The history of Pakistan (Urdu: تاريخ پاكِستان) encompasses the history of the region constituting modern Pakistan. Prior to independence in 1947, the of Pakistan was ruled in different periods by local kings and numerous imperial powers. The ancient history of the region comprising present-day Pakistan also includes some of the oldest empires of the Indian Subcontinent; and some of its major civilizations.
Pakistan’s political history began in 1906 with the birth of the Muslim League, established in opposition to the Congress party which it accused of failing to protect “Muslim interests, amid neglect and under-representation.” On 29 December 1930, philosopher Sir Muhammad Iqbal called for an autonomous new state in “northwestern India for Indian Muslims”. The League rose in popularity through the late 1930s. Muhammad Ali Jinnah espoused the Two Nation Theory and led the League to adopt the Lahore Resolution of 1940, demanding the formation of independent states in the East and the West of British India. Eventually, a successful movement led by Jinnah resulted inpartition and independence from Britain, on 14 August 1947.
On 12 March 1949, the second constituent assembly of Pakistan passed theObjectives Resolution which was proposed by the first Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan, proclaimed that the future constitution of Pakistan would not be modeled entirely on a European pattern, but on the ideology and democratic faith of Islam. The legislative elections in 1954 saw the Awami League coming to power and its leader Huseyn Suhrawardy becoming country’s first BengaliPrime minister. Promulgation of Constitution in 1956 led to Pakistan declaring itself Islamic republic (official name) with the adoption of parliamentary democratic system of government. The constitution transformed the Governor-General of Pakistan into President of Pakistan (as head of state). Subsequently, Iskander Mirza became the first president as well as first Bengali in 1956, but the democratic system was stalled after President Mirza imposed amilitary coup d’état and appointed Ayub Khan as an enforcer of martial law. Two weeks later, President Mirza was ousted by Ayub Khan; his presidency saw an era of internal instability and a second war with India in 1965. Economic grievances and political disenfranchisement in East Pakistan led to violent political tensions and armed repression, escalating into guerrilla war followed by the third war with India. Pakistan’s defeat in the war ultimately led to the secession of East Pakistan and the birth of Bangladesh.
Democracy was resumed from 1972 to 1977 under the leftist Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) led by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, until he was deposed in a bloodless coup by General Zia-ul-Haq, who became the country’s third military president. Pakistan’s British-imposed colonial but secular policies were replaced by the new Islamic Shariah legal code, which increased religious influences on the civil service and the military. With the death of President Zia-ul-Haq in 1988, newgeneral elections saw the victory of PPP led by Benazir Bhutto who was elevated as the country’s first female Prime Minister of Pakistan. Over the next decade, she alternated power with the conservative Pakistan Muslim League-N(PML(N)) led by Nawaz Sharif, as the country’s political and economic situation deteriorated. Military tensions in the Kargil conflict with India were followed by yet another coup d’état in 1999 in which General Pervez Musharrafassumed executive powers.
Appointing himself President after the resignation of President Rafiq Tarar, Musharraf held nationwide general elections in 2002 to transfer the executive powers to newly elected Prime Minister Zafarullah Khan Jamali, who was succeeded in the 2004 by Shaukat Aziz. During the election campaign of 2007, Benazir Bhutto was assassinated which led to a series of important political developments including the left-wing alliance led by the PPP. Historic general elections held in 2013 marked the return of PML(N) with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif assuming the leadership of the country for the third time in its history
- 2Indus Valley Civilization
- 3Early History
- 4Classical Period
- 5Medieval Period
- 6British rule
- 7Pakistan Movement
- 8State and constitution: Pakistan
- 8.1First democratic era (1947–1958)
- 8.2First military era (1958–1971)
- 8.3Second democratic era (1971–1977)
- 8.4Second military era (1977–1988)
- 8.5Third democratic era (1988–1999): Benazir–Nawaz period
- 8.6Third military era (1999–2007): Musharraf–Aziz period
- 8.7Fourth democratic era (2008–present)
- 9See also
- 12External links
Early period of Pakistan Movement
In 1877, Syed Ameer Ali had formed the Central National Muhammadan Association to work towards the political advancement of the Indian Muslims, who had suffered grievously in 1857, in the aftermath of the failed Sepoy Mutiny against the East India Company; the British were seen as foreign invaders. But the organization declined towards the end of the 19th century
In 1885, the Indian National Congress was founded as a forum, which later became a party, to promote a nationalist cause. Although the Congress attempted to include the Muslim community in the struggle for independence from the British rule – and some Muslims were very active in the Congress – the majority of Muslim leaders did not trust the party, viewing it as a “Hindu-dominated” organization.
A turning point came in 1900, when the British administration in the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh acceded to Hindu demands and made Hindi, the version of the Hindustani languagewritten in the Devanagari script, the official language. The proslytisation conducted in the region by the activists of a new Hindu reformist movement also stirred Muslim’s concerns about their faith. Eventually, the Muslims feared that the Hindu majority would seek to suppress the rights of Muslims in the region following the departure of the British.
The Muslim League
The All-India Muslim League was founded on 30 December 1906, in the aftermath of division of Bengal, on the sidelines of the annual All India Muhammadan Educational Conference inShahbagh, Dhaka. The meeting was attended by three thousand delegates and presided over by Nawab Viqar-ul-Mulk. It addressed the issue of safeguarding interests of Muslims and finalised a programme. A resolution, moved by Nawab Salimullah and seconded by Hakim Ajmal Khan. Nawab Viqar-ul-Mulk(conservative), declared:
The constitution and principles of the League were contained in the Green Book, written by Maulana Mohammad Ali. Its goals at this stage did not include establishing an independent Muslim state, but rather concentrated on protecting Muslim liberties and rights, promoting understanding between the Muslim community and other Indians, educating the Muslim and Indian community at large on the actions of the government, and discouraging violence. However, several factors over the next thirty years, including sectarian violence, led to a re-evaluation of the League’s aims. Among those Muslims in the Congress who did not initially join the League was Jinnah, a prominent statesman and barrister in Bombay. This was because the first article of the League’s platform was “To promote among the Mussalmans (Muslims) of India, feelings of loyalty to the British Government”.
The League gradually became the leading representative body of Indian Muslims. Jinnah became its president in 1916, and negotiated the Lucknow Pact with the Congress leader, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, by which Congress conceded the principle of separate electorates and weighted representation for the Muslim community. However, Jinnah broke with the Congress in 1920 when the Congress leader, Mohandas Gandhi, launched a law violating Non-Cooperation Movement against the British, which a temperamentally law-abiding barrister Jinnah disapproved of. Jinnah also became convinced that the Congress would renounce its support for separate electorates for Muslims, which indeed it did in 1928. In 1927, the British proposed a constitution for India as recommended by the Simon Commission, but they failed to reconcile all parties. The British then turned the matter over to the League and the Congress, and in 1928 an All-Parties Congress was convened in Delhi. The attempt failed, but two more conferences were held, and at the Bombay conference in May, it was agreed that a small committee should work on the constitution. The prominent Congress leader Motilal Nehru headed the committee, which included two Muslims,Syed Ali Imam and Shoaib Quereshi; Motilal’s son, Pt Jawaharlal Nehru, was its secretary. The League, however, rejected the committee’s report, the so-called Nehru Report, arguing that its proposals gave too little representation (one quarter) to Muslims – the League had demanded at least one-third representation in the legislature. Jinnah announced a “parting of the ways” after reading the report, and relations between the Congress and the League began to sour.
