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Constraints and Opportunities

Papers presented at the Seminar Organized by Area Study Centre, Far East &
South East Asia, University of Sindh, Jamshoro 18th 19th February, 2004

Published by

Area Study Centre, Far East & South East Asia,

University of Sindh, Jamshoro, Sindh


Contents ..................................................................................................................... i - ii
Acknowledgements..................................................................................................... iii
Prof. Hidayat Ali Soomro, Director
Area Study Centre, Far East & South East Asia,
A Word about of Seminar........................................................................................... iv
Prof. Hidayat Ali Soomro, Director
Area Study Centre, Far East & South East Asia,
Inaugural Speech ..........................................................................................................ix
Mr. Mazharul Haq Siddiqui
Vice Chancellor / Chairman,
Board of Governors,
Area Study Centre, Far East & South East Asia,
University of Sindh, Jamshoro.,
Paper - I

ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

Prof. Obaid ul Haq ..........................................................................................01 15
Paper - II

Pakistans Eastward Policy and ASEAN Correlation: A Security

Dr. Abul Kalam...............................................................................................16 46
Paper III

Pakistan ASEAN Relations.

Capt. Dr. Nitipoom Navaratna.......................................................................47 51

Paper - IV

ASEAN Security Challenges.

Dr. Edy Prasetyono.........................................................................................52 59
Paper - V

Pakistan ASEAN Relations: Constraints and Opportunities.

Mr. Niaz A. Naik ............................................................................................60 71
Paper - VI

Seeking Closer links with ASEAN

Pervaiz Iqbal Cheema .....................................................................................72 81
Paper - VII

Pakistan & ASEAN Relations: Quantifying Threats and

Dr. Pervez A. Pathan & Nabi Bux Narejo.....................................................82 90
Paper - VIII

Pakistan-ASEAN as Emerging Partners: Challenges and

Ms. Aqila Khawaja.......................................................................................91 112
Paper - IX

Pakistan ASEAN Relations: Prospects for Anti-terrorism Cooperation

Mr. Fazalur Rehman..................................................................................113 121
Paper - X

ASEAN Regional Forum: Scope and Limitations.

Ms. Imrana Gul .........................................................................................122 136

Mr. Niaz A. Naik .......................................................................................137 138

A Word about the Seminar

Terrorism is seen as a greater threat to global peace, stability, and security. Terrorism in
South Asia is conceived as an imported phenomenon which was carefully nurtured and
brought in the South Asia. It was given a deliberate Islamic coloration because it was
believed that the Islam as a religion was in danger. Besides, violation of human rights
by some nations in South Asia has further attributed towards terrorism. Right of selfdetermination by the so-called secular states has turned down the efforts of the people
for their freedom and alleged their activities as terrorism. This is probably the reason
that the conceptualization of word terrorism has been debated, argued and there is no
single and agreed definition to define terrorism.
This two-day international seminar organized by Area Study Centre, Far East & South
East Asia, University of Sindh, Jamshoro is an effort to examine, evaluate and
understand terrorism in context of regional and world security and peace. The seminar
would also assist in terms of learning from the experience of ASEAN towards taking
efforts counter terrorism. ASEANs experience would be used as a model for regional
cooperation, conflict resolution and economic development.
I must admit that it is the sheer dedication and commitment of my team that has
motivated me to successfully organize such an important academic event. I sincerely
thank the Vice Chancellor / Chairman, Board of Governors, Area Study Centre, Far
East & South East Asia, University of Sindh, Jamshoro, the sponsors of this seminar, my
colleagues for their efforts. I am sure without their sincere assistance I would have
never been able to take such a challenging task.
Prof. Hidayat Ali Soomro
Area Study Centre, Far East & South East Asia,
University of Sindh, Jamshoro

Mazharul Haq Siddiqui

Vice Chancellor / Chairman,

Board of Governors,
Area Study Centre, Far East & South East Asia
University of Sindh, Jamshoro
Distinguished Speakers and participants
Ladies and Gentlemen

It is indeed a great honour and pleasure for me to welcome the distinguished

speakers and participants of this International Conference on Pakistan
ASEAN Relations: Constraints and Opportunities , which is hosted by the Area
Study Centre, Far East & South East Asia, University of Sindh, Jamshoro. It is a
well chosen theme, timely and relevant to our future.
Ladies and Gentlemen:

One of the most distinctive trends of the 21st century is the momentum of
regional cooperation which is beginning to connect all the regions of the AsiaPacific in which Pakistan is located.

For the promotion of multi-level dialogue and cooperation, forums such as

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, ASEAN Regional Forum, ASEAN PostMinisterial Conference and South Asia Free Trade Area (SAFTA) are emerging
and expanding. Countries and regions are moving away from confrontation
towards dialogue and cooperation.


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

We South Asians have to learn from Professor Michael Leifers ASEAN which
is an institutionalized vehicle for intra-mural conflict avoidance and
management. We have to learn from Diplomat Kishore Mehbubanis ASEAN
in which war among ASEAN members is a very remote possibility. And we
have to learn from Professor Jusuf Wanadis ASEAN in which no ASEAN
country has fought an outright war with a non-ASEAN state since its inception
in 1967 .
ASEAN is a success story of regional cooperation in the developing world. The
ASEAN region will be one of the principal stages of the 21st century.

The first important turning point for Pakistan ASEAN relations was when
ASEAN awarded Pakistan the status of Sectoral Dialogue partner in 1997. The
ASEAN Pakistan Sectoral Dialogue covers the sectors of trade, industry,
investment, environment, science and technology, drugs and narcotics, tourism
and human resource development.

There are several other areas for cooperation between Pakistan and ASEAN
countries such as, culture, education, transport, energy, communications,
intelligence and information sharing, information technology and agricultural
Pakistan ASEAN relations still stay at the sectoral Dialogue Partnership level.
Our scholars and diplomats will have to work hard to enhance Pakistan
ASEAN relations at the full Dialogue Partner level. History and geography
provides compelling logic of cooperation between Pakistan and ASEAN
countries. There is, therefore a need for us to share our experience to forge a
common endeavour to support each other. Our diplomats should not forget the
fact that full Dialogue Partnership in ASEAN is not a smooth and simple task
because pro-India lobbies are actively working in Southeast Asian countries.
Over the last few years our scholars and policy makers have been focusing on
promoting and developing our ties with ASEAN countries, known as our
Look East policy. Pakistan is not only interested to deepen its relations with
ASEAN countries but with all the Asia Pacific countries. Pakistan has long
expressed its desire to join the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

In the aftermath of September 11 incident, Pakistan and ASEAN countries are

cooperating in tackling non-traditional security threats. Global political and
security uncertainties on the one hand, and the speed of globalization on the
other, will bring Pakistan and ASEAN countries closer to each other.

People-to-people contacts such as academic exchanges and cultural

programmes should be promoted between Pakistan and ASEAN countries.
People-to-people interaction, frequent dialogue and discussions are required so
that each are able to understand each other better.
Currently, the climate is condusive for foreign investment and joint ventures in
Pakistan. There is a need to great trade exchange and promotion of investments
between Pakistan and ASEAN.
With the panel of distinguished speakers, I am confident that this conference
will be a great success and you will be able to make valuable suggestions for
the further promotion of relations and identify specific area for joint schemes
and projects between Pakistan and ASEAN countries.

I also hope that our guests would find the time to experience the hospitality
and friendship of the people of Sindh.
I wish the conference great success.
Thank you very much


Professor Obaid ul Haq
Regions are not natural phenomena clearly demarcated on the surface of the
earth: they are political constructs or entities and are created by leaders and
people in response to perceived political, economic and security needs.
Regions acquire identity through official recognition and by their wide
acceptance by the people within and without the region.
A countrys identity is not confined to or defined exclusively by a particular
region in which it is situated. A nation can have varied affiliations and multiple
identities. Pakistan, for example, can be seen as belonging to different regional
and cultural settings. It clearly belongs to what has been called South Asia and
is a charter member of the South Asian Association for Regional CooperationSAARC-founded in 1985.And because of its religious and cultural ties, it is
deeply drawn toward its co-religionists in the Arab/ Islamic world and, is also
an important member of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC)
established in 1969. Indeed, one can discern a certain degree of tension
between these two aspects of its identity. There are vocal and strong groups in
Pakistan, which would seek to diminish its South Asian identity and prefer to
emphasize only its West Asian or Islamic identity.
With the break up of the Soviet Union and the emergence of independent Asian
republics in Central Asia, all of them having Muslim majorities, there is a
possibility of the formation of Stan Grouping , extending from Pakistan in
south to Kazakhstan in the north.
Given the evolution of favourable circumstances, it is possible to conceive of
Pakistan as becoming a connecting link among the regions of South Asia,
Central Asia and West Asia.
Regionalism can also be a dynamic process whereby, modest successes in
regional cooperation, may lead to the broadening of horizons and deepening of
interaction. We saw such a process at work in the formation of European Union


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

(EU) which started as a much more modest group of six countries forming in
1951 the European Coal and Steel Community. It gradually expanded to
include 15 countries and on May 1, 2004 it admitted 10 new members from
Central and Eastern Europe. It is now regarded as the most successful and a
truly transnational even a supranational organization in history.
Regional organizations are the vogue today, and the international scene is
dotted with a large number of them. There are some organizations that have
been formally established but have not been able to get off the ground and
catch wide public attention. One such organization is BIMST-EC, which
comprises Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand - for economic
cooperation. Nepal and Bhutan are also expected to join it. This would be an
instance of sub-regional cooperation between the countries of South and
Southeast Asia. Though it was set up some six years ago, it has not yet met at
the summit level. Its first such meeting was to be held in Bangkok, Thailand on
8-9 February 2004. However, at the request of India, it has been postponed to an
undetermined date.
Another ambitious effort was to establish the Indian Ocean Rim Association for
Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC). Its inaugural session was held in Mauritius
in March 1995.The groups pioneer members were Australia, India, Mauritius,
Kenya, Singapore and South Africa. It currently counts 19 states -from Asia and
Africa- as its members. Egypt, Japan, China and Britain are designated as
dialogue partners.
As India played a major role in the formation of both BIMST and the Indian
Ocean Rim Association, it sought to exclude Pakistan from both of them, even
though the absence of Pakistan from their structures creates an obvious
dissonance and a void.
Over the last 15 years or so, Pakistan has sought to forge close links, promote
trade and increase cooperation in the diverse fields with the countries of
Southeast Asia and their regional organization Asean.
Pakistans drive to promote relations with the Asean region, and particularly


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

seek entry into the Asean Regional Forum (ARF) was motivated by political,
economic and strategic considerations. It was given a strong impetus by
Pakistans endemic rivalry with India which stole a march on Pakistan by
becoming a full dialogue partner of Asean as well as by gaining membership
of the ARF.
Actually, Pakistans contacts with Southeast Asia began as early as 1954 when
Pakistan became a founding member of the American sponsored Southeast
Asia Treaty Organization- SEATO- which the US conceived and established as
part of its Containment policy in Asia. It was designed to confront and contain
China and Asian communism in Southeast Asia.
Though Pakistan was not a part of Southeast Asia and nor did it really
subscribe to the main objective for which SEATO was created, the leaders of
Pakistan thought it might also be used as a counterweight against India. But the
US never pledged that and Pakistan was not successful in invoking the
provisions of the Treaty in its wars with India in 1965 and 1971.However,
Pakistan received considerable US military and financial help in building up its
military. But it entailed a political cost. In the 1960s in the Third World the
sentiments were running very strongly for Nonalignment from Cold War
alliances. Pakistan was politically maligned for being aligned with the US in the
Cold War. And SEATO was popular neither in Pakistan nor in Southeast Asia.
Thus it was not an auspicious beginning of relations with Southeast Asia.
By the early 1970s not only Pakistan but the US itself was becoming
disenchanted with SEATO. Pakistan pulled out of it in 1972 and the
Organization was dissolved unlamented in 1977.
Pakistans interlude with the SEATO was in the context of the Cold War and it
did not indicate any genuine and longtime interest in Southeast Asia for its
sake. Indeed, both India and Pakistan had rated Southeast Asia rather lightly in
their calculation of strategic interests. They were fixated on their mutual
conflicts and rivalries and for that reason were more focused on the great game
of the Cold War. India which had shown early interest in cultivating Southeast
Asian leaders and took an active part in the landmark Afro-Asian Summit
conference of 1955 in Bandung, Indonesia, soon lost momentum and interest
and was not very active in engaging Southeast Asia until the 1990s.


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

In the early 1990s both India and Pakistan became diplomatically active in
Southeast Asia and sought to engage the Asean. It is important to talk about
India and Asean, for this provides the backdrop to Pakistans efforts to find a
place for itself in the fast developing political and economic scene in Southeast
Asia. Aseans diplomatic and economic successes had made the area attractive
for a variety of reasons.
Indian leaders began to visit Southeast Asian capitals and lobbied actively for
access to Asean, and expressed their desire to be part of the evolving security
framework in the region. In 1992 India became a sectoral dialogue partner
and in 1995 elevated to the status of a full dialogue partner , and one year
later India was invited to join the ARF. At the last summit held in Bali,
Indonesia in October 2003, India signed and acceded to the Asean Treaty of
Amity and Friendship. This represents a major shift in Indias foreign policy
and indicates its commitment to Aseans ethos and code of conduct.
Indias buildup of military might and long-range naval power and the
development of its naval base in Nicobar and Andaman Islands, besides its
political and economic achievements, made India a factor of considerable
weight for Asean countries.
Pakistan recognizes, and in turn is recognized by, all the 10 countries of the
Asean. However, it does not have resident consulates in all Asean capitals nor
do all the Asean states maintain diplomatic outpost in Islamabad.
Pakistans relations with the Asean countries are normal, friendly and
unmarred by any conflict or disputes. They cooperate with one another on full
range of international issues. In the past Pakistan had, on one occasion, some
serious differences with Malaysia which caused severance of diplomatic
relations between 1965 and 1967. Its relations with Vietnam were suspended for
many years when Vietnam was involved in the Cambodian crisis and Pakistan
was engaged in conflict with the Soviet Union for its occupation of Afghanistan.
Pakistan had long-standing trade relations with several Asean countries-


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

notably with Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Burma and the

Philippines. During the last four or five years Pakistans trade with Southeast
Asian countries has increased, but the volume to trade stands at US$ 1.5 billion,
whereas Indias trade has been estimated at $12.5 billion and rapidly rising. The
balance of trade is heavily in favour of the Asean partners. Most of the
Pakistani exports to Asean are agricultural primary product and low-tech
industrial goods.
Pakistan was accepted as a sectoral dialogue partner in 1993 and eight sectors
were identified for Asean-Pakistan cooperation. They were: trade, industry,
investment, science and technology, drugs and narcotic control, human
resource development, environment and trade.
There have been so far two meetings of the Joint Sectoral Cooperation
Committee: the inaugural meeting was held in Jakarta, Indonesia and the
second meeting was held in Islamabad 28 February and 1March, 2001. At this
meeting Pakistan proposed collaboration in three additional categoriesinformation technology, agricultural research and transport and
communication. The high-level Asean delegation led by the then SecretaryGeneral of Asean, Mr. Rudolfo Severino Jr. welcomed the Pakistani proposal
and agreed to pursue it in a follow-up meeting. This was probably derailed by
the events of 9/11 and its aftermath both in South and Southeast Asia.
Pakistan seeks to achieve two major objectives in its negotiation with the Asean
and its member states. First, to be accepted as a full dialogue partner and,
second, to become a member of the Asean Regional Forum (ARF). This has
been repeatedly stated at several levels, most recently by President Musharraf
in December 2003 during Indonesian President Megawatis state visit to
Islamabad and was assured of Indonesias full backing. Prime Minister
Zafarullah Khan Jamali also sought the help of some other Asean states when
he visited the region in April, 2004.
Expansion of trade and investment between Pakistan and Asean countries is
eminently feasible and will be mutually rewarding. There is considerable
degree of complementarity between the two sides.
Pakistans attempt to diversify its industrial base could find openings in the


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

Asean markets, and it could also benefit from the experience of some Asean
countries, like Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, which have been quite
successful in achieving economic progress through industrialization. Some
Asean countries have valuable experience in food-processing and fruit-canning
which could be of benefit to fruit producers of Pakistan. Asean countries may
be keen to relocate some of their labour-intensive industries to Pakistan where
both land and labour are plentiful.
The climate of direct foreign investment in Pakistan has improved and it can
become still better if political and social stability improves. Asean countries and
Pakistani Diaspora could find Pakistan an attractive place to invest provided
the Government can create a safe-haven and a climate of stability and
credibility in the country. Many still are wary because of the bitter experience
of 1998 when all foreign currency account in local banks were seized and
converted into rupee account at an arbitrary exchange rate.
Tourism is another large untapped area of development. Pakistan has a lot
more to offer than many Southeast Asian countries, including Malaysia and
Singapore which have yet been able to develop a thriving and profitable tourist
The present low level of trade between Pakistan and Asean can be expanded if
the private sector has access to information about the opportunities in trade and
investment and is assisted in making contacts with potential partners.
It is by no means certain when Pakistan will be elevated to the status of a full
dialogue partner as Aseans attention is now focused on the regions economic
woes created by the crisis of 1997 and the looming menace of terrorism. And
Pakistan too is embroiled in its chronic domestic and complex international
What can be done now? The slack in Asean activity in this area can partially be
taken up by Pakistan embassies. This task can be assumed as the major project
of Pakistans embassies and high commissions located in Asean capitals. They
can provide liaison service with the local businessmen, identify areas of
cooperation, hold exhibits, fares and seminars and put Pakistani businessmen,
investors, industrialists in touch with their opposite members in Asean


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

This is being done, for example, by the Pakistan High Commission in Singapore
which under the leadership if its High Commissioner Mr. Abdul Moiz Bokhari
has helped in the formation of Singapore Pakistan Development Forum
(SPADE) composed of Singapore and Pakistani businessmen and professionals
with a view to promoting cooperation in five selected areas: Information and
communication technology, Tourism, Trade, Investment, Education and
Human Resource Development and Medical Sciences. It has sponsored trade
delegations between Pakistan and Singapore and has been active in pursuing
its stated objectives. In April 2004, a Singapore official delegation, led by
Minister of State Dr. Balaji Sadasivan visited Pakistan to hold talks with
Pakistani officials and businessmen with a view to expanding trade and
investment. In March 2004, Mr. Lee Hsien Yang the president and CEO of
Singapore Telecom visited Islamabad and met with President Musharraf and
other ministers to explore the possibility of investment in the Pakistan
Telecommunication industry.
Pakistan has been very keen to get membership in the ARF. Now comprising 23
members, the ARF has become an important venue for multilateral security
dialogue in the Asia-Pacific region.
So far, Pakistans attempts to become a full dialogue partner and secure a seat
in the ARF have not been successful. In some Pakistani quarters and press,
India is blamed for this. This is not exactly accurate for India is not a member of
Asean proper and has no say or input in Aseans decision-making process.
Aseans current diffidence in responding to Pakistans stated wish may be due
to perception that the trade and economic relations between the two entities Asean and Pakistan - have not reached a level of maturity and involvement
where full-partnership or the idea of free-trade agreement become attractive
and compelling. However, trade and investment between the two parties are
expanding and many members of Asean are in favour of including Pakistan in
the Asean network of trade and economic relations.
Since it joined the ARF in 1996, Indias policy has been to delay Pakistans
admission as long as possible. It seems that quite a few members of the ARF are
in favour of bringing in Pakistan in its fold as it is a significant military power


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

with nuclear weapon capability. India, it is reported, raised several objections

and expressed reservations- none of which can bear close scrutiny. However,
the apprehension of some members that the bitter disputes between India and
Pakistan may spill over into ARF deliberations and in Asean meetings may
have carried some weight with them. It has been the practice of Asean countries
not to introduce their bilateral disputes into regional conclaves.
With the diplomatic breakthrough and the beginning of a thaw or dtente
between India and Pakistan at the Islamabad Summit in January, 2004 the
relevance of such apprehensions is much reduced. The Islamabad Summit also
denoted a new mood about promoting economic cooperation among the
countries of South Asia and exploring the feasibility of a free trade area in the
region. It may also pave the way for promoting cooperation between the
SAARC and its sister organization ASEAN: the two have remained strangers to
each other for all these years.
The dramatic political change in New Delhi in May, 2004, the ouster of the
Vajpayee government and the advent of the Congress- led alliance, have had no
adverse effect, and the climate of dtente has been reinforced by the
conciliatory statement by the new Indian Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh.
It augurs well for Indo-Pakistan relations.
These positive developments and the hopeful atmosphere may create the
momentum to approach the issue of Pakistans entry into the ARF with a new
vision and in a constructive spirit.

Pakistan obviously seeks closer relations and expanding interaction with the
Asean and its member-states. Asean will also find Pakistan an attractive place
for trade and investment. What assets and strengths can Pakistan bring into the
bargaining relations?

Pakistan is an important South Asian country of over 145 million people and
has a strategic location on the Asian land mass and the Indian Ocean. It is
endowed with valuable natural resources, a fertile land and hardy and
resourceful people. It is also a significant and responsible military power with
nuclear weapons capability.


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

Pakistan is soon completing a deep water port at Gwadar, north of Karachi-its

main port- which can become a gateway to the land-locked Central Asian states.
Pakistan can become a connecting link between South, West and Central Asian
The international climate, both in Southeast Asia, is becoming more favourable
to Pakistan.

The major constraints on Pakistan in securing some of its objectives are mainly
of domestic origin. Unfortunately, perhaps even unfairly, the image of Pakistan
and the perception which people outside have of it, has not been a positive one.
Its fair name has been sullied over the last few decades or so by a string of
unfortunate developments.
President Pervez Musharraf in his address to the Parliament on 17 January,
2004 identified some of them with his characteristic candour. He mentioned
the curse of extremism adopted by small groups who damaged the country
by their resort to terrorism, sectarian and ethnic violence, suicide bombing and
attack on places of worships. They have created an image of an intolerant
society prone to irrational violence and hell-bent on destroying law and order.
Widespread corruption is eating into the vitals of the nation. The saga of
nuclear proliferation, the smuggling of nuclear technology, design and
materials by the respected scientists and engineers for personal enrichment did
enormous damage to the reputation of the country. These are not calculated to
inspire confidence in other countries nor in trading partners and investors.
Pakistans repeated failures to develop a working representative structure due
to military interventions and the venality of the feudal classes is too wellknown to be recounted here. This stands in sharp contrast to Indias great
success in establishing and working a democratic system of government,
though both these countries inherited same or similar institutions from the
departing British rulers.

