The Soanian is archaeological culture of the Lower Paleolithic (ca. 1.9 mya to 125,000 BCE), contemporary to the Acheulean. It is named after the Soan Valley in the Sivalik Hills, near modern-day Islamabad/Rawalpindi. In Adiyala and Khasala, about 16 kilometres (9.9 mi) from Rawalpindi, on the bend of the Soan River hundreds of edged pebble tools were discovered. No human skeletons of this age have yet been found. In the Soan River Gorge many fossil bearing rocks are exposed on the surface. The 14-million-year-old fossils of gazelle, rhinoceros, crocodile, giraffe and rodents have been found there. Some of these fossils are on display at Pakistan Museum of Natural History.
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. As the civilization progressed (5500–2600 BCE) residents began to engage in crafts, including flint knapping, tanning, bead production, and metalworking. The site was occupied continuously until 2600 BCE, when climatic changes began to occur. Between 2600 and 2000 BCE, region became more arid and Mehrgarh was abandoned in favour of the Indus Valley, where a new civilization was in the early stages of development.
The Indus Valley Civilization was a Bronze Age civilization (3300–1300 BCE; mature period 2600–1900 BCE) extending throughout much of what is modern-day Pakistan today. Along with Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia it was one of three early civilizations of the Old World, and of the three the most widespread, covering an area of 1.25 million km2. It flourished in the basins of the Indus River, one of the major rivers of Asia, and the Ghaggar-Hakra River, which once coursed through eastern Pakistan. At its peak, the civilization hosted a population of approximately 5 million in hundreds of settlements extending as far as the Arabian Sea, present-day southern and eastern Afghanistan, and the Himalayas. Major urban centers were at Mohenjo-daro and Harappa as well as an offshoot called the Kulli culture (2500–2000 BCE) in southern Balochistan, which had similar settlements, pottery and other artifacts. The civilization collapsed around 1700 BCE, though the reasons behind its fall are still unknown. Through the excavation of the Indus cities and analysis of town planning and seals, it has been inferred that the Civilization had high level of sophistication in its town planning, arts, crafts, and trade.
Early Vedic society consisted of largely pastoral groups, with late Harappan urbanization having been abandoned. After the time of the Rigveda, Aryan society became increasingly agricultural and was socially organized around the four varnas, or social classes. In addition to the Vedas, the principal texts of Hinduism, the core themes of the Sanskrit epics Ramayana and Mahabharata are said to have their ultimate origins during this period. The early Indo-Aryan presence probably corresponds, in part, to the Ochre Coloured Pottery culture in archaeological contexts.
The Kuru kingdom corresponds to the Black and Red Ware and Painted Grey Ware cultures and to the beginning of the Iron Age in South Asia, around 1000 BCE, as well as with the composition of the Atharvaveda, the first Vedic text to mention iron, as śyāma ayas, literally "black metal." The Painted Grey Ware culture spanned much of northern India from about 1100 to 600 BCE. The Vedic Period also established republics such as Vaishali, which existed as early as the 6th century BCE and persisted in some areas until the 4th century CE. The later part of this period corresponds with an increasing movement away from the previous tribal system towards the establishment of kingdoms, called mahajanapadas.
Little is known about the Achaemenid Persian invasion of the area corresponding to modern-day Pakistan as historical sources and evidence are scant about the easternmost regions of the Empire, and fragmentary, containing little detail. There is no archaeological evidence of Achaemenid control over modern-day Pakistan as not a single archaeological site that can be positively identified with the Achaemenid Empire has been found anywhere in Pakistan, including at Taxila. What is known about the easternmost satraps and borderlands of the Achaemenid Empire is alluded to in the Darius inscriptions and from Greek sources such as the Histories of Herodotus and the later Alexander Chronicles (Arrian, Strabo et al.). These sources list three Indian tributaries or conquered territories that were subordinated to the Persian Empire and made to pay tributes to the Persian Kings: Gandhara, Sattagydia (Thatagus) and Hindush.
Gandhara and Sattagydia (Thatagus) are listed amongst the provinces inherited by Darius when he seized the throne in 522 BC in his commemorative Behistun inscription, however, the dates of the initial annexation of these two regions is not certain. The locations of Sattagydia and Hindush and the extent of their boundaries have not been identified either though it is certain that these two tributaries existed along the river Indus as the name Hindush is analogous with the Indus and was derived by the Persians from the Sanskrit word Sindhu.
Additionally, much of what constitutes Balochistan province in southwest Pakistan formed part of the Achaemenid satrap of Gedrosia.