Muslim homeland – “Now or Never“
The general elections held in the United Kingdom had already weakened the leftistLabour Party led by Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald. Furthermore, the Labour Party‘s government was already weakened by the outcomes of the World War I, which fueled new hopes for progress towards self-government in British India. In fact, Mohandas K. Gandhi traveled to London to press the idea of “self-government” in British India, and claimed to represent all Indians whilst duly criticized the Muslim League as being sectarian and divisive. After reviewing the report of the Simon Commission, the Indian Congress initiated a massive civil disobedience movementunder Gandhi; the Muslim League reserved their opinion on the Simon Reportdeclaring that the report was not final and the matters should decided after consultations with the leaders representing all communities in India.
As the leaders of the Indian Congress were jailed and restrained, the Round-tableconference was held, but these achieved little, since Gandhi and the League were unable to reach a compromise.Witnessing the events in the Round-table conference, Jinnah had despaired of politics and particularly of getting mainstream parties like the Congress to be sensitive to minority priorities. During this time in 1930, notable writer and poet,Muhammad Iqbal called for a separate and autonomous nation-state, who in his presidential address to the 1930 convention of the Muslim League said that he felt that a separate Muslim state was essential in an otherwise Hindu-dominated South Asia.
The name of the nation-state was coined by the Cambridge University‘s political science student and Muslim nationalist Rahmat Ali, and was published on 28 January 1933 in the pamphlet Now or Never. After coining the name of the nation-state, Ali noticed that there is an acronym formed from the names of the “homelands” of Muslims in northwest India:
- “P” for Punjab
- “A” for Afghania (now known as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa)
- “K” for Kashmir
- “S” for Sindh
- “Tan” for Balochistan; thus forming “Pakstan”.
After the publication of the pamphlet, the Hindu Press vehemently criticized it, and the word ‘Pakstan’ used in it. Thus this word became a heated topic of debate. With the addition of an “i” to improve the pronunciation, the name of Pakistan grew in popularity and led to the commencement of the Pakistan Movement, and consequently the creation of Pakistan. In Urdu and Persianlanguages, the name encapsulates the concept of Pak (“pure”) and stan(“land”) and hence a “Pure Land”. In the 1935, the British governmentproposed to hand over substantial power to elected Indian provincial legislatures, with elections to be held in 1937. After the elections the League took office in Bengal and Punjab, but the Congress won office in most of the other provinces, and refused to devolve power with the League in provinces with large Muslim minorities citing technical difficulties.
Meanwhile, Muslim ideologues for independence also felt vindicated by the presidential address of V.D. Savarkar at the 19th session of the famous Hindu nationalist party Hindu Mahasabha in 1937. In it, this legendary revolutionary – popularly calledVeer Savarkar and known as the iconic father of the Hindu fundamentalist ideology – propounded the seminal ideas of hisTwo Nation Theory or ethnic exclusivism, which influenced Jinnah profoundly.
In 1940, Jinnah called a general session of the Muslim League in Lahore to discuss the situation that had arisen due to the outbreak of the World War II and the Government of India joining the war without consulting Indian leaders. The meeting was also aimed at analyzing the reasons that led to the defeat of the Muslim League in the general election of 1937 in the Muslim majority provinces. In his speech, Jinnah criticized the Indian Congress and the nationalists, and espoused the Two-Nation Theory and the reasons for the demand for separate homelands. Sikandar Hayat Khan, the Chief Minister of Punjab, drafted the original resolution, but disavowed the final version, that had emerged after protracted redrafting by the Subject Committee of the Muslim League. The final text unambiguously rejected the concept of a United India because of increasing inter-religious violence and recommended the creation of independent states. The resolution was moved in the general session by Shere-Bangla Bengali nationalist, AKF Haq, the Chief Minister of Bengal, supported by Chaudhry Khaliquzzaman and other leaders and was adopted on 23 March 1940. The Resolution read as follows:
No constitutional plan would be workable or acceptable to the Muslims unless geographical contiguous units are demarcated into regions which should be so constituted with such territorial readjustments as may be necessary. That the areas in which the Muslims are numerically in majority as in the North-Western and Eastern zones of India should be grouped to constitute independent states in which the constituent units shall be autonomous and sovereign … That adequate, effective and mandatory safeguards shall be specifically provided in the constitution for minorities in the units and in the regions for the protection of their religious, cultural, economic, political, administrative and other rights of the minorities, with their consultation. Arrangements thus should be made for the security of Muslims where they were in a minority.
In 1941, it became part of the Muslim League’s constitution. However, in early 1941, Sikandar explained to the Punjab Assembly that he did not support the final version of the resolution. The sudden death of Sikandar in 1942 paved the way over the next few years for Jinnah to emerge as the recognised leader of the Muslims of South Asia. In 1943, the Sind Assembly passed a resolution demanding the establishment of a homeland. Talks between Jinnah and Gandhi in 1944 in Bombay failed to achieve agreement and there were no more attempts to reach a single-state solution.
The French and British empires had been under tremendous political and military pressure during the World War II, and the speculations of disintegration of their colonial empires was rumored in all over the British India. In North-West Frontier Province, the British militaryhad launched the military expeditions to quelled the armed rebellion. The 1945 British general election saw the leftist Labour Party forming the government in Britain and many Indians were seeing independence within reach. But, Gandhi and Nehru were not receptive to Jinnah’s proposal and were also adamantly opposed to dividing India, since they knew that the Hindus, who saw India as one indivisible entity, would never agree to such a thing. In the Constituent Assembly elections of 1946, the League won 425 out of 496 seats reserved for Muslims (polling 89.2% of total votes) on a policy of creating an independent state of Pakistan, and with an implied threat of secession if this was not granted.
By 1946, the British had neither the will, nor the financial resources or military power, to hold India any longer. Political deadlock ensued in the Constituent Assembly, and the British Prime Minister, Clement Attlee, sent a cabinet mission to India to mediate the situation. When the talks broke down, Attlee appointed Louis Mountbatten as India’s last viceroy, to negotiate the independence of Pakistan and India and immediate British withdrawal.
Mountbatten, of imperial blood and a world war admiral, handled the problem as a campaign. Ignorant of the complex ground realities in British India, he brought forward the date of transfer of power and told Gandhi and Nehru that if they did not accept division there would be civil war in his opinion and he would rather consider handing over power to individual provinces and the rulers of princely states. This forced the hands of Congress leaders and the “Independence of India Act 1947” provided for the two dominions of Pakistan and India to become independent on the 14 and 15 August 1947 respectively. This result was despite the calls for a third Osmanistan in the early 1940s.
