Pakistan is the second largest Muslim country in terms of population (behind Indonesia), and its status as a declared nuclear power, being the only Islamic nation to have that status, plays a part in its international role. Pakistan is also an important member of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC).
Pakistan is an active member of the United Nations. Historically, its foreign policy has encompassed difficult relations with the Republic of India; especially on the core-issue of india's subjugation and occupation of Kashmir, a desire for a stable Afghanistan, long-standing close relations with China, closer cultural and economic ties with Iran, extensive security and economic interests in the Persian Gulf and wide-ranging bilateral relations with the United States and other Western countries.
It was a member of the CENTO and SEATO military alliances. Its alliance with the United States was especially close after the Soviets invaded the neighboring country of Afghanistan. In 1964, Pakistan signed the Regional Cooperation for Development (RCD) Pact with Turkey and Iran, when all three countries were closely allied with the U.S., and as neighbors of the Soviet Union, wary of perceived Soviet expansionism. To this day, Pakistan has a close relationship with Turkey. RCD became defunct after the Iranian Revolution, and a Pakistani-Turkish initiative led to the founding of the Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO) in 1985. Pakistan's relations with India have improved recently and this has opened up Pakistan's foreign policy to issues beyond security. This development might completely change the complexion of Pakistan's foreign relations.
Favorable relations with China have been a pillar of Pakistan's foreign policy. China strongly supported Pakistan's opposition to Soviet involvement in Afghanistan and was perceived by Pakistan as a regional counterweight to India and the USSR. The PRC and Pakistan also share a close military relation, with China supplying a range of modern armaments to the Pakistani defence forces. Lately, military cooperation has deepened with joint projects producing armaments ranging from fighter jets to guided missile frigates. Chinese cooperation with Pakistan has reached high economic points with substantial investment from China in Pakistani infrastructural expansion.
At the time of independence and the departure of the British from South Asia, the princely state of Kashmir, though ruled by a Hindu Maharajah installed by the British colonialists, had an overwhelmingly Muslim population who often refused to recognize him. When the Maharajah hesitated in acceding to either Pakistan or India in 1947, his Muslim subjects, aided by Pashtun tribesmen from Pakistan, revolted in favor of joining Pakistan. India has long alleged that regular troops from Pakistan had participated in the partial occupation of Kashmir from the Western front, however at the time of independence, the Pakistani army was still under the control of British officers and in quite a state of dissaray since much of its arms, equipment and officer corps was still stationed elsewhere in South Asia. Under highly dubious circumstances, in exchange for military assistance in containing the revolt, the Kashmiri Hindu ruler offered his allegiance to India. Indian troops occupied the central & eastern portion of Kashmir, including its capital, Srinagar, while the west-north western parts succeeded in joining up with Pakistan. (See First Kashmir War)
India addressed this dispute in the United Nations on January 1, 1948. One year later, the UN arranged a cease-fire along a line dividing Kashmir, but leaving the northern end of the line undemarcated and the vale of Kashmir (with the majority of the population) under Indian occupation. India and Pakistan agreed with UN resolutions which called for a UN-supervised plebiscite to determine the state's future. India has since refused to carry out the plebicite and refused to remove its estimated 700,000 troops, one of the highest density of troops to civilian population in the world, from the region fearing that the Kashmiri people will vote in favor of Pakistan.
Full-scale hostilities erupted in September 1965, when insurgents who were trained and supplied by Pakistan were operating in Indian-controlled Kashmir. (See Operation Gibraltar) Hostilities ceased three weeks later, following mediation efforts by the UN and interested countries. In January 1966, Indian and Pakistani representatives met in Tashkent, U.S.S.R., and agreed to attempt a peaceful settlement of Kashmir and their other differences. (See Indo-Pakistani War of 1965)
Following the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 when India took advantage of civil disturbances in Pakistan's east wing and aided the seperatist Bengali's to achieve independence, Bengladesh was located almost 1000 kms away from the mainland of Pakistan, Pakistan President Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi met in the mountain town of Shimla, India, in July 1972 for the Shimla Accords. They agreed to a line of control in Kashmir resulting from the December 17, 1971 cease-fire, and endorsed the principle of settlement of bilateral disputes through peaceful means. In 1974, Pakistan and India agreed to resume postal and telecommunications linkages, and to enact measures to facilitate travel. Trade and diplomatic relations were restored in 1976 after a hiatus of five years.
