The country has a generally hot and dry climate, with desert conditions prevailing throughout much of the area. Along the western border and in a section of the north are semiarid steppelands and deserts; a subtropical climate with marked summer rainfall is found in a small section of the northeast along the Himalayan foothills; and a mountain climate that varies with altitude is found in the north.
The Indus is the chief river of Pakistan and is the nation's lifeline. It flows the length of the country and is fed by the combined waters of three of the five rivers of Punjab—the Chenab, Jhelum, and Ravi. The waters of the other two rivers, the Beas and the Sutlej, are largely withdrawn for irrigation in India. Along the Indus and its tributaries are found most of Pakistan's population, its chief agricultural areas, and its major hydroelectric power stations.
Pakistan may be divided into four geographic regions—the plateau of W Pakistan, the plains of the Indus and Punjab rivers, the hills of NW Pakistan, and the mountains of N Pakistan. The plateau region of W Pakistan, which is roughly coextensive with Baluchistan prov., is an arid region with relatively wetter conditions in its northern sections. Numerous low mountain ranges rise from the plateau, and the Hingol and Dasht rivers are among the largest streams. Large portions of the region are unfit for agriculture, and although some cotton is raised, nomadic sheep grazing is the principal activity. Coal, chromite, and natural gas are found in this area, and fishing and salt trading are carried on along the rugged Makran coast. Quetta, the chief city, is an important railroad center on the line between Afghanistan and the Indus valley.
East of the plateau region are extensive alluvial plains, through which flow the Indus and its tributaries. The region, closely coinciding with Sind and Punjab provinces, is hot and dry and is occupied in its eastern borders by the Thar Desert. Extensive irrigation facilities, fed by the waters of the Indus system, make the Indus basin the agricultural heartland of Pakistan. A variety of crops (especially wheat, rice, and cotton) are raised there. Advances in agricultural engineering have countered the salinity problems involved in farming the Indus delta. The irrigated portions of the plain are densely populated, being the site of many of Pakistan's principal cities, including Lahore, Faisalabad (formerly Lyallpur), Hyderabad, and Multan. Karachi, the nation's chief port, is located west of the irrigated land at a site accessible to oceangoing vessels. The higher parts of the plain, in the north, as in the vicinity of Lahore, have a more humid subtropical climate.
In NW Pakistan, occupying about two thirds of North-West Frontier Province, is a region of low hills and plateaus interspersed with fertile valleys. The elevation of the region tempers the arid climate. It is a predominantly agricultural area, with wheat the chief crop; fruit trees and livestock are also raised. Peshawar and Rawalpindi, the largest cities of this area, are the only major manufacturing centers. In the northern section of the North-West Frontier Province and in the Pakistani-occupied sector of Kashmir are the rugged ranges and the high, snowcapped peaks of the Hindu Kush, Himalaya, and Karakorum mountains; Tirich Mir (25,236 ft/7,692 m) is the highest point in the country outside Kashmir
Pakistan has one of the world's most rapidly growing populations. Its people are a mixture of many ethnic groups, a result of the occupation of the region by groups passing through on their way to India. The Pathans (Pashtuns) of the northwest are a large, indigenous group that has long resisted advances by invaders and that has at times sought to establish an autonomous state within Pakistan. Baluchis, who live mainly in the southwest, have also pressed for the creation of a state that would incorporate parts of Afghanistan and Iran. Punjabis reside mainly in the northeast, and Sindhis in the southeast. Pakistan is an overwhelmingly (about 97%) Muslim country. Urdu is the official language, but Punjabi, Sindhi, Pashto, Baluchi, Hindko, and Brahui are also spoken; English is common among the upper classes and in the government.
Agriculture is the mainstay of Pakistan's economy, employing more than 40% of the population. Cotton, wheat, rice, sugarcane, fruits, vegetables, and tobacco are the chief crops, and cattle, sheep, and poultry are raised. There is also a fishing industry. Most of Pakistan's agricultural output comes from the Indus basin. The country is now self-sufficient in food, as vast irrigation schemes have extended farming into arid areas, and fertilizers and new varieties of crops have increased yields.
Pakistan's industrial base is able to supply many of the country's needs in consumer goods and other products. The country major manufactures textiles (the biggest earner of foreign exchange), processed foods, pharmaceuticals, construction materials, paper products, and fertilizer. Remittances from Pakistanis working abroad constitute the second largest source of foreign exchange. Since the mid-1950s electric power output has greatly increased, mainly because of the development of hydroelectric power potential and the use of thermal power plants.
The annual cost of Pakistan's imports usually exceeds its earnings from exports. The chief imports are petroleum, machinery, plastics, transportation equipment, edible oils, paper, iron and steel, and tea. Exports include textiles and clothing, rice, leather and sporting goods, chemicals, and carpets. The chief trading partners are the United States, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and China.
Pakistan is governed under the constitution of 1973 as amended, which provides for a federal parliamentary form of government. The president, who is head of state, is elected to a five-year term by an electoral college drawn from the national parliament and provincial assemblies. The government is headed by the prime minister, who is selected by the National Assembly. There is a bicameral legislature. The National Assembly has 342 members, 272 of them elected by popular vote, with 60 seats reserved for women and 10 for non-Muslims; all serve five-year terms. The 100 members of the Senate are indirectly elected by provincial assemblies and the territories' representatives in the National Assembly; they serve six-year terms. Each province has its own legislative assembly whose members are elected by direct popular vote, a provincial governor appointed by the president, and a chief minister elected by the legislative assembly. There is an independent judicial branch of government. Administratively, the country is divided into four provinces and two territories.
