1

Geo-Strategic Importance Of Pakistan Mansoor Ahmed 102-SE School of Economics BS Economics & Finance International Islamic University Islamabad

Pakistan study Sir May 13, 2009

Mansoor Ahmed

Geo-strategic importance of Pakistan

CARs and South East Asian Countries. where Muslims are also in the majority. India. Pakistan annexed Azad (Free) Kashmir after the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947-48. however. Bridge between South Asia and South West Asia. Pakistan's boundary with Afghanistan is about 2. Gawader port with its deep waters attracts the trade ships of China.940 square kilometers. and the Arabian Sea on the south. Pakistan also included the northeastern sector of the subcontinent. The Hindu Kush was traditionally regarded as the last northwestern outpost where Hindus could Mansoor Ahmed Geo-strategic importance of Pakistan . Initially. The East Wing and West Wing of Pakistan were. some 800 kilometers in length. Pakistan offers to CARs the shortest route of 2600 km as compared to Iran (4500 km) or Turkey (5000 km). Afghanistan on the northwest. and since then the border between the two countries has not been a subject of serious dispute. is developing its southern provinces because its own port is 4500 km away from Sinkiang but Gawader is 2500 km away. was first delimited by a British commission in 1893. finds its ways through Pakistan. China finds way to Indian ocean and Arabian Sea through Korakaram.600 kilometers of hostile Indian Territory. land locked Afganistan now at the phase of Reconstruction. Iran and Afghanistan are energy abundant while India and China are lacking of.2 Geo-strategic importance Of Pakistan The strategic importance of Pakistan is unique because of being a close neighbor to Middle East. separated by 1.250 kilometers long. having a common border with China. The total land area is estimated at 803. Pakistan became a state as a result of the partition of British India on August 14. China with its fastest economic growth rate of 9%. where a narrow strip of Afghan territory called the Wakhan Corridor extends between Pakistan and Tajikistan. The country's East Wing. Afghanistan and less than one hundred kilometer distance from Central Asian state of Uzbekistan. India on the east. became the independent state of Bangladesh in December 1971. or East Pakistan. In the north. Pakistan occupies a position of great geostrategic importance. bordered by Iran on the west. 1947. The boundary with Iran. China on the northeast. Iran. separating Iran from what was then British Indian Balochistan. ASEAN Boundaries Pakistan located in the northwestern part of the South Asian subcontinent. it runs along the ridges of the Hindu Kush (meaning Hindu Killer) mountains and the Pamirs. In 1957 Pakistan signed a frontier agreement with Iran.

The cease-fire line came into effect on January 1. This line was determined from 1961 to 1965 in a series of agreements between China and Pakistan. possibly granting them control of Delhi. The Pakistan-India boundary continues irregularly southward for about 1. On the one hand. and the Siachen Glacier in northern Kashmir has been an important arena for fighting between the two sides since 1984.520 square kilometers). The Northern Areas has five of the world's seventeen highest mountains. named for Sir Cyril Radcliffe. The Pakistan-India cease-fire line runs from the Karakoram Pass west-southwest to a point about 130 kilometers northeast of Lahore. as the legatee of the British in the region. This boundary.159 square kilometers of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir. insisted on the legality and permanence of the boundary. and it favored the establishment of still another state to be called Pashtunistan or Pakhtunistan. although far more soldiers have died of exposure to the cold than from any skirmishes in the conflict. was not in doubt when Pakistan became independent in 1947. This line. after eighteen months of fighting and was last adjusted and agreed upon by the two countries in the Simla Agreement of July 1972. Pakistanis had expected the line to run much farther east. called the Durand Line.639 square kilometers) and most of the Northern Areas (72. 1949. is the most visually stunning of Pakistan. The Durand Line remained in effect in 1994. Many Indians had expected the original boundary line to run farther to the west. the imperial capital of the Mughal Empire. Although this boundary with India is not formally disputed. thereby ceding Lahore to India. From the eastern end of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. ending near the Karakoram Pass. It also has such extensive glaciers that it has sometimes been called the "third pole. following the line of the 1947 Radcliffe Award. The boundary line with Afghanistan was drawn in 1893 by Sir Mortimer Durand. Pakistan. consisting of Azad Kashmir (11. passions still run high on both sides of the border. a new boundary treaty is to be negotiated between China and Pakistan when the dispute over Kashmir is finally resolved between India and Pakistan.280 kilometers.3 venture in safety. although its legitimacy was in later years disputed periodically by the Afghan government as well as by Pakhtun tribes straddling the Pakistan-Afghanistan border." The boundary line has been a matter of pivotal dispute between Pakistan and India since 1947. Pakistan controls about 84. Pakistan contested the southern boundary of Sindh. which includes Gilgit and Baltistan. Afghanistan claimed that the Durand Line had been imposed by a stronger power upon a weaker one. They were less dangerous and less Mansoor Ahmed Geo-strategic importance of Pakistan . and a succession of border incidents resulted. By mutual agreement. and was acceded to by the amir of Afghanistan that same year. After partition. the head of the British boundary commission on the partition of Punjab and Bengal in 1947. The Thar Desert in the province of Sindh is separated in the south from the salt flats of the Rann of Kutch by a boundary that was first delineated in 1923-24. a boundary of about 520 kilometers runs generally southeast between China and Pakistan. it has been generally known as the Line of Control. This area. then foreign secretary in British India. about 770 kilometers long. was arranged with United Nations (UN) assistance at the end of the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947-48. In the northeastern tip of the country. The southern borders are far less contentious than those in the north. On the other hand. Since then.

