Quaid’s Foreign Policy, Relations with West and Muslim World

Iqtidar Karamat Cheema

The Basic tenets of the foreign policy of the new State of Pakistan were outlined by Quaid-i-Azam at a press conference in Delhi on 14 July 1947. He pointed out that the new state “will be most friendly to all the nations. We stand for the peace of the world. We will make our contribution whatever we can”.  Ever since its very establishment the basic aim of Pakistan’s foreign policy has been peace at home and abroad and friendship towards all nations of the world. Inaugurating the Pakistan Broadcasting Service on August 15, 1947, the Quaid stated, “Our object should be peace within and peace without. We want to live peacefully and maintain cordial and friendly relations with or immediate neighbors and with the world at large. We have no aggressive designs against any one. We stand by the United Nation’s Charter and will gladly make our full contribution to the peace and prosperity of the world”.

In his broadcast speech to the people of U.S.A. in February, 1948, he observed: “Our foreign policy is one of friendliness and goodwill all the nations of the nations of the world. We do not cherish aggressive designs against any country or nation. We believe in the principle of honesty and fairplay in national and international dealings, and are prepared to make our contribution to the promotion of peace and prosperity among the nation of the world. Pakistan will never be found lacking in extending its material and moral support to the oppressed and suppressed people of the world and in upholding the principles of the Untied Nations Charter”. He reiterated the same desire in his reply to the speech made by the first Ambassador of the United States of America, on 26th February, 1948. He stated, “The people of Pakistan desire nothing which is not their own, nothing more than the goodwill and friendship of all the free nations of the world. We in Pakistan are determined that having won our long-lost freedom, we will work to the utmost limit of our capacity not only to build up a strong and a happy state of our own but to contribute in the fullest possible measure to international peace and prosperity”.

Quaid-i-Azam, however, did not live long enough to forge an effective and strong policy capable of resisting pressures in latter years. His health rapidly deteriorated under the heavy pressure of immense domestic problems, with the result that he was permitted to work only for about seven months after the establishment of Pakistan. But as long as he lived, he guided Pakistan’s foreign policy according to the basic and international principles of friendship and peace with all nations of the world.

On the eve of assuming office as the Governor-General. While commenting the usefulness and the ideals of the Commonwealth, Quaid-i-Azam stated: “Such voluntary and absolute transfer of power and rule by one nation over others is unknown  in the whole history of the world. It is the translation and the realization of the great ideal of Commonwealth which now has been effected and hence both Pakistan and Hindustan have remained members of Commonwealth, which shows truly we appreciate the high and noble ideal by which the Commonwealth has been and will guided in the future”.

While speaking to Mr. Robert Stimson, the B.B.C. correspondent on December 19, 1947, Quaid-i-Azam further elaborated,

“The Pakistan Constituent Assembly will decide whether Pakistan is to remain in the British Commonwealth of Nations or not. But personally I have no doubt that Pakistan will be ready to stay in the Commonwealth as a willing member for the mutual benefit, and Great Britain should exercise the great moral responsibilities, she has, as the senior member of the Commonwealth”.

The Quaid-i-Azam added,

“At the moment I feel Great Britain is treating Pakistan with indifference. I fully realize that Britain has no power to intervene in the affairs of any Dominion, but at the same time Britain and other Dominions are in a position to use moral persuasion to help and settle difference between members of the Commonwealth. It appears to me that his Majesty’s Government are so far shirking their responsibility in this respect”.

Despite past lickerings and differences Quaid-i-Azam wished to established normal and friendly relations with Great Britain, from which the country had received her independence. As a gesture of goodwill he retained a number of British officials as Governors of various Provinces, heads of the armed forces and in various positions of responsibility in the central and provincial governments. A number of British banks and business firms were also permitted to continue their normal business operations in the country. Pakistan also decided to remain in the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth, many Pakistanis felt was a family of nations in which Britain as the eldest brother could be relied upon to give sound advice to Pakistan as the youngest member.

In this spirit, in October 1947, the Quaid-i-Azam appealed to Britain and the Commonwealth to use their influence in restoring order in the embattled Punjab and also invited neutral observers. The reply from Britain was coldly phrased. At about the same time the British supreme commander upon whom Pakistan had heavily depended for ensuring the dispatch of her fair share of the war material from the store of undivided India, was withdrawn, leaving most of his task uncompleted.

As a staunch adherent to constitutional practice the Quaid-i-Azam had believed that disputes between the member nations must be treated as Commonwealth domestic affairs. When the Kashmir dispute went to the United Nation, the United Kingdom along with the United States, Canada, and the others members of the Security Council, at first took a just stand, but soon succumbed to Indian threats of leaving the Commonwealth and led the rest of the Security Council in an ignoble retreat. The Quaid-i-Azam had thought that the Indian government really meant to withdraw, but his calculations were frustrated by Indian decision to remain within the Commonwealth. India’s hostility and cold shoulder by Great Britain and the commonwealth countries considerably added to Pakistan’s difficulties. But Quaid-i-Azam did not lose his nerves and continued to improve and strengthen relations with various member states of the commonwealth as well as to plead his country’s cause as vigorously as he could.