Much to Pakistan and the world communities surprise, India's nuclear test in 1974 generated great uncertainty in Pakistan and is generally acknowledged to have been the impetus for Pakistan's nuclear weapons development program. In 1983, the Pakistani and Indian governments accused each other of aiding separatists in their respective countries, i.e., Sikhs in India's Punjab state and Sindhis in Pakistan's Sindh province. In April 1984, tensions erupted after troops were deployed to the Siachen Glacier, a high-altitude desolate area close to the China border left undemarcated by the cease-fire agreement (Karachi Agreement) signed by Pakistan and India in 1949. Indian troops heightened tensions in the region by occupying several uninhabitable posts along the Siachen glacier.
Tensions diminished after Rajiv Gandhi became Prime Minister in November 1984 and after a group of Sikh hijackers were brought to trial by Pakistan in March 1985. In December 1985, President Zia and Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi pledged not to attack each other's nuclear facilities. (A formal "no attack" agreement was signed in January 1991.) In early 1986, the Indian and Pakistani governments began high-level talks to resolve the Siachen Glacier border dispute and to improve trade. Much of negotiations stalled due to indian heel dragging.
Bilateral tensions increased in early 1990, when Kashmiri militants began a campaign of violence against Indian oocupation of Kashmir. Subsequent high-level bilateral meetings relieved the tensions between the Republic of India and Pakistan, but relations worsened again after the destruction of the Babri Mosque by Hindu fanatics in December 1992 and terrorist bombings in Bombay,now Mumbai, in March 1993. Talks between the Foreign Secretaries of both countries in January 1994 resulted in deadlock.
In the late 1990s, the Indo-Pakistani relationship veered sharply between rapprochement and conflict. After taking office in February 1997, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif moved to resume a official dialogue with India. A number of meetings at the foreign secretary and Prime Ministerial level took place, with positive atmospherics but little concrete progress. The relationship improved markedly when Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee traveled to Lahore for a summit with Sharif in February 1999. There was considerable hope that the meeting could lead to a breakthrough. Unfortunately, in spring 1999 infiltrators from Pakistan occupied positions on the Indian side of the Line of Control in the remote, mountainous area of Kashmir near Kargil, thereby threatening the ability of India to supply its forces on the Siachen Glacier. By early summer, serious fighting flared in the Kargil sector. The fighting lasted about a month and Indian forces were able to push back the infiltrators (India accused(and provided evidence,which is however, disputed) that it was Pakistan's military which had occupied Indian posts in the region. Indian Army left their posts in winter). The Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif under pressure from the US president Bill Clinton withdrew Pakistan's army from remaining posts.
Relations between India and Pakistan continued to be strained when Pervez Musharraf came to power on October 12, 1999 Pakistani coup d'état. India alleged that Pakistan provided monetary and material support to Kashmiri militants, a charge which Pakistan has always denied.
In 2001, following the 9/11 attacks, the United States formed an alliance with Pakistan in its War on Terror refusing an indian offer to use its air bases for operations against Afghanistan and prefering to confer on Pakistan the title of Major Non-Nato Ally. Pakistanis themselves started to grow disillusioned with jihadi militants, regardless of the causes they claimed to follow. Musharraf dropped his insistence that no issues could be discussed until the Kashmir issue was fully solved. Bilateral meetings between the two sides resulted in new people-to-people contacts. Air services and cricket matches were restored. Trains started plying between Sindh and Rajasthan. Bans on Indian movies and TV channels were eased in Pakistan. Transport links across the Line of Control in Kashmir were re-opened. More importantly the intelligence services and armies of the two countries started to cooperate in identifying terrorists who threatened attacks. On June 20, 2004, both countries agreed to extend a nuclear testing ban and to set up a hotline between their foreign secretaries aimed at preventing misunderstandings that might lead to a nuclear war. In 2007 the two countries agreed to start flights between their capitals. Legal trade between the countries reached 2 billion dollars per year.
