Pakistan’s Foreign Policy in the Light of Quaid-e-Azam’s Vision
Before proceeding to Jinnah’s foreign policy I would like to shed light on one point. The personality who was the ‘Quaid-e-Azam’ of my childhood, I had to keep his concept aside, as a researcher cannot be biased and I had to present objective material. About the man named Muhammad Ali Jinnah, I can say with profound faith that ‘Jinnah’ about whom I know today is placed on much higher pedestal than the one I idealized in my childhood.
It is a misfortune to abandon the research. This is also a misfortune to move ahead led by emotions while it is inevitably important to realize that research is something that will invigorate Pakistan and its history. For instance when a small piece of land is bought, how much research is carried out prior the purchase? It is never bought with closed eyes, rather, first of all its location is considered. Our blessing was a finely designed plot (Pakistan), but regretfully it is true worth has never been evaluated in the due manner i.e., there is a notion that probably it is covered with litter and trash and it stinks, some people rush to foreign countries. Think for a while that in a posh locality of Islamabad, even if a plot is littered with rubbish and it may give out foul smell, will it lose its worth? Being scared of sink one should not decide to flee. Why not to clear the trash and explore its true worth.
In the context of geo-political or geo-economic significance an ideal plot (piece of land) should be open from both sides. This plot (Pakistan) with the grace of Allah Almighty has quadratic opening. One desires to have a close market, and a market like Central Asia has been placed at its feet. A plot with an easy access to the other land has always been a desirable place and it has been blessed with sea port. Allah Almighty has bestowed upon Pakistan everything, and what is required, is to realize it (blessedness) and refrain from absurd criticism. Open eyes and an open mind will lead to a clear and better perception of the things.
It is pertinent to answer some relevant questions before discussing the actual topic, especially with reference to an oft commented point that Quaide Azam never gave any comprehensive statement over foreign policy or why he never devised any policy. It is very important to realize the significance of time and space to understand the history. Indeed, it is very hard to understand the environment of 1947 in a 2019 state of comfort and calm. We may find it easy to comment about that, yet, do we know that how much trained man power did we have at that time? Has anyone, till date, bothered to evaluate that at the time of division of man power, only 150 people from office of the foreign ministry were transferred to Pakistan and more than a hundred of them were peons, and around twenty were the clerical staff. There were only four trained officers who had already worked in foreign office and all of them were section officers. The first one Ikraam Sahib, designated as foreign secretary, was the first foreign secretary without any experience of foreign relations. It is really easy to question and criticize, yet indeed very important to explore the historical facts. If the statements and speeches of Jinnah are studied and his acts observed, they serve an eye opener. The guiding principles that are known as objectives of the foreign policy were laid down vivid and clear cut by Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
The second question often raised is that who was Jinnah to dilate upon such principles as he was the Governor General of the country and what he had to do with the foreign policy? With reference to that, one minor fact is stated here that while reading the provisional constitution of 1947, it is revealed that powers possessed by the Governor General at that time were unmatchable. Probably none of the other Governor General in the world would have possessed such immense powers and it can be asserted with confidence that all the actions taken by Jinnah were within the constitutional powers. As far as the foreign office is concerned, generally it is told that our first Foreign Minister was Mr. Zafarullah, which is not true. Mr. Zafarullah was made a part of cabinet in December, 1947 while Pakistan had already come into being in August, 1947. In the cabinet formed then, Liaqat Ali Khan had the additional charge of foreign policies. Secondly, Liaqat Ali Khan was much occupied and he had to spend most of his time in Delhi, as he had to look on the other matters with India. Amidst such circumstances, Jinnah himself shouldered the responsibility of foreign office. Ikramullah used to brief Jinnah in everything as well as take instructions from him. Zafarullah continued to consult Jinnah even when he became the Minister.
What was Jinnha’s vision of foreign policy? There are six basic objectives recommended by Muhammad Ali Jinnah. How valid they are today, read and decide!
The first main objective was the peace all over the world. He was a staunch supporter of peace. For establishing peace, he wanted to move on with anyone in any corner of the world in a lawful manner and Pakistan remained a part of this peace entirely with utter honesty.