If I could add to this dismal list, I would point to the oppression of women,
denial of education to them and the nefarious practice of honour-killing , the
persistence of child labour as the egregious ills of Pakistani society. The country
will find it difficult to lift itself out of the poverty trap, if these practices are not
eradicated. To be sure, Pakistan is not the only country suffering from such
afflictions: many others in the neighbourhood are afflicted from similar ills. In


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

Pakistan, however, the social reforms have stalled and vested interests resist
change and progress in this vital area.

The best thing Pakistan can do is to put its house in order and weed out
endemic and poverty-perpetuating practices of a feudal society. This alone
will free the productive forces and energy locked up in the populace.
A radical social change is called for but it will not come easily as the vested
interests will resist it, as they have done successfully for many decades. It will
require commitment of resources, a dedicated administration; it will need
political will, a change of mindset and of customs and traditions rooted in the
historic injustices. As Allama Mohammad Iqbal had said:

Aaien nau se darna, terze kohan pey arna

Manzil yehi katehin hai quomon ki zindigi ma
(to fear a new order of things, and become stubborn in preserving the
decadent order. This is the most difficult stage in the life of nations)
The egregious injustices done to the rural folks, women and children are not
merely simple individual wrongdoing or personal aberrations, but
institutionalized practices, sanctioned by age-old customs and tolerated and
protected by powerful groups. Iqbals warning must be heeded when he says:

Fitrat afrad se igmaz bhi kar laiti hai

Nahi karti kabhi millat kai gunahoon ko mauf
(Nature may even ignore the wrong deeds of individuals
But never does it forgive the sins of nations)
In negotiating with Asean, it appears; Pakistan formulated its case and based its
claims on what India had achieved in its dealing with Asean. There is


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

invariably a demand for parity with India, a sense of rivalry. While principle of
parity is applicable in many areas of international relations, in the domain of
economic relations calculations are made on the basis of interlocutors strengths
and what benefits it can offer. India is deemed to be able to offer advantages of
vast market, investment opportunities, advanced education, and its expertise in
IT and computing which Pakistan, at present, cannot match.
There is no need for Pakistan to make frenetic efforts, and desperate pleadings
in making its case for access to Asean. If it seeks something, it is also quite
capable of returning favours. It is capable of establishing and sustaining
amicable and mutually rewarding relations with Asean.
One of Iqbals well-known couplet relates to issues of cosmic significance and
transcendental values, but it also provides a precept for the mundane matters of
investment, tariffs and trade:

Khudi ko ker buland itna key her taqdeer se pehley

Khuda bunda se khud poochey bata three reza kya hai
(Elevate your Khudi to such heights that before every turn of fate
God Himself would ask His servant, Tell me, what is your wish? )


Professor Dr Abul Kalam
Security is an age-old but evolving concept that has acquired multiple
meanings in the changing contexts of the global age. As the conceptual
parameters of the notion of security has been widening, concurrent efforts have
been underway in the empirical field to modify substantially the existing "rules
of the game." Currently security involves both traditional threat perceptions as
well as more recent multilevel insecurity concerns, encompassing complex set
of issues, including agenda such as economic security, environment and
development, each of which has its own structure and dynamics. There has
indeed been striving toward a new plan of organic interactions and qualitative
change in existing aspirations to pursue interests involving security of the
nation-state, readjusting the regional relations as well as pursuing the
developmental aspirations of people and contributing to the overall security
health and stability of the global neighbourhood. With the shifting of
international focus from the Euro-Atlantic to Asia-Pacific most of the major
power players of the world have been readjusting themselves to the new
strategic realities of international game-play and those of the regional
In the foregoing contexts it seems almost inevitable that Pakistan has to
reappraise its security considerations and pursue its relationships with the
countries in the Association of Southeast Asian nations (ASEAN) that is more
akin to, and consistent with, its national interests in the Asian neighbourhood.
Obviously, in pursuing such policies Pakistan has to take into account the
overall aspects of its Asian policies, as they manifest in the environment of
wider regional evolution and shaping of global politics. Indeed, most of the
regional actors in South Asia, including India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have
also been pursuing a Look East policy, all attempting to forge and cement
their relations with the countries of the ASEAN. Pakistan, already a Sector
Dialogue Partner of the ASEAN, cannot afford to stay aloof as relationships
continue to evolve in Asia, ostensibly with ASEAN playing a key role.
In the foregoing backdrop the paper pleads for Pakistans stronger association


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

with ASEAN, given the legacies of its historical linkages with the region and its
more recent interest in cooperative engagement with the countries of the region.
To such an end, the paper takes into account the security concerns in shifting
and evolving Asia-Pacific relations centred on ASEAN, identifies the
conceptual parameters in the evolving process and considers the security
contexts in which the ASEAN has evolved itself into a regional organisation
(section II). It traces the historical contexts of Pakistans search for security
relations with the Southeast Asian nations dating back to the Cold War era
(section III), and then addressed the more recent imperatives of Pakistans
security in the post-Cold Era (section IV). The issue of regional power equation
in the wider region and nuclear dimension are then examined to echo the
security challenges confronting the South Asian protagonist, Pakistan and India,
as determinants of their mutual relations in the context of power relationships
and evolution of Asia-Pacific relations (section V). The conclusions reflect upon
the overall findings.
International relations through the Cold War and post-Cold War eras have been
undergoing remarkable changes of systemic proportions encompassing
political appearances as well as regularities in the field of economic cooperation.
While over time there has been a dissipation of the old pattern of politicomilitary bloc system, a transitional phase has also seems to have ensued,
leading to the emergence of new economic and trading blocs that both modified
and strengthened state-to-state relationships at all various levels of the
international system. For fairly a long time since the ending of the World War II
most of Asia had been struggling to seek a new security destiny. Some have
become independent in the process of decolonisation, while others went
through traumatic experiences of fighting imperialist foothold or confronting
the forward thrust of powers with new colonial motivations or new imperialist
incursions. As a result Asian nations during the earlier part of the Cold War era,
especially until the mid 1970s found themselves entrapped into heteroasymmetric situations of internal conflict and global power rivalry. Southeast
Asia itself had been a pawn in the global power rivalry and a hotbed of conflict
until the mid-1970s (Ghaloo and Khan, 1993: 40-41)
Western Europe, meanwhile, emerged as the first among international regions


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

to strive towards regionalism. Starting from a Customs Union in the late 1940s
it moved through the subsequent decades to emerge as a politico-economic
entity, while North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) shaped itself into a
politico-military component to triumph over the rising challenges of Cold War
threat perceptions.
Responses to these developments in the Asia-Pacific region have taken multiple
forms. The key to change has been cooperative security, resulting in efforts to
strengthen regionalism or cooperation at the multilateral levels in Southeast
Asia, but it also encompassed intra-regional cooperation or subregionalism
from below as well as reinforcing an expansive diplomacy from above through
inter-regional cooperation. Indeed, underlying most of the changes occurring
has been the varying threat perception of states and a consequent conceptual
redefinition of the notion of security.
Security, to begin with, had been largely state-based, military in nature that is
simply identified as traditional or conventional in nature. Security was then
identified in terms of guaranteeing territorial integrity, sovereignty of state
entities/structures or ensuring security of both the land and maritime borders
of states. Responses varied, in both developed and much of the developing
world, but in most instances the search was on for cooperative security. Some
of the responses have been military-political in nature, while others were
economic, in both cases entailed cooperative understanding of all the actors
Several notions have emerged to give vent to all these multiple responses
occurring at various levels of the international system. The very idea of
cooperation rests on a new perspective of the notion of security itself: It rests
on the assumption that nation-state actors do have diverse identities and
interests, but they have also the potential to cooperate on the basis of national
self-interest. In a world of economic interdependence, national policies could
no longer be adopted and implemented quite independently, as there is no such
thing as national economic policy; rather such policies are required to be
harmonised for the sake of the regions interdependent development (Peou,
1999: 9).
A perspective into the changing nature of development cooperation in Europe


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

and elsewhere in recent years would suggest that there has been an element of
mutuality i.e., give and take in proportion to respective status and position.
Such a principle of mutuality guided nation-states to move towards systemic
and subsystemic cooperation at all different levels (Kalam, 2021: 135). The
approaches developed in the post-Cold War era of uncertainty towards
cooperative security may thus be related to the newly emerged concepts such
as cooperative engagement, constructive engagement or interdependent
development. All these in different forms seek to replace individual effort or
national striving for economic advancement or security by a conscious effort to
develop interregional or sub-regional cooperation so as to marshal collective
desire for avoidance of conflict and fulfil the basic human aspirations for
growth and development. Cooperative security or simply cooperation is thus
perceived as a way to generate collective strength from which members can
individually and/or collectively derive benefits. (The White House, 1996;
Solidum, 1983: 1)
Of the various conceptual orders evolving in the post-war era of state-to-state
relations three deserves special recognition: one is old regionalism, the second
is open regionalism and the third is new regionalism. The earlier process of
cooperative security order involved membership of military politico-structures
such as Southeast Asia Treaty Organisation (SEATO), (Central Treaty
Organisation (CENTO), NATO and/or economic entities such as European
Coal and Steel Community (ECOSC), European Economic Community (EEC),
and European Union (EU) etc., which largely committed to ensuring
cooperative security and/or regional integration. All these responses of
federalist order, often typified as old regionalism, are actually viewed as
regionalism with preferential terms to members and discrimination against
non-members (Hussein, 98: 59-60).
Since the closing of the Cold War, marked by the collapse of the USSR, multiple
questions surfaced regarding the viability/validity of the old pattern of
cooperative security. Indeed, since then security has become multifaceted, with
an emphasis upon security of all segments of people, ensuring economic and
developmental security of the nation, security of the wider neighbourhood, as
well as of the globe as a whole in terms of sustainability. Such a trend is often
seen as open regionalism marked by liberalisation of trade and other wideranging cooperation as may be required. A notable example is the Asia-Pacific


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

Economic Cooperation (APEC). It had its first ministerial meeting and initial
journey in 1989. It is currently formalised and remains operational at different
levels, including a summit level meeting every two years, with wide variety of
membership on either side of the Pacific.
A new structure of cooperative security has also taken shape since the 1990s at
a lower level in some parts of Asia. It is projected as modified structuralism, as
it seeks to combine some elements of the federalist model with the new geoeconomic model of growth endeavour. It is seen as new regionalism or the
third wave entailing localised areas of economically integrative activities or
growth zones or sub-regional economic cooperation that have been
designated in geometric fashion, considering the number of participants, such
as growth triangles (GTs), quadrangle, hexagonal, and even polygon
(Kalam, 2001; Weatherbee, 95: 421).
In all fairness it would be appropriate to suggest that the countries of Southeast
Asia over time in some way went through all the foregoing international
experiences of cooperative security more than others. Indeed, within Asia,
regionalism and cooperative security have been symbolised by the ASEAN. It
was established in 1967 as a semi-instrument of Cold War struggle, with
Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. However,
ASEAN had its self-driven journey only in the aftermath of the American
retreat from the region following the fall of Saigon. In the first ever summit
held in Bali (February 1976), the ASEAN moved forward in its self-driven
journey as a regional entity with the signing of the Treaty of Amity and
Cooperation and Declaration of Concord. The first enshrined the principles of
mutual respect for the independence and sovereignty of all nations, noninterference in the internal affairs, settlement of disputes by peaceful means,
and effective cooperation among the member countries; the second provided
the guidelines for action in economic, social and cultural relations, including
the establishment of a Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality (ZOPFAN)
(Soomro, 2000: 2-3). The ZOPFAN concept is seen as a way to keep the major
power players, including the nuclear powers to avoid turning Southeast Asian
waters as a zone for their nuclear power rivalry (Subramanian, 1989: 93). A
strengthened cooperation within the ASEAN may be seen as a useful adjunct to
generating support from external sources, providing reassurances among the
TEN. Most of the power players of the globe, including China and Russia,


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

currently approve of the ASEANs notion of ZOPFAN, tying it to the

achievement of a Southeast Asian nuclear weapons free zone (Abbasi, Sept 1990:
43-45). Despite Chinese military muscle, substantial naval presence, its nuclear
strength and missile edge, Beijing itself has been constantly seeking to reassure
the ASEAN states about its peaceful intentions, its willingness to discuss and
peacefully resolve differences over the disputed issues such as contentious
claims over the Paracels and Spratlys islands with some of the ASEAN nations.
Since the 1980s ASEAN remained in a course of expansion in terms of core
membership, now kept limited to ten members. However, ASEAN has kept
options for Sectoral and Dialogue Partnerships, apart from observer status
linkages with countries keen to develop and mature relationships with its
member countries.
An expansion programme has also been underway in terms of sphere of
activity, having moved to create an ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA), with a
commitment to promote trade liberalisation as well as to encourage a
horizontal division of labour both in building production networks and
attracting investment. Equally important has been ASEANs effort toward
widening the area of activity, which has been reflected in the region-wise
growing economic organisation of APEC, as well as in the cooperative dialogue
in the form of an annual meeting between ASEAN itself and the EU (ASEM).
There is also the security dialogue initiated by it the so-called ASEAN
Regional Forum (ARF), involving members from within and beyond the AsiaPacific region. A country with Dialogue Partnership is entitled to become a
member of the ARF. By virtue of being a Dialogue Partner, India, the lone
South Asian country to become an ASEAN Dialogue Partner, has automatically
qualified itself to become a member of the ARF. These are some of the organic
manifestations of efforts by the ASEAN to draw states in the Asia-Pacific region
and beyond within a framework of cooperative security in terms of
development. .
The APEC, ASEM and ARF processes, in particular, provides the ASEAN with
an opportunity to enlarge its interests and move together with the other
countries in the larger Asia-Pacific region in fulfilling the aims and objectives of
the Bogor Declaration adopted in Bogor, Indonesia, in 1994 creating a


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

momentum towards trade liberalisation and attracting investment (Kalam, 2001:

140). Within ASEAN itself the growth triangles came to be viewed as an
intra-ASEAN circle of growth initiative, which derive economic benefits to the
participating units through complementarities by exploiting the synergies that
already exist. It has already established an ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA).
Beyond the region, it is aggressively pursuing a policy of cooperative
enlargement not only through APEC and ARF, but also ensuring the
participation of China, in what would be one of the worlds largest free trade
areas, with a market of 1.7 billion people, a combined GDP of $1.23 trillion.
Chinas miraculous development in the last two decades is a beacon for all
developing countries, making her a role model for most developing countries
of Asia. Together with Japan or independently on its own, China may be
determinant of Asias destiny. If the past belonged to Europe or the current age
is being determined by the US, the future shall belong to Asia. In all this
ASEAN has become a forum of hope, in place of past despair, as it seeks
through its diplomacy of cooperative enlargement a harmonised security in
Asia. Similarly, it has been developing closer ties with both South Korea and,
more importantly, with Japan the so-called ASEAN + 3. The ASEAN has also
been forging its bonds with both New Zealand and Australia. On all sides of
cooperative agenda a free trade area features importantly. Thus the ASEAN in
recent years has been leading the way towards Asias evolution as a community.
There is, finally, the ASEAN germinated notion of Asian Cooperation Dialogue
(ACD), though placed at the First International Conference of Asian Political
Parties, held in Manila (September 2000). Seen as a tentative first step to an
Asian trade bloc to rival the EU in terms of international clout the ACD
floated the idea of cooperation for the eradication of mass-poverty, creation of
an Asian Monetary Fund, a Common Asian Market, a common currency, an
Asian Parliament, and Asia-wide inter parliamentary dialogue. It thus appears
as a grand vision of economic and political cooperation across the worlds
biggest continent.
The idea of ACD thus presaged cooperation on areas of common interest,
facilitating trade, encouraging liberalization and realizing the dream of a united
Asia, perhaps with a common currency and common institutions, certainly
with common goals. Formally placed in July 2001 at the 34th ASEAN Foreign


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

Ministers Meeting held in Hanoi by Thailand as a concept of an Asia-wide

dialogue. In February 2002, Thailand again elaborated on the idea at the
ASEAN Foreign Ministers Retreat in Phuket, and then on 18-19 June hosted the
First ACD Ministerial Meeting in Cha-Am.
The ACD had its initial journey with ASEAN TEN plus Bahrain, Bangladesh,
China, India, Japan, Pakistan, Qatar, and South Korea (Ahmad, 2003: 94-97).
The second ACD Ministerial Meeting, held in Chiang-Mai on June 21-22 2003,
focused mainly on continuing and supporting the cooperation projects already
agreed. Concepts papers and working groups findings were presented.
Thailands Asian Bond Fund Initiative, launched in June 2003, and the ACD
Tourism Business Forum it hosted in May 2003 were noted with approval, as
were Bahrains February 2003 meeting on energy security strategy, and
Bangladeshs March 2003 seminar on the rehabilitation of working children. A
major issue at the second meeting was the question of enlargement. Four new
members Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Oman and Sri Lanka were admitted (Ahmad,
2003: 97-99). Despite the earlier grand vision, the ACD has thus begun its
journey as a very loose, informal association, non-institutionalised for
maximum flexibility (Ahmad, 2003: 97-98). On future meetings it was decided
that the 2004 ACD Ministerial Meeting would be held in China, while Pakistan
is set to host the 2005 meeting. Meanwhile, group meetings and/or intersessional meetings are likely to be held, depending on convenience and their
areas of interest of members. It appears that the conceptualised structure for the
ACD may be ideal for foreseeable future, unlike the so-called deep integration
of Europe.
In the foregoing backdrop it now needs to be examined how Pakistan evolved
its eastward policy in the changing context of international and regional
relations, how it adjusted its security requirements with the emerging threat
perceptions and, finally, what are the ramifications for the countrys relations
with the ASEAN.
With the departure of the British from the subcontinent and independence of
India and Pakistan in 1947, traditional nature of security outlook of both the
new states of the erstwhile British domain in the subcontinent carried the old


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

British imperial legacies of an expanded security notion for themselves,

irrespective of their relative size. To be precise, in the subcontinent it was not
Indias sole monopoly legacy to claim to establish a hegemonic control over
their neighbourhood or on either side of the Indian Ocean. For in the security
arena of international politics all states are entitled to place or augment their
security notion, laying continuities between an independent, post-colonial and
its colonial predecessor (Embree, 78: 1). It would seem so obvious that
Pakistan did not emerge on the international scene as an independent actor
with some conditioning element of restraint on its initiatives. On the contrary,
one might say that quite as much as the older nations, the direction of its
foreign relations was determined to a large extent by historical experiences and
threat perceptions of the colonial power that had its domain in the region such
as contemporary Southeast Asia (Embree, 78: 1-2).
However, the truth and reality is that Pakistan since its birth had also faced a
confrontational policy vis--vis India, as the latter consistently projected itself
as the legal successor of the British imperial legacy, with a result that Pakistan
has been affected by the imperial legacy in foreign policy, as mediated through
the new Government of India (Embree, 78: 15). There are elements in that
imperial legacy that contravene modern security frame of international
relations, as imperial India had always adhered to what can be labelled as
expansionism, a tendency to move outward from their original base in Bengal
until the entire subcontinent was brought under the British colonial control.
The search had been for a land frontier and/or for a frontier of separation,
though in reality India under the British did intrude into both Burma and the
Malayan archipelago, including Singapore, for establishing its suzerain control.
In the post independent era New Delhi pursued a policy of absorption or
amalgamation to consolidate its control in the subcontinent, and even adopted
policy capsules such as India doctrine and the like so as to assert its
hegemonic control over the neighbourhood.
Thus new India, laying its claim on British imperial legacies, seems
actually bent upon a new policy of expansion, as old India showed an
unwillingness to permit genuinely independent countries to exist on the
borders of the territory actually administered, having had resorts to
wars and/or annexations. However, peace and security can hardly be
assured by placing a definite edge to the national political horizon of


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

the entities around or by pursuing a what would appear unauthorized

expansion and trespass (Sir Thomas Holdich quoted in Embree, 78: 16).
As for Pakistan since its inception there has been security reasoning in its
eastward foreign policy. One of the principal pillars of Pakistans foreign policy
has been to build up bridges and bonds of friendship with the Muslim world so
that it finds itself secure in a wider horizon of Muslim neighbourhood. For
Pakistan Southeast Asia has been a natural choice, a unique region with three
friendly Muslim countries, namely Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei-Darussalam.
Since Pakistan had its early journey as an independent state in the comity of
nations emerging from colonial bondage, it has had the privilege of taking up
the case of Muslim people of that region struggling for independence,
especially for independence of Indonesia. Pakistan then sponsored the case of
Indonesia before the UN Security Council, condemned Dutch action against the
Indonesian people, and suspended the flight of Dutch planes to Pakistani
territories, and diplomatically pursued the case of Indonesian independence in
various international forums. After Indonesias independence there has been a
steady development of mutually beneficial bilateral relations in different fields,
coupled with exchange of mutual visits at all different levels, including trade
and even in fields like the use of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
Since 1964 a bilateral accord, Indonesia-Pakistan Economic and Cultural
Agreement (IPECC) has also been operational to accelerate economic and
cultural cooperation between the two countries in the field of trade,
improvement of air transport, cooperation in the field of shipping, technology,
news media, banking, insurance, exchange of artists, scientists etc. (Tanvir: 115126).
In the initial years after Pakistan came into being it sent through a process of
soul-searching while pursuing its security policy. One of the most significant
influence elements on Pakistans foreign policy in those formative years had
been American influence, which had prevailed upon her to signing the Manila
Pact on 8 September 1954, making her a member of the SEATO. While it had its
initial reservations regarding the western communist threat perceptions of the
time that may even have had her isolated from the family of Asian nations, yet
Pakistan did in fact ratify the treaty in its original form. The security of the
erstwhile province of East Pakistan against any kind of perceived threat and
manoeuvre emanating from India may have been one of the main causes for


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

adhering to the SEATO (Akhtar, 1978: 172-74).

