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Bhutto and the UN

Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s stance in United Nation changed Pakistan’s relations with other countries. Kashmir, India, pan-Islamic approach and leader of the third world country were the focal point of his foreign policy. In the realistic approach that he followed the socialist philosophy was the main ingredient of his stance in UN. He was also highly emphatic on decolonization and anti-imperialism. At UN he firmly focused on the right of self-determination and freedom from alien powers. He took more strict stance toward India in the most of the meetings at UN. These all the strategies remain in the premises of real-politics.


On 25th October, 1957, when first time Bhutto entered in UN to address a committee on an importance subject, in  that high level meeting, he pointed out the aggression claiming that how it would be harmful for the peace of the world. Moreover, he criticized the Indian act of blocking water in order to turn the green field into desert that could result in a nation-wide draught. He highlighted the importance of the peace in the region that could be beneficial to both the countries. Talking about the law of sea, he stressed that the sea routes be open for all the countries that could promote the contact of the people from different nations of the world.

Minister Bhutto participated in the fall session of UN general assembly meeting in New York. As a minister it was his first participation in the UN assembly. The main theme of his speech were third world countries as he pointed out the weaknesses and economic disequilibrium that according to him was the main cause of social and political chaos led to the civil war in the countries. Actually, he wanted to bring the Afro-Asian third world under the umbrella of Pakistan’s leadership. During his presence at UN due to his diplomatic skills, he convinced the Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev to send a team of expert to Pakistan to explore the oil field in Baluchistan. After that he himself led the delegation to Moscow that helped to improve the relations with Soviet Union. The pan-Islamic ingredient of his foreign policy appeared in a political committee of UN. He delivered a strong statement in the favour of Algerian Muslim against the cruelties of French Imperialism.


The next year Bhutto led the Pakistani delegation at UN. United States had not recognized China and also was not in favour of giving UN membership to China for she was against the Chinese communist regime. Bhutto envisaged the US act against his real-politics. So he did not favour the US move. Actually, he was ambitious to establish friendly ties with China along with the third-world countries. He was in the favour of Pakistan in joining non-alleged countries. His plan of friendship with China was an agenda of his shrewd diplomacy that could help thwart the Indian aggression in South Asia. He suggested Pakistan’s shift toward China and Russia in the cabinet meeting but that was vetoed by the then foreign minister.


As the foreign minister, he got more authority and power to deal with the external affairs and used his diplomatic tactics and strategies freely. As foreign minister his first achievement was border agreement with China. It was Mr, Bhutto who reopened the chapter of Kashmir issue at UN that was being closed for many years. Now, he changed the tune stating that the issue should be resolved according to the UN resolutions. He took a hard stance on the issue and stated “Kashmir is to Pakistan what Berlin is to west”. Furthermore, he related the issue to the peace of the world. In reply to Bhutto’s hard stance, Nehru offered “No War Pact” that was rejected by Bhutto as his demands were increasing. He instead demanded plebiscite on the issue. Bhutto’s belligerent stance helped to open a new era of negotiation on Kashmir. Negotiation on Kashmir was meant to accept the disputed position of Kashmir between the two countries by the India. At UN forum, he demanded the disarmament of great power and to ban the under-ground the nuclear testing.


The war of 1965, brought a lot of criticism on both countries, after the war Bhutto flew to New York, where he addressed the Security Council. He enumerated India’s various acts of aggression since 1947, on Pakistan. He insisted at the forum that India bullied Pakistan several times in wanted to annulet Pakistan. Moreover, in his strong and rigid stance towards Kashmir, he openly declared, that Kashmir have never been integral part of India, but the people of Kashmir in blood in flesh and every aspect of life are the part of the people of Pakistan. In his aggressive attitude he swore “We will wage a war of thousand years in defence”. He explicitly presented the Pakistan’s agenda on Kashmir in UN in critical situation. He put two options before the Security Council either to solve the problem in honourable manner or Pakistan would quit from the UN.


Bhutto was the only Pakistani leader that took strong anti-India stance at UN forum. Due to these anti-India tactics, he managed to win the election of 1970. Tashkent declaration was the turning point in his political career. With the short span of five years, he re-emerged in the arena of world politics having more power and authority. After the tragedy of Bangladesh in December 1971 at UN, he did not lose confidence. He gave the hope to nation that there would be a new and ideal Pakistan. On the one hand he offered friendship to India, but on the other he challenged Indian foreign minister that Pakistan will take back East Pakistan. It was most disappointed movement for him, when he torn up his notes on the resolution and thundered at Security Council “You can take your Security Council”. He wished a period of détente with India and did not accept Bangladesh, until the prisoners were not released.


To summarize the discussion, it can be inferred from the preceding account that Bhutto pursued national interest during his presence at UN. Though quite aggressive and reactive in his conduct and action, yet the need of the hour was what compelled in to go beyond the ritualistic way of participating in the proceedings of the global body.

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