Byline: Khalid Javed Makhdoom * Pakistan joined Western defence pacts in 1954-55. It adhered to these pacts rather firmly till 1956, when the Suez Canal crisis posed it a serious challenge as to whether to take side with the Arab world or the Western allies. Nevertheless, the Suez Crisis did open up for Pakistan new avenues to drift away from the West and initiate a revised concentration on its own peripheral States. If the Suez Crisis was one of the factors for this shift, the fear of Communism had also started receding, mainly because of the ideological refocusing by the Soviet leadership after Marshal Stalin. Pakistan was, therefore, ready by 1958 to readjust its primary policy focus on the principle of giving top priority to Pakistan.s vital self-interests.