the Himalayas and the Karakorams. running west and southwest to an inlet of the Arabian Sea. that is. one of the world’s first great civilizations began to develop in the Indus Valley in what is now Pakistan.200 feet above sea level) beyond which lies the Mansoor Ahmed Geo-strategic importance of Pakistan . Pakistan and northwest India from about AD 50 mid 200s. During the next several thousand years. were the two major cities of the civilization. The coming of Islam.The Kushans ruled what is now Afghan. In time. Lahore become the capital of the kingdom and developed into a major entre of Muslim culture. part of Mauriyan empire. replaced Afghans. About 100BC Scythians from Afghanistan came into Baloochistan and Sindh. The Mauriyan Empire began to break up about 230BC. In time they conquered the Indus region. invaded India and established the Mughul Empire. In 236BC. The Turkish ruler Mehmood of Ghazni established a Muslim kingdom that in time including the entire Indus Valley. Beyond the western terminus of the tribunal's award. however. Huns from Central Asia conquered the empire in mid 400s. has been cut through the highest and the mightiest mountains of the world. Greeks from the independent state of Bacteria in Central Asia then invaded the Indus valley. Alexander the great took control of most of what is now Pakistan.4 widespread. This Highway connects Pakistan with the People's Republic of China via Khunjrab pass (16. The Parthian. In AD 711. the final stretch of Pakistan's border with India is about 80 kilometers long. the kushan capital. The Delhi Sultanat lasted until 1526. They controlled the trade routes from China to India and the Middle East. These southern hostilities were ended by British mediation. delimiting a line of 403 kilometers that was later demarcated by joint survey teams. Of its original claim of some 9. 1968. In 1206. a Muslim empire that included Northern India. The Persians conquered the Punjab during the 500 BC and made it part of the huge Achmenid empire. By about 1700 BC. became the major commercial center. many people from southwest and Central Asia came into the region that is now Pakistan. Peshawar.100 square kilometers. show that both were large and well planned. when Babar a Muslim ruler from Afghanistan. Pakistan was awarded only about 780 square kilometers. Experts don’t know why it collapsed. HISTORICAL OVERVIEW 500 BC . the emperor Chandra Gupta Mauriya made the region. they established kingdom with capitals near the present day cities of Peshawar and Rawalpindi. they settled across almost all of India. Beginning about AD 1000 Turkish Muslim invaded Northern Pakistan from Iran.H.K. During the mid 300 the Indus valley become part of the Gupta Empire which had expanded westward from northeastern India. a Central Asian people called Aryans came through the mountains passes to the Punjab region. The Silk Road The Karakoram Highway known as K.Ruin of Harrapa and Mhenjo. who in turn was conquered by the Kushans of Central Asia. a few years later. The tribunal made its award on February 19.Arabs Muslims sailed across the Arabian sea and invaded Sindh bringing Islam to the region. and both sides accepted the award of the Indo-Pakistan Western Boundary Case Tribunal designated by the UN secretary general. the Indus Valley civilization had disappeared. most of what is now Pakistan became part of the Delhi Sultanat.. than the conflict that erupted in Kashmir in the Indo-Pakistani War of August 1965. About 1500 BC.Daro .

