The history of Pakistan as a modern nation began with independence from British India on 14 August 1947, although the region has been inhabited continuously for at least two million years; its ancient history includes some of the oldest settlements of South Asia and some of its major civilizations. The political history of eventual birth of the country began in the aftermath of the Indian Rebellion of 1857, which culminated in 90 years of direct rule by the British Crown, and, subsequently, spawned a successful freedom struggle led by the Indian National Congress and the All India Muslim League. The latter was founded in 1906 to protect Muslim interests and rose to popularity in the late 1930s amid fears of neglect and under-representation of Muslims in politics. On 29 December 1930, the poet Muhammad Iqbal called for an autonomous "state in northwestern India for Indian Muslims". Muhammad Ali Jinnah espoused the Two Nation Theory and led the Muslim League to adopt the Lahore Resolution of 1940, demanding the formation of an independent Pakistan.
Pakistan became independent as a Muslim-majority state with two wings to the east and northwest of India respectively. Independence resulted in communal riots across India and Pakistan — as millions of Muslims moved to Pakistan and millions of Hindus and Sikhs moved to India. Disputes arose over several princely states including Kashmir and Jammu whose ruler had acceded to India following an invasion by tribesmen from Pakistan. This lead to the First Kashmir War (1948) which ended with India occupying roughly two-thirds of the state and Pakistan occupying the remainder. A republic was declared in 1956 but was stalled by a coup d'etat by Ayub Khan (1958–69), who ruled during a period of internal instability and a second war with India in 1965. Economic grievances and political dissent in East Pakistan led to violent political tensions and army repression, escalating into civil war followed by the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 and ultimately the secession of East Pakistan as the independent state of Bangladesh.
Civilian rule resumed from 1972 to 1977 under Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, until he was deposed by General Zia-ul-Haq, who became the country's third military president. Pakistan's secular policies were replaced by the Islamic Shariah legal code, which increased religious influences on the civil service and the military. With the death of General Zia in a plane crash in 1988, Benazir Bhutto, daughter of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, was elected as the first female Prime Minister of Pakistan. Over the next decade, she alternated power with Nawaz Sharif, as the country's political and economic situation worsened. Military tensions in the Kargil conflict with India were followed by a Pakistani military coup d'état in 1999 in which General Pervez Musharraf assumed executive powers. In 2001, Musharraf named himself President after the forced resignation of Rafiq Tarar. After the 2002 parliamentary elections, Musharraf transferred executive powers to newly elected Prime Minister Zafarullah Khan Jamali, who was succeeded in the 2004 Prime-Ministerial election by Shaukat Aziz, followed by a temporary period in office by Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain. On 15 November 2007 the National Assembly completed its term and a caretaker government was appointed with the former Chairman of the Senate, Muhammad Mian Soomro as Prime Minister. The assassination of Benazir Bhutto resulted in a series of important political developments: The general elections were postponed until 18 February 2008; a coalition government came to power after the elections; President Musharraf stepped down and a civilian, Asif Ali Zardari, was elected as the new President.
Mehrgarh, (7000-5500 BCE), on the Kachi plain of Balochistan, is an important Neolithic site discovered in 1974, with early evidence of farming and herding, and dentistry. Early residents lived in mud brick houses, stored grain in granaries, fashioned tools with copper ore, cultivated barley, wheat, jujubes and dates, and herded sheep, goats and cattle, while later residents (5500-2600 BCE) engaged in crafts, including flint knapping, tanning, bead production, and metalworking. The site was occupied continuously until about 2600 BCE, but climatic changes between 2600 and 2000 BCE caused the area to become more arid. Mehrgarh was abandoned in favour of the Indus valley, where a new civilization was in the early stages of development.
The Indus Valley civilization developed between 3300-1700 BCE on the banks of the Indus River and at its peak had as many as five million inhabitants in hundreds of settlements extending as far as the Arabian Sea, southern and eastern Afghanistan, southeastern Iran and the Himalayas. The major urban centers were at Dholavira, Harappa, Lothal, Mohenjo-daro, and Rakhigarhi, as well as an offshoot called the Kulli culture (2500-2000 BCE) in southern Balochistan, which had similar settlements, pottery and other artifacts. The Indus Valley civilisation has been tentatively identified as proto-Dravidian, but this cannot be confirmed until the Indus script is fully deciphered. The civilization collapsed abruptly around 1700 BCE, possible due to a cataclysmic earthquake or the drying up of the Ghaggar-Hakra river or due to the invasion of Aryans.
