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India and Afghanistan, especially confrontation with India over Kashmir and the dispute over division of the waters of the Indus basin, were no doubt central to the making of Pakistan's foreign policy immediately after independence. These conflicts have continued in one form or another over the years. It is a common mistake, however to interpret Pakistan's foreign policy too narrowly in the context of its conflicts with its neighbors for that obscures the extent to which Pakistan has in effect been increasingly drawn into the Middle East as from the mid-fifties, not so much in terms of the so-called 'Islamic ideology' but rather in terms of the role that Pakistan was made to assume in Western military strategy for the Middle East. By the early 1950s Pakistan's relationship with the US was set on a new course, culminating in a military alliance.
Objectives of the Military Alliance:
There is a pervasive view that the object and the effect of Pakistan's military alliance with the US was to strengthen it vis-a-vis India. That is how Indian nationalist scholars and politicians have represented that alliance. That is also how Pakistan's rulers themselves have sought to justify it. The rhetoric of US politicians themselves about it was rather different. They suggested that the alliance was to bolster Pakistan as a first line of defense of South Asia against Soviet designs for 'expansionism' in the South Asian region. This was in line with the McCarthyite cold war spirit of the times and legitimated such a military alliance within the US. It seems that the emphasis on this argument was calculated also to allay Indian fears. If the purpose and function of the Pakistan-US military alliance were to strengthen Pakistan vis-a-vis India, a view that is endorsed by critics of the alliance as well as its apologists in Pakistan, ironically it played no part in Pakistan's wars with India, when it was defeated twice in 1965 and again in 1971. In fact the US went to great lengths to reassure India that the alliance held no threats towards India. The US administration took great care to ensure that the military hardware that it supplied to Pakistan in terms of the Alliance, was not to be available to Pakistan for use in its conflicts with India. This paper aims to show that India-centered explanations of the US-Pakistan military alliance obscure its true purpose and significance and the overall dynamics of Pakistan's foreign policy, as a protege of the US. Another aspect of the conventional wisdom on Pakistan's relationship with the US is that it is viewed in unilinear terms, suggesting that from the moment of the creation of he new State of Pakistan it's rulers went begging to the US for economic and military aid and assumed the role of a US satellite and that Pakistan has remained so ever since, in a basically unchanging relationship. An influential work of this genre is Venkataramani's 'The American Role in Pakistan' (1984), which incorporates both these aspects of the conventional wisdom about Pakistan's relationship with the US in its argument. In Pakistan especially, it has become an influential work. This is because, on the face of it, it exposes the willing and unchanging subservience of successive Pakistan regimes to the US - which suggests by implication that the US did not have to resort to a great deal of manipulation and pressure to draw Pakistan into its circle of client states. To assume that would obscure the great dramas on the Pakistani political stage that were played out in the mid-fifties in order to secure US objectives. Furthermore,
Venkataramani's book carries some degree of credence because much of it is evidently based on exhaustively researched archival material in Washington, which gives it a ring of authority. But, sadly his research is highly selective and partial, grounded in his own particular prejudices. He has no clue about the changing contexts of the US military and strategic interests in the region and, correspondingly, shifts and changes in Pakistan's place in US foreign policy considerations from one period to another. Venkataramani's work is a typical example of Indian nationalist scholarship on this subject. It reflects an ambivalence between a desire to represent Pakistan's political leadership, from the very inception of the new State, as subservient and a willing instrument of the US, as its favored instruments of its policies in the region. On the one hand, he continually mocks Pakistan's political leaders and rulers, who were desperately in search of military equipment its early years, for debasing themselves before the US, begging fruitlessly from successive unresponsive US administrations to be granted the facility of purchasing of military equipment which were regularly and rudely refused. They are shown therefore to be treated shabbily by the US which chose to ignore them. Then, with some questionable 'nationalist pride', he notes the greater importance that the US attached to India in its regional diplomacy. He writes: "considering India clearly more important in that context (i.e. of US policy of containment of Soviet Union and China. H.A.) the Administration extended an official invitation to the Indian Prime Minister Nehru to visit the United States (whereas they) had indicated no interest in inviting the Prime Minister of Pakistan." (Venkataramani, 1984: 73-74). This is so evidently childish. Why should this be regarded to be such a great 'honor' conferred by a patronizing US on Pandit Nehru and India. The US surely was doing no more than pursuing its own designs for the region. The discrimination that Venkataramani notices in US treatment of Pakistan and India, respectively, ought to have led him into examining more closely US motives and interests in the region rather than into the petty mockery in which he indulges. That was in 1949. However, quite soon US priorities changed fundamentally, so that even at the risk of antagonizing India, the US drew Pakistan into a military alliance. Why were US priorities in the region now radically altered ? Was it merely because of cleverer Pakistani diplomacy ? And what did the alliance offer to the US ? What did it offer to Pakistan ? What new calculations had changed the equation between India and Pakistan in the US regional policy calculations ? Venkataramani does not stop to ponder over these kinds of questions; nor do most scholars, who write about Pakistan's foreign policy in a similar vein. They tend to treat the military alliance between the US and Pakistan, that was forged in the 1950s, as if it was simply an unproblematic extension of an on-going relationship. Some profound changes took place in the strategic military situation in the region in the early 1950s that brought about a crucial shift in the US regional military calculations. It was this that now conferred on Pakistan a new role in US regional military strategy for the Middle East. We cannot begin to understand the reasons for the change in US attitudes from the earlier coldness and distancing from Pakistan to a desire to establish a military alliance with it without taking the major changes that took place in the regional balance of power at the time. This certainly did not come about because of initiatives taken by Pakistanis, as we will soon see, although in later Pakistani (and US) propaganda Ayub Khan was sometimes represented as the author of the alliance. That bogus claim helped to propagate the notion that the alliance was essentially in Pakistan's interests which, at last, the US was willing to support. In truth, the US was left to face a new reality with regard to the balance