Pakistan was admitted into the United Nations on the 30th of September 1947, at an impressive ceremony in which delegations of all the principal countries of the world participated. It was a notable event in the life of Pakistan Immediately afterwards steps were taken to establish diplomatic relations with important countries. High Commission were exchanged with the United Kingdom and the India, and soon thereafter with Canada and Ceylon. Embassies were set up in the United States, Iran, Burma, Afghanistan, Turkey and other countries. Malik Sir Feroze Khan Noon was sent as the Quaid-i-Azam’s personal envoy to the countries of Middle East, and Sir Zafrullah Khan to the United Nations to argue the case of Palestinian Arabs.

In the very first year of its establishment, Pakistan took part in a number of important international conferences. A delegation was sent to Canberra to attend the Conference considering the Japanese Peace Settlement. She also attended the F.A.O. Conference in Geneva, and joined other international organizations and agencies such as I.L.O., W.H.O. the World Bank, the international Monetary Fund.      

Under the leadership of the Quaid-i-Azam, Pakistan took active part in the deliberations and activities of the U.N. and other international organizations. Quaid-i-Azam firmly believed in the ideals and principles for which U.N. had come into existence. Addressing the officers on parade at H.M.P.S. “Dilawar”, he observed, “The war weary humanity is watching with fear and hope the evolution of the United Nations Organization for its ability to successfully deal with the causes of war and threats to world peace which depend to salvation of mankind and the future of civilization. Pakistan, which has been recently admitted to the United Nations Organization will do everything in its power to strength the organization and help it in the achievement of the ideals which have been set up as its goal”.

Quaid-i-Azam wished to establish cordial relations with the United States of America. Barely two weeks after its inception, Pakistan’s Finance Minister Ghulam Mohammad during his informal talks with the U.S. Charge d’ Affairs, Charles W. Lewis, Jr., sought capital and technical assistance for Pakistan on the ground that funds were needed to “meet the administrative approximately $2 billion over a period of five years. Immediately thereafter Pakistan submitted to the State Department the following breakdown of Pakistan’s requirement: $700 million for industrial development, $700 million for agricultural development and $510 million for building and equipping defence services. Further breakdown of the defence expenditure showed $170 million for the Army, $75 million for the Air Force, $60 million for the Navy and $205 million to meet the anticipated deficits in Pakistan’s military budged.

Quaid-i-Azam expressed his desire of cordial relations with U.S.A. while replying to the speech by the first Ambassador of U.S.A. on 26th February, 1948, in the following words, “Though Pakistan is a new state, for well over a century now there have been many connections of trade and commerce between the people of Pakistan and the people of the United States. The relationship was strengthened and made more direct and intimate during the two World Wars….the historic fight for self-government by your people….The constant teaching and practice of democracy in your country had for generations acted as a beacon light and had in no small measures served to give inspiration to nation like us where striving for independence and freedom from the shackles of foreign rule.

I cordially share your pleasure at the evidence of friendhip and sympathy shown by your country in opening diplomatic relations with Pakistan from the very first day of its establishment as a new State….Though as a new state we have to face a serious situation, we have no doubt in our own minds that by our united will and determination to live as a free and peace-loving people, we shall overcome them successfully… I am glad to learn that your Excellency and the great country and people your represent, will give your cooperation to us in order to advance our economic and cultural relations for the mutual benefit of both the countries. I am hopeful that good relations and friendship already existing between the people of America and Pakistan will be further strengthened and the bonds of friendship between our two countries will be more firmly riveted. Your Excellency, I assure you that my Government and I will do all that lies in our power to give you every assistance in the fulfillment of what is our common desire and objective”.

Replying to the speech by the First Ambassador of France, Quaid-i-Azam observed:

“In view of the manifold contacts of France with the Muslim World over several centuries, is well-known and familiar to the government and people of France. Indeed in view of this long contact of France with the Muslim world, the people of France and Pakistan are not strangers to one another…I assure your Excellency that we in Pakistan will give you our support and cooperation which you may require in promoting relationship of goodwill and friendship between our two countries and I trust that in the result, Pakistan and France, will unitedly play their part in reestablishing peace and prosperity in the present distracted world”.