Second aspect to be noted is that Jinnah had inclination towards United Nations. Right in the beginning, Jinnah sent Mr. Baig to the secretary general of United Nations and requested him for the membership and even after September he expedited the process which actually meant Pakistan could be a member of UN as early as possible. He stated that Pakistan would support UN by all means. When in 1947, Pakistan came into being; UN had just been two years old. Jinnah was insisting UN, time and again, that they must learn some lesson from the mistakes committed by the League of Nations and that their job was to create peace in the world and resolve the issues. If that is seen conceptually, more than UN, Jinnah was actually supporting the idea of the ‘Community of Nations’ which is actually constituent of so many nations with individual notions, bearing differences, and UN should be an organization to play the role of an arbitrator. Jinnah believed that there must be some power or organization in the world capable of mediation amongst the nations.
The third point, significantly important, from Jinnah’s policy is that Jinnah was a supporter of right to self-determination. Whoever initiated a movement for its right to self-determination, Jinnah believed Pakistan must stand by it. There is no denying the fact that Muslim League and Jinnah himself had been great advocates of Palestine. From 1933 to 1947, there were eighteen resolutions passed in the favour of Palestine and even during the session of Lahore Resolution of 1940, a resolution was passed to support Palestine as well. Jinnah and Muslim League had an unambiguous point of view about not only Palestine but all the other countries asking for their rights like Indonesia, Syria, Morocco, etc. Here a misunderstanding is created that whether this support was confined to the Islamic states only? It should be noted that Burma and Ceylon were also considered on the same lines, though these were not Islamic states. Since they stood for their right to self-determination, Jinnah stood there for them and this objective of Jinnah still holds a great significance in foreign policy.
In next of his foreign policy objectives, Jinnah wanted to create brotherly relationships with Islamic countries. However, in the capacity of being leader of Pakistan, he lived 13 years only. In order to understand his perception, the policies of Muslim League before and after the partition of Subcontinent have to be analysed. It is obvious that Muslim League raised voice over every issue faced by the Muslim countries; rather, viewing the history of the Muslims of the Subcontinent, it becomes evident that wherever Muslims faced a problem, the Muslims of the Subcontinent stood for them with great courage, seriousness, and concerted endeavours. After the inception of Pakistan the first delegation that visited abroad, did not make for America, Russia or Britain, rather in the leadership of Feroz Khan Noon it went to Turkey, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan etc.; to precisely in Muslim states only. The first Head of the State who visited Pakistan was the Sheikh of Kuwait in September 1947. Jinnah hosted him personally in the Governor General House. Besides, with Turkey, very good relations have been enjoyed since ever. In Iraq, King Farooq was the king, and he mocked by stating that “Do you know Islam was born on August 14, 1947?” Jinnah tried to get into good relations with them as well. At that time, Pakistan was not resourceful enough to set up embassies in all the countries. Thus in the beginning, ambassadors were sent to seven countries only. Amongst those seven, three were Muslim countries i.e., Iran, Egypt and Afghanistan. While Egypt, then was opposing Pakistan, Jinnah tried his utmost to maintain friendly relationship with Islamic countries.