Independence from the British Empire
On August 1947, the British Imperial Government divided the British Raj into two independent and sovereign countries, theDominion of Pakistan (later the Islamic Republic of Pakistan) and the Dominion of India (later the Republic of India). Mountbatten’s adroit overt and covert plans successfully inflamed the simmering mutual distrust between Hindus and Muslims but ensured the two new nations to remain friendly to the British. Immediately after the independence, both nationsjoined the British Commonwealth. The independence of India and Pakistan created inter-religious violence of such magnitude that exchange of population along religious lines became a necessity in each country.
More than two million people migrated across the new borders and more than one hundred thousand died in the spate of communal violence, that spread even beyond these provinces. Major violence erupted following the division of Punjab,Bengal, and Kashmir which escalated into leading to the first war between India and Pakistan. With assistance and furtherUnited Nations (UN) and Soviet Union‘s involvement ended the war but it became a hitherto unresolved Kashmir dispute.
Following its independence, Pakistan became involved in continuous territorial disputes with India in east over Kashmir andBengal and with the Afghanistan in west over the tribal line. Its political history has been characterized by authoritarian military rule and the brief democratic competition between right-wing conservatives and left-wing parties throughout its history.
State and constitution: Pakistan
First democratic era (1947–1958)
By the end of months in 1947, the national government led by Prime Minister Ali-Khan was able to settle the core issue of territorial boundaries, with composing the state with five provinces: Sindh, Punjab, Balochistan, North-West Frontier, and East-Bengal, and four administrative units: Gilgit–Baltistan (now a province), Azad Kashmir (also a provisional state), Tribal Line aligning with the Local belt. The harbour city, Karachi, being the state’s first capital. The national government of Ali Khan was left to face challenges soon after holding the office. With the large numbers of Indian Muslims immigrating to Pakistan, the Nationalists in each province worried that the new nation was too fragile to withstand an international war, or even internal revolts such as the Balochistan rebellion in 1948. Considering this issue, Ali-Khan established a strong government; his Finance secretary Victor Turner announced country’s first monetary policy by establishing the State bank and federal bureaux of statistics and revenue to improve the statistical finance, taxation, and revenue collection in the country. Ideological and territorial problems arose with neighboring communists states, Afghanistan and the Soviet Unionover the Durand Line in 1949, and with India over Line of Control in Kashmir which was a theater of first war in 1947.
Diplomatic recognition became challenging problem when Soviet Union led by Secretary-General Joseph Stalin did not welcome the division which established Pakistan and India. Iran was the first country to recognize Pakistan in 1947. In 1948, Ben-Gurion of Israel sent a secret courier to Jinnah to establish the diplomatic relations, but Jinnah did not given any response to Ben-Gurion. In 1948 speech, Jinnah declared “Urdu alone would be the state language and the lingua franca of the Pakistan state”, though he called the “Bengali language as the official language of the Bengal province.”;nonetheless, tensions began to grow in East Bengal. Jinnah’s health further deteriorated and he died in 1948. Bengali leader, Sir Khawaja Nazimuddin succeeded as the governor general of Pakistan.
During the massive political rally in 1951, Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan was assassinated inRawalpindi, and Nazimuddin became the second prime minister. Tensions in Eastern Pakistanreached to its climax in 1952, when the East-Pakistani police opened fire on students near theDhaka Medical College protesting for Bengali language to receive equal status with Urdu. The situation was controlled by Nazimuddin who gave a waiver to Bengali language as equal status, a right codified in the 1956 constitution. In 1953 at the instigation of religious parties, anti-Ahmadiyya riots erupted, killing scores of Muslims and destroying their properties. The riots were investigated by a two-member court of inquiry in 1954, which was criticised by theJamaat-e-Islami, one of the parties accused of inciting the riots. This event led to the first instance of martial law in the country and began the inroad of military intervention in the politics and civilian affairs of the country, something that remains to this day.
In 1954, the controversial One Unit Program was imposed by the last PML Prime minister Ali Bogra dividing Pakistan on theGerman geopolitical model. The same year, the first legislative elections were held in Pakistan, which saw theCommunists gaining the control of East-Pakistan. The 1954 elections results clarified the differences in ideology between West and East, with East under the influence of communism nexus of Communist Party allying with Workers Partyand the Awami League. The Pro-American Republican Party gained majority in West, ousting the PML government who secured only 10 seats in East.
In a vote of confidence movement in state parliament and promulgation of 1956 constitution which granted Pakistan asIslamic republic, the notable Bengali figures, Huseyn Suhrawardy became the Prime minister leading the communist–socialist alliance, and Iskander Mirza became the first President of Pakistan, both as first Bengali leaders of the country. Just two years later, the military would take control of the nation.
Suhrawardy’s foreign policy was directed towards the improving fractured relations with the Soviet Union, strengthening and establishing relations with the United States andChina after paying first a state visit to both countries. Announcing the new self-reliance program, Suhrawardy began building a massive military and launched the plan of nuclear power program in the West in an attempt to legitimize his mandate in West. Foreign efforts by Suhrawardy led to an assigning of American training program for country’s armed forces which met with great opposition in East-Pakistanafter his party in East-Pakistan Parliament which threatened to leave the state of Pakistan. Furthermore, Suhrawardy gave verbal authorization of leasing the ISI‘s secret installation to American CIA to conduct operations in Soviet Union.
Differences in East Pakistan further encouraged the Baloch separatism, and in an attempt to intimidate the communists in East, President Mirza initiated massive arrests of communists and party workers of Awami League in East Pakistan, which damaged the image of West-Pakistan in the East. The Western contingent‘s lawmakers determinately followed the idea of Westernized Parliamentary form of the democracy when East opted for becoming a socialist state. One Unit program andcentralizing of national economy on USSR model was met with great hostility and resistance in West, although the Eastern contingent’s economy was quickly centralized by Suhrawardy’s government. Egoistic problems grew between the two Bengali leaders further damaging the unity of the country, which soon forced Suhrawardy whose political position in his own party lost an edge in a growing influence of cleric, Maulana Bhashani. Resigned under a threat of Mirza’s dismissal, Suhrawardy was succeeded by I. I. Chundrigar in 1957.
Within two months, Chundrigar was dismissed; followed by Sir Feroz Noon, who proved to be an incapable prime minister. The support of Pakistan Muslim League led by Nurul Amin began to get its supports which threatened President Mirza who was unapproved by the public. In less than two years, Mirza dismissed four elected prime ministers, and was increasingly in great pressure for calling for new elections in 1958.
First military era (1958–1971)
On October 1958, President Iskandar Mirza issued order for massive naval, air, and troop mobilization of Pakistan Armed Forces all over the country and appointed chief of army staffGeneral Ayub Khan as Commander-in-chief of Pakistan armed forces. In a quick move, President Mirza declared state of emergency and imposed martial law in 1958, having suspended the constitution, and dissolved the socialist government in East and the parliamentary government in West.