The disintegration of Pakistan in December 1971 naturally made it imperative
for the Pakistani decision-makers to give particular attention to its defence and
traditional security needs of what was left of Pakistan. While present Pakistan
is more compact and more easily defensible than the united Pakistan of two
wings divided by wide-length of Indian territories, yet India continued to
feature as a major determinant of Pakistans foreign policy, given the lingering
traditional dispute and contentious claims over the Jammu and Kashmir valley.
It is true that Pakistans foreign policy after 1971 became largely West Asia
oriented, yet because of the traditional compulsion of Indo-centric nature of its
foreign policy Pakistan could not simply shy away from its erstwhile province,
now independent, nor from the eastern neighbourhood beyond (Jha, 84: 24-26).
Since the ending of the Cold War the world has been facing up the twin
challenges of market economy and globalisation. Nation-states especially of the
developing world, in particular, find themselves in need to close their bonds
with their neighbours and the neighbouring regions in order to maintain and
enhance their national interests and to project their voices to the global stage. In
the new globalised environment of the new century and the new millennium
when trade and economic imperatives are as vital to national sovereignty as
military and political ones, it is critical that countries in the neighbourhood
cooperate to increase their benefits in areas of common interest, particularly in
terms of industrialization, trade and development, and to reduce dangerous
dependence on investment and aid from outsiders who have little in common.
(Ahmad, 2003: 93).
Since the 9/11 Pakistan has been seeking a new destiny in its relationship with
both the neighbourhood as well as the outside world. It seems no longer solely
tied to the limited parameter of conventional security, bound by the purely
traditional state-based security approach. It has been looking both eastward as
well as westward for cooperative security, meaning economic opportunities,
market access etc. With a growing economic and trade relations in the ASEAN
region Pakistan has already enabled itself to become a Sectoral Dialogue
Partner of the ASEAN. Pakistan has also been an active member of the


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO), which includes Turkey, Iran and

the states of Central Asia. It recently inked an agreement for a preferential
trading scheme for its members, and agreed to free trade arrangements with
Bangladesh. Pakistan has also been developing and maturing its trade and
economic relations with most of the ASEAN countries, with growing chamber
to chamber relations as well as Joint Economic Commissions in place (Jarwar,
1998-99: 43-49). It has also been an active participant in the ACD, and has
proposed to host ACD Ministerial Meeting to be held in 2005.
Indeed, Pakistan has currently a broadened image and may be seen as a power
with better bargaining position with the US, the leading player of the unipolar
international system. Since that episode Pakistan has emerged as a frontline in
the fight against international terrorism, and the country had to bear the brunt
physically, politically and economically; but there has been a dramatic change
in Pakistans international image as a key source of stability. In the aftermath of
9/11 the Pakistani president has had the singular privilege of being the first
Asian leader to be invited to the USA to parley in the friendly and informal
environment of Camp David. Pakistan has also been offered a three billion
dollar package of assistance, the largest single aid package ever offered to
Pakistan, a package to be divided equally between the defence and security
requirement of Pakistan and its economic needs. This was also supplemented
by a bilateral Trade and Investment Framework Agreement aimed at opening
US markets for Pakistani goods, leading to US-Pakistan Free Trade Area within
two to three years. An additional agreement on the vital areas of science and
technology sought enhance cooperation between them. On top of all this, the
US president appreciated Pakistans commitment under President Musharraf to
build a modern nation that is both tolerant and prosperous and the growing
friendship between the two countries has been underscored as vital to the
security and stability of South Asia. ( An Image , 2003: 13-14).
Significantly, the cementing of new bond of relationship between the US and
Pakistan did not necessitate a rollback or freezing of Pakistans nuclear
programme that served as a symbol of Pakistans new strength and bargaining
power; rather Pakistan may have expected the US to play a positive role,
though did not condition it, in settling the 55-year old Kashmir dispute with
neighbouring India as well as in removing tensions between the two regional


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

India, meanwhile, has found opportunities for cooperative understanding with

Bangladesh-India-Myanmar-Sri Lanka-Thailand Economic Cooperation
(BIMSTEC) as well as with most ASEAN countries through its Dialogue
Partnership, its membership of the ARF and Indian Ocean Rim Association for
Regional Cooperation (IORARC), from which Pakistan has been kept excluded
on Indias insistence. It has also joined the ACD. Membership in such clubs
should not be seen in terms of exclusive privilege but may be viewed as
supportive building-blocs towards a larger organisation and offering scope for
enlarged sphere of cooperative engagement in the region and beyond (Ahmad,
2003: 100). In all the foregoing contexts the political clouts involving the major
power players as well as nuclear power contexts of the two South Asian
protagonists should be kept in perspective.
Traditionally, most Indian strategists and security analysts view that Pakistan
has no traditional or historic basis of its foreign policy except hostility towards
India, an attitude that it has presumably conjured up by constantly harping on
its fear of India so as to win sympathy of other powers (Yadava, 1984: 208).
Truly speaking, New Delhi equally has had a paranoiac attitude vis--vis
Pakistan. It would be a very shortsighted view on the part of India to keep
Pakistan segregated from schemes of regional cooperation in a contingency for
Indian defence and/or in its security planning (for contrary view see,
Subramanian, 1989: 98). Indeed, now that both are closer to the two major
world players, viz., the U.S. and China, there is conceivably no reason why old
paranoia and mutual antipathy should be allowed to linger. Indeed, India
should take the leadership role in promoting Pakistans membership of both
the ARF as well as of the IORARC so as to harmonize both their bilateral
relations as well as enhance wider regional evolution. The foregoing points
need to be placed in their proper perspective.
The 1971 war and separation of East Pakistan contributed to the emergence of
India as a regional hegemon, but that did not materially alter the bipolar
structure of power in South Asia. Unlike the 1974 peaceful nuclear explosion
India has of late demonstrated quite well a clarity of its purpose in regard to
exercise of the nuclear weapons option, with a versatility and range in the


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

arsenal of delivery and missile systems such as Prithvi, Agni and Trisuls. Of
course Pakistan has not been lagging behind since its tit-for-tat weapons
proliferation in 1998. India has already tested supersonic cruise anti-ship
missile, the Brahmos, that has a range of 300km and can carry a 200kg
conventional warhead, first fired in June 2001, and tested again in November
2003. The 3-ton, eight meter long missile can be launched from a variety of
platforms including ships and aircraft (Delhi tests 2003: 12). While India and
Pakistan are immediately concerned with local metamorphoses such as mutual
hostility, minimum deterrence etc. they cannot afford to ignore the broader
changes occurring in the extended area, including the East and Southeast Asian
regions (Ziring, 1984: 197). India and Pakistan must realize that their destinies
are inextricably intertwined. The security of one is linked to the other and
nothing can be gained by either proving its prowess over the other. The
perpetuation of a hostile relationship is not in the interest of either side. Both
have to make a realistic evaluation of the external world (Ziring, 1984: 197).
India must have a backward journey to see the inherent folly of its earlier
stance of foreign policy, viz., guise of non-alignment, in spite its pro-Soviet
leanings, Hindi-Chini Bhai Bhai, Pancha Shila, while Pakistan sought to establish
itself as a politico-military equal of India, if not superior to it (Ziring, 1984: 198).
Japan-US Position
While considering ASEAN policy options both India and Pakistan must take
into the positions and views of the major world players. To begin with, both
should keep in perspective the growing interest of Asia-Pacific powers such as
Japan and the U.S. Despite its adherence to the pacific constitution of 1947,
Japan, Asias leading economy and the leading bilateral donor to all South
Asian countries, has conceded to the desire of the international community to
play a greater military role in the region. The Japanese Self-Defence Navy and
Maritime Forces have already extended Japans security perimeter, with
apparent U.S. approval, up to 1000 nautical miles off its shores that actually
covers the shipping and trade routes along the Southeast Asian coastal belts.
Since 9/11 even in South Asia, West and Central Asian regions Japan has
assumed a more activist stance in its foreign policy, having despatched its SelfDefence Ground Forces in non-combatant role. Moreover, it is well known
that Japan has been the main power behind the multilevel ASEAN approaches
towards Asian evolution. The US strategic and economic interests today are


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

also intimately tied up with the policy of the ASEAN countries. Determined to
preserve its unipolar status the US no longer seems set to abandon Southeast
Asia in Chinese neighbourhood to its destiny, as seemed to happen in the
aftermath of the fall of Saigon in 1975 (Subramanian, 1989: 93, 97). Its high
profile presence in both APEC and ARF has been indicative of its deepening
interest in Asian evolution that is closer to American strategic thinking. As the
campaign against international terrorism gathers momentum both these major
global players would like to see the inclusion of Pakistan, a frontline actor in
the campaign, into wider Asian connectivity.
The China Connection
Pakistan sees Chinas role as critical not only because of its economic strength
and its performance, but also because of its geographic might. Therefore, it has
been a policy of deepening relations with China. Currently, the bilateral
relation, in the eyes of Musharraf, is deeper than the oceans, higher than the
mountains ( Joint declaration, 2003: 16). On the contrary, despite the recent
warming of Sino-Indian ties, New Delhis view of China as a possible
belligerent hegemonist power that would not hesitate to use any power at its
disposal to threaten its enemies (Subramaniam, 1989: 99) continues to persist.
Nevertheless, India has found it convenient to join the ARF assembly to
deliberate the regional security concerns, but leaving Pakistan behind, a key
Chinese ally and now with full nuclear deterrent capability to counteract
perceived Indian threat does not make sense to the mind of any strategic
analyst advocating a stable regional peace at the Asian-Pacific level.
The Nuclear Context
Since the tit-for-tat nuclear testing of May 1998 by both India and Pakistan, the
latter under compulsion of its perceived national security and sub-continental
power balance has come out of supposed nuclear ambiguity. It can no longer
be seen as a paper tiger or a bluff, since through its well-measured responses it
highlighted a viable minimum deterrence, a doctrine adhered to by both the
major South Asian powers, both have also shown a degree of adherence to
nuclear restraint, in spite of the trauma of a limited war at Kargil. Reputed
Indian analysts concede that Pakistans nuclear capability has presently come of
age and now it is in a stage to go beyond fission weapons into all kinds and


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

range of thermonuclear weaponry and delivery system ((Subramaniam, 1989:

46). Indeed, it is India that forced Pakistans hand to go nuclear out of fear and
apprehension (Vajpayee, Musharraf 2003: 16). Transcending the blame
game of recent past both seem to getting reconciled to the idea of nuclear
stability, perceived vital for maintenance of peace and stability in the wider
Asia-Pacific region. Pakistan, in particular, unilaterally adopted a policy of
limiting the minimal nuclear deterrence, which is functional and need not be
accelerated unnecessarily to create disequilibria in the region (Rahman, Dec
2003: 43-44). As a follow-up of the foregoing reasoning it may be suggested that
an inclusion of Pakistan in the wider Asia-Pacific cooperative frame is vital so
as to ensure and sustain regional stability.
While Pakistan is perceived as Indias only competitor in South Asia, China is
often cited by India as a threat; but this threat remains largely an ephemeral one,
and one that is invoked largely because of Pakistans strategic relationships
with China (Subramaniam, 1989: 25). India in the long run cannot remain
insensitive to the warming up of Sino-Pakistani relationships and with
Pakistans contiguity to China itself that has implications for India
(Subramaniam, 1989: 32). China for a long time was seen in India as a threat to
Southeast Asian security, even though it is the one of the major powers outside
the Southeast Asian region that has a direct interest in the power complexion of
the region because of geographical location and historical association. It can
hardly be suggested that China is an external actor as far as ASEAN is
concerned. Sharing common land borders with Burma, Laos and Vietnam, and
being a coastal state in the South China Sea, its large navy can help it project
power beyond its coast. A large number of ethnic Chinese, numbering over 20
million, also live and play very important role in the Southeast Asian
economies (Subramanian, 1989: 87). Cognizant of this India itself has not only
warmed up its relations at various levels with Beijing but also seats in the same
table at the ARF. Evidently, both China and India are developing their
economies at a faster rate, as both realise that they have to contend with their
large population demanding an improved standard of living. Moreover, India
and China more recently have been going for naval exercises, aimed at
ensuring and improving coordination in search and rescue at sea, believed to
serve as a stepping stone in enhancing inter-operability between the two navies
( China, India 2003: 16). In this backdrop New Delhi can hardly see Chinas
ally Pakistan in the old adversarial light.


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

Therefore, it is pertinent that they continue to have dialogue in a transparent

fashion, as under the aegis of the ARF, a sincere, futuristic dialogue to clear
the air between them and move towards normalization of their relations as well
as ensuring peace and stability in their own region and beyond in the wider
Asia-Pacific region. Should Pakistan be granted Dialogue Partnership in the
ASEAN and a consequent membership of the ARF, the multilateral forum may
indeed serve as a convenient mechanism for clearing up of much of the air of
misgivings in presence of others.
Indeed, since the SAARC summit in Islamabad (Jan 2004) it may be expected
that the web of distrust and suspicion (Vajpayee, Musharraf 2003: 16)
between India and Pakistan is bound to give way towards a more mature
realisation of the changing dynamics of cooperative security for collective wellbeing of people of both the countries, away from the traditional state-based
compulsion of security each had nurtured during the earlier era. However,
India must realise that its greatest weakness has been its lack of a coherent and
farsighted regional policy in South Asia itself, even though it now has a range
of nuclear arsenal and a very strong and thoroughly professionalised
conventional force. While it seeks broad connectivity at the wider regional level
in Asia-Pacific, it has never attempted to harmonize its regional relations in
South Asia itself, taking the smaller neighbours into confidence, as it has been
overly concerned itself on the Pakistani factor (Subramaniam, 1989: 110-111).
In all this there has to be a sea-change in the mindset of the Indian leadership so
that South Asia can begin its journey towards cooperative security in right
earnest, as did the countries of the ASEAN.
The paper addressed the historical legacies of Pakistans linkages with the
ASEAN region and its more recent interest in cooperative engagement with the
countries of the region. To this end it took into account the shifting security
concerns and evolving Asia-Pacific relations centred on ASEAN, identified the
conceptual parameters in the evolving process and considered the security
contexts in which the ASEAN has evolved itself into a regional organisation. It
traced the historical contexts as well as the more recent imperatives of
Pakistans security interest in the ASEAN region. The issues of power equation


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

in the wider region and in South Asia itself in terms of nuclearisation have also
been examined to echo the security challenges confronting the two South Asian
protagonist to reinforce the case for Pakistans linkages with the evolving
relationships centring on ASEAN. Some concluding remarks touching on the
question of systemic coherence, peace, security and stability in the ASEANcentred Asian evolution and the imperatives of Pakistans inclusion in it are
now in order.
Post-Cold War era heralded by globalization has brought profound changes in
the international system. It has heralded victory for free enterprise as well as for
freedom of choice. The world is getting smaller as socio-cultural and trade
barriers break down. Communication, media and technological breakthroughs
have enabled instant and in-depth information reaching every nook and corner,
creating global customers with similar wants and aspirations, hungry for goods
and services. Marketers have responded by creating global brands and global
services. Continued market opening, economic superiority and maturing of
domestic markets are fuelling this drive to globalisation. Multinational
corporations (MNCs) are being very effectively used as a vehicle in export
globalization worldwide. The key enablers in globalization include the notions
of company citizen, as opposed to nation citizen, system mindset and
executional excellence, service-oriented culture, innovation and creativity. It
seems critical to tap ideas into talent, intellect, and brilliance of the human
mind by encouraging openness, keeping freedom of option, thought and action,
become a participant rather than a spectator, defuse the time bomb of
globalization adjusting to it (Mustafa, Dec 2003: 38-42). Obviously, South Asian
nations, including Pakistan, have little option but to be interconnected in Asia
and face squarely the challenges of globalization in its own terms.
Security-wise, the new century portend a transition in Asian neighbourhood
parallel its global counterpart. A de-polarisation of security arrangements in the
region has already been underway in which the alignments formed from the
1950s through the later decades have been evolving into more porous
arrangements ushering an era of cooperation between the major power players
such as the U.S., Japan and China. New opportunities for closer relation,
economic as well as political fields, are already in card. The ASEAN bloc has
been playing a pioneering role in drawing the nations as far apart as the USA,
China, Japan as well as those of the EU into multilevel cooperative links and


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

interactions (Abbasi, Sept 1990: 41). To South Asia and the regional entity of
SAARC, the ASEAN stands as an example how to overcome the constraints of
disparate motivations of major powers and differing size of political entities as
well as seek solution to the many political and economic challenges confronting
the member states of regional organizations mobilizing the internal resources in
an efficient and equitable manner.
Pakistans interest in pursuing relations with the countries of Southeast Asia is
historic. Currently Pakistan can hardly afford to be left out of an Asian
consensus that of late has been emerging steadily toward cooperative security.
Since South Asia on its own could not evolve its way it must find an alternative
route to cooperative ventures, and the option currently available is the
ASEAN Way that proved viable and has been steadily moving through
enlargement of cooperative understanding towards adoption of an Asian
community approach.
The ASEAN states have also prospered and emerged as partners in cooperative
security and very important components of global security, as compared to the
states of South Asia, including Pakistan. While the ASEAN has not yet grown
as an integrated economic community like the EU or a military pact as the
NATO, efforts have been underway to strengthen national governments as well
as to contribute to the building of an economic cushion so as to make necessary
adjustments in their relationship in terms of transfer of power to a
supranational authority or contributing to a more wide-ranging economic
cooperation and regional stability (Abbasi, Sept 1990: 45). With the ending of
the Cold War Asia is no longer polarized; the Asian nations are now positioned
to forge a common identity, committed to promote a more balanced, multipolar
world. It may have been unthinkable before, but now the idea of an Asia united
by a common purpose is no more and no less arbitrary than any other scheme
for regionalisation (Ahmad, 2003: 112). In Asia only the ASEAN has the
credibility and credential to provide leadership in such cooperative endeavour.
Having overcome the Asian economic crisis of the late 1990s, the ASEAN states
having been strongly driven by the emerging paradigm of economic
liberalization and market deregulation, have joined the flying geese of
competitiveness in a globalised world. The APEC, ASEM, ARF and ACD all
feature as instruments of ASEANs search for cooperative security in a swiftly
changing globalised word.


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

For South Asian countries like Bangladesh and Pakistan, the advantage of being
drawn into ASEAN-centred cooperative engagement makes it possible for them
being in the framework of greater inter-regional cooperation, no longer stifled
by fears of perceived Indian hegemony in the relatively narrower horizon of
South Asia environment (Ahmad, 2003: 110). Rightly Pakistan has chosen to
associate itself in such efforts spearheaded by the ASEAN countries.
As for stability, peace, progress and systemic cohesion, ASEANs role
assumption as a regional harmoniser has been a welcome development, given
the complexities in Asian major power relationship. For instance, India and
China, even though currently engaged in tentative steps toward cooperating,
figure as adversaries vying for economic and strategic superiority in Asia, just
as France and Germany were for almost a century before the World War II
(Ahmad, 2003: 111). The merit in ASEANs effort as regional harmoniser is that
regionalism at a wider level has the potential to unleash the regions latent
capabilities. Both India and China offer great incentives to other Asian
countries with their huge markets, as much as developmental experiences of
the more prosperous countries of the ASEAN itself. Similarly, Asias
developed/fast developing countries like Japan, China, Taiwan and Republic of
Korea can offer investment as well as technology facilitating transport linkages
and trade across the region that could be very lucrative for countries that are
willing to participate (Ahmad, 2003: 109-110). From systemic point of view,
Pakistans strong attachment with China can be of particular help in all these
efforts toward harmonisation of interests and interdependent development of
the Asian nations in a unique spirit of togetherness, as was observed in its
historic go-between role in 1971, bringing China and the US together. Should
Pakistan be drawn into the ASEAN framework of connectivity and rendered
full-length politico-economic support in its new role as a frontline actor in the
much-projected war against terrorism, the very fear of international
terrorism may be lesser, with still lesser fear and/or any pretext for another
war against terrorism in Asia.


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

Abbasi, Saifullah (September 1990), ASEAN: Regional Defence for the 1990s, Asia: The East
and South East (A Biannual Research Journal(East and South East Asia Study Centre,
University of Sindh, Jamshoro, Sindh) No. 10.
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Akhtar, Shameem (1978), Pakistan and the Great Powers, in Masuma Hasan (ed.), Pakistan in
a Changing World . Karachi: Pakistan Institute of International Affairs.
China, India begin naval exercises, (15 November 2003), Dawn.
Delhi tests supersonic missile, (10 November 2003), Dawn..
Embree, Ainslie T. (1978), Pakistans Imperial Legacy, in Masuma Hasan (ed.), Pakistan in a
Changing World . Karachi: Pakistan Institute of International Affairs.
Ghaloo, Raza Hussain and Khan, Fauzia (1993), Asia-Pacific: A region of economic potential
and crucial security, Asia Pacific: The Research Journal of Far East and Southeast Asia.
Hussein, Hishamuddin (1998), Open Regionalism and Regionalisation: Implications and
Challenges. In Azman and Awang, Mahboob salim, John F. Halidane (eds.), IndonesiaMalaysia-Singapore: Borderless Region for Sustainable Progress. Johor Baru: Institute Sultan
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Arif (ed.), Pakistans Foreign Policy: Indian Perspectives. Lahore: Vanguard Books Ltd.
Joint declaration issued: Pakistan, China to boost defence ties, Dawn (6 November 2003).
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Delhi and Dhaka: UBS Publishers and Distributors Limited and the University Press Limited.
Mustafa, Irfan, Globalisationits implications for Pakistan, Defence Journal (December 2003)
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Solidum, Estella (1983), Bilateral Summitry in ASEAN. Manila: Foreign Service Institute.
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South East: Bi-annual Research Journal. No. 5
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The White House (February 1996), A National Security of Engagement and Enlargement.
Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office.
Vajpayee, Musharraf meeting possible (13 November 2003), Dawn.
Yadav, Leela (1984), Pakistans Foreign Policy: An Analysis of Pakistans Foreign Relations
with the United States of America, in K. Arif (ed.), Pakistans Foreign Policy: Indian
Perspectives. Lahore: Vanguard Books Ltd.
Ziring, Lawrence (1984), Dissonance and harmony in Indo-Pakistani Relations, in K. Arif
(ed.), Pakistans Foreign Policy: Indian Perspectives. Lahore: Vanguard Books Ltd.