The northwest of the Indian subcontinent, which now constitutes Pakistan, lies athwart the historic invasion routes through the Khyber, Gumal, and Bolan passes from central Asia to the heartland of India, and for thousands of years invaders and adventurers swept down upon the settlements there. The Indus valley civilization, which flourished until c.1500 B.C., was one of the region's earliest civilizations. The Aryans, who surpassed the Indus, were followed by the Persians of the Achaemenid empire, who by c.500 B.C. reached the Indus River. Alexander the Great, conqueror of the Persian empire, invaded the Punjab in 326 B.C. The Seleucid empire, heir to Alexander's Indian conquest, was checked by the Mauryas, who by 305 B.C. occupied the Indus plain and much of Afghanistan.
After the fall of the Mauryas (2d cent. B.C.) the Indo-Greek Bactrian kingdom rose to power, but was in turn overrun (c.97 B.C.) by Scythian nomads called Saka and then by the Parthians (c.A.D. 7). The Parthians, of Persian stock, were replaced by the Kushans; the Kushan Kanishka ruled (2d cent. A.D.) all of what is now Pakistan from his capital at Peshawar. In 712, the Muslim Arabs appeared in force and conquered Sind, and by 900 they controlled most of NW India. They were followed by the Ghaznavid and Ghorid Turks. The first Turki invaders reached Bengal c.1200 and an important Muslim center was established there, principally through conversion of the Hindus. Although the northeast of the Indian subcontinent (now Bangladesh) remained, with interruptions, part of a united Mughal empire in India from the early 16th cent. to 1857, the northwest changed hands many times before it became (1857) part of imperial British India. It was overrun by Persians in the late 1730s; by the Afghans, who held Sind and the Punjab during the latter half of the 18th cent.; and by the Sikhs, who rose to power in the Punjab under Ranjit Singh (1780-1839).British Control and the Muslim League
The British attempted to subdue the anarchic northwest during the First Afghan War (1839-42) and succeeded in conquering Sind in 1843 and the Punjab in 1849. The turbulence of the region was intensified by the fierce forays of Baluchi and Pathan tribespeople from the mountainous hinterlands. The British occupied Quetta in 1876 and again attempted to conquer the tribespeople in the Second Afghan War (1878-80) but were still unsuccessful. With the creation of the North-West Frontier Province in 1901, the British shifted from a policy of conquest to one of containment.
Unlike previous settlers in India, the Muslim immigrants were not absorbed into Hindu society. Their ranks were augmented by the millions of Hindus who had been converted to Islam. There was cultural interchange between Hindu and Muslim, but no homogeneity emerged. After the Indian Mutiny (1857), a rising Hindu middle class began to assume dominant positions in industry, education, the professions, and the civil service. Although, in these early decades of the Indian National Congress, vigorous efforts were made to include Muslims in the nationalist movement, concern for Muslim political rights led to the formation of the Muslim League in 1906; in the ensuing years Hindu-Muslim conflict became increasingly acute.
The idea of a Muslim nation, distinct from Hindu India, was introduced in 1930 by the poet Muhammad Iqbal and was ardently supported by a group of Indian Muslim students in England, who were the first to use the name Pakistan [land of the pure, from the Urdu pak,=pure and stan,=land]. It gained wide support in 1940 when the Muslim League, led by Muhammad Ali Jinnah, demanded the establishment of a Muslim state in the areas of India where Muslims were in the majority. The League won most of the Muslim constituencies in the 1946 elections, and Britain and the Congress party reluctantly agreed to the formation of Pakistan as a separate dominion under the provisions of the Indian Independence Act, which went into effect on Aug. 15, 1947.Partition and Conflict
Jinnah became the governor-general of the new nation and Liaquat Ali Khan the first prime minister. While India inherited most of the British administrative machinery, Pakistan had to start with practically nothing; records and Muslim administrators were transferred from New Delhi to a chaotic, makeshift capital at Karachi. Moreover, an autumn of violence and slaughter among Hindus and Muslims came between independence and the task of developing the new nation. Disturbances in Delhi were only a prelude to the slaughter in the Punjab, where the Gurdaspur district had been partitioned to give India access to Kashmir. Although there was some violence in Calcutta (now Kolkata), the efforts of Mohandas K. Gandhi prevented widespread killing in partitioned Bengal. The communal strife took more than 500,000 lives; 7.5 million Muslim refugees fled to both parts of Pakistan from India, and 10 million Hindus left Pakistan for India.
Disputes between India and Pakistan arose also over the princely states of Junagadh, Hyderabad, and Kashmir. In the first two, Muslim rulers held sway over a Hindu majority but India forcibly joined both states to the Union, dismissing the wishes of the rulers and basing its claims instead on the wishes of the people and the facts of geography. In Kashmir the situation was precisely the opposite; a Hindu ruler held sway over a Muslim majority in a country that was geographically and economically tied to West Pakistan. The ruler signed over Kashmir to India in Oct., 1947, but Pakistan refused to accept the move. Fighting broke out (see India-Pakistan Wars) and continued until Jan., 1948, when India and Pakistan both appealed to the United Nations, each accusing the other of aggression. A cease-fire was agreed upon and a temporary demarcation line partitioned (1949) the disputed state.