And humanity ows a deep debt of gratitude to all those who lost their lives during the road building. Mansoor Ahmed Geo-strategic importance of Pakistan . Aksu and on to Kashgar. gorges. From time to time the passage has varied. Their success.D. as it was once done with great difficulty through the famous Silk Route. It is believed that more than five hundred persons. over eight thousand tons of explosives and eighty thousand tons of cement and so many other materials and that too in thousands of tons. opening a passage for trade to the Indo-Gangetic plains. working shoulder to shoulder. No wonder it had been considered impossible by some of the world's biggest consortiums. ft has. lost their lives in the road building process. it is the marvel of modern engineering. in which China was interested at that time was the export of Chinese silk and hence the popularity of the name. Chilas or Chitral over high passes. But a route from Yarkand proper would follow its tributary of Tashkurgan river and reach the town of that name and branch off either towards Wakhan or towards Khunjrab. former capital of the province of Shen-si) on the north-western borders of China and skirted the Gobi desert westward to Dun-huang. earthquakes and avalanches. This highway has been described as the eighth wonder of the world by hundreds of travelers and beyond any doubt. Badakhshan and onwards to Bactria north of the Hindukush in the valleys of the Oxus. the eastern-most being the Khotan route across the upper valley of Yarkand river over to Kun Lun. It was in fact. It is the Wakhan route that can be reached directly from Gilgit. The brave road builders of China and Pakistan took twenty years to complete this 774 km. The journey westward was either over the north of Pamir towards Samarkand or across the smaller valleys south of it through Wakhan. The ancient Silk Route started at Ch'angan (modern Si-gan-fu. For many centuries caravans braved these tortuous mountains treading precariously along the goat tracks and narrow paths sometimes providing short cuts between the great caravan towns of the Central Asian and rich markets of the subcontinent. From second century B. cut through one of the most difficult terrains in the world and toiled under the most trying conditions. long highway which has been stretched over the hills. Qargalik or Yarkand. angry rivers too horrifying to contemplate. It is the centres on the southern route that threw down paths around the FIun Lun towards Karakorum region. about one person per mile. and the second followed the southern edge at the foot of Kun Lun and reached Khotan. In fact the construction of the highway involved about thirty million cubic yards of rock blasting and earthwork. the great Han empire of China that extended its influence towards this part of the world and controlled roads leading through it. valleys and rivers. the trails were too hazardous. where it bifurcated into two . rockfalls. the trade continued to flow. Yarkand and on to Kashgar. storms and avalanches caused even the most intrepid to quail on the high passes and in the desolate gorges. in a common pursuit of peaceful trade. to about fifth century A.5 sprawling Xinjiang province of our friendly neighbour and the fabled city of Kashgar. that is. which traversed the Tarim basin in its westward extension through Central Asia to meet the markets in the Mediterranean coast. The Silk Route. depending upon its starting point in Khotan. has opened a new chapter in the world's history as this road will be used by generations after generations of the human beings not only to learn about these high mountains and the people who live there in the scattered valleys but also to draw together. thus opened a passage through the isolated mountainous regions which remained a cultural backyard of humanity for millennia. however. The most important item of trade. On the South it crossed the Muztag river and after passing through Shimshal reached the main channel of Hunza river. landslides. It was not easy to conceive and to execute such a Herculean project particularly in such a monstrous region.one passing the northern edge of the Tarim basin through the world famous Turfan treasures. The Highway itself is the greatest memorial to those martyrs who sacrificed their lives during blasting. Approximately fifteen thousand men of the Pakistan Army and the Chinese workers.C. Thereafter the rise of the Hsiung-nu dislocated trade connections and the name of Silk Route survived in legendary tales only. However.

K. Sung-Yung-Yun throw sufficient light on the problems of the old Silk Route. and spread out side-ladders. Along the road there are scores of sites and scenes which deserve careful study and observation and there are things which cannot be described in words alone.H. however. The king of the country has built a town. that is Mr. is a major problem because Karakorams are active even today. The mountain side is simply a stone wall standing up 10. the sight is confused and on going forward there is no sure foothold. Looking down. The present opening at Khunjrab provides an easy access to China's potential trade influence down to the Arabian sea and onwards to the free world for the first time in history. by light transport are given below. which may also be called as a substitute of the ancient silk route begins from Islamabad and passes through. To the south of this country are the snowy mountains. in the morning and evening vapours. Below is a river called Sint-uho (Jndus). Mintaka Pass opened up in the Chinese empire on the east and Tsarist Russia on the north-west.K. Sung-Yun must have crossed over the Mintaka pass. with steep crags and precipices in the way. which.000 feet. and the driving wind and snow often compel both men and beasts to herd together.Gulmit .H.Haripur . mud floods etc. Above all a drive from Jslamabad to Khunjrab is a rare and life long experience which nobody can forget after going through it once. If this identification is correct. only they use some leathern garments.K.Hunza .Abbottabad . In old days men bored through the rocks to make a way. There is a continual disintegration in the higher regions because of the interactions of several factors including the effects of climate variations and the forces of gravity.H. we proceeded by a hanging rope-Bridge and crossed the river. The people of the country dress handsomely. passes through a scenic wonderland. for the sake of being in the mountains. snow. all play key roles in the general destruction of these mountain areas.Jaglot . Hiuen Tsang described his journey to Swat in the following words: "The road was difficult and broken.Gilgit .ice. When parts of the valley walls break away. where caves are still seen and used for living purposes.Hiuen Tsang and Mr. Approximate distances and travelling on the K." San-Yan described as under: "The mountains here are as lofty and the gorges deep as ever. rise up like gem-spires". The two sides of the river are something less than 80 paces apart. where he resides. or when the streams undercut these steepest Mansoor Ahmed Geo-strategic importance of Pakistan . The landscape changes almost after every mile.Batgram -Besham Qila . but much would depend on the season and the driving skill of the driver. The land is extremely ëold so much so. Having passed the ladders. From the description it appears to be the present Misgar area. of which there are seven hundred (steps) in all to pass.Passu .Taxila Hassan Abdal . that the people occupy the caves of the mountains as dwelling places.Pattan Chilas . The ancient approach was across the Kilk Mintaka Pass over to the opening of Misgar and onwards to Hunza. The K. Rawalpindi .Sust and enters China at Khunjrab. The modern K.rain. Maintenance of road.6 The following two quotations of the two world famous ancient travellers.