Captain Dr Nitipoom Navartna

ASEAN, as an important force within the Southeast Asia region, not only
welcomes Cambodia and Malaysia as its new members but envisions to
strengthen the relations with the countries of Indochina, through such a
proposal as the Southeast Asia 10 summit. Moreover, other diplomatic
initiatives, such as the ASEAN Regional Forum and next years Asia Europe
meeting, are highly appreciated. Bearing in mind these latest developments
which led ASEAN into a new stage, I believe that Pakistan should seek even
more to intensify dialogues with ASEAN and enhance our cooperative
relationship in every area Thailand is deeply committed for the promotion of
business and trade in the neighbor countries as well as in South Asia and South
East Asia and inside the country territory.
And want to promote a mutually beneficial cooperation in the various fields.
The strong economic growth in Thailand could be witnessed by the continued
inflows of foreign capital and a much higher than predicted revenue collection,
higher international reserve and an expansion of the Thai stock markets
capitalization to 3.9 trillion bahts with an average daily trading volume of 40-60
billion baht (1 US$ = 39.50 baht).
As coming up from the crisis of 1997 the Thailand Governments basic policy
was to develop the industry and bring the country once again on the top in
business and trade. And now we are self sufficient in most of the fields and
making our place in the global market and the APEC was a proof of this, which
was held in September 2003. Although we need some things from our neighbor
countries but due to our trade routes and information about all these products
its just like we have that in our own country. And we encourage other
investors to start business here and import and export is on the top nowadays
as well you can see that Thai products like juices, garments and other things are
available every where in these countries including Pakistan.
I would like now to turn to Pakistan and Thailands relationships. After a
decade of extraordinarily high growth, Thailand is going through a period of
transition and adjustment. This is a challenging process for policy makers.


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

During the current period of economic transition, we welcome Pakistans

commitment to intensifying economic reform and trade liberalization. I am
confident that Pakistan will continue in its march towards liberalization, and as
a consequence, I have faith that Pakistans future remains strong.
Given this promising future there is still future scope to strengthen our
relationships especially through expanded trade and investment.
I was accordingly very pleased to see that the conference organizers have taken
as the theme for todays seminar Pakistan ASEAN Relations. This objective, I
believe both governments were expressing their confidence in the private
sectors in both Pakistan and Thailand and drawing attention to the many
opportunities which exist for increased bilateral commercial contact.
Pakistan is a very valued partner for Thailand in the region. It is strategically
placed in mainland South Asia. It is the second largest economy in South Asia.
Also reflecting Thailands close relationship with Pakistan, I thank Pakistan
which first proposed such links. We were therefore interested to note that this
is a concept in which I have a particular interest and indeed there are many
areas of cooperation which would be expanded fruitfully in the mean time.
The Thai government has also focused on developing our bilateral trade with
Last year, we have been very pleased with a number of significant outcomes.
For example, the government gave strong support to Thailand companies to
start investment in Pakistan.
Similarly the government worked hard to support Pakistanis and other
countries interest in Investment as which showed successful business in
Thailand as well in Pakistan. The Government has followed up with a public
relations program to promote Thai product for use by the successful importer
and exporters here and also outside of the country.
In recognition of the continuing opportunities that we believe exist in Pakistan,
I intend to visit Pakistan again in this year, and this visit is clear token of our
continuing belief in Pakistans enduring strength and importance. We are very


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

keen to continue to work with the Pakistan Government in support of increased

trade and investment. This will, no doubt, be a two-day process.
For our part, on going priorities include market access for a number of
agricultural items and automotive products. It would be one important
opportunity for Thailand business to participate in training in Pakistan is
through the Pakistan Thailand Youth Ambassadors Program which I
established this year at IAAS whose I am a director. The Thailand Government
has approved it too. To encourage all of you to consider funding the placement
of young Pakistanis in Thailand to participate in the program. The Thai
government is helping the students and investors in Thailand to start education
with business and investment in Pakistan. And we have successfully completed
such a program for Cambodia and Vietnam. In subsequent contacts, which are
developed, are likely to contribute directly to future economic links.
As far as my knowledge is concerned Pakistan is a country full of resources,
and the steps taken by Pakistan towards trade and business among ASEAN
countries are very much appreciable. Pakistan, center of South Asia and a
Gateway to the Global Market and trade in this region. But apart from all
aspects it is clear that Pakistan is and can be the best partner of the ASEAN
countries. Because there are few steps which are necessary to be taken for the
promotion of business and all type of relations between the countries.
The first factor is lack of opportunities for the Foreign Investors. And this is the
most important factor for business purpose and I think in Pakistan it is the call
of day to do something in this regard.
And the last thing, which I think and know, is the burden of taxes on local
products, which makes them costly in global market as compared to the other
country products, which has to be reduced. And this step will accelerate
economic growth and development in this region.


Edy Prasetyono
This brief paper highlights security challenges facing ASEAN, approaches to
address them and their implications for security cooperation among ASEAN
countries and extra regional powers, particularly Pakistan.
External pressures and internal dynamics of ASEAN member states have
generated the security challenges confronting ASEAN over the past few years.
First is globalization and its linkage to internal security. The most important
aspect of globalization is that it generates sensitivity and vulnerability to security
of state, individual, and other non-state actors due to transnational transactions
and interconnections among issues and actors. Economic and political gains are
increasingly generated by transactions across national boundaries of the states
using advanced and mobile technology, information, capital and people
movement. They are able now to shift capital, communicate, and operate on a
global scale with high speed and mobility.
In ASEAN countries, globalization has generated pressures and forces
challenging the security of the state, groups, and individual. This is particularly
true as the state lacks capability to control its territory and access. Maritime
piracy, illegal fishing, arms smuggling, human trafficking and smuggling, and
terrorism have successfully exploited the open nature of the maritime and air
territory of many ASEAN countries. Indonesia, for instance, has suffered from
the loss of billions of US dollars annually due to its lack of surveillance and
reconnaissance capabilities to control its water, land, and air territory. At the
same time, due to globalization, many domestic problems, particularly ethnic
conflicts, armed rebellion, and separatist movements, have also been
internationalized. Thousands of small arms have been smuggled into Aceh,
Ambon, and Maluku in eastern part of Indonesia. Further, 80 % illicit small
arms are transferred through water/sea transports in Southeast Asia
surrounding Indonesia.
What is also significant is that interconnectedness and interdependence
resulted from the forces of the globalization have also increasingly moved some
societies to narrower identities based on culture, religion, and ethnicity.


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

Indonesia is a clear case. Social and political developments in the country have
indicated that these identities have become effective rallying platforms for
political and social movements challenging the state and its legitimacy. This is
particularly true as the country has been traditionally faced with a series of
ideological conflicts, insurgence, and separatist movements underlining that
Indonesia is still struggling to achieve national unity and political stability.
Second political pressure challenging ASEAN countries is related to good
governance. Looking at recent developments, a central question is how
governance is exercised to deliver economic and political benefits and whether
and how it can exacerbate or mitigate internal security problems such as ethnic
and religious conflicts and separatism. It becomes clear from the current state of
affairs in many ASEAN states that the issue of good governance would remain
a challenge of great political, economic, and social consequences. This raises a
question of the capability of ASEANs system of governance to manage and
accommodate many disparities and problems.
Good governance thus also encompasses the creation of domestic and state
institutions to regulate, to manage, and to facilitate stable political pluralism,
economic development, and social equity. In the current context, this also
means to find modalities to manage relationships between central and local
government in the context of growing local autonomy and the strengthening of
a responsible civil society. The burden of the political system of ASEAN
countries will be centered on these issues. Failure to create good governance to
deal with these issues would generate social and political conflicts eroding
popular support and political legitimacy of the governments of ASEAN. It can
also generate social and political conflict threatening the security of societies.
Thirdly, the political interactions among ASEAN countries are also facing
traditional security problems especially those resulted from border issues.
Many maritime boundaries in the region remain ill-defined, resulting in
maritime territory and resources disputes. They appear to have been neglected
for some reasons. More crucially, with the increasing trans-national threats and
separatism and the need to protect natural resources increasingly important to
the countrys integrity and economy, territorial issues would become an
important national security agenda, particularly as the country accommodates
important international sea routes and is located in a strategic position open to


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

external interference. Thus, it is clear that border and territorial issues have
domestic and international security implications that require comprehensive
approach to deal with.
Another security challenge is environmental degradation. ASEAN, particularly
Indonesia, has been facing serious deforestation, top-soil loss, and other
ecological problems. The security implications are many. Deforestation and
other environmental degradation have led to the decreasing national capacity
in self-sufficiency in food, increasing competition for land, changes in the
countrys landscape, and to the creation of urban slums. There have also been
some cases where environmental degradation has caused violent conflict in the
country. The loss of traditional lands and severe environmental degradation as
result of mining activities have led to rebellion in Irian Jaya and conflicts in
other parts of the country. Apart from these problems, in longer term, the issue
appears to be more acute. With a few exceptions in the region, many Southeast
Asian states will face a difficult choice between the need of economic
development for present generation and the needs of the future generation. To
what extent the requirements of future generation would guide the formulation
of developmental strategy and policy remains unclear. This would pose
increasing pressures on administrative capacities and demands on the
government, and could lead to shifts in power balances within societies.
ASEAN has been facing new political dynamics generated by two forces: First,
internal political and economic reforms leading to openness and
democratization; and challenges and problems due to globalization such as
good governance, corruption, unemployment, security, political conflicts, and
weak leadership. These challenges would shape the situation and future
developments of the association. Here, a basic question is whether ASEAN is
still relevant regional entity to address the new security and political issues,
meeting interests of the member states. This is the main reason why the idea of
ASEAN Community in its three pillars in the economic, security, and social
and cultural fields is so vital for the region to cope with those challenges,
revitalizing the relevance of ASEAN in a fluid world domestically and


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

It should be noted, however, that the idea of ASEAN Community and the
nature of issues confronting the association requires some degree of
cooperation in political development. This does not mean that ASEAN has
moved beyond its principle of non-interference in domestic affairs of other
states. Instead, it is based on a paradigm that security has become
multidimensional and interconnected, no longer can it be contained within a
particular state. Human dimension of security, environmental issues, economic
integration project, combating terrorism, etc, require some adjustments in
national policies and laws to address them regionally. Combating terrorism and
its financial networks, for example, cannot be done without cooperation in law
enforcement in financial sectors and in other areas or measures such as
extradition treaty or agreement, maritime cooperation, regional air and
maritime surveillance and reconnaissance. Political cooperation in these areas
provides ASEAN with not only capacities to deal with them. But more
importantly, it can serve as an early warning mechanism for ASEAN states to
prevent particular issues from becoming serious threats to ASEAN. This is in
essence the most significant aspect of the proposal for the establishment of
ASEAN peacekeeping force.
Institutionally, there must be a transformation from the current state of affairs
of an association towards a so-called ASEAN community, which requires some
degree of integration. This would be reflected in an institution building of
ASEAN, creating an institution-based ASEAN mechanism rather than a leaderbased ASEAN. For many years ASEAN has been confronted with the questions
of leadership. An ASEAN community with mature political cooperation is also
indicated by a decision-making mechanism, reflecting the nature of its
integration. Although it is still unclear whether ASEAN is moving towards
supra-nationalism or inter-governmentalism, it appears that the notion of
absolute sovereignty is difficult to maintain.
In the longer term, the impacts of political dynamics on the future development
of ASEAN are in the democratization process with a long-term goal of creating
a democratic region of ASEAN. This is the result of interactions between
internal and external pressures. A democratic ASEAN would provide a strong
base for the development of ASEAN itself as a regional institution able to
respond the increasing demand of Southeast Asian people in their way to
pursue their interests and for creating an area open and attractive for economic


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

interactions with other regions. Indeed, ASEAN should change for its relevance
and to give answer to openness, complex, and interconnected world. And, this
needs support from the member states and recognition of a mutual interests
between ASEAN and extra regional countries.
Tackling those security challenges, require fundamental political
transformation from state-centric domain to one articulating and conveying
people and societies interests. It means a transformation towards a more
democratic political system and more fundamentally defining and establishing
power-sharing and interactions between central and local governments.
Another measure is international cooperation. Interdependence, openness, and
interconnectedness have changed the nature of security challenges. They can no
longer be defined in spatial and physical boundaries both in terms of their
sources and implications. This generates pressures not only on the state, but
also on societies. Consequently, an absolute national sovereignty becomes
irrelevant, leading to the growing regionalism both in economic and political
In light of this complexity, new developments in ASEAN-Pakistan relations
and ARF in which Pakistan has shown great interests in Asia Pacific security
architecture are of interests of both sides. ASEAN-Pakistan relations in some
areas of security concerning the two regions could strengthen efforts to counter
new security challenges, especially in developing control and monitoring
system to address proliferation of weapon of mass destruction, flow of
radicalism, and terrorist financial network. This becomes even more urgent as
both regions have become a fertile ground for radical movements and terrorism.
ASEAN and Pakistan should be in the front run to combat terrorism, politically
giving a new hope that there should be an enlightened Islam that could have an
influence on Islam worldwide. This could be achieved if the two sides are
successful in developing their nations and have functioning democratic
political system and a viable economy.
There are several measures that need to be taken. First, ASEAN and Pakistan
should tighten control over human trafficking crossing Southeast Asia and
South Asia. The number of Indonesian students in Pakistan remains unclear. In


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

some cases, there has been no accurate and reliable data as to where they study,
their activities, etc. This measure requires tighter immigration control by
ASEAN and Pakistan. Many suspect that the flow of people coming to and
from Pakistan is difficult to control. Indeed, this to a large extent has been
ignored for years. Secondly, ASEAN and Pakistan should find modalities for
maritime cooperation. ARF is definitely an important forum, providing
multilateral umbrella and weight for combating maritime-related security
threats. But, this should be implemented more in bilateral and operational
levels. The forms of cooperation could be trilateral and bilateral. An important
message is the security issues facing ASEAN and Southeast Asia are
increasingly interconnected and intertwined that require some degree of
cooperation. Thirdly, ASEAN and Pakistan should develop cooperation in
education, especially with regard to religious schools. The main idea here is
that there should be joint efforts to promote better understanding on the role of
the religion in society development and in promoting democratic system in
Moslem society and states.
It will take some years for ASEAN and Pakistan to establish a mature political
and security relationship. Intra ASEAN relations have provided an important
lesson that political and security cooperation need a patience and
determination and the process itself is no less important than the outcome.
Pakistans participation in the ARF process, therefore, is good start and should
be supported by the countries of South and Southeast Asia.



Mr Niaz A. Naik

The Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) was founded in 1967.
Initially it comprised of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and
Thailand. It was successively enlarged by incorporating Brunei (1983), Vietnam
(1995), Laos and Myanmar (1997) and Cambodia (1999).
ASEAN has a population of 508 million. Its nominal GDP is estimated as US$
547 billion; and its total annual trade is around US$ 522.9 billion.
The Asian financial crisis of 1997-98 had serious political, economic, financial
and social consequences of ASEAN countries. The six original members faced a
very debilitating impact on their economies. Social fabrics of their societies
were also torn apart as bad loans, a shaking financial system, corporate
bankruptcy, rising unemployment and flagging currencies engulfed them. The
new members Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam (CLMV) had joined
ASEAN with high hopes of plugging their economies into a prosperous
regional entity. Although the financial crisis has been contained yet ASEAN has
still to emerge fully from its devastating effects, which has prevented the
original members to respond and meet the aspirations of the new members
particularly in trade, investment and technology.
There is clearly a Muslim revivalism in insular South East Asia with a growing
cleavage between moderate and radical Muslims. The rise of a more radical
form of political Islam in the region is a matter of concern for ASEAN countries
and their leaders.
ASEAN also faces growing difficulties over the issue of terrorist networks and
in their efforts to prove their national resources to cooperate on dealing with
terrorism. The terrorist activities of Abu Sayyaf group in the Philippines and
the devastating terrorist attack in Bali on October 12, 2002 are glaring instances
of the terrorist menace in the region.


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities


In 1992, ASEAN decided to establish an ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA).
Most of the South East Asian region is now a free trade area. Accounting for
over 96% of all ASEAN trade, the first 6 signatories of the Common Preferential
Tariff Scheme for AFTA have already reduced their tariff on international trade.
ASEAN leaders have agreed to eliminate all import duties by 2010 for the 6
original members and by 2015 for the new members.
In a recent meeting of the ASEAN Economic Ministers held on 19-20 January
2004 at Yogyakarta, Indonesia, a road map was prepared for economic
integration. The economic ministers agreed to work to integrate eleven industry
sectors to create a single market covering their combined $ 500 million people
by 2020. The economic ministers of the 10 member ASEAN agreed to achieve
integration before 2010 in wood, rubber, textiles, electronics, agriculture,
information technology, fisheries, health care, air travel and tourism. The
ministers also decided to finalize a road map which among other things, calls
for harmonization of standards and customs procedures.
It may be recalled that at their Summit meeting in Bali in October 2003, ASEAN
leaders endorsed a plan to achieve a single production based and market by
2020 with a free flow of goods, services and investments in the region.
In his keynote address at the East Asia Economic Summit held at Kuala
Lumpur on 6 October 2002, the Prime Minister of Thailand, Dr. Thaksin
Shinawarta, outlined his vision of the new Asian realism . He stressed that the
Asian countries can get ahead by helping each other instead of relying on
Europe and America as aid donors, trade partners and sources of investment. It
is a grand vision of economic and political cooperation across the worlds
biggest continent, on a scale heretofore unseen. The continent includes the oilrich Middle East economies, transitional Central Asian Republics with rich
energy resources, rapidly growing China and Japan, the prospering ASEAN
States and the poor developing states of South Asia.


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

The idea of the ASEAN Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) was put forward formally
by the Thai Foreign Minister at the 34th ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting in
Hanoi in July 2001. To carry forward the concept, Thailand hosted the first
ACD Ministerial Meeting in Cha-Am in June 2002. The meeting was attended
by 18 countries which were recognized as the founding members of the ACD.
These included the ten members of the ASEAN Bahrain, Bangladesh, China,
India, Japan, Qatar, South Korea and Pakistan. The first ACD Ministerial
Meeting revolved mainly around the challenges facing Asia, the format and
modalities of the ACD process and possible areas of cooperation. Consensus
was reached on the basic structure of the ACD. The meeting agreed on a loose
informal association, non institutionalized for maximum flexibility. Another
important decision was that of increasing cooperation in multilateral for a like
the WTO.
The second ACD Ministerial Meeting was held in Chiang-Mai Thailand on June
21-22, 2003. It focused mainly on supporting the cooperation projects agreed
upon at the last meeting. Several countries had expressed their desired to join
the ACD and consequently the 2nd Ministerial Meeting approved four new
members Kazakistan, Kuwait, Oman and Sri Lanka. It was also agreed that
the 2004 ACD Ministerial Meeting would be held in China. Pakistan expressed
its desire to host the 2005 meeting.
The ACD is to focus on economic cooperation encouraging liberalism across the
continent. High priority will be assigned to poverty alleviation which has been
recognized as the central area of collaboration between ACD member states.
Three major components for poverty alleviation were agreed upon trade,
financial instruments and technology. The ACD is a promising institution
considering its short history it has achieved quite a lot.
The ARF was established in 1994. It draws together 23 countries which have an
impact on or are involved in the security of East Asia and the Asia Pacific
region. It comprises the 10 ASEAN member states and 10 ASEAN dialogue
partners besides one ASEAN observer Papua New Guinea as well as DPRK and


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

The ARF is premised on the idea drawn from the ASEAN experience that an
incremental process of dialogue can produce qualitative improvements in
political relations. It provides a setting in which members can discuss current
regional security issues and develop cooperative measures to enhance peace
and security in the region. Issues discussed at recent ARF meetings include the
security political and human rights issues; weapons of mass destruction and
missile issues; and transnational crime. After 9/11 events ASEAN is a member
of the global action against terrorism. ARF has now become increasingly
proactive on peace and security in South Asia. The ARF peruses CBMs and
preventive diplomacy. It is characterized by minimal institutionalization and
consensus decision making.
The primary purpose of summarizing the structure aims and objectives of the
ASEAN is to underline the multidimensionable areas where Pakistan can
develop sustained and mutually beneficial cooperation with the ASEAN.
Pakistan and most of the ASEAN states achieved their independence at about
the same time after the end of the Second World War. Right from the beginning
Pakistan perceived many opportunities of developing bilateral relations with
the South East countries. Pursing a look East policy, Pakistan and Indonesia
were the pioneers in evolving under IPECC meaningful economic and cultural
cooperation with Indonesia during the regime of President Soekarno. The
recent state visit of the present Indonesian President Megawati Soekarnoputri
to Pakistan was a visit of strengthening the decades old friendly relations.
Pakistan shared security and strategic policies with Thailand and the
Philippines under the framework of SEATO. When Malaysia became
independent Pakistan established a joint ministerial commission with Malaysia
to expand and consolidate bilateral relations. Pakistan has enjoyed warm and
constructive relations with Brunei Darussalam. The official visit of Premier Lu
Kuan Yen to Pakistan fortified bilateral relations between Singapore and
In February 2004, Pakistan Finance Minister visited Singapore. He proposed to
the Prime Minister of Singapore to sign a free trade agreement between the two
countries. As a result a top level trade delegation from Singapore is expected to


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

visit Pakistan in April 2004 to explore the possibility of such an agreement.