of power in the region and, above all, the threat to Western oil interests. The event that brought about this sea change in US strategy was the nationalization of Iranian oil by Muhammad Mossadeq in March 1951 that precipitated the crisis of Western power in the Middle East. A new Western strategy for the 'defense of the Middle East', i.e. the defense of Western oil interests, had to be worked out. Barnds notes that "The idea of a US-Pakistani military relationship first came under serious consideration in Washington in 1951. ... The US Air Force was interested in possible sites for air bases; other military strategists considered the manpower the Pakistani Army might furnish for use elsewhere in Asia". A US-Pakistan agreement about military assistance was reached by mid-1952. But it was not until the installation of the Eisenhower administration in 1953, with the Dulles brothers in charge of the State Department and the CIA, respectively, that things really began to move. This reorientation of the US regional military strategy had little to do with India, except that in making the shift and drawing Pakistan into a military alliance, the US put at risk its good relations with India and had to try as much as possible to limit that damage.
It might be helpful to look at the background to this in historical perspective. Since World War II, after the decline of British and French global colonial dominance, the US emerged as the most potent power on the world scene. As it eventually evolved, Pakistan's relationship with the US became qualitatively different from its relationships with other major countries of the capitalist world for Pakistan has been made subject to a form of indirect colonial rule. The US has exercised a decisive influence, from time to time, on the establishment and survival of regimes in Pakistan and on the choice of ministers and allocations of their portfolios. It must be emphasized that this does not imply the same kind of control as under direct colonial rule. The weight of US power over Pakistan is pervasive. But this is not without its tensions and contradictions, so that often the US has to manipulate forces in Pakistan to achieve its purposes and that not always successfully. The most eloquent testimony to Pakistan's relative autonomy, as a post-colonial state, is the long on-going struggle over Pakistan's nuclear program. Despite pressure and sanctions such as suspension of aid and military supplies, the US does not appear to have been able to do much about it. The story of the US-Pakistan relationship has been an uneven and complex one. The fact is that during the first five years after the Partition, Pakistan was quite insecure in the international arena, in its relationships with the US and Britain as well as the Soviet Union, especially in the context of its bitter confrontation with India. The actual and prospective economic stake in India for US and British capital was far greater than what the backward and smaller economy of Pakistan could possibly offer. For the US and Britain there was no point in jeopardizing Indian goodwill because of any entanglement with Pakistan. In Britain a Labor Government was in power and the Labor Party leadership had long standing and close ties with the Indian National Congress and its leaders. The British Labor Movement had looked upon the Congress as a force for democracy in South Asia whereas it had always been hostile towards the Pakistan Muslim League, as a communal force. Likewise in the US Democrats were in power. They also had close relationships with leaders of the Indian National
Congress and looked upon the Pakistan Muslim League in the same light as did the British Labor Party. Understandably, in that context, Pakistan was suspicious of both. Nor could Pakistani leaders, given their ideological predilections and Soviet leanings towards India, look upon the Soviet Union as an alternative source of support. India was being wooed from all sides, as Pakistani leaders saw the situation, and Pakistan felt isolated, as a political orphan on the world stage. It had little alternative in the first five or six years of its existence therefore but to chart a neutral course in foreign policy. This may come as a surprise to those who have been conditioned to think of Pakistan as a US satellite from its very inception. Pakistan's foreign policy during the first five years after the Partition was in fact neutral and non-aligned. This was not an ideological choice but a condition that was imposed on Pakistan simple by virtue of the stark reality of her world position. Therefore, despite their mutual hostility, a most striking fact about that period is that Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan stood shoulder to shoulder with Prime Minister Nehru in proclaiming a policy of non-alignment on a number of occasions and issues. This was particularly remarkable in view of Liaquat Ali Khan's personal obsession with the Kashmir issue and his consequent stance of hostile confrontation with India. He visited the US in May 1950 to solicit US aid. Against the background of the cold war, when the Americans took the view that anyone who was not in their camp was in the camp of her enemies, it is noteworthy that Liaquat Ali Khan began his first major speech before the National Press Club in Washington, with the words. (paraphrasing Metternich) that a country has "no eternal friends and no eternal enemies. It has eternal interests". He spelt out what he believed to be Pakistan's 'eternal' interests, with no reference to the cold war. Referring to the US he did not go beyond expressing the hope that Pakistan and the US may "come to a better understanding of each other's point of view", thus clearly distancing Pakistan from any question of identification with the US camp or qualifying her own independent position. Needless to add he returned empty handed from that trip. Pakistan's non-aligned policy under Liaquat Ali Khan is little recognized. This writer noted it in an article on "The Burden of US Aid" in Pakistan Today in 1962. More recently, Barnds, one of the few who have since come to recognize it, writes in explanation that: 'Pakistan had followed a policy of non-alignment, in fact though not in name, since 1947. It did not want to depart too far in international politics from other Muslim states and Arabs had generally shown their opposition to Western defense alignments and organizations. This explanation, attributing Pakistan's nonaligned policy as a gesture towards Arab opinion, seems to be misconceived, considering that we are as yet dealing with the period upto 1951, when the Middle East was still dominated by right wing regimes under British patronage, and the philosophy of Gamal Abdel Nasser and Arab Nationalism had yet to capture the hearts and minds of Arab peoples. Nor was Pakistan's nonalignment a 'policy' i.e. a deliberate and calculated choice. It was no more than an expression, and acceptance, of its isolation on the global stage and lack of trust in Western regimes whom Pakistan's leaders believed to be already committed to India. For India non-alignment, in the context of East-West confrontation, was for different reasons. With its relatively more developed economic base and aspirations for independent planned economic development and, furthermore, its considerable bargaining power as a leading Third World country and regional power, this was a calculated policy from which India has profited greatly through its bilateral dealings with all sides.