Pakistan shares a long and porous border with Afghanistan (also called the Durand Line). The border is poorly marked. The problem is exacerbated by cultural, historical, linguistic, ethnic and political ties crossing close relations between peoples who live on both sides of the border. This is further complicated by the fact that many of the Pashtun tribes on both sides of the border are often married and refuse to recognize it. The two countries were once united as recently as 150 years ago under the founder of Afghanistan, Ahmed Shah Abdali, a pashtun leader born in Multan, Pakistan. He united various tribes and laid the foundations of the country Afghanistan in 1762.
Following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, the Pakistani Government played a vital role in supporting the Afghan resistance movement and assisting Afghan refugees. Pakistan absorbed an estimated 5 million refugees and provided shelter, education, food rations and assistance to them. Social and health indicators dropped considerably during this period as Polio and Tuberculosis, previously eradicated from the country, were re-introduced and the country became awashed with drugs, weopons, prostitution rings and increased incidences of crime, poverty and violence. After the Soviet withdrawal in February 1989, Pakistan, with cooperation from the world community, continued to provide extensive support for displaced Afghans. In 1999, the United States provided approximately $70 million in humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan and Afghan refugees in Pakistan, mainly through multilateral organizations and NGOs.
Pakistani strategists view Afghanistan as providing "strategic depth" in the event of a war with neighboring India. In the event that the Indian Army crosses into Pakistan, the Pakistan Army would temporary locate supplies in Afghanistan and prepare for a counter-offensive. Furthermore, many Pakistani saw in Afghanistan and Afghans a common bond based on religion, history, culture, language and ethnic ties. At various times, Pakistan backed the mujahideen against the Soviets, mujahideen against each other and the Taliban against the Northern Alliance.
The overthrow of the Taliban Regime in November 2001 has seen somewhat strained relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan. The present Karzai administration in Kabul feels that the remnants of the former Taliban government are being supported by factions within Pakistan for the same above reasons. Interestingle, Hamid Karzai's parents both lived in Pakistan during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Pakistan has subsequently banned the Taliban and carried out many operations against them. The Pakistan army has lost more troops than all the coalition and Afghan troops combined in the war on terror. On June 15th 2008, in the after-math of successful major Taliban operations, due to growing internal instability within Afghanistan and the Karzai's government inability to address domestic issues, the Afghan government issued a statement threatening to send its army across the Durand Line in pursuit of rebels stationed along the mountainous border inside Pakistan; the statement caused considerable damage to bilateral relations and was rebuked by Pakistani officials as innapropriate.
A large share of Afghanistan's foreign and economic trade is either with, originates from or passes through, Pakistan. Afghanistan is largely dependent on Pakistan for basic foodstuffs and most of its commerce has historically been directed towards Pakistan. The recent low points in bilateral relations between the two countries has harmed economic interests between the two and caused an increase in inflation within Afghanistan with considerable hardship being felt by the already power Afghan people.
Landmarks in their reconciliation are:
Issues need resolving:
In 2003, President Pervez Musharraf raised the issue of possible diplomatic relations with Israel, and in 2005 the foreign ministers of the two countries held talks for the first time. However, following the meeting Musharraf said Pakistan will not recognise the state of Israel until an independent Palestinian state is established.
There have been high level visits from both sides in last ten years. In December 2000, the Chief Executive of Pakistan extended an invitation to Kyrgyz President Askar Akayev to pay a State visit to Pakistan. The invitation was accepted by the President of Kyrgyzstan.