In the meantime, Pakistan faced serious internal problems. A liberal statement of constitutional principles was promulgated in 1949, but parts of the proposed constitution ran into orthodox Muslim opposition. On Oct. 16, 1951, Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan was assassinated by an Afghan fanatic. His death left a leadership void that prime ministers Khwaja Nazimuddin (1951-53) and Muhammad Ali (1953-55) and governor-general Ghulam Muhammad (1951-55) failed to fill. In East Bengal, which had more than half of the nation's population, there was increasing dissatisfaction with the federal government in West Pakistan. In 1954, faced with growing crises, the government dissolved the constituent assembly and declared a state of emergency. In 1955, the existing provinces and princely states of West Pakistan were merged into a single province made up of 12 divisions, and the name of East Bengal was changed to East Pakistan, thus giving it at least the appearance of parity with West Pakistan.
In Feb., 1956, a new constitution was finally adopted, and Pakistan formally became a republic within the Commonwealth of Nations; Gen. Iskander Mirza became the first president. Economic conditions remained precarious, even though large shipments of grain from the United States after 1953 had helped to relieve famine. In foreign relations, Pakistan's conflict with India over Kashmir remained unresolved, and Afghanistan continued its agitation for the formation of an autonomous Pushtunistan nation made up of the Pathan tribespeople along the northwest frontier. Pakistan joined the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization in 1954 and the Central Treaty Organization in 1955. After 1956 the threat to the stability of the Pakistan government gradually increased, stemming from continuing economic difficulties, frequent cabinet crises, and widespread political corruption.The Ayub Khan Regime
Finally, in Oct., 1958, President Mirza abrogated the constitution and granted power to the army under Gen. Muhammad Ayub Khan. Ayub subsequently assumed presidential powers (in 1960 he was elected to a five-year term), abolishing the office of prime minister and ruling by decree. Under the dictatorship, a vigorous land reform and economic development program was begun, and a new constitution, which provided for a federal Islamic republic with two provinces (East and West Pakistan) and two official languages (Bengali and Urdu), went into effect in 1962. The new city of Islamabad, N of Rawalpindi (which had been interim capital since 1959), became the national capital, and Dhaka, in East Pakistan, became the legislative capital.
In 1965, Ayub was reelected and a national assembly of 156 members—with East and West Pakistan each allocated 75 seats, and six seats reserved for women, who had previously been denied the vote under Islamic strictures—was elected. A treaty with India governing the use of the waters of the Indus basin was signed (1961). Communal strife was constantly present in the subcontinent—in Jan., 1961, several thousand Muslims were massacred in Madhya Pradesh state in India, and there were reprisals in Pakistan; in 1962 there was further communal conflict in Bengal. Diplomatic relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan were severed (1961-63) after some border clashes and continued Afghan agitation, supported by the USSR, for an independent Pushtunistan.
A series of conferences on Kashmir was held (Dec., 1962-Feb., 1963) between India and Pakistan following the Chinese assault (Oct., 1962) on India; both nations offered important concessions and solution of the long-standing dispute seemed imminent. However, Pakistan then signed a bilateral border agreement with China that involved the boundaries of the disputed state, and relations with India again became strained. Pakistan's continuing conflict with India over Kashmir erupted in fighting (Apr.-June, 1965) in the Rann of Kachchh region of NW India and SE West Pakistan and in an outbreak of warfare (August-September) in Kashmir. Some improvement in relations between the two countries came in 1966, when President Ayub Khan and Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri of India reached an accord in the Declaration of Tashkent at a meeting sponsored by the USSR. Despite the accord, however, the basic dispute over Kashmir remained unsettled.
In an effort to gain support in the conflict with India, Pakistan somewhat modified its pro-Western policy after 1963 by establishing closer relations with Communist countries, especially with China, by taking a neutral position on some international issues, and by joining the Regional Co-operation for Development Program of SW Asian nations. East Pakistan's long-standing discontent with the federal government was expressed in 1966 by a movement for increased autonomy, supported by a general strike. Following disastrous riots in late 1968 and early 1969, Ayub resigned and handed the government over to Gen. Agha Muhammad Yahya Khan, the head of the army, who then declared martial law. The first direct universal voting since independence was held in Dec., 1970, to elect a National Assembly that would draft a new constitution and restore federal parliamentary government.Bangladesh and Bhutto
The Awami League, under Sheik Mujibur Rahman, in a campaign for full autonomy in East Pakistan, won an overwhelming majority in the National Assembly by taking 153 of the 163 seats allotted to East Pakistan. The opening session of the National Assembly, scheduled to meet in Dhaka in Mar., 1971, was twice postponed by Yahya Khan, who then canceled the election results, banned the Awami League, and imprisoned Sheik Mujib in West Pakistan on charges of treason. East Pakistan declared its independence as Bangladesh on Mar. 26, 1971, but was then placed under martial law and occupied by the Pakistani army, which was composed entirely of troops from West Pakistan. In the ensuing civil war, some 10 million refugees fled to India and hundreds of thousands of civilians were killed. India supported Bangladesh and on Dec. 3, 1971, sent troops into East Pakistan. Following a two-week war between Pakistan and India, in which fighting also broke out along the India-West Pakistan border, Pakistani troops in East Pakistan surrendered (Dec. 16) and a cease-fire was declared on all fronts.
