Pakistan–United States relations refers to the bilateral relationship between Pakistan and the United States. On 20 October 1947, two months and six days after Pakistan's independence, the United States established relations with Pakistan, making it amongst the first nations to establish relations with the new state. Pakistan allied itself with the U.S. during the Cold war era against the Soviet Union, and was an integral player in the CENTO and SEATO organizations.
Pakistan also played a crucial role in arranging the 1972 Nixon visit to China which led to normalization of ties between the two countries. Despite a worsening of relations following the election of the left-orientedPakistan Peoples Party under Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, relations quickly improved and deepened during Operation Cyclone in the 1980s, which was directed against Soviet expansion in Central Asia and South Asia, by funding and training Muslim mujahideen in Afghanistan to combat the Soviet Union. Relations once again soured after the collapse of the Soviet Union, when the United States approved sanctions against Pakistan by passing the Pressler amendment, which was enacted against Pakistan for its nuclear weapons program, which was initiated after the war with India in 1971 and accelerated after Indiadetonated a nuclear bomb in 1974. Pakistan once again assumed an important role in American geopolitical interests in the region following the attacks of September 11th, 2001, and the subsequent War on Terror. Relations were strengthened as the United States named Pakistan a major non-NATO ally in 2002 - which allowed for the release of over $25 billion of aid to Pakistan. American recovery efforts following the 2005 Kashmir earthquake were widely appreciated by the Pakistani public.
Relations began to strain as both sides began to criticize one another's strategy in the War on Terror, with the United States government frequently accusing Pakistan of harboring members of the Afghan Taliban and Quetta Shura, while Pakistan has alleged that the United States has done little to control security in eastern Afghanistan, where Pakistan's most-wanted terrorist, Mullah Fazlullah is believed to be hiding. Furthermore, as a result of the Raymond Allen Davis incident in Lahore, the secret U.S. operation in Abbottabad which resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden, followed by the Salala incident, relations between the two countries became increasingly strained in recent years with high levels of mistrust. Public opinion in Pakistan frequently ranks the U.S. one of its least favored countries, and vice versa. In 2015, according to Gallup's annual World Affairs survey, only 15% of Americans had a favorable view of Pakistan.
The United States today engages in extensive economic, social, and scientific assistance as well as vital military relations with Pakistan, while Pakistan continues to occupy a strategic position in the United States' interests in Central and South Asia. The United States is the second-largest supplier of military equipment to Pakistan after China, and is one of Pakistan's largest donors of foreign assistance.
Relations during the Cold War
1947–1958: Relations Between the United States and the Newly-Independent State
Following Pakistan's independence from the British Indian Empire, the nascent state struggled to position itself as a non-aligned member of the international community. Pakistan's pro-communist forces commanded considerable support in East Pakistan, while in West Pakistan, the pro-Soviet Pakistan Socialist Party remained largely marginalized. The capitalist and pro-American Pakistan Muslim League dominated much of West Pakistan's political landscape, particularly in the prosperous region of Punjab, while its base of support in East Pakistan was far more modest.
Prime Minister Ali Khan, however, attempted to establish friendly relations with both the Soviet Union and the United States in hopes that Pakistan could benefit from an alliance with both superpowers. Both the Military of Pakistan and Foreign Service of Pakistan raised doubts as to whether the Soviets had the political will and capacity to provide military, technical, and economic aid to a similar degree that Soviets had begun to offer to Pakistan's socialist neighbor, India. Pakistan nevertheless requested military aid from the USSR, which was predictably rebuffed as the Soviet Union had previously oriented itself to India. The government's overtures to the Soviet Union were not favorably regarded by Pakistan's conservative middle classes, who regarded the USSR as an atheist and socialist ally of India.
In 1950, the United States extended an overture to Pakistan by inviting Prime Minister Khan for an official state visit. As the USSR had rebuffed capitalist Pakistan and aligned itself with Pakistan's rivals, the country's policy crafters found that maintaining friendly relations with both superpowers was impossible. Prime Minister Khan accepted the American invitation and paid an official 23-day state visit to the United States beginning on May 3, 1950. The event was highly politicized in Pakistan, and outraged the country's leftists, and was seen as the seminal event that leads to warm diplomatic ties for several decades. However, it is alleged that during PM Khan’s first visit to the US, president Truman requested Pakistan’s premier to let the CIA formulate a base in Pakistan, strictly to keep an eye on the activities of Soviet Union—a request which was not granted by Khan.
Throughout the period between 1950 and 1953, several major Pakistan political and military figures paid visits to the United States. During this time, Army commanderAyub Khan paid visits to the United States - a figure who would later institute a strongly pro-American military dictatorship. Foreign MinisterSir Zafrullah Khan, Foreign Secretary Ikram-Ullah Khan, Finance MinisterGhulam Muhammad, and Defense SecretarySikander Mirza all paid official state visits to the United States.
