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COMSATS INSTITUTE OF

INFORMATION AND
TECHNOLOGY

Pakistan Studies
Name: MUHAMMAD HAIDER USMAN
Registration #: FA14-BBA-067

Assignment: Pakistans geo-strategic


importance and
Pakistans geo-political importance.

Pakistans geostrategic importance

Geo strategic means the importance of a country or a region as by virtue of its


geographical location. Geo political is defined as, stressing the influence of geographic
factors on the state power, international conduct and advantages it derives from its
location. Stephen Cohn describes this importance While history has been unkind to
Pakistan, its geography has been its greatest benefit. It has resource rich area in the
north-west, people rich in the north-east. Pakistan is a junction of South Asia, West
Asia and Central Asia, a way from resource efficient countries to resource deficient
countries. The world is facing energy crisis and terrorism. Pakistan is a route for
transportation, and a front line state against terrorism.
Geographical Importance:
Bridge between South Asia and South West Asia; Iran and Afghanistan are energy
abundant while India and China are lacking of. China finds way to Indian ocean and
Arabian Sea through Korakaram. China with its fastest economic growth rate of 9%; is
developing its southern provinces because its own port is 4500 km away from Sinkiang
but Gawader is 2500 km away. Pakistan offers to CARs the shortest route of 2600 km as
compared to Iran (4500 km) or Turkey (5000 km). land locked Afganistan now at the
phase of Reconstruction, finds its ways through Pakistan. Gawader port with its deep
waters attracts the trade ships of China, CARs and South East Asian Countries. ASEAN
Economic Blocs: SAARC, ECO. Iran is struggling to export its surplus gas and oil to
eastern countries. Qatar Pakistan and Turkmenistan Pipeline projects highlights the
position. Pakistan would get 400 million dollar annually if IPI gets success. Mountain
Ranges: Himalayas, Hindu Kush in the North are plentiful in providing water and
natural resources.
Political importance: US interests in the regions to contain the Growing China, nuclear
Iran, terrorist Afghanistan, and to benefit from the market of India. Security and
Business are two main US interests in the region while Pakistan is playing a front line
role against terrorism. Today the political scenario of the region is tinged with pre
emption policy and US invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, Irans nuclear program, Indias
geopolitical muscles(new strategic deal with US) to gain the hegemony and to counter
the The Rise of China which has earned all the qualities to change unipolar world into

Bipolar world. In all these issues, Pakistan is directly or indirectly involved, especially
after Al Qaeda operations. The American think tanks have repeatedly accepted that war
against terror could never be won without the help of Pakistan. Pakistan has rigorously
fought, and ongoing military operation in Wazirstan is also targeting the suspected
Taliban in the bordering area. Main threats to Pakistan: Balochistan and Wazirstan
conflicts are posing threats to any economic project like IPI gas pipeline. Negative role
of India, US, Iran in this conflict ridden area. Kashmir is flash point, accelerating
nuclear race in the South Asia. Instable governments in Pakistan have contributed in
weakening the strong position.

1. Introduction
2. Pakistan geographical location
3. Strategic significance:
a) - Proximity of great powers
b) - Gateway to central Asia- oil and energy game
c) - Significance as a transit economy
d) - Significance as an important link in the chain of Muslim countries
e) - Only Muslim country having nuclear capability
4. Conclusions/ Analysis

1- INTRODUCTION:
Pakistan is located at a region which has great political, economic and strategic location.
It has been hub of activities of great powers for last 20 years. It has witnessed
intervention of three great powers i-e Britain, USSR, and USA. Its significance was

further enhanced during cold war when it becomes ally of US policy of containment of
USSR and now the post cold war era has witnessed its significance particularly after the
events of 9/11.
2- PAKISTAN GEOGRAPHICALLY LOCATION:
Location: Southern Asia lies between 24 and 36.75 northern latitude and between 61
and 7505 eastern longitude.
Area: 7, 96000 sq.km.
Towards north apart from the state of Kashmir is china. It shares 400 km long boarder
with china.
Towards north Tajikistan though no boarder but a narrow strip as Wahkhan strip
separate the two.
Towards east, Punjab-Rajasthan boarders which is 1650 km long
Towards west, Afghanistan and Durand line of 2250 km.
Towards south, Arabian and Indian sea. Coastal belt is about 700 km.
Pakistan significance is enhanced as it lies near the Persian Gulf where 65% of the
worlds oil is produced.