In the early part of the second millennium BCE, Indo-European tribes from Central Asia or the southern Russian steppes migrated into the region, and settled in the Sapta Sindhu area between the Kabul River and the Upper Ganges-Yamuna rivers. The resulting Vedic culture lasted until the middle of the first millennium BCE when there were marked linguistic, cultural and political changes. During the Vedic culture, the hymns of the Rigveda were composed and the foundations of Hinduism were laid. The city of Taxila, in northern Pakistan, became important in Hinduism (and later in Buddhism); according to Hindu tradition, the Mahābhārata epic was first recited at Taxila at the snake sacrifice Yagna of King Janamejaya, one of the heroes of the story.
The Indus plains formed the most populous and richest satrapy of the Persian Achaemenid Empire for almost two centuries, starting from the reign of Darius the Great (522-485 BCE). Its heritage influenced the region e. g. adoption of Aramaic script, which the Achaemenids used for the Persian language; but after the end of Achaemenid rule, other scripts became more popular, such as Kharoṣṭhī (derived from Aramaic) and Greek. The interaction between Hellenistic Greece and Buddhism began when Alexander the Great overthrew the Achaemenid empire in 334 BCE, and marched eastwards. Eventually, after defeating King Porus in the fierce Battle of the Hydaspes (near modern Jhelum), he conquered much of the Punjab region. But, his battle weary troops refused to advance further into India to engage the formidable army of Nanda Dynasty and its vanguard of trampling elephants, new monstorities to the invaders. Therefore, Alexander proceeded southwest along the Indus valley. Along the way, he engaged in several battles with smaller kingdoms before marching his army westward across the Makran desert towards modern Iran. Alexander founded several new Macedonian/Greek settlements in Gandhara and Punjab.
During the time of his campaigns on the Indus plain, Alexander had found an ally in Chandragupta Maurya, a fugitive general from Magadha empire of the Nandas, who later raised his own military force and ultimately overthrew the Nanda Dynasty - using Macedonian tactics - and founded the Mauryan dynasty in Magadha, that lasted about 180 years. After Alexander's death in 323BCE, his Diadochi (generals) divided the empire, with Seleucus setting up the Seleucid Kingdom, which included the Indus plain. Chandragupta Maurya took advantage of this fragmentation of Greek power and captured the Punjab and Gandhara. Later, the eastern part of the Seleucid Kingdom broke away to form the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom (third–second century BCE). Chandragupta's grandson, Ashoka the Great, (273-232 BCE) expanded the Mauryan empire to its greatest extent covering most of South Asia. He converted to Buddhism after feeling remorse for his bloody conquest of Kalinga in eastern India. His Edicts were written on pillars in Aramaic (the lingua franca of the Achaemenid Empire) or in Kharoṣṭhī.
Greco-Buddhism (or Græco-Buddhism) was the syncretism between the culture of Classical Greece and Buddhism in the area of modern Afghanistan and Pakistan, between the fourth century BCE and the fifth century CE. It influenced the artistic development of Buddhism, and in particular Mahayana Buddhism, before it spread to central and eastern Asia, from the 1st century CE onward. Demetrius (son of the Greco-Bactrian king Euthydemus) invaded northern India in 180 BCE as far as Pataliputra and established an Indo-Greek kingdom. To the south, the Greeks captured Sindh and nearby coastal areas, completing the invasion by 175 BCE and confining the Sungas to the east. Meanwhile, in Bactria, the usurper Eucratides killed Demetrius in a battle. Although the Indo-Greeks lost part of the Gangetic plain, their kingdom lasted nearly two centuries.
The Indo-Greek Menander I (reigned 155-130 BCE) drove the Greco-Bactrians out of Gandhara and beyond the Hindu Kush, becoming a king shortly after his victory. His territories covered Panjshir and Kapisa in modern Afghanistan and extended to the Punjab region, with many tributaries to the south and east, possibly as far as Mathura. The capital Sagala (modern Sialkot) prospered greatly under Menander's rule and Menander is one of the few Bactrian kings mentioned by Greek authors. The classical Buddhist text Milinda Pañha, praises Menander, saying there was "none equal to Milinda in all India". His empire survived him in a fragmented manner until the last independent Greek king, Strato II, disappeared around 10 CE. Around 125 BCE, the Greco-Bactrian king Heliocles, son of Eucratides, fled from the Yuezhi invasion of Bactria and relocated to Gandhara, pushing the Indo-Greeks east of the Jhelum River. Various petty kings ruled into the early first century CE, until the conquests by the Scythians, Parthians and the Yuezhi, who founded the Kushan dynasty. The last known Indo-Greek ruler was Theodamas, from the Bajaur area of Gandhara, mentioned on a 1st century CE signet ring, bearing the Kharoṣṭhī inscription "Su Theodamasa" ("Su" was the Greek transliteration of the Kushan royal title "Shau" ("Shah" or "King")).
