim world benefited Pakistan in case of economy as Pakistan got large amount of economic aid for development projects. He wanted to make Pakistan garrison of Islamic activities. At international level, he increased the morale of Pakistan. Muslim nations recognize the importance of Pakistan and they asked for military assistance from Pakistan. Pakistan got investments in its project of nuclear bomb from Muslim nations as Bhutto named it “Islamic Bomb” to add religious significance with it. Bhutto was successful in making good relations with Muslim world. The second Islamic Summit held in Lahore in 1974 increased the importance of Pakistan in international community. Bhutto promised to raise voice against the injustice happening all around the world with Muslims both national and international level. This gave Pakistan much popularity. Bhutto wanted to increase the sources of economic aid for Pakistan, and he became successful in his attempt. Bhutto foreign policy also had some drawbacks as well. Bhutto introduced the policy of bilateralism, but he could not implement it properly. The conflict between Saudi and Iran on basis of Islamic ideologies also impacted Pakistan’s relation with Iran. It made Pakistan dependent on other countries for economic developments.