ATP Photo-Quiz: US-Pakistan: The early days

Posted on July 17, 2006
Filed Under >Adil Najam, ATP Quiz, Foreign Relations, History, People, Photo of the Day
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Adil Najam

ATP has speculated before that there may be a US-Pakistan ‘falling out of love’ going on right now. The ATP Photo Quiz from this Saturday (15 July, 2006) provides us a nice opportunity to remember the “good ol’ days” and how the two countries fell in love in the first place.

But coming back to the US-Pakistan relations, the relationship is a long-surviving one, but it has been (and remains) a rocky ride. By far the most public, unconditional and affectionate demonstration of this relationship–honeymoon, if you will–was when Pakistan Prime Minister Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan came on a state visit to the US in May 1950. These pictures above show just how much more elaborate that visit was than anything since; in fact, no one visits the US like this anymore.

Nawabzada Liaquat Ali was received at the airport by US President

Harry Truman (pictured), spoke to the US House of Representatives (pictured), was given multiple military parades (pictured), got an honorary degree from Columbia University (pictured), a public parade from the city of New York (pictured), both Nawabzada sahib and begum sahiba visited and spoke at multiple universities, including Raana Liaquat Ali speaking at Wellesley College and the Prime Minister meeting the President of MIT, and much more. Indeed, when he arrived at the airport, the Pakistan Prime Minister was greeted by US President Harry Truman, his wife, their daughter Margaret, and most of the US cabinet.

That was the beginning of a long but stormy friendship that never really became what either side wanted it to be. Aah, how times have changed!

Pictures from the website of the Truman Presidential Museum and Library.

[As it turns out this last ATP Photo Quiz was much more difficult than previous ones though, as you will see, one reader (Naveed) did get both people right and a few others guessed at least one of the two people in the picture. Check out the original ATP Photo Quiz to find who those two were!]

32 Comments on “ATP Photo-Quiz: US-Pakistan: The early days”

  1. MSK says:
    July 17th, 2006 5:27 pm

    Wow. What a treasure trove of pictures. Those WERE the days.
    What is the top-right picture… new york?

  2. Owais Mughal says:
    July 17th, 2006 8:19 pm

    Liaqat Ali Khan’s first trip to US was indeed historic. His speech at Harvard on that trip was part of our English curriculum in Grade XI or XII. I wonder if it is still the case.

  3. Owais Mughal says:
    July 17th, 2006 8:26 pm

    In 1980s there was a TV stage show from Lahore. I believe the compare was Naeem Bukhari. In one setting, they were discussing student politics. A young student of UET Lahore came on stage and told that he also follow politics but his political leaders are the likes of those of Pakistan Movement and the photo of Liaqat ali Khan hangs in his room. Somehow this comment is stuck in my mind for more than 15 years now. Since you also went to UET and you were active on PTV in late 80s, was that person you ??? Somehow I remember he looked like you with fair complexion and wore glasses.

  4. Roshan Malik says:
    July 17th, 2006 9:17 pm

    Nice pictures !!!

    I did not know that Liaquat Ali Khan had such a wonderful welcome in this country.

    I believe, he had very deep roots in public and was a seasoned politician and statesman. His mentor was Jinnah and his political experience was Paksitan Movement.
    But all the other heads of our State during the “honey moon” period with USA were from miltary regime. The relationship faded with the weakening influence of their rule.

  5. khalid_s says:
    July 17th, 2006 9:45 pm

    Well, to be honest it was really the US trying to woo Pakistan (Liaquat) into the US sphere of influence and keep Pakistan away from the Soviets… I don’t think this was about the Nawabzada as much as Cold War politics

  6. July 17th, 2006 10:48 pm

    Owais, I must confess I am impressed by your memory… this was ages ago…. embarrassing, but true, yes it was me.

    some of the details as I recall them… I forget the name of the show, but the host was Laeeq Ahmed; the discussion had succumbed to the usual ‘generation gap’ stuff and someone had just commented that the (then) young were out of touch with their history and heritage and that (I paraphrase from memory here) “if you walked into a university hostel you would see pictures of cricketers and movie stars on the wall, but none of Jinnah or Liaquatâ€

  7. July 17th, 2006 10:55 pm

    Owais, on Liaquat Ali Khan’s speech… I do not think he visited or spoke at Harvard (I may be wrong)…. he spoke at the University of Kansas and then at Columbia Univeristy (got honorary degrees from both places)…. His speech at Columbia is often cited as his best and a key foreign policy doctrine document for Pakistan– it was titled “Progress and Peace: Pakistan’s Necessities”…. a rather telling title, if you think about it….