A problem that was felt most keenly by Pakistan's leadership in the first years after independence was its military weakness. Pakistan had to create a new army virtually from scratch, a problem that India did not have to face to the same degree. Lord Birdwood (then adviser to the British Conservative party on defense matters and himself son of a Commander-in-Chief of the Army in British India) noted that: " Thus 'class' units Dogras, Mahrattas and Sikhs - could immediately be allotted to India, since they were all composed of Hindu clans. Punjab infantry regiments and all the cavalry contained companies and squadrons of Hindus, Sikhs and Moslems. Even more intricate was the problem of splitting the various Corps and ancillary services ... all services in which Moslems and Hindus had to be separated out and dispatched to new units, new homes and new loyalties." (Birdwood, 1953: 83). This meant that in Pakistan virtually the entire army had to be regrouped and reconstituted into new units and knit together. For a time Pakistan had practically no army in the sense of an effective and organized, not to say well equipped, force. A major blow for the new Pakistan army was the non-arrival of its due share of military equipment and stores, located mostly in distant places in India, that were allocated to her under the Partition deal. An independent Supreme Court and had been set up under General Auchinleck to deal with the transitional problems of unscrambling the two armies and division of assets between them. A Joint defense Council was also set up to supervise this. Although they were both to function until the end of March 1948 they were prematurely dissolved, on Indian initiative, in November 1947. Birdwood noted that: "It was Pakistan's bitter complaint that although the Defense Council might allocate stores and supplies to her army, in fact orders were never translated into action. ... For this reason the Pakistanis viewed the decision to close down the Supreme Command in November with dismay. They had not received their fair share and with the abolition of a central independent authority they saw no prospect of ever doing so." (ibid: 84-85) Even the official army records and documents of the nucleus of the Pakistan Army H.Q. which was formed out of the old GHQ in New Delhi, were left behind. Given these circumstances it is not surprising that organization and equipment of the army was a matter of great urgency for Pakistan. Pakistan's options were limited. Europe had just emerged from a most devastating war and was preoccupied with the post-war reconstruction of its war torn economies. The only likely source for the equipment that Pakistan urgently needed was the USA. The government of Pakistan lost no time in making a request to the US for supply of arms and equipment for its army, navy and air force and for loans to finance the purchases. But at that time Pakistan was accorded a very low priority in US calculations, for its traditional interests were in the Far East and the Middle East and, insofar as it had any interest in South Asia it was far more interested in cultivating its relationship with India, for Pakistan had little to offer to US capital. Desperate to equip its armed services, despite repeated rebuffs, Pakistan continued to press its requests to the US for sales of military equipment. But the US refused to lift its arms embargo. In the meantime, Pakistan bought arms, including war surplus material that had survived the Second War, on the open market, wherever available. Pakistan army's historian, Major general Fazal Muqeem Khan lists 15 countries from which Pakistan purchased arms at this time, though, as he adds, 'Not all the army's demands were fully met'. (Khan, 1963:58). Meanwhile British intelligence gathered that Pakistan was negotiating purchase of arms from Czechoslovakia, and informed the Americans. At this time the Pentagon was also speculating about possibilities of
securing airbases on Pakistan soil from which it could reach the Soviet Union's soft underbelly. So the US lifted its arms embargo in 1949 and Pakistan was allowed to make moderate purchases - a relaxation of policy that, it hoped, would keep Pakistan happy, stop it from making arms deals with communist countries and generate enough goodwill in Pakistan to keep open prospects of making it a willing collaborator with the US if that came to be needed in the future. This small gesture would not seriously antagonize India. However this was not yet a major shift in US policy. The regional strategic picture changed dramatically with the nationalization of Iranian oil in March 1951, under the leadership of the Iranian National Front leader Muhammad Musaddeq. Britain and the Western powers were unable to intervene militarily to reverse what the Iranian's had pulled off. Morrison, foreign Secretary in Britain's socialist government denounced the nationalization, refusing to grant the Iranians a right that the British labor government claimed for itself in Britain. A crippling blow for Iran was the withdrawal of British personnel who played key roles in Iranian oil production and the great oil refinery at Abadan closed down by the end of July 1951. Everything possible was done to stop transport and sales abroad of Iranian oil in world markets. What this event revealed was a major gap in Western military capacity. Much diplomatic pressure was exerted on the Iranians. Britain took the nationalization issue to the International Court of Justice and the UN Security Council but