His actions also approved General Ayub Khan as the Chief Martial Law Administrator to enforce the martial law all over the country who asserted his position in all over the country. Within two weeks, President Mirza also attempted to dismiss General Ayub Khan after Khan’s action made him incapable of taking any decisions. This move backfired on President Mirza who was soon to be relieved from his presidency and exiled to London, United Kingdom in 1958. The same year, General Ayub Khan appointed himself to the rank of a five-star Field Marshaland named a new civil-military government under him. Upon becoming the President, Ayub Khan was succeeded by General Muhammad Musa as chief of army staff in 1958.
Presidential republic (1962–1969)
The parliamentary system came to an end in 1958, following the imposition of martial law.Tales of corruption in civil bureaucracy and public administration had maligned the democratic process in the country as the public seemed supportive towards the actions taken by GeneralAyub Khan. Major land reforms were carried out by the military government and enforced controversial Elective Bodies Disqualification Order (EBDO) which ultimately disqualifiedSuhrawardy from holding the public office. Introducing a new presidential system called “Basic Democracy”, which featured the Local government system in West-Pakistan and promulgate a 1962 constitution, by which an electoral college of 80,000 would select the President. In a national referendum held in 1960, Ayub Khan secured nationwide popular and ground support for his bid as second President and replaced his military government into civilian constitutional government. In a major development, the capitol infrastructure had been moved to newly planned state capital, Islamabad, all capital work development was relocated from Karachi to Islamabad.
The presidency of Ayub Khan is often dubbed and celebrated as “Great Decade” which highlighted the economic development plans and reforms executed. Under Ayub’s presidency, the country took a cultural shift when the pop music industry, film industry and drama picture began to notice by public and became extremely popular in the country in the 1960s. Rather than neutrality, Ayub Khan worked closely to make an alliance with the United States and the Western world to gain support and proceeded to join two formal military alliances, the CENTO in 1955; and the SEATO in 1962, against the Soviet bloc. During this time, the private-sector gained more power to control the national economy, educational reforms, human development and scientific achievements gained a lot of international appraisal from the global community. In 1961, the space program was launched with the continuation of nuclear power program on the other hand. Military aid from the U.S. grew unprecedentedly but the country’s national security was severely compromised following the exposure of the secret spy operation launching from Peshawar to Soviet Union in 1960. The same year, Pakistan signed Water treaty with India in an attempt to normalize the relations. The relations with China further strengthened after the Chinese war with India, and both countries signed a boundary agreementwhich shifted the balance of the Cold War by bringing Pakistan and China closer together while loosening ties between Pakistan and the United States in 1963. In 1964, the Pakistan Armed Forces quelled the suspected pro-communist revolt in the Western Pakistan allegedly supported by the Afghanistan, where subsequently American armoury was used to stop the rebellion. During the controversial 1965 presidential elections, Ayub Khan had almost lost the presidential elections toFatima Jinnah.
In 1965, after Pakistan went ahead with its strategic air-borne mission code named the Operation Gibraltar, India declared a full-scale war on Pakistan. The war, which ended militarily in a stalemate, was mostly fought in West as only mild operations were conducted in East by India. Controversially, East-Pakistan Army did not interfere in the conflict that brought a great ire in West against East. The news of war with India was highly unapproved by the United States which dismayed Pakistan by adopting a policy of denying military aid to both India and Pakistan during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 over Kashmir and the Rann of Kutch. A positive gain of the treaties was the re-strengthening of Pakistan’s close historical bonds with its western neighbors in Asia.
A successful intervention of USSR led to signing of Tashkent Agreement between India and Pakistan in 1965. Witnessing the American disapproval and USSR’s mediation, Ayub Khan made tremendous efforts to normalize relations with USSR and Bhutto’s negotiation expertise led to the Soviet Premier, Alexei Kosygin, visit to Islamabad.
Delivering a blistering speech at the UN General Assembly in 1965, Foreign Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto with the atomic scientist Aziz Ahmed present there for good measure, Bhutto made Pakistan’s intentions clear and loudly announced that: “If India builds the (nuclear) bomb, we will eat grass, even go hungry, but we will get one of own … We have no other choice”.Abdus Salam and Munir Khan jointly collaborated to expand the nuclear power infrastructure, receiving tremendous support from Bhutto. Following such announcement, the nuclear power expansion was given an accelerated after signing a commercial nuclear power plant agreement with GE Canada, and several other agreements with the United Kingdom and France.
|“||Pakistan will fight, fight for a thousand years. If.. Indiabuilds the (Atom) bomb … (Pakistan) will eat grass or (leaves), even go hungry, but we (Pakistan) will get one of our own (Atom bomb) … We (Pakistan) have no other Choice!…||”|
|— Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, 1965, |
Disagreeing with the signing of Tashkent agreement, Zulfikar Bhutto was ousted from the ministry on personal directives of President Ayub Khan in 1966. Dismissal of Bhutto led to a spontaneous mass demonstrations and public anger against Ayub Khan, leading to major industrial and labour strikes in the country. Within weeks, Ayub Khan lost the momentum in the West and his image was destroyed at the public circles.
Amidst further allegations that economic development and hiring for government jobs favoured West Pakistan, the Bengali nationalism began to take a sharp rise and an independence movement began to gather ground inEast Pakistan. In 1966, the Awami League led by Sheikh Mujibur Rahmanpresented demanded the provisional autonomy at the Round Table Conference held by Ayub Khan which was forcefully rejected by Bhutto. The influence socialism spectrum began to rise after country’s notable economist, Mahbub ul Haq, publishing a report on private-sector’s schemes of evading taxation and the few oligarchs control over the national economy. In 1967 Socialist convention attended by country’s leftist philosophers and notable thinkers in Lahore, thePakistan People’s Party (PPP) was founded with Zulfikar Ali Bhutto becoming its first elected chairman. The Peoples Party’s leaders, JA Rahim and Mubashir Hassan, notably announced to “defeat the great dictator with the power of the people.”
In 1967, the PPP tapped a wave a of anger against Ayub Khan and successfully called for major labour strikes in the country. Criticism on the United States and Ayub Khan further damaged Ayub Khan’s authority in the country. By the end of 1968, Ayub Khan forwarded the Agartala Case which led the arrests of many of Awami League leaders, but forced to withdraw after serious provisional uprising in East. Under pressured from PPP, public resentment, and anger against his administration, Ayub Khan resigned from the presidency in poor health and handing over his authority to army commander, a less-known in public and heavy alcohol drinker, General Yahya Khan, who imposed martial law and suspended the constitution, thus dissolving the presidential republic.