Several factors induced Government of Pakistan to look in the direction of the Western block, particularly the United States. First, Pakistan’s ruling elite “hailing form the feudal and to some extent, commercial classes, the bureaucracy and the military” had a liking for the West due to its Western education and cultural outlook. The Quaid-i-Azam himself had acquired the best of Western education, thought, cultural values and rationality. Secondly, Pakistan’s economy was integrated with the West, particularly Britain, during the colonial era and it would not have been easy to transform it along the socialist lines. Pakistan” preferred to have trading partners in the West because they were in a position to supply consumer goods at very competitive prices for local requirements and provided almost assured markets for Pakistan’s raw materials. Thirdly, Pakistan expected strong Western diplomatic and political support from the United States and Great Britain in the settlement of its disputes with India. Finally, “the transfer of power by the British in the subcontinent to the Governments of India and Pakistan had not brought about any immediate change in the Soviet opinion and, since the Soviet Union had apprehensions about the role of the decolonized nations in the world affairs, its own attitude was somewhat cool.

Quaid-i-Azam wanted to establish a strong and effective bloc consisting of all Muslim States of the world and to see that all Muslims of the world were united under the banner of Islam as an effective bulwarked against the aggressive and evil designs of their enemies.

The Pakistan movement which started in March, 1940 and culminated in the establishment of Pakistan in August 1947, was equally marked by the desire to establish an Islamic state which would work not only for the prosperity of its inhabitants but also actively promote the unity of the Muslims scattered all over the world and through that unity make Islam a world force to be reckoned with. The Quaid-i-Azam had always looked forward to the unity of the Muslim countries. He wanted closest relations, friendship and cooperation established between all the Muslim States. The goal of Muslim unity was as dear to the Quaid-i-Azam as the achievement of an independent and sovereign homeland for the exploited and suffering Muslims in our sub-continent.

Quite naturally Quaid-i-Azam took keen interest in Muslim people’s cause of freedom and independence. He vehemently opposed the partition of Palestine and condemned the establishment of Israel as a dagger in the heart of the Arab World. While answering to a newsman’s question on October 25, 1947, he observed:

“I do still hope that the partition plan will be rejected, otherwise there is bound to be the gravest disaster and unprecedented conflict…the entire Muslim World will revolt against such a decision…Pakistan will have no other course left but to give its fullest support to the Arabs and will do whatever lies in its power to prevent what, in my opinion, is an outrage”.

Quaid-i-Azam’s numerous statements and speeches on this question more than sufficiently reflect the anguish and bitterness generally felt by the people of Pakistan in this respect. In an interview to Mr. Robert Stimson, the B.B.C. Correspondent on December 19, 1947, referring to the Palestine problem, the Quaid-i-Azam observed that the Muslims of the sub-continent had been compelled to condemn in the strongest possible manner the unjust and cruel decision of the United Nations concerning the partition of Palestine. He further said, “The Muslims of sub-continent are obviously reluctant to antagonize the Untied States, or any other country, but our sense of justice obliges us to help the Arab cause in Palestine in every way that is open to us”. He also regretted that Great Britain had not pursued with more resoluteness their efforts to find a just and honourable solution of the Palestine problem.

He expressed the same feelings in his telegram on December 24, 1947, to the king of Yemen, Imam Yahya in reply to the latter’s telegram of thanks for Pakistan’s support to Arabs on Palestine issue. “I fully share your Majesty’s surprise and shock at the serious lack of judgment shown by U.N.O. by their unjust decision in respect of Palestine. I once more assure you and our Arab brethren that Pakistan will stand by them and do all that is possible to help and support them in their opposition on the U.N.O. Decision which is inherently unjust and outrageous”.

Quaid-i-Azam gave open support to North African Arabs in their struggle to throw off the French Yoke. He considered the Dutch attack upon Indonesia in 1948, as an attack upon Pakistan itself and refused transit facilities to Dutch ships and planes carrying war materials to Indonesia. He played an important role in the liberation struggle of the Muslim countries. He, therefore, provided all possible diplomatic and material assistance to the liberation movement in Indonesia Malaya, Sudan, Libya, Tunisia, Morocco, Nigeria and Algeria.       

Above all, the Quaid-i-Azam exerted to bring the Muslim Countries closer to each other. Addressing the entire Muslim World, he said,

“My _____ message to our brother Muslim States is one of friendship and goodwill. We are all passing through perilous times. The drama of power politics that is being staged in Palestine, Indonesia and Kashmir should serve an eye opener to us. It is only by putting up a united front that we can make our voice felt in the Counsels of the world.”

Pakistan’s relations with brotherly Muslim states of Turkey and Iran were most cordial and friendly. In reply to the speech by the first Turkish Ambassador to Pakistan at the time of presenting credentials to the Quaid-i-Azam on 4th March, 1947, the Quaid-i-Azam observed: “Your Excellency has yourself observed that many spirited and sentimental ties born and grown in the course of a long history bind the people of Turkey to the people of Pakistan….I can, therefore, assure your Excellency that the Muslims of Pakistan entertain sentiments of affection and esteem of your country, and now Turkey and Pakistan both as free, sovereign and independent countries, can strengthen their ties more and more for the good of both. We hope that with your Excellency’s assistance and cooperation we may be able to build up close political and cultural ties with your State, and thus contribute our share to the attainment of peace and prosperity throughout the world”.      