to descend at frightening speeds to the floor of the valley. far to the southwest. is also found in other parts of the country. He made his first move against Bahadur Shah. Later the relations between the two became estranged and Sher Khan left to join the Mughal service under Babur. He is also revered as the first true Indian Muslim King to rule Indo-Pakistan. and perhaps nowhere else in the world. and even villages are. He is also by all means the first true social reformer in the history of Indo-Pakistan. Sher Shah Suri. The first of these. He devoted himself to educationand became a master at Persian language. A self made man. but the 'Ram' lives along the Karakoram Highway up to the Chinese border. Also. He left home early on with a desire to make something of himself. Sher Khan soon became the virtual ruler of Bihar. but now they are extremely rare. Sher Khan and Bahadur Shah as a threat to his rule. is the snow leopard. Soon afterwards. It was here that Sher Khan got to know the inherent weaknesses of the Mughal-Turk structure of Government. Surs had migrated from Ghaur in Modern Day Afghanistan to Bihar during Bahlol Lodhi'sreign. The Lodhi Sultanate was in its twilight when Sher Khan joined the service of Ibrahim Lodhi in Agra. Sher Shah Suri has always occupied a special place in the History of the Subcontinent and that of Islam.7 precipices on earth then gravity causes small and large fragments. However in 1522. Meanwhile in the North West India. Farid Khan saved Bahar Khan's life when a tiger attacked him. and in many ways its first "socialist" King. While the Mughal forces were away. a kind of pheasant. Babur was succeeded by his son Humayun. In early 1538 Humayun marched against Sher Mansoor Ahmed Geo-strategic importance of Pakistan . the minor Jalal Khan was ruling. It is much bigger than the Chakor found near Quetta. kalege and chir. Sher Khan further consolidated his power by invading and finally annexing Bengal from the Lodhis. Found in this region. quietly advanced and with its blunt snout nudged away the towers of a strong bridge toppling it into the Hunza river. It was here that he earned the title of "Sher Khan" for his courage. in single pieces or in thunderous avalanches. Humayun considered both Sultan Mahmud Lodhi. Several parts of the road. the Bhural (a sheep). Apparently Farid Khan was not a favorite of his father. just a few kilometres from the beautiful Gulmit. A few years ago the Batura Glacier. and Deer were common. Sher Khan's opponents rallied under the lodhi Afghan ruler Sultan Mahmud Lodhi and the minor Jalal Khan. Babur has said to have already spotted Sher Khan as a potential trouble maker for the future. One of the several rare species of birds is the colourful "Ram Chakor' the ordinary Chakor. Pheasants of other types also abound--the trapogan. His achievements are phenomenal. is now almost extinct. It has not been found possible to rebuild the bridge which causes great problems during the summer season when the flow of water increases due to snow-melting. the Markhor and Thar (a wild goat). Sher Khan overcame this opposition at the famous battle of surajgarh which broke the back of the Lodhis. It is said that on a hunting trip with Bahar Khan. either washed away or buried under several thousand tons of mud. Soon mistrust and suspicion forced Sher Khan to flee from the Mughal camp to join once again his old master Bahar Khan's service where now Bahar's son. the widowed Lad Malika of Chunar fort married Sher Khan to give him that strategic fort. he had risen to become the most powerful ruler of the Subcontinent since Asoka. was born to an Afghan-Muslim jagirdar of the Sur Tribe of the Afghans. the trapogan. he left Ibrahim's service for Bahar Khan's service closer to home. whose real name was Farid Khan. Marco Polo sheep.