Pakistan and Kyrgyzstan co-operate with each other in various fields for the promotion of trade and economic relations between the two countries. A few Pakistan nationals have established their business concerns in the fields of hoteling, pharmacy and tourism in Kyrgyz Republic.
During the visit of Minister of State for Economic Affairs in December 1991, an export credit of US$ 10 million was offered to Kyrgyzstan for the establishment of pharmaceutical factory at Bishkek. An agreement was signed in May 1993. On the request of Kyrgyzstan, keeping in view of friendly and brotherly relations with Kyrgyzstan, the Government of Pakistan rescheduled the loan repayment and prolonged its payment for the next six years. An agreement on rescheduling was signed accordingly.
One of the achievements in the economic co-operation between the two countries is the opening of the branch of the National Bank of Pakistan at Bishkek. The main aim of the bank is to boost the trade and economic relations between Pakistan and Kyrgyzstan. The National Bank of Kyrgyzstan took a decision to issue the license for the branch of the National Bank of Pakistan to open the accounts for local individuals from January 1, 2002. Before, the National Bank of Pakistan was authorized to open the accounts for the companies and organizations only. Within one year after the opening, this branch has become the profit-earning unit. After some time, the bank would be able to extend small credit facility to the local population. The National Bank of Pakistan has also offered a regular training programme for the Kyrgyz Bankers.
Pakistan is extending all possible help for Kyrgyz nationals under the Technical Assistance programme in the field of education, diplomacy, banking, English language and postal services, etc.
More than 200 Pakistani students are enrolled at various educational institutions in Kyrgyzstan on self-finance basis. Some of the medical students have already completed their studies and returned to Pakistan.
The leadership of the Kyrgyz Republic has demonstrated keen interest to have more bilateral cultural cooperation and people to people contact by establishing sister city relationship with the cities of Kyrgyzstan and Pakistan. Establishment of sister city relationships between Quetta- Bishkek and Osh-Sialkot are under consideration by the two sides.
Both the countries have expressed their desire to conclude a Cultural Agreement with the aim of developing relations and mutual understanding between Pakistan and Kyrgyzstan. A draft Cultural Agreement is under consideration.
A draft Agreement between APP and "Kabar" news agency of Kyrgyzstan is also under consideration.
The Government of Pakistan has agreed to present a printing press to be used for production of literawre solely for Islamic purposes to the Muftiat of Kyrgyzstan.
Being the members of OIC and ECO, Pakistan and Kyrgyzstan support each other on various global and regional issues as well as during the elections to the key posts in the international organizations.
Exchange of high-level visits during the last 10 years give credence to the fact that Pakistan and Turkmenistan have laid foundation of mutually beneficial relations, friendship and understanding. The hallmark of the friendship was demonstrated during the official visit of the Chief Executive of Pakistan to Ashgabat in May - 2000, and again during his brief stop-over in November 2000. In the short span of 10 years, there have been six visits of Head of State/Head of Government from Pakistan to Turkmenistan. President of Turkmenistan Saparmurate Niyazov had visited Pakistan thrice in August 1994, March 1995 and March 1997.
The two countries have signed 21 Agreements and Memoranda of understanding in the fields of oil and gas, transport, energy, trade, science and culture. The issuance of commemorative stamps by Pakistan will be an important milestone in the gamut of bilateral relations.
Pakistan and the UAE enjoy extremely close and traternal relations, founded on deep-rooted cultural affinities, shared faith and traditions, as also geographic proximity and identity of interests. These relations date back to the UAE's formation in 1971, and have since evolved into wide-ranging co-operation in various fields. UAE has been a major donor of economic assistance to Pakistan. UAE has been appreciative of Pakistan's contribution to the evolution of key institutions in the Emirates such as armed forces, police, health and education, and has reciprocated in the same friendly manner to the full satisfaction of Pakistan.