3- STRATEGIC SIGNIFICANCE:
a) Proximity of great powers:
Pakistan is located at the junction of great powers. In its neighbors one world power
Russia and the other emerging power china lies. Any alliance among world powers

enhances its significance. This factor has been utilized by Pakistan after 9/11. Security
and business are two main US interests in the region while Pakistan is playing a front
line role in the war against terrorism. Apart from this US interest in the region to
contain the growing china, nuclear Iran, terrorist Afghanistan and to benefit from the
market of India. Today the political scenario of the region is tinged with preemption
policy and US invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan. Irans nuclear program, Indias
geopolitical muscles (new strategic deal with US) to gain hegemony and to counter the
rise of china. Which has earned all the qualities to change unipoler world into bipolar
world? In all these issues, Pakistan is directly or indirectly involved especially after alQeada operations. The American think tank has repeatedly accepted that war against
terrorism could never be won without the help of Pakistan. Pakistan has rigorously
fought and an ongoing operation in Waziristan is also targeting the suspected Taliban in
the bordering area.
b) Gateway to central Asia-(oil and energy game):
Central Asia is the center stage of new Great games. Western quest for resources- oil and
energy resources in the central Asia. After USSR decline, new quest started which is as
manifested by politics of oil. Pakistan is located very close to the oil rich Middle Eastern
countries. The belt started from Iran and extended to Saudi Arabia. Thus, Pakistan can
influence shipment of oil. Iran is struggling to export its surplus gas and oil to eastern
countries, Qatar, Pakistan and Turkmenistan pipeline projects highlight the position.
In the energy scarce world, Pakistan is located in the hub of energy rich countries i-e
Iran and Afghanistan: both are energy abundant while India and china are lacking.
China finds way to Indian Ocean and Arabian sea through Karakoram highway,
c) Significance as a Transit economy:
Pakistan has the potential to develop transit economy on account is its strategic
location, land locked Afghanistan now at the phase of reconstruction finds its ways
through Pakistan. China with its fastest economy growth rate of 9% us developing
southern provinces because its own part is 4500 km away from Sinkiang but Gwader is

2500 km away. Moreover, Pakistan offers central Asian regions the shortest route of
2600 km as compared to Iran 4500 km or turkey 5000 km. gwader port with its deep
waters attracts the trade ships of china, CAR and south east Asian countries., also the
coastal belt of Balochistan can provide outlet to chinas western provinces to have access
to middles eastern markets with the development of coastal highways and motorways.
d) Important link in the chain of Muslim countries:
If we look at the map of Muslim countries, Pakistan occupies a central location. Towards
west of Iran, china extends to North Africa. Thus it can actively participate in the
activities of Muslim world-economic development, transport of resources and above all
combat terrorism.
e) Only Muslim country with nuclear capability:
in the region Pakistan is the only Muslim country having nuclear capability which has
great influence on the political, socio-economic activities in the region and the
maintenance of status quo in the region.
4- CONCLUSION / ANALYSIS:
Geo strategic means the importance of a country or a region as by virtue of its
geographical location. Stephen Cohn describes this importance while history has been
unkind with Pakistan, its geography has been its greatest benefit.
Pakistan is a junction of south Asia, west Asia and central Asia; a way from resource
efficient countries to resource deficient countries. The world is facing energy crises and
terrorism. Pakistan is a route for transportation and a front line state against terrorism.
Moreover Pakistan has been traditionally ally of emerging economic giant; china. So in
the vague of any change in world politics, Pakistans geo-strategic significance would
further be enhanced.

Pakistans geopolitical importance

The term South Asia commonly refers to seven countries namely: Bangladesh, Bhutan,
India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. These countries are also part of South
Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), a bloc established in 1985.

Afghanistan has been included as 8th member of SAARC in 2006 and China, Iran and
Myanmar are also seeking full member status of the bloc.
According to various reports SAARC member countries have millions of acres of
cultivable land, reasonably robust agriculture and manufacturing base, but very large
percentage of population of these countries lives below the poverty line. Often SouthAsia
is termed the poorest region in the world after Sub-Saharan Africa. While over a quarter
of the worlds poor people live in Africa, half of them live in South Asia. According to a
report there are more poor people in eight Indian states than in the 26 poorest African
countries.
According to a World Bank report released in 2007, South Asia was the least integrated
region in the world. Trade among countries in the region is around 2% of the regions
combined GDP, compared to 20% in East Asia. According to some analysts due to
similar climatic conditions, soil composition and mindset of ruling junta these countries
still compete with each other in the global markets. Despite enjoying close proximity
and often common borders, these countries have failed in complementing each other
due to hostilities against each other.
Three of the largest countries by population, Bangladesh, India and Pakistan have
elaborate agriculture and manufacturing base but hardly enjoy cordial diplomatic
relations. This virtually closes down doors for economic cooperation, particularly
sectors like agriculture, manufacturing and even services. One of the reasons for the
prevailing situation is trust deficit as the hawks present in these countries try to portray
that economic cooperation among the member countries will make the smaller
countries subservient to the those having rather robust economy.
All the countries of the region suffer from acute shortage of energy products, the lifeline
of economy. A closer look at the power generation potential, installed capacities and
actual output one could say without mincing words that the energy crisis looming for
nearly three decade is the outcome of following inconsistent policies and gross
mismanagement. Below optimum capacity utilization of power generation capacity is

partly due to non-availability of fuel and partly because of inadequate maintenance of