Defense ties between the two countries strengthened almost immediately following Khan's visit to the United States. Personal goodwill towards Pakistan was evident even when Liaqat Ali Khan was assassinated in 1951. Under the government of Khawaja Nazimuddin, Pakistani and American officials developed positive attitudes towards one another. Such personal goodwill was evident when Secretary of StateJohn Foster Dulles, while arguing for wheat aid to Pakistan in 1953, told the sub-committee on Agriculture and Forestry during hearings that, "the [p]eople of Pakistan had a splendid military tradition," and that in Karachi he had been met by a guard of honour which was the "finest" he had ever seen". Close ties between the countries were further consolidated by a mutual defense treaty signed in May 1954, after which hundreds of Pakistani military officers began to regularly train in the United States. A U.S. Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG) was also established in Rawalpindi, then capital of Pakistan. Pakistani officers were not only trained in military tactics, but also taught leadership, management, and economic theory.
In 1956, President Dwight Eisenhower requested permission from Pakistan's new Prime Minister, Huseyn Suhravardie, to lease the Peshawar Air Station (PAS), which was to be used in intelligence gathering of Soviet intercontinental ballistic missiles. The request was granted, and soon the United States built an airstrip, command and control station at the site before initiating operations. The base was regarded as top-secret, and even the high-ranking Pakistani public officials such as Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, were refused entry to the facility.
American interest in Pakistan as an ally against the spread of Communism primarily was focused towards maintaining excellent ties with Pakistan's military establishment. Prime Minister Huseyn Suhravardie paid several official visits to the United States - typically with his Army commander, Ayub Khan, at his side. After the military coup d'état in 1958, Ayub Khan argued that left wing activists could seize power in Pakistan, thereby jeopardizing American interests in the region. He successfully convinced American officials that the Pakistani military was the strongest, and most capable institution to govern the country.
1958–1971: Relations During the Military Dictatorships of Ayub Khan and Yahya Khan
Main articles: Peshawar Air Station, 1960 U-2 incident, and Indo-Pakistani war of 1965
During the dictatorship of Ayub Khan, Pakistan enjoyed a close relationship with the United States. Ayub Khan was strongly pro-American, and on a visit the United States in 1954, before Khan was head of state, he famously told American Brigadier-GeneralHenry A. Byroade "I didn’t come here to look at barracks. Our army can be your army if you want us. But let’s make a decision". His view of the United States had remained positive by the time he seized power. In fact, during the 1960s, Pakistan's population was generally pro-American and held a similarly positive view of the United States.
In 1960, Ayub Khan granted permission for the United States to fly its first spy missions to the Soviet Union from the Peshawar Air Base, which had been recently upgraded with American funds. In May 1960, the U-2 incident took place, in which pilot Gary Powers was captured by the USSR. The CIA notified Ayub Khan of the incident while he was in London for a state visit - he reportedly shrugged his shoulders and stated that he had expected such an incident would eventually happen.
In 1961, Khan paid his first visit to the United States as head of state. American goodwill towards Khan was evident by an elaborate state dinner held at Mount Vernon, and a ticker tape parade for Khan in New York City.
American military aide was concentrated in West-Pakistan, with economic benefits were controlled by, and almost exclusively used by, West Pakistan. East Pakistani anger towards an absence of economic development was directed towards the United States, as well as West Pakistan. The East-Pakistan parliament passed a resolution denouncing the 1954 military pact with the United States.
Economic aid to Pakistan was further increased by the United States through the consortium companies. West Pakistan's high rate of economic growth during this time period brought wide regard to Pakistan as a model of successful implementation of capitalism in a developing country - in 1964, GDP growth was 9.38%.
In 1965, Pakistan, under the leadership of Ayub Khan, launched the so-called Operation Gibraltar against India, which escalated to a declaration of war. The war with India had a high economic cost for Pakistan, which lost $500 million in aid from the United States. Economic growth that year was a mere 0.88%. The economy rapidly rebounded with a GDP growth of 2.32% in 1966, and 9.79% in 1969. However, given the huge economic cost of the war without any clear victory (or loss), Khan surrendered his Presidential powers to Army Commander General Yahya Khan (no relation) in 1969.
Despite the loss of a crucial ally, Pakistan, and its new leader, were perceived in the United States as an integral bulwark against Communism, and so Pakistan's close relations with the United States were maintained.
Pakistan's role in U.S.-China relations
President Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger took advantage of Pakistan's close relationship with People Republic of China to initiate secret contacts that resulted in Henry Kissinger’s secret visit to China in July 1971 after visiting Pakistan. These contacts resulted in the 1972 Nixon visit to China, and the subsequent normalizing of relations between the United States and the People's Republic of China.
1971: Relations during war
At the onset of hostilities between India and Pakistan, President Nixon urged Yahya Khan to restrain Pakistani forces, in order to prevent escalation of war, and to safeguard Pakistan's interests - Nixon feared that an Indian invasion of West Pakistan would lead to socialist India's domination of the subcontinent, thereby strengthening the position of the Soviet Union. Yahya Khan feared that an independent Bangladesh would lead to the disintegration of West Pakistan. However, Indian military support for Bengali guerrillas and a massive flood of Bengali refugees into India led to the escalation of hostilities and declared war between India and Pakistan.
The United States secretly encouraged the shipment of military equipment from the Shah's Iran, Turkey, and Jordan to Pakistan, and reimbursed those countries for their shipments, despite Congressional objections. The United States, however, also threatened to cut-off aid to pressure Pakistan to end hostilities, but did not wish for India to dominate the new political landscape in South Asia either.