The Indo-Scythians were descended from the Sakas (Scythians) who migrated from southern Siberia to Kashmir and Arachosia from the middle of the 2nd century BCE to the 1st century BCE. They displaced the Indo-Greeks and ruled a kingdom that stretched from Gandhara to Mathura and Scythian tribes spread further into northwest India and the Iranian plateau.
The Parni were a nomadic Central Asian tribe who overthrew the Persian Seleucids and annexed much of the Indus region. Following the decline of the central Parthian authority after clashes with the Roman Empire, a local Parthian leader, Gondophares established the Indo-Parthian Kingdom in the 1st century CE. The kingdom was ruled from Taxila and covered much of modern southeast Afghanistan, Pakistan and northwestern India.
The Kushan kingdom founded by King Heraios, and greatly expanded by his successor, Kujula Kadphises. Kadphises' son, Vima Takto conquered territory now in India, but lost much of the west of the kingdom to the Parthians. The fourth Kushan emperor, Kanishka I, (circa 127 CE) had a winter capital at Purushapura (Peshawar) and a summer capital at Kapisa (Bagram). The kingdom linked the Indian Ocean maritime trade with the commerce of the Silk Road through the Indus valley. At its height, the empire extended from the Aral Sea to northern India, encouraging long-distance trade, particularly between China and Rome. Kanishka convened a great Buddhist council in Kashmir, marking the start of the pantheistic Mahayana Buddhism and its scission with Nikaya Buddhism. The art and culture of Gandhara are the best known expressions of the interaction of Greek and Buddhist cultures, which continued over several centuries until the fifth century CE White Hun invasions. Over the next few centuries, the White Huns, Indo-Parthians, and Kushans shared control of the Indus plain while the Persian Sassanid Empire dominated the south and southwest. The mingling of Indian and Persian cultures in the region gave rise to the Indo-Sassanid culture, which flourished in Balochistan and western Punjab. The Gupta Empire arose in northern India around the second century CE and included much of the lower Indus area as a province. The Gupta era was marked by a local Hindu revival, whose impact was felt in distant Punjab/Sindh region, although Buddhism continued to flourish. According to Arab chroniclers, the Rai Dynasty of Sindh (c.489-632), established a great kingdom with Ror (modern Sukkur) as its capital and, at its zenith, under Rai Diwaji (Devaditya), ruled over the Sindh region and beyond. Devadittya was a great patron of Buddhism, which flourished. This kingdom was taken over by Brahman dynasties, whose unpopularity among Buddhist subjects contributed towards the consolidation of Arab conquerors' base in Sindh.
In 712 CE, a Syrian Muslim chieftain called Muhammad bin Qasim conquered most of the Indus region for the Umayyad empire, but the instability of the empire resulted in effective control only over Sind and southern Punjab. The provincial capital of "As-Sindh" was at Al-Mansurah, 72 km north of modern Hyderabad. There was gradual conversion to Islam in the south, especially amongst the native Buddhist majority, but in areas north of Multan, Buddhists, Hindus and other non-Muslim groups remained numerous.
In 997 CE, Mahmud of Ghazni conquered the bulk of Khorasan, marched on Peshawar in 1005, and followed it by the conquests of Punjab (1007), Balochistan (1011), Kashmir (1015) and Qanoch (1017). By the end of his reign in 1030, Mahmud's empire extended from Kurdistan in the west to the Yamuna river in the east, and the Ghaznavid dynasty lasted until 1187. Contemporary historians such as Abolfazl Beyhaqi and Ferdowsi described extensive building work in Lahore, as well as Mahmud's support and patronage of learning, literature and the arts.