It was a matter of hours before Rohtas fort fell to Sher Shah. one treasurer. who want to perform "Karseva" by encroaching on to the premises of this great Emperor's last resting place by completing the "Sarveshar Mahadev" temple. On the way Sher Khan struck Humayun's forces at Chaunsa in June 1539 inflicting upon them a severe defeat. and probably loans were advanced to the tenants in case of damage to crops caused by the encampment of soldiers. giving rise to another famous folklore of "Nizam Saqqa" the water carrier. one Hindi writer and one Persian writer to keep accounts. however. Along the way "Baulis" and "Sarais" were constructed which are the equivalent of Modern day Service stations. and decribed by many as extremely Machiavellian in nature. and finally Humayun fled to Iran only to return 15 years later with the help of the Safavids. a road though one of the best in the world but a white elephant for the Pakistani Nation.8 Khan and laid siege to Chunar which was fatal mistake on his part.Sher Shah also instituted the Subcontinent's first effective law and order force. He was succeeded by the 13 year old Akbar and his "Ataleeq" Bairam Khan. which. in Sassaram. Sher Shah's land revenue reforms. Bihar from where this ambitious and Brilliant Afghan had started out to create his destiny. Humayun met his tragic end falling off the stairs. Humayun was forced to flee from Agra. have unique importance in the administrative history of Indo-Pakistan. His mausoleum. the whole Empire was divided into forty-seven units each of which was again divided into several sununits. The result. the hero of the second battle of Panipat. Some 450 years later. Remissions of rents were made. To check undue influence of the officers in their respective jurisdictions. The most vocal supporter of this is local BJP leader Jawahir Prasad of the ruling party in the center. What's next? Taj Mahal? At this rate slowly but surely all monuments of Muslim origin will one day vanish Mansoor Ahmed Geo-strategic importance of Pakistan . For convenience of administration. Sher Shah's soldier entered the Rohtas fort under the guise of women in "shahi dolis". the Sher Shah devised the plan of transferring them every two or three years. Next year Humayun returned. Sher Khan consolidated his power further by taking over Rohtas Fort. He carried out extensive agrarian and administrative restructuring laying the foundation for the administration which helped Akbar and the rest of the Mughals to rule for the next 300 years. one Shiqdar. while he goes to battle against the Mughals. It is said about his rule that "a woman could travel with all her jewelry in his empire without being afraid of getting looted. After this Sher Shah campaigned extensively against the Rajputs. and Humayun pursued him into Bengal. Humayun barely made it back to Dehli.The subunit had one Ami ." By far Sher Shah's greatest legacy is the modern Grand Trunk road which ran from Bengal to Attock. a part of India's historical heritage. While this siege progressed. could not be long-enduring owing to the brief span of his rule. For months Sher Khan retreated. He met his end at Kalinja where he was died in a freak accident with one of the cannons. an incompetent ruler of Modern Pakistan also fancied going down in History as Sher Shah Suri.Then finally at Gaur Humayun turned back. Sher khan asked the Hindu ruler of Rohtas to give his family shelter. Nevertheless Sher Shah's most brilliant achievements were in administrative reforms. today is threatened by extremists. Sher Shah Suri was a brilliant Military strategician. His conquest of Rohtas Fort and the massacre of Puran Mill's family are two blots on Sher Shah Suri's character. which has the second largest dome in that country. He defeated formidable foes like Puran Mill and Maldev. Every branch of the administration was subject to Sher Shah's personal supervision. One wonders if there is no end to this. or the insufficiency of rain. but his forces were uprooted again at Kanauj. based on wise and humane principles. however some claim it ran right up to Kabul.Historians have often accused Sher Shah of treachery in this respect. These revenue reformsincreased the resources of the State and at the same time conduced to the interest of the people. His brother Kamran refused to give him shelter. 10 years after his Death Humayun returned at the head of a safvid Army and retook Dehli and Agra. Sher Shah Suri also introduced the idea of a unified currency and tariffs to improve the General Economic Condition of the poor. Now it was Sher Shah's turn to pursue Humayun. Sher Shah Suri lies today in an impressive octagonal Mausoleum.

together with the Indian army. the policy adopted was to excluding Punjabis. especially those of the Manjha region around Amritsar. and some Dogras from Kangra. given the harsh climate and other difficulties a large fighting force comprising European troops could not be maintained permanently. it denotes the British Empire of India. in which the princes preserved control over domestic affairs. Pakistan uner british raj When the British conquered the Punjab in 1849. smaller numbers of Hindu Jats of Rothak and Hissar in southeastern Punjab (present-day Haryana). The 1857 trauma made the British fully aware of the fact that they ruled India by the force of arms and could hold on to it also by the same token. the 1857 uprising led by north Indian purbiyas forced a change of policy. BRITISH RAJ A term derived from the Sanskrit word raja (king). though the Raj was not formally established until the subcontinent had come under British control in its entirety in 1858.000 men (most of whom were Indian). with British officers in controlling positions until the 1920s and recruited from British and Indian ranks.overpopulation and land fragmentation in the Manjha. There was a large British army garrison. Its beginnings date back to the foundation of the British East India Company in 1600. but dependent army. and Queen Victoria was proclaimed Empress of India in 1877. Punjab became the natural frontline province from where the British took part in the Great Game against perceived Russian and later German threats. from military duty because it was feared that they could be a threat to their interests. bound by treaty to the Crown. although Europeans and Indians remained socially separate. Janjuas. Jhelum and Shahpur districts. However. the Raj could only exist in a country with 450 million people with popular cooperation. which in later years was gradually opened to Indians. In addition there were in India some 700 princely states. As this began to diminish with the campaigns of Gandhi. the position of the Raj was steadily weakened from the 1920s. Supported by an army of 175. Moreover. Muslims tribes such as the Ghakkars. especially Sikhs. Awans and Tiwanas of the Salt Range tract including Rawalpindi. The groups chosen were: The Khalsa Sikh Jats. scarce and poor quality land in the rain-fed broken hills of the Salt Range. The three major groups faced acute economic hardship in their districts -. and the Sikhs as well as Muslims from the western districts were mobilised to crush that rebellion. British control over the directly ruled territories (about three-fifths of the total area) was exercised by a Secretary of State in the British Cabinet and a viceroy in India. Because of its geographical location. The British Indian Army had to be recruited locally. and it became increasingly clear that the status quo could not be maintained. However. and recurring famines in the southeastern districts where the Hindu Jats were Mansoor Ahmed Geo-strategic importance of Pakistan . from the second half of the 19th century the fear of a Russian advance into India began to haunt British strategic planning. A theory of 'martial races' was devised to raise a strong. The administration was staffed by the Indian Civil Service. Therefore they must build a strong and formidable military apparatus.9 from India.