Similarly, in an interview with Messrs, Masoodi Franalzi and Malaki of Iranian goodwill Mission on April 8, 1948, the Quaid-i-Azam described the visit of the mission as a third gesture by Iran to establish cordial and friendly relations between the two neighboring countries; the first two being generous contributions by the Iranis to the Quaid-i-Azam’s Relief Fund and exchange of diplomatic representatives.           

In reply to the speech by his Excellency Mohammad Pasha El Shuraiki, Minister of state, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister of Plenipoteniary of Trans-Jordon on December 24, 1947, the Quaid-i-Azam said:

“In the struggle for freedom which the Muslims of this great sub-continent had to face, the thought that we always carried with us the sympathies of the Muslim world and particularly of such great torch bearers of Islam as His majesty the King of Trans Jordon was a source of great encouragement and inspiration…I have no doubt that your Excellency’s mission will further cement the bonds of brotherhood and affection which exist and subsist between our two peoples. Islam is to us the source of very life and existence of it had linked our cultural and traditional past so closely with the Arab World that there is no doubt whatsoever our fullest sympathy for the Arabs cause….Finally, I have great pleasure in informing Your Excellency that my Government had agreed to the proposal of your Government that there should be an exchange of diplomatic missions between Pakistan and Trans-Jordon… I am sure, my Government and my people will do all they can to make your sojourn in Karachi happy and pleasant”.

It would be quite apparent from the above account that Quaid-i-Azam wanted to establish friendly and cordial relations with all countries, especially with the Muslim states and Pakistan’s immediate neighbours. Quaid-i-Azam had not learnt to bow before any worldly power and this same characteristic of independence had a deep impact upon Pakistan’s foreign policy as well.

Reference:     Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah as Governor-General of Pakistan
Author:           Iqtidar Karamat Cheema
Publisher:       Pakistan Study Centre, University of the Punjab, Lahore. 2006

Notes and References

  1. Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Speeches and Statements as Governor Generla of    Pakistan 1947-48, Islamabad 1989, p. 29.
  2. M. Rafique Afzal, Selected Speeches of the Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah [1911-34 and 1947-48], Lahore 1980, p. 429.               
  3. S.M. Burke, Jinnah Speeches and Statements 1947-48, Karachi 2002, p. 126.
  4. Khurshid Ahmad Khan Yusufi, Speeches, Statements and Messages of the Quaid-i-Azam, Vol. IV, Lahore 1996, p. 2696.
  5. Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Speeches as Governor General of Pakistan1947-48, Karachi Ferozsons Ltd., p. 12.
  6. Civil and Military Gazette, December 20, 1947.
  7. Ibid.
  8. Richard Symond, The Making of Pakistan, p. 169.
  9. Ch. Mohammad Ali, The Emergence of Pakistan, p. 378.
  10. J.B. Das Gupta, Jammu and Kashmir, p. 120.
  11. Syed Qamarul Ahsan, Birth of Pakistan Stepby Step, p. 114.
  12. Ch. Mohammad Ali, op.cit., p. 250.
  13. I.H. Qurehsi, A Short History of Pakistan, p. 236.
  14. Mushtaq Ahmad, Government and Politics in Pakistan, p. 25.
  15. Ch. Mohammad Ali, op.cit., p. 249.
  16. The Eastern Times, January 27, 1948.
  17. M.S. Venkataraman, The American Role in Pakistan 1947-1958, Lahore 1948, pp. 15, 19-20.
  18. S.M. Burke, op.cit., pp127-128.
  19. Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Speeches as Governor General of Pakistan 1947-48, Karachi Ferozsons Ltd., p.108-9.
  20. Mahboob A. Popatia, Pakistan’s Relations with the Soviet Union 1947-49, Constraints and Compulsions, Karachi 1988, p. 29.
  21. Jamil-ud-Din Ahmad, Quaid-i-Azam as Seen by His Contemporaries, p. 29.
  22. Dawn, December 25, 1973.
  23. Aziz Beg, Pakistan and the Arab Israel War, p. xxxii.
  24. M. Rafique Afzal, op.cit, p.438.
  25. Civil and Military Gazette, December 20, 1947.
  26. Ibid.
  27. M. Rafique Afzal, op.cit., p. 453.
  28. Ch. Mohammad Ali, op.cit., p. 380.
  29. The Pakistan Times, August 8, 1948.
  30. The Pakistan Times, March 5, 1948.
  31. M. Rafique Afzal, op.cit., pp. 461-462.
  32. Ibid., p. 454.