Near the end of the war, the Nixon Administration recognized Pakistan's imminent defeat, but sent the USS Enterprise, as well as the Task Force-74 of the United States Seventh Fleet into the Indian Ocean - which was regarded as a warning to India to resist escalating attacks against West Pakistan. As it was the height of the Vietnam War, the United States show of force was seen as a sign of support for the beleaguered West Pakistan Armed Forces.
Declassified CIA intelligence documents stated that "India intended to dismember Pakistan and destroy its armed forces, a possible loss of U.S. ally in the Cold war that the United States cannot afford to lose." Nixon termed India a "Soviet stooge" before ordering the Enterprise to lead the Task Force-74. In an assessment completed by the United States, India was seen as being able to summarily defeat Pakistan, were India to receive the full backing of Soviet Union. Nixon sent a strong message to Soviet Union urging Russians to stop India from dismembering and disintegrating the State of Pakistan from existence, in Nixons' words: "In the strongest possible...(...)... terms to restrain India with which … (Soviets) have great influence and for whose actions you must share responsibility... (...)...".
Democratic government (1971-1977)
Main articles: 1977 Pakistani coup d'état, Smiling Buddha, Organization of the Islamic Conference, Pakistan and its Nuclear Deterrent Program, Democratic socialism, Pakistan Peoples Party, and Nationalization in Pakistan
See also: Pakistan–Soviet Union relations, Pakistan North Korea relations, and Pakistan-Vietnam relations
As a result of the 1970s election, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, a charismatic democratic socialist, became President (1971-1974) and later Prime minister in 1974. This period is seen as a "quiet cold war" with the Pakistan who administered under democratic socialists led by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. His socialist ideas favored the communist ideas but never actually allied with communism. Under Bhutto, Pakistan would focus on Movement of Non-Aligned Countries, building closer ties with Soviet bloc and the Soviet Union. Meanwhile, Bhutto tried to maintain a balance with the United States, but such attempts were rebuffed by the United States. Bhutto opposed the ultra-leftism concepts but was a strong proponent of left-wing politics, which the U.S. had opposed in Pakistan from the very start.
|“||When differences develop, a small country should not take on a great power head-on, it is wiser for it to duck, detour, side-step and try to enter from the back-door...||”|
|— Zulfi Bhutto, on U.S.-Pakistan relations, |
Although, Richard Nixon enjoyed firmly strong relations with Bhutto and was a close friend of Bhutto, the graph of relation significantly went down under the Presidency of Jimmy Carter. Carter, an anti-socialist, tightened the embargo placed on Pakistan and placed a pressure through the United States Ambassador to Pakistan, Brigadier-GeneralHenry Byroade. The socialist orientation, and Bhutto's proposed left-wing theories, had badly upset the United States, further clinging the bell tolls in the United States as fearing Pakistan's loss as an ally in the Cold war. The leftists and Bhutto's policy towards Soviet Union was seen sympathetic and had built a bridge for the Soviet Union to have gain access in Pakistan's warm water ports, that something both the United States and the Soviet Union had lacked.
During the course of 1976 presidential election, Carter was elected as U.S. President, and his very inaugural speech Carter announced the determination to seek the ban of nuclear weapons. With Carter's election, Bhutto lost all links to United States administration he had through President Nixon. Bhutto had to face the embargo and pressure from the American President who was totally against the political objectives which Bhutto had set forth for his upcoming future plans. Carter indirectly announced his opposition to Bhutto, his ambition and the elections. Responding to President Carter, Bhutto launched a more actively aggressive and serious diplomatic offensive on the United States and the Western world over the nuclear issues. Bhutto's demagogic act on nuclear issues put the United States, particularly Carter who found it extremely difficult to counter Bhutto, on Defensive position at the United Nations. While India and the Soviet Union were pushed aside when Bhutto attacked Indian nuclear programme as labeling latter's program based on the nuclear proliferation. Writing to the world and Western leaders, Bhutto made it clear and maintained to the United States:
Pakistan was exposed to a kind of "nuclear threat and blackmail" unparalleled elsewhere..... (...)... If the world's community failed to provide political insurance to Pakistan and other countries against the nuclear blackmail, these countries would be a constraint to launch atomic bomb programs of their own!... [A]ssurances provided by the United Nations were not "Enough!"...
— Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, statement written in "Eating Grass", source
Although Carter placed an embargo on Pakistan, Bhutto under the technical guidance and diplomatic though Foreign ministerAziz Ahmed, succeeded to bought sensitive equipment, common metal materials, and electronic components, marked as "common items", hide the true nature of the intentions, greatly enhance the atomic bomb project, though a complete failure for Carter's embargo. Bhutto tried to resolve the issue, but Carter intentionally sabotages the talks. In a thesis written by historian Abdul Ghafoor Buhgari, Carter keenly sabotaged Bhutto credibility, but did not wanted to favor his execution as Carter made a call to General Zia-ul-Haq to stop the act. Therefore, senior leadership of Pakistan Peoples Party reached out to different country's ambassadors and high commissioners but did not meet with the U.S. ambassador, as the leadership knew the "noble" part played by Carter and his administration. When Carter administration discovered Bhutto's act, the programme was reached to a well-advanced level, and furthermore, had disastrous effect on SALT I Treaty which was soon collapse, a failure of President Carter to stop the atomic proliferation and arm race between the Soviet Union and the United States heightened.