The next objective may be objected by some people as Jinnah tried his best to have good relations with his neighbouring countries. This goal of Pakistan’s foreign policy was clearly stated by Jinnah. Many amongst us often question that what type of good relations were these with the neighbours; a conflicting situation with India on one hand while with Afghanistan on the other hand. I want to clarify, at that time; there were neighbours other than India and Afghanistan. Now, when we talk about 1947, we forget that Bangladesh was also a part of Pakistan and Burma and Ceylon, now neighbours to Bangladesh, were also our neighbours. They both were fighting against imperial rule. Generally, as a newly established country, Pakistan should try maintaining good ties with imperial power but Jinnah accepted both countries and extended moral support to them. When both these countries got independence, Pakistan sent its delegation and welcomed them and set up trade links with them. Until now, our all trade talk has been about having trade links with Europe. We have never thought about regional trade. One may object that Burma came up with a problem then as well. Jinnah had a clear point of view on that also. Jinnah’s stance was that since the borders were already demarked, we could not interfere with the internal affairs of Burma. We could not challenge the sovereignty of any country. Then, next neighbour was China that was going through the Long March and Red Revolution of Mao. However, Jinnah again resorted to the same point of view of internal affair and maintained that when the revolution and the new government will be ultimate, we will establish good relationship with the government. In case the revolution fails, then, the regime operative at that time will be tried to establish good relationships. Our object is to harness good relations with the neighbouring countries, not to irritate them by showing keenness for the revolution. Similarly, with Iran, regarding Baluchistan border the dispute could also pop up but Nehru made a very smart investment and took the ministry of external affairs and he tried to set up good relations with everyone. He had generously invested on Iran by preparing a lobby which could, later on, pose problems for Pakistan. Jinnah, immediately, appointed an ambassador in Iran and sent Raja Ghazanfer Ali Khan. Besides, he also invited the editors of some good newspapers of Iran. This is the similar strategy used by the USA these days i.e., inviting the young scholars and brain washing them. Jinnah invited the heads of their editorial boards and marketed for Pakistan. As a result, on August 4, 1948, every newspaper in Tehran, projected Pakistan and wrote about supporting it, and 14th August was celebrated there.
Regarding Afghanistan, Jinnah did not create a conflict there, rather sent the message of friendship to Syedullah over there and they sent Najeebullah to Pakistan. Although he had recognized Pakistan in the UN but he gave weird statements after coming to Pakistan. But Jinnah never let the process pause. Despite all that Jinnah sent the envoy first. Their ambassador Shah Wali came who was the uncle to King Zahir Shah. Jinnah treated him as his personal guest and arranged for is stay in his own home. This courtesy resulted in the statement by Shah Wali that Pakistan and Afghanistan have no dispute. The basic planning was that whatever unfriendliness may be shown by the neighbouring countries, Pakistan would, maintain friendly relationship.
India was very important and Jinnah was very clear about Pakistan’s relationship with India. When someone asked Jinnah about relationships with India, he narrated an incident that he had a client who got into a dispute with his brother. Both of them were terribly upset with each other. Jinnah fought their case. After a long time when he met, Jinnah asked about the situation and he replied that it was a story of bygone days. We are brothers, and hence should be living like brothers. On 7th of August when Jinnah was leaving Delhi, before boarding the plane, he said few things that we should live with peace and prosperity; we need to worry about our past differences.
Now a days there is much talk about regional; collaboration that without it we will not be able to move ahead. However, one thing on which Jinnah was not ready to compromise was, as stated by Iqbal also:
A man whose faith is firm and strong
Is soft as silk in friendly throng
In skirmish between wrong and right
Like sword of steel, he stands to fight
For India, no better policy has been observed than Jinnah’s policy. He said that we would form common defence but ‘on the basis of equality’.
The last objective evident from Jinnah’s policy is that he used to talk about neutrality. At that time also the world was bipolar (capital pole and communist pole led by USA and Soviet Union respectively). America was immensely interested to slot in Pakistan in its camp. There was a reason behind this effort of creating proximity to Pakistan. In 1947, Pakistan had taken loan, not aid. Meanwhile, the Palestine issue emerged and America was supporting Israel by all means. When you take loan, you have to submit to the others’ demands as well. America, then also, assumed that Pakistan was becoming a part of their camp. But Pakistan, over there, not only opposed the resolution but also represented those 13 countries who presented this resolution. Jinnah said that we are asking for loan, but we will not compromise on our honour and ideology. We will have friendship but we will not take dictation from anyone. Soviet Union was not ready to invest in Pakistan at that time. They were seeing it as against them. Some people argue that at that time if Pakistan had opted to be friend with Soviet Union, today’s situation would be very different. But such people perhaps do not know that Soviets were not ready to open their embassy in Karachi rather looking to open their consulate in Peshawar. We can ponder upon such intentions by ourselves.
It is up to us to decide which principles of Jinnah are implemented in last seven decades and which we need to implement today.