After the defeat of the Persian Achaemenid empire, Alexander the Great, the Greek king from Macedonia, invaded the region of modern Pakistan and conquered much of the Punjab region. After defeating King Porus in the Battle of the Hydaspes (modern-day Jhelum), his battle weary troops refused to advance further into India to engage the army of Nanda Dynasty and its vanguard of trampling elephants. Alexander, therefore 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 what is now Iran. Alexander founded several new Macedonian and Greek settlements in Gandhara, Punjab and Sindh. During that time, many Greeks settled all over in Pakistan,‹See TfD› initiating interaction between the culture of Hellenistic Greece and the region's prevalent Hindu and Buddhist cultures.
After Alexander's death in 323 BC, his Diadochi (generals) divided the empire among themselves, with the Macedonian warlord Seleucus setting up the Seleucid Kingdom, which included the Indus plain. Around 250 BCE, the eastern part of the Seleucid Kingdom broke away to form the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom.
Modern-day Pakistan was conquered by Chandragupta Maurya, who overthrew the powerful Nanda Dynasty of Magadha and established the Maurya Empire: He conquered the trans-Indus region to the west, which was under Macedonian rule - annexing Balochistan and much of what is now Afghanistan, including the modern Herat and Kandahar provinces - and then defeated the invasion led by Seleucus I, a Greek general from Alexander's army. Seleucus is said to have reached a peace treaty with Chandragupta by giving him control of the territory south of the Hindu Kush upon intermarriage as well as 500 elephants.
Alexander took these away from the Indo-Aryans and established settlements of his own, but Seleucus Nicator gave them to Sandrocottus (Chandragupta), upon terms of intermarriage and of receiving in exchange 500 elephants.
Emperors Chandragupta and Bindusara expanded the Empire into India's central and southern areas, while Ashoka pushed further into previously unexplored tribal and forested regions near Kalinga (modern Odisha). With an area of 5,000,000 km2, the Maura Empire was one of the world's largest empires in its time, and the largest ever in the South Asia. At its greatest extent, the empire stretched to the north along the natural boundaries of the Himalayas, and to the east stretching into what is now Assam province near the border with modern Myanmar (Burma).
Under Chandragupta and his successors, internal and external trade, agriculture and economic activities, all thrived and expanded across India thanks to the creation of a single and efficient system of finance, administration, and security. Mauryan India also enjoyed an era of social harmony, religious transformation, and expansion of the sciences and of knowledge. Mauryans were followers of Buddhism and Hinduism. Chandragupta Maurya's embrace of Jainism increased social and religious renewal and reform across his society, while Ashoka's embrace of Buddhism has been said to have been the foundation of the reign of social and political peace and non-violence across all of South Asia. Ashoka sponsored the spreading of Buddhist ideals into Sri Lanka, Southeast Asia, West Asia and Mediterranean Europe. After the Kalinga War, the Empire experienced half a century of peace and security under Ashoka. Mauryan Empire's decline began 60 years after Ashoka's rule ended, and it dissolved in 185 BC with the foundation of the Shunga dynasty in Magadha.
Greco-Buddhism (or Græco-Buddhism) was the syncretism between the culture of Classical Greece and Buddhism in the then Gandhara region of modern Afghanistan and Pakistan, between the 4th century BCE and the 5th 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 were stopped by the Indian Shunga Empire 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 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. 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")). Various petty kings ruled into the early 1st century CE, until the conquests by the Scythians, Parthians and the Yuezhi, who founded the Kushan dynasty.
The Indo-Scythians were descended from the Sakas (Scythians) who migrated from southern Central Asia into Pakistan 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. The power of the Saka rulers started to decline in the 2nd century CE after the Scythians were defeated by the south Indian Emperor Gautamiputra Satakarni of the Satavahana dynasty. Later the Saka kingdom was completely destroyed by Chandragupta II of the Gupta Empire from eastern India in the 4th century.
The Indo-Parthian Kingdom was ruled by the Gondopharid dynasty, named after its eponymous first ruler Gondophares. They ruled parts of present-day Afghanistan, Pakistan, and northwestern India, during or slightly before the 1st century AD. For most of their history, the leading Gondopharid kings held Taxila (in the present Punjab province of Pakistan) as their residence, but during their last few years of existence the capital shifted between Kabul and Peshawar. These kings have traditionally been referred to as Indo-Parthians, as their coinage was often inspired by the Arsacid dynasty, but they probably belonged to a wider groups of Iranic tribes who lived east of Parthia proper, and there is no evidence that all the kings who assumed the title Gondophares, which means ”Holder of Glory”, were even related. Christian writings claim that the Apostle Saint Thomas – an architect and skilled carpenter – had a long sojourn in the court of king Gondophares, had built a palace for the king at Taxila and had also ordained leaders for the Church before leaving for Indus Valley in a chariot, for sailing out to eventually reach Malabar Coast.