the power plants but poor cash flow is the mother of all evils.
Pakistan has an aggregate installed electricity generation capacity of nearly 30,000MW
but average output hovers around 15,000MW or 50 percent capacity utilization. Equally
shocking is the news that India also suffers from the same contentious problem. The
third largest economy of the world has an aggregate installed generation capacity of
250,000MW but actual generation hovers around 150,000MW. A point that
distinguishes two countries is that while efforts are being made in India to overcome
looming energy crisis, little effort is being made in Pakistan.
One can just forget two of the gas pipeline projects Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) and
Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI). Both the pipelines were aimed at
catering to Indian gas requirement but Pakistan was to benefit in two ways: 1) getting
millions of dollars transit fee and 2) also gas for meeting domestic requirements. It was
believed that after easing of economic sanctions on Iran, Pakistan will succeed in
completing portion of gas pipeline located in its territory. However, it seems that
Government of Pakistan (GoP) does not wish to complete this project due to the US
pressure. Fate of TAPI is also in doldrums as NATO forces are likely to vacate
Afghanistan in 2014. Therefore, Pakistan will have to accelerate oil and gas exploration
activities in the country and also complete LNG project on war footings.
Pakistan is a natural corridor for energy supply because on one side are energy-rich
countries and on the other side are energy-starved ones. Pakistan can also follow
Singapore example and establish state-of-the art refineries on the coastal belt. In this
regards help can be sought from China, Russia and other Central Asian countries.
Pakistan already has a mid-country refinery and two pipelines to carry black and white
oil products up to Multan. This can pave way for export of white oil products to
Afghanistan and Chinese cities enjoying common border with Pakistan. Realization of
all these projects can help the country in earning millions of dollars transit fee.
Ironically, Gwadar port project has been put on back bumper after the departure of
Pervez Musharraf. In fact the paraphernalia should have been completed prior to

transfer of management control to China. Though, India is facilitating in the


construction of Chabahar port in Iran, Pakistan will continue to offer shortest and most
cost effective route up to Central Asian countries passing through Afghanistan.
Lately, some of the Middle Eastern countries have shown keen interest in acquiring
agriculture land in Pakistan but local feudal lords have emerged to be the biggest
opponents to leasing of cultivable lands to other countries. Pakistan has millions of
acres of land which is not cultivated, mainly due to shortage of irrigation water. Leasing
out land to other countries is not a bad proposal because it would help in improving the
infrastructure i.e. construction of farm to market roads, and modern warehouses.
Construction of water courses and installation of tube wells would have helped in raising
sub-soil water levels in arid zones.
Pakistan produces huge quantities of wheat, rice, sugar, fertilizer but a significant
portion of these commodities is smuggled to neighboring countries. Plugging of porous
border and formalizing trade with India, Iran and Afghanistan can increase Pakistans
export manifold. It is estimated that nearly one million tons wheat and half a million
tons rice and sugar each is smuggled to the neighboring countries.
The increase in lending to farmers has started yielding benefits with Pakistan joining the
club of wheat exporting countries. The recent initiative of State Bank of Pakistan,
Warehouse Receipt Financing and trading of these receipts at Pakistan Mercantile
Exchange is likely to improve earnings of farmers, though reduction in wastages and
better price discovery. It is encouraging that British Government has offered assistance
equivalent to Rs240 million to complete the project at a faster pace. The key hurdle in
the realization of this project is lack of modern warehouses and absence of collateral
management companies.
It is necessary to remind the GoP that nearly 1000 palm oil plants were grown in Sindh
near the coastal line. While a large percentage of plants have died due to improper
management, extracting oil is almost impossible because no crushers have been
installed. Achieving self sufficiency in edible oil can help in saving over US$2 billion
currently being spent on import of palm oil.

Pakistan often faces ban on export of seafood because to not abiding by international
laws. While local fishermen face starvation deep sea trawlers from other countries
intrude into Pakistans territorial waters and take away huge catch. On top of all use of
banned net results in killing of smaller fish that are ultimately used in the production of
chickenfeed. This practice going on for decades deprives Pakistan from earning huge
foreign exchange besides economic assassination of poor fishermen.
Pakistans agri and industrial production has remained low due to absence of policies
encouraging greater value addition. Pakistan is among the top five largest cotton
producing countries but its share in the global trade of textiles and clothing is around
two percent. The country needs to establish industries that can achieve higher value
addition. Pakistan should export pulp rather than exporting fruits which have shorter
shelf life.
Pakistan has overwhelming majority of Muslims but still goods worth billions of dollars
are imported which are not Halal. Ideally, Pakistan should be exporting Halal food
products to other Muslim countries. The country need to focus on breeding of animals
(i.e. chicken, goat, cows) and export frozen meat and dairy products. If countries like
Australia, and Holland can produce Halal Products what is stopping Pakistan.
Another example to follow is Bangladesh, which does not produces cotton but its export
of textiles and clothing is more than that of Pakistan. This is because Bangladesh has
focus on achieving higher value addition and Pakistan continues to produce law quality
and low prices items. This is waste of precious resource and to be honest value addition
is negative.
Pakistan has also not been able to benefit from being a member of SAARC. Some of the
analysts say it is difficult to compete with India but has Pakistan really made any effort
to achieve higher value addition? The reply is in negative due to prevailing mindset of
Pakistanis who want to lead easy life.