In 1160, Muhammad Ghori conquered Ghazni from the Ghaznavids and became its governor in 1173. He marched eastwards into the remaining Ghaznavid territory and Gujarat in the 1180s, but was rebuffed by Gujarat's Solanki rulers. In 1186-7, he conquered Lahore, bringing the last of Ghaznevid territory under his control and ending the Ghaznavid empire. Muhammad Ghori returned to Lahore after 1200 to deal with a revolt of the Rajput Ghakkar tribe in the Punjab. He suppressed the revolt, but was killed during a Ghakkar raid on his camp on the Jhelum River in 1206. Muhammad Ghori's successors established the first Indo-Islamic dynasty, the Delhi Sultanate. The Mamluk Dynasty, (mamluk means "slave" and referred to the Turkic slave soldiers who became rulers throughout the Islamic world), seized the throne of the Sultanate in 1211. Several Turko-Afghan dynasties ruled their empires from Delhi: the Mamluk (1211-90), the Khalji (1290-1320), the Tughlaq (1320-1413), the Sayyid (1414-51) and the Lodhi (1451-1526). Although some kingdoms remained independent of Delhi - in Gujarat, Malwa (central India), Bengal and Deccan - almost all of the Indus plain came under the rule of these large Indo-Islamic sultanates. Perhaps the greatest contribution of the sultanate was its temporary success in insulating South Asia from the Mongol invasion from Central Asia in the thirteenth century; nonetheless the sultans eventually lost Afghanistan and western Pakistan to the Mongols (see the Ilkhanate Dynasty).
The sultans (emperors) of Delhi enjoyed cordial relations with Muslim rulers in the Near East but owed them no allegiance. While the sultans ruled from urban centers, their military camps and trading posts provided the nuclei for many towns that sprang up in the countryside. Close interaction with local populations led to cultural exchange and the resulting "Indo-Islamic" fusion has left a lasting imprint and legacy in South Asian architecture, music, literature, life style and religious customs. In addition, the language of Urdu (literally meaning "horde" or "camp" in various Turkic dialects) was born during the Delhi Sultanate period, as a result of the mingling of speakers of Sanskritic prakrits, Persian, Turkish and Arabic languages.
From the 16th to the 19th century CE the formidable Mughal empire covered much of South Asia and played a major role in the economic and cultural development of the region. The empire was one of the three major Islamic states of its day and sometimes contested its northwestern holdings such as Qandahar against the Uzbeks and the Safavid Persians. The Mughals were descended from Persianized Central Asian Turks (with significant Mongol admixture). The third emperor, Akbar the Great, was both a capable ruler and an early proponent of religious and ethnic tolerance and favored an early form of multiculturalism. For a short time in the late 16th century, Lahore was the capital of the empire. The architectural legacy of the Mughals in Lahore includes the Shalimar Gardens built by the fifth emperor, Shahjahan, and the Badshahi Mosque built by the sixth emperor, Aurangzeb.
In 1739, the Persian emperor Nader Shah invaded India, defeated the Mughal Emperor Mohammed Shah, and occupied most of Balochistan and the Indus plain. After Nadir Shah's death, the kingdom of Afghanistan was established in 1747, by one of his generals, Ahmad Shah Abdali and included Kashmir, Peshawar, Daman, Multan, Sind and Punjab. In the south, a succession of autonomous dynasties (the Daudpotas, Kalhoras and Talpurs) had asserted the independence of Sind, from the end of Aurangzeb's reign. Most of Balochistan came under the influence of the Khan of Kalat, apart from some coastal areas such as Gwadar which were ruled by the Sultan of Oman. The Sikh Confederacy (1748-1799) was a group of small states in the Punjab which emerged in a political vacuum created by rivalry between the Mughals, Afghans and Persians. The Confederacy drove out the Mughals, repelled several Afghan invasions and in 1764 captured Lahore. However after the retreat of Ahmed Shah Abdali, the Confederacy suffered instability as disputes and rivalries emerged. The Sikh empire (1799-1849) was formed on the foundations of the Confederacy by Ranjit Singh who proclaimed himself "Sarkar-i-Wala", and was referred to as the Maharaja of Lahore. His empire eventually extended as far west as the Khyber Pass and as far south as Multan. Amongst his conquests were Kashmir in 1819 and Peshawar in 1834, although the Afghans made two attempts to recover Peshawar. After the Maharaja's death the empire was weakened by internal divisions and political mismanagement. The British annexed the Sikh empire in 1849 after two Anglo-Sikh wars.