Martial law in Pakistan (1969–1971)
Witnessing the events and tensions, President General Yahya Khan was deeply aware of the explosive political situation in the country, in 1969. The progressiveness and socialism in the country was rising, and calls for change of regime was gaining momentum. On a television address to the nation, President Yahya Khan announced his intention to hold the nationwide general elections in the following year and set his motion to transfer power to the elected representatives of the people. Earliest authoritative decisions were towards the establishment of National Security Council (NSC) by President Yahya Khan to analyze the military and political situation. Virtually suspending the 1962 Constitution, President Yahya Khan instead issued the LFO Order No. 1970 which brought radical changes in West. Tightening the grip of martial law, theOne Unit program was dissolved in West Pakistan, removing the “West” prefix from Pakistan, and direct ballot replaced the principle of parity. Territorial changes were carried out on four provinces of the country, allowing to retain their geographical structures as it were in 1947. The LFO No. 1970 had restored the borders and geographical positions of four provinces as of 1947 and the provincial assemblies and provincial boundaries also were restored. The state parliament, supreme court and major government and authoritarian institutions also regained their status. This decree was only limited to West, it had no effects on East.
Civilians in Ayub Khan’s administration were dismissed by the military government appointment of high-profile joint military officers occupying civilian government assignments and posts. The Election Commission (EC) registered a total of twenty-four political parties, and the public meetings attracted a lot of huge crowd. On the eve of the elections in 1970, a cyclone struck East-Pakistan killing approximately 500,000 people, though this event did not deter the people to participate in first ever general elections. Mobilizing support for Six Points manifesto, the Awami League secured its electoral support in East-Pakistan. The PPP assert itself even more densely; its socialist rationale, “Food, Cloth, and Shelter, and party’s socialist manifesto quickly popularized the party and in a small span of time.The intellectuals, philosophers, and Bhutto‘s charismatic personality, were the key factors that contributed to the popularity of Pakistan Peoples Party. The Conservative, PML led by Nurul Amin, raised the religious and nationalist slogans all over the country.
In a total 313 seat of National Assembly, electoral results showed the Awami League, won 167 seats but none from West Pakistan and PPP won 88 but none from East Pakistan. Though Awami League won enough seat to form a government without any qualition, West Pakistani elites refused to handover power to East Pakistan party. Efforts were made to start a constitutional dialogue. Bhutto asked for share in government saying ‘Udhar tum, idhar hum’ , means ‘You are in east, I am in west’. The PPP’s intellectuals maintained that Awami League had no mandate in Western contingent. Although President Yahya Khan invited Awami League to for a National Assembly session in Islamabad, but did not handed over the powers to form the government due to constant pressure by PPP. With no united concessions were seemed to be reached, President Yahya Khan consequently appointed Bengali anti-war activist, Nurul Amin as Prime Minister with additional office of country’s first and only Vice-President.
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman then launched civil disobedience movement which effectively paralyzed the state machinery of East. Convening a round-table conference with Bhutto and Rehman in Dhaka, the talks collapsed and President Yahya Khan ordered an armed action against Awami League. Operation Searchlight and Barisal, led to a crackdown on East Pakistanipoliticians, civilians, and student activists in all over the East. An arrested Mujibur Rahman was extradite to Islamabad, while the entire Awami League leadership escaped to India to set up a parallel government. Popular guerrilla insurgency was initiated by the Indian organized and supported Mukti Bahini (lit “freedom fighters”). Millions of Bengali Hindus and Muslims took the refuge in Eastern India leading to Indian Prime minister Indira Gandhi announcement to support for the liberation war, providing direct “military assistance”. On March 1971, regional commander, Major Ziaur Rahman of East-Pakistan Army declared the independence of East Pakistan as the new nation of Bangladesh on behalf of Mujib.
Pakistan launched pre-emptive air strikes on 11 Indian airbases on 3 December 1971, leading to India’s entry on the side of Bangladeshi nationalist forces. Untrained in guerrilla warfare, the Eastern high command quickly scrambled its operational capabilities under its commanders, General Amir Niazi and Admiral Muhammad Sharif. Exhausted, outflanked and overwhelmed, the Eastern high command could no longer continue its fight against the intense guerrilla insurgency, and finally surrendered to the Allied Forces of Bangladesh and India in Dhaka on 16 December 1971. Nearly 90,000 soldiers taken as prisoners of war and the result was the emergence of the new nation of Bangladesh, thus ending 24 years of turbulent union of the two wings. The figures of the Bengali civilian death toll from the entire civil war vary greatly, depending on the sources. Killing of Bengalis was unsupported by the people of West Pakistan, it continued for illegally continued for nine long months. Pakistan’s official report, by the Hamood-ur-Rahman Commission, placed the figure at only 26,000, while estimates range up to 3 million; the ‘million’ is attributed to vernacular ‘lack’ getting mistranslated in Western media, thus increasing the casualties ten-fold. Discredited by the defeat, President General Yahya Khan resigned and Bhutto was inaugurated as president and chief martial law administrator on 20 December 1971.
Second democratic era (1971–1977)
The 1971 war and separation of East-Pakistan demoralized and shattered the nation. President General Yahya Khan handed over the political power to Zulfikar Ali Bhutto of the Pakistan Peoples Party. With PPP’s coming to power, the democratic socialists and visionaries came to the power for the first time in the country’s history, under ademocratic transition. Bhutto made critical decision after dismissing chiefs of army, navyand the air force while authorized home confinement orders for General Yahya Khan and several of his collaborators. He adopted the East-Pakistan Commission‘s recommendations and authorized large-scale court-martial of army officers tainted for their role in East Pakistan. To keep the country united, Bhutto launched a series of internal intelligence operations to crack down on the fissiparous nationalist sentiments and movements in the provinces. Proponents of socialism were supported as part of the internal policies and the PPP faced serious challenges, both on internal and foreign fronts.
This period starting from 1971 until 1977 was a period of left-wing democracy, the growth of national spirit, economic nationalization, covert atomic bomb projects, promotion of scientific, literary, cultural activities and the left-wing socialism. Regarded as the period of reconstruction, rehabilitation, re-establishment, and the rise of the left-wing sphere of the country, the new industrial, manpower development, and the labour policies were promulgated in the ending weeks of December 1971. In 1972, the country’s top intelligence services provided an assessment on Indiannuclear program, citing the evidences that: “India was close to developing a nuclear weapon under its nuclear programme”. Chairing a secret winter seminar in January 1972, which came to be known as “Multan meeting”, Bhutto rallied a large numbers academic scientists to build the atomic bomb for national survival. The atomic bomb project brought together a team of prominent academic scientists and engineers, headed by theoretical physicist Abdus Salam to develop nuclear devices. Salam later won the Nobel Prize for Physics for developing the theory for unification of weak nuclear forces and strong electromagnetic forces.
