Pakistan’s Role in International Relations at the Beginning of the 21st Century

Keywords: Islamic world, terrorism, Pakistan, South Asia, nuclear weapons


The role and place of Pakistan in contemporary international relations are analyzed in the paper. It is noted that, after gaining nuclear weapons, Pakistan has been considering itself a state that has managed to establish relative military-political parity with India. The status of a nuclear power has made Pakistan one of the leaders of the Islamic world. At the same time, after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Pakistan supported, for political reasons, the US counter-terrorism operation in neighboring Afghanistan. That made it possible to neutralize the negative effects of the international sanctions regime, introducing after the 1998 nuclear tests.
It is shown that the nuclear factor alone is not enough for Pakistan to enter the circle of developed states of the modern system of international relations. A considerable impediment to the democratization of Pakistan society remains its traditionalism, inter-ethnic and inter-confessional problems. The military regime has not gained much public support. The majority of Pakistani Muslims are convinced that the ruling elite have no right to convert the Islamic state into a secular state.
The military regime never received reliable social and political support. It was during the governing of the military that the rights of non-Muslim citizens of Pakistan, as well as Pakistani women, were somewhat broadened. Pakistan Islamists have proven that the capabilities of the army are not all-powerful. Pakistan is the only nuclear power among the 56 states participating in the activities of the intergovernmental Organization of the Islamic Conference. Its main goal is to strengthen Islamic solidarity, to consolidate the efforts of Muslim states, to develop unified approaches to current issues of modernity in the interests and for the benefit of Islamic peoples. Pakistan remains an internally unstable state. Ethnic and religious contradictions are exacerbating against the background of increasing social imbalances. The Islamic fundamentalist project remains an actual alternative to the existing political regime in Pakistan. Radical Pakistan Islamists continue to consider the West’s modernizing global activity as a continuation of the crusades. The «Islamite model» also cannot reconcile the Sunni majority and the Shiite minority in the structure of Pakistan society. Due to the dominance of these trends, modern-day Pakistan has found itself in a «deadlock» of its development.


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World History and International Relations