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Pakistan–United States relations

Pakistan-United States relations
Map indicating locations of Pakistan and United States


United States
Diplomatic Mission
Pakistani Embassy, Washington, D.C. United States Embassy, Islamabad
Circular diagram showing 96% of U.S. funding to Pakistan in military efforts and 1% in development efforts.

Pakistan–United States relations refers to the international, historical, and cultural bilateral relationship between the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the United States of America. On 20 October 1947, two months and six days after independence from Great Britain, the United States established relations with Pakistan, making it amongst the first nations to establish relations with the new state. Pakistan allied itself with the U.S. during the Cold war era against the USSR, and was an integral in the anti-Soviet CENTO and SEATO organizations.

Pakistan also played a crucial role in arranging the 1972 Nixon visit to China which led to normalization of ties between the two countries. Despite a worsening of relations following the election of the left-oriented Pakistan Peoples Party under Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, relations quickly improved and deepened during Operation Cyclone in the 1980s, which was directed against Soviet expansion in Central Asia and South Asia by funding and training Muslim fundamentalists to combat the Soviet Union. Relations once again soured after the Collapse of Soviet Union, when the United States approved sanctions against Pakistan by passing the Pressler amendment, which was enacted against Pakistan for its nuclear weapons program, which was initiated after India detonated a nuclear device in 1974. Pakistan once again assumed an important role in American geopolitical interests in the region following the attacks of September 11th, 2001, and the subsequent War on Terror. Relations were strengthened as the United States named Pakistan as a Major non-NATO ally in 2002 - which allowed for the release of over twenty billion dollars of aid to Pakistan.[1] American recovery efforts following the 2005 Kashmir earthquake were widely appreciated by the Pakistani public.

Relations began to strain as both sides began to criticize one another's strategy in the War on Terror, with the United States government frequently accusing Pakistan of harboring members of the Afghan Taliban and Quetta Shura, while Pakistan has alleged that the United States has done little to control security in Kunar Province of Afghanistan, where Pakistan's most-wanted terrorist, Mullah Fazlullah is believed to be hiding. Furthermore, as a result of the Lahore incident and the black operation in the country which killed the al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, followed by the Salala incident, relations between the two countries have become increasingly strained in recent years, with high levels of anti-Americanism. Pakistan frequently ranks America one of its least favored countries, and vice versa.[2] In 2015, according to Gallup's annual World Affairs survey, only 15% of Americans have a favorable view of Pakistan.[3]

The United States today provides extensive economic, scientific, and military assistance to Pakistan,[4] while Pakistan continues to occupy a strategic position in the United States' interests in Central and South Asia. The United States is the second-largest supplier of military equipment to Pakistan after China, and is Pakistan's most generous donor of foreign aid[5][6][7]


  • Relations During the Cold War Era 1
    • 1947-1958: Relations Between the United States and the Newly-Independent State 1.1
    • 1958-1971: Relations During the Military Dictatorships of Ayub Khan and Yahya Khan 1.2
      • Pakistan's role in U.S.-China relations 1.2.1
      • 1971: Relations During War 1.2.2
    • Democratic government (1971-1977) 1.3
    • Military dictatorship (1977–1988) 1.4
  • Relations after the Cold war: 1988-1999 2
    • Democratic governments (1988–1998) 2.1
      • Rift in relations 2.1.1
      • Economic embargo 2.1.2
    • Cold war legacies and trade sanctions 2.2
      • CENTO and SEATO 2.2.1
      • Trade embargo 2.2.2
  • Military science programmes 3
    • Pakistan and atomic weapons 3.1
      • Nonproliferation and security 3.1.1
    • Space programme 3.2
  • Relations since 2001 4
    • Alliance with United States 4.1
    • Aid from the United States since 9/11 4.2
    • Trust deficits issues 4.3
    • Border engagement and skirmishes 4.4
  • Afghan war factor in Pakistan–United States relations 5
    • 2009: U.S. military and economic aid 5.1
    • 2010: Coalition partnership issues 5.2
    • 2011: American accusations and attacks in Pakistan 5.3
      • Collapse of alliance and death of Osama bin Laden 5.3.1
    • 2012–13: American sentiment against Pakistan 5.4
    • 2014 and 2015: Rapprochement 5.5
  • Meetings between Pakistani and U.S leaders 6
    • Visits By Leaders of Pakistan 6.1
    • Visits By Presidents of the United States 6.2
  • Military aid from the United States 7
  • Cultural influence 8
  • See also 9
  • External links 10
  • References 11

Relations During the Cold War Era

1947-1958: Relations Between the United States and the Newly-Independent State

Prime minister Liaquat Ali Khan meeting President Harry Truman.

Following Pakistan's independence from the British Indian Empire, the nascent state struggled to position itself as a non-aligned member of the international community. Pakistan's pro-communist forces commanded considerable support in East Pakistan, while in West Pakistan, the pro-Soviet Pakistan Socialist Party remained largely marginalized. The capitalist and pro-American Pakistan Muslim League dominated much of West Pakistan's political landscape, particularly in the prosperous region of Punjab, while its base of support in East Pakistan was far more modest.

Prime Minister Ali Khan, however, attempted to establish friendly relations with both the Soviet Union and United States in hopes that Pakistan could benefit from an alliance with both superpowers. Both the Military of Pakistan and Foreign Service of Pakistan raised doubts as to whether the Soviets had the political will and capacity to provide military, technical, and economic aid to a similar degree that Soviets had begun to offer to Pakistan's socialist neighbor, India.[8] Pakistan nevertheless requested military aid from the USSR, which was predictably rebuffed as the Soviet Union had previously oriented itself to India.[8] The government's overtures to the Soviet Union were not favorably regarded by Pakistan's conservative middle classes, who regarded the USSR as an atheist and socialist ally of India.[9]

In 1950, the United States extended an overture to Pakistan by inviting Prime Minister Khan for an official state visit. As the USSR had rebuffed capitalist Pakistan and aligned itself with Pakistan's rivals, the country's policy crafters found that maintaining friendly relations with both superpowers was impossible. Prime Minister Khan accepted the American invitation, and paid an official 23 day state visit to the United States beginning on May 3, 1950. The event was highly politicized in Pakistan, and outraged the country's leftists, and was seen as the seminal event that lead to warm diplomatic ties for several decades. However, it is alleged that during PM Khan’s first visit to US, president Truman requested Pakistan’s premier to let the CIA formulate a base in Pakistan, strictly to keep an eye on the activities of Soviet Union—a request which was not granted by Khan.[10]

Throughout the period between 1950 and 1953, several major Pakistan political and military figures paid visits to the United States. During this time, Army commander Ayub Khan paid visits to the United States - a figure who would later institute a strongly pro-American military dictatorship. Foreign Minister Sir Zafrullah Khan, Foreign Secretary Ikram-ullah Khan, Finance Minister Ghulam Muhammad, and Defense Secretary Sikander Mirza all paid official state visits to the United States.[11]

U.S Vice President Alben W. Barkley explains the 1948 version of the Vice President's seal to Prime Minister Ali Khan of Pakistan and his wife

Defense ties between the two countries strengthened almost immediately following Khan's visit to the United States. Personal goodwill towards Pakistan was evident even when Liaqat Ali Khan was assassinated in 1951. Under the government of Khawaja Nazimuddin, Pakistani and American officials developed positive attitudes towards one another. Such personal goodwill was evident when Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, while arguing for wheat aid to Pakistan in 1953, told the sub-committee on Agriculture and Forestry during hearings that, "the [p]eople of Pakistan had a splendid military tradition," and that in Karachi he had been met by a guard of honour which was the "finest" he had ever seen".[11] Close ties between the countries were further consolidated by a mutual defense treaty signed in May 1954, after which hundreds of Pakistani military officers began to regularly train in the United States.[11] A U.S. Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG) was also established in Rawalpindi, then capital of Pakistan. Pakistani officers were not only trained in military tactics, but also taught leadership, management, and economic theory.[11]