it joined hands with the British in the war effort. of betraying Muslim interests by opposing the demand for Pakistan. A conflict with the Sikhs broke out in the 1920s over the control of gurdwaras. offering to use its influence to help recruit soldiers from the towns and cities of Punjab and from a social base that included castes hitherto not included among the martial races. The political linchpin of British rule in the Punjab was the Unionist Party founded by Sir Fazl-eHussain (died 1936) and later led by Sir Sikander Hayat Khan (died 1942) and supported by Sir Chhottu Ram (died 1945). Supply of soldiers from the rural areas. Through the Land Alienation Act of 1900. the stronghold of the Unionists. It enjoyed the support mainly of the Muslim intelligentsia and some urban professionals. It resulted in some casualties but was resolved with the orthodox Sikhs being given the charge of their holy places. Sir Khizr Tiwana. Hitherto the Punjab Muslim League was a minor player. The Punjab Unionist Party enlisted the support of the Sikh Khalsa Nationalist Party representing loyalist Sikh landlords. the British made sure that its rural support base in the Punjab was safeguarded against moneylenders and rising urban entrepreneurs. In political terms too a rural bias was present in the electoral reforms of 1919 and 1935. the Unionist model began to crumble and the garrison state crack when the Muslim League entered Punjab politics in the 1940s with its slogan of Pakistan. However. Mansoor Ahmed Geo-strategic importance of Pakistan . Nationalist and revolutionary forces found little support in the Punjab. Besides such careful selection of 'class' and 'military districts' the British evolved a sophisticated system of rewarding those connected to the army. Moreover. These included the tribal and clan leaders. The constituencies were formed in a manner that members from the rural areas constituted the majority. During World War I Punjab supplied some 60 per cent of the total soldiers raised from India and during War II one-third. zaildars. especially in the canal colonies of western Punjab. From 1943 onwards it began loudly to blame the successor of Sir Sikander. Therefore despite many efforts the Congress Party failed to develop a mass base. Simultaneously the government maintained the threat of cancellation and confiscation of titles and land grants if their bearers did not cooperate in supplying soldiers to the Indian Army and in containing trouble in their areas. Titles such as khan bahadur. had been declining as World War II dragged on. nawab and even sir were conferred on them. historical enmity existed between the Sikhs and the Muslims of the Salt Range because Maharaja Ranjit Singh had inflicted defeat on their elders and curtailed their power. Regular pay and allowances.10 located. The British increasingly began to recognise the Muslim League as the main representative of Muslims of India. village headmen. More importantly. pensions and other economic benefits were available to the soldiers as well as those who helped recruit them. The right to vote was limited by property and land tax qualifications. the leaders of Hindu Jats. These three groups did not share strong fraternal bonds and were recruited in different companies and regiments but with the overall unified command of British officers. sufedposhs and other men of influence in the rural areas. land grants. This coalition ruled the Punjab.

Both such factors combined to pass on the legacy of the garrison state to Pakistan. The Second Afghan War was fought in 1878-80. In 1876 Sandeman concluded a treaty with the khan that brought his territories--including Kharan. A new mir from the ruling family of Hunza was appointed by the British. In 1889 the Gilgit Agency was made permanent. The book is a painstaking and meticulous research undertaking based on extensive use of government documents. In 1874 Sir Robert Sandeman was sent to improve British relations with the Baloch tribes and the khan of Kalat. Such works deserve to be translated into Urdu and made available to the wider public.11 Moreover. it had become a party of conservative landlords. This agreement brought under British domination territory and peoples that had not yet been conquered and would become the source of much difficulty between Pakistan and Afghanistan in the future. Mansoor Ahmed Geo-strategic importance of Pakistan . The Pakistani army was essentially a Punjabi army. the Muslim League was no longer the party of the erstwhile Muslim intelligentsia or progressive reformers who wanted to create an egalitarian Islamic utopia. By the election of 1946 the former Punjab Unionist Party had virtually become the Punjab Muslim League as almost all the Muslim landlords had joined the latter. and in 1887 some areas of Balochistan were declared British territory. southeast of Quetta. A British expedition was sent against Hunza and Nagar. Harnai. In the Treaty of Gandamak concluded in May 1879. argues Tan Tai Yong. British garrisons were established in Hunza and Chitral in 1892. Sibi. the Pakistani Punjab emerged as the most powerful province and the sword arm of the new state. Sir Mortimer Durand negotiated an agreement with Amir Abdur Rahman Khan of Afghanistan to fix an only partially surveyed line (the Durand Line) running from Chitral to Balochistan to designate the areas of influence for the Afghans and the British. A similar forward policy was pursued farther north. or "forward policy. In 1883 the British leased the Bolan Pass. Also in 1893. Each party pledged not to interfere in each other's lands. Moreover. other tribal areas were forcibly occupied by the British. Makran. and Thal Chotiali to the British." The latters' view prevailed. partly because Russian advances in Central Asia gave their arguments credence. challenges to Khizr from disgruntled colleagues resulted in splits and desertions in the Unionist Party. Thus when Pakistan came into being in August 1947. and Las Bela--under British suzerainty. which submitted to British control. A formal protectorate was declared over Chitral and Gilgit in 1893. the Afghan amir ceded his districts of Pishin. sparked by Britain's demands that Afghan foreign policy come completely under its control. Others favored a more assertive posture. During succeeding years. British policy toward the tribal peoples on the northwest frontier vacillated between caution and adventurism during the latter half of the nineteenth century. Some viceroys opposed extending direct administration or defense beyond the Indus River. from the khan of Kalat on a permanent basis. A British political agent was stationed in Gilgit in 1876 to report on Russian activities as well as on developments in the nearby states of Hunza and Nagar.