  8. Owais Mughal says:
    July 17th, 2006 11:31 pm

    Adil Sahib
    Yes I may be wrong on where Liaqat Ali delivered his speech. It was years ago that I read it in the course book. It was English of HSc published by Sindh Text Book Board. The curriculum must’ve changed since 1988-89, therefore I was wondering whether that chapter about Liaqat Ali’s visit to US and his speech are still in Sindh Board’s Intermediate English course or not.

    Like I said, your comment on PTV that you had a poster of Liaqat Ali in your room is stuck in my mind for more than 15 years now eventhough I didn’t know who you were until a month ago :) I was so very impressed by that comment many years ago and I guess I still am. To follow in your tradition, I also used to have Mr Jinnah’s poster in my room.

  9. July 18th, 2006 12:55 am

    MSK, yes, the picture on the top-right is the welcome parade in honor of the Pakistan PM. Note that those little specks on the road are the horses leading the parade.

  10. Roshan Malik says:
    July 18th, 2006 3:16 am

    The following link is about Liaquat Ali Khan’s assassination and US Embassy’s secret and classified correspondence about the situatin in Pakistan and neighboring countries. Its really interesting.

  11. July 18th, 2006 4:21 am

    our first PM’s visit to US was one fo the biggest blunder in Pakistani politics.If had accepted USSR’s visit then we could be in much better position.

  12. iFaqeer says:
    July 18th, 2006 6:29 am

    There’s a speech in the archives of the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco that I was able to listen to at one point on their website. I have taken to quoting one paragraph, in particular. See:

  13. FU says:
    July 18th, 2006 7:48 am

    A very great reception, but ,infact,a Grand Trap(Successful too ) to keep Pakistan Away from the then USSR. Once falling into the trap Pakistan has always been taken forgranted,under the Yoke OR Doctorine of Necessity.

  14. Hamza says:
    July 18th, 2006 9:59 am

    I guess this kind of grand reception was more common in that era. Also, the US was wanted to make a good impression on the newly formed country of Pakistan. This was the beginning of the cold war and they didn’t want too many countries getting too cozy with the Soviets…

    Adnan: A number of people do wonder what direction Pakistan would have gone if the first trip had been to Moscow instead of Washington….i dont know if we would have been better off but its an interesting thought….

  15. July 18th, 2006 10:13 am

    Hamza:Atleast we didnt have *Israel* factor with USSR.The Pakistani govt of that time was clearly aware of jewish influence on USA which still exist.By accepting US’ friendship we have been bounnd not to go against Jewish influence as well.

    We didnt have such issue with USSR.The only we could have was communism and we have been going well with Communism(china)since beginning so this *trinity* could be very much helpful for us.

    Once falling into the trap Pakistan has always been taken forgrante

    FU,what happens now?Ain’t we puppet in hands of Zions?I dont know why do you say that trip a successful trip.Is it because thousands of Pakistanis were table to getinto US for higher studies?

    Keep this in mind that USA didnt help in any war agaisnt India,65,71,99-Kargil.None of them.

  16. July 18th, 2006 3:42 pm

    Guys – What is this blog turning into? I thought this was meant for serious discussion on the hot topics of the day.

    Instead it is becoming a haven for those who want to indulge in Pakistan ‘love fest’ and turning into ‘I love you, you love me’, ‘look how cozy we were with the United States’ and tons of reminiscing the good ol days and recalling past glory. At the rate at which Dr. Najam is looking back, we may soon find pcitures of Aurangazeb and the golden era of Mughal rule in the sub continent.

  17. Ramesh Balakrishnan says:
    July 18th, 2006 4:46 pm

    I think America is truly blessed to have a friend like Pakistan. After all, which country opened the door for America to enter China? So, in a way, Pakistan is also responsible for the spectacular economic growth that China has witnessed in the last decade. Not only that, Pakistan can also lay claim to the opening up of American markets to Chinese Manufacturers. In turn, China has reciprocated this help by giving us Gwadar. Long Live US-Pakistan friendship.

  18. Khalid_s says:
    July 18th, 2006 7:35 pm

    The US-Pakistan relationship has been a complex one and as the post suggests, NIETHER side has gotten what it expected from the relationship. Thinking of what might have happened if we had joined the USSR side (IF they had let us, of which there is only dubious evidence) is utter speculation and rather useless. Our leaders have mostly found US infidility a convenient excuse, just as they have found the Indian threat to be a convenient excuse. There is truth in both points, but ultimately we have made plenty of mistakes ourselves also.

  19. Ramesh Balakrishnan says:
    July 18th, 2006 8:20 pm

    Khalid Sahib,

    What are you saying? Both sides did get nothing from the relationship? That can’t be true brother. The U.S. has pumped billions into Pakistan and Pakistan has provided ‘space’ whenever and whereever required from time to time. We have also acquired F16 technology and other weaponry over the years. They helped us drive the Soviets from Afghanistan. What more can one friend ask for from another? Unless you are living on another planet, you should that we have a historical relationship dating back decades as our dear friend Dr. Najam has so eloquently pointed out in his praise for LAK and his enduring contribution to USPak friendship.