With the rise of regionalism in all parts of the world, Pakistans relations with
the ASEAN were raised to a higher multilateral level when the ASEAN agreed
to give Pakistan in July 1993 the status of a Sectoral Dialogue Partner in eight
areas. These were trade, industry, investment, environment, science and
technology, tourism, drugs and narcotics and Human Resource Development.
Subsequently three new areas information technology, agricultural research
and transport and communications were added. This partnership was
formalized with the establishment of the ASEAN Pakistan Joint Sectoral
Cooperation Committee (APJSCC). In November 1997 the APJSCC held its
inaugural session in Islamabad. It identified following main areas of
cooperation between Pakistan and ASEAN.
The meeting noted that there has been good progress in Pakistans trade with
ASEAN. Pakistans trade exchange with ASEAN have increased fro US$
1078.21 million in 1993-94 to US $ 1556 million in 1997-98 showing an increase
of 44.3%.
Pakistans export to ASEAN have however shown a marginal increase of 9%
but Pakistans imports from ASEAN in the same period have increased from
US$ 817 million to US $ 1270 million showing an increase of 55%.
Despite the present low level of trade, considerable possibilities exist for the
expansion of trade between the two if the private sector has access to
information about the competitiveness and availability of trade-able goods.
Pakistan is likely to become a major transit route for ASEAN goods to the
landlocked Central Asian republics.
Measures for trade facilitation and export financing could greatly help in the
expansion of ASEAN Pakistan trade.
The prospects of increased trade between ASEAN and Pakistan have become


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

brighter with the plans to create an Asian Free Trade Area (AFTA) in the
ASEAN region in the next 15 years. Likewise the highly successful 12th SAARC
Summit held in Islamabad from 4-6 January 2004 has approved South Asian
Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA). These developments present both a challenge
and opportunity to increase ASEAN Pakistan Trade.
Pakistans attempt to diversify its industrial base could benefit greatly from the
experience of the ASEAN countries which have in a short period of time
transformed their economies from primary production to export of Capital and
Skill-intensive manufactures, ASEAN countries have a very rich experience in
the development of agro-processing industries which could provide
opportunities to enlarge its market share in the export of such commodities.
Among the industries which have a promising prospect for collaboration are
textiles, palm oil, electronics, automobile and small scale industries.
Since the liberalization and deregulation of the Pakistan economy in early
1990s, the climate for direct foreign investment has considerably improved.
Such flows from ASEAN countries are still very low. Although Pakistan stock
markets are now open to foreigners, there is as yet very little in flow of equity
or other capital flows from the ASEAN countries. The possibilities for this
could increase through greater information flows about investment
opportunities in Pakistan, listing of major Pakistani and ASEAN companies in
each others stock markets and the establishment of the branches of banks of
ASEAN countries in Pakistan. Pakistan and ASEAN countries would bilaterally
project identification and development of implementation strategies for direct
investment or joint ventures.
Pakistans strategy for environmental protection seeks to strike a balance
between preserving the countrys rich eco-system and sustaining rapid
economic growth to improve the quality of citizens life. Pakistan government
is taking a proactive role in promoting cost effective pollution abatement.


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

Public awareness is being created and private citizens and NGOs are being
encouraged to help monitor violations of standards and share the costs of
restoring the environment. Pakistan and the ASEAN can share and learn from
their respective experiences in this vita sector.
Second Meeting of APJSCC March 2001
The Bali Sectoral meeting reviewed the progress made in deepening the
cooperation in the agreed sectors. Both sides expressed satisfaction at the
growing relationship between Pakistan and the ASEAN, though much more is
needed to expand this cooperation by identifying new areas.
This process of review was carried forward at the second meeting of APJSCC
held at Islamabad on 28 February-01 March 2001. The Foreign Minister of
Pakistan who led Pakistan composite delegation noted with satisfaction that
the APJSCC had established the institutional network, identified projects for
cooperation and decided on a programme of exchanges. The business
community on both sides had a vital role in giving substance to the partnership
between Pakistan and the ASEAN. The ASEAN Secretary General welcomed
Pakistans commitment to strengthen the sectoral cooperation in the eight
agreed areas as well as new areas. He commended the economic progress of
Pakistan and its policies of economic liberalization, privatization and
These developments provided the impetus to move ASEAN-Pakistan
cooperation forward taking into account the strengths of both sides. Both sides
felt that the meeting of the ASEAN Pakistan Joint Business Council and the
Trade Facilitation Workshop held in February 2000, would help in closing the
information gap that had impeded the enhancement of trade and overall
cooperation between Pakistan and ASEAN. Both sides stressed the importance
manifested in the high level visits between the two sides.
The meeting emphasized the necessity to increase trade between the two sides
and agreed that the trade imbalance be reduced by greater private sector
interaction and exchange of information through workshops and Business


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

Council meetings. In this context they agreed to hold the next Trade Facilitation
Workshop in the Philippines in April 2001. In the field of environment the
ASEAN welcomed Pakistans proposal for the establishment of a cleaner
production centre, an NGO forum on environment and exchange of
environmentalist journalists. ASEAN proposed collaboration in food processing
technology. Both sides should work in the area of new and renewable energy.
Both sides should share the experience in the elimination of poppy production
and the closing down of heroin laboratories. Collaboration in information
technology, Agricultural Research and the Transport and Communication
sectors were proposed as additional areas of collaboration.
The third meeting of the APJSCC is planned in an ASEAN country in 2004.
It would be self evident from the above that many opportunities exist in
expanding collaboration at the bilateral level between Pakistan and ASEAN.
The growing regionalism in the various regions of Asia and the adjoining
regions present new opportunities to either side to expand their cooperation.
Both have recently taken important decisions to move towards establishment of
free trade areas leading ultimately to the emergence of Economic Union /
Community in SAARC and ASEAN. The 21st SAARC Summit in Islamabad and
the ASEAN Economic Ministers meeting took forward looking and crucial
decisions in this regard. Pakistan could provide a bridge between SAARC and
ASEAN. Likewise Pakistan could play a pivotal role in promoting ECOASEAN Cooperation. The OIC membership spreads from the Atlantic to the
Pacific and in the last OIC Summit in Kuala Lumpur the leaders stressed the
importance of cooperation in the common areas of cooperation between OIC
and the ASEAN. To this end Pakistan could encourage cooperation between
OIC and the ASEAN in issues of peace, security and development.


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

While the opportunities are many and multidimensional, there are constraints
which are inhibiting cooperation between Pakistan ASEAN:

Firstly, Pakistan and the ASEAN are too far apart geographically.

Secondly, the Pak-ASEAN trade is small.

Thirdly, the politicians, government officials, business people and

the other segments of civil societies know little about each other.

Fourthly, the East Asian financial crisis brought several financial

hardships upon many ASEAN countries which restricted their
capability to enter into new areas of external cooperation. In fact the
already existing external cooperation was curtailed for fear of over
committing themselves at a time of diminishing resources.
Fifthly, the financial constraints forced the ASEAN private sector to
cut down expenditures.

Sixthly, the rise of a more radical form of political Islam in ASEAN

region and the increasing incidents of terrorism has become a matter
of supreme national and collective concern.

But the determination and the commitment shown by Pakistan and the ASEAN
countries in their various meetings gives a clear message of hope and
confidence to continue to overcome the restraints to enable both Pakistan and
the ASEAN to move forward towards a sustained and mutually beneficial


Pervaiz Iqbal Cheema
ASEAN has a much longer history of experimentation for regional cooperative
efforts than SAARC. Apart from those regional cooperation endeavors and
regional organizations in which outsiders were the prime motivators such as
Economic Commission for Asia and Far East (ECAFE) or the Asia Pacific
Council (ASPAC) or the Asian Development Bank (ADP) or South East Asia
Treaty Organization (SEATO), a genuinely indigenous effort to bolster regional
cooperation started with the establishment of Association of Southeast Asia
(ASA) in 1961. ASA included Thailand, Malaysia and Philippines as its
members. ASA remained in existence for a short time. It was fiercely opposed
by the Indonesian President Soekarno primarily because of American presence
both in Thailand as well as in Philippines.
ASA was soon followed by MAPHILINDO consisting of Malaysia, Philippines
and Indonesia in 1963. Its major objective appeared to be to form closer
association of Malay people in these countries. MAPHILINDO did not last long
primarily because it did not have much appeal for non-Malay people along
with difference over Sabah. The third indigenous experiment produce ASEAN
which has been steadily growing and moving towards a well knit regional
Until recently most Pakistanis looked at the West as some kind of magnetic
model for guidance and economic development. Not only consistently
maintained economic growth impressed the Pakistanis but the recovery of
ASEAN after its financial meltdown in the late 90s particularly influenced the
thorough processes in Pakistan. Hence for the first time the Pakistanis are not
just looking enviably at the ASEAN but also attempting to engage Pakistan
with ASEAN. This short paper looks at the constraints that held Pakistan back
from foreign closer links with ASEAN countries along with recent moves to
strengthen the existing ties.
Among the constraints that needs to be highlighted include perceptual and
nationalistic constraints. While the perceptual constraints cover the perception
of overall benefits as well as the attitude towards outsiders, the nationalistic
constraints include what place has been allocated to nationalistic sentiments in
the overall framework of cooperation. Similarly the opportunities highlight the


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

commonalities and emphasize the areas in which cooperation is possible both

at bilateral as well as regional levels.
Forging closer ties with ASEAN countries were effectively hampered by
perceptual constraints. What do we mean by perceptual constraints? For
obvious it all depends upon how do we perceive situation and policies of the
ASEAN countries. Perceptions are not realities though perceptions are formed
on the bases of information and the attitudes of the target country assisted by
ones own attitude and policy pursuits.
To forge closer links with any country or region are frequently influenced by
the anticipated benefits. ASEAN countries were viewed by most Pakistanis as a
bunch of developing countries and it was not expected to be all the greatly
beneficial if too much energies were devoted on this front. Being a developing
country, Pakistan was more keen to have ties with those countries which can
make substantive inputs in order to accelerate the process of development. The
level and the pace of development that ASEAN countries have demonstrated
during the last couple of decades was not anticipated. It is a well known fact
that countries like South Korea learnt a lot from Pakistans system of
centralized planning. Many South Koreans came to Pakistan to study how the
system works?
Admittedly negativism often is the product of perception rather than of reality
but perceptions remain crucial unless they are either transformed into
misperceptions or the nation learns the exact factual situation. While the
ASEAN countries made rapid strides, the negative perception continued to
influence the Pakistani decision makes for a very long time. It is only recently
that the Pakistanis started what has come to be known as Look East policy.
Too much attraction towards the West did not allow us to look towards those
who were closer and somewhat similar in our efforts to appease the West.
It is indeed difficult to blame the decision makers too much as Pakistans
unique situation required association with the West in general and US in
particular. Not only many of the ASEAN countries were engaged in seeking
economic assistance from the West but also the security linkages in order to


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

cope with the then operative regional situations and perceived threats. At the
time the perception was that these countries are in no position to contribute
constructively towards Pakistans economy and security predicament. In many
ways they were quite accurate in evolving this perception but looking through
hindsight it certainly appears that there was neither a long term vision nor
policy pursuits.
Another aspect of perceptual constraints deals with attitudes towards the super
powers. While one can easily highlight the involvement of some of the ASEAN
countries into the cold war military alliance system especially during fifties and
sixties which was the product of a strong antipathy towards communists, there
exist a strong streak for avoiding military involvement with superpowers.
Admitted both Thailand and Philippines were members of SEATO and in many
ways were also involved in Vietnam war on American side but since the advent
of 70s one has been witnessing gradual de-linking of military involvement.
Indeed the antipathy of ASEAN countries towards superpower military bases
is much higher than was the case in 50s, 60s and early 70s. The participation in
SEATO was equally necessitated by both internal dynamic as well as catering
for external threats.
The second major constraint is known as nationalistic constraint. To secure
closer ties and increasing commercial transactions, the nationalistic sentiments
have to take a back seat. While the nationalistic sentiments in ASEAN countries
are demonstrating downward trends for the greater cohesion of the ASEAN,
the nationalistic sentiments in Pakistan are still in commanding position to have
an impressive influence over the policy pursuits. While our approach towards
the Muslim countries within ASEAN reflect a desire for closer association, one
does not find similar level of drift towards other members of the group.
Inclination to have closer relation with Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei is
somewhat natural as one of the major objective of Pakistans foreign policy is to
develop closer ties with all the Muslim countries of the world.
Another factor that constantly hampered our linkage with the ASEAN
countries was the overwhelming presence of India and the Indians. Not only
many of the ASEAN countries have a large presence of the overseas Indians but
Indias formal presence in ARF (ASEAN Regional Forum) also effectively
impeded Pakistans entry. Besides, India being a very large market, indeed


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

attracted ASEAN. While India was made a formal dialogue partner, Pakistan
was not. India even thwarted Pakistans attempt to secure membership either
by raising some technicality or generally propagating against Pakistans entry
in to ARF. At the 10th anniversary meeting of ASEAN of Phnom Penn, India
blocked the entry by raising a technical point that membership issue was not on
the agenda. Recently Indian High Commissioner in Pakistan Shivshanker
Menon hinted that India could help Pakistan gain membership to ASEAN if
Pakisan reciprocates by giving most favored nation (MFN) trading status to
India. As is well known that the advent of many CBMS as well as
developments of the last six month including the agreements at 12th SAARC
summit has vastly improved the overall atmosphere in the region.
An additional factor that also made some contributions towards the slow drift
towards the ASEAN was the ongoing Indo-Pak dispute over Kashmir. Almost
all of the ASEAN countries were reluctant to get themselves in Indo-Pak
wrangling. They tried to avoid as far as possible from getting into the ongoing
Indo-Pak disputes. The death of the Cold War and the emergence of economic
imperatives made India lot more attractive then Pakistan.
Almost all ASEAN countries disapproved both Indian and Pakistani nuclear
tests. The Indonesian Foreign Minister Ali Alatas expressed deep regrets and
stated Indonesia acknowledges the sovereign right of states to determine their
own security and the means to ensure them, but we also firmly believe that
such policy can and should be implemented without recourse to nuclear arms.
Similarly the Philippines Foreign Secretary stated that one of the ASEAN plans
is to motivate both India and Pakistan to concentrate on economic development
instead of nuclear programme by offering financial assistance.
It is obvious the ASEAN have totally different view of security requirement.
None of the ASEAN countries were confronted with the kind of threats which
Pakistan had to face from Indian policy pursuits. Pakistans participation in
Cold War alliance system was motivated to remove the incumbent sense of
insecurity. Lacking in resources and requisite tools for defence, Pakistan in fact
had not much choices. If it had opted to devote indigenous resources to build
its armed forces then its economic development would have suffered. Besides,
to procure the requisite weapon system one needs a friendly source.


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

With the departure of the Cold war along with the consequent emergence of
economic imperatives, Pakistans acquisition of nuclear weapons and steadily
improving economic situation, Pakistan now feels confident to diversify its
linkages. Pakistans efforts to seek deep economic relations with ASEAN
countries individually as well as collective forum are beginning to manifest in
tangible forms. Admittedly Pakistani and Indian acquisition of nuclear
weapons was not liked by ASEAN countries but the attitude of some countries
was relatively more realistic than the others. While Indonesia recognized the
right of states to ensure their security but emphasized that security policies
should be implemented without recourse to nuclear arms. The Indonesian
Foreign Minister Ali Alatas firmly stated that Jakarta cannot condone nuclear
tests by any country at any time.
Opportunities for cooperation between ASEAN and Pakistan exist in five areas,
trade, industry, investment, environment and joint efforts to combat terrorism.
Steady increase in trade exchanges with ASEAN countries has been registered
as in 1993-1994 trade figures were around $ 1078.21 million whereas in 1997-98
the reported figures were $ 1556 million. However it needs to be mentioned
that increase in exports to ASEAN countries was far less than the import. While
export increased from $ 261 million in 1993-94 to $ 285 million in 1997-98, the
imports increased from $ 187 million to $ 1270 million. In term of percentage
the increase in exports was around 9% whereas increase in imports was around
55%. The period from 1997-98 to 2001 did not register impressive increase. In
fact in 1997-98 the export figures stood at $293 million and in 2001-02 they were
around $ 288. During 1997-98 to 2001-02 the exports to ASEAN countries were
3.4% of Pakistans total exports whereas imports from ASEAN countries
somewhat declined from 12.7% to 11.9% of total imports of Pakistan.
Admittedly the figures are not all that impressive but the opportunities to
increase trading interaction are real. One of the major impediment was the
ostensibly large presence of India along with its anti-Pakistan policy which
effectively arrested the desired progress. With the advent positive development
of the last six months, it is hoped that the situation would considerably
improve in terms of trade and hopefully trade would demonstrate impressive


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

It is often stated that there exist considerable possibilities for the expansion of
trade between ASEAN and Pakistan. In this connection it is suggested that the
private sector needs to be encouraged and provided the requisite information
about the competitiveness and availability of tradable goods. It is also put
forward that Pakistan can become a major transit route for trade through
Pakistan to the landlocked countries of Central Asia.
The second area in which Pakistan can benefit by learning from the experiences
of the ASEAN countries is how these countries transformed their economies
from primary production of export of capital and skill-intensive manufactures.
The expertise of the ASEAN in agro-processing industry could enormously
benefit Pakistan. Learning from their experience Pakistan could further
improve its own agro-processing industry. Blessed with ample fruit production,
Pakistan could improve its fruit canning and juice making pursuits. Industrial
collaboration can take place between Pakistan and ASEAN countries in areas
like textile, palm oil and electronics. Automobile and many small scale
Following the end of the Cold War, the economic imperatives acquired
ascendancy and began to govern relationships among nations. Since then one
has witnessed the advent of economic reforms in many countries including
liberalization, de-regulations and de-nationalization. Not only the economies
grew and expanded but also the atmosphere for investment became attractive.
The decade of 90s saw the advent of economic reforms in Pakistan which
considerably improved the climate for investment. Despite the improvement in
investment climate in Pakistan, not much investment came from the ASEAN
The current regime has not only undertaken many measures which are
attracting some capital inflow even from ASEAN but concerted efforts are
made to attract investment from ASEAN. During a recent meeting Pakistans
minister for science and technology and ASEAN secretary general Rodolfo
Severino agreed to encourage commercial companies to co-operate in the field
of science and technology. Similarly the Finance Minister stated that a Joint
Business Council of Pakistan and Philippine will be set up in the private sector.
Recently the Finance Minister of Pakistan introduced Euro-Bond from


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

Another area where both ASEAN countries and Pakistan can make
contributions to each other is environment. Undoubtedly almost all countries
follow a policy of environmental protection in order to preserve countrys
ecosystem and sustain economic growth. While rapid economic growth and its
subsequent maintenance is a desired goal in order to improve the quality of life
for its citizens, the protection environment is essential to further contribute
towards a better quality of life. To provide pollution free environment is one of
the coveted goals of modern state.
The developing countries did not pay deserving attention to the protection of
environment initially but later almost all began to devote attention to this very
important aspect of human life. It is understandable why the initial neglect
which was primarily caused by pressing developmental requirements but it
must also be appreciated that they realized rather quickly and began to
undertake corrective measures.
Most developing countries including Pakistan are heavily dependent upon
natural resources and agriculture. It is somewhat natural that we can learn a lot
from each other in this area. ASEANs strategic plan to protect environment
include pollution and natural resource management. Environmental fund and
related technology transfer. Pakistan can benefit a lot from ASEAN experience.
Perhaps it would be a good idea to promote the establishment of body that not
only promotes and facilitates the exchange of environmental technology but
also share experiences in dealing with problems relating to ecosystem.
The meeting of ASEAN and ECO Ministers on the side lines of the 58th session
of the United Nations General Assembly on September 30th 2003 in order to
deepen ECO-ASEAN relations was indeed a good development. It was
suggested in the meeting that in order to promote trade among the two
regional organizations, trade exhibition and trade promotion activities could
prove to be an effective way of deepening the cooperation between the
countries of the two regions. Pakistani representative suggested two baskets;
one dealing with drug trafficking and organized crime and other should focus
on trade industry, investment and energy etc. Such meetings are indeed
extremely useful for a least exchange of views.


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

Finally two other areas where opportunities exist for collaborative efforts are
terrorism and transfer of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. Since
almost all of the ASEAN member countries are members of the NPT system as
non-nuclear states, transfer of nuclear technology should not invoke any
reaction. However given the existing climate that emerged after the tragic
events of 9/11, Pakistans transfer is bound to cause raising of eyebrows.
Pakistan has done well in combating terrorism both inside the country and on
its borders. Indeed the record of Pakistan fighting terrorism is so impressive
that ASEAN countries could benefit from Pakistans experiences.