though a Muslim country. However. its relations with its neighbours. Eisenhower sought a series of alliances in the "Northern Tier"--Pakistan. keeping true to their traditions. Indian Union and Pakistan. but in international relations and trade as well. recently. Pakistan after partition The British Parliament passed the Indian Independence Act on July 18. surrounded by some of the front line and most talked about countries like China in the north. The sea and land component thus add to the importance of Pakistan not only in the region. specially India on the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir has brought Pakistan and India to war a number of times. This leaves China to be the only trusted ally of Pakistan in the region since its independence. Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah was appointed the first Governor General of Pakistan and Liaquat Ali Khan became its first Prime Minister. Local customary law continued. because of Russian and Indian influence on Afghan foreign policy. The Act created two dominions. while relations with Afghanistan always remain sore. Pakistan became a dominion within the British Commonwealth of Nations. also has lukewarm relations with Pakistan. Early importance to the world Pakistan's foreign policy stance shifted significantly in 1953 when it accepted the United States offer of military and economic assistance in return for membership in an alliance system designed to contain international communism. Since its independence. Pakistan's role in the war against terror has brought it in the forefronts of world politics. Iran. as did the traditional lines of authority and social customs upheld by the maliks (tribal chiefs). Mansoor Ahmed Geo-strategic importance of Pakistan .12 The establishment of British hegemony in the northwest frontier regions did not lead to direct administration similar to that in other parts of India. however. When the administration of Dwight D. The Muslims faced a gamut of problems immediately after independence. 1947. To a large extent. 1947. The Muslims of the Sub-continent had finally achieved their goal to have an independent state for themselves. they overcame them after a while. but only after a long and relentless struggle under the singleminded guidance of the Quaid. It also provided for the complete end of British control over Indian affairs from August 15. Pakistan is no doubt a strategically located country at the mouth of the most frequented trade and oil route of Persian Gulf and opening to the Indian Ocean. the frontier was little more than a vast buffer zone with Afghanistan between the British and Russian empires in Asia and a training ground for the British Indian Army. India in the east. Iran and Afghanistan in west and northwest.

and Turkey--and in East Asia. 70s) and by China immediately after 1962 border debacle in NEFA and Ladhakh with India. civil war broke out and two groups Mansoor Ahmed Geo-strategic importance of Pakistan . It was only guerrilla action and counterstrike by the occupying force resulting in civilian causalities. In 1954 Pakistan signed a Mutual Defense Agreement with the United States and became a member of the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO). aided by Pakistani self interest. The 1971 Bangladesh creation by India removed a major irritant’s in Pakistan’s internal cohesiveness and made Pakistan a West Asian country. Iraq. Pakistan became a candidate for membership in each. Pakistan joined Iran. Pakistan’s strategic importance was very much enhanced in early 50s when US looking for a base to fly the U-2 over USSR found the perfect base in Pehawar to sneak into the USSR from south and fly over vitally important USSR’s space station and strategic missile bases which were far away from the USSR’s European borders. This relationship ended with the shooting down of the U-2 spy plane by USSR. China stepped in with political and moral support to whatever the Pakistanis wished.13 Iran. China found it very useful to be friends with Pakistan. Rawalpindi ceased to be important military bases to US as these were before the U-2 shooting down.Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (father of Benazir) and later Zia – Ul – Haq (the military dictator) to look around and find its own strategic importance in the peculiar geography it is located. linked to it by culture. US inflated the figures to make it look as a great US victory. The USSR’s invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 was a God sent opportunity to Pakistani dictator – Zia Ul Haq to exploit its geographic location to aid and abet the US position of defeating Soviet Union in an Asian battlefield. religion and military pacts (CENTO and SEATO). Peshawar. The 1971 war also forced the Pakistani leadership of the time . These occurred when after the USSR withdrawal. The following year. Pakistan was built up as a spoiler state both by US (early 50s. and Turkey in the Baghdad Pact. After the 1962 victory of Chinese forces over India. US had very little interest in Pakistan except supply of spares for previously supplied military hardware continued. With the onset of Vietnam War. China’s influence increased. Civilian losses were great. As US was loosing a bit of interest in Pakistan with the end of Eisenhower Administration. 60s. Pakistani dictators and Prime Ministers paid visits to China. later converted into the Central Treaty Organization (CENTO) after Iraq's withdrawal in 1959. Several high ranking visits by Chou En Lai and Liu Shao Shi took place to Pakistan. Sarghodha. In return. There was not much of a fight as per say in Afghanistan. All this was done to keep India off balance and prevent it from focusing on its northern border.

