Journal of the Punjab University Historical Society, Vol 35, No 01 (2022)

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Changing Priorities and Perceptions: Pakistan-US Relations in Post-Cold War Period

Mussarat Jabeen


The study is aimed to view the priorities and preferences of Pak-US relations during the post-cold war period through their policy choices towards each other. From the initial alliances of the fifties to the strain relations of the nineties, Pak-US relations involved many dilemmas and differences. Pakistan was the second choice of the US when the later designed its containment policy against Soviet communism in South Asia. Indian refusal turned the US towards Pakistan, having already inclination towards the US and its evidence was the visit of the first prime minister, who preferred American visit over Soviet invitation. The Soviet intervention in Afghanistan led Pakistan to become frontline state and the latter received huge American military and economic assistance. The withdrawal of the troops and fall of the Soviet Union ended the cold war, changing the US priorities. It also ended wishful thinking about Pakistan’s geo-strategic location that was no more an asset, but put reverse influence and the crisis episodes became dusky. Deeply seated mistrust regarding the nuclear programme dropped Pakistan from partnership to punishment. The study has adopted the qualitative method to elucidate patterns of behavior of both states and the way they defined the foreign policy to deal with the situation, choosing a specific role and making decisions accordingly. It is assumed that Pak-US relations remained victim to the situation in the post-cold war era as Pakistan’s hopes were dashed for disputes with India and the US was resentful on proliferation and later terrorism. The findings proved that interests remained dominant and the betrayal was felt by the two sides, moving to those options and decisions, which generated bitterness and mistrust, creating tension in post-cold war period.

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