Dr. Pervez A. Pathan

& Nabi Bux Narejo

After 9/11 Pakistans role in countering-terrorism is enhanced due to its geostrategic setting in the South Asia. The political leadership in Pakistan has
undergone tremendous pressure to abide by its commitments to fight against
terrorism. Pakistan in fact has been touching the extreme sides of pressures
arising from within and the without. It is quite clear that Pakistan has taken
high risks among all neighboring states in South East Asia. Pakistan has in fact
proved herself as one of the most responsible states, standing by the world
community. However, neighboring India very critically assesses Pakistan's role.
For example, moral support to Kashmir cause, in many forums by India, is
labeled as an act of terrorism. Whereas, high risk in terms of taking strong
measures to root out the terrorism network in country by Pakistan as well as in
the neighboring states is applauded mainly in words by international
organizations. So means double standards. Pakistan has already paid very high
price in terms of exposing herself too much to be a target by some of the
leading terrorist organizations.
These have impediments in terms of Pakistans overall economic development
via sinking trade and business. Figures show that immediately after 9/11
Pakistan's exports dropped by 21 percent. Orders placed by the Pakistani
exporters went down by 40 percent and the foreign reserves were left for only
two months. As a result, overall impact on the economy, as a whole is quite
Between 1998-2002 Pakistan's trade direction showed no
significant changes. For example, in 1998 Pakistan's total trade to ASEAN
slightly moved from 11.2 percent in 1998 to 12.6 percent in 2002 (i.e., of total
trade). Similarly, to SAARC it stood at 2 percent of total trade of $12 billion in
2003-2004. Analysts believe that ASEAN can get huge benefits from Pakistan's
policy of liberalizing agricultural sector. However, there is need for confidencebuilding measures at many levels. Failing this, there is a real danger in current
lack of communication and the simultaneous myth building between India &


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

Pakistan. At present on political fronts Pakistan is exposed to terrorists network,

as a result not even the life of the President is safe let alone nation as a whole.
Pakistans economy remains in a state of crisis. Successive years of fiscal and
external deficits have resulted in accumulation of large domestic and external
debts. It is argued that coherent, and coordinated measures were needed by the
international community to provide moral, & economic support. Again the
approach remained very naive, based on short-term gains and that lacked
complete coordination among the states. Inter state levels objective was
different. Similarly, gains and threats were also exposed as different when
compared to state-to-state basis. The impact from Pakistans point of view has
been multi-dimensional in shape of political isolation, deteriorating trade
relations and economic prosperity of Pakistan.
May be in political typology this relationship could be considered as the basis
of state-to-state dialogue or else easing down the tension. After 9/11 the data
on trade and commerce shows not very encouraging figures, for example
Pakistans direction of trade has remained same in terms of target regions and
as well as the quantum of trade in the region. Figures from 1991-92 to 2002
show no statistical significant changes in terms of direction and quantum.
Similarly, trade with SAARC countries has also been in a symmetrical order
with very limited deviations.
The relationship of Pakistan in economic terms with out side world has been a
constant scenario with little room for new emerging partners that could play
vital role in the development of Pakistan. Let us take the example of ASEAN
the data regarding exports and imports as a trade component by ASEAN with
major trading partner including Pakistan shows very interesting results. Data
indicates that out of total trade with the world ASEAN's exports to India were
10.3% in 2001 which moved to 13% in 2002 whereas, same figures for Pakistan
show 1.58% in 2001 to 1.8% in 2002. This shows that even after 9/11 the trade
direction by ASEAN towards Pakistan has not changed whereas there are
substantial differences in terms of trade during same period when it comes to
India. Similarly on imports one would see that a very significant change in
terms of imports from Pakistan i.e. 300.6 US million $ in 2001 to 200 million US
$ in 2002. This is not encouraging; it means that after 9/11 figures have reduced
by 33 per cent. If trade relations between ASEAN and India were analyzed one
would notice that during the same period there has been a gradual change in


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

terms of imports from India between these periods i.e. 2001-2002. However,
these figures are not statistically significant. One may conclude that the 9/11
scenario has even affected the economic relationship between ASEAN and
Pakistan whereas, in terms of exports there has been gains between India and
ASEAN and in terms of imports the situation has remained same Table1 &
Table 2.
Table 1: Exports of ASEAN Countries, 1996-2000

( in million US$ )






% Change






% Change






Laos PDR
% Change






% Change






% Change






% Change






% Change






% Change


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

% Change






Viet Nam
% Change






% Change






Sources: ASEAN Secretariat, ASCU Database

Table: 2 Imports of ASEAN Countries, 1996-2000:

(in million US$ )

% Change






% Change






% Change






Laos PDR
% Change






% Change






% Change






% Change







ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

% Change






% Change






Viet Nam
% Change






% Change






Sources: ASEAN Secretariat, ASCU Database

The 9/11 scenario and economic position from Pakistan's perspective is

undoubtedly difficult. It is almost same to that of some countries such as,
Taiwan in 1950 and Korea in the early 1960s or Indonesia and Singapore in
early 1960s. Pakistan needs to mutually benefit through political as well as
economic ties with regions such as ASEAN. It is argued that Pakistan could
benefit from policy of deep- strong regional integration if that proves politically
possible and that such an economic initiative could in term improve the
prospectus in political cooperation in the way that happen in Europe. Regions
such as ASEAN has to take effective measures to improve and enlarge the
quantum of trade with Pakistan. It is important- given that at this movement
Pakistan's total public debts i.e. including both domestic and external has been
estimated to increase from Rs. 3.625 trillion in 2002-03 to Rs. 3.759 trillion in
2003-04 and further to Rs. 4.421 trillion by the year 2008. The figures in GDP
growth rate is based on projections that agriculture production would increase
to 4.3 % in 2004-05 and further to 4.5% in 2007-08. There is a need to increase
the quantum of investment in Pakistan especially by ASEAN countries. Figures
show that the investment in Pakistan would only increase from 16.5 percent
during 2004 to 18.5% by the year 2007-08. This has to be enlarged through
investment by ASEAN in particular due to its size of trade in international


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

SWOT Matrix- Situational Analysis






High Economic Potential for future

Conducive Environment &
Determination to improve relationship
with partners
Full commitment to participate.
Importance due to geo-political situation
Ability to sustain political pressures.

Lack of coherent Policy Framework at

national levels
Unable to tap opportunities

Strong entries into regional forums such
Explore Investment Opportunities
Trust building measures to
strengthening relationship with
neighbors and regions
Work out ways to be listened clearly

Double Standards
Un objective stand
Politicized and un professional attitudes
Lot of Ifs & Buts
Blocking entries into dynamic regions
such as the ASEAN
Tough economic and political
Exploit long standing Disputes
Creating New Issues: Nuke proliferation
and Linkages
Competitors try to exploit negatively the
point of view for their benefit.

To sum-up it is argued that Pakistan requires greater regional cooperation as
reward for her role in making world peaceful place to live. Regional
cooperation is must for economic prosperity, people often debate which one is
first whether economic development or else the political developments. In our
opinion, irrational, political developments play a negative role towards the
economic development. For example, both India and Pakistan can unarguably
be regarded as one of the most economically vibrant &dynamic regions which
means that both have potential to grow at a faster growth rate compared to all
other neighboring states in South east Asia. There could be bilateral trade
relations to boost economies and improve the quality of people however;
political impediments play an effective part. This is not happening satisfactorily,
India even succeeded to ensure that Pakistan is singled-out and left alone on its
own by blocking its right of a membership in dynamic regions such as ASEAN.
We wish that the strategic thinkers in India would definitely reconsider this
naive attitude as economic development is a dire need for both India and
Pakistan and only together both can prosper. We conclude that countries like


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

Pakistan that has fully taken the agenda of countering terrorism; her role has
not been fully appreciated. Even today, hegemonic role-played by some
stronger rivals been able to minimize the political as well as the economic
benefits that might have been accrued to Pakistan.


Ms. Aqila Khawaja
The strategic, geopolitical and economic trends make regional and interregional
cooperation an essential tool for their growth, development and security.
Pakistan is a land of diversity in terms of cultures and climate. The country is
situated at the confluence of Middle East, Central Asia, South East Asia and Far
East Asia. Until 1991 only a narrow 40-KM stretch of land separated it from a
super power the former Soviet Union.
Foreign policy is considered the first line of defense of any country. This was
even more pronounced in the case of Pakistan, which was caught in a difficult
security situation at the outset. The country was trapped into the vortex of
international crosscurrents even before it could stand on its feet. She inherited a
difficult and unequal contest with India, overlooking her economic interests
and relations with other neighbors SAARC helped to promote regional trade,
air links, bus and train services between the two arch rivals but it failed to settle
the ongoing political problems.
The changing international economic and political scenario requires Pakistan to
pursue vigorously for her economic interests little away from immediate
neighbors. These two neighboring geo-political regions, South Asia and South
East Asia, have long been separated from each other for political and
infrastructural reasons.1 In the 1980s, however they began to come closer and
bridges of understanding both bilateral and inter-regional had begun.
Southeast has had a rich experience of intra-regional to extra regional and from
politico-military alliances to economic cooperation. The cooperation is more
relevant and suitable for the time to come, as international relations are not
static but always dynamic.
Regionalism is usually divided into two phases: old regionalism which took
place in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, and new regionalism, which describes the
phenomenon in the 1980s, 1990s, and onwards. The main difference between
the two is that new regionalism is strongly driven by the emerging paradigm of


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

economic liberalism and market deregulation, and is usually aimed at

increasing competitiveness in a globalising world, whereas old regionalism was
inherently discriminatory against the rest of the world.2 Good examples of new
regionalism are Asia pacific Economic cooperation (APEC) a very loose
grouping of sates on both sides of the pacific or ASEAN, in which most
countries also trade outside the region as well as within.
Todays globalised world requires the developing nations to strive more for
their bartering power. The cooperation is imperative for the two important geopolitical areas of Asia to face the new international economic set up. Pakistan
and the ASEAN region shared the same-checkered history of colonialism and
political turmoil. Yet the relationship did not take off for the first few decades.
The relations were influenced by external power interest, commonly perceived
threat and by unique psycho-politics. By the time ASEAN came into being
South East Asia had been clearly divided into two sub-regions. First the smaller
but politically conspicuous sub-region of the Indo-Chinese State and second the
larger politically more diverse but surely anti communism southern sub-region
consisting of the countries which later formed ASEAN. Although Pakistan had
friendly ties with China but ideologically was close to ASEAN sub-regional
group rather than Indo-Chinese Peninsula.
The challenge of globalization in the context of economic development is
enormous. One element that is both a cause and effect of globalization is the
creation of a legal framework that is geared to facilitate it. The patch work of
inconsistent regulations across the different international territories has
hampered the development of commerce. Pakistan has suffered some set back
on this account.
Hypothetically the cooperation between more or less equal partners is quicker
than between countries marked by great disparity or asymmetry of power
between them. Pakistan shared common points of religion, cultures and
colonial heritage lagged much behind in terms of interregional relations. At
different times the cooperation seemed as non-starter between Pakistan and
South East Asia. The Economic relations did not fare much in the past. The
economies of the ASEAN countries and Pakistan were oriented towards the


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

industrially advanced countries of the west or towards Japan. This made it very
difficult for them to move towards each other very quickly. Lack of political
will and the spirit of nationalism perhaps were few impediments in forming the
close ties. Pakistan and ASEAN countries did not have any problems of high
tension of warfare nor they share any common border to fight for. Still the
relations did not take off as one could aspire. Both the regions share the feelings
of Asian ness and the related values. Livings in a geo-graphical propinquity
were far off practically. The economic cooperation should have the top priority
on the official agenda. Pakistan spent enough money and time in terms of trade
with distant lands.
The global strategic and economic trends in the 21st century make regional and
inter regional cooperation among the less developed nations an essential input
for their growth and development. The economic insecurity of developing
nations is manifested in the crippling debt, backbreaking burden of arms race
and the trade war in which the developing nations are mostly the looser.
The Asia pacific region emerged as the world economic and strategic nerve
center after the 2nd world war. As far back as 1944 Douglas Mac Arthur had
declared that Europe was a dying system and the lands bordering the Asia
Pacific with their billions of inhabitants would determine the course of history
for the next ten thousand years. 3 Pacific revolution took place and economic
gravity shifted here. South and South East Asia constitute two vital geopolitical regions of the vast Asia-pacific sprawl. The world has been steadily
integrated, no region can be delinked from the integrated universe. Both the
regions have common civilization links and share the experience of foreign rule.
The colonial past kept them apart in terms of communication linkage, trade and
commercial inter flow. Though neighbors they remained strangers to one
another for years. Social and political systems, ideologies, international linkages,
paths and model chosen for the development linguistic diversities and racial
prejudices have erected many barriers amongst the nations of the two regions.4


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

Pakistan and ASEAN are located in two adjoining Asian regions. They did not
have much of the background of the relations on which they could build the
new ones. The ASEAN countries have achieved a higher standard of living for
their citizens. The models of development may be different but they can share a
great deal from the large and diverse pool of experience. Singapores advanced
industrial and the South Asian countries to their considerable benefit can use
technological infrastructure. The ASEAN economies were mostly controlled by
transnational companies (TNCS) In the first two decades of its formation
ASEAN was more or less under the influence of the west especially USA.
ASEAN did not show any interest or political will to be closer to South Asia. It
was more or less a closed group. As a regional organization ASEAN had
established official contacts with EEC, North America, Japan and Australia but
not with the developing nations. Perhaps it was because of divergence in
security perceptions or influence of extra regional powers. Upon lessoning the
extra regional influence the two regional neighbors came closer. Indeed the
enhanced importance of cooperation among the developing countries has in a
great measure been the outcome of a growing skepticism in the South over the
political will of the north vis--vis the New International Economic Order.5 The
economies of the two regions should be complementary rather than
competitive. Regional organizations are best bet for the developing countries in
terms of economic and security concerns.
The world trade is now dominated by regional trading blocks like the E.U.,
N.A.F.T.A., ASEAN, APEC, which give preferential treatment to their members.
In the era of nationalism there has to be a community of economic interests or
perceived mutual political benefits to bring the modern states together in
common grouping for cooperative and collective actions in foreign relations.
The regional sub regional and extra regional organizations are not new for
Pakistan. Most of the grouping was Asia wide in scope such as the Economic
Commission for Asia and the Far East, (ECAFE) Asia Pacific Council (ASPAC)
Asian Development Bank (ADB) South East Asia Minister of Education
Organization (SEAMEO), ASEAN plus 3 (China, Japan, S.Korea) Asia Pacific


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

Economic Cooperation (APEC) ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF). South East Asia
Treaty Organization (SEATO) also comes down the memory lane as the earliest
experiment in regional cooperation in the area. Its aims were wholly politicomilitary alliance.
Pakistan was also a member of SEATO. (SEATO does not exist as a group)
Presently Pakistan is member of some of the regional and sub-regional
organizations. It is noteworthy that Pakistan could not become the member of
ARF in spite of the strong wishes and support of its members. Its members
lifted the moratorium but India strongly opposed the entry and the forum
could not bypass the Indian resistance. Pakistan has to prove her worth as a
strong candidate and important trading partner. Developing nations,
particularly in todays globalising world can not afford to be left behind.
Regional organizations can significantly increase bartering power for their
members at WTO negotiations and with other trading blocks and Europe.6
Pakistan must equip herself to deal with the intricacies of WTO regime to be
implemented by 2005. It is right time to work out a strategy to face the WTO
challenges. It can be done through cooperation and coordination. The trading
blocks like EU, NAFTA, SAFTA, ASEAN APEC give preferential treatment to
their members. Developing countries can not keep them away from the web of
new international economic management. Cooperation can help countries
increase economic growth and trade, share expertise and experience, work
together on common development issues of liberalism and learn to compete in
a global economic order to find stability and gain credibility. The need for this
sort of cooperation is, what the Thailand's Prime Minister Dr. Thaksin
Shinawatra, calls the new Asian realism.7 It is a grand vision of economic and
political cooperation across the worlds biggest continent. The diversity of oilrich Middle Eastern economies, transition of Central Asian States, Super
economic growth of China, sophisticated economy of Japan, prosperity and
collaboration of ASEAN and finally the poor and developing states of South
Asian nations can find a unique Asian way through concerted efforts. This may
lead to Asian community.


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities


World Trade Organization (WTO) came into existence on January 01, 1995 to
liberalize further global trade. The WTO regime would implement its rule by
2005. Any country which does not became the member of WTO will not be
allowed to enter the international market without the certification of ISO as per
charter of the organization. Pakistan must equip herself to understand and deal
with the intricacies of WTO. The rules and regulations unfold the important
aspects of multilateral trade agreement, General Agreement on Trade and Tariff,
related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights. The poor countries seem to be at
the receiving end under the new international economic management. For
example, a country facing balance of payment crisis can impose restriction on
imports under the WTO rules but on the other hand the same rule oblige the
importer to compensate the exporting countries to the extend of its loss due to
import restriction.8 Pakistan may face significant pressure to overhaul its
agriculture, industrial and social sector.
The law protects the rights of the products and producer. It will curb the piracy
and unauthorized production and sale. Any producer can have the rights,
before selling its product. To fulfill the WTO obligations Pakistan may have to
introduce legislation pertaining to customs valuation, services, and intellectual
property rights protection. Pakistan may have to institute enforcement agencies
to support the legislation.
Pakistan needs to develop new approaches and instruments for protecting
creativity, innovation and knowledge. This has not been sufficiently covered by
the existing means of protections, which includes traditional knowledge and
folklore. It would be important for Pakistan to develop mechanism for ensuring
that optimal balance between economic stability and legal frame work in the
context of Intellectual property rights. The endless creativity of human mind,
the technological breakthroughs and the diversity of cultures must be
implemented in respect of each and every field of Intellectual Property . It
would be necessary to create and improve national and provincial levels of
Intellectual property Institutions and to promote alliance with the market sector,
academic, research and development institutions.


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

WTO gives rights to the workers. It favors standardization and uniformity in
the wages and working hours of the laborers. The countries like Pakistan have
to restructure their entire labor management. They have to raise the wages and
provide facilities to the workers.
WTO will give free excess to international markets. Pakistan is a major exporter
of textile and yarn. The textile sector brings almost 67% of the foreign exchange
of all exports. Once the quota is abolished then the textile sector would not get
the preferential treatment. Pakistan can loose the major share of foreign
exchange. The need to diversify exportable products is imperative.
To give protection to the industry of member countries the term dumping was
crafted. The countries that are threatened in their own markets for lower
imported prices are permitted to raise the duties on imports to bring at par with
the local prices. The duty on imports is called anti-dumping. America and
Europe imposed anti-dumping duty on 500 items from developing countries in
the year 2002. Pakistans export sector continuous to be threatened by the
prospects of imposing anti-dumping duty on its bed linen by the European
It is related with the environment issue of WTO. It is imperative for the
member countries to observe the international standards of hygiene and
cleanliness before exporting items. ISO demands strict hygienic procedure
before exporting food items Pakistan needs huge amount of money to upgrade
her labs to reach to international standards.


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

To protect her auto industry the government has imposed ban on the import of
second hand cars. The cabinet approved the import of reconditioned cars in the
country on February 11, 2004. After the implementation of WTO regime the ban
would be lifted then the government would have to open the markets for all
kinds of cheaper automobiles. It would be hard on the auto assembly plants.
Pakistan needs to improve her auto engineering and auto industry. The EU
Advisory Committee on anti dumping has approved a duty of 13.1 percent.
Depending on the decision of the council of ministers. The duty could become
effective by March 18, 2004. This will be a serious setback to the countrys
export acceleration drive. Pakistan had repeatedly pointed out that no dumping
had taken place and no injury caused to the E.U. industry.9 The countrys
export target for the current financial year has been fixed at $12.1 billion which
ought to be achieved. Textile sector contributes about 67 percent to the total
export volume, it should remain under special attention. The export sector can
be protected from the levy of anti-dumping duty through engaging in dialogue
on this issue.
Pakistan signed the charter of WTO in 1994. No prior consultations were held
at national level. Even the business entrepreneur got to know by 2000. Nobody
is sure about the timeframe of the WTO implementation. The country is not yet
prepared to enter into the economic management.
Pakistan may face significant pressure to change its high tariff status through
the pursuit of additional tariff reforms. She may consider additional tariff
binding and tariff reductions, especially in agricultural sector, to the average
level of developing countries. The tariff has been reduced from 155 percent to
65 percent since 1990s. The estimated reduction would go down to 15 percent.
It will effect the economy badly. A comprehensive and in depth study of the
impact of tariff reduction is needed to avoid further damage. The poor the
nation is, the higher the rate of taxes it must pay to export its goods. The US
imposes tariffs ranging between zero and 1 percent on major imports from


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

Britain, France, Japan and Germany but levies taxes of 14-15 percent on the
import of produce from Bangladesh, Cambodia and Nepal. Talk about
equitable trading constantly drummed by the WTO.10
With trade liberalization, markets would be opened for all types of items at
reasonable prices. International competition increases with trade liberalization.
Pakistan has to increase quality export items in the world market. She may
have to adopt non-trade distorting measures and programmes that would
ensure the successful competition of her exportable products against exported
stuff by other developing nations. Pakistan does not enjoy a respectable status
in world market. The international financing institutions (IFIs) advised
Pakistan to close down her sugar refinery, chemical, fertilizer, steel and
automotive industries as they can not compete internationally. The local and
foreign investment faced a record slump.
Pakistans currency and economy are tied up to west according to liberalism
in policies. Currency had been devalued in the decade of 1970s. Pakistan rupee
which was gone down to 151 percent. It was further devalued in 1990s to 64
percent. Then in yearly years of 21st century the rupee again faced a 20 percent
devaluation. The value of Pakistan rupee which was 3.60 to 1US$ in 1950s has
sunk to 58.15 to 1 US$ in 2004. Devaluation took place on the hope of growth in
export. Export rose to 3.5 percent. The national expenditures were gone up to
11.5 percent. Internal and external debts also increased with the devaluation.
It is high time for economic oriented regionalism. The end of the cold war led to
preeminence of one model championed by the most influential international
actors, western governments, the IMF; the World Bank, and the big business
including TNCS.11
Pakistan as an important country in the region, could not gain entry in ASEAN
Region Forum (ARF) because of Indian opposition. Yes it is true. But Pakistan


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

still has to prove her worth so the Forum could not ignore it and strive hard to
make her entry possible. Few obstacles and hurdles need to be removed.
Pakistans lobbying is poor as compared to India. Image building is not done
properly. The awareness level is low about each other being located so closer. If
something happens in the west the Asians are more concerned about that than
their Asian neighbors. Sovereignty culture, doctrine, economic mentality,
economic nationalism are major constraints in relations building. Pakistan still
needs to open up with the region inspite of not having these constraints.
Pakistan is an excellent producer of textile, textile fiber yarn and leather. She
should not have problem of economic nationalism in terms of trade with the
region but the volume of exports of these items is not as one could expect.
Pakistan does not have trade friction about the Indian, Thai and Bangladeshi
jute. The problem lies with lack of awareness about the system. Information
gap is a major bottleneck for cooperation schemes. Information on supplies and
demands, capabilities of the different countries trade policies and distribution
channels are not up to the mark. People share good will for each other but do
not know much about the areas. Ignorance, absence of reliable knowledge, little
communication are hurdles in effective relationship. Public interests and
benefits are low. Contacts are not frequent. Centers of data collecting, problems
identifying and systematic inquiries and studies are few. Contacts at the top
official levels and at the public levels are not frequent. Dr. Mahathir
Mohammad visited Pakistan just for four or five times in his 22 years of rule. So
did Singapores Prime Minster Lee Kuan Yew He visited Pakistan very few
times in his long tenure. Both counter parts of the region make long distance
journey. It should have been other way round. Trips to ASEAN region and
Pakistan can cost less money and shorter flying time.
On economic front lack of transparency, quality control, continuous supply,
strict bureaucratic procedures, difficulties in getting tax exemption, tax
deduction and tax credits are major hurdles,. Pakistans labor force was sent
back by Malaysian government in the past few years for not fulfilling the
required standards. It might be hard for Pakistan to get this treatment from an
Asian neighbor. But this demonstrated the lack of professionalism on Pakistans
part. South East Asia has some excellent educational institutions. Pakistan can
benefit from the expertise of those to get the advanced level training. Still this
sector is not opened up much. Pakistan caters the needs of some of foreign


