Pakistan was something of an untapped powder keg in the 1960s.
Pakistan was something of an untapped powder keg in the 1960s.

ABC Radio – Pakistan: A Warning To The West – November 23, 1961 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection

On this day in 1961, Pakistan was making the news. Not that a crisis had broken out. In fact Pakistani President General Ayub Kahn visited Washington earlier in the year for talks with President Kennedy. But there were tensions, and there were fears. Tensions between neighboring India, which could slip into war at any moment. But also the worrisome overtures Red China was making towards Pakistan, in the areas of much needed economic aid, which Pakistan needed desperately. But also, China was in the midst of a war with India and Pakistan was seen as the third point in an Asian triangle. The tensions between Pakistan and India were based on idealogies – Pakistan, a predominately Muslim country and India, a predominately Hindu country were at odds on religious grounds – with Kashmir as the disputed area.

Pakistan, under President Ayub Kahn was pro-Western, with membership in CEATO and NATO and staunchly anti-Communist. However, in a recent turn of events, and with the West arming India in its dispute with China, doubts were starting to arise over just how important Pakistan was, and how much it could rely on the West, should a dispute flare up with India in the future.

And so this interview, an ABC Radio special feature, is an interview conducted by newsman Charles P. Arno at the Presidential Palace in Karachi with President Ayub Khan, and the current situation and the potential fall-out and the now-tenuous relationship between Pakistan and the other members of NATO is discussed at length.

It’s interesting that Pakistan in recent years has become such a focal point in what has become a strategic position in the region. With close proximity, not only to India but also Afghanistan, Iran and the Persian Gulf. Interesting too, to compare the issues facing the world in 1961. They were different, to a large degree than they are in 2015 – but the religious/ideological factors are still very prevalent.

As a reminder that things may change on the surface, but the underlying issues don’t – here is that interview with Pakistani President Muhammed Ayub Khan from November 23, 1961.

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