The two countries have common perceptions on all international and regional issues of mutual concern. Frequent exchanges of high level visits and regular bilateral consultations between the two countries are reflective of the fact that Pakistan and UAE have laid strong foundations of mutually beneficial relations, friendship and peaceful cooperation over the years, UAE has emerged as one of Pakistan's major economic and trading partners. A large number of Pakistani expatriates, numbering nearly 400,000 are gainfully employed in UAE. The Pakistani expatriates in UAE have contributed in a significant manner to promotion of bilateral understanding and to the economy of Pakistan through their home remittances.
Other forms of assistance given by Saudi Arabia include providing employment to millions of Pakistanis over the past 60 years. This has been a blessing for Pakistan in disguise as the workers who worked in Saudi Arabia not only accumulated wealth, when they came back to Pakistan, they led Pakistan's construction boom and introduction of modern goods and items. Saudi Arabia has also actively promoted Pakistan's social life by funding many social projects like building of Islamic community centres, relief foundations, and mosques throughout Pakistan.
Faisal Mosque, Islamabad, Pakistan.Due to the Kingdom's continuing generosity, many places in Pakistan are named after Saudi Kings and Saudi Arabia in general. For example, the city previously named Lyallpur was renamed Faisalabad in honor of the late Faisal of Saudi Arabia. Also, in Karachi, Pakistan, there are neighbourhoods named Saud Colony, Saudabad, Faisal Colony. Also in Karachi, there is an airforce base name Faisal Airbase named after King Faisal and also, in the honor of King Faisal, the main business street of Pakistan is called Sharah-e-Faisal in Karachi.
In 2005, due to passing of King Fahd of Saudi Arabia, Pakistan declared a three-day mourning period.
Saudi Arabia also hosted former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for 8 years while he was in exile. During his stay there, Kingdom held talks with Sharif and even provided him with license to operate business in the Kingdom. It is believed that it was Kingdom of Saudi Arabia which held talks with President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan to foster their relationship and to allow Sharif back in Pakistan.
In March 2008, Saudi Arabia donated Pakistan $300 million to help with the economic problems there.
Tokyo and Islamabad have long enjoyed cordial and formidable relations throughout chronology. Japan's economic assistance has played a very important role in the development of Pakistan's economic and social infrastructure. The major projects, which have been funded by the Government of Japan, include the Indus Highway Project, a number of power projects in various provinces of Pakistan, Rural Roads Construction Project and the Children Hospital PIMS lslamabad Project. Presently the Kohat Tunnel Project and the Ghazi Brotha Dam Project are being completed with the help of the Japanese assistance.
There has been a regular exchange of high level visits between the two countries. Pakistan and Japan had established formal diplomatic relations on 28th April 1952. The 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations, jointly celebrated by the two countries in 2002, was a significant landmark in the history of this friendship.
During the 1980s, tensions increased between the Soviet Union and Pakistan because of the latter's key role in helping to organize political and material support for the Afghan rebel forces. The withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan and the collapse of the former Soviet Union resulted in significantly improved bilateral relations, but Pakistan's support for and recognition of the Taliban regime in neighboring Afghanistan remained an ongoing source of tension. Later on, government of Pakistan changed its policy towards Taliban when it joined US forces in helping to overthrow them following attacks in the US on the 11th of September 2001.
In 2007, the relations between Pakistan and the Russian Federation were reactivated after the 3-day official visit of Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov. He is the first Russian prime minister to visit Pakistan in the post Soviet Union era in 38 years. He had "in-depth discussions" with President Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz. The major focus of the visit was to improve bilateral relations with particular emphasis on ways and means to enhance economic cooperation between the two countries. During the visit, two Memorandum of understanding were signed, under an MOU, the Russian Federation will cooperate with Pakistan Railways for construction of new railway tracks, supply of sleepers and signaling system, up-gradation of a railway workshops and setting up of Metro Railways in major cities of Pakistan. Under another MOU, the two countries will work for promoting cultural, educational and scientific changes.
