United it became clear that Pakistan could
States Of America (USA) or United States(US) is a federal public and is
world’s 3rd or 4th largest country by total area. United
States founded United Nations and is one of the most developed country with
most concentrated wealth in one country which is about 33% of total wealth in
world. US has established foreign relation with lot of countries and Pakistan
was not an exception. US developed relations with Pakistan on 20 October 1947
which was just 2 months and 6 days after independence of Pakistan. Thus US was
one of the first nations to develop relations with Pakistan. Since then
Pakistan has allied with Pakistan on several occasions, most of them were
beneficial to US. For example, Pakistan allied with US against Soviet Union and
Pakistan was a key member which caused the later dismemberment of Soviet Union.
Relations Between Pakistan And US(1947-1958)
After independence of Pakistan from
British Empire, Pakistan aimed to be non-aligned member. East Pakistan had
pro-communist force with considerable support while West Pakistan had
pro-Soviet Pakistan Socialist Party. However , West Pakistan’s political
landscape was dominated by capitalist and pro-American Pakistan Muslim League.
Prime Minister Ali Khan wanted to ally with both Soviet Union and America in
hope that Pakistan could take advantages from both superpowers. However Soviet
Union was supporting India at that time which raised negative comments from
Pakistan. The population believed that Soviet Union was atheist as it was
supporting India while other organizations like army believed that Soviet Union
would never support Pakistan as much it was supporting India.
As Soviet Union was supporting
Pakistan rivals, it became clear that Pakistan could not benefit from both
Soviet Union and US. During
this time in 1950, America invited Prime Minister Khan for an official visit
which he accepted and went on 23 day official visit to US. It was revealed that
Americas President Truman requested Pakistan to let CIA formulate a base in
Pakistan to keep an eye on Soviet Union which was turned down by Khan.
From 1950 to 1953, many key figures
of Pakistan’s military and political paid visits to US of which the most
important was visit of General Ayub Khan. After visit of Khan, relations
between Pakistan and America grew strong and it was evident even during
assassination of Liaqat Ali Khan. Positive attitude was developed under
government of Khawaja Nazimuddin.
Central Treaty Organization(CENTO) and Southeast Asia Treaty
Organization(SEATO) were adopted in 1954 and 1955 and Pakistan was vital member
of both of these organizations. For the most of Cold Era, Pakistan was allied
with US. This alliance was ended in 1971 to 1972 after the East Pakistan became
separate with aid of India. When these pacts were adopted, Pakistan was the
most friendliest with US at that time.
During Military Rule In Pakistan
When Ayub Khan came into power, the relations strengthened
between Pakistan and US. Ayub Khan’s view of US remained positive even before
he came into power. Even the population at that time was pro-American and held
positive views regarding US. In 1960, Ayub Khan allowed United States to start
its first spy missions to the Soviet Union from the Peshawar Air Base. In 1961,
Ayub Khan visited US as head of state and was welcomed with state dinner and
ticker tape parade.
As US aid was concentrated in West Pakistan, East Pakistan
became angry and denounced the 1954 military pact with US. US aid to West
Pakistan increased and in 1964, GDP growth was 9.3%. in 1965, Ayub Khan
launched Operation Gibraltar against India which turned into declaration of
war. Pakistan lost 500 million dollars from US in war against India. It proved
very harmful to economy of Pakistan as economic growth was reduced to mere
0.88%. However, Pakistan recovered rapidly with GDP growth of 2.32% in 1966 and
9.79% in 1969. The war against India was useless as it had no clear victor nor
clear loser and it resulted in loss of lot of economic funds. This caused Ayub
Khan to transfer his powers to General Yahya Khan in 1969.
Even though US had no relations with General Yahya Khan, the
relations were still preserved as Pakistan was considered as integral bulwark against communism.
During Rule Of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto
Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto became president after 1970s election. He
was democratic socialist who later became prime minister in 1974. The period of
his rule is seen as quiet cold war as he administered socialist ideas. His
ideas were like communist ideas but Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto never actually
supported communism. Instead he concentrated on Movement of Non-Aligned
Countries and he build friendly ties with Soviet block and Soviet Union.
Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto also tried to maintain relations with US but US refused to
cooperate. He strongly supported left-wing politics which was strongly opposed
by US from the beginning. The president of US at that time , President Nixon,
was close friend of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and hence had strong relations with him
but when Jimmy Carter became president of US, the relations between Pakistan
and US became weak. This was because Jimmy Carter was an anti-socialist. The
relation was already upset with left wing theories of Bhutto. US started
fearing the loss of Pakistan which was an ally in Cold War. On the other hand,
Bhutto was sympathetic towards Soviet Union and allowed Soviet Union to access
Pakistan’s warm water ports. This was extremely beneficial to Soviet Union as
warm water ports was lacked by both Soviet Union and US. The relations between
Cater and Bhutto grew worse as Carter opposed the policy and ambitions of
Bhutto and pressurized Bhutto. To return this favor, Bhutto became aggressive
and serious over the nuclear issues. This was weak point of US and it put US on
defensive positions at UN as Carter had no counter against Bhutto.
Bhutto focused on nuclear weapon research which was strongly
opposed by US. US blackmailed Bhutto on several occasions but Bhutto did not
falter and continued on weapon developing. Carter had placed an embargo on
Pakistan but Bhutto succeeded to bought sensitive equipment, common metal
materials and electronic components which were marked as common items. Through
this, Bhutto was able to hide his true intentions and continued on nuclear
weapon project. This was failure for Carter as his embargo was useless. US
opposed the nuclear bomb project as it predicted that it will result in
destructive war against India.
Hence was hanged in 1979 after he was declared corrupted one
by pro-United States Muslims nations and United States.
During Rule Of Zia ul Haq
Due to event of Grand Mosque Seizure, a group of Pakistani
Students burned the American embassy in Islamabad to ground resulting in death
of two Americans in 1979.
The relations between Pakistan and US improved a lot after
the death of Bhutto. The Soviet Army crossed borders on December 24, 1979 into
Afghanistan. To counter the invasion of Soviet Union of Afghanistan, a
multi-billion Operation Cyclone was started . During the military rule General
Zia-ul-Haq , the relations and ties grew to maximum point as US gave billion
dollars worth of aid to Pakistan to fight against Soviet Union. It was first
time that Pakistan and US had strong common interest which was to fight Soviet
Union after its invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. It also resulted in 3.2
billion dollar military and economic assistance program between Pakistan and US
to help Pakistan deal with increased security threat in region and fulfill its
economic development needs. It resulted in largest covert operation in history
in which Pakistan fought Soviet fighters in Afghanistan.
In 1980s, US congress froze the $658 million deal of Pakistan
requesting F-16 fighters and kept both the money and the planes which led anger
among Pakistanis who claimed it as theft. The response of Carter was 325
million dollars aid in three years but it was rejected by Zia. Carter’s next try was to give less than 50
million dollars a year to go to Mujahideen. But like the previous and all other
tries, it was rebuffed by Zia. The reason behind Zia’s rejections were that he
knew Cater was soon going to be replaced by Reagan and he may get a more
beneficial deal from Reagan. He was right and Ronald Reagan became president
after defeating Carter in 1980. Reagan introduced many new policies and with
help from other key members, he increased the funding of Operation Cyclone.
This resulted in increased funding to Pakistan which finally reached one
billion dollars. This was because US were facing Soviet Union which was the
only rival superpower of US and it was aiming to create Communist block. The US
aided Zia in fighting against Soviets in Pakistan. Reagan supported Pakistan’s
military regime and during this period, Pakistan was regularly visited by
American officials. This was period of strong and close ties between Pakistan
After Death Of Zia
Relations between Pakistan and US became worse when Zia and
US Ambassador were killed in a crash. The next prime ministers were Benazir
Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif. During this period, United States became strongly
opposed to nuclear development of Pakistan and hence passed the Pressler amendment.