In 1974, with India carried out the test of nuclear weapons near the Pakistan's eastern border, codename Smiling Buddha, Bhutto sought the United States to impose economic sanctions in India. Though it was unsuccessful approach, in a meeting of Pakistan's Ambassador to the United States with Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Kissinger told Pakistan’s ambassador to Washington that the test is “a fait accompli and that Pakistan would have to learn to live with it,” although he was aware this is a “little rough” on the Pakistanis. In the 1970s, the ties were further severed with Bhutto as Bhutto had continued to administer the research on weapons, and in 1976, in a meeting with Bhutto and Kissinger, Kissinger had told Bhutto, "that if you [Bhutto] do not cancel, modify or postpone the Reprocessing Plant Agreement, we will make a horrible example from you". The meeting was ended by Bhutto as he had replied: "For my country’s sake, for the sake of people of Pakistan, I did not succumb to that black-mailing and threats". After the meeting, Bhutto intensified his nationalization and industrialization policies, as well as aggressively taking steps to spur scientific research on atomic weapons and the atomic bomb project. Bhutto authorized the construction of Chagai weapon-testing laboratories, whilst the United States opposed the action and predicted that it will lead to a massive and destructive war between India and Pakistan in the future. The atomic bomb project became fully mature in 1978, and a first cold test was conducted in 1983 (see Kirana-I).
Bhutto called upon Organization of Islamic Conference in order to bring Muslim world together but after months, the pro-United States Muslim nations and the United States itself took the promised step and Bhutto was declared as the corrupted one, and, as a result, Bhutto was hanged in 1979.
Military dictatorship (1977–1988)
Main articles: Soviet war in Afghanistan, Operation Cyclone, Foreign aid to Pakistan, Reagan Doctrine, Ronald Reagan, Tim Osman, Grand Mosque Seizure, Islamic terrorism, and United States and state terrorism
In 1979, a group of Pakistani students burned the American embassy in Islamabad to the ground killing two Americans as a reaction to Grand Mosque Seizure, citing the U.S. involvement.
After the removal and death of Bhutto, the Pakistan's ties with the United States were better and improved. On December 24, 1979, the Soviet 40th Army crossed borders, rolling into Afghanistan, President Carter issued his doctrine (see Carter Doctrine). The silent features offers the creation of the Rapid Deployment Force (RDF), increasing the deployment of United States Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT), a collective security framework in the region and a commitment to the defence of Pakistan by transfer of significant amount of weapons and Monetarism.
Following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, ISI and CIA ran multibillion-dollar worth Operation Cyclone to thwart the communist regime as well as defeating Soviets in Afghanistan. Throughout the military regime of General Zia-ul-Haq, the ties and relations were promoted at its maximum point, and the United States had given billion dollars of economic and military aid to Pakistan. The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979 highlighted the common interest of Pakistan and the United States in opposing the Soviet Union. In 1981, Pakistan and the United States 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 US assistance, in the largest covert operation in history, Pakistan armed and supplied anti-Soviet fighters in Afghanistan.
In the 1980s, Pakistan agreed to pay $658 million for 28 F-16 fighter jets from the United States; however, the US congress froze the deal, citing objections to Pakistan's nuclear ambitions. Under the terms of the American cancellation, the US kept both the money and the planes, leading to angry claims of theft by Pakistanis.
|“||When Americans lost in Vietnam, Americans went home and cried. When the Soviets got kicked out of Egypt, Soviets decided to go after Libya... Is America still the leader of the free world? In what respect?.... I hope it will soon restore its countervailing role, abandoned after Vietnam||”|
|— Zia on U.S.'s policy on Pakistan., |
Initially, Carter offered Pakistan $325 million in aid over three years; Zia rejected this as "peanuts." Carter also signed the finding in 1980 that allowed less than $50 million a year to go to the Mujahideen. All attempts were rebuffed, Zia shrewdly played his cards knowing that Carter was on his way out and he may get a better deal from the incoming Reagan. After Ronald Reagan came to office, defeating Carter for the US Presidency in 1980, all this changed, due to President Reagan's new priorities and the unlikely and remarkably effective effort by Congressman Charles Wilson (D-TX), aided by Joanne Herring, and CIA Afghan Desk Chief Gust Avrakotos to increase the funding for Operation Cyclone. Aid to the Afghan resistance, and to Pakistan, increased substantially, finally reaching $1 billion. The United States, faced with a rival superpower looking as if it were to create another Communist bloc, now engaged Zia in fighting a US-aided war by proxy in Afghanistan against the Soviets.
The Reagan administration and Reagan himself supported Pakistan's military regime, American officials visited the country on a routine basis. The U.S. political influence in Pakistan effectively curbed down the liberals, socialists, communists, and democracy advocates in the country in 1983, instead advising Zia to hold the non-partisans elections in 1985.General Akhtar Abdur Rahman of ISI and William Casey of CIA worked together in harmony, and in an atmosphere of mutual trust. The ISI officer Mohammad Yusuf stated "“It was a great blow to the Jehad when Casey died", calling Casey "shaheed", a former CIA director is actually a martyr of Islam[clarification needed]. The U.S. intelligence community also helped Zia to expand the idea of The Establishment in the national politics of Pakistan, approving the sale of F-16 Fighting Falcon, nuclear technology, naval warships, intelligence training and efforts.