In 1956, President Dwight Eisenhower requested permission from Pakistan's new Prime Minister, Huseyn Suhravardie, to lease the Peshawar Air Station (PAS), which was to be used in intelligence gathering of Soviet intercontinental ballistic missiles.[11] The request was granted, and soon the United States built an airstrip, command and control station at the site before initiating operations.[11] The base was regarded as top-secret, and even the high-ranking Pakistani public officials such as Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, were refused entry to the facility.[11]

American interest in Pakistan as an ally against the spread of Communism primarily was focused towards maintaining excellent ties with Pakistan's military establishment. Prime Minister Huseyn Suhravardie paid several official visits to the United States - typically with his Army commander, Ayub Khan, at his side.[11] After the military coup d'état in 1958, Ayub Khan argued that left wing activists could seize power in Pakistan, thereby jeopardizing American interests in the region.[11] He successfully convinced American officials that the Pakistani military was the strongest, and most capable institution to govern the country.[11]

1958-1971: Relations During the Military Dictatorships of Ayub Khan and Yahya Khan

Ayub Khan standing in a motorcade with American President John F. Kennedy.
President Lyndon B. Johnson meets with President Ayub Khan in Karachi, Pakistan

During the dictatorship of Ayub Khan, Pakistan enjoyed a close relationship with the United States. Ayub Khan was strongly pro-American, and on a visit the United States in 1954, before Khan was head of state, he famously told American Brigadier-General Henry A. Byroade "I didn’t come here to look at barracks. Our army can be your army if you want us. But let’s make a decision".[11] His view of the United States had remained positive by the time he seized power. In fact, during the 1960s, Pakistan's population was generally pro-American and held a similarly positive view of the United States.

In 1960, Ayub Khan granted permission for the United States to fly its first spy missions to Soviet Union from the Peshawar Air Base, which had been recently upgraded with American funds. On May 1960, the U-2 incident took place, in which pilot Gary Powers was captured by the USSR.[11] The CIA notified Ayub Khan of the incident while he was in London for a state visit - he reportedly shrugged his shoulders and stated that he had expected such an incident would eventually happen.[11]

In 1961, Khan paid his first visit to the United States as head of state. American goodwill towards Khan was evident by an elaborate state dinner held at Mount Vernon, and a ticker tape parade for Khan in New York City.[12]

American military aide was concentrated in West-Pakistan, with economic benefits were controlled by, and almost exclusively used by, West Pakistan.[11] East Pakistani anger towards an absence of economic development was directed towards the United States, as well as West Pakistan. The East-Pakistan parliament passed a resolution denouncing the 1954 military pact with United States.[11]

President Ayub Khan and Jaqueline Kennedy with Sardar, a Seal brown horse gifted by Khan to Jackie Kennedy, 1962.

Economic aid to Pakistan was further increased by the United States through the consortium companies.[13] West Pakistan's high rate of economic growth during this time period brought wide regard to Pakistan as a model of successful implementation of capitalism in a developing country - in 1964, GDP growth was 9.38%.[13]

In 1965, Pakistan, under the leadership of Ayub Khan, launched the so-called Operation Gibraltar against India, which escalated to a declaration of war.[13] The war with India had a high economic cost for Pakistan, which lost $500 million in aid from the United States.[13] Economic growth that year was a mere 0.88%. The economy rapidly rebounded with a GDP growth of 2.32% in 1966, and 9.79% in 1969. However, given the huge economic cost of the war without any clear victory (or loss), Khan surrendered his Presidential powers to Army Commander General Yahya Khan (no relation) in 1969.[13]

Despite the loss of a crucial ally, Pakistan, and its new leader, were perceived in the United States as an integral bulwark against Communism, and so Pakistan's close relations with the United States were maintained.

Pakistan's role in U.S.-China relations

President Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger took advantage of Pakistan's close relationship with People Republic of China to initiate secret contacts that resulted in Henry Kissinger’s secret visit to China in July 1971 after visiting Pakistan. These contacts resulted in the 1972 Nixon visit to China, and the subsequent normalizing of relations between the United States and the People's Republic of China.

1971: Relations During War

President of Pakistan Yahya Khan with United States President Richard Nixon, 1970.

At the onset of hostilities between India and Pakistan, President Nixon urged Yahya Khan to restrain Pakistani forces,[14] In order to prevent escalation of war, and to safeguard Pakistan's interests - Nixon feared that an Indian invasion of West Pakistan would lead to socialist India's domination of the sub-continent, thereby strengthening the position of the Soviet Union.[15] Yahya Khan feared that an independent Bangladesh would lead to the disintegration of West Pakistan. However, Indian military support for Bengali guerrillas, and a massive flood of Bengali refugees into India, led to the escalation of hostilities, and declared war between India and Pakistan.[16]

The United States secretly encouraged the shipment of military equipment from the Shah's Iran, Turkey, and Jordan to Pakistan, and reimbursed those countries for their shipments,[17] despite Congressional objections.[18] The United States, however, also threatened to cut-off aid to pressure Pakistan to end hostilities, but did not wish for India to dominate the new political landscape in South Asia either.

Near the end of the war, the Nixon Administration recognized Pakistan's imminent defeat, but sent the USS Enterprise, as well as the Task Force-74 of the United States Seventh Fleet into the Indian Ocean - which was regarded as a warning to India to resist escalating attacks against West Pakistan.[19] As it was the height of the Vietnam War, the United States show of force was seen as a sign of support for the beleaguered West Pakistan Armed Forces.[20] The Task Force-74 was forced to withdraw when the Soviet Union dispatched a large fleet to support India, as well as nuclear submarines armed with nuclear missiles.[19]

Declassified CIA intelligence documents stated that "India intended to dismember Pakistan and destroy its armed forces, a possible loss of U.S. ally in the Cold war that United States cannot afford to lose." Nixon termed India as "Soviet stooge" before ordering the Enterprise to lead the Task Force-74.[21] In an assessment completed by the United States, India was seen as being able to summarily defeat Pakistan, were India to receive the full-backing of Soviet Union.[21] Nixon sent a strong message to Soviet Union urging Russians to stop India from dismembering and disintegrating the State of Pakistan from existence, in Nixons' words: "In the strongest possible...(...)... terms to restrain India with which … (Soviets) have great influence and for whose actions you must share responsibility... (...)...".[21]

Democratic government (1971-1977)

In 1972, Zulfi Bhutto gifted a carved ivory set of chess to the United States President Gerald Ford.

As a result of the 1970s election, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, a charismatic democratic socialist, became President (1971-1974) and later Prime minister in 1974. This period is seen as a "quiet cold war" with the Pakistan who was administer under democratic socialists led by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. His socialist ideas favored the communist ideas but never actually allied with communism. Under Bhutto, Pakistan would focused on Movement of Non-Aligned Countries, building closer ties with Soviet bloc and the Soviet Union. Meanwhile, Bhutto tried to maintain a balance with the United States, but such attempts were rebuffed by United States. Bhutto opposed the ultra-leftism concepts but was a strong proponent of left-wing politics, which the U.S. had opposed in Pakistan from the very start.

