Ammar Ali Qureshi
A book that traces the history of Sino-Pakistan relations
THE NEWS ON SUNDAY - October 22, 2017
In 1960, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Pakistan’s natty and cocky minister in
President Ayub Khan’s cabinet, abstained from voting on, instead of
voting against, China’s membership of the United Nations. Using his
discretionary powers as head of his country’s delegation to the United
Nations in New York, Bhutto, by abstaining, had sent a personal signal
to China about his preferred direction for Pakistan’s foreign policy.
However, his action elicited strong protest from Washington, Pakistan’s
closest ally, and Bhutto’s discretionary powers were revoked by
Pakistan’s foreign minister.
Hardly a decade after independence from the British, Pakistan, at
that time, was firmly entrenched in the Washington camp as a member of
anti-Communist blocs such as CENTO and SEATO. On the other hand, India
and China, during the 1950s, enjoyed a close relationship as leading
anti-colonial and non-aligned states equidistant, politically, from both
Washington and Moscow. The winds of change began to blow in 1959 when
Tibet crises erupted and led to a full-blown Indo-China war in 1962; it
resulted in a humiliating defeat for India and provided an opportunity
to Islamabad to improve relations with Beijing.