Relations after the Cold war: 1988-1999
Democratic governments (1988–1998)
Main articles: Pressler amendment, Taliban, Economy of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif, Benazir Bhutto, Indo-Pakistani War of 1999, 1999 Pakistani coup d'état, Pokhran-II, Chagai-II, and Soviet troop withdrawal from Afghanistan
After the restoration of democracy after the disastrous and mysterious death of Zia and U.S. Ambassador in an aviation crash, relations deteriorated quickly with upcoming prime ministers Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif. The United States took a tough stand on Pakistan's nuclear development, passing the Pressler amendment, while significantly improving the relations with India. Both Benazir and Nawaz Sharif also asked the United States to take steps to stop the Indian nuclear program, feeling that United States was not doing enough to address what Pakistan saw as an existential threat. Pakistan found itself in a state of extremely high insecurity as tensions mounted with India and Afghanistan’s infighting continued. Pakistan’s alliance with the U.S. was strained due to factors such as its support for the Taliban and public distancing of the Pakistani government from the U.S.
Rift in relations
In 1992 US Ambassador Nicholas Platt advised Pakistan's leaders that if Pakistan continued to support terrorists in India or Indian-administered territory, "the Secretary of State may find himself required by law to place Pakistan on the state sponsors of terrorism list." When the US decided to respond to the 1998 United States embassy bombings in Africa by firing missiles at an al-Qaeda camp in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, five Pakistani ISI agents present at the camp were killed.
In 1989, Benazir Bhutto made a quick visit in the U.S. asking U.S. to stop financing the Afghan mujahideen to President George H. W. Bush, which she marked "America's Frankenstein". This was followed by Nawaz Sharif who visited the U.S. in 1990, but U.S. gave cold shoulder to Pakistan, asking Pakistan to stop developing the nuclear deterrence. In 1990, Prime minister Nawaz Sharif travelled to the U.S. to solve the nuclear crises after the U.S. had tightened its economic embargo on Pakistan, prompting Sharif and then-Treasure MinisterSartaj Aziz to held talks on Washington. It was widely reported in Pakistan that the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Teresita Schaffer had told the Foreign Minister Shahabzada Yaqub Khan to halt the uranium enrichment programme. In December 1990, France's Commissariat à l'énergie atomique agreed to provide a commercial 900MW power plant, but plans did not materialize as France wanted Pakistan to provide entire financial funds for the plant. Furthermore, the U.S. Ambassador Robert Oakley further influenced on the project, showing growing concerns of the U.S. on the agreement. While talking to U.S. media, Nawaz Sharif declared that: "Pakistan possessed no [atomic] bomb... Pakistan would be happy to sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) but it must be provided "first" to India to do the same". After France's project was cancelled, Nawaz Sharif successfully held talks with the China to build the largest commercial nuclear plant, CHASNUPP-I in Chasma city in Pakistan.
In 1995, Prime minister Benazir Bhutto made a final visit to U.S. urging President Bill Clinton to amend the Pressler Amendment and emphasized the United States to launch a campaign against extremism, with Pakistan allying with the United States. Prime minister Benazir Bhutto was successful in passing the Brown Amendment, but the embargo on arms remained active. During the United States trip, Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto faced heated criticism and opposition on the nuclear weapons program, who however responded fiercely and in turn sharply criticized U.S.'s nonproliferation policy and demanded that the United States honor its contractual obligation. Although Benazir was able to convince the U.S. business community to invest in Pakistan, she was unable to revert the economic embargo which kept investment away from the country.
In 1998, Prime minister Nawaz Sharif ordered to conduct first nuclear tests after Benazir Bhutto called for the tests (see Chagai-I and Chagai-II), in response to Indian nuclear tests (see Pokhran-II). Nawaz Sharif's ordering the nuclear tests was met with great hostility and ire in the United States after President Clinton placing the economic embargo on Pakistan. The relations were also refrained and strained after Nawaz Sharif became involved with Kargil war with India, while India's relations with Israel and U.S. greatly enhanced. Soon after the tests, Benazir Bhutto publicly announced her believe that her father was "sent to the gallows at the instance of the superpower for pursuing the nuclear capability, though she did not disclose the name of the power. In 1999, Benazir leaked the information that Nawaz Sharif would be deposed that there is (nothing) that Americans want to support Nawaz Sharif or the democracy in Pakistan. After the military coup was commenced against Nawaz Sharif, the President Clinton criticized the coup demanding the restoration of democracy but did not favor the mass demonstration against the military regime as the coup, at that time, was popular. In conclusion, both Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto refused to make compromises with respect to the country's nuclear deterrence, instead building infrastructure despite U.S. objections.
Cold war legacies and trade sanctions
CENTO and SEATO
Pakistan was a leading member of the Central Treaty Organization (CENTO) and the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) from its adoption in 1954-55 and allied itself with the United States during the most of the Cold war. In 1971-72, Pakistan ended its alliance with the United States after the East-Pakistan war in which East Pakistan successfully seceded with the aid of India. The promise of economic aid from the United States was instrumental in creating these agreements. At the time the pact was adopted, Pakistan's relationship with the United States was the friendliest in Asia.
