Friday, August 21, 2009

Non-Aligned Movement

This is an important international body. Its foundations were laid in a conference in April 1955 in the Indonesian city of Bandung. Pakistan is an active member of the movement. The main purpose of this conference was to provide a platform to those countries which liked to keep equal distance from each super power. The participating countries endorsed five principles called ‘Panchshela’ for matual relationship. These principles are:
1. Respect for each other’s govereignty and integrity.
2. Re-frainment from all forms of aggression.
3. Non-interference in the internal affairs of others.
4. Equality and mutual co-operation.
5. Peaceful co-existence.
The first Conference of twenty-five non-aligned countries was held in Belgrade, the Yugoslavian capital in 1961, where the establishment of the Non-Aligned Movement was formally announced on the principles of ‘Panchshela’ and resolutions of Bandung Conference. The Belgrade Conference supported the independence movements of oppressed nations, closing the foreign military bases and limiting the use of armaments. In addition to this, it also emphasised that the economic gap between the rich and poor nations of the Third World be reduced.
The first summit of Non-Aligned Movement was held in Belgrade, the second at Cairo (Egypt) in 1964, the third at Lusaka (Zambia) in 1970, the fourth at Algiers (Algeria) in 1974, the fifth at Colombo (Srilanka) in 1976, the sixth at Havana (Cuba) in 1979, the Seventh at New Delhi (India) in 1983, the eighth at Harare (Zimbabwe) in 1986, the ninth again at Belgrade (Yugoslavia) in 1989. The NAM continues to meet every third year since than.
Although Pakistan played an important role in the establishment of Non-Aligned Movement yet it did not join the movement initially. The main reason was that it was facing hostilities from its two neighbours, the Afghanistan and India and to meet this challenge it had joined South East Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) a defence treaty with the USA and Baghdad Pact, later to become Central Treat Organization (CENTO). It secured military assistance and co-operation from western countries.
In 1960, due to the changing pattern of international relations, the Government of Pakistan felt that dependence on western countries should be reduced as far as possible and the relations with others should be strengthened. The 1965 war between Pakistan and India gave a further vent to this feeling when USA and other treaty members refused to help Pakistan but stopped the supply of armaments. Pakistan reviewed its foreign policy vis-à-vis the western countries and gradually adopted an independent foreign policy. This change in Pakistan’s foreign policy received a further strength after of the 1971 war with India. During the 1971 war, the western countries refused, repeating the 1965 stand to help Pakistan. Consequently Pakistan first left SEATO and the CENTO.
It has remained a cardinal principle of the foreign policy of Pakistan to keep itself away from the big Power rivalry and maintain friendly relations with all countries on mutual basis.
Even when Pakistan was not a member of the Non-Aligned Movement it had adhered to the ideals and principles which this movement stood for with a firm belief that the basic principles of NAM should be propagated and practised.
In 1976 Pakistan attended the fifth NAM summit at Colombo as an observer. Three years later in 1979 on the occasion of the sixth meeting of the movement at Havana (Cuba) Pakistan acquired the full membership of NAM. Since then Pakistan has taken an active part in the activities of NAM and has strongly supported the member states in the solution of their political, economic and other problems.
At the ninth summit in 1989, Pakistan dwelt on the internal strife in Afghanistan and came out with is thorough solution. Most of the participants of the Summit endorsed the views and stand of Pakistan. The communiqué issued on the conclusion of the Conference stressed the need for the political solution of the Afghan problem coupled with the withdrawal of Russian forces followed by the return of the Afghan refugees to their homes.

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