  20. sabizak says:
    July 18th, 2006 10:36 pm

    @ Mr. Owais Mughal. That speech of Mr. Liaquat Ali Khan is still in the course but is now at the BA Level. It is part of the BA Compulsory English course, makes for a rather interesting read.

    As for the Soviet/USA choice, from what I have heard Liaquat Ali Khan did initially want to contact the USSR but they delayed their response so much due to reasons that later became a part of the Rawalpindi Conspiracy (as it is called) that he was left with no other option but to align himself with the States.

  21. sabizak says:
    July 18th, 2006 10:38 pm

    @ Mr. Ramesh….and what is wrong with Adil reminiscing about his past on his own blog. I, for one thought it was a rather interesting discussion.

  22. Owais Mughal says:
    July 18th, 2006 10:40 pm

    During Liaqat Ali Khan’s government some people in Pakistan including the ‘communist party’ were preparing a coup to bring Pakistan into communist block. This later surfaced as the ‘Rawalpindi Sazish’ case. Many notable people got arrested including Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Hasan Abidi, Sibt-e-Hasan etc . An indian national Sajjad Zaheer (famously known as ‘bannay mian’) along with Gen Akbar was the main culprit. Sajjad Zaheer later returned to India after being released in 1954, while borders b/w the two countries were still open. If that alleged coup had gone succesful, Pakistan would’ve been in Soviet camp. I personally think, it is good that it diddn’t happen.

  23. humaira says:
    July 18th, 2006 11:20 pm

    Sabizak, Owaiz. Interesting, what was taught at the intermediate level is now taught at the bachelors level. Not sure what that says about Liaqat Ali, but certainly says a lot about where our standards of education are going ;-)

  24. July 19th, 2006 3:37 am

    Its very Neoconish thought to *hate* communism.Offcourse its hypocricy that we love china as well *grin*.

  25. FU says:
    July 19th, 2006 8:13 am

    Dear Adnan ,I did not say it was a successful trip. I said the TRAP was Successful. As to what now? I think we have to stand up ,With a balanced policy, not to be taken forgranted by any one.
    ” Pkistan First ” should be persued by actions and not by mere words.

  26. Ramesh Balakrishnan says:
    July 19th, 2006 5:26 pm

    Guys – I think after LAK’s trip to the United States in the 1950s, I would rate Gen. Pervez Musharaf’s grand reception at Camp David as the next great visit of a Pakistani leader to the United States. It was certainly a high point in Musharraf’s career. Not even an Indian PM has been invited to CD. At that time, the Pakistani media and public did not cover the event very well nor understand the significance of it. But, I’m most certain that history will judge that historic event very differently like we are talking about LAK today. The arrival of Musharraf on the scene has brought pride and prestige to our relationship with America. By his impeccable grasp of world affairs, advocacy for ‘moderate enlightenment or enlightened moderation’ or whatever you want to call it, he is now a recognized leader in the western world. When he pours golden words of wisdon from his mouth, people listen. He is a true leader of Pakistan and will continue to guide us to the destiny we all deserve. I would propose that we start a blog posting on Musharraf and his legacy and his contribution to world peace and US/Pakistan Friendship.

  27. Azam says:
    July 19th, 2006 7:24 pm

    Dear Mr, Ramesh. Maybe you should start this blog you want about your admiration for Gen. Musharraf. I am sure many people will follow it closely. By the way, I also wanted to welcome you from all of us Pakistanis for your change of nationality. I recall that on an earlier thread (on Mumbai) you had been posting as a rather angry Indian citizen (must have been having a bad day). I just wanted to welcome you and appreciate your sudden change of tone and heart.

  28. July 20th, 2006 12:41 am

    Dear FU!

    I apologize then:)

    that “Pakistan First” sounds cool but yet its appearing very harmful for Pakistanis.

  29. FU says:
    July 20th, 2006 2:37 am

    Dear Adnan. I mention “Pakistan First” in the Broader context of National Policies /priorities settings. Would tend to agree it appearing somewhat harmful for Pakistanis living abroad,specially in the west ,but not for Pakistanis living in Pakistan.

  30. July 21st, 2006 4:16 pm

    Dear FU!

    And i was talking about our President’s “Pakistan First” *dream*.

  31. October 3rd, 2006 1:37 am

    Fascinating pictures. I wonder how one woudl compare that trip to Musharraf’s recent trip to US. From these pictures its seems Liaquat Ali’s visit was far more sincere on both sides.

  32. Ikramullah says:
    July 18th, 2008 12:19 am

    These are fascinating pictures. Oh, how things have changed!!!!

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