During the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, the United States refused to provide any military support to as against its pledged. This generated widespread anti-American feelings and emotions in Pakistan that the United States was no longer a reliable ally. According to C. Christine Fair, the U.S. cut off arms supplies because Pakistan "started the war with India by using regular military personnel disguised as mujahideen." According to Fair, in 1971 "the Pakistanis were angry at the U.S. again, for not bailing them out from another war they started against India."
In April 1979, the United States suspended most economic assistance to Pakistan over concerns about Pakistan's atomic bomb project under the Foreign Assistance Act.
Military science programmes
Main article: Pakistan–United States military relations
Pakistan and atomic weapons
In 1955, after Prime minister Huseyn Suhrawardy established nuclear power to ease of the electricity crises, with U.S. offering grant of US$350,000 to acquire a commercial nuclear power plant. Following this year, the PAEC signed an agreement with counterpart, the United States Atomic Energy Commission, where the research on nuclear power and training was started initially by the United States. During the 1960s, the U.S. opens doors to Pakistan's scientists and engineers to conduct research on leading institutions of the U.S., notably ANL, ORNL, and LLNL. In 1965, Abdus Salam went to U.S. and convinced the U.S. government to help establish a national institute of nuclear research in Pakistan (PINSTECH) and a research reactor Parr-I. The PINSTECH building was designed by leading American architect Edward Durrell Stone; American nuclear engineer Peter Karter designed the reactor, which was then supplied by the contractor American Machine and Foundry. Years later, the U.S. helped Pakistan to acquire its first commercial nuclear power plant, Kanupp-I, from GE Canada in 1965. All this nuclear infrastructure was established by the U.S. throughout the 1960s, as part of the CongressionalAtoms for Peace program.
This was changed after Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and democratic socialists under him decided to build nuclear weapons for the sake of their national security and survival. In 1974, U.S. imposed embargo and restriction on Pakistan to limit its nuclear weapons program. In the 1980s, the American concerns of Pakistan’s role in nuclear proliferation eventually turned out to be true after the exposure of nuclear programs of Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia and Libya. Although the atomic program was effectively peaceful and devoted for economical usage, the nuclear policy change in the 1970s and till the present, with Pakistan maintaining its program as part of the strategic deterrence.
United States of America remains one of the first countries to have established diplomatic ties with Pakistan. Although the relationship dates back to October 20, 1947, it can be extrapolated that the relations have been based strictly on military and economic support.
During the initial years of Pakistan, the country had the options of building allegiance with Soviet Union or United States, however, Pakistan opted for the latter.
Throughout the course of these years many officials from Pakistan such as commander-in-chief Ayub Khan, foreign minister Zafrullah Khan, foreign secretary Ikramullah, finance minister Ghulam Muhammad, defence secretary Sikander Mirza and special envoy Mir Laiq Ali visited US, aiming to receive financial aids from the country.
1954: Pakistan signed Mutual Defense Assistance Agreement with the United States in May. Under the agreement, many Pakistani soldiers went to United States for training whereas US also established a Military Assistance Advisory Group (Maag) in Rawalpindi.
1956: President Dwight Eisenhower requested prime minister Suhrawardy to lease Peshawar Air Station to the American Army for keeping an eye on soviet Union and its ballistic missile programme. The request was granted by the prime minister.
Ayub Khan allowed United States to fly spy mission to Soviet Union from Pakistan’s territory and accompanied by his daughter visited United States of America.
United States increased the amount of aid Pakistan was designated to receive from the consortium of Pakistan, half a billion dollars of which were lost in 1965’s Indo-Pakistan war—war staged to cause a rebel in Indian occupied Kashmir. The war also led US to place economical and military embargoes on Pakistan, which resulted in an economic collapse.
1971-1974: Being an important ally for US during the cold war, United States supported Pakistan, despite the arms embargo. Pakistan also assisted president Richard Nixon in making his first visit to Peoples’ Republic of China.
During 1971’s war, US is speculated to have provided Pakistan with arms and military aid, in order to discourage India from penetrating further into the cities of Pakistan because losing Pakistan meant losing an important ally in the soviet war.Moreover, as per the elections result, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was elected as the president of Pakistan and later on became the prime minister in 1974.
Although Bhutto was considered a socialist, he was a close and respected friend of president Nixon, which went in Pakistan’s favour.
1976-1979: President Jimmy Carter, an anti-socialist, won the presidential election of US and announced to seek a ban on nuclear weapons.
Bhutto lost the favours he enjoyed whilst Nixon was US president as Carter did not appreciate his policies and tightened already placed embargoes on Pakistan. However, Bhutto managed to procure items to enhance his atomic bomb project. President Carter and his administration allegedly threatened Bhutto to disrupt the process of atomic proliferation and research to which the latter did not agree, leading to his differences with the Americans.
1979-1988: During Zia ul Haq’s regime, Pakistan and United States enjoyed a warm and congenial relationship, which was primarily based on military ties and advancements. During the decade, US, along with CIA and ISI, launched billions of dollars worth of operations to prevent Soviet forces from further advancing into the region.It is during this period that United States granted billions of dollars to Pakistan in the name of military and economical aid. By the year 1981, Pakistan was discussing a $3.2-billion aid package with United States and in 1987 Pakistan became the second largest recipient of aid after Israel.