In 1973, a serious nationalist rebellion also took place in Balochistan province and led to harsh suppression of Baloch rebels with the Shah of Iran purportedly assisting with air support in order to prevent the conflict from spilling over intoIranian Balochistan. The conflict ended later after an amnesty and subsequent stabilization by the provincial military administrator Rahimuddin Khan. In 1973, Parliament approved a supreme, but a new constitution, which provided the basis for the parliamentary democracy in the country. Bhutto and his government carried out major and serious reforms for establishment and development and re-designing of the country’s infrastructure. First and foremost, Bhutto supervised the successful promulgation of 1973 constitution that validated the parliamentary democracy in the country; the establishment ofJoint Chiefs Committee (as well Joint Strategic Forces Command), reorganization of the military, special forces and chain of commands in the military. Steps were taken for democratization of civil bureaucracy, election commission and the political structure, expansion of country’s economic and human infrastructure growth, starting first with the agriculture, land reforms, and government-control (nationalization) of major private industries, industrialization and the expansion of the higher education systemthroughout the country. In 1974, Bhutto succumbed to increasing pressure from religious parties and helped Parliament to declare the Ahmadiyya adherents as non-Muslims. Bhutto’s efforts undermined and dismantled the private-sector and conservative approach for political power in country’s political setup.
Relations with the United States gradually went down, and completing the gap after normalizing the relations with the Soviet Union, the Eastern bloc, North Korea, China, and the Arab world. With Soviet technical assistance, the country’s first steel mill was established in Karachi, which proved to be a crucial step in industrializing the economy. Bhutto promised in a speech to Pakistan’s National Assembly that “If India builds the bomb, we will eat grass and leaves, even go hungry. But we will get one of our own, we have no alternative.” Alarmed by India’s surprise nuclear test in 1974, Bhutto accelerated Pakistan’s atomic bomb project. This crash project reached a historical milestone in 1978 when the desired level of production of fissile core material was reached as well as first design of physics package which eventually led to a secret subcritical testings (“Kirana-I” and “Test Kahuta“) in 1983. Relations with India soured and Bhutto launched aggressive diplomatic war and measures against India at the United Nations. Openly targeting Indian nuclear programme on multiple occasions and pushing India on the defense, Bhutto’s covertly worked on expanding the atomic bomb project on a shortest time possible. From 1976 to 1977, Bhutto more densely emphasized his political position and faced an intense and heated diplomatic war with the United States and President Jimmy Carter, who worked covertly to damage the credibility of Bhutto in Pakistan. Bhutto, with his scientist colleague Aziz Ahmed, thwarted any U.S. attempts to infiltrate the atomic bomb programme. In 1976, during a secret mission, Henry Kissinger threatened Bhutto and his colleague using an inhumane language. After the meeting, Bhutto aggressively put efforts to successfully develop the atomic project before the coming elections.
As the country entered 1976, the socialist alliance of Bhutto collapsed, forcing his left-wing allies to form an alliance with right-wing conservatives, to challenge the power of Peoples Party. In 1977, the general elections were held which marked the Peoples Party as victorious but this was challenged by the opposition, which accused Bhutto of rigging the election process. An intensified political disorder took place against Bhutto and in a nexus of chief of army staff general Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq and chief of naval staff Admiral Mohammad Shariff, took power in a bloodless coup. Following this, Bhutto and his leftist colleagues were dragged into a two-year-long controversial trial in Supreme Court. Bhutto was later executed in 1979, after being convicted of authorizing the murder of a political opponent, in a controversial 4–3 split decision by the Supreme Court.
A strange historical fact – related to the bloodshed prior to the creation of Bangladesh – is that all the three main contributors to it – Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Indira Gandhi and Sheikh Mujeeb-ur-Rehman – died by unnatural and violent death. Also, their off-spring perished later the same way. Mujib’s one daughter, Sheikh Hasina, is the lone survivor at this time.
Second military era (1977–1988)
This period of military rule, lasting from 1977 to 1988, is often regarded as a period of great purge and growth of state-sponsored religious conservatism. Although, President Zia’s long eleven-year rule era features the country’s first successfultechnocracy, but other side, it also features the tug of war between far-leftist forces in direct competition with populist far-right circles. President Zia made strong use of installing high-profile military officers from joint services of joint forces in civilian posts, ranging from central government to provisional governments. Gradually, the socialist influence in the public policies were dismantled disbanded, instead a new system of capitalism was revived with the introduction of corporatizationand Islamization. The populist front against Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto scattered, with far right-wing conservatives allying with General Zia’s government and encouraging the military government crack down on the Pro-Soviet left-wing elements in the country. The left-wing alliance led by Benazir Bhutto was brutalized by Zia who took every mean of aggressive measures against the movement. Further, in his time, secessionist uprisings in Balochistan were put down successfully by the provincial governor, General Rahimuddin Khan.
In 1984, Zia held a referendum asking the civil society for the support of his religious programme that received overwhelming support and extended the term of General Zia as country’s administrator for next five years. He then introduced strict Islamic law in 1978, often cited as the contributing factor in the present climate of sectarianism andreligious fundamentalism in Pakistan. General Zia’s government disbanded the Western styled songs, only patriotic songs were allowed in national television. The Ordinance XXwas introduced to limit the Ahmadis from calling themselves Muslims.
After Zia assuming power, Pakistan’srelations with the Soviet Uniondeteriorated after Zia renewed strong relations with the United States, whilst accelerated the atomic bomb projects to counter the Soviet communism. Repressive situation inCommunist Afghanistan invited the Soviet Union’s intervention and President Reagan immediately jumped to help Zia to supply and finance an anti-Soviet insurgency in Afghanistan, using Pakistan as a conduit. Zia’s military administration effectively handled national security matters and notably managed the multibillion-dollar aid from the United States. An overwhelming majority of Afghan Pashtun took a refuge in the country fleeing the Soviet occupation. During this time, it was the largest refugee population in the world, which had a heavy impact on Pakistan and its effects continue to this day. In retaliation, the Afghan secret police, KHAD, mastered the idea of “terrorism” after carrying out a large number of terrorist operations against Pakistan, which also suffered from an influx of illegal weapons and drugs from Afghanistan. Responding to the terrorism, Zia used the “counter-terrorism” tactics after allowing the religiously far-right parties to send thousands young students of clerical schools participate in Afghan Jihad against the Soviet Union.
Problems with India rose up when India attacked and took the Siachen glacier, prompting Pakistan to strike back, leading Indian Army to formalize a controversial military exercise, summoning up to 400,000 troops near Southern Pakistan. Facing an indirect war with the Soviet Union in West, General Zia used the Cricket diplomacy to lessen the tensions between two countries. However he also reportedly threatened India by adding to Rajiv Gandhi: “If your [forces] crossed our border an inch … We are going to annihilate your (cities)…”.
Under pressured by President Ronald Reagan, General Zia finally lifted martial law in 1985, holding non-partisan electionsand handpicking Muhammad Khan Junejo to be the new Prime Minister, who readily extended Zia’s term as Chief of Army Staff until 1990. Junejo however gradually fell out with Zia as his administrative independence grew; for instance, Junejo signed the Geneva Accord, which Zia greatly frowned upon. As retaliation, a controversy was planned after a large-scale blast at a munitions dump and Prime minister Junejo vowed to bring to justice those responsible for the significant damage caused, implicating several senior generals. In return, General Zia dismissed the Junejo government on several charges in May 1988 and called for elections in November 1988. However, before the elections could ever take place, General Zia died in a mysterious plane crash on 17 August 1988 (See Death of Zia-ul-Haq).