The concept of an independent Muslim nation emerged gradually from the aftermath of the Indian Rebellion of 1857. 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 independence struggle 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. Some Muslims felt that an independent united India would inevitably be "ruled by Hindus", and that there was a need to address the issue of the Muslim identity within India. Thus in 1877, Syed Ameer Ali formed the Central National Muhammadan Association to work towards the political advancement of the Muslims, but the organisation declined towards the end of the nineteenth century. A turning point came in 1900 when the British administration in the United Provinces (now Uttar Pradesh), acceded to Hindu demands and made Hindi, written in the Devanagari script, the official language. The Muslims feared that the Hindu majority would seek to suppress Muslim culture and religion in an independent India. The All-India Muslim League was founded on December 30th, 1906, on the sidelines of the annual All India Muhammadan Educational Conference in Shahbagh, Dhaka. The meeting was attended by three thousand delegates and presided over by Nawab Viqar-ul-Mulk. It addressed the issue of legitimate safeguards for Muslims and finalised a programme. A resolution, moved by Nawab Salimullah and seconded by Hakim Ajmal Khan. Nawab Viqar-ul-Milk, 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 Muhammed Ali Jinnah, a prominent Bombay lawyer and statesman. 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". In 1907, a vocal group of Hindu hard-liners within the Indian National Congress movement separated from it and started to pursue a pro-Hindu movement openly. This group was spearheaded by the famous trio of Lal-Bal-Pal - Lala Lajpat Rai , Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Bipin Chandra Pal of Punjab, Bombay and Benagal provinces respectively. Their influence spread rapidly among other like minded Hindus - they called it Hindu nationalism - and it became a cause of serious concern for Muslims. However, Jinnah did not join the League until 1913, when it changed its platform to one of Indian independence as a reaction against the British decision - taken under the enormous pressure and vociferous protests of the Hindu majority - to reverse the 1905 Partition of Bengal, which the League regarded as a betrayal of the Bengali Muslims. Even at this stage, Jinnah believed in Muslim-Hindu co-operation to achieve an independent, united India, although he argued that Muslims should be guaranteed one-third of the seats in any Indian Parliament.
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.
Mean while, Muslim ideologues for separatism 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 called Veer Savarkar and known as the iconic father of the Hindutva ideology - propounded the seminal ideas of his Two Nation Theory or Hindu-Muslim 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 Second World War 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 National Congress and the nationalist Muslims, and espoused the Two-Nation Theory and the reasons for the demand for separate Muslim homelands. Sikandar Hayat Khan, the Chief Minister of Punjab, drafted the original resolution, but disavowed the final version, that had emerged after endless 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 an independent Muslim state. The resolution was moved in the general session by Shere-Bangla A. K. Fazlul Huq, the Chief Minister of Bengal, supported by Chaudhry Khaliquzzaman and other Muslim leaders and was adopted on 23 March, 1940. The Resolution read as follows:
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 Indian Muslims. In 1943, the Sind Assembly passed a resolution demanding the establishment of a Muslim 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 Second World War had broken the back of both Britain and France and disintigration of their colonial empires was expected soon. With the election of another sympathetic Labour government in Britain in 1945, Indians were seeing independence within reach. But, Gandhi and Nehru were not receptive to Jinnah's proposals 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 (and about 89.2% of Muslim 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 rashly preponed the date of transfer of power and told Gandhi and Nehru that if they did not accept divivsion 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 14th and 15th of August 1947 respectively. This result was despite the calls for a third Osmanistan in the early 1940s.
On the 14th and 15th of August, 1947, British India gave rise to new independent Dominions of Pakistan and India respectively, with both dominions joining the British Commonwealth. However, the ill conceived and controversial decision to division of Punjab and Bengal, two of the biggest provinces, between India and Pakistan had disastrous consequences. This division created inter-religious violence of such magnitude that exchange of population along religious lines became a necessity in these provinces. 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. The independence also resulted in tensions over Kashmir leading to the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947. The post-independence political history of Pakistan has been characterised by several periods of authoritarian military rule and continuing territorial disputes with India over the status of Kashmir, and with Afghanistan over the Pashtunistan issue.
In 1948, Jinnah declared in Dhaka that Urdu would be the only state language of Pakistan. This sparked protests in East Bengal (later East Pakistan), where Bengali was spoken by most of the population. The Bengali Language Movement reached its peak on 21 February 1952, when police and soldiers opened fired near the Dhaka Medical College on students protesting for Bengali to receive equal status with Urdu. Several protesters were killed, and the movement gained further support throughout East Pakistan. Later, the Government agreed to provide equal status to Bengali as a state language of Pakistan, a right later codified in the 1956 constitution.
In 1953 at the instigation of religious parties, anti-Ahmadiyya riots erupted, killing scores of Ahmadi Muslims and destroying their properties. The riots were investigated by a two-member court of inquiry in 1954, which was criticised by the Jamaat-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.
The Dominion was dissolved on 23 March, 1956 and replaced by the Islamic Republic of Pakistan with the last Governor-General, Iskandar Mirza, as the first president. Just two years later the military took control of the nation. Field Marshal Ayub Khan became president and began a new system of government called Basic Democracy with a new constitution, by which an electoral college of 80,000 would select the President. Ayub Khan almost lost the controversial 1965 presidential elections to Fatima Jinnah. During Ayub's rule, relations with the United States and the West grew stronger. Pakistan joined two formal military alliances — the Baghdad Pact (later known as CENTO) which included Iran, Iraq, and Turkey to defend the Middle East and Persian Gulf against the Soviet Union; and SEATO which covered South-East Asia. However, the United States adopted 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.
Between 1947 and 1971, Pakistan consisted of two geographically separate regions, West Pakistan and East Pakistan. During the 1960s, there was a rise in Bengali nationalism in East Pakistan, and of allegations that economic development and hiring for government jobs favoured West Pakistan. An independence movement in East Pakistan began to gather ground. After a nationwide uprising in 1969, General Ayub Khan stepped down from office, handing power to General Yahya Khan, who promised to hold general elections at the end of 1970. On the eve of the elections, a cyclone struck East Pakistan killing approximately 500,000 people. Despite the tragedy and the additional difficulty experienced by affected citizens in reaching the voting sites, the elections were held and the results showed a clear division between East and West Pakistan. The Awami League, led by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, won a majority with 167 of the 169 East Pakistani seats, but with no seats in West Pakistan, where the Pakistan Peoples Party led by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, won 85 seats. However, Yahya Khan and Bhutto refused to hand over power to Mujib.
Meanwhile, Mujib initiated a civil disobedience movement, which was strongly supported by the general population of East Pakistan, including most government workers. A round-table conference between Yahya, Bhutto, and Mujib was convened in Dhaka, which, however, ended without a solution. Soon thereafter, the West Pakistani Army commenced Operation Searchlight, an organized crackdown on the East Pakistani army, police, politicians, civilians, and students in Dhaka. Mujib and many other Awami League leaders were arrested, while others fled to neighbouring India. On 27th March 27 1971, Major Ziaur Rahman, a Bengali war-veteran of the East Bengal Regiment of the Pakistan Army, declared the independence of East Pakistan as the new nation of Bangladesh on behalf of Mujib. The crackdown widened and escalated into a guerrilla warfare between the Pakistani Army and the Mukti Bahini (Bengali "freedom fighters"). Although the killing of Bengalis was unsupported by the people of West Pakistan, it continued for 9 months. India supplied the Bengali rebels with arms and training, and, in addition, hosted more than 10 million Bengali refugees who had fled the turmoil.
In March, 1971, India's Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi expressed sympathy for the East Pakistani independence movement, opening India's borders to refugees and providing other assistance. Following a period of covert and overt intervention by Indian forces, open hostilities broke out between the two countries on December 3, 1971. In East Pakistan, the Pakistani Army led by General A. A. K. Niazi, had already been weakened and exhausted by the Mukti Bahini's guerrilla warfare. Outflanked and overwhelmed, the Pakistani army in the eastern theatre surrendered on December 16, 1971, with nearly 90,000 soldiers taken as prisoners of war. The figures of the Bengali civilian death toll from the war vary greatly, depending on the sources. Although Pakistan's official report, by its Hamood-ur-Rahman Commission, places the figure at only 26,000, other sources put the number between 1.25 to 1.5 million. Highest figure, reported in the media, is 3 million.
The result was the emergence of the new nation of Bangladesh. Discredited by the defeat, General Yahya Khan resigned. Bhutto was inaugurated as president and chief martial law administrator on 20 December, 1971.
Civilian rule returned after the war, when General Yahya Khan handed over power to Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. In 1972, Pakistani intelligence learned that India was close to developing a nuclear bomb, and in response, Bhutto formed a group of engineers and scientists, headed by nuclear scientist Abdus Salam — who later won the Nobel Prize for physics — to develop nuclear devices. In 1973, Parliament approved a new constitution. Pakistan was alarmed by the Indian nuclear test of 1974, and Bhutto promised that Pakistan would also have a nuclear device "even if we have to eat grass and leaves."
During Bhutto's rule, a serious rebellion also took place in Balochistan province and led to harsh suppression of Baloch rebels with purported assistance from the Shah of Iran lending air support in order to avoid a spilling over the conflict into Iranian Balochistan. The conflict ended later after an amnesty and subsequent stabilization by the provincial military ruler Rahimuddin Khan. In 1974, Bhutto succumbed to increasing pressure from religious parties and helped Parliament to declare the Ahmadiyya adherents as non-Muslims. Elections were held in 1977, with the People's Party won but this was challenged by the opposition, which accused Bhutto of rigging the vote. General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq took power in a bloodless coup and Bhutto was later executed, after being convicted of authorizing the murder of a political opponent, in a controversial 4-3 split decision by the Supreme Court.