However, by the end of General Zia’s regime, Congress adopted Pressler amendment. The amendment banned major military and economical aid to Pakistan unless the state was able to justify and provide sufficient evidence that the funds are not being used for nuclear proliferation.
However it is alleged that although Pakistan disclosed that it could enrich uranium and assemble a nuclear device in 1984 and 1987 respectively, the sanctions were not imposed till 1990.
1990: US, under the Pressler amendment, imposed sanctions on Pakistan, as the country by then had lost its strategic importance in soviet war.
1992: The relations between US and Pakistan plummeted further when US ambassador Nicholas Platt, warned Pakistan of being included into state sponsors of terrorism list, in case it continued to support militants causing trouble in India.
1998: Prime minister Nawaz Sharif conducted nuclear test in Balochistan, in retaliation to similar tests conducted by India, which invited the wrath of Clinton’s administration on both the countries. President Clinton imposed sanctions under Glenn amendment on India as well as Pakistan.
Glenn amendment included suspension of aid, including economic development assistance, credits and credit guarantees by the US government, US bank loans to the governments of India and Pakistan, loans from international financial institutions, such as the IMF and World Bank, and exports of dual-use nuclear or missile items.
However, in July of 1998, US lifted the sanctions on both the countries for purchasing agricultural products from US farmers. Later in the year President Clinton exercised his waiver on lifting restrictions on the activities of US banks in Pakistan.
Initially Pakistan tried to strike a negotiation deal with Taliban and al Qaeda members to handover Osama bin Laden to American authorities. However, when negotiations failed, Pakistan allowed American army to use its military bases for launching attacks on Afghan soil.
However, President Pervez Musharraf confessed that the country had no option but to support United States as it had threatened Pakistan of “bombing it into stone age” if it did not join the fight against al Qaeda.
Simultaneously in 2001, US officials introduced a bill to lift all the sanctions, previously imposed on Pakistan under Pressler and Glenn amendments.
2003: United States officially forgave $1 billion worth of loan it had granted to Pakistan in a goodwill gesture and appreciation for Pakistan’s cooperation.
Since 2004, US army has launched various drone strikes on the north-western side of the country. The drone strikes aim to target Pakistani Taliban and supporters of al Qaeda, however, the strikes have also resulted in latge civilian deaths and caused much opposition from Pakistanis.
2007: A report was issued in which Pakistan was accused of using aid money provided by US to Pakistan for its cooperation on war on terror, for strengthening its defence against India.
2008: The trust, on both sides, has been missing since the war on terror started as US on several occasions has accused Pakistan Army to tip the Taliban and pro-Taliban factions off on US operations.
In the June of 2008, an air strike by the US Army killed 11 paramilitary soldiers of Pakistan Army Frontier Corps, along with eight Taliban. The strike and deaths instigated a fierce reaction from Pakistani command calling the act to have shaken the foundations of mutual trust and cooperation.
The famous Kerry-Lugar Bill, which invited much controversy and criticism, was passed in the October of 2009. The bill entailed the approval of granting $7.5 billion of non-military aid, if the command of the country accepted certain condition. The bill clearly showed US’s distrust in Pakistan’s military command and considered Pakistani Taliban more threatening than Afghan Taliban, amongst many other essential points.
2010: In the beginning of the year, Pakistan Army in a joint operation with US intelligence agencies captured Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, a famous Taliban commander, from the tribal belt of Pakistan. The success of the operation was hailed by the United States and Pakistan was praised for its utmost cooperation.
2011: In the beginning of 2011, Raymond Davis, a CIA agent in Pakistan killed two Pakistani men in Lahore, claiming that they came to rob him. Davis was taken into custody for killing civilians, however, American officials claimed that he was entitled to diplomatic immunity and must be released immediately.Raymond Davis was later acquitted of the murder charges and was sent to United States.
In the May of 2011, Osama bin Laden was killed in an operation conducted by US Navy Seals in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
President Barrack Obama claimed that the information pertaining to the operation conducted in Abbottabad was not shared with Pakistan Army. However, ISI claimed that the operation was conducted jointly, a claim which was blatantly denied by President Asif Ali Zardari.
Since the war on terror started in 2001, Pakistan has received an estimated amount of $20 billion from United States; however, in the wake of OBL’s raid US withheld $800 million of aid to Pakistan.
US-Pakistan relations plummeted again when 24 Pakistani soldiers died in an air strike by the US Army. Afghan and US officials claimed that the firing was a result of the attack launched from the Pakistani side of the border, however, the Pakistani military and government denied the claims.
As a result of the attack, Pakistani government ordered US army to evacuate Salala air base which was being used to launch offensive on Taliban and militants. Moreover, the government also halted Nato supplies for United Sates.
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said that the supplies were blocked without any pressure and will be restored with consensus.
Moreover, Nato Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen urged Pakistan to reopen Nato ground supply routes to Afghanistan. However, Rasmussen also said that Pakistan had not been invited to the crucial 25th Nato summit to be held in May in Chicago.
Simultaneously, US Senator John Kerry, a leading proponent of US aid for Pakistan, said that Pakistan needs to be more cooperative, in order to eliminate Taliban sanctuaries from the country.
However, top Pakistani leaders decided to meet on May 15, in order to discuss ending a blockade of foreign military supply routes into Afghanistan and repairing US relations, signaling a rapprochement ahead of a Nato summit.