During the end times of Zia’s regime, there was a popular wave of cultural change in the country. Despite Zia’s tough rhetoric against the Western culture and music in the country, the underground rock music jolted the country and revived the culturecounter attack on Indian film industry. The 1980s fashion such as hairstyles and clothing was very popular in the country and on casual basis at the five-star hotels in the country and near the residence of President Zia-ul-Haq, the rock bands performed Western-influenced rock music, and generally were welcomed by the public and some government elements.
Third democratic era (1988–1999): Benazir–Nawaz period
Democracy returned again in 1988 after the general elections which were held after the death of President General Zia-ul-Haq. The elections marked the return of Peoples Party back into the power whose leader, Benazir Bhutto, became the first female Prime minister of Pakistan as well as the first femalehead of government in a Muslim-majority country. This period, lasting until 1999, introduced the parliamentary system and competitive two-party democracy in the country, featuring a fierce competition between centre-right conservatives led by Nawaz Sharif and centre-left socialists directed by Benazir Bhutto. The far-left politics and the far-right politics had disintegrated from the political arena with the fall of global communism and the United States lessening its interests in Pakistan. It was during the 1990s when various bands released their highly acclaimed and commercially successful albums which it led to the boom of rock music in Pakistan’s music industry. Following the success of Vital Signs and other bands, the rock music bands enormous popularity and success significantly opened a new wave of rock music and opened a modern chapter in the history of Pakistan, bringing the significant shift of country’s conservative transformation into semi-Western modernism during the 1990s.[16
Benazir Bhutto presided over the country during the penultimate times of Cold war, and cemented pro-Western policies due to common distrust of communism. Her government oversaw the successful troop evacuation of Soviet Union from neighboring Communist Afghanistan. Soon after the evacuation, the alliance with U.S. came to end when the secret of a successful clandestine atomic bomb projectwas revealed to world which led to imposition of economic sanctions by the United States. In 1989, she ordered amilitary intervention in Afghanistan that brutally failed, leading her to depose the directors of the intelligence services. With offing American aid to the country, she hastily imposed the 7th Plan to restore the national economy while centralizing the economy. Nonetheless, the economic situation worsened when the state currency of Pakistan lost the currency war with India. The country significantly entered in era of stagflation during this period, and her government was soon dismissed by the conservative President Ghulam Ishaq Khan.
The 1990 General elections allowed the right-wing conservative alliance, the Islamic Democratic Alliance (IDA) led by Nawaz Sharif, to form the government under a democratic system for the first time in history. Attempts to end the stagflation, Sharif launched the privatization and economic liberalisation while on the other hand, adopted a policy of ambiguity on atomic bomb programs. Sharif intervened in Gulf War in 1991, and ordered an operation against the liberal forces in Karachi in 1992. Institutional problems arose with president Ghulam Khan, whose attempt was to dismiss Sharif on the same charges as he had pressed on Benazir Bhutto. Through the Supreme Court judgement, Sharif was restored and together withBenazir Bhutto ousted President Ishaq Khan from the presidency. Later in weeks, Sharif was forced to relinquish office by the military leadership.
During the general elections, Benazir Bhutto secured the plurality and formed the government after appointing a hand-picked president for the presidential office and a new cabinet. Approving the appointments of all four-star chiefs of navy, air force,army and chairman joint chiefs, the internal policies were exercised on tough stance to bring political stability in the country; her tough rhetoric her a nickname “Iron Lady” by her rivals. Proponents of social democracy and national pride were supported at an extreme level while the nationalization and centralization of economy continued after the 8th Plan was enacted to end the historical era of stagflation. Her foreign policy made an efforts to balance the relations with the Iran, United States,Western world, and socialist states.
Relations with India and Afghanistan worsened in 1995 when allegations were leveled of Pakistan and other countries providing economic and military aid to the group from 1994 as a part of supporting the anti-Soviet alliance. Pakistan was one of three countries which recognized the Taliban government and Mullah Mohammed Omar as the legitimate ruler ofAfghanistan. Benazir Bhutto continued her pressure on India, pushing India on to take defensive positions on its nuclear programme. Benazir Bhutto clandestine initiatives modernized and expanded the atomic bomb programme after launching the missile system programs. In 1994, she successfully approached the France for the technology transfer of AIP technologyto the country. Focusing on culture development, her policies resulted in shaping the rock and pop music industry in the country, and film industry made its notable comeback after introducing new talent to the public. She exercised tough policies to banned the Indian media in the country, while promoting television industry to produce dramas, films, artist programs, and music, extremely devoting to the country. The grievousness and public angst about the weaknesses of Pakistan educationled to large-scale federal support for science education and research in the country by both Benazir and Nawaz Sharif to meet with the competition with India.
Despite her tough policies, the popularity of Benazir Bhutto waned after her husband became allegedly involved in the controversial death of Murtaza Bhutto. Many public figures and officials suspected even Benazir Bhutto’s involvement in the murder, although there were no proves. In 1996, seven weeks passed this incident, Benazir Bhutto’s government was dismissed by her own hand-picked president on charges of Murtaza Bhutto’s death.
The 1997 election resulted in conservatives receiving a heavy majority of the vote, obtaining enough seats in parliament to change the constitution, which Prime minister Sharif amended to eliminate the formal checks and balances that restrained the Prime Minister’s power. Institutional challenges to his authority – led by the civilian PresidentFarooq Leghari, chairman joint chiefs generalJehangir Karamat, chief of naval staff admiral Fasih Bokharie, and Chief JusticeSajjad Ali Shah – were put down and all four were forced to resign; Chief Justice Shah doing so after the Supreme Court was stormed by Sharif partisans.
Problems with India further escalated in 1998, when the television media reported the Indian nuclear explosions, codenameOperation Shakti. When news flooded in Pakistan, a shocked Sharif called for a national security meeting in Islamabad and vowed that “she (Pakistan) would give a suitable reply to the Indians …”. After reviewing the effects of tests for roughly two weeks, Sharif ordered PAEC to perform a series of nuclear tests at the remote area of Chagai Hills in 1998 itself. The military forces in the country were mobilize at a war-situation level on Indian border
In 2000, the government issued a massive nationwide amnesty to the political workers of liberal parties, sidelining the conservatives and leftists in the country. Reviewing the policy to create a counter cultural attack on India, Musharraf personally signed and issued hundreds of license to private sector to open new media houses and set up channels, free from government influence. On 12 May 2000, the Supreme Court ordered the Government to hold general elections by 12 October 2002. Ties with the United States were renewed by Musharraf who endorsed the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan as reactionary to 9/11 attacks in the United States, in 2001. Confrontation with India continued over the disputed Kashmir, which led to serious military standoffin 2002 after India alleged Pakistan-backed Kashmiri militants laid the attack onIndian parliament in ending month of 2001. Military formations and deployment continued in all over the country during this period, with stationing of XI Corps in North-western Pakistan while the rest of the components were positioned in eastern, southern, and the northern borders of the country.