The above brought into the focus the particular strategic importance of Pakistan in all West Asian related affairs. would be al-Qaida. and in that way make it Mansoor Ahmed Geo-strategic importance of Pakistan . The most important of the arrests was that of al-Qaida's operational director Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in Rawalpindi last March. who would be glad to hear about a successful assassination of President Musharraf. give way to the Islamists to rise in power in Pakistan. Pakistan to day importance After the terrorist attacks of the September 11th. who is personally deeply dedicated to the war against terrorism. The death of President Musharraf. For them it was a bitter disappointment that Pakistan turned against the Taliban. the fundamentalist and Pashtun-dominated movement in Afghanistan. however. This being the situation. because the Pakistani security agencies have arrested hundreds of its members and thousands of radical Islamists. has given al-Qaida only a limited pause of sigh. The biggest beneficiary. which probably has had a hidden hand behind the murder attempts. at worst. Later. could. The US military operations have caused significant difficulties to al-Qaida's operations in Afghanistan. bordering Afghanistan. there are many in the NWFP. which has infuriated the Pashtuns inhabiting Pakistan's NorthWestern Frontier Province (NWFP) as well as the Islamist opposition. of a successful assassination of Musharraf. The war in Afghanistan has made Pakistan and the United States closer to each other. Removing the organization to the Pakistani side of the border. Pakistani aided Taliban came into the picture and defeated both the warring sides.14 fought to gain control of Kabul. whose stronghold also rests in the Pashtun areas. out of the US firepower. although even Usama bin Ladin is believed to hide in these tribal areas. including many key leaders of alQaida. Pakistan was prompt to devote itself to the US-led alliance against terrorism. The co-operation between US and Pakistani security authorities in the Tribal Agencies has been seen as humiliating bootlicking of the US. Afghanistan became a client state of Pakistan. At that time (1994-2001).

The results of such a development would immediately be seen especially in Afghanistan. Musharraf changed his uniform to a suit. the Middle East. Like in Afghanistan. which have enjoyed support of the Pakistani intelligence services and army for decades. In 1990s. and Africa. but another lied in the fact that the Kashmiri liberation movements had by time become very difficult for Pakistan to control. Most of the Kashmiri separatists reject the Taliban model of Islamist rule. President Musharraf has acted as an effective barrier against an Islamist rise into power. It should be remembered that one motive for Musharraf's coup d'état was the fact that the prime minister Nawaz Sharif was quickly transforming Pakistan into an Islamist state. attacking no longer Indian military but Western tourists and Pakistan's religious minorities. Another part of the groups have been influenced by Usama bin Ladin and thereby changed their strategies. the Philippines. Many continue to be Sufi and national-inspired and strongly reject fundamentalist Islamism. When the war against terrorism was launched. Mansoor Ahmed Geo-strategic importance of Pakistan . However. the original national-inspired freedom fighters of Kashmir had been increasingly replaced by a generation of internationalist jihadists. also in Kashmir the rise of radical Islamists of the Taliban type does not mean that all armed Kashmiri groups are anyhow connected with radical Islamists. part of whom had received their training in al-Qaida camps in Afghanistan. another issue feeding Islamist hatred against Musharraf is the Kashmir dispute. and at the same time he distanced the Pakistani government from the armed separatist movements of Kashmir.15 significantly easier for al-Qaida and the Taliban to operate. These developments have effectively alienated Pakistan's leadership from the support organizations of the jihadist groups in Kashmir. the changes in world politics were not the only reason for this divorce. Besides of the doghouse position of the political Islamists. Some of the armed groups fighting in Kashmir are full of foreign combatants from Punjab. and fought in al-Qaida-backed brigades on the side of the Taliban in the Afghan civil war.

betraying the cause of the Kashmiris would be devastating for Musharraf's position and support in domestic politics. as well as alQaida. Open support for Kashmiri guerrillas would lead international condemnation for Pakistan. the Kashmir issue is for Pakistan's 150 million Muslims of about the same importance as the Palestine issue is for Arabs. Mansoor Ahmed Geo-strategic importance of Pakistan . Probably also among the Pakistani intelligence ISI there are those for whom abandoning the Kashmiri guerrillas has been a bitter disappointment. The Kashmir issue acts as an efficient tool for recruitment and fundraising for the Islamists. the Kashmir question is an extremely difficult challenge both in foreign and in domestic politics.16 For President Musharraf. In short. and surely strengthen the radical elements in Pakistan. The latest attack against Musharraf's life showed that the terrorists had advance information about the president's movements. On the other hand.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful