Pakistan’s Foreign Policy 1947-2019

The Power of Policy

By Taha Kehar | July 2020

Book Title: Pakistan’s Foreign Policy 1947-2019: A Concise History (Fifth Edition)
Author: Abdul Sattar
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Pages: 795
ISBN: 9780190702571

Scholarly insights have revealed that foreign policy decision-making cannot be insulated from domestic and global politics. Since Pakistan’s inception, state leaders have negotiated a complex geopolitical terrain and acted on copious strategic compulsions to safeguard national security and strengthen foreign relations. This hasn’t been an easy undertaking because Pakistan gained independence in a climate of intense hostility – especially from India – and continues to face a series of challenges.

Pakistan’s Foreign Policy 1947-2019: A Concise History builds on this motif by situating the country’s consistent attempts to balance its domestic imperatives with its global interests in a historical context. Now in its fifth edition, the book offers up-to-date information on the policy stances that Pakistan has adopted to secure good diplomacy through effective foreign policy decision-making.

It would be impossible to chronicle the highs and lows of Pakistan’s foreign policy dynamics without painstaking research and a deft handling of facts. The author Abdul Sattar passed away in June 2019. He comments on the underlying motivations of major policy undertakings. A distinguished diplomat, he served in tPakistan’s foreign service for over three decades and held key foreign affairs portfolios. With an eye for detail, in the book under review, the author enables readers to look with the benefit of hindsight at the country’s search for a delicate balance in foreign relations.

At its core, the book uses history as a pivot to understand the strategic compulsions that have shaped Pakistan’s ties with other countries. What emerges is not only a chronological survey of key foreign policy milestones, but also a useful framework that illustrates the impact of the past on our current and future policy trajectories. Sattar’s account may, therefore, serve to broaden the horizons of those commentators who view crucial developments in international politics and foreign affairs in a vacuum.

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