Pakistan had been a US ally for much of the Cold War, from the 1950s and as a member of CENTO and SEATO. The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan renewed and deepened the US-Pakistan alliance. The Reagan administration in the United States helped supply and finance an anti-Soviet insurgency in Afghanistan, using Pakistan as a conduit. In retaliation, the Afghan secret police, KHAD, carried out a large number of terrorist operations against Pakistan, which also suffered from an influx of illegal weapons and drugs from Afghanistan. In the 1980s, as the front-line state in the anti-Soviet struggle, Pakistan received substantial aid from the United States as it took in millions of Afghan (mostly Pashtun) refugees fleeing the Soviet occupation. The influx of so many refugees - the largest refugee population in the world - had a heavy impact on Pakistan and its effects continue to this day. General Zia's martial-law administration gradually reversed the socialist policies of the previous government, and also introduced strict Islamic law in 1978, often cited as the contributing factor in the present climate of sectarianism and religious fundamentalism in Pakistan. Ordinance XX was introduced to limit the freedom of the Ahmadi's to call themselves Muslims in Pakistan. Further, in his time, secessionist uprisings in Balochistan were put down violently but successfully by the provincial governor, General Rahimuddin Khan.
General Zia lifted martial law in 1985, holding non-partisan elections and 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 example, Junejo signed the Geneva Accord, which Zia greatly frowned upon. After a large-scale blast at a munitions dump in Ojhri, Junejo vowed to bring to justice those responsible for the significant damage caused, implicating several senior generals. Zia dismissed the Junejo government on several charges in May 1988 and called for elections in November 1988. However, General Zia died in a plane crash on August 17 1988.
In the election that returned Nawaz Sharif as Prime Minister in 1997, his party received a heavy majority of the vote, obtaining enough seats in parliament to change the constitution, which 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 President Farooq Leghari, military chief Jehangir Karamat and Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah were put down and all three were forced to resign - Shah doing so after the Supreme Court was stormed by Sharif partisans.
On 12 October, 1999, Sharif attempted to dismiss army chief Pervez Musharraf and install ISI director Ziauddin Butt in his place, but senior generals refused to accept the decision. Musharraf, who was out of the country, boarded a commercial airliner to return to Pakistan. Sharif ordered the Jinnah International Airport to prevent the landing of the airliner, which then circled the skies over Karachi. In a coup, the generals ousted Sharif's administration and took over the airport. The plane landed with only a few minutes of fuel to spare, and General Musharraf assumed control of the government. He arrested Sharif and those members of his cabinet who took part in this conspiracy. American President Bill Clinton had felt that his pressure to force Sharif to withdraw Pakistani forces from Kargil, in Indian-controlled Kashmir, was one of the main reasons for disagreements between Sharif and the Pakistani army. Clinton and King Fahd then pressured Musharraf to spare Sharif and, instead, exile him to Saudi Arabia, guaranteeing that he would not be involved in politics for ten years. Sharif lived in Saudi Arabia for more than six years before moving to London in 2005.
On May 12, 2000 the Supreme Court of Pakistan ordered the Government to hold general elections by October 12, 2002. In an attempt to legitimize his presidency and assure its continuance after the impending elections, Musharraf held a controversial national referendum on April 30, 2002, which extended his presidential term to a period ending five years after the October elections. Musharraf strengthened his position by issuing a Legal Framework Order in August 2001 which established the constitutional basis for his continuance in office. The general elections were held in October 2002 and the centrist, pro-Musharraf PML-Q won a majority of the seats in Parliament. However, parties opposed to the Legal Framework Order effectively paralysed the National Assembly for over a year. The deadlock ended in December 2003, when Musharraf and some of his parliamentary opponents agreed upon a compromise, and pro-Musharraf legislators were able to muster the two-thirds majority required to pass the Seventeenth Amendment, which retroactively legitimized Musharraf's 1999 coup and many of his subsequent decrees. In a vote of confidence on 1st January 2004, Musharraf won 658 out of 1,170 votes in the Electoral College of Pakistan, and according to Article 41(8) of the Constitution of Pakistan, was elected to the office of President.
While economic reforms undertaken during his regime have yielded some results, social reform programmes and his liberal views, e.g. on reforming extremist versions of the practices prevalent in Islam, appear to have met with resistance. Musharraf's power is threatened by extremists who have grown in strength since the September 11, 2001 attacks and who are particularly angered by Musharraf's close political and military alliance with the United States, including his support of the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan. Musharraf has survived several assassination attempts by terrorist groups believed to be part of Al-Qaeda, including at least two instances where the terrorists had inside information from a member of his military security. Pakistan continues to be involved in a dispute over Kashmir, with allegations of support of terrorist groups being levelled against Pakistan by India, while Pakistan charges that the Indian government abuses human rights in its use of military force in the disputed region. What makes this dispute a source of special concern for the world community is, that both India and Pakistan possess nuclear weapons. It had led to a nuclear standoff in 2002, when Kashmiri-militants (supposedly backed by the ISI) attacked the Indian parliament. In reaction to this, serious diplomatic tensions developed and India and Pakistan deployed 500,000 and 120,000 troops to the border respectively. While the Indo-Pakistani peace process has since made progress, it is sometimes stalled by infrequent insurgent activity in India (including the 11 July 2006 Mumbai train bombings). Pakistan also has been accused of contributing to nuclear proliferation; indeed, its leading nuclear scientist, Abdul Qadeer Khan, admitted to selling nuclear secrets, though he denied government knowledge of his activities.
After the U.S.A. led invasion of Afghanistan, the Pakistani government, as an ally, sent thousands of troops into the mountainous region of Waziristan in 2002, in search of bin-Laden (whom U.S.A. blames for master-minding the so called 9/11-events) and other heavily armed al-Qaeda members, who had allegedly taken refuge there. In March 2004, heavy fighting broke out at Azam Warsak (near the South Waziristan town of Wana), between Pakistani troops and these militants (estimated to be 400 in number), who were entrenched in several fortified settlements. It was speculated that bin Laden's deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri was among those trapped by the Pakistani Army. On September 5, 2006 a truce was signed with the militants and their local rebel supporters, (who called themselves the Islamic Emirate of Waziristan), in which the rebels were to cease supporting the militants in cross-border attacks on Afghanistan in return for a ceasefire and general amnesty and a hand-over of border-patrolling and check-point responsibilities, till then handled by the Pakistan Army.
Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif attempted to return from exile on September 10, 2007 but was arrested on corruption charges after landing at Islamabad International Airport. Sharif was then put on a plane bound for Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, 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 October 18, 2007 after an eight year exile in Dubai and London, to prepare for the parliamentary elections to be held in 2008. However, on the same day, two suicide bombers attempted to kill Bhutto as she travelled towards a rally in Karachi. Bhutto escaped unharmed but there were 136 casualties and at least 450 people were injured.
On November 3, 2007, General Musharraf proclaimed a state of emergency and sacked the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Choudhry along with other 14 judges of the Supreme Court. Lawyers launched a protest against this action but they were arrested. All private media channels were banned including foreign channels. Musharraf declared that the state of emergency would end on December 16, 2007. On November 28, 2007, General Musharraf retired from the Army and the following day was sworn in for a second presidential term.
On November 25, 2007, Nawaz Sharif made a second attempt to return from exile, this time accompanied by his brother, the former Punjab chief minister, Shahbaz Sharif. Hundreds of their supporters, including a few leaders of the party were detained before the pair arrived at Lahore International Airport. The following day, 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.
On December 27, 2007, Benazir Butto was leaving an election rally in Rawalpindi when she was assassinated 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 Bhutto was hit by shrapnel or the gunshots, the Pakistani Interior Ministry stated that she died from a skull fracture sustained when the explosion threw Bhutto against the sunroof of her vehicle. Bhutto's aides rejected this claim and insisted that she suffered two gunshots prior to the bomb detonation. The Interior Ministry subsequently backtracked from its previous claim. However, a subsequent investigation, aided by the Scotland Yard of U.K., supported the "hitting the sun-roof"" as the cause of her death. The Election Commission, after a meeting in Islamabad, announced that, due to the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, the elections, which had been scheduled for 8 January 2008, would take place on 18 February.
A General Election was held in Pakistan, according to the revised schedule, on February 18, 2008,). Pakistan's two big and main opposition parties, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League (N) (PML (N)), won majority of seats in the election and formed a government. Although, the Pakistan Muslim League (Q) (PML (Q)) actually was second in the popular vote, the PPP and PML (N) have formed the new coalition-government.
On August 7 The deadlock between ruling parties ended when the coalition government of Pakistan decided to move for the impeachment of the President and then head for the restoration of the deposed judiciary. Moreover, they decided that Parvez Musharraf should face charges of weakening Pakistan's federal structure, violating its constitution and creating economic impasse.
After that, President Parvez Musharraf began consultations with his allies, and with his legal team, on the implications of the impeachment; he said that he was ready to reply to the charges levied upon him and seek the vote of confidence from the senate and the parliament, as required by the coalition parties.