Instead of Pakistan, US began interacting with India and creating close ties
with India. Pakistan saw Indian nuclear program as threat and hence Nawaz
Sharif and Benazir Bhutto asked US to stop it. It was because Pakistan felt
that Unite States was not doing enough to handle it which was an existential
threat to state of Pakistan. Pakistan became insecure during increased tensions
caused by Afghanistan’s infighting and threat of India. Pakistan’s support for
the Taliban was opposed by US and Pakistani government distanced itself from
US. These reasons amounted to strained relations between Pakistan and US.
US threatened Pakistan by saying that if Pakistan did not
stop supporting terrorist in India, the US will put Pakistan’s name in terrorist’s
list. After 1998 US embassy bombings in Africa, US fired missiles at al-Qaeda
camp which resulted in death of five ISI agents of Pakistan who were present at
the camp. Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif visited US to ask them to stop giving
funds to Afghan mujahideen. These request were ignored by US as US refused to
cooperate with Pakistan. Instead, the US told Pakistan to stop nuclear
development. Nawaz Sharif responded with visit to US in 1990 to solve that
nuclear problem as US had implemented a strict economic cargo on Pakistan. It resulted
in several talks. These talks included telling Pakistan to stop nuclear
projects. Nawaz Sharif replied to it by saying that he there were no atomic
bombs in Pakistan and Pakistan had no qualms in stopping nuclear projects provided
that India also stops its nuclear projects.
After India conducted nuclear tests in Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif
also ordered to conduct nuclear tests which was opposed strongly by US.
Relations became more worse after Pakistan involved with Kargil war with India
as India’s relations with US were very good.
These relations were also strained back in Indo-Pakistani War
of 1965 because during that war , US went back on its pledge of providing
military support. This caused negative feeling about US among Pakistanis and
Pakistan no longer considered US as a reliable ally.
Main cause of these strains in relations and cause of embargo
was that US feared that Pakistan was developing atomic bombs.
Since Rule Of Pervez Musharraf
September 11 attacks in 2001 in US caused US President Bush
to pressurize Pakistan into joining US war on terror. Due to this, Pakistan
played an important role in war on terror. Before this war, Pakistan supported
Taliban but after this war, Pakistan helped US by providing it with number of
military airports and also capturing over 500 Al-Qaeda members and handing them
This war improved the
relations between Pakistan and US as US gave a lot of aid in return of Pakistan
capturing terrorist. Not only this but the one billion dollar debt of Pakistan
was forgiven by US in 2003 for Pakistan’s great help in war on terror. US
removed all the sanctions on Pakistan and gave ten billion dollars in US aid
In June 2004, President Bush made Pakistan eligible for
buying advanced American military technology.
caused by war on terror
This created many doors of good relations but many Pakistanis
were angered by Pakistan’s support of US. Another advantage of this war was US
promise to support country’s earthquake relief efforts. Pakistan suffered a lot
of casualties in form of thousand of lives both civilians and soldiers. Before 9/11,
there were almost no cases of suicide bombers but after it, they became common.
Many refugees resided in Pakistan from war areas. Musharraf was soon forced out
President Bush made Pakistan a major non-NATO ally because of
war on terrorism and leading recipient of US aid. US has given Pakistan 25
billion dollars worth of economic and military aid from 2002 to 2013. These aids
included six thousand TOW ant-tank missiles, eighteen new F-16 aircraft, twenty
cobra attack helicopters and many other things. Half of the aid was given
during Obama’s rule and it was mostly economical while other half was given
during Bush presidence.
Problems In Relations
In 2008, ISI director was confronted by NSA director claiming
that he was giving information to jihadists so they can escape from American
Furthermore, Gora Prai airstrike on Afghan-Pakistani border caused
death of ten members of Pakistani military. It was considered as act of
aggression by Pakistan and they said it would strain their relations. President
Bush merely said that Pakistan is strong ally. Pakistan was blamed for misusing
almost seventy percent of US aid (3.4 billion dollars) during 2002 to 2007.
Relationship between Pakistan and US was further damaged when
twenty four Pakistani soldiers were killed in aerial strike by US near
ISI was also blamed for paying journalists to write negative
articles about United States.