Although, Richard Nixon enjoyed firmly strong relations with Bhutto and was a close friend of Bhutto, the graph of relation significantly went down under the Presidency of Jimmy Carter.[23] Carter, an anti-socialist, tightened the embargo placed on Pakistan and placed a pressure through the United States Ambassador to Pakistan, Brigadier-General Henry Byroade.[23] The socialist orientation, and Bhutto's proposed left-wing theories, had badly upset the United States, further clinging the bell tolls in the United States as fearing Pakistan's loss as an ally in the Cold war.[23] The leftists and Bhutto's policy towards Soviet Union was seen sympathetic and had built a bridge for Soviet Union to have gain access in Pakistan's warm water ports, that something both United States and Soviet Union had lacked.[23]

During the course of 1976 presidential election, Carter was elected as U.S. President, and his very inaugural speech Carter announced the determination to seek the ban of nuclear weapons.[23] With Carter's election, Bhutto lost all links to United States administration he had through President Nixon.[23] Bhutto had to faced the embargo and pressure from the American President who was totally against the political objectives which Bhutto had set forth for his upcoming future plans. Carter indirectly announced his opposition to Bhutto, his ambition and the elections.[23] Responding to President Carter, Bhutto launched a more actively aggressive and serious diplomatic offensive on the United States and the Western world over the nuclear issues.[24] Bhutto's demagogic act on nuclear issues put the United States, particularly Carter who found it extremely difficult to counter Bhutto, on Defensive position at the United Nations.[24] While India and Soviet Union were pushed aside when Bhutto attacked Indian nuclear programme as labeling latter's program based on the nuclear proliferation.[24] Writing to the world and Western leaders, Bhutto made it clear and maintained to the United States:

Pakistan was exposed to a kind of "nuclear threat and blackmail" unparalleled elsewhere..... (...)... If the world's community failed to provide political insurance to Pakistan and other countries against the nuclear blackmail, these countries would be constraint to launch atomic bomb programs of their own!... [A]ssurances provided by the United Nations were not "Enough!"...
— Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, statement written in "Eating Grass", source[24]

Although, Carter placed an embargo on Pakistan, Bhutto under the technical guidance and diplomatic though Foreign minister Aziz Ahmed, succeeded to bought sensitive equipments, common metal materials, and electronic components, marked as "common items", hide the true nature of the intentions, greatly enhance the atomic bomb project, though a complete failure for Carter's embargo.[23] Bhutto tried to resolve the issue, but Carter intentionally sabotage the talks. In a thesis written by historian Abdul Ghafoor Buhgari, Carter keenly sabotaged Bhutto credibility, but did not wanted favored his execution as Carter made a call to General Zia-ul-Haq to stop the act.[23] Therefore, senior leadership of Pakistan Peoples Party reached out to different country's ambassadors and high commissioners but did not meet with the U.S. ambassador, as the leadership knew the "noble" part played by Carter and his administration.[23] When Carter administration discovered Bhutto's act, the programme was reached to a well advanced level, and furthermore, had disastrous effect on SALT I Treaty which was soon collapse, a failure of President Carter to stop the atomic proliferation and arm race between Soviet Union and United States heightened.[23]

Bhutto meeting with Nixon in 1972.

In 1974, with India carried out the test of nuclear weapons near the Pakistan's eastern border, codename Smiling Buddha, Bhutto sought United States to impose economic sanctions in India. Though it was unsuccessful approach, in a meeting of Pakistan's Ambassador to United States with Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Kissingers told Pakistan’s ambassador to Washington that the test is “a fait accompli and that Pakistan would have to learn to live with it,” although he was aware this is a “little rough” on the Pakistanis. In the 1970s, the ties were further severed with Bhutto as Bhutto had continued to administer the research on weapons, and in 1976, in a meeting with Bhutto and Kissinger, Kissinger had told Bhutto, "that if you [Bhutto] do not cancel, modify or postpone the Reprocessing Plant Agreement, we will make a horrible example from you".[25] The meeting was ended by Bhutto as he had replied: "For my country’s sake, for the sake of people of Pakistan, I did not succumb to that black-mailing and threats". After the meeting, Bhutto intensified his nationalization and industrialization policies, as well as aggressively taking steps to spur scientific research on atomic weapons and the atomic bomb project. Bhutto authorized the construction of Chagai weapon-testing laboratories, whilst United States opposed the action and predicted that it will lead to a massive and destructive war between India and Pakistan in the future. The atomic bomb project became fully mature in 1978; and a first cold test was conducted in 1983 (see Kirana-I).

Bhutto called upon

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  99. ^ Hersh, Seymour M. (2015-05-21). "The Killing of Osama bin Laden". London Review of Books. pp. 3–12.  
  100. ^ Solomon, Jay; Laura Meckler; Tom Wright; Zahid Hussain (May 2, 2011). "Pakistan's bin Laden Connection Is Probed".  
  101. ^ a b "Did Pakistan Army shelter Osama?". The Indian Express. May 2, 2011. Retrieved May 2, 2011. 
  102. ^ "Obama kept Pakistan in dark about Osama attack". News One. Retrieved May 13, 2011. 
  103. ^ "Did Pakistan know of U.S. raid to kill Osama?". Mid Day. May 2, 2011. 
  104. ^ Ross, Tim (May 2, 2011). "WikiLeaks: Osama bin Laden 'protected' by Pakistani security". The Daily Telegraph (UK). Retrieved May 2, 2011. 
  105. ^ Calabresi, Massimo (May 3, 2011). "CIA Chief Breaks Silence: Pakistan Would Have Jeopardized bin Laden Raid, 'Impressive' Intel Captured". TIME. Retrieved May 3, 2011. 
  106. ^ "Clinton: Pakistan helped lead U.S. to bin Laden". Forbes. Associated Press. May 2, 2011. Retrieved May 2, 2011. 
  107. ^ Walsh, Nick Paton (May 2, 2011). "Official: Pakistan had but didn't probe data that helped make raid". Islamabad, Pakistan: CNN. Retrieved May 2, 2011. 
  108. ^ MacAskill, Ewen; Walsh, Declan (May 2, 2011). "Osama bin Laden: Dead, but how did he hide so long?". The Guardian (London). Retrieved May 2, 2011. 
  109. ^ Leiby, Richard; Finn, Peter (May 24, 2012). "Pakistani doctor who helped CIA hunt for bin Laden sentenced to prison for treason". Washington Post. Retrieved May 24, 2012. 
  110. ^
  111. ^ a b
  112. ^ Reuters (7 December 2014). "U.S. hands Pakistan senior militant detained in Afghanistan".  
  113. ^
  114. ^
  115. ^ US arms Pakistan with combat aircraft, trainer jets
  116. ^ Visits By Foreign Leaders of Pakistan
  118. ^ "U.S. withholds $800 million in aid to Pakistan: White House". Reuters. July 10, 2011. 
  119. ^
  120. ^ US senator proposes suspending all Pakistan aid, The News International, 31 May 2012
  121. ^ Brulliard, Nicolas (July 26, 2011). "American fast food on the menu in Pakistan". The Washington Post. 


  • Pakistani American Population and Demographics 2014
  • Pakistani Embassy and Consulate Jurisdictions in the United States
  • The Washington Post - Highs and lows in U.S.-Pakistan relations: The two countries are allies but their relationship has been plagued by mistrust
  • The News International - Normalcy in Pak-US ties will take time: President Zardari
  • Newsline Magazine - US-Pak Relations Through the Decades

External links

See also

The proliferation of American culture in Pakistan stands in stark contrast to the growing resentment most Pakistanis feel toward the United States government. As a result, US companies have heavily invested in Pakistan. Hardee's have opened restaurants in the country and its first American-style sports bar. McDonald's has heavily invested in the country and has been credited with introducing the concept of home deliveries. Those businesses join existing burger joints and other American fast-food restaurants such as Pizza Hut, KFC, Fatburger and Domino's Pizza. Taco Bell and Burger King are also said to be looking at opening branches in Pakistan.[122]

According to the Washington Post, American culture has heavily penetrated Pakistan. In the past decade, the introduction of US cinema, US fashion and US Cuisine have proliferated Pakistan. In particular, the introduction of American apple pies, US-style diners similar to the Sonic Drive-In on Pakistani motorways, Hot dog stands on the streets of major cities, Fast food restaurants serving Chicago-style pizza as well as New York-style pizza with the option of US style home deliveries.

Cultural influence

On 31 May 2012, Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) called for the United States to suspend all aid to Pakistan and grant citizenship to a doctor who was jailed for helping hunt down Osama bin Laden.[121]

Some politicians in Pakistan argue the war on terror has cost the Pakistani economy $70 billion and U.S. aid costs the country more in the long term, leading to accusations that the US is making Pakistan a client state.[120]

Pakistan is a major non-NATO ally as part of the War on Terrorism and provides key intelligence and logistical support for the United States. A leading recipient of US military assistance, Pakistan expects to receive approximately $20 billion since 2001 a combination of reimbursement to Pakistan and training programs for the Pakistan counter terrorism units. However, in the aftermath of the Osama Bin Laden raid, Pakistan Army cancelled a $500 million training program and sent all 135 trainers home. The United States showed displeasure at this act and withheld a further $300 million in assistance.[119]

Military aid from the United States

Visitor Date Description
Dwight D. Eisenhower December 7–9, 1959 Informal visit to Karachi; met with Field Marshall Ayub Khan.
Lyndon B. Johnson December 23, 1967 visit to Karachi; met with Field Marshall Ayub Khan.
Richard Nixon August 1–2, 1969 State visit; met with President Yahya Khan
Bill Clinton March 25, 2000 Met with General Musharraf; delivered radio address.
George W. Bush March 3–4, 2006 Met with President Musharraf, red carpet welcome at Islamabad

Visits By Presidents of the United States[118]

Visitor Date Description
Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan May 3–5, 1950 Official visit. Afterwards visited New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Houston, New Orleans (Louisiana), Schenectady (New York), and Boston (Massachusetts). Departed U.S. May 30.
Governor General Malik Ghulam Muhammad November 8–13, 1953 Met with President Eisenhower after obtaining medical treatment in Boston.
P.M Muhammad Ali Bogra October 14–21, 1954 Official guest.
Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy July 10–13, 1957 Official visit. Afterwards visited Colorado Springs (Colorado), the Grand Canyon (Arizona), Los Angeles, San Francisco, Salt Lake City (Utah), Omaha (Nebraska), Detroit (Michigan), and New York City. Departed U.S. July 27.
Field Marshal Ayub Khan July 11–14, 1961 State visit. Addressed U.S. Congress July 12. Afterwards visited New York City, Gettysburg (Pennsylvania), San Antonio, Austin, and the LBJ Ranch (Texas). Departed U.S. July 18.
Field Marshal Ayub Khan September 24, 1962 Informal meeting at Newport (Rhode Island). Afterwards visited Washington and New York City. Departed U.S. September 27.
Field Marshal Ayub Khan December 14–16, 1965 State visit. Arrived in U.S. December 12; visited New York City.
General Yahya Khan October 24–25, 1970 Attended White House dinner on 25th Anniversary of the U.N; met privately with Richard Nixon on October 25.
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto September 18–20, 1973 Official visit. In U.S. September 17–24; visited Williamsburg, San Francisco, and New York City.
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto February 4–7, 1975 Official visit. Afterwards visited New York City. Departed U.S. February 8.
Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq October 3, 1980 Private visit while attending U.N. General Assembly session.
Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq December 6–9, 1982 State visit; visited New York City, Houston, Sacramento, and San Francisco. Departed U.S. December 14.
Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq October 23, 1985 Met with President Reagan in New York City at reception and luncheon at the U.N.
Muhammad Khan Junejo July 15–18, 1986 Official Visit; visited Orlando (Fla.) and New York City. Departed U.S. July 22.
Benazir Bhutto June 5–7, 1989 Official Visit; visited Boston and New York City. Departed U.S. June 10.
Farooq Leghari May 23–27, 1994 Arrived in U.S. May 21; departed June 1. Also visited Rochester, NY. Met with President Bill Clinton during a private visit. Later visited New York City.
Benazir Bhutto April 9–11, 1995 Official working visit. Arrived in the U.S. April 5; also visited New York City and Los Angeles. Departed the U.S. April 14.
Nawaz Sharif September 22, 1997 Met with President Bill Clinton at the UN General Assembly in New York City.
Nawaz Sharif September 21, 1998 Met with President Clinton at the U.N. General Assembly in New York City.
Nawaz Sharif December 1, 1998 Official working visit.
Nawaz Sharif July 4–5, 1999 Discussed the Kashmir conflict with President Bill Clinton during a private visit.
President Pervez Musharraf November 10, 2001 Met with George W. Bush at the UN General Assembly in New York City.
President Pervez Musharraf February 12–14, 2002 Official Working Visit.
President Pervez Musharraf September 12, 2002 Met with President Bush at the UN General Assembly in New York City.
President Pervez Musharraf June 23–27, 2003 Working visit. Met with President Bush in Washington, DC and Camp David. Arrived in Boston June 20; later visited Los Angeles.
President Pervez Musharraf September 24, 2003 Met with President Bush at the UN General Assembly in New York City.
Prime Minister Zafarullah Khan Jamali September 30-October 4, 2003 Working visit, meet U.S President
President Pervez Musharraf September 21–22, 2004 Met with President Bush at the UN General Assembly in New York City.
President Pervez Musharraf December 3–4, 2004 Working visit.
Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz January 22–24, 2006 Working visit. Arrived in the U.S. January 19; also visited New York City and Boston.
Pervez Musharraf September 20–22, 2006 Working visit.
Pervez Musharraf September 27, 2006 Also met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai on September 27.
Yousaf Raza Gillani July 27–30, 2008 Working visit.
Asif Ali Zardari September 23, 2008 Met with President Bush at the UN General Assembly in New York City.
Asif Ali Zardari September 24–25, 2009 Attended a meeting of the Friends of Democratic Pakistan in New York City
Yousaf Raza Gillani April 11–13, 2010 Attended the Nuclear Security Summit.
Asif Ali Zardari January 14, 2011 attended Richard Holbrooke Memorial Service.
Asif Ali Zardari May 21, 2012 Met with President Obama at the NATO Summit Meeting in Chicago, IL.
Nawaz Sharif October 20–23, 2013 Met with President Barack Obama at the Oval office.

Visits By Leaders of Pakistan[117]

Meetings between Pakistani and U.S leaders

On 7 May 2015, according to an internal report prepared by Congressional Research Service, Pakistan has made full payment from its national funds towards the purchase of 18 new F-16C/D Fighting Falcon Block 52 combat aircraft worth USD 1.43 billion. Also including F-16 armaments including 500 AMRAAM air-to-air missiles; 1,450 2,000-pound bombs; 500 JDAM Tail Kits for gravity bombs; and 1,600 Enhanced Paveway laser-guided kits. All this has cost Pakistan USD 629 million. Pakistan has also paid USD 298 million for 100 harpoon anti-ship missiles, 500 sidewinder air-to-air missiles (USD95 million); and seven Phalanx Close-In Weapons System naval guns (USD80 million). Under Coalition Support Funds (in the Pentagon budget), Pakistan received 26 Bell 412EP utility helicopters, along with related parts and maintenance, valued at USD235 million.[116]

Following years of poor inter-governmental relations, the two countries began to cooperate more closely - particularly following the United States' use of drone missiles to strike at Pakistan's most-wanted militant Mullah Fazlullah on November 24, 2014.[112] The United States later used drone missiles to kill several of Pakistan's most wanted militants who were hiding in a remote region close to the Afghan border in November 2014. The Pakistani Zarb-e-Azb operation against militant in North Waziristan also, in the words of Lt. Gen. Joseph Anderson, "fractured" the Haqqani Network - long accused by the United States of having a safe harbor in Pakistan.[112] The United States then captured and transferred a senior Taliban commander, Latif Mehsud, to Pakistan, which had been seeking his arrest.[113] Following an unprecedented two-week-long visit by Pakistan's most senior military official Gen. Raheel Sharif, Rep. Adam Schiff stated that US-Pakistani relations were on the upswing following several tense years of dysfunction. Pakistan further killed senior Al-Qaeda leader Adnan el Shukrijumah - long wanted by the United States.[114] Warming of relations, and increased security cooperation, between Afghanistan and Pakistan were also positive developments by the United States, which had long tried to mend relations between the two countries.[115]

In 2015 US handed over MRAP's to Pakistan.

2014 and 2015: Rapprochement

In 2012, Shakil Afridi, a doctor who had been cooperating with the United States in searching for Al Qaeda and bin Laden was convicted of treason by Pakistan, and sentenced to 33 years in prison.[110] The United States Congress voted to cut 33 million dollars in aid to Pakistan; 1 million dollars for every year that Shakil Afridi was sentenced to prison.[111]

CIA chief Leon Panetta said the CIA had ruled out involving Pakistan in the operation, because it feared that "any effort to work with the Pakistanis could jeopardize the mission. They might alert the targets."[106] However, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton stated that "cooperation with Pakistan helped lead us to bin Laden and the compound in which he was hiding."[107] Obama echoed her sentiments.[108] John O. Brennan, Obama's chief counterterrorism advisor, said that it was inconceivable that bin Laden did not have support from within Pakistan. He further stated, "People have been referring to this as hiding in plain sight. We are looking at how he was able to hide out there for so long." [109]

According to the leaked files, in December 2009, the government of Tajikistan had also told US officials that many in Pakistan were aware of bin Laden's whereabouts. [105]

Since some in the U.S. government claimed that they had caught bin Laden without Pakistani help, numerous allegations were made that the government of Pakistan had shielded bin Laden.[97][101][102] Critics cited the very close proximity of bin Laden's heavily fortified compound to the Pakistan Military Academy, that the US chose not to notify Pakistani authorities before the operation and the double standards of Pakistan regarding the perpetrators of the 2008 Mumbai attacks.[102][103][104] US government files, leaked by Wikileaks, disclosed that American diplomats had been told that Pakistani security services were tipping off bin Laden every time US forces approached. Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), also helped smuggle al-Qaeda militants into Afghanistan to fight NATO troops.

American Chairman of Joint Chiefs Peter Pace is saluting to Pakistan's inter-services in Islamabad.

2012–13: American sentiment against Pakistan

In May 2015, investigative journalist Seymour Hersch reported that the official U.S. government's account of the bin Laden killing had been a lie, and that bin Laden had in fact been captured in 2006 by the Pakistani ISI, who had later helped the U.S. to arrange the killing of bin Laden. The U.S. government then claimed sole credit for the killing in order to avoid embarrassment, and to secure a propaganda victory.[100]

According to the Pakistani foreign ministry, the operation was conducted entirely by US forces.[96] Pakistan Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) officials said they were also present at what they called a joint operation;[97] President Asif Ali Zardari flatly denied this.[98] Pakistan's foreign secretary Salman Bashir later confirmed that Pakistani military had scrambled F-16s after they became aware of the attack but that they reached the compound after American helicopters had left.[99]

According to Obama administration officials, US officials did not share information about the raid with the government of Pakistan until it was over.[93][94] Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Michael Mullen called Pakistan's army chief Ashfaq Parvez Kayani at about 3 a.m. local time to inform him of the Abbottabad Operation.[95]

Osama bin Laden, then head of the militant group al-Qaeda, was killed in Pakistan on May 2, 2011, shortly after 1 a.m. local time[89][90] by a United States special forces military unit. The operation, codenamed Operation Neptune Spear, was ordered by United States President Barack Obama and carried out in a US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operation by a team of United States Navy SEALs from the United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group (also known as DEVGRU or informally by its former name, SEAL Team Six) of the Joint Special Operations Command, with support from CIA operatives on the ground.[91][92]

Diagram of Osama bin Laden's hideout, showing the high concrete walls that surround the compound

Collapse of alliance and death of Osama bin Laden

In May 2011, Pakistani journalist Saleem Shahzad was killed and in September, The New Yorker reported that the order to kill Shahzad came from an officer on General Kayani's staff. In July Admiral Mullen alleged that Shahzad's killing had been "sanctioned by the government" of Pakistan,[88] but the ISI denied any involvement in the Shahzad murder.

The attack on the US embassy and the NATO headquarters in Kabul was blamed on the Haqqani Network, which US Admiral Mike Mullen called "a veritable arm of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence Agency."[80][81] Pakistan reacted by recalling its finance minister who was on a visit to the U.N.[82] Pakistan also tried to strengthen the relationship with China and Saudi Arabia to counter the U.S.[83] The Chinese government advised Pakistan against any commitments that could jeopardize China's relationships with US and India.[84] The United States reissued a call urging Pakistan to act against the Haqqani Network or else the US would be forced to take on the threat unilaterally.[85] Islamic groups in Pakistan, issued a fatwa proclaiming Jihad against the US.[86] This was followed by Pakistan threatening the US with retaliation, if the US went ahead with unilateral action against the Haqqani network.[87]

The CIA had long suspected Osama Bin Laden of hiding in Pakistan.[77][78] India and US have also accused Pakistan of giving safe-haven to the Taliban.[79] However, Pakistan has repeatedly denied these accusations.

As early as 2005, the Western criticism against Pakistan grew and many European and American political correspondents criticized Pakistan at the public level.[74] The London-based The Economist in fact observed: "As an American ally, Pakistan has became an embarrassment for United States."[74] In January 2011, the Raymond Allen Davis incident occurred in which Raymond Davis, an alleged private security contractor, shot dead two Pakistani locals after they attempted to rob him. The action sparked protests in Pakistan and threatened relations between the United States and Pakistan, including aid flows.[75] Pakistan prosecuted him despite US demands for him to be freed because he enjoys diplomatic immunity.[75] Ultimately he was freed after the United States made payments to the families of the slain Pakistanis, but the incident was emblematic of the volatile nature of American-Pakistani relations. In spite of this rocky relationship, the United States remains committed to assisting Pakistan's new democratic government in the areas of development, stability, and security.[76]

U.S President Obama and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

2011: American accusations and attacks in Pakistan

In March, Richard Holbrooke, then US special envoy to Pakistan, said that US-Pakistani relations have seen "significant improvement" under Obama. He also said, "No government on earth has received more high-level attention" than Pakistan[72][73]

In mid-February 2010, after the capture of the second most powerful Taliban, Abdul Ghani Baradar in Pakistan by Pakistani forces, the White House hailed the operation. Furthermore, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said that this is a "big success for our mutual efforts(Pakistan and United States)in the region" and praised Pakistan for the capture, saying it was a sign of increased cooperation with the US in the terror fight.[71]

Between 2002–2010, Pakistan received approximately $18 billion[69] in military and economic aid from the United States. In February 2010, the Obama administration requested an additional $3 billion in aid, for a total of $20.7 billion.[70]

In February 2010, Anne W. Patterson (U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan) said that the United States is committed to partnership with Pakistan and further said “Making this commitment to Pakistan while the U.S. is still recovering from the effects of the global recession reflects the strength of our vision. Yet we have made this commitment, because we see the success of Pakistan, its economy, its civil society and its democratic institutions as important for ourselves, for this region and for the world.”[64]

2010: Coalition partnership issues

In the aftermath of a thwarted bombing attempt on a 2009 Northwest Airlines flight, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) issued a new set of screening guidelines that includes pat-downs for passengers from countries of interest, which includes Pakistan.[66] In a sign of widening fissures between the two allies, on January 21, Pakistan declined a request by the United States to launch new offensives on militants in 2010.[67] Pakistan say it "can't launch any new offensives against militants for six months to a year because it wants to 'stabilize' previous gains made. However, the US praises Pakistan's military effort against the militants.[68] Furthermore Pakistan president, in meeting with the U.S. delegation, had said Pakistan "had suffered a... loss of over 35 billion dollars during the last eight years as a result of the fight against militancy." But the President also called for "greater Pak-U.S. cooperation".

On December 1, 2009, President Barack Obama in a speech on a policy about Pakistan said "In the past, we too often defined our relationship with Pakistan narrowly. Those days are over.... The Pakistani people must know America will remain a strong supporter of Pakistan’s security and prosperity long after the guns have fallen silent, so that the great potential of its people can be unleashed."[64] President Obama also said, "In the past, we too often defined our relationship with Pakistan narrowly, those days are over. Moving forward, we are committed to a partnership with Pakistan that is built on a foundation of mutual interests, mutual respect and mutual trust" and that the two countries "share a common enemy' in combating Islamic extremism."[65]

In October 2009, the US Congress approved $7.5 billion of non-military aid to Pakistan over the next five years via the Kerry-Lugar Bill. In February 2010, US President Barack Obama sought to increase funds to Pakistan to "promote economic and political stability in strategically important regions where the United States has special security interests".[48] Obama also sought $3.1 billion aid for Pakistan to defeat Al Qaeda for 2010.[63]

In late 2009, Hillary Clinton made a speech in Pakistan about the war against the militants and said "...we commend the Pakistani military for their courageous fight, and we commit to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Pakistani people in your fight for peace and security."[62]

On 14 September 2009, former President of Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf, admitted that American foreign aid to Pakistan had been diverted from its original purpose of fighting the Taliban to preparing for war against neighboring India.[60] The United States government has responded by stating that it will take these allegations seriously.[61] However Pervez Musharraf also said, '"Wherever there is a threat to Pakistan, we will use it [the equipment] there. If the threat comes from al-Qaeda or Taliban, it will be used there. If the threat comes from India, we will most surely use it there."[60]

Secretary State Hillary Clinton attending meeting with Former Pakistan Prime Minister Raza Gillani during an October 2009 visit to Islamabad.

2009: U.S. military and economic aid

Despite recent setbacks, both Pakistan and the United States continue to seek a productive relationship to defeat terrorist organizations.[59] It has been alleged that the ISI pays journalists to write articles hostile to the United States.[28]

Present US-Pakistan relations are a case study on the difficulties of diplomacy and policy making in a multipolar world. Pakistan has important geopolitical significance for both India and China, making unilateral action almost impossible for the US. At the same time, Pakistan remains a key player in American efforts in Afghanistan. The two countries are trying to build a strategic partnership, but there remains a significant trust deficit, which continues to hinder successful cooperation in combating common threats.

Afghan war factor in Pakistan–United States relations

The United States and Pakistan have experienced several military confrontations on the Durand Line. These skirmishes took place between American forces deployed in Afghanistan, and Pakistani troops guarding the border. On November 26, 2011, 24 Pakistani soldiers were killed in an aerial attack on Pakistani positions near the border. The attack further damaged US-Pakistani relations with many in Pakistan calling for a more hardline stance against the United States.[58]

Border engagement and skirmishes

In the November 2008 Mumbai Attacks, the United States informed Pakistan that it expected full cooperation in the hunt for the plotters of the attacks.

On 11 June 2008, the Gora Prai airstrike, on the Afghan-Pakistani border, killed 10 members of the paramilitary Frontier Corps. The Pakistani military condemned the airstrike as an act of aggression, souring the relations between the two countries.[49] However, after the drone attacks in June, President Bush had said 'Pakistan is strong ally '.[50] Western officials have claimed nearly 70%( roughly $3.4 billion) of the aid given to the Pakistani military has been misspent in 2002–2007. However U.S-Pakistani relationship has been a transactional based and US military aid to Pakistan has been shrouded in secrecy for several years until recently.[51][52][53][54][55] Furthermore, a significant proportion of US economic aid for Pakistan has ended up back in the US as funds are channeled through large US contractors. US Representative Gary Ackerman also said a large sum of US economic aid has not left the US as it spent on consulting fees and overhead cost.[56][57]

In 2008, NSA Director Mike McConnell confronted ISI Director Ahmad Shuja Pasha, claiming that the ISI was tipping off jihadists so that they could escape in advance of American attacks against them.[28]

Trust deficits issues

Pakistan is a major non-NATO ally as part of the War on Terrorism, and a leading recipient of U.S. aid.[48]

Aid from the United States since 9/11

A key campaign argument of US President Barack Obama was that the US had made the mistake of "putting all our eggs in one basket" in the form of General Musharraf. Musharraf was eventually forced out of office under the threat of impeachment, after years of political protests by lawyers, civilians and other political parties in Pakistan. With Obama coming into office, the U.S. is expected to triple non-military aid to Pakistan to $1.5 billion per year over 10 years, and to tie military aid to progress in the fight against militants. The purpose of the aid is to help strengthen the relatively new democratic government led by President Zardari and to help strengthen civil institutions and the general economy in Pakistan, and to put in place an aid program that is broader in scope than just supporting Pakistan's military.

Pakistan has lost thousands of lives since joining the U.S. war on terror in the form of both soldiers and civilians, and was going through a critical period, however many areas of Pakistan are becoming terror free. Suicide bombs were commonplace in Pakistan, whereas they were unheard of prior to 9/11. The Taliban have been resurgent in recent years in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. Hundreds of thousands of refugees have been created internally in Pakistan, as they have been forced to flee their homes as a result of fighting between Pakistani forces and the Taliban in the regions bordering Afghanistan and further in Swat. In addition, the economy is in an extremely fragile position.

making it eligible, among other things, to purchase advanced American military technology. [47] In return for their support, Pakistan had sanctions lifted and has received about $10 billion in U.S. aid since 2001, primarily military. In June 2004, President

Pakistan George Walker Bush.

After 9/11, Pakistan, led by General Pervez Musharraf, reversed course as they were under pressure from the United States and joined the "War on Terror" as a U.S. ally. Having failed to convince the Taliban to hand over bin Laden and other members of Al Qaeda, Pakistan provided the U.S. a number of military airports and bases for its attack on Afghanistan, along with other logistical support. Since 2001, Pakistan has arrested over five hundred Al-Qaeda members and handed them over to the United States; senior U.S. officers have been lavish in their praise of Pakistani efforts in public while expressing their concern that not enough was being done in private. However, General Musharraf was strongly supported by the Bush administration.

Prior to the September 11 attacks in 2001, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia were key supporters of the Taliban in Afghanistan, as part of their "strategic depth" objective vis-a-vis India, Iran, and Russia.

Alliance with United States

In October 2005, Condoleezza Rice made a statement where she promised that the United States will support the country's earthquake relief efforts and help it rebuild" after the Kashmir earthquake.[46]

In 2003, the US officially forgave US$1 billion in Pakistani debt in a ceremony in Pakistan in turn for Pakistan joining the US 'war on terror'. "Today's signing represents a promise kept and another milestone in our expanding partnership," US Ambassador Nancy Powell said in a statement, "The forgiveness of $1 billion in bilateral debt is just one piece of a multifaceted, multibillion dollar assistance package." The new relationship between the United States and Pakistan is not just about September 11,' Powell said. "It is about the rebirth of a long-term partnership between our two countries." However Pakistan support of the U.S. and its war has angered many Pakistanis that do not support it.

We've captured 689 and handed over 369 to the United States. We've earned bounties totaling millions of dollars
— Former President of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf

After the war on terror. Pervez Musharraf acknowledges the payments received for captured terrorists in his book:


Relations since 2001

During the 1990s and early 2000s, U.S. tightened its embargo and constriction on Pakistan's space development, and in 1998, putting restrictions and sanctions on premier astronautics research department, DESTO, although the sanctions were uplifted in 2001 by the Bush Administration.

In the 1990s, U.S. and the Missile Technology Control Regime put restrictions on Pakistan's space programme in amid fear that the country's alleged covert development of missile programmes. The U.S. began cooperation with Pakistan in peaceful space technology in the 1960s after establishing the Sonmiani Terminal in 1961, constructing an airfield and launch pad. In 1962, the Space Research Commission launched the first solid-fuel rocket, Rehbar-I, built with close interaction with the U.S. NASA. Launching of the rocket made Pakistan the first South Asian country and tenth country in the world to carrying out the launch of the rocket. During the 1962 and 1972, approximately 200 rockets were fired from the Sonmiani, but this cooperation waned after 1972.

Space programme

On December 10, 2012, the Assistant Secretary for Arms Control, Verification, and Compliance Rose Gottemoeller and Additional Secretary for United Nations and Economic Coordination Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry co-chaired the Pakistan-U.S. Security, Strategic Stability, and Nonproliferation (SSS&NP) Working Group in Islamabad.[44] Gottemoeller traveled to Pakistan after former Indian Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran wrote in an article that, "Pakistan had moved its nuclear doctrine from minimum deterrence to second strike capability and expanded its arsenal to include tactical weapons that can be delivered by short-range missiles like the Hatf-IX.[44] The meeting ended with an agreement on continuing dialogue on a range of issues related to the bilateral relationship, including international efforts to enhance nuclear security and peaceful applications of nuclear energy.[45]

The Bush's proposal was seen as targeted against Pakistan, which is an influential member of IAEA since the 1960s and serves on the Board of Governors; it did not receive attention from other world governments. In 2009, Pakistan has repeatedly blocked the Conference on Disarmament (CD) from implementing its agreed program of work, despite severe pressure from the major nuclear powers to end its defiance of 64 other countries in blocking international ban on the production of new nuclear bomb-making material, as well as discussions on full nuclear disarmament, the arms race in outer space, and security assurances for non-nuclear states.[41] The Chairman Joint Chiefs General Tariq Majid justified Pakistan's action and outline the fact that atomic deterrence against a possible aggression was a compulsion, and not a choice for Pakistan.[42] He further justified that "a proposed fissile material cutoff treaty would target Pakistan specifically.[43]

Since 1998, the governments of both countries have started an intensive dialogues on nuclear nonproliferation and security issues. First meeting took place in 1998 between National Defense University, President Bush proposed to reform the IAEA to combat the nuclear proliferation and quoted: "No state, under investigation for proliferation violations, should be allowed to serve on the IAEA Board of Governors—or on the new special committee. And any state currently on the Board that comes under investigation should be suspended from the Board."[40]

Nonproliferation and security

India's decision to conduct nuclear tests in May 1998 and Pakistan's response set back US relations in the region, which had seen renewed US interest during the second Clinton Administration. A presidential visit scheduled for the first quarter of 1998 was postponed and, under the Glenn Amendment, sanctions restricted the provision of credits, military sales, economic assistance, and loans to the government.

In March 1986, the two countries agreed on a second multi-year (FY 1988–93) $4-billion economic development and security assistance program. On October 1, 1990, however, the United States suspended all military assistance and new economic aid to Pakistan under the Pressler Amendment, which required that the President certify annually that Pakistan "does not possess a nuclear explosive device."

In the 1980s, the plan to recognise national security concerns and accepting Pakistan' assurances that it did not intend to construct a nuclear weapon, Congress waived restrictions (Symington Amendment) on military assistance to Pakistan. In October 1980, a high level delegation and CMLA General Zia-ul-Haq travels to U.S., first meeting with former president Richard Nixon.[37] Although, the meeting was to discuss the Soviet integration of Afghanistan, Nixon made it clear he is in favor of Pakistan gaining nuclear weapons capability, while correcting that he is not in a race for the presidential elections.[37] The following year, Agha Shahi made it clear to Alexander Haig that Pakistan "won't make a compromise" on its nuclear weapons program, but assured the U.S. that the country had adopted the policy of deliberate ambiguity, refraining itself to conduct nuclear tests to avoid or create divergence in the relations.[37]

This was changed after Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and democratic socialists under him decided to build nuclear weapons for the sake of their national security and survival.[36] In 1974, U.S. imposed embargo and restriction on Pakistan to limit its nuclear weapons programme.[36] In the 1980s, the American concerns of Pakistan’s role in nuclear proliferation eventually turned out to be true after the exposure of nuclear programs of Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia and Libya.[36] Although the atomic program was effectively peaceful and devoted for economical usage, the nuclear policy change in the 1970s and till the present, with Pakistan maintaining its program as part of the strategic deterrence.[36]

The leadership of both nations meeting in a high-level state dinner in Islamabad, 2006.

In 1955, after Prime minister Huseyn Suhrawardy established nuclear power to ease of the electricity crises, with U.S. offering grant of US$350,000 to acquire a commercial nuclear power plant.[36] Following this year, the PAEC signed an agreement with counterpart United States Atomic Energy Commission where the research on nuclear power and training was started initially by the United States. During the 1960s, the U.S. opens doors to Pakistan's scientists and engineers to conduct research on leading institutions of the U.S., notably ANL, ORNL, and LLNL. In 1965, Abdus Salam went to U.S. succeeding the U.S. government to establish a national institute of nuclear research (see PINSTECH and a research reactor Parr-I).[36] The Pinstech was designed by leading American architect Edward Durrell Stone whereby American nuclear engineer Peter Karter designed the reactor, with the reactor supplied by the American Machine and Foundry as its contractors.[36] Later in years, U.S. helped Pakistan to negotiate to acquire first commercial nuclear power plant, Kanupp-I, from GE Canada in 1965.[36] All this nuclear infrastructure was established by the U.S. during the successive years of the 1960s, as part of the Congressional Atoms for Peace programme.[36]

Pakistan and atomic weapons

Military science programmes

In April 1979, the United States suspended most economic assistance to Pakistan over concerns about Pakistan's atomic bomb project under the Foreign Assistance Act.[35]

Trade embargo

During the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, the United States refused to provide any military support to as against its pledged. This generated a widespread anti-American feelings and emotions in Pakistan that the United States was no longer a reliable ally. According to C. Christine Fair, the U.S. cut off arms supplies because Pakistan "started the war with India by using regular military personnel disguised as mujahideen." According to Fair, in 1971 "the Pakistanis were angry at the U.S. again, for not bailing them out from another war they started against India."[28]

Pakistan was a leading member of the East-Pakistan war in which East Pakistan successfully seceded with the aid of India. The promise of economic aid from the United States was instrumental in creating these agreements. At the time the pact was adopted, Pakistan's relationship with the United States was the friendliest in Asia.


Cold war legacies and trade sanctions

In 1998, Prime minister Nawaz Sharif ordered to conduct first nuclear tests after Benazir Bhutto called for the tests (see Chagai-I and Chagai-II), in response to Indian nuclear tests (see Pokhran-II). Nawaz Sharif's ordering the nuclear tests was met with great hostility and ire in the United States after President Clinton placing the economic embargo on Pakistan. The relations were also refrained and strained after Nawaz Sharif became involved with Kargil war with India, while India's relations with Israel and U.S greatly enhanced. Soon after the tests, Benazir Bhutto publicly announced her believe that her father was "sent to the gallows at the instance of the superpower for pursuing the nuclear capability,[32] though she did not disclose the name of the power.[33] In 1999, Benazir leaked the information that Nawaz Sharif would be deposed that there is (nothing) that Americans[34] want to support Nawaz Sharif or the democracy in Pakistan.[34] After the military coup was commenced against Nawaz Sharif, the President Clinton criticized the coup demanding the restoration of democracy but did not favor the mass demonstration against the military regime as the coup, at that time, was popular. In conclusion, both Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto refused to make compromises with respect to the country's nuclear deterrence, instead building infrastructure despite U.S. objections.[32]

Nawaz Sharif meeting with William Cohen, Secretary of Defense, 1998.

In 1995, Prime minister Benazir Bhutto made final visit to U.S. urging President Bill Clinton to amend the Pressler Amendment and emphasized United States to launch a campaign against the extremism, with Pakistan allying with the United States.[31] Prime minister Benazir Bhutto was succeeded to pass the Brown Amendment, but the embargo on arms remain active. At the United States trip, Prime minister Benazir Bhutto faced a heated criticism and opposition on nuclear weapons program, Benazir Bhutto responded fiercely and sharply criticized U.S.'s nonproliferation policy and demanded that the United States honour its contractual obligation.[31] Although Benazir was able to convince U.S. business community to invest in Pakistan, but was unable to revert the economic embargo which kept investment away from the country.[31]

In 1989, Benazir Bhutto made a quick visit in the U.S. asking U.S. to stop financing the [29] This was followed by Nawaz Sharif who visited the U.S. in 1990, but U.S. gave cold shoulder to Pakistan, asking Pakistan to stop developing the nuclear deterrence. In 1990, Prime minister Nawaz Sharif travels to U.S. to solve the nuclear crises after the U.S. had tightened its economic embargo on Pakistan, prompting Sharif and then-Treasure Minister Sartaj Aziz to held talks on Washington.[30] It was widely reported in Pakistan that the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Teresita Schaffer had told the Foreign Minister Shahabzada Yaqub Khan to halt the uranium enrichment programme.[30] In December 1990, France's Commissariat à l'énergie atomique agreed to provide a commercial 900MW power plant, but plans did not materialize as France wanted Pakistan to provide entire financial funds for the plant. Furthermore, the U.S. Ambassador Robert Oakley further influenced on the project, showing growing concerns of the U.S. on the agreement.[30] While talking to U.S. media, Nawaz Sharif declared that: "Pakistan possessed no [atomic] bomb... Pakistan would be happy to sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) but it must be provided "first" to India to do the same".[30] After the France's project cancel, Nawaz Sharif successfully held talks with the China to build the largest commercial nuclear plant, CHASNUPP-I in Chasma city in Pakistan.[30]

Benazir Bhutto paying state visit to the U.S., 1989.

Economic embargo

In 1992 US Ambassador Nicholas Platt advised Pakistan's leaders that if Pakistan continued to support terrorists in India or Indian-administered territory, "the Secretary of State may find himself required by law to place Pakistan on the state sponsors of terrorism list."[28] When the US decided to respond to the 1998 United States embassy bombings in Africa by firing missiles at an al-Qaeda camp in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, five Pakistani ISI agents present at the camp were killed.[28]

Rift in relations

After the restoration of democracy after the disastrous and mysterious death of Zia and U.S. Ambassador in an aviation crash, relations deteriorated quickly with upcoming prime ministers Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif. The United States took tough stand on Pakistan's nuclear development, passing the Pressler amendment, while significantly improving the relations with India. Both Benazir and Nawaz Sharif also asked the United States to take steps to stop the Indian nuclear programme, feeling that United States was not doing enough to address what Pakistan saw as an existential threat. Pakistan found itself in a state of extremely high insecurity as tensions mounted with India and Afghanistan’s infighting continued. Pakistan’s alliance with the U.S. was strained due to factors such as its support for the Taliban and public distancing of the Pakistani government from the U.S.

Democratic governments (1988–1998)

Relations after the Cold war: 1988-1999

The Reagan administration and Reagan himself supported Pakistan's military regime, American officials visited the country on a routine basis.[11] The U.S. political influence in Pakistan effectively curbed down the liberals, socialists, communists, and democracy-advocates in the country in 1983, instead advising Zia to hold the non-partisans elections in 1985.[11] General Akhtar Abdur Rahman of ISI and William Casey of CIA worked together in harmony, and in an atmosphere of mutual trust. The ISI officer Mohammad Yusuf stated "“It was a great blow to the Jehad when Casey died", calling Casey "shaheed", a former CIA director is actually a martyr of Islam.[11] The U.S. intelligence community also helped Zia to expand the idea of Establishment, in the national politics of Pakistan, approving the sell of F-16 Fighting Falcon, nuclear technology, naval warships, intelligence training and efforts.[11]

Initially, Carter offered Pakistan $325 million in aid over three years; Zia rejected this as "peanuts."[27] Carter also signed the finding in 1980 that allowed less than $50 million a year to go to the Mujahideen. All attempts were rebuffed, Zia shrewdly played his cards knowing that Carter was on his way out and he may get a better deal from the incoming Reagan. After Ronald Reagan came to office, defeating Carter for the US Presidency in 1980, all this changed, due to President Reagan's new priorities and the unlikely and remarkably effective effort by Congressman Charles Wilson (D-TX), aided by Joanne Herring, and CIA Afghan Desk Chief Gust Avrakotos to increase the funding for Operation Cyclone. Aid to the Afghan resistance, and to Pakistan, increased substantially, finally reaching $1 billion. The United States, faced with a rival superpower looking as if it were to create another Communist bloc, now engaged Zia to fight a US-aided war by proxy in Afghanistan against the Soviets.

In the 1980s, Pakistan agreed to pay $658 million for 28 F-16 fighter jets from the United States; however the US congress froze the deal, citing objections to Pakistan's nuclear ambitions. Under the terms of the American cancellation, the US kept both the money and the planes, leading to angry claims of theft by Pakistanis.[26]

Following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, ISI and CIA ran multibillion-dollar worth Operation Cyclone to thwart the communist regime as well as defeating Soviets in Afghanistan. Throughout the military regime of General Zia-ul-Haq, the ties and relations were promoted at its maximum point, and United States had given billion dollars of economical and military aid to Pakistan. The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979 highlighted the common interest of Pakistan and the United States in opposing the Soviet Union. In 1981, Pakistan and the United States agreed on a $3.2 billion military and economic assistance program aimed at helping Pakistan deal with the heightened threat to security in the region and its economic development needs. With US assistance, in the largest covert operation in history, Pakistan armed and supplied anti-Soviet fighters in Afghanistan.

After the removal and death of Bhutto, the Pakistan's ties with United States were better and improved. Nn December 24, 1979, the Soviet 40th Army crossed borders, rolling into Afghanistan, President Carter issued his doctrine (see Carter Doctrine). The silent features offers the creation of the Rapid Deployment Force (RDF), increasing the deployment of United States Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT), a collective security framework in the region and a commitment to the defence of Pakistan by transfer of significant amount of weapons and Monetarism.

Crile and Charlie Wilson meeting with ISI officers, c. 1980s.

In 1979, a group of Pakistani students burned the American embassy in Islamabad to the ground killing two Americans as a reaction to Grand Mosque Seizure, citing the U.S. involvement. The claim was a lie started by Iran.

Military dictatorship (1977–1988)


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