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

students in the universities and colleges. The expulsion of Indonesian students

from Pakistan on the plea of links with terrorists did not leave a good taste.
Both the countries regard each other high and people share good will, love and
respect. Confidence building measures are still lacking.
On diplomatic side Pakistan did not present her strongly. She did not exert
much to gain entry in the important regional forums. The tempo of diplomacy
is little slow. ASEAN is a big market of about 500 million people. Pakistan has
not availed that major economic opportunity fully. People from the ASEAN
region want to know more about Pakistan and the diplomatic missions dont
have enough to share. There is a lack of informative booklets about the country
in the missions abroad. Visa procedure is also slow and time consuming. Some
times back, Pakistanis did not need visa for Thailand prior to traveling. The
airport entry stamp served the purpose. This type of arrangement can be
worked out between the partners. With the wave of terrorism it my become
even more difficult.
South East Asian countries reached the stage of export led growth after going
through a series of structural reforms. The development of process was all
along supervised and regulated by their government. The economies had a
regional knock-on-effect. Singapore and Malaysian have formed the ThinkTank for expert. Pakistan did not benefit from the working of Singapore
Institute of Policy Studies, Singapore Institute of International Affairs,
Malaysian Institute of Strategic and International Studies and Institute of South
East Asian Studies.
Pakistan must seek new options in the region little away from the immediate
neighbors. The intensity of economic crisis could have been softened by bold
and imaginative policies. Thoughtful planning and efficient use of domestic
resources can accelerate the pace of development. Economic activity clusters
around a number of geographic poles such as NAFTA, AFTA, SAFTA, APEC,
ASEAN ASEM, APEC, ARF. Pakistan should enter in the regionalization of
world economy. Clear and precise thinking is prerequisite. It is high time to set
the priorities right. Pakistan should strengthen its bilateral trade and economic
relations with individual countries of ASEANs fast growing economies. This


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

could help to diversify its expert markets and improve its relations with other
The present continued establishment of regional trading arrangements may
result in the diversion of trade and investments in the related poles. Pakistan
can get a chance to participate in regional trade. The country should consider
ways to get the membership of APEC and ARF to strengthen its position in
Asia Pacific trade liberalization. Dr. Mhathir the former Prime Minister of
Malaysia emphasized on curtailing dependence on west and adopt Look East
Pakistan should take extremely professional approach and steps should be
taken at Micro and Macro level. Indirect Monetary control market mechanism,
low lending rate, cutting down the non productive charges are few major steps
to start with. Privatization should not be let loose. Because people dont have
the orientation of economic activity they have to be supervised properly.
ASEAN countries can become role model for Pakistan in terms of economic
excellence. The political systems of economically advanced countries can also
be of great interest. Former Prime Minister Mahathir of Malaysia and Former
Singapore Prime Minster Lee Kuan Yua, claim that liberal democracy is
actually culturally alien to the East and South East Asian nations. This is
because the countries of the region are said to have different kinds of political
cultures and histories that while differing from country to country in precise
details. The harmony, unity, closeness and filial piety are the Asian social and
political values. As a result, he claims government is seen by a society as
legitimate only when it reflects values associated with the community,
particular cultural contours.12 They hold the idea of designing the political
institutions according to local culture and social values.
ASEAN constitute important building blocks in process of making stronger and
more efficacious globalization, economic and technological relations.13 South
East Asian region recorded best performance in the economic development in
the 1980, and sustained it between 5 to 7 percent. So much so Vietnam received
bulk of revenues from exported manufactured goods. Singapore and Malaysia
are superb models of development for South Asia. Both of the countries have
attained excellence and sophistication in electronic sector such as


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

telecommunication equipment, integrated circuits, disk drives, personal

computer, digital T.V. Broad based wireless and cellular deployments. There is
another example of Singapore to follow. Singapore has emerged as one of the
leading healthcare providing countries in the world. The excellence of this
small but beautiful countrys healthcare system and medical professionalism
has made Singapore the pre-eminent center for healthcare technology and
services in the Asia Pacific.14 The emergence of Singapore as a medical
technology center in Asia has reduced the cost and flying time. Singapore
Tourism Board is planning to set up an exclusive department for international
patients. Pakistan and Singapore also share the name of their medical colleges
(King Edward Medical College Singapore, King Edward Medical College
Pakistan can learn how Malaysia transferred her status from exporter of rubber
and palm oil to the finished good. How they shifted toward industrialization
from feudalism and became exporter of manufactured goods. During the
economic recession of late 1990s IMF suggested major reduction of
government economic control, cuts in public expenditure slimming
bureaucracies, reducing subsidies and promoting exports.
Reborn world trading order and liberalization of markets increase competition.
There is a strong link between global economy and increase in export volume
and value. Pakistan and South East Asian region can avail their human,
economic and social capitals to the optimum level to enhance exports and
compete in the new trade arrangements.
The approaches of proper choice of product mixes and intra industry
specialization need to be adopted. The concept of complementarily needs to be
defined in a wider framework, so as to cover varieties of capabilities of different
countries. These could include for example ability to conduct feasibility studies
consultancy in construction, turnkey projects services such as shipping,
banking, infrastructure, trading and marketing services along with production
activities. Once an inventory of such capabilities of the different countries is
prepared, suitable schemes of trade off could be worked out.15
It is essential to build a strong information infrastructure. Joint chamber of
commerce and special information bureaus need to be setup to bridge the gap.


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

Image building is an essential pre-requisite for launching production

coordination schemes. Regional cooperation is a process of struggle for which
political actors have to command the adequate will as well as effective tool.16
They should complement each others strength and weaknesses.
Few important steps must be taken by Pakistan for economic uplift.
Infrastructural back-up including product development, marketing, sales
promotion, warehousing, transport and communication will have to be
developed. Research will have to be undertaken to generate reliable and
relevant quantitative data on joint ventures. The countries can consider their
own exchange rate management afresh to support the business. For export
boost regular local supply, orderly exports, meeting the demand, maintaining
export standards, reliability of the product, export credit guarantee facilities
and assistance are inevitable steps.
Pakistan can supply her labour force to the highly performing economies of
South East Asia as Malaysia and Singapore. But this should be done after strict
scrutiny. The internal infrastructure of transport network including roads,
railways and sea-lanes must be improved to get the total quality control
production. Pakistan should work for peace, harmony internal security and
transparency and should have frequent contacts with the people in the region,
with fewer extravaganzas.
Time is ripe for Pakistan to gain entry in Southeast Asian economic block. Some
hard work and homework is needed. Only sustained work can alter the result.
Pakistan must seek new options in the Asian region. In unipolar world she
must strive for unity with small states. Self-reliance with external liability of $36
billions (no body knows the exact figures) seems to be academic than a practical
proposition. Foreign aid gives a refreshing look to financial matters. Pakistan
has been exporting shellfish, fresh & frozen, rice, cotton, cotton yarn, natural
gums, leather, canvas goods, linens, cotton fabric and clothing to the ASEAN
countries. Pakistan is importer of Palm oil, rubber, metal scraps, cement,
watches, clock, coffee tea, cocoa, crude oil, petroleum products, airconditioning machinery, telecommunication equipments and electronic items.


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

Both can have variety of products to exchange. They can share the expertise of
experienced staff.
South East Asian nation can not ignore Pakistan as an important geo-political
entity with nuclear capability. They also welcome her candidature in the
regional forums. Pakistan has to go extra mile in terms of increasing her exports
in the region. Pakistan has to improve growth equity, quality control and
sustainable policy. She has to set the priorities right with clear and precise
thinking. As the old saying goes one cannot choose the neighbors but can
choose friends.
The less developed countries embarked on a policy of forced industrialization
through foreign borrowing to meet the savings gap. This did not help the
economy nor did it benefit people living in abject poverty, 70% of them reside
in rural areas and remained target of conscious neglect. In Pakistan the industry
survived mainly because of protection by the government. The markets are
now being thrown open and the protected industry is now expected to become
competitive internationally in a short span of time. Whether it will meet the
new challenges is any bodys guess.
The picture should not be that gloomy. Pakistan played an active role in the
newly formed block, the G-22 group, which also includes Cambodia,
Philippines and Thailand. The importance of G-22 is evident from the fact that
it houses over half of the worlds population and almost two third of the
worlds farmers. Pakistan stressed the need for the removal of trade barriers
and equal treatment to all members. They want the developed world to fulfill
its promises, now, be it in the matter of tariff reduction, farm subsidies and
equitable access to the market etc.
Asian Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) established in 2000, aspires for Asian
trading block to match the European Union international clout. Pakistan has
expressed her interest in hosting the ACD 2005 meeting. They look forward to
fulfill the distant dream of common currency, common institutions and
common goal. They can work for joint trade, financial instruments and Trans
Asian Transport Network. The Asian Bond market development schemes is an
ACD imitative led by Thailand and Hong Kong are working on guideline for
bond markets, sound institutions for reliable credit agency. The ACD may


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

reduce reliance on International Financing Institutes (IFIs) if countries peruse

policies with fairness and open-mind. Major step they can take for success is to
evaluate how much they need to rely on each other in a new global economy.
Globalization is a reality that all Asian countries have to face. The ACD allows
them to face it together.


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities


Gupta, Bhabani Sen., ed. SAARC ASEAN Prospects & Problems of Inter-Regional
Cooperation South Asian Publishers, 1988-PXI

See The New Asian Realism in Strategic Studies, P.94

Gupta Bhabani and Raghavan Sudhi Op cit P.44

Ibid 45

Shelly Mizanur Rahman, Role of external powers in Promoting Regional & Inter regional
Cooperation in Bhabani S. Gupta SAAR-ASEAN South Asia Publishers P67

Key note address by Dr. Thaksin Shirawatra Prime Minister of Thailand. East Asia Economic
Summit Kuala Lumpur Oct 6, 2002.


Shahid, M. Imtiaz, ed. Contemporary Affairs Carvan Enterprises 1997 P 132-33

News, Feb. 8, 2004.


Economist, Sept. 22-28, 2003.

Haynes Jeff Politics in the developing World Blackwell publishing 2002, p 77




Ibid p 48


The News Jan 24, 2004


Gupta op cit page 104


Gupta page XIV


Mr Fazalur Rehman
Pakistan attaches great importance to its relations with the ASEAN countries,
since it became a Sectoral Dialogue Partner of ASEAN in 1993. The high level
exchange of visits between Pakistan and ASEAN countries, in the recent past, is
a manifestation of growing cooperation and understanding. The visit of the
Indonesian President, Megawati Soekarnoputri to Pakistan in December 2003,
was of special significance. President Pervez Musharraf, on December 15, in the
presence of President Megawati, stated that, Pakistan looks forward to
becoming a full dialogue partner and joining the ASEAN Regional Forum
(ARF), and that the country can make a useful contribution on issues of peace
and development. The Indonesian President assured that ASEAN countries
unanimously support Pakistans admission into the ASEAN Regional Forum
and said, We will continue efforts to make it a reality in the coming months.
In the last meeting of ASEAN, ten member states of ASEAN supported
Pakistans entry to the association. However, India voted against it. Now in
view of the Indian Prime Minister Vajpayees recent visit to Pakistan, in
connection with the SAARC summit, and his meeting with President Pervez
Musharaf, that resulted in issuance of a joint statement by the two leaders for
normalizing relations, has raised hopes for significant improvement in
Pakistan India relations. It is hoped that in due course of time Pakistan and
India will be able to resolve all outstanding issue through negotiations.
Therefore, one could anticipate now that for seeking better relations with
Pakistan, India may consider dropping its objection to Pakistan becoming a full
dialogue partner of ASEAN and its entry into the ARF.
Pakistan after 9/11 has made certain critical policy decisions, and emerged as
an important player in the international coalition against terrorism. Pakistans
cooperation has significantly contributed towards the success of the US-led
international coalition against terrorism especially in Afghanistan for
dismantling Al-Qaeda and Taliban networks. Pakistan has also taken stern
measures at home to reign in religious extremism by banning a number of
religio-political parties and activists involved in promoting violence. Similarly,
the arrest of some of the Indonesian and Malaysian citizens in Pakistan on


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

suspicion of terrorist links and later their handing over to the authorities of
their respective countries, has demonstrated the fact that Pakistan is extending
all-out cooperation to the ASEAN member countries in their efforts to
combating terrorism. As the anti-terrorism mechanisms in Pakistan and
ASEAN are gaining roots, anti-terrorism cooperation has emerged as a new
area of cooperation between Pakistan and ASEAN.
For Pakistan the present environment offers new opportunities for cooperation
with ASEAN member countries in an all out manner, not only in the traditional
areas of cooperation such as, trade, investment, industry, anti-narcotics,
tourism and environment, but also in the areas of defense and security-related
matters. Pakistan with its expanding relations in political and economic terms
with the ASEAN countries must avail the emerging opportunities to further
cement its relations with the ASEAN countries by adopting medium and longterm pro-active coordinated policies.
This paper focuses on the prospects of Pakistan-ASEAN anti-terrorism
cooperation, which presents a serious challenge to peace stability and
development of both the regions South Asia and Southeast Asia.
In the post 9/11 period, the primary focus of international security issues has
been revolving around the issue of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction.
The US as the most affected country by the acts of terrorism assumed the
leading role against international terrorist networks, especially the ones linked
with Osama bin Ladens Al-Qaeda organization responsible for 9/11 attacks
on the US.
In early 2002, the US (based on the information that it received from its
intelligence agencies) believed that Al-Qaeda operatives were located in
several ASEAN states. The US President Bush declared Southeast Asia as the
second front in the US-led war against terrorism, and offered assistance to all
the regional states in locating and apprehending terrorists.
The October 12, 2002 terrorist attacks at a nightclub in Bali, Indonesia, proved
the existence of deadly terrorist cells in Southeast Asia. The Bali attacks were


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

the deadliest attacks after 9/11, so far, in which around 200 foreigners were
killed. The second terrorist strike was on August 5, 2003 in the US-franchised
JW Marriott hotel in Jakarta, killing 12 persons. Both the attacks were linked to
Jaimiah Islamia. Since 9/11, there are hundreds of people who have been
apprehended by the respective Southeast Asian governments on suspicion of
having links with regional or international terrorist networks.
But how serious was the issue of terrorism in South East Asia before 9/11? A
critical analysis of the situation would reveal that terrorism was a low-priority
agenda item amongst other transnational crimes, such as drugs smuggling,
gunrunning, piracy, human smuggling etc. Terrorism was treated as one of the
components of all these transnational crimes. And, that terrorism in South East
Asia was in no way linked to the terrorism elsewhere. It was very much an
indigenous phenomenon connected with the lingering issues of sovereignty or
separatism, and was seen as an internal law and other problem to be dealt with
by the individual states.
The transnational nature of terrorism in the region came to light with the
arrests of the members of the Jamiah Islamiah (JI) organization in Singapore,
Malaysia and the Philippines in late 2001 and early 2002. The arrests
highlighted the cross-border connections between the various so-called terrorist
organizations. It was only after the terrorist attacks in Bali that the US, UN and
some other countries declared JI organization as a terrorist outfit.
Further investigations suggest the presence of terrorist cells in the region and
their cross-border linkages. The primary targets of these organizations are the
US and Western interests in the region. The US and the Western media is
constantly playing up the theme that Southeast Asia has become a hotbed of
terrorists and also the remnants of Al-Qaeda and Taliban who fled from
Afghanistan and Pakistan are hiding in Southeast Asia. Interestingly the
warnings of possible terrorist attacks are coming out mainly from the US and
Western media. The travel advisories given out by the Western governments to
their citizens for not traveling to the region or appearing at public places
have adversely affected the Southeast Asian tourism industry and the muchneeded foreign investments. The regional countries are trying to undermine
these claims in order to ward-off the negative impact of such image. Indonesia,
Malaysia, Philippine and Thailand have repeatedly rejected such warnings and


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

termed them as baseless since no evidence has been provided to the respective
governments on the count.
The JI sustained heavy reverses last year. Almost a hundred of its members
have been arrested, including Hambali, the mastermind behind Bali attacks.
Riduan Isamuddin, commonly known as Hambali, viewed by many as the
operational head of the JI, was arrested in Thailand in August 2003. His arrest
was perceived by the counter-terrorism experts of the region as a major
breakthrough in the fight against terrorism in South East Asia. Hambali, was
wanted by the counter-terrorism authorities of Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore
and the Philippines for a series of bomb attacks in the last couple of years. He
has been suspected for having links with Al-Qaeda. Though the large-scale
arrests have placed the organization under considerable operational pressure,
but, despite this, its regional spread remains largely intact. Its network stretches
across Indonesia, Malaysia the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Last year
saw the detection of a suspected JI cell even in Cambodia. In view of the
existence of terrorist groups, which have transnational and trans-regional links,
pose serious threat to the political stability of Southeast Asia.
Since Pakistan joined the coalition it has been an active player in the
international war against terrorism. The US leadership has termed Pakistan as a
crucial ally of the US and President Musharraf a courageous leader, who has
undertaken bold anti-terrorism initiatives. The international community has
also acknowledged that without the active and sincere participation of Pakistan,
the desired results in terms of breaking al-Qaeda networks in Afghanistan and
Pakistan could not have been achieved. Pakistan has helped in apprehending
over 500 Al-Qaeda and Taliban members required by the US. Now, if the
coalition members claim that they have succeeded in destroying the Osama
network and captured its senior leadership, it was certainly Pakistans
unflinching support that made it possible.
Although with the assistance of Pakistan, the main network of Al-Qaeda has
been dismantled, yet the remnants of Al-Qaeda and its associates are hiding
inside Pakistan and in the areas adjacent to the Pak-Afghan border. President
Musharrafs government has banned some religious groups having links with
the terrorism networks. But, the potential of these organizations along with the
existence of sleeping cells of Al-Qaeda and its associates posses serious threats


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

to the peace and stability of the country.

It is generally believed, that Al-Qaeda has trained hundreds of Islamic radicals
in Afghanistan and sent them to sleeper cells in the US, and other parts of the
world, including Southeast Asia. Due to the intense US-led campaign against
terrorist outfits around the world, many have gone underground to escape
their destruction.
The arrest of 19 Southeast Asian students, on September 20 2003, in Karachi
mainly from Malaysia and Indonesia, triggered concerns in Pakistan and
Southeast Asia alike that these students could be the first trace of a sleeper cell
run by the Jamiah Islamiyah terrorist network outside Southeast Asia. Pakistani
security agencies, since 9/11, have rounded up around 500 suspected Al-Qaeda
fugitives mostly from Arab and North African countries, which have been
handed-over to the US. But this was for the first time that Pakistani authorities
founded a Southeast Asian extremist group allegedly linked to Al-Qaeda, on
Pakistani soil. Among the arrested Indonesian students was 27 years old
Gungun Rusman Gunawan, who was identified later as the younger brother of
Hambali, the accused mastermind of Bali attacks. The actual date of his arrest is
controversial as according to some accounts he was arrested on September 1.
According to the official statements, all were arrested in raids on three religious
schools and some hostels after several weeks of surveillance. They were
arrested for involvement in activities seen as prejudicial to the interests of
Pakistan . It was said that after completing necessary investigations and legal
formalities, they would be handed over to the concerned countries.
On September 23, the Indonesian Foreign Ministry summoned Pakistans
ambassador, Syed Mustafa Anwer Hussain, to seek clarifications on the arrest
of its nationals. Meanwhile, Indonesian and Malaysian diplomats in Pakistan
were provided access to their arrested nationals. Later on, a four-member team
of Indonesian investigators was allowed to interrogate the arrested Indonesian
students, including Gunawan. Gunawan was granted admission to the Abu
Bakr Islamic University in 1999. He was among 15,000 students from Muslim
countries all over the world who came to Pakistan to study Islamic tenets in
Pakistani madrassas during the 1990s. According to some unofficial source


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

Gunawan was instrumental in channeling funds provided by the Al-Qaeda to

the Jammiah Islamiyah and also a link between Al-Qaeda training facilities in
Afghanistan and JI recruits from Southeast Asia. The cell called Al-Ghuraba,
meaning foreigners was reportedly set up in 1999 by Hambali for training
young JI members. It was initially headed by Abdul Rahim, son of Abu Bakar
Pakistani officials discussed their findings with the Indonesian investigators,
but they grilled the arrested students extensively before their deportation was
considered. The security agencies wanted to ascertain whether this group had
any terrorist plans to be carried out in Pakistan, and whether they had direct or
indirect contacts with Al-Qaeda operatives here or abroad. The Indonesians
were deported to their country on December 10 2003, four days before the
arrival of the Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri in Pakistan on an
official visit. During her visit, she reportedly discussed anti-terrorism
cooperation with Pakistani leadership. The Malaysian authorities have
described the students arrested in Pakistan as the next generation of Jamiah
Islamiah leaders and have detained them under countrys Internal Security Act.
Similary, an Al Qaeda operative who had implicated the Jamiah Islamia leader
Abu Bakar Bashir in a series of church bombings was a Pakistani national.
Omar Al-Faruq was the key informant in the Indonesian police probe against
Abu Bakar Bashir. Indonesian authorities arrested Omar Al-Faruq in June 2002,
and promptly handed him over to the United States. In early September, Faruq
revealed information about planned attacks on Western targets in Southeast
Asia, leading to the closure of a number of US embassies in Southeast Asia. The
earlier reports suggested that Omar Al-Faruq was an Arab, most likely a
Kuwaiti or possibly an Iraqi. However, the Indonesian Police Chief, General
Dai Bachtiar told the parliament on November 5, 2002 that, His original
nationality is Pakistani, but he was using a Kuwaiti passport when he was
Unfortunately, since 9/11, the West has unleashed a malicious propaganda
campaign against Islam and the Muslims identifying Islam and Muslims with
terrorism. There are 225 million Muslims living in Southeast Asia. In ASEAN,
Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei are predominantly Muslim countries, and
sizable Muslim minorities live in Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. There is


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

a need to work jointly to reject the prevailing misperceptions regarding Islam

and Muslims de linking Islam from terrorism.
The above-mentioned factors reflect that there is a need for Pakistan and
ASEAN member states to institutionalize anti-terrorism cooperation that
should involve information / intelligence sharing in particular on terrorists and
terrorist organizations, their movements and funding. An action plan for
cording medium and long-term policies for combating terrorism may be
considered between ASEAN states and Pakistan, either in a multilateral
framework or on bilateral basis.
India has already taken the lead, during the second India-ASEAN summit held
on October 8, 2003 in Bali in Indonesia, a comprehensive agreement on
combating terrorism was signed by both sides. India and the ASEAN
reaffirmed the importance of having a framework for cooperation to prevent,
disrupt and fight international terrorism through the exchange of information
and intelligence. Pakistan should engage ASEAN members at multiple levels
for evolving a comprehensive understanding and cooperation on the issue of



Ms. Imrana Gul

The creation of ASEAN in 1967 reflected serious and conscious efforts to

establish a firm ground for common action in promoting regional cooperation
and to contribute to peace, progress, and prosperity in the region. Embodied in
the Bangkok Declaration agreed upon by the five member countries was their
aim of accelerating economic growth, social progress, and cultural
development in the region.1 Since its inception significant results have been
achieved by ASEAN in the political field, namely in overcoming inter-ASEAN
problems, which previously have created political tensions and caused security
lapses in the region. Among these problems were the border dispute between
Malaysia and Thailand, quarrels between Singapore and Malaysia arising out
of the history of Malaysias creation and Singapore and Indonesia over the
conduct of contraband trade; the dispute over Sabah between Malaysia and the
Philippines, which still remains unresolved but is prevented from escalating
into a confrontation that would weaken ASEAN cooperation in other spheres;
the border problem between Indonesia and Malaysia was resolved successfully;
problem involving Indonesias Archipelago concept, which have been settled
with Malaysia; and the question of the strait of Malacca which has also been
settled with the conclusion of an agreement among Singapore, Malaysia, and
Indonesia. 2
For its member states, ASEAN provides a forum for inter related confidence
building and preventive diplomacy. Within South East Asia, the association
also fulfills the role of a diplomatic community holding a more or less uniform
view on regional security issues. These two roles are interlinked and the
external community function has had a positive impact on ASEANs internal
confidence building role. Following the end of the Cold War, however, and at
ASEANs formal initiative, a new and wider multilateral structure has been
created in the Asia-Pacific with a clearly defined role. ASEANs primary
responsibility for this new venture and institutional development is reflected in
its title: the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF)3. This paper intends to review the
origin of ARF and to examine the future prospects of the multilateral structure
in the Asia-Pacific region, while examining the scope and limitations of ARF.