The Kushan Empire expanded out of what is now Afghanistan into the northwest of the subcontinent under the leadership of their first emperor, Kujula Kadphises, about the middle of the 1st century CE. They came of an Indo-European language speaking Central Asian tribe called the Yuezhi, a branch of which was known as the Kushans. By the time of his grandson, Kanishka the Great, the empire spread to encompass much of Afghanistan, and then the northern parts of the Indian subcontinent at least as far as Saketa and Sarnath near Varanasi (Benares).
Emperor Kanishka was a great patron of Buddhism; however, as Kushans expanded southward, the deities of their later coinage came to reflect its new Hindu majority.
They played an important role in the establishment of Buddhism in India and its spread to Central Asia and China.
Historian Vincent Smith said about Kanishka:
He played the part of a second Ashoka in the history of Buddhism.
The empire linked the Indian Ocean maritime trade with the commerce of the Silk Road through the Indus valley, encouraging long-distance trade, particularly between China and Rome. The Kushans brought new trends to the budding and blossoming Gandhara Art, which reached its peak during Kushan Rule.
H.G. Rowlinson commented:
The Kushan period is a fitting prelude to the Age of the Guptas.
By the 3rd century, their empire in India was disintegrating and their last known great emperor was Vasudeva I.
The Gupta Empire existed approximately from 320 to 600 CE and covered much of the broad swathe of northern South Asia, including modern Pakistan but excluding the southern peninsular region. Founded by Maharaja Sri-Gupta, the dynasty was the model of a classical civilization and was marked by extensive inventions and discoveries.
The high points of this cultural creativity are magnificent architectures, sculptures and paintings. Science and political administration reached new heights during the Gupta era. Strong trade ties also made the region an important cultural center and set the region up as a base that would influence nearby kingdoms and regions in Burma, Sri Lanka, Maritime Southeast Asia and Indochina.
The empire gradually declined due in part to loss of territory and imperial authority caused by their own erstwhile feudatories, and from the invasion by the Hunas from Central Asia. After the collapse of the Gupta Empire in the 6th century, South Asia was again ruled by numerous regional kingdoms. A minor line of the Gupta clan continued to rule Magadha after the disintegration of the empire. These Guptas were ultimately ousted by the Vardhana king Harsha, who established an empire in the first half of the 7th century.
Over the next few centuries, while the Parthians and Kushans shared control of the Indus plain until the arrival of the White Huns, the Persian Sassanid Empire later dominated parts of the region as part of their easternmost territories.
The Hephthalites (or Ephthalites), also known as the White Huns, were a nomadic confederation in Central Asia. The White Huns, who seem to have been part of the predominantly Buddhist group, established themselves in Afghanistan by the first half of the 5th century, with their capital at Bamiyan. Led by the Hun military leader Toramana, they overran the northern region of Pakistan and North western India and made their capital at the city of Sakala, modern Sialkot in Pakistan, under Toramana's son, Emperor Mihirakula, who was a Saivite Hindu. Hiuen Tsiang narrates Mihirakula's merciless persecution of Buddhists and destruction of monasteries. The Huns were defeated by the Indian kings Yasodharman of Malwa and Narasimhagupta of the Gupta Empire in the 6th century and were driven out of India. White Huns are believed to be among the ancestors of modern-day Pashtuns.
The territory of modern Pakistan have been home to many Rajput dynasties during 7th to 20th century.
The Ror dynasty ruled from Rori, the capital of Sindh now town of Sukkur, Pakistan, which was built by Dhaj, Ror Kumar, a Ror Kshatriya, in the 5th century BCE. Rori has been known by names such as Roruka and Rorik since antiquity. Buddhist Jataka stories talk about exchanges of gifts between King Rudrayan of Roruka and King Bimbisara of Magadha. Divyavadana, the Buddhist chronicle has said that Ror historically competed with Pataliputra in terms of political influence. The scholar T.W. Rhys Davids has mentioned Roruka as one of the most important cities of the Indian Subcontinent in the 7th century BCE.
According to Arab chroniclers, the Rai Dynasty of Sindh (c. 489–632) arose after the end of Ror Dynasty. They were practitioners of Hinduism and Buddhism. At the time of Rai Diwaji (Devaditya), influence of the Rai-state exdended from Kashmir in the east, Makran and Debal (Karachi) port in the south, Kandahar, Sistan, Suleyman, Ferdan and Kikanan hills in the north.