to no effect. British naval units were dispatched to the Persian Gulf and 3,000 British paratroopers were sent to Cyprus in readiness for possible action in Iran. (Ramazani, 1975: 205-206). But It was clear that these were empty gestures, for Britain was in no position to mobilize sufficient forces to intervene militarily nor did it have available bases from which to mount such an enterprise. In earlier times it would have dispatched troops from India and simply taken over Khuzistan and the refinery at Abadan. But now the old Imperial option of direct military intervention was not available. The British huffed and puffed but could do nothing effective to reverse the oil nationalization. A lesson that was driven home by this event was that there was a 'power vacuum' in the region, following the independence of India and Pakistan from British rule. The army of British India was not merely an army of occupation. It was also an imperial army that was used to underpin British power beyond India itself. The army was divided into two sections namely the "Internal Security Troops", and the "field Army" which had responsibilities in the wider Imperial system. India was the base from which the British controlled both the Middle East and South East Asia. Now, after independence of India and Pakistan, that base had disappeared. The strategic problems that this was to pose for Britain with regard to its control of the Middle East were not immediately grasped. Olaf Caroe, one-time Governor of the Northwest frontier Province the British India did recognize this problem and urged the Western powers, Britain and the US, to base their Middle East military strategy on Pakistan as the British had done previously on the basis of their presence in British India. (Caroe, 1951). But evidently this warning was not yet heeded or came too late. Lord Birdwood commented on this major transformation of the strategic equation, which had gone unnoticed so far. He wrote: "If the British Commonwealth was comparatively unaware of the great transition in 1947, the world at large was completely ignorant. ... Attention was
confined to such obvious matters as the relations of Pakistan and India, the problem of Kashmir and the operation of the new Indian constitution. The fact that policy over a very large area of the globe, from North Africa to the China Seas had overnight received an entirely fresh orientation escaped notice." (Birdwood, 1953: 173). He continued: "To take but one example, a trail of events which ended in the abandonment of the Persian oil-fields and a refinery worth $300 million, in no small measure derived from the circumstances by which troops from India were no longer available to protect our interests in Khuzistan." (loc cit.) Birdwood goes on to argue that "The position might be modified if and when Pakistan can provide armed forces for defensive purposes outside her territory" (ibid: loc). This idea was thefoundation of Pakistan's military alliance with the US. American scholars and advisers were also thinking along these lines. In a book on Defense of the Middle East, one of them wrote: "Traditionally, in two world wars, 'allied' defense of the Middle East had been entrusted to British and Commonwealth forces. It was natural that they should again form the backbone of any defense..." (Campbell 1960: 39). One night add at this point that while recognizing this problem Campbell expressed skepticism about the role that Pakistan could play in such a defense arrangement. Formally at least, the US had so far maintained a neutral posture in the Anglo-Iranian dispute, playing the role of the honest broker between the British and the Iranians. But it was greatly concerned by the oil nationalization. As Ramazani sums it up: "The principal considerations underpinning this concern were: (1) that the Anglo-Iranian controversy might lead to the stoppage of the flow of oil to Western European, allies of the United States; (2) that the example of Iranian nationalization might have an adverse effect upon the United States oil interests in the Persian Gulf area; (3) that the British departure from the south would mean diminution of Western influence in the area; and (4) that a breakdown of the Iranian economy in the face of turbulent domestic politics, particularly resulting from increasing Tudeh influence, might drive Iran to a 'Communist coup d'etat." (Ramazani, 1975: 242). He adds that: "but it was during the Eisenhower administration (i.e. two years later. H.A.) that Washington agreed with Eden's thought that 'we should be better occupied looking for alternatives to Musaddeq rather than trying to buy him off'."(ibid: 244-5). It did not take long for the CIA to mount Operation Ajax, that overthrew Mossadeq on l9th August 1953, and restored the Shah to full authority, as an American protege. The CIA has boasted about how easy it was to pull off this coup. Tully writes that it "was necessary to the security of the United States and probably to that of the Western World". He claims, further, that "It was an American operation from beginning to end" (Tully, 1962: 96 - cf also Barnet, 1969, pp 226-7) A new, US sponsored, military strategy was to be devised for the Middle East, based on military alliances with local client regimes. Pakistan and Turkey were to play key roles in that strategy. For that the Government of Pakistan had to be 'persuaded' to undertake the required role and build up its military strength accordingly. That would involve major increases in Pakistan's military expenditure, which it could ill afford. East Pakistani political leaders in particular, were not at all happy about large increases in expenditures on the military, for little of it would go to East Pakistan. When proposals about the Alliance were mooted Prime Minister Nazimuddin, an East Pakistani, although known to be a very weak man himself, nevertheless, opposed them. In this he reflected East Pakistani feelings about priorities in government Expenditure, being
especially concerned about the low level of development in East Pakistan. Given the weight of East Pakistani opinion, understandably the Nazimuddin government was not at all enthusiastic about the Alliance policy. For that project to go forward his government had to be removed. Nazimuddin had been made Prime Minister in place of Liaquat Ali Khan who was assassinated on 16th October 1951. In the ensuing reshuffle Finance Minister Ghulam Mohammad, a powerful man who had the bureaucracy in his control and who was also a US favorite, took over the key position of Governor General of Pakistan. It was an office which was invested with far reaching constitutional powers and which, under its new incumbent, was no longer to be a formal office as it had been allowed to become with Nazimuddin who had preceded him. From now on Ghulam Mohammad was to play an active and decisive role in running the government and making policy. Three men, all committed to the US alliance, were together in key positions of power, on whom the US could rely entirely, namely Ghulam Mohammad as Governor General, Gen. Iskandar Mirza as Defense Secretary and General Ayub Khan as the Commander-in-Chief of the Army. But to put them in full control of the state apparatus the Nazimuddin government had first to be removed. US agencies, and this 'gang of three' in Pakistan, soon set about the business of establishing a new political regime in Pakistan. To destabilize the Nazimuddin government a variety of agitations, riots and crises were engineered, including widespread anti-Ahmadi riots in the Punjab. But in the event, the ploy that proved to be successful was the manufacture of a 'food crisis' and specter of an 'impending famine'. An opportunity for that was provided by the fact that the wheat crop in West Pakistan for 1951-52 was below average, due to drought, and it was put out that the following crop would also be below normal due to diversion, it was said, of irrigation water from the Pakistani canal system by India, which controls the headworks. This issue of the diversion of canal waters was made a subject of a vigorous press campaign which in turn was used to reinforce the picture of prospects of crop failure and the specter of a famine. Predictably, speculators began to hoard grain and prices began to rise. This price rise in turn seemed to confirm warnings about prospects of a crop failure and famine. In his budget speech in March 1953 the Finance Minister, Chaudhry Muhammad Ali estimated the shortfall in the current year's crop to be no less than one million tons i.e. nearly a quarter of the total average crop. Adding to this alleged shortages of stocks, the overall deficit was estimated at nearly two and a half million tons. The Nazimuddin government put out desperate appeals, especially to the US, for food aid to avert the 'impending famine'. Canada and Australia responded promptly and sent 160,000 tons of wheat aid i.e. barely 6 per cent of the projected deficit, from the US, who it was hoped would be the main donor, there was no word at all. Unable to secure help from the US, the Nazimuddin government resigned. The price that the US extracted for a promise of food aid was appointment in April 1953 of US protege Mohammad Ali Bogra, an east Pakistani as Prime Minister. But it was Governor General Ghulam Mohammad who was to be in effective charge. Bogra was his puppet. But it was politically useful to have him, an East Pakistani, as the nominal head of the government, as Prime Minister. Ghulam Mohammad not only chose members of Bogra's cabinet but also allotted to them their respective portfolios. Bogra himself was powerless, merely a figurehead.
As soon as the new government was installed in office the US promptly announced an offer of 700,000 tons wheat aid, with an offer of an additional 300,000 tons, if needed. But it took many months for even a fraction of that promised aid to arrive by which time a bumper harvest had been reaped and it was clear that there had never been any question of an impending famine. But the ploy had worked. It might be added that Mohammad Ali Bogra, sensitive to East Pakistani opinion, as an East Pakistani politician, was also unenthusiastic about the military Alliance and escalation of military expenditure. But he was a prisoner in the hands of Pakistan's 'gang of three'. Barnds writes: "Prime Minister Mohammad Ali was concerned more with political and economic considerations ... (and was) more apprehensive about the effects of an open US-Pakistani alliance on public opinion. ... By the fall of 1953, however, Mohammad Ali was resisting the attempts to get US military aid, preferring economic assistance. Arms aid, he feared, not only would be at the expense of economic assistance but would also increase the autonomy and independence of Ayub (C-in-C of the army) and the military in government." (Barnds 1972: 102). But Mohammad Ali Bogra was a powerless Prime Minister, merely a 'front man'. There was nothing he could do to alter the course that Pakistan had now embarked upon under US tutelage.
Client Garrison Strategy:
There followed a series of Treaties and military arrangements to put the new military strategy into effect. One would designate this the 'Client Garrison Strategy', for it was premised on Pakistan undertaking to provide a mercenary army to assist US and its allies in the region, providing troops for military intervention where a Western client regime in the Middle East was threatened from outside or, more to the point, by nationalist or radical movements from within. In return the US was to provide military aid to equip the forces that Pakistan would require for this role. The understanding was that if, for example, the Shah of Iran was threatened by a resurgence of Iranian nationalist, troops from Pakistan and/or Turkey would move in to support their ally the Shah against what would be labeled "Soviet sponsored" or " communist" subversion. Turkey and Pakistan were to play key roles in that Northern Tier Scheme, enclosing between them Iran and Arab oil producing countries. By the end of 1953 US and Pakistan were engaged in negotiation of the military arrangements. Simultaneously negotiations got underway between Pakistan and Turkey who, on 2nd April 1953, signed a treaty of friendship and cooperation for security. The military assistance agreement between Pakistan and the US was signed in May 1953. "One part of the agreement was the understanding that Pakistan would cooperate in regional defense" (Campbell. 1960: 51) A Turkish-Iraqi pact, for cooperation for mutual security and defense, the Baghdad Pact as it was later to be known, was signed on 24th February 1955. It was open for all states interested in the 'peace and security of the region' to join. Britain joined the Pact in April 1955. Pakistan followed in September 1955 and Iran in October. The Five member Pact was thus complete. The US formally stayed out, although for all practical purposes it had brought it about and had supported it with military aid. But it decided not to join the Baghdad Pact formally because, as Campbell puts it, "the State Department wished to keep whatever chance still remained of working with Saudi Arabia and Egypt; it did not wish to provoke any new Soviet move into the Middle East; it did not wish further to antagonize Israel
which had declared its hostility to the Pact; and it did not relish the prospect of a debate in the Senate on ratification which might throw its whole Middle Eastern policy into the arena of domestic politics." (Campbell, 1960: 60) The foundations of the US military strategy for the region had, however, been firmly laid. Given Pakistan's undertakings vis-a-vis the defense of Western interests in the Middle East, what must be of special interest to us is the manner in which military aid to Pakistan was to be applied, and controlled by the US. Contrary to the deliberately false claims of Pakistan's ruling junta at the time, put out to justify the alliance, that the Alliance and US military aid provided protection for Pakistan against India, a view that was also on the face of it, confirmed by Indian reactions to it, the fact is that these facilities were clearly excluded from deployment in Pakistan's defense vis-a-vis India. The US, anxious to allay Indian suspicions and concerns had declared from the highest levels, publicly and formally, that the military aid to Pakistan would not be permitted to be used vis-a-vis India. Thus the US attached a formal 'Understanding' to the SEAT0 Treaty to this effect - the question of a similar rider to the Baghdad Pact did not arise as the US did not formally join it. In fact US precautions went beyond there declarations of that kind and special safeguards were incorporated in the military organization that was created in Pakistan as a result. Under the US military Assistance Program (MAP) that was set up, Pakistan military forces were divided into two distinct formations, namely the MAP forces and non-MAP forces. US military assistance was earmarked exclusively for units designated as MAP forces, which were deployed in the Western approaches to the country, for intervention in the Middle East in accordance with US requirements. Military aid supplied under the program was not to be used by Non-Map forces , those deployed vis-a-vis India, such as forces on the Kashmir border, the Indian border generally or in East Pakistan. This was strictly supervised by US officials who were stationed right inside the Pakistan Army GHQ in Rawalpindi. By the end of 1953 a Pakistani Army Planning Board consisting entirely of military officers, was set up, with US advisers, to consider questions of reorganization of the Pakistan army, its plans and commitments. An American Military Survey Mission arrived in February 1954 and in October of that year a US Military Assistance Advisory Group,(MAAG) was established at the Pakistan Army GHQ at Rawalpindi. The MAAG remained ensconced in the Pakistan army GHQ and wielded great influence, until the US removed them unceremoniously on the outbreak of the first India-Pakistan war in 1965. By these means a direct institutionalized link was established between the Pakistan army and the Pentagon, by-passing the normal inter-governmental channels, the Prime Minister and the Cabinet. In 1956 Mr. Zahid Hussain, the first Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan spoke to the present writer about the very deep concern that was being felt by senior ministers who claimed that the US was dealing directly with the army, outside the normal inter- governmental channels and that they, the Ministers, had no idea of what was going on. US influence on the Pakistan Army was pervasive. Major General Fazal Muqeem Khan, the army historian, has recalled the 'decisive influence on the ideas of the officer corps...the Pakistani commanders and staff ... and army planners', of the new US contacts, of US sponsored training courses and study tours of the US. American training teams and individual American officers were attached to Pakistani units and the GHQ." (Khan, 1963: 159)
The Pakistan army was also being bolstered up and prepared for a role that it was to fulfill within the Pakistan political system, to secure 'stability' of a regime that would have the responsibility of delivering on its obligations under the Alliance. A "Summary Presentation of the (US) Mutual Security Program" published in 1957 stated that: " From a political viewpoint, US military aid has strengthened Pakistan's armed services, the greatest single stabilizing force in the country and has encouraged Pakistan to participate in collective defense agreements." (Italics added H.A.). Pakistan's political leadership was marginalised even though Pakistan was not as yet under direct military rule. Having undertaken obligations on behalf of the US and the Western powers and being recipient of military aid, one assumes that as a result Pakistan was to be a net receiver of resources on that account. But we find a curious result if we look at the balance sheet of military expenditure. We discover that Pakistan was not a net receiver of aid from the US because of the expenditure that Pakistan itself was required to undertake for sustaining military capacity for meeting US and Western regional military needs. The alliance imposed on Pakistan obligations to pay from its own budget local costs of the armed forces that were required to protect US and Western interests in the Middle East, a very strange deal indeed. What the US provided was only hardware but that too was for use only by MAP forces which were maintained exclusively for the benefit of the Alliance. Not only did Pakistan have to bear the cost of establishment and pay of these forces, but in times of financial stringency, it was the MAP forces which were given a prior claim over Pakistan's available resources in its military budget. If cuts had to be made, Pakistan had to cut expenditure on Non- MAP forces i.e. forces that Pakistan maintained for its own defense. According to Col. Jordan substantial cuts which were applied on foreign currency allocations for military purchases abroad in 1960, affected largely Non-MAP forces. (Jordan, 1962) Pakistan was paying heavily for the defense of Western oil interests in the Middle East. This was a curious policy for any free nation to undertake. It can be explained only by the ambitions of powerful Generals that were served by an inflated military. Naturally the US was delighted with these arrangements. Considering the prospects, the US secretary of the Treasury said before US Senate Hearings: "The military aid, and to what extent it may be continued as I see it, is just a matter of how much cheaper can we do it that way than we can do it another way. That is just a matter of figuring it out overtime. As long as we can save some money doing it, I am for it. As long as we can save some boys, I am for it.'' congressman Vorys, testifying at the House of Representatives hearings on Mutual Security Act, in 1956, said: "Last year it cost $ 5,900 to have an American soldier overseas without a gun in his hand. This program costs the US $ 744 per each man in service with weapons in his hands at places where our Joint Chiefs thinks he ought to be for mutual security." (Italics added, H.A.) It was an incredibly one-sided deal. The benefit to the US was not only a financial one or a question of whether brown lives were more expendable than white. There was also an underlying political calculation. Politically (and internationally) it would evoke very different responses if Pakistani troops were to march into Iran to go to the aid of their ally, the Shah threatened with domestic insurgency than it would be for US troops to march in which would only excite further anticolonial sentiments and thereby strengthen the national insurgency. Intervention by proxy could be politically wiser.
The 'Client Garrison Strategy' had its critics in the US at the time, notably some influential figures in the State Department. One of the most vocal of these critics, C.B. Marshall, a member of the State Department Policy Planning Staff, who was at one time Political Adviser to Pakistan's Prime Minister Suhrawardy, referred to the weakness of Pakistan's political system and its internal instability which would stand in the way of Pakistan actually being able to deliver on its obligations under the Alliance, if and when the time came. The Alliance he insisted would be unworkable. Campbell writes in a similar vein: "Pakistan ... is a nation that has not yet found political stability. ... It cannot be expected to play a major role in the Middle East." (Campbell. 1960: 289) In the event, this 'Client Garrison Strategy' was indeed to be put to a test at the time of the Kassem coup in Iraq. In the event it failed that test, as demonstrated by its inability to intervene. The idea of intervention was considered at an emergency meeting in Ankara of the Baghdad Pact powers (minus Iraq of course). But intervention was ruled out by a number of factors. One of these was that Pakistan itself was then in the throes of a major political crisis, which was to result in the coup d'etat, only a few months later, in October l958. It was clear that the "'Client Garrison Strategy' did not work and was not workable and the US soon abandoned it. Although the Baghdad Pact was reincarnated in the form of CENTO, life had gone out of it. The US set about working out a fresh strategy for its Middle East defense in which Pakistan was to have no role. This shift in US policy away from Pakistan was associated with a parallel shift towards India. The crisis of the Indian Second Five Year Plan by 1959 and India's need for US aid, especially food aid, had softened Indian non-alignment although the rhetoric remained. The Sino-Indian war of 1962 was a decisive moment which opened up fresh opportunities for the US to develop ties with India in terms of military aid as well as economic aid. Against that background Pakistan was shunted aside by the US. for it had become a political liability in US dealings with India. Cut adrift yet again by one more shift in US policy. Pakistan found itself again relatively isolated on the world scene, although not quite as badly as it had been in its first five years. Pakistan's relations with the US worsened. But at this time Pakistan became greatly concerned by the rapid increase in India's military might, following its re- armament program after 1962, in the aftermath of its border war with China. The Pakistani military felt that the balance of military power between the two countries was shifting decisively in India's favor. Ayub Khan made a desperate bid in 1965 for wresting Kashmir from Indian hands by military force, before it was too late. He over-estimated Pakistani military strength vis-a-vis India. But it was also a case of 'now or never'. It was a very rash and ill calculated move which Pakistan was to regret. Annoyed, the US put an embargo on military supplies to Pakistan and cut off aid. Pakistan's relationship with the US had never been cooler, although Ayub Khan did his best to keep as much US goodwill as he could do. Meanwhile Pakistan built up an increasingly close relationship with China. Along with France. China became the most important supplier of arms to Pakistan in that period. Ayub Khan put a bold face on the new situation and designated the new foreign policy as 'bilateralism'. In the 1970s, under Bhutto, Pakistan made special efforts to cultivate friendship with oil rich Middle Eastern countries, to which Pakistan exported manpower, now a major source of foreign exchange earnings and from whom it also began to
receive financial aid. On the other hand, Pakistan provided military contingents to Saudi Arabia to underpin the regime there. In that context Pakistan began to exploit Islamic ideology to signify and strengthen its relationships with these countries. The US encouraged the development of these ties. Pakistan also served the US in other ways. In 1969, under Yahya Khan, Pakistan played an intermediary role in the negotiations that eventually led to a resumption of US diplomatic relationship with China. But it was after 1979 that there was yet another clearly marked shift in US policy for the region in which, once again, Pakistan was to have an important role. There were two, quite different contexts in which this shift took place. That which is the more well known is Pakistan's role in connection with Afghanistan. It allowed the US and Chinese to operate from its territory in supplying arms and aid to the Afghan fundamentalist guerrillas and it also played a direct role itself in organizing and seeking to control the guerrilla operations through the ISI, the InterServices Intelligence Agency, the powerful Pakistani military intelligence agency. In return US substantial military aid to Pakistan was resumed by the US. In the longer term in considering the factors underlying the shift in US policy and its resumption of economic and military aid to Pakistan, it is Pakistan's potential role in the Persian Gulf region, which is far more important for the US and the Western powers. In the wake of the Islamic Revolution in Iran the Western military strategy for the Persian Gulf region that had relied on underpinning the regime of the Shah, was in ruins. Another component of the policy that was evolved in the 1960s aimed to secure a direct US military presence in the region. This was to be through moving the US Seventh Fleet into the Indian ocean, to operate from Singapore to Suez. To support these US naval operations the island of Diego Garcia was seized from Mauritius, with the collusion of the Wilson government in Britain, and handed over to the US, and its few inhabitants deported to Mauritius. Diego Garcia is a horseshoe shaped atoll which can accommodate an entire fleet in safe harbor. It was to be a logistics base for operations of the US navy and Marines in the Indian ocean area. US military capability was to underpin the fragile regimes of the Gulf region. A further component of this new strategic thinking was the role of a Rapid Deployment Force (RDF) which as formed in March 1980. The RDF, needs quick follow up support for which Diego Garcia is too far in relation to the Persian Gulf region. The US had therefore to seek bases and facilities nearer at hand, Pakistan territory, especially the Makran coast is particularly well suited for this. Existence of US bases on the Makran coast in Baluchistan, on the Persian Gulf, is officially very strongly denied in Pakistan. What is quite intriguing, however, is the existence of a top security military installation on the desolate Persian Gulf coast line in Makran at a point where there are some excellent deep water inlets, a few miles from Gwadur which is 50 miles from the Iranian border, at the far western corner of Baluchistan. No one is allowed to approach it for many miles from either land or sea. So far west such a top secret military installation can have little value for the defense of Pakistan itself. The nature and purpose of this installation must, for the moment, remain a matter for speculation. In this changed context 'the Pakistan option' has thus reappeared as a realistic component of the US regional strategy. "The Pakistan option makes a certain amount of sense within the context of America's Islamic-oriented Gulf interests. ... It also complements the US relationship with
Turkey, because Turkey and Pakistan both have good relations with Iran." (Kuniholm, 1987: 335) Kuniholm omits possibly the most important aspect of this, namely Pakistan's strategic location on the Persian Gulf. The US military strategy is now in the hands of CENTCOM which covers the Persian Gulf and the Indian ocean area. Lifschultz, a well informed commentator on this subject, gives an excellent account of the new arrangements under CENTCOM. (Lifschultz, 1986) Commenting on Pakistan's new role in it he describes facilities and bases that the US has now available in Pakistan which, as he points out, is now the third largest recipient of US military aid. He quotes the testimony of an American participant at a closed door Congressional hearing in 1985, who is reported to have said that: 'General Kingston and the Central Command hope to draw Pakistan into a network of understandings which has implications for the subcontinent since Pakistan is covered by CENTCOM. ..'. P-3 ASW planes are occasionally using Pakistani airfields and there will be pressure for more access of this type." (ibid:73). So once again Pakistan-US relations are being grounded in concerns about defense of Western oil interests in the Middle East. This Westward orientation of Pakistan has been facilitated greatly by the liberation of Bangladesh for Pakistan will no longer be inhibited from taking on commitments in the Middle East because of political opposition, as was the case earlier, from East Pakistan. It is unlikely, given the power and might of India, which will always be a matter for consideration by Pakistan's rulers, that Pakistan will cease to be a part of South Asia. Its eastward orientation is dictated by that factor as well as by facts of history. Pakistan will remain an integral part of South Asia not least because of the common linguistic and cultural as well as historical legacy and hopefully, friendly economic ties in the future. But as Pakistan's disputes and conflicts with India are resolved, its gravitation towards the Middle East, politically, militarily and possibly ideologically, may well continue with greater vigor.
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