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

The paper is divided into two parts. The first part will be dealing with the
development of ARF, its significance, and limitations as security mechanism;
while the second part will be focusing on the possibility of Pakistans entry into
ASEAN has consistently shied away from any suggestion of collective or
common defense. The ASEAN way was essentially an intra ASEAN mechanism
for conflict management. However, the changing security environment
following the end of the cold war forced ASEAN to reconsider its regional role.
North East Asia became a neighbor which could no longer be ignored,
especially China, as the largest resident power is also a potential superpower.
Thus ASEAN was forced to think of a wider regional role for three reasons.

To remain relevant in an increasingly globalized and multilateral world.

To engage China, which was perceived as a potential regional power?
To maintain the Asia Pacific balance of power or status que.4

ASEAN members also felt that if the association remained internally focused,
its capacity to manage the regional order to its benefit would be severely
compromised. ASEAN was in danger of becoming irrelevant with the setting
up of other regional organizations and as second track initiatives began to
address wider regional security issues. In response, ASEAN decided in 1992 to
discuss security cooperation in the ASEAN Post Ministerial Conferences (PMC).
Until January 1992, the formal process of ASEAN-PMC dialogue, had been
confined to matters of economic cooperation. It had included for example, the
issue of financial assistance to deal with the influx of refugees from Indochina,
although informally discussions went well beyond purely economic matters.
The fourth meeting of ASEANs heads of government held in Singapore in
January 1992, presided over by Singapores Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong,
took the land mark decision to address security co-operation openly through
external dialogue. It recommended that ASEAN should intensify its external
dialogues in political and security matters by using the ASEAN post ministerial
conferences. A multilateral structure that had evolved almost inconspicuously
to fulfill one role was thus being called upon to fulfill another very different
one to accommodate the striking changes in the regional security context


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

following the end of the Cold War. The summits mandate was taken forward
by ASEANs foreign ministries the following year.5
At the meeting of ASEAN and ASEAN-PMC senior officials in May 1993,
Singapore with strong backing from Australia and the United States, went
further and recommended expanding the existing ASEAN-PMC dialogue
structure. There was some resistance from Indonesia, Thailand and Japan, as
they were nervous about moving beyond the familiar context of the Western
aligned ASEAN-PMC. In the event, the meeting recommended the additional
membership of China and Russia with which ASEAN had begun to develop
constructive partner relationships in July 1991, and of Vietnam and Laos, which
had been accorded observer status within ASEAN together with Papua New
Guinea, a long time observer on acceding to the associations treaty of Amity
and cooperation in July 1992. At the conclusion of their meetings the senior
officials agreed, that there was a window of opportunity for countries in the
region to strengthen and promote political and security conditions for economic
growth and development. This accord echoed the sprit and logic of ASEANs
operational security doctrine.
In July 1993, all 18 governments concerned dispatched their foreign ministers to
a special meeting in Singapore, convened to coincide with ASEANs annual
ministerial meeting. At a formal dinner they agreed that a separate gathering of
the foreign ministers would be arranged to be called the ASEAN Regional
Forum (ARF) to serve as the central security body for the Asia-Pacific.6 This
forum hold its first working session in Bangkok in July 1994, again close to the
date of ASEANs annual ministerial meeting and would be chaired by
Thailands foreign minister, Prasong Soonsiri, who was also to preside over the
ASEAN meeting. Thus began a novel venture in multilateral security dialogue
whose declared objective was to develop a predictable and constructive pattern
of relationships in the Asia-Pacific.
The establishment of ARF was significant in a way that within the Asia-Pacific
there is no other historical example of a group of lesser states assuming such a
diplomatic centrality in fostering a multilateral security arrangement that
involved all major regional powers.


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

Indeed, the prime object of the ARF, which ASEAN has sought to base on its own
distinctive practice and experience, has been to promote stable relationships between
those major powers in the general regional interest. A remarkable economic dynamism
from which all states wish to benefit further and which has been perceived positively as
a hostage to the political fortunes of security dialogue and interdependence has
underpinned the new multilateralism.
The first working session of the ARF convened in Bangkok on 25 July 1994 with
eighteen founding members including Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, Singapore,
Thailand, the Philippines, the U.S.A., Canada, Japan, South Korea, Australia,
New Zealand,, the E.U., Russia, China, Papua New Guinea, Vietnam and Laos
(Myanmar, Cambodia, and India, subsequently joined the group, increasing its
membership at the end of 1997 to twenty-one, while North Korea was admitted
in 2000). The ARF became the first truly multilateral security forum covering
the wider Asia-Pacific region. It is the only regional security framework in the
world today in which all the major players of the international system
(including the U.S.A., Russia, Japan, China and E.U.) are represented. However
great powers engagement could also meant a shift from the norm of regional
autonomy, expressed through ZOPFAN, which has sought to exclude the great
powers from involvement in the management of regional order:
ZOPFAN concept aims at the realization of overall national development,
increased well being in each of the ASEAN countries and the promotion of
regional cooperation and solidarity in accordance with the ideals and aspiration
of the peoples of the region and the purposes and principles of the United
Nation charter, all free from interference by outside powers in any form or
ARF is a wider multilateral grouping in which ASEAN plays a crucial role, as
mentioned above. Through the ARF, ASEAN sought to create a regional order
based on not only on its own norms but also on the relatively new norm of
inclusiveness, which is central to the idea of cooperative security. Inclusiveness
demands that the ARF not be a dialogue only among the like minded, it must
engage all principal regional actors with different and perhaps conflicting
perspectives on regional security issues. Thus, as Gareth Evans, Australias


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

foreign minister at the time of the ARFs creation, pointed out the purpose of
the ARF was to build security with others rather than against them. Underlying
this vision was a belief that the balance of power approach to regional order
needed at least to be supplemented by a cooperative security approach.9
An important evidence of the impact of the ASEAN way on the ARF process is
the cautious and incremental approach to security cooperation. This was
evident from a document entitled the ASEAN Region Forum: A concept paper
circulated by ASEAN at the second ARF meeting held in Brunei on 1st August
1995. The paper, which has served as a blueprint for the ARF envisaged three
categories of security cooperation: confidence building, preventive diplomacy,
and conflict resolution. While this three fold categorization was itself
incremental (with CBMs to be followed by preventive diplomacy initiatives
which would then be followed by approaches to conflicts) each of these
categories contained measures with a two stage implementation schedule. The
first category included measures that could be carried out in the short term,
while the second category contained measures that required a long term
consideration and approach. The short term measures envisaged by the concept
paper consisted of dialogues on security perceptions, including voluntary
statements of defense policy options, and publication of defense white papers
or equivalent documents. Measures in the long term implementation category
ranged from simple transparency measures (including information and
communication CBMs) to somewhat more ambitious CBMs including prior
notification of military deployments with region-wide significance.10 Thus, the
significance of ARF lies with its purpose which is:
To promote confidence by initially encouraging frank discussions on security
issues, and building understandings of different points of view and concerns. It
is viewed as an important vehicle to engage China and help induct it into a
rule-based international system to keep the United States involved, and to help
ensure that Japan remains a constructive and positive factor in the changing
Asia-Pacific security environment. 11
The ARFs significance is also in a way that it is a cooperative security
arrangement, and the idea of cooperative security is that potential adversaries
are brought into a cooperative framework, and over a period of time socialized
into certain principles and codes of conduct, principally established


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

international rules and norms (especially the non-use of force to settle disputes)
to which everyone is encouraged to adhere. 12
Although ASEANs guidance promotes a security approach in which the
principles of consultation and consensus assume priority over confrontation
and competitive bargaining, however, the ASEAN way faces considerable
obstacles in guiding the ARF into an effective regional security forum. The
norms of ASEAN were developed in the sub-regional context of South East
Asia; they may not be easily transplanted into a larger and more complex
security threat like the Asia Pacific. The ASEAN way has proven a source of
contention within the ARF as well. It is too slow for the liking of the Western
members of the ARF partly due to divergences in objectives and approach
between ASEAN and the Western parties in developing Asia-Pacific
institutional frame works to supplement, if not supplant the ARF (as well as
APEC), especially with the move to realize an East Asian ASEAN+3 frame
Despite the growing economic and security linkages between South East Asia
and North East Asia, the security concerns of the two sub-regions remain
largely distinctive. Critics doubt whether the lessons of ASEANs performance
in managing interstate conflict in a sub-regional context will be relevant to the
management of security issues afflicting the wider Asia-Pacific region. The
question is especially moot with respect to North East Asia where the relevant
of the ARF has been questioned. There, the management of the North Korean
proliferation crisis has taken the form of series of bilateral exchanges between
the U.S.A. and North Korea, North Korea and South Korea, China and North
Korea, Japan and South Korea, and at least initially, Japan and North Korea.
The United States initiative on sub-regional talks on security issues in the
Korean Peninsula involving China, North and South Korea, Japan and USA
attests to Washingtons apparent belief that the ARF may not be the
appropriate forum for managing security in North East Asia.14.
Another thing is though the initiation of the ARF process is significant in a way
that it has taken ASEAN beyond its traditional South East Asian strategic
horizon increasing it, however it could be difficult if not impossible to separate


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

South East from North East Asian strategic concerns. The addition in 1996 of
India to the dialogue partnership and to the ARF also extends ASEANs
strategic horizon to the Indian subcontinent. Thus, it is doubtful whether the
members of ARF, who are not also members of ASEAN share a common social
and political background and fully accept a consensus based process of conflict
There could also be the probability that the legitimate role accorded to the great
powers in the ARF process would mean that it may not be easy for ASEAN to
maintain a hold over the agenda of security dialogues in the Asia-Pacific where
the potential for military or economic conflict among the larger players
(between Japan and United States, China, and the United States, China and
Japan, Japan and South Korea or across the Taiwan strait) remains high if not
even higher today.
ARF has also been labeled with a talk shop, side-stepped many contentious
issues. Since the first ARF meeting in 1994, developments continue to reflect an
evolutionary consensus-seeking approach with which ASEAN has traditionally
been most comfortable. This evolutionary approach was underlined in a
concept paper annexed to the statement of the ARF chairman at the second ARF
meeting in July 1995: The ARF process would involve firstly, confidence
building; then preventive diplomacy in the next stage; and finally conflict
resolution mechanism as mentioned above. Such an approach by itself
acknowledges ARFs limitations, especially with respect to preventive
diplomacy and conflict resolution mechanisms16 which require a much higher
degree of mutual confidence among the participants.
The above discussion was focusing on the scope and limitations of ASEAN
Regional Forum, now it is turned to the Possibility of Pakistans entry into ARF.
Pakistan seeks deep economic relations with the ASEAN region and is deeply
committed to establish concrete links with ASEAN countries to promote
mutually beneficial co-operation in the fields of trade, industry, and investment.
Consequently, there have been attempts by Pakistan to strengthen its ties with
this vibrant ten nation body. Pakistan is also eager to join ASEAN Regional
Forum, since it is regions main forum for discussing Asian security concerns.


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

At present Pakistan is a sectoral partner of the association and is trying to get

the status of full dialogue partner of ASEAN. While India became the full
dialogue partner of the association in 1996 and summit level partner in 2002.
Pakistan is having the support of majority members of ASEAN countries.
Malaysia is openly backing Pakistans case for making it a full dialogue partner.
The Prime Minister of Thailand Thaksin Shinawatra assured his countrys full
support to Pakistan on ARF and ASEAN dialogue partnership in a meeting
with Pakistans foreign minister Khurshid M. Kasuri in Bangkok. The Thai
Premier also underlined the tremendous potential that existed in bilateral
interaction, especially in the economic and trade sectors of the two countries.17
Pakistans foreign minister during Asian Cooperation Dialogue (ACD)
Ministerial meeting being held in Chiang May in June 2003, had also bilateral
meetings with the foreign ministers of China, Cambodia, Indonesia, and South
Korea, they all acknowledged Pakistans importance as a regional player in
security matters and that question of Pakistans membership into ARF will
remain on the agenda of all the ASEAN meetings. The Indonesian Foreign
Minister Hasan Waraynda reassured Pakistans foreign minister of Indonesias
continued support to Pakistan on ARF and ASEAN. Moreover, the Indonesian
President Megawati Soekarno Putri during her visit to Pakistan in December
2003 expressed support for Pakistans membership of the ASEAN Regional
Forum as well as Pakistans keenness to upgrade its relations with ASEAN and
become a full dialogue partner.18 While the desire on the part of Pakistan to join
the ARF with President Musharraf stating that the country could make a useful
contribution on issues of peace and development merits immediate and close
attention. He drew the attention of the Indonesian leader to the need to build
synergies between South East Asia and South Asia to create a win-win situation
for the Asian region as a whole.19
In spite of Pakistans strong wish to join ARF and in spite of having the support
of majority members of ASEAN countries, Pakistan could not succeed in
getting the status of full dialogue partner of ASEAN, of which India has been a
member since 1996 as mentioned above. Some of the ASEAN countries might
not like both Pakistan and India on board their grouping as that could vitiate
the atmosphere due to their bilateral issues. India has also been opposing
Pakistans candidature. Most East Asian countries view South Asia as a
distinctive security theatre, whose inclusion into the ASEAN led multilateral


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

process could complicate an already difficult security agenda. South East Asian
nations may be apprehensive of Pakistan-India conflict/confrontation.
However, due to detent between Pakistan and India and rapid implementation
of Confidence Building Measures (CBMs), recently, there has been
improvement in their relations and both has agreed on composite dialogue on
all outstanding issues including Jammu and Kashmir. It is hoped that this
development would facilitate Pakistans entry into ARF. Moreover, the process
of normalization of ties between Pakistan and India underway could be hoped
for greater co-operation between the two regions in the near future perhaps at
the level of SAARC and ASEAN.
The ASEAN led initiative on regional security, which has culminated in the
launching of ARF could be seen as the most important approach to security
cooperation and institution building in the Asia-Pacific region. However, to
assess what ARF could contribute to regional security, its limitations should be
kept in mind. Firstly, it is not an alliance type institution, geared to defend its
members against specific and common external threats. Secondly, ASEANs
conception of multilateralism does not envisage a regional collective security
system, which assumes that aggression by one member state against another
would be punished through an automatic and collective response by all the
other members of the group. Such a system requires commitments, resources,
and capabilities, which the ARF framework could not muster in the foreseeable
future. However, it could be concluded that a habit of dialogue developed
within ARF could contribute to an atmosphere of trust among those engaged.
About Pakistans admission to ARF, the major obstacle, which has been Indias
objection, is now expected to get removed, with the initiation of process of
normalization of relations between both the countries, India is not expected to
continue with this policy and Pakistan is expected to get into ARF. The
membership of ARF would enable Pakistan to get an access to the ASEAN
members and develop greater economic interaction with the member states. It
is a question of economic opportunities, if Pakistan can make use of it. Similarly,
the ASEAN countries can develop more active interaction with Pakistan
through ARF.


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

Boom Kamp, M. Vanleeuwen, International Organization and Integration, London:
Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1983.

David Wurfel, South East Asia in the New World Order, New York: Macmillan Press
Ltd., 1996.

3 Michael

Leifer, The ASEAN Regional Forum, U.K.: Oxford University Press, 1996.

Anthony McGrew and Christopher Book, (edited), Asia-Pacific in the New World
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Michael Leifer, The ASEAN Regional Forum, U.K.: Oxford University Press, 1996

David Wurfel, South East Asia in the New World Order, New York: Macmillan Press
Ltd., 1996.

Michael Leifer, The ASEAN Regional Forum, U.K.: Oxford University Press, 1996

David Wurfel, South East Asia in the New World Order, New York: Macmillan Press
Ltd., 1996.

Amitav Acharya, Constructing a Security Community in South East Asia: ASEAN and
the Problems of Regional Order, U.S.A.: Routledge, 2001.



Chia Siow Yue Marcello Pacini (edited), ASEAN in the New Asia: Issues and Trends,
Singapore, Institute of South East Asian Studies, 1998.



Amitav Acharya, Constructing a Security Community in South East Asia: ASEAN

and the Problem Order, U.S.A.: Routledge, 2001.



Anthony McGrew and Christopher Book, (edited), Asia Pacific in the New World
Order, London: The Open University, 1998.


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

Twenty-eight ASEAN Ministerial Meeting, Post Ministerial Conferences with

Dialogue Partners and Second ASEAN Regional Forum (Jakarta: ASEAN Secretariat

17 www.ASEAN Pakistan relations (Thai P.M. assures full support to Pakistan on ARF,
June 22, 2003)

Dawn, December 17, 2003


The News, December 17, 2003.


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

Mr Niaz A. Naik

Two-Day International Seminar was organized by Area Study Centre,

Far East & South East Asia, University of Sindh, Jamshoro on 18 19
February, 2004, the seminar topic was Pakistan-ASEAN Relations:
Constraints and Opportunities .
In that Two-Day Seminar many eminent scholars an participated and
shared valuable suggestion for improving ties of Pakistan with ASEAN
countries, those who participated as a speaker were from Indonesia,
Philippines embassies, from Singapore speaker Obaidul Haq and from
Thailand most eminent scholar and columnist Dr. Nitipoom.
They provoked important suggestion and stressed on that it is high time
for Pakistan and ASEAN countries to enhance cooperation in all fields
but there are certain constraints for Pakistan to eliminate all draw backs
form Pakistan policies. As Prof. Obaidul Haq from Singapore he stressed
on that Pakistans reputation before world community is not good, it is
determinate by world media. Pakistan must take measures in this
context and it should improve image and restore confidence of world
During the seminar Dr. Nitipoom from Thailand, he announced that
Thailand government want to start relation with Pakistan and start
program for youth development and signed the treaty with Pakistan
giving scholarship for Pakistani student in Thailand as they and Pakistan
people could build bridge of two countries for future. Dr. Nitipoom said
that after 11 September, the unipollar concept and western image has
been sabotaged due to the Afghanistan and Iraq war. Now the
regionalism importance is going to be increased.


ASEAN Pakistan Relations: Constraints and Opportunities

In the mean time Pakistans eminent scholars took participation and read
the research papers in the seminar, and they emphasized on that it is era
of regional cooperation, ASEAN region is a model region in the world as
well as flourshable countries of it, Pakistan government must forge ties
with ASEAN countries in all connection.
After Two-Day International seminar has successfully concluded with
significant information by two sides, challenges and constraints. But
there is need for more such seminars as such seminars to the people
could provide discussion and information with best direction. As well as,
Pakistan government must take considerable measure to implement
whatever discussed in the seminar.


Professor Obaid ul Haq, Member, Board of Contemporary Islamic

Studies, Singapore.


Professor Dr Abul Kalam, Department of International Relations,

Dhaka University, Bangladesh.


Captain Dr Nitipoom Navaratna, Director, Institute of Asian and

African Studies, Assumption International University, Thailand.


Professor Dr Edy Prasetyono, Head of Department of International

Relations, Centre Strategic and International Studies (CSIS),
Jakarta, Indonesia.


Mr Niaz A. Naik, former Foreign Secretary, Ministry of Foreign

Affairs, Islamabad.


Mr Pervaiz Iqbal Cheema, President, Islamabad Policy Research

Institute, Islamabad.


Hidayat Ali Soomro, Director, Area Study Centre, Far East & South
East Asia, University of Sindh, Jamshoro


Dr Pervez A. Pathan, Associate Professor, Department of Sindh

Development Studies Centre, University of Sindh, Jamshoro.




Mr Fazalur Rehman, Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Strategic

Studies, Islamabad.


Ms Imrana Gul, Lecturer Department of Political Science, The

University of Punjab, Lahore.


Mr Nabi Bux Narejo, Lecturer, Department of Criminology,

University of Sindh, Jamshoro.

Aqeela Khowaja, Assistant Professor, Department of

International Relations, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad.