Pak-US relations have enjoyed closeness and friendship, yet they remain cold and have failed to develop a relationship of stability. The history of Pak-U.S. relations remained chequered. There have been ups and downs in their levels of understanding and collaboration. U.S. always has her vested and ideological interests from Pakistan. As far as Pakistan’s perspective is concerned there is no doubt that Pakistan is equally dependent on U.S. regarding economy, military and domestic aid. But assistances of U.S. to Pakistan are always for the time being and also just for the hidden purposes. Having achieved her willing results U.S. abruptly changed her policy and got rid of Pakistan and put her on the back burner. Undoubtedly, one can easily see the attitude of America from 1988 to 2001, which revolved around the sanctions on Pakistan. In this era, U.S. imposed many sanctions and limitations on Pakistan.
There are few causes of these sanctions on Pakistan which are also important before discussing the U.S. sanctions on Pakistan. From 1979 to 1988 Pakistan fought a proxy war for U.S. when soviet faced the rout and was thrown out of Afghanistan, Pakistan’s nuclear activities again came under intense U.S. inquiry and in October 1990 President Bush again postponed aid to Pakistan.
U.S. policy interests in Pakistan cover the issues like nuclear weapons and missiles proliferation, counter-terrorism, democratization, South Asian regional stability and efforts to counter narcotics trafficking. Proliferation, saga of Kashmir issue, and continuing bilateral nuclear standoff also became the cause of Pak-US strained relations from 1988-2001. Pakistan’s assistance for Taliban and public estrangement of the government of Pakistan from U.S. became the factor of Pak-U.S. stand still. Pak- U.S. relations became strained on the occasion of 28 May 1998 when Pakistan experienced atomic explosion in the response of India and became the 7th atomic power in the world. This was also the crucial cause of U.S. sanctions. There is another cause of Pak-U.S. strained relations which led to U.S. sanctions on Pakistan that was 9/11 the most tragic event in the beginning of 21st century. Those tragic happing left two options for Pakistan one was Tura bora (Dark Age) and the other one was non-aligned friend.
Having comprehended the causes of U.S. sanctions on Pakistan, now it is pertinent to jot down the U.S. sanctions in the years from 1988 to 2001.
Sanctions under the 1985 Pressler Amendment:
According to this amendment, there is a ban on military assistance to Pakistan and Pakistan does not own a nuclear explosive device. These limitations were activated in 1990. American foreign policy abruptly changed after the withdrawal of Red army from Afghanistan, and America began to force Pakistan to abandon its nuclear program and to sign N.P.T. unilaterally. After the debacle of Soviet Union and end of cold war United States was no longer interested in the friendship of Pakistan. It was decided to implement the already passed Pressler Amendment, which disqualified Pakistan from receiving any more American economy and military assistance. America banned the delivery of military equipment’s worth $ 368 million and 28 F-16 air-crafts for which Pakistan had already paid.
Sanctions under the 1977 Symington Amendment:
According to this amendment that under the foreign Assistance Act and the Arms Export Control Act to states that uranium enhancement technology and nuclear weapons are not allowed to acquire or develop. These restrictions remain in force. But in 1994 Glenn Amendment lifted Symington Amendment and gave the justification to all Pakistan for the importation of uranium. But the ring magnets case (shipments between December 1994-1995) became the cause of Symington Amendment limitation afresh.
This amendment was imposed as the Clinton foreign policy. This was implemented due to the 1998 nuclear tests of Pakistan and the October 1999 coup in Pakistan. In this amendment military to military and high level exchanges remain restricted.
It is necessary to note that during this hot period between Pakistan and America, U.S. did not stop to support to Pakistan in Counter-narcotics, basic education programs, certain non-governmental organization (N.G.O.), support activities and some other humanitarian actions.
By wrapping the discussion into nutshell one can easily comprehend the fact that Pak-U.S. relations have not been on the smooth pace. The relations between them continued to oscillate to and fro, from assistance to sanctions, from pillar to post according to their interests, stakes, and events. In the era of confusion Pakistan faced many sanctions which affected its economy, political framework, military as well as defense expertise.