Following Pakistan's defeat, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the deputy prime minister and foreign minister, came to power in West Pakistan. Sheik Mujib was released from prison and eventually allowed to return to Bangladesh. Relations with India remained strained over the issue of the more than 90,000 Pakistani soldiers who had surrendered after the civil war and become prisoners of war, over Pakistan's refusal to recognize Bangladesh, and over Bangladesh's declared intention to bring to trial some Pakistani soldiers on war-crimes charges. A summit meeting held in Shimla, India, in July, 1972, resulted in an easing of tensions and an agreement to settle differences between the two nations peacefully.
Demarcation of the truce line in Kashmir was finally completed in Dec., 1972. In Aug., 1973, India and Pakistan reached an agreement on the release of Pakistani prisoners-of-war and the exchange of hostage populations in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh—especially of the Bengalis in Pakistan and the Biharis in Bangladesh. Bhutto recognized Bangladesh in Feb., 1974, prior to the start of a world Islamic summit conference in Lahore. In the mid-1970s Bhutto's government faced increasing regional tensions among Pakistan's various ethnic groups. After Bhutto's 1977 election victory was challenged by the opposition, widespread riots ensued.Recent History
Failure to reach a reconciliation prompted the army chief of staff, Gen. Mohammed Zia ul-Haq, to depose Bhutto in a military coup in July and declare martial law. Zia was declared president in September, and Bhutto, convicted of ordering the murder of political opponents, was hanged in Apr., 1979. In the 1980s Pakistan was dominated by events occurring in neighboring Afghanistan, where the Soviet invasion resulted in the flight of over 3 million people to Pakistan. Pakistan served as the primary conduit for U.S. aid to the Afghan resistance, resulting in large amounts of U.S. aid to Pakistan as well. The relationship prompted Zia to return the government to civilian hands, and in 1985 he announced the end of martial law, but only after amending the constitution so as to greatly strengthen his power as president.
In 1986, Benazir Bhutto, daughter of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and his heir as head of the Pakistan People's party (PPP), returned to the country. In May, 1988, Zia dismissed parliament, charging it with widespread corruption, and announced general elections for November. In August, Zia died in a mysterious plane crash. The PPP won the November elections, and Bhutto became prime minister. Despite a strong power base, Bhutto encountered numerous problems in office, including regional ethnic clashes, the difficulties of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, and long-term tensions caused by Pakistan's poverty and its uneasy relationship with India. In Aug., 1990, President Ghulam Ishaq Khan dismissed Bhutto and her cabinet, accusing them of misconduct and abuse of power.
November elections brought to power a coalition government headed by Nawaz Sharif, whose administration instituted economic reform policies of privatization and deregulation in an effort to stimulate growth. In 1991 the parliament passed legislation incorporating Islamic law (sharia) into the legal code. When Sharif moved to reduce presidential power, he was dismissed (1993) by President Ishaq Khan; the ensuing crisis was resolved with the resignations of both men. Bhutto's party won the most seats in new elections later in 1993, and she once again became prime minister, heading a coalition government; Farooq Leghari, a Bhutto ally, was elected president. In 1995 some three dozen military officers were arrested, reportedly for plotting an Islamic revolution in Pakistan. In 1996 Bhutto was again dismissed on charges of corruption, by President Leghari. In 1997, Leghari established a Council for Defense and National Security, which gave a key role in political decision-making to the heads of the armed forces.
Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) won a huge majority in the 1997 elections and he once again became prime minister. Sharif soon moved to enact legislation curbing the president's power to dismiss elected governments and to appoint armed forces chiefs; the supreme court blocked these moves and reinstated a corruption inquiry against Sharif. In an apparent victory for Sharif, President Leghari resigned in Dec., 1997, and the chief justice of the supreme court was dismissed. Mohammad Rafiq Tarar became president in 1998. Following the detonation of underground nuclear devices by India in May, 1998, Pakistan carried out its own series of nuclear tests; the United States imposed economic sanctions against both countries. In the summer of 1999, conflict with India over Kashmir erupted again, with Pakistani-backed troops withdrawing from Indian-held territory after several weeks of fighting.
In Oct., 1999, a bloodless military coup led by Gen. Pervez Musharraf ousted Sharif, suspended the constitution, and declared martial law. Sharif was charged with treason, and in Apr., 2000, he was convicted of hijacking an airliner (as a result of issuing orders to deny permission to land to the plane that Musharraf had been on prior to the 1999 coup) and was sentenced to life in prison. Sharif subsequently was also convicted on corruption charges, and later exiled (Dec., 2000) to Saudi Arabia.
In June, 2001, Musharraf appointed himself president. A summit in July with Prime Minister Vajpayee of India proved unfruitful and ended on a bitter note. Following the September terrorist attacks on the United States that were linked to Osama bin Laden, the United States ended its sanctions on Pakistan and sought its help in securing bin Laden from the Taliban government of Afghanistan, but Pakistan proved unable to influence the Taliban, who had received support from Pakistan since the mid-1990s. Pakistan permitted U.S. planes to cross its airspace and U.S. forces to be based there during the subsequent military action against Afghanistan. These moves provoked sometimes violent anti-U.S. demonstrations erupted in Pakistani cities, particularly in border areas where many Afghan refugees and Pathans live. In response, the government cracked down on the more militant Islamic fundamentalist groups.
After terror attacks by Pakistani-based guerrillas on Indian government buildings in late 2001, India threatened to go to war with Pakistan unless all guerrilla attacks were ended. As Pakistan moved haltingly to suppress such groups the crisis escalated, but in Jan., 2002, Musharraf attacked religious extremism and its affect on Pakistani society, and stated that no group engaging in terrorism would be tolerated. A crackdown on such groups was complicated by strong popular Pakistani support for guerrillas fighting Indian rule in Kashmir, but many Pakistanis also objected to the Islamic fundamentalism espoused by many of the guerrillas and their supporters. In mid-2002 Pakistan's army established garrisons in a number of tribal areas for the first time since independence.
Also in January, Musharraf announced plans for national and provincial legislative elections in Oct., 2002, while indicating that he intended to remain in office. In April, he called for a referendum on extending his rule for five more years. Most national political parties called for a boycott of the referendum, and turnout appeared low in many locations; Musharraf claimed a 50% turnout, with a 98% yes vote. In August he imposed 29 constitutional amendments designed to make his rule impervious to political opposition in parliament.
Meanwhile, tensions with India again reached the brink of war in May, as a result of escalating attacks by Muslim militants in India. Concern that a conflict might evolve into nuclear warfare prompted international mediation, and the crisis eased after Pakistan stopped state-sponsored guerrilla infilitration across the line of control in Kashmir. The fighting in Afghanistan, violence and political turmoil in Pakistan, and tension with India hurt the Pakistani economy, particularly the export textile and apparel industries.
Parliamentary elections in Oct., 2002, resulted in a setback for Musharraf, as the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q; renamed the Pakistan Muslim League [PML] in 2004), which supported him, placed second in terms of the seats it won. Bhutto's PPP placed first, and a generally anti-American Islamic fundamentalist coalition was a strong third and also won control of the North-West Frontier prov., where the legislature subsequently approved (June, 2003) the establishment of Islamic law. Zafarullah Khan Jamali, the PML-Q leader, was narrowly elected Pakistan's prime minister. Tensions with India further eased in 2003, and midway through the year diplomatic relations were restored.
In Dec., 2003, two attempts were made to assassinate Musharraf, but both failed. That same month he sealed an agreement with the Islamic parties to pass a modified version of the constitutional amendments he had imposed in Aug., 2002. He accepted some limitations on his powers, and he agreed to give up his post as chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. Other opposition parties denounced the deal.
Following revelations in the news media concerning the transfer of Pakistani nuclear technology to Iran, Libya, and North Korea, Abdul Qadeer Khan in Feb., 2004, admitted that he overseen such transfers from the late 1980s until 2000. The Pakistani government said that Khan, who had led its nuclear weapons program for a quarter century, had sold the technology for personal gain, but missiles parts were transferred at the same time from North Korea to Pakistan, leading international arms experts and others to believe that the government was at the very least aware of the transfers. Khan, revered by many Pakistanis as the "father of the Islamic bomb," was pardoned by President Musharraf.
In Mar., 2004, Pakistan's military began operations against foreign Islamic militants in South Waziristan, but local militants who regarded the attacks as a breach of local autonomy joined in fighting against government forces. The fighting continued into 2005, when operations were also begun in North Waziristan. Agreements with tribal leaders in both regions ended military operations in Waziristan in late 2006. Fighting also occurred in Baluchistan, where local tribes demanding a greater share in the provinces mineral wealth and an end of the stationing of military forces there mounted a series of attacks that continued into 2006. Meanwhile, in Apr., 2004, a bill was passed creating a national security council, consisting of military and civilian leaders, to advise the government on matters of national interest. Creation of the council gave the military an institutionalized voice in national affairs.
Prime Minister Jamali resigned and the cabinet was dissolved in June, after Jamali lost the support of the president. Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, a close political ally of Musharraf, became interim prime minister until Shaukat Aziz, the finance minister in the outgoing cabinet and Musharraf's choice to succeed Jamali, was elected to the national assembly and took office (Aug., 2004). In Oct., 2004, the governing coalition passed legislation permitting Musharraf to remain chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, despite the president's earlier pledge to resign from the post, and at the end of the year Musharraf announced he would not resign.
In Apr., 2005, Musharraf visited India, and the two nations agreed to increase cross-border transport links, including in Kashmir, and to work to improve trade between them. Passage (July, 2005) by the North-West Frontier government of a law calling for Islamic moral policing was challenged by the national government, and the supreme court declared the legislation unconstitutional. A similar but somewhat weaker bill was passed in 2006 and again challenged. An earthquake in Oct., 2005, caused widespread devastation in N Pakistan, particularly in Kashmir, killed more than 73,000 and injured nearly as many, and left an estimated 3 million homeless. Many victims in remote areas were slow to receive aid when those areas became practically inaccessible as a result of damage to roads combined with inadequate alternative transportation.
In 2006 relations with Afghanistan became increasingly strained as Afghan officials accused Pakistan of allowing the Taliban and Al Qaeda to use bordering areas of Pakistan, particularly Baluchistan around Quetta, as safe havens and to send forces and weapons across border into Afghanistan. After a series of bomb attacks (July, 2006) in Mumbai, India, that India asserted were linked to Pakistani security forces, peace talks were suspended between the two nations, but they resumed in late 2006 and an agreement designed to prevent an accidental nuclear war between India and Pakistan was signed in Feb., 2007.
In Mar., 2007, Musharraf suspended Pakistan's chief justice for misuse of authority; the justice had conducted investigations into human rights abuses by Pakistan's security forces and was regarded as independent of the government. While the chief justice challenged the move in the courts, Pakistani lawyers and judges denounced the move as unconstitutional, and they and opposition parties mounted demonstrations in support fo the chief justice, believing that the president was attempting to remove him as a prelude to extending his presidency beyond the end of 2007. A planned rally in Karachi in support of the chief justice led to two days of violence in May in which those who died were largely opposition activists; the violence provoked additional opposition demonstrations and strikes. In July, the supreme court ruled that the chief justice's suspension was illegal and that he should be reinstated. In June, 2007, there was devastating flooding in Baluchistan after a cyclone struck the coast; some 2 million were affected by the floodwaters.
In July, Pakistani security forces stormed an Islamabad mosque that had become a focus for Islamic militants; more than 70 persons died. Militants responded with a series of bombings and other attacks in the following weeks, and fighting again broke out in Waziristan. In September, bin Laden called for jihad against the Musharraf government, and the following month the government sent troops against militants in the Swat valley in the North-West Frontier prov. Despite the government's actions in Swat, the Pakistani Pashtun militants, who became loosely allied as the Taliban Movement of Pakistan in late 2007, became more powerful in 2008.
Meanwhile, with parliamentary elections due by Jan., 2008, former prime ministers Sharif and Bhutto made plans to return from exile. Sharif, who returned in September, was immediately deported, but after an October court ruling he was allowed to return in November. Following negotiations with the government, Bhutto returned in October, surviving an attempted assassination the day of her return that killed more than 130 persons. Musharraf was reelected president the same month, but the official declaration of the result was postponed until after the supreme court ruled on whether he was permitted to run while remaining army chief. Before the court could issue its ruling, Musharraf declared emergency rule, suspended the constitution, and dismissed the members of the court who seemed likely to rule against him. The challenges against his reelection were then dismissed, and later in the month Musharraf resigned as army chief.
In December, emergency rule was ended; late in the month Bhutto was assassinated after a campaign rally, possibly by Islamists. Several days of unrest followed her death, and the government postponed the January elections to Feb., 2008. Bhutto's PPP and Sharif's PML-N won the largest blocs of seats in the election, and agreed to form a coalition; Yousaf Raza Gilani, of the PPP, became prime minister in March. The election was a striking setback for Musharraf, and also for the Islamist parties. In May, however, the PML-N withdrew from the government over a disagreement concerning the restoration of powers to the judiciary; the PPP wanted some limitations imposed while the PML-N supported fully restoring judicial powers. (The PML-N briefly returned to the government in August.) Relations were further strained with Afghanistan in July, 2008, when Afghanistan's President Karzai accused Pakistani agents of being behind a bomb attack against the Indian embassy in Kabul.
In Aug., 2008, the governing coalition announced that it planned to begin impeachment proceedings against Mushurraf; the move was seen as driven especially by Sharif's PML-N. As preparations for the impeachment proceedings advanced, Musharraf announced his resignation as president. The following month Bhutto's husband, Asif Ali Zardari, was elected president. The new government was faced with increased militant Islamist threats—including festering conflicts with militants (fighting resumed in Swat in July, intensified in Bajaur, in the Tribal Areas, in August, and by November had spread to Mohmand, also in the Tribal Areas), an assassination attempt against the prime minister, and a suicide bomb attack on an Islamabad hotel (Sept., 2008) that resulted in many casualties—and a financial meltdown that left the country close to defaulting on its considerable debt.
September also saw increased tensions between Pakistani forces and U.S. forces in Afghanistan after U.S. and Afghan forces conducted a ground raid against Islamists in Pakistan, and Pakistan protested against ongoing U.S. missile strikes against militant targets in Pakistan's Tribal Areas. The Nov., 2008, terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India, by Islamists of Pakistani origin, led to Indian demands that Pakistan take action against those that India said were linked to the terrorism and to increased Indo-Pakistani tensions. Pakistan later (Feb., 2009) acknowledged that the attack had been launched from Pakistan, and said it had arrested a number of persons connected to the attack. Also in Nov., 2008, the International Monetary Fund approved a $7.6 billion loan package to Pakistan, enabling the country to avoid defaulting on its bond payments.
In Feb., 2009, the government agreed to the establishment of Islamic law in Swat in exchange for a permanent cease-fire. Militants refused, however, to lay down their weapons, and some moved in subsequent weeks into neighboring districts in North West Frontier Prov, where they were opposed by government forces. The Swat-based militants also denounced the Pakistani legal system as un-Islamic. Islamic militants also mounted bombings in a number of major Pakistani cities in early 2009.
In Mar., 2009, growing demonstrations led Zardari to agree to restore the chief justice to office; the government also subsequently announced it would appeal the banning of Sharif and his brother from politics. The supreme court overturned the ban in May, and in July it ruled that Musharraf's emergency rule had been unconstitutional and illegal. In April, the government received pledges of $5.2 billion in foreign aid (over two years) to help finance social programs.
As government forces moved to restore control over areas near Swat, the situation in Swat deteriorated, and in May the military mounted a major offensive against the militants there. In subsequent weeks Islamic militants in response mounted a number of suicide bomb attacks in Pakistani cities, and fighting also intensified in S and N Waziristan and other areas. Some 2 million people were displaced by the fighting. The fighting in Swat was declared largely over by late July and by September four fifths of the residents had returned to Swat. Militant attacks continued in Pakistani cities, however, and in Oct., 2009, the military launched a major offensive against militants based in S Waziristan; after some two weeks of fighting militants largely pulled back, ceding most of their main bases to the military by mid-November.
In December the supreme court ruled illegal a 2007 Musharraf decree that had declared an amnesty on corruption cases. Benazir Bhutto and the PPP had sought the amnesty in order to end prosecutions begun under Prime Minister Sharif that they asserted were politically motivated, but some 8,000 government officials, politicians, and others were ultimately absolved by the decree. The court also called for any case that was derailed by the decree to be reopened.
See K. B. Sayeed, Pakistan: The Formative Phase, 1857-1948 (2d ed. 1968); W. N. Brown, The United States and India, Pakistan, Bangladesh (3d ed. 1972); S. M. Burke, Pakistan's Foreign Policy: An Historical Analysis (1973); I. Ahmed, The Concept of an Islamic State (1987); O. Noman, The Political Economy of Pakistan, 1947-85 (1988); B. Bhutto, Daughter of the East (1988); S. F. A. Mahmud, A Concise History of Indo-Pakistan (1989); A. Kapur, Pakistan in Crisis (1991); O. B. Jones, Pakistan (2002); M. A. Weaver, Pakistan (2002); F. Shaikh, Making Sense of Pakistan (2009).
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Balochistan, or Baluchistan, Pashto, (Balochi, Hazara,Brahui, Sindhi, Urdu: بلوچستان) is a province in Pakistan, the largest in the country by geographical area; it is slightly smaller than Norway. It contains most of the historical region of Balochistan and is named after the Baloch people. Its neighbouring regions are Iranian Balochistan to the west, Afghanistan and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas to the north and Punjab and Sindh to the east. To the south is the Arabian Sea. The principal languages in the province are Baluchi, Brahui,Sindhi and Pashto. The capital and largest city is Quetta. Balochistan is believed to be rich in mineral resources. It is the second major, after Sindh, supplier of natural gas to the country.
The Sulaiman Mountains dominate the northeast corner and the Bolan Pass is a natural route into Afghanistan towards Kandahar and was used as a route during the British campaigns to Afghanistan. Much of the province south of the Quetta region is sparse desert terrain with pockets of towns mostly near rivers and streams.
The capital city is Quetta, located in the most densely populated district in the northeast of the province. Quetta is situated in a river valley near the border with Afghanistan, with a road to Kandahar in the northwest.
At Gwadar on the coast the Pakistani government is currently undertaking a large project with Chinese help to build a large port. This is being done partially to provide the Pakistan Navy with another base, and to reduce Pakistan's reliance on Karachi and Port Qasim, which are currently the only major ports
Balochistan has a deeply patriarchal and conservative culture, in which ' honour killings' are commonplace.
In one recent incident in August 2008, the Asian Human Rights Commission reported that five women (including three teenagers) in a remote village had been beaten, shot and buried alive in a ditch for the 'crime' of having wished to choose their own husbands. One of the tribesmen involved was the younger brother of a provincial minister from the ruling Pakistan People's Party, and local police therefore refused to take any action.
After human rights activists brought the case to national and international attention, Israr Ullah Zehri, who represents Balochistan in the Pakistani Parliament, defended the killings and asked his fellow legislators not to make a fuss about the incident. He told Parliament, "These are centuries-old traditions, and I will continue to defend them. Only those who indulge in immoral acts should be afraid."
Balochistan was the site of the earliest known farming settlements upon the Iranian plateau bordering South Asia, the earliest of which was Mehrgarh dated at 6500 BCE. Pakistani Balochistan corresponds to the ancient Achaemenid province of Gedrosia. Balochistan was sparsely populated by various tribes, possibly of Dravidian and Indo-Iranian origin, for centuries following the decline of the nearby Harappa-Mohenjo-daro civilisation to the east. Over time, Balochistan was invaded by various Eurasian groups including the Aryans, Persians, Greeks, Kushans, Arabs, Turks, Mongols, Mughals, Afghans, and the British. Aryan invasions appear to have led to the eventual demise of the Elamo-Dravidian with the exception of the Brahui who may have arrived much later as did the Balochis themselves. The Balochis began to arrive from their homeland in northern Iran and appear to be an offshoot of the Kurdish tribes that would mainly populate the western end of the Iranian plateau. The Balochi tribes eventually became a sizeable group rivalled only by another Iranian group where Brohis and Pashtuns came under influnces of Balochis.
What is now Baluchistan province of Pakistan, in the 7th century was divided into two main regions, its south western parts were part of Kermān Province of the Persian Empire and north eastern region was part of the Persian province Sistan. The southern region was included in Makran. In early 644, Caliph Umar sent Suhail ibn Adi from Busra to conquer the Kerman region of Iran; he was made governor of Kerman. From Kerman he entered the western Baluchistan and conquered the region near to Persian frontiers. South Western Baluchistan was conquered during the campaign in Sistan the same year. During Caliph Uthman’s reign in 652, Baluchistan was re-conquered during the campaign against the revolt in Kerman, under the command of Majasha ibn Masood, it was first time when western Baluchistan came directly under the Laws of Caliphate and gave tribute on agriculture.In those days western Baluchistan was included in the dominion of Kerman. In 654 Abdulrehman ibn Samrah was made governor of Sistan, an Islamic army was sent under him to crush the revolt in Zarang, which is now in southern Afghanistan. Conquering Zarang a column moved north ward to conquer areas up to Kabul and Ghazni in Hindu Kush Mountains, while another column moved towards North western Baluchistan and conquered area up to the ancient city of Dawar and Qandabil (Bolan), by 654 the whole of what is now Baluchistan province of Pakistan was under the rule of Rashidun Caliphate except for the well defended mountain town of QaiQan (now Kalat), which was conquered during Caliph Ali’s reign. Abdulrehman ibn Samrah made Zaranj his provincial capital and remained governor of these conquered areas from 654 to 656, until Uthman was murdered. During the Caliphate of Ali, the areas of Baluchistan, Makran again broke into revolt. Due to civil war in the Islamic empire Ali was unable to deal with these areas until 660 when he sent a large force under the command of Haris ibn Marah Abdi towards Makran, Baluchistan and Sind. Haris ibn Marah Abdi arrived in Makran and conquered it by force then moved north ward to north eastern Baluchistan and re-conquered Qandabil (Bolan), then again moving south finally conquered Qaiqan (Kalat) after a fierce battle. In 663 during the reign of Umayyad Caliph Muawiyah I, Muslim lost control of North eastern Baluchistan and Kalat when Haris ibn Marah and large part of army died in the battle field against a revolt in Kalat. Muslim forces latter re-gained the control of the area during Umayyads reign. It also remained part of Abbasid Caliphate's empire.
Many Balochis believe that their origins are Semitic and not Iranian contrary to linguistic and historical evidence. Balochis claim that they left their Aleppo homeland in Syria at some point during the 1st millennium CE and moved to Balochistan, on the other hand it is considered more likely they are an Iranian group who have possibly absorbed some Arab ancestry and cultural traits instead, it is also believed that Baloch are of Arab blood, it could be they left the Arab world when Iraq broke from Persia in 652 AD and there is historical evidence that suggests they lived in (Khuzestan) and (Bushehr) before moving to Kerman and Hormozgan. In 15th century Mir Chakar Khan Rind became first king of Baluchistan. Balochistan subsequently was dominated by empires based in Iran and Afghanistan as well as the Mughal Empire based in India. Ahmed Shah Durrani annexed the region as part of a "greater" Afghanistan. The area would eventually revert to local Balochi control, while parts of the northern regions would continue to be dominated by Pashtun tribes.
During the period of the British Raj, there were four Princely states in Balochistan: Makran, Kharan, Las Bela and Kalat. In 1876 Sir Robert Sandeman concluded a treaty with the Khan of Kalat and brought his territories - including Kharan, Makran, and Las Bela - under British suzerainty. After the Second Afghan War of 1878-80, the Treaty of Gandamak concluded in May 1879, the Afghan Emir ceded the districts of Quetta Pishin,Sibi, Harnai, and Thal Chotiali to the British. In 1883 the British leased the Bolan Pass, southeast of Quetta, from the Khan of Kalat on a permanent basis. In 1887 some areas of Balochistan were declared British territory. In 1893, Sir Mortimer Durand negotiated an agreement with Amir Abdur Rahman Khan of Afghanistan to fix the Durand Line running from Chitral to Balochistan to as the boundary between the Afghans and the British.
There were two devastating earthquakes in Balochistan during British colonial rule: The 1935 Balochistan Earthquake devastated Quetta and the 1945 Balochistan Earthquake, with its epicentre in Makran region, was felt in other regions of South Asia.
On 15 June, 2006, an estimated 600 fighters, led by three commanders, agreed to lay down their weapons after talks with Shoaib Nausherwani, Baluchistan's minister for internal affairs, in Dera Bugti district. On August 26, Balochistan tribal leader Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti was killed in airstrikes carried out by the Pakistani military.
In 1998 Pakistan conducted nuclear tests in Ras Koh and in the Kharan desert, both in the Kharan District in north-western Balochistan. After Musharraf's coup against the Nawaz Sharif Government, the separatist insurgency resurfaced.
Though the province remains largely underdeveloped, there are currently several major development projects in progress in Balochistan, including the construction of a new deep sea port at the strategically important town of Gwadar. The port is projected to be the hub of an energy and trade corridor to and from China and the Central Asian republics. There is considerable Chinese involvement in the project, leading some to consider Gwadar it as the Chinese outpost on the Arabian Sea. The total cost of the project is estimated at more than US$2 billion. China has also invested in a coastal highway to link Gwadar with Pakistan's largest city, Karachi.
Further west is the Mirani Dam multipurpose project, on the River Dasht, 50 kilometres west of Turbat in the Makran Division. It will provide dependable irrigation supplies for the development of agriculture and add more than 35,000 km² of arable land. There is also Chinese involvement in the nearby Saindak gold and copper mining project.
This is a chart of the education market of Balochistan (Pakistan) estimated by the government in 1998. Also see
|BA, BSc… degrees||9,726||16,490||260,216||8.57|
|MA, MSc… degrees||99,303||133,422||232,725||8.17|
Baluchistan Plateau The Baluchistan Plateau is situated in the north-west part of the province of Baluchistan. It lies mainly about 1000 meters above sea-level.
There are many famous people from Balochistan including the following:Historical Personalities