Simultaneously, in a sudden shift in events, Nato, on May 15, said that it will invite President Zardari to the alliance’s summit in Chicago, after the country’s foreign minister proposed reopening its Afghan border to Nato military supplies. President Zardari accepted the invitation and decided to attend the summit.However, on May 18, US lawmakers in the House of Representatives debating the National Defence Authorisation Act voted 412-1 for an amendment that could block up to $650 million in proposed payments to Pakistan unless Islamabad lets coalition forces resume shipment of war supplies across its territory.
However, on the same day, four containers laden with supplies for the US Embassy in Kabul crossed into Afghanistan from Pakistan via Torkham border post.
A local official while confirming supplies to the US Embassy via Torkham said he could not say when the cargo had been transported.
“Pakistan government has never put restriction on the transportation of supplies for the diplomatic missions, including the American Embassy in Kabul,” a senior official, who was dealing with the matter, said.
“Ban on the transportation of Nato supplies is still intact.”
Simultaneously President Zardari arrived in Washington on May 19 to attend the Nato summit in Chicago. However, both the countries were unable to strike a conclusive deal on the restoration of Nato supplies as the summit ended.In a fresh warning to Pakistan, a Senate panel on May 23 approved a foreign aid budget for next year that slashes US assistance to Islamabad by more than half and threatens further reductions if it fails to open supply routes to Nato forces in Afghanistan.
Sen Patrick Leahy, a Democrat and the chairman of the subcommittee, and the panel’s top Republican, Sen Lindsey Graham, said money for Pakistan was cut 58 per cent as lawmakers questioned Islamabad’s commitment to the fight against terrorism.
Moreover, the Senate Appropriations Committee, on May 24, voted to cut aid to Pakistan by a symbolic $33 million – $1 million for each year of jail time handed to Shakil Afridi, a Pakistani doctor who allegedly assisted the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in finding Osama bin Laden.
However, the United States agreed to reimburse $1.18 billion or almost 75 per cent of the claims Pakistan has submitted for the expenses incurred in the fight against militants along the Afghan border.
The approval showed that despite increased tensions, the US financial assistance to Pakistan has continued although it is becoming increasingly difficult to get congressional support for helping Pakistan.
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, on June 7, said that the United States was running out of patience with Pakistan over safe havens of insurgents who attack US troops across the border in Afghanistan.Panetta spoke after talks with Afghan Defence Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak on the latest leg of an Asian tour that has taken him to India, but not Islamabad in a sign of how dire US-Pakistan relations are.
On June 8, US Assistant Defence Secretary Peter Lavoy arrived in Islamabad, in a fresh attempt to bring an end to a six-month blockade on Nato supplies, crossing into Afghanistan.
However, on June 11, the United States withdrew negotiators from Pakistan after talks failed to produce a deal on reopening vital Nato supply routes into Afghanistan. Sherry Rehman, Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States, still sounded optimistic and said that the return of an American negotiating team from Islamabad, where it worked with Pakistani counterparts on revival of the Nato supply routes, does not represent an institutional US pullout.
Moreover, Panetta ruled out an apology over an air strike last year that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers and badly set back efforts to improve US-Pakistani ties, saying it was “time to move on.”
Gen John Allen, the top commander of American and Nato forces in Afghanistan, visited Pakistan on Wednesday, amidst heightened tensions between the two countries.The agenda of the talks remained to restore Nato supply routes and cross-border attacks launched on Pakistani soil from Afghanistan.
Pakistan, on July 3, agreed to reopen key supply routes into Afghanistan ending a bitter stand-off after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she was sorry for the loss of life in a botched air raid.
A US official said that as part of the deal Washington will release about $1.1 billion to the Pakistani military from a US “coalition support fund” designed to reimburse Pakistan for the cost of counter-insurgency operations.
Moreover, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on July 8 that the United States and Pakistan were putting past tensions behind them to focus on the future, after meeting her Pakistani counterpart Hina Rabbani Khar in Tokyo.
It was the first meeting between Clinton and Khar since the two countries last week struck a deal to re-open supply routes, closed for seven months following a US attack in which 24 Pakistani soldiers died.
President Barack Obama, on July 17, named Richard G Olson to be the US ambassadors to Pakistan, tasking him with shaping highly sensitive relationships after US troops pull out.The US commander in Afghanistan Gen John Allen visited GHQ to hold talks in Pakistan on August 2 for the first time since Islamabad ended a seven-month blockade on Nato supplies destined for the 10-year war effort.
Moreover, Pakistan received $1.1 billion dollars from the United States for its fight against militants, the first installment of its kind since December 2010 on the same day.
The agenda of the meeting was focused on improving security along the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States Sherry Rehman met with Congressman Dan Burton on August 3, a Republican from Indiana, and discussed ways to enhance Pakistan-US relationship.
The United States and Pakistan reached an understanding on joint operations against the Haqqani network on August 5, However a joint decision could not be agreed upon.
The sources said the issue of cross-border attacks, by the Haqqani network into Afghanistan and by TTP into Pakistan, was discussed in a series of meetings between senior US and Pakistani officials during the week.
The US State Department confirmed on August 23 that an American diplomat had a meeting with Pakistani officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad as Pakistan lodged its first formal protest with the United States over drone strikes.