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Pak-Indonesia historic relations.

Byline: Mohammad Jamil

ADDRESSING a joint session of Parliament on Friday, Indonesia's President Joko Widodo said: 'Democracy is the only way to serve interests of the people, as it helps maintain political stability and achieve growth'. He dwelt at length on the challenges facing the Muslim world like instability, radicalism and terrorism, and urged closer cooperation among Muslim countries to address them. He rightly said that no country was immune from terrorism and Muslims were the biggest victim of it, as 76 per cent of terrorist attacks took place in Muslim countries. Besides, 60 per cent of armed conflicts happened in Muslim countries and 67 per cent refugees come from Muslim countries. According to Foreign Office, President Widodo's visit will contribute towards strengthening existing fraternal ties between the two countries that span over more than seven decades, as people of both the countries stood by each other in fight against colonialism.

During the Indonesian struggle for independence, Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah had encouraged Muslim soldiers serving in British Indian army to stand shoulder to shoulder with Indonesians against their fight against the Dutch colonizers. As a result, hundreds of Muslim soldiers of the British Indian Army deserted the colonial forces and allied with Indonesians freedom fighters and at least 500 of them laid down their lives. This particular aspect connected both the nations in a strong bond even before their emerging as independent states on the map of the world. Some of the survivors returned to Pakistan while others continued to live in Indonesia. As a recognition, during Indonesia Golden Jubilee celebration on August 17, 1995, Indonesia bestowed Independence War Awards to the living ex-Pakistani soldiers, and awarded the highest honor Adipura to the founding father of Pakistan Mohammad Ali Jinnah and the government of Pakistan

In 1950s the progressive leaders of Asian and African countries had decided to create a forum to promote Afro-Asian economic and cultural cooperation and to oppose colonialism and neocolonialism by the US, the Soviet Union or any other imperialist nation. The first Afro-Asian Conference known as the Bandung Conference was a meeting of mostly newly independent Asian and African states, which took place on April 18-24, 1955 in Bandung, Indonesia. The twenty-nine countries that participated at the Bandung Conference represented nearly one-quarter of the Earth's land surface and a total population of 1.5 billion people, roughly 54% of the Earth's population at the time. The conference was organised by Indonesia, Egypt, Burma, Pakistan, Ceylon (Sri Lanka), and India and was coordinated by Ruslan Abdulgani, secretary general of the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. A 10-point declaration on promotion of world peace and cooperation, incorporating the principals of UN Charter, was adopted unanimously.

The conference ultimately led to the establishment of the Non-Aligned Movement in 1961. In later years, when conflicts between the non-aligned nations eroded the solidarity expressed at Bandung, the NAM became ineffective. In 2005, the NAM summit was timed for the golden jubilee of the Afro-Asian Conference of 1955 held in Bandung. The world international order had changed. The challenges moved to the problem of economic globalisation and the marginalization of the Asian African Countries, yet the spirit of Dasasila Bandung was stated to be relevant as the base of the cooperation among nations in facing the situation. Indonesia as the host of the Asian-African Conference 1955, noticed that the Asian African strategic partnership was possible to be revitalized. In 2008, once again a representative Asian-African summit took place on April 22-24 in Jakarta, Indonesia. It adopted a declaration on the New Afro-Asian strategic partnership, an action plan to carry it out and a document on cooperation in combating natural disasters.

In July 2009, at Putrajaya Malaysia, the 114 members of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) upheld the principle of right to self-determination, drawing a clear line between terrorism and the movements for right to self-determination. The draft declaration after approval by the Foreign Ministers level meeting of the NAM Coordinating Bureau was presented for its adoption at the NAM summit scheduled for September the same year. The meeting also recommended incorporating in the draft document that 'no religion and culture can be equated with terrorism; and the counter terrorism measures should not be used as a pretext to target any particular religion.' It is true that during the last half a century, the political landscape of the world has drastically changed, but there has always been a desire on the part of smaller and weaker nations to unite with a view to resisting the imperialist designs of the super power or great powers.

The fact remains that regions of Asia, Africa and Latin America contain the bulk of the world's mineral wealth, economic resources and manpower; however most of these countries are poor, as imperialism controls them politically and economically. The experience of most of the newly independent countries, except for those that had brought about a social revolution showed that mere formal independence is meaningless without economic independence. And that democracy and peace are only possible when these countries are economically independent. Anyhow, principles of peaceful coexistence should be the basis of the state relations between the developing countries, which ensures the right of each country to determine its own socio-economic and political system, without any interference from any other country. They must respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of developing countries, and adhere to the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries.
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Publication:Pakistan Observer (Islamabad, Pakistan)
Geographic Code:9INDO
Date:Jan 30, 2018
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