Attempting to legitimize his presidency and assuring its continuance after the impending elections, Musharraf held a controversial referendum in 2002, which allowed the extension of his presidential term to a period ending five years.The LFO Order No. 2002 was issued by Musharraf in August 2001, which established the constitutional basis for his continuance in office. The 2002 general elections marked the liberals, the MQM, and centrist PML(Q), winning the majority in the parliament to form the government.
The LFO effectively paralyzed the state parliament for over a year, which Musharraf succumbed to his parliamentary opponents to reach a concession on December 2003. The Musharraf-backed liberals mustered the two-thirds majority required to pass the17th Amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan. Transformation of country’s political system from parliamentary republic into semi-presidential republic was made through17th Amendment which retroactively legitimized Musharraf’s 1999 actions and many of his subsequent decrees. In a vote of confidence on January 2004, Musharraf won 658 out of 1,170 votes in the electoral college, and according to Article 41(8) of theConstitution of Pakistan, was elected to the office of President. Soon after his presidential election, Musharraf increased the role of Shaukat Aziz in the parliament and helped him to secure the party nomination for the office of Prime Minister.
With Shaukat Aziz becoming the prime minister in 2004, his regime yielded positive results on economic front and his proposed social reforms were met with resistance. The far-right religious alliance mobilized itself in fierce opposition to Musharraf and Aziz who were dismayed by their Post-9/11 alliance with the United States and endorsement of military support to the U.S. Forces in 2001 campaign in Afghanistan. In over two years, several attempts were survived by Musharraf and Aziz hatched by al-Qaeda including at least two instances where they had inside information from a member of his military administration. On foreign fronts, the allegations of nuclear proliferation further damaged Musharraf and Aziz’s credibility when country’s scientists were accused of suspected activities of giving and sharing the technology to global atomic proliferation. Repression and subjugation in Tribal line led to a heavy fighting inWarsk between Pakistan Armed Forces and 400 al-Qaeda operatives who were entrenched in several fortified settlements on March 2004. The hunt for Egyptian Ayman al-Zawahiri was launched in the border-side of the country, contributing in sparking the sectarian violence. This new war forced the government to sign a truce with the militants on 5 September 2006; nonetheless the sectarian violence continued.
Since 2001 and onward, Navaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto‘s popular support was gaining a lot of momentum in the country. In 2007, Sharif made a daring attempt to return from exile but was refrained from landing at Islamabad Terminal. Sharif was forcefully departed to Saudi Arabia on a first given flight, whilst outside the airport there were violent confrontations between Sharif’s supporters and the police. This did not deter another former prime minister, Benazir Bhutto, from returning on 18 October 2007 after an eight-year exile in Dubai and London, to prepare for the parliamentary elections to be held in 2008. While leading a massive rally of supporters, two deadly suicide attacks were carried out in an attempt to assassinate Benazir Bhutto, though she escaped unharmed but there were 136 casualties and at least 450 people were injured.
With Aziz completing his term, the liberal alliance now led by Musharraf was further weakened after General Musharraf proclaimed a state of emergency and sacked the Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry along with other 14 judges of the Supreme Court, on 3 November 2007,.Political situation became more chaotic when the lawyers launched a protest against this action but they were arrested. Allprivate media channels including foreign channels were banned, and Musharraf declared that the state of emergency would end on 16 December 2007. The global financial crises, energy crises, domestic crime and violence further escalated as Musharraf made desperate attempt to contain the political pressure. Stepping down from the military, Musharraf was sworn in for a second presidential term on 28 November 2007.
Popular support for Musharraf declined when Nawaz Sharif, this time accompanied by his younger brother and his daughter, successfully made a second attempt to return from exile; hundreds of their supporters, including a few leaders of the party were detained before the pair arrived at Iqbal Terminal, on 25 November 2007. Nawaz Sharif filed his nomination papers for two seats in the forthcoming elections whilst Benazir Bhutto filed for three seats including one of the reserved seats for women.Departing an election rally in Rawalpindi on 27 December 2007, Benazir Bhutto wasassassinated by a gunman who shot her in the neck and set off a bomb, killing 20 other people and injuring several more. The exact sequence of the events and cause of death became points of political debate and controversy, because, although early reports indicated that Benazir Bhutto was hit by shrapnel or the gunshots, the Pakistan Interior ministry maintained that her death was due from a skull fracture sustained when the explosive waves threw her against the sunroof of her vehicle. The issue remains controversial and the investigations were further conducted byBritish Scotland Yard. After a meeting in Islamabad, the Election Commission announced that, due to the assassination,the elections, which had been scheduled for 8 January 2008, would take place on 18 February.
The 2008 general elections marked the return of the leftists in the country’s power politics, on 18 February 2008. The left oriented, PPP, and conservative PML, won majority of seats together in the election and formed a coalition government; the liberal alliance then finally faded. Yousaf Raza Gillaniof PPP became the Prime minister and consolidated his power after ending a policy deadlock in order to lead the movement to impeach the president on 7 August 2008. Before restoring the deposed judiciary, Gillani and his leftist alliance leveled accusation against Musharraf for weakening Pakistan’s unity, violating its constitution and creating economic impasse. As momentum on Musharraf gained, President Musharraf began consultations with his close aides on the implications of the impeachment and readily made available himself to reply to the charges levied upon him. Gillani’s effective strategy to force Musharraf from presidency succeeded when Pervez Musharraf announced in a very short long televised address to the nation to announce his resignation, ending his nine-year-long reign on 18 August 2008.
Fourth democratic era (2008–present)
In 2010 and 2011, the anti-American emotions reached a climax after a CIA contractor killed two civilians in Lahore which further fractured relations with the United States. In the United States as well, the anti-Pakistan sentiment increased after the execution of the secret operationconducted in Abbottabad that killed the Al-Qaeda supremo Osama bin Laden, without the knowledge of Pakistan Government. A strong U.S. criticism was made against Pakistan for supporting a network of hiding al-Qaeda supremo, Gillani called his government to review the foreign policy. Steps were taken by Gillani to block all major supply lines after the NATO attack. Relations with Russia advanced in 2012, following the secret trip of country’s foreign ministerHina Khar. Following endless procrastination of Gillani in probing corruption charges as ordered by the Supreme Court, and treating it as contempt of court, the Supreme Court ousted Gillani from the office on 26 April 2012, and was quickly succeeded by Pervez Ashraf.
After the parliament historically completed its term, the general elections held on 11 May 2013 changed the country’s political landscape when conservative PML(N) achieved the near-supermajority in the parliament. Nawaz Shareef took the oath and became the prime minister of Pakistan on May 28. As of August 2013, national debates continue over the ongoing sequestration, the country’s foreign policy, gun control, taxation, immigration, and anti-terrorism reforms
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