In Pakistan, the founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Ataturk, is regarded as a hero. Kemal Atatürk's triumph in forging a strong and progressive Turkey was seen by many of the Muslims of the South Asia as an embodiment of their national aspirations and served as an inspiration during their struggle for independence, which culminated in the emergence of Pakistan as an independent nation in 1947. Most conservative Muslims continue to view Atatürk as the destroyer of the Caliphate; this resulted in the Khalifat movement in the South Asia in the 1920s and in the pan-Islamic rhetoric of present-day Sunni jihadi groups.
There is a remarkable coalescence of views between Turkey and Pakistan on major issues of regional and global significance, particularly since both have been allied to the United States. The two countries have always extended full support to each other on several issues. Pakistan fully supports the cause of the Turkish Cypriot people and Turkey has backed the cause of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Their tensions over supporting rival factions during the Afghan civil war were reduced by the US-backed overthrow of the Taliban regime.
The two countries have also cooperated over the issue of Bosnia and Herzegovina and have adopted joint positions on this issue at the international fora. The prime ministers of the two countries took a joint trip to Sarajevo in 1993 to express solidarity with Bosnian Muslims. Both countries also sent peace-keeping forces to Bosnia.
The two countries have worked closely with each other in the context of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) as well. Pakistan actively participated in the second ECO summit in Istanbul in July 1993. Similarly the Turkish delegation to the third ECO summit held in Islamabad in 1995, was led by President Demirel and extended full support to the strengthening of the important regional organization which includes all Central Asian countries and Azerbaijan.High level exchange of visits
The frequency of high level visits between Turkey and Pakistan has been one of the key factors in maintaining close ties between the two countries. Prime Minister of Pakistan Mohtrama Benazir Bhutto paid a three-day visit to Turkey in December 1993. President of Pakistan Sardar Farooq Khan Leghari also visited Turkey in September 1994. President of Turkey Suleyman Demirel paid a three-day official visit to Pakistan in 1995 and received a warm and enthusiastic welcome from the people of Pakistan. A number of agreements for increased cooperation between the two countries were signed during these visits.Defence cooperation
The commanders of the Armed Forces of the two countries exchange regular visits. There are regular programs of exchange of officers and training. The two countries have also purchased some defence related equipment from each other.Economic and trade cooperation
In the field of economy and trade relations between the two countries have been somewhat limited. However over the last few years, both countries have made conscious and sustained efforts to improve their economic relations. The Turco-Pakistan Joint Economic Commission which meets at the ministerial level to strengthen economic relations, held its 10th session in Ankara in September 1995 and adopted a comprehensive protocol to promote economic and commercial cooperation between the two countries.
Similarly, the 4th session of Turco-Pakistan Business Council was held in September 1995. There was also an exchange trade delegations between the two countries during 1995. As a result, bilateral trade between the two countries reached a level of more than $20 million in 1995.
Cooperation between the private sectors of the two countries is on the increase. Some major contracts have been awarded to the Turkish companies such as STFA. Other Turkish companies are also planning to enter the large Pakistani market.Cultural and educational cooperation
Cultural relations between Turkey and Pakistan are governed by a Cultural Cooperation Agreement. Specific cultural exchange programs are prepared under the agreement. The last protocol was signed in November 1992, for the years 1993-96. There have been a number of cultural exchange between the two countries which include visits of cultural troupes, participation in photographic, arts & crafts exhibitions and children's festivals. The Embassy of Pakistan in Ankara has also organized a number of cultural activities and Single Country Exhibitions to highlight the similarities and the diversity between the two cultures.
Radio and Television organizations of the two countries are working to establish closer relations.
Turkey and Pakistan are cooperating in the field of education. This includes cooperation between the universities of the two countries; exchange of professors and scholars, holding of seminars, exhibitions and symposia and award of scholarships to the students of the two countries. The government of Pakistan has established Chairs of Urdu and Pakistan Studies at the Ankara and Istanbul Universities. Selcuk University is also operating a Department of Urdu with the help of a Pakistani teacher.
