International RelationsPakistan Studies

Foreign Policy and its Importance

Principles of Pakistan's foreign policy

In this article, the term ‘Foreign Policy’ is defined and its importance discussed. The article also discusses the principles of Pakistan’s foreign policy.

What is foreign policy?

The term ‘foreign policy’ refers to guidelines set by a state to interact with other states and international organizations with a view to safeguard and promote its national interests.

In other words, the term refers to a well-thought-out course of action adopted by a nation for conducting relations with other states, regional or international organizations in order to protect its national interests.

What is the importance of foreign policy for a country?

No country or state can live in isolation. States need to interact with each other to fulfill the different needs of their citizens. No country can be self-sufficient in the productions of different services and goods.

Thus foreign policy guides a country as to how to behave with other states so that it could safeguard, maintain and promote its national interests, i.e. national security, economic development, internal peace, etc. A state without a foreign policy is like a ship without a captain.

Principles of Pakistan’s Foreign Policy

Following are the fundamental principles of Pakistan’s foreign policy.

Cooperation with the UN for world peace

As an advocate of peace and prosperity, Pakistan has made it a principle to cooperate with United Nations (UN) in its efforts to maintain peace in the world. Pakistan is one of the largest troop contributors to UN peacekeeping Missions in different parts of the world.

Friendly relations with all nations of the world

Friendship with other states is another foreign policy principle of Pakistan. Under this principle, Pakistan would not have any aggressive design against any country in the world. It would rather make efforts to establish cordial relations with other states.

Adopting a friendly attitude does not mean keeping a blind eye on any maligned aims focused on Pakistan by any state. Pakistan would surely defend itself against any aggression on its territorial and ideological sovereignty.


The term ‘Non-alignment’ refers to adopting a position of neutrality in a conflict between two or more states or blocks of different countries.

When Pakistan came into being, its founder, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, had envisioned adopting a policy of non-alignment. Thus, according to this principle, Pakistan should not align with any power block or country against another power block or a state.

There is criticism that despite Jinnah’s emphasis on adopting a non-aligned position, the country aligned itself with the United States against USSR in the initial decade.

Pakistan had to withdraw from military alliances with the US and its allies in the 1970s to reenter Non-Aligned Movement.

Fraternal relations with Muslim countries

Being a Muslim country, Pakistan has made it a principle to establish fraternal ties with the Muslim states.  Similarly, as an Islamic Pakistan has been making efforts to promote unity in the Islamic world. 

To this end, Pakistan’s role in the formation and strengthening of the Organization of Islamic Countries is of vital importance. Pakistan has been playing a central in creating unity among Muslim countries.

Pakistan hosted the second OIC summit in Lahore in 1974. This conference brought the Muslim world on one platform to act together to resolve issues that the Muslim world faced in the world i.e. the issue of Palestine and Kashmir etc.

Regional Cooperation

It is one of the principles of the foreign policy of Pakistan. According to this principle, Pakistan would strive to cooperate and collaborate with countries in South Asia i.e. India, Bangladesh, Sri-Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, the Maldives for peace and development. 

Pakistan is an active member of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). As an active member, it has been playing a pivotal role in educational, socio-economic and development, and peace in the region.

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