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Foreign Policy in Perspective Benazir Bhutto

Foreign Policy in Perspective Benazir Bhutto

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Published by Sani Panhwar
First book authored by Shaheed Benazir Bhutto in 1978
First book authored by Shaheed Benazir Bhutto in 1978

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Published by: Sani Panhwar on Mar 24, 2010
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01/07/2013

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With the separation of its eastern wing, Pakistan’s gravitational force moved
more towards the Middle East. There was no problem in giving finer shape to the
relations between Turkey and Iran, but the contradictions in Pakistan’s aligned
policies and the non-aligned policies of the Arab countries required an honest
reappraisal. Mr. Bhutto believed that the time had come to downgrade the
sloganism and the verbosity and to upgrade the policy of positive integration of
common objectives. He realized the full importance of the emergence of the
United Arab Emirates Federation and that of the Persian Gulf states generally.
This was a new factor of crucial significance. He gave very serious personal
attention to the developments in this neighbouring region. He recognised the
power of its oil, its strategic value, its propinquity to Pakistan and the fact that
the region’s wealth was attracting more and more of his countrymen to the States
of the Persian Gulf, He assiduously sought to win the confidence of the leaders of
the Persian Gulf states, by following in letter and in spirit the policy of non-
interference, by agreeing to collaborate with them on their terms and according
to their interests, provided that the collaboration did not conflict with a principle
of Pakistan’s foreign policy. This means that he decided not to compete with the
British, the Iraqis, the Sudanese or the Egyptians, or for that matter with any of
the others in cutthroat competition for posts or positions. He left it entirely to the
leaders of those states to decide whom they wanted. He refused to do any
lobbying. He left the questions to be determined on merit and on the good sense
of the leaders of the Persian Gulf states. Once the UAE wanted to change a senior
officer of the Air Force, the Chief of Staff of the Air Force suggested that the
President of the UAE be requested to keep the officer on the ground that he was
very competent. Mr. Bhutto refused. He told the Chief of the Air Force to comply
with the request. When it was rumored that the Forces of these countries would
be “Arabised”, Mr. Bhutto refused the suggestion to impress on them the
benefits of “diversity”. He observed that the rumor was impractical and that it
would be counterproductive to lecture wise men on an issue of common sense. It
was in this sense that he agreed to their terms of cooperation and won their
confidence and respect. His other anxiety was to make it abundantly clear that
Pakistan was not present in the Persian Gulf as a rival or competitor of Iran or
Saudi Arabia. He repeatedly told the leaders of these States that Pakistan’s
position in their countries did not have the slightest hegemonic pretentious. He
assured them that being vehemently opposed to hegemony in principle as a
repugnant policy; he could not be expected to have such fatal ambitions for his
country. This is how Mr. Bhutto paved the way for a perfect understanding with
the Persian Gulf states. In the rest of the Middle East, Mr. Bhutto followed a
policy of sincere cooperation. He improved Pakistan’s relations with Syria, Libya,
Algeria, Morocco and above all, Saudi Arabia. He closed the chapter of

Foreign Policy in Perspective Copyright © www.benazir.bhutto.org

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misunderstanding with Iraq over the Iraqi Embassy affairs and embarked on a
new chapter of brotherly cooperation. With Egypt and Kuwait also he improved
his country’s relations.

Foreign Policy in Perspective Copyright © www.benazir.bhutto.org

33

The Islamic Summit

When the Arab-Israel Ramazan war of 1973 took place, Mr. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
considered it to be a war for Pakistan. It did not rest content with militant
statements in the fashion of the previous governments of Pakistan. He was
determined to demonstrate the support in concrete terms. He did this and won
for Pakistan the lasting appreciation of the Arab states. As a measure of fraternal
reciprocity and on account of Mr. Bhutto’s diplomatic agility, his efforts were
crowned with success by the Islamic Summit Conference which took place in
Lahore on January 1974. It was a great honour for the Islamic Republic of
Pakistan. It was a great tribute to the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mr. Zulfikar Ali
Bhutto. In a sense, it was a culmination. Mr. Bhutto, as the Chairman of this
Islamic Conference, presided over the conference of Muslim Presidents, Prime
Ministers and Foreign Minister’s with sophistication and grace, with the full
luster of his experience as an ace diplomat. It was a great and glorious day for
Pakistan. It was a great day for the world of Islam. It was at this Conference that
the Palestine Liberation Organization was unanimously acknowledged as the
sole representative of the people of Palestine. The Second Islamic Summit
Conference was an outstanding victory for the foreign policy of Mr. Zulfikar Ali
Bhutto. There can be no two questions on this issue. However, Mr. Bhutto has
repeatedly stated that without the invaluable support and co-sponsorship of the
late King Faisal of Saudi Arabia, the Conference might not have seen the light of
day. The late Monarch of Saudi Arabia and the Prime Minister of Pakistan had to
exert all their influence to make the Islamic Summit Conference a reality. The
Conference was a turning point in the fortunes of Pakistan, a landmark in the
history of Islamic states and a decisive factor in the political developments of the
Middle East. It was a watershed in i he realm of diplomacy.

Foreign Policy in Perspective Copyright © www.benazir.bhutto.org

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