The determination of the two countries and their peoples to forge even closer links remains undiminished. While official rhetoric stresses "brotherly ties" between Pakistan and Turkey, there are some complications due to dfferences between secular Turkey and Pakistan's continuing slide to extremism.
Historically, no ally of the United States has faced as many sanctions from the US as Pakistan. The United States established diplomatic relations with Pakistan in 1949; reluctantly, at first. Since the Eisenhower administration, however, Pakistan and the US began developing more cozy relations. The American agreement to provide economic and military assistance to Pakistan and the latter's partnership in the Baghdad Pact, CENTO and SEATO strengthened relations between the two nations. At the time, its relationship with the U.S. was so close and friendly that it was called the United States' "most-allied ally" in Asia . Pakistanis felt betrayed and ill-compensated for the risks incurred in supporting the U.S. - after the U-2 Crisis of 1960, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev had threatened the nuclear annihilation of Pakistani cities. The U.S. suspension of military assistance during the 1965 Indo-Pakistan war generated a widespread feeling in Pakistan that the United States was not a reliable ally. Even though the United States suspended military assistance to both countries involved in the conflict, the suspension of aid affected Pakistan much more severely. Gradually, relations improved and arms sales were renewed in 1975. Then, in April 1979, the United States cut off economic assistance to Pakistan, except food assistance, as required under the Symington Amendment to the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, due to concerns about Pakistan's nuclear program.
The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979 highlighted the common interest of Pakistan and the United States in peace and stability in South Asia. In 1981, the United States and Pakistan agreed on a $3.2-billion military and economic assistance program aimed at helping Pakistan deal with the heightened threat to security in the region and its economic development needs. With U.S. assistance - in the largest covert operation in history - Pakistan armed and supplied anti-Soviet fighters in Afghanistan, eventually defeating the Soviets, who withdrew in 1988.
Recognizing national security concerns and accepting Pakistan's assurances that it did not intend to construct a nuclear weapon, Congress waived restrictions (Symington Amendment) on military assistance to Pakistan. In March 1986, the two countries agreed on a second multi-year (FY 1988-93) $4-billion economic development and security assistance program. On October 1, 1990, however, the United States suspended all military assistance and new economic aid to Pakistan under the Pressler Amendment, which required that the President certify annually that Pakistan "does not possess a nuclear explosive device."
India's decision to conduct nuclear tests in May 1998 and Pakistan's matching response set back U.S. relations in the region, which had seen renewed U.S. Government interest during the second Clinton Administration. A presidential visit scheduled for the first quarter of 1998 was postponed and, under the Glenn Amendment, sanctions restricted the provision of credits, military sales, economic assistance, and loans to the government. An intensive dialogue on nuclear nonproliferation and security issues between Deputy Secretary Talbott and Foreign Secretary Shamshad Ahmad was initiated, with discussions focusing on CTBT signature and ratification, FMCT negotiations, export controls, and a nuclear restraint regime. The October 1999 overthrow of the democratically elected Sharif government triggered an additional layer of sanctions under Section 508 of the Foreign Appropriations Act which include restrictions on foreign military financing and economic assistance. U.S. Government assistance to Pakistan was limited mainly to refugee and counter-narcotics assistance.
Pakistan moved decisively to ally itself with the United States in its war against Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda. It provided the U.S. a number of military airports and bases, for its attack on Afghanistan. It has arrested over five hundred Al-Qaeda members and handed them over to the United States; senior U.S. officers have been lavish in their praise of Pakistani efforts. Since this strategic re-alignment towards U.S. policy, economic and military assistance has been flowing from the U.S. to Pakistan and sanctions have been lifted. In the three years before the attacks of September 11, Pakistan received approximately $9 million in American military aid. In the three years after, the number increased to $4.2 billion. In June 2004, President Bush designated Pakistan as a major non-NATO ally, making it eligible, among other things, to purchase advanced American military technology. In May, 2006, The Bush administration announced a major sale of missiles to Pakistan, valued at $370 Million USD.