The Pāla Empire was an Indian imperial power. It was ruled by a Buddhist dynasty from Bengal in the eastern region of the Indian subcontinent. At the time of their greatest extent from 770 to 850 A.D., they ruled over Northern parts of present-day Pakistan.
Chach of Alor a former chamberlain of Rai Sahasi II ascended to the throne by marrying the king's widow. Chach expanded the kingdom of Sindh, and his successful efforts to subjugate surrounding monarchies and ethnic groups into an empire covering the entire Indus valley and beyond were recorded in the Chach Nama. The Chacha dynasty lasted till 712 when Chacha's son Raja Dahir was killed in battle against the Umayyad forces.
Although soon after conquering the Middle East from the Byzantine empire and the Sassanid Empire, Arab forces had reached the present western regions of Pakistan, during the period of Rashidun caliphacy, it was in 712 CE that a young Arab general called Muhammad bin Qasim conquered most of the Indus region for the Umayyad empire, to be made the "As-Sindh" province with its capital at Al-Mansurah, 72 km (45 mi) north of modern Hyderabad in Sindh. But the instability of the empire and the defeat in various wars with north Indian and south Indian rulers including the Caliphate campaigns in India, where the Hindu rulers like the south Indian Emperor Vikramaditya II of the Chalukya dynasty and Nagabhata of the Pratihara Dynasty defeated the Umayyad Arabs, they were contained till only Sindh and southern Punjab. There was gradual conversion to Islam in the south, especially amongst the native Hindu and Buddhist majority, but in areas north of Multan, Hindus and Buddhists remained numerous. By the end of the 10th century CE, the region was ruled by several Hindu Shahi kings who would be subdued by the Ghaznavids.
The Kabul Shahi dynasties ruled the Kabul Valley and Gandhara (modern-day Pakistan and Afghanistan) from the decline of the Kushan Empire in the 3rd century to the early 9th century. The Shahis are generally split up into two eras: the Buddhist Shahis and the Hindu Shahis, with the change-over thought to have occurred sometime around 870. The kingdom was known as the Kabul Shahan or Ratbelshahan from 565-670, when the capitals were located in Kapisa and Kabul, and later Udabhandapura, also known as Hund for its new capital.
The Hindu Shahis under Jayapala, is known for his struggles in defending his kingdom against the Ghaznavids in the modern-day eastern Afghanistan and Pakistan region. Jayapala saw a danger in the consolidation of the Ghaznavids and invaded their capital city of Ghazni both in the reign of Sebuktigin and in that of his son Mahmud, which initiated the Muslim Ghaznavid and Hindu Shahi struggles. Sebuk Tigin, however, defeated him, and he was forced to pay an indemnity. Jayapala defaulted on the payment and took to the battlefield once more. Jayapala however, lost control of the entire region between the Kabul Valley and Indus River.
Before his struggle began Jaipal had raised a large army of Punjabi Hindus. When Jaipal went to the Punjab region, his army was raised to 100,000 horsemen and an innumerable host of foot soldiers. According to Ferishta:
"The two armies having met on the confines of Lumghan, Subooktugeen ascended a hill to view the forces of Jeipal, which appeared in extent like the boundless ocean, and in number like the ants or the locusts of the wilderness. But Subooktugeen considered himself as a wolf about to attack a flock of sheep: calling, therefore, his chiefs together, he encouraged them to glory, and issued to each his commands. His soldiers, though few in number, were divided into squadrons of five hundred men each, which were directed to attack successively, one particular point of the Hindoo line, so that it might continually have to encounter fresh troops."
However, the army was hopeless in battle against the western forces, particularly against the young Mahmud of Ghazni. In the year 1001, soon after Sultan Mahmud came to power and was occupied with the Qarakhanids north of the Hindu Kush, Jaipal attacked Ghazni once more and upon suffering yet another defeat by the powerful Ghaznavid forces, near present-day Peshawar. After the Battle of Peshawar, he committed suicide because his subjects thought he had brought disaster and disgrace to the Shahi dynasty.
Jayapala was succeeded by his son Anandapala, who along with other succeeding generations of the Shahiya dynasty took part in various unsuccessful campaigns against the advancing Ghaznvids but were unsuccessful. The Hindu rulers eventually exiled themselves to the Kashmir Siwalik Hills.
In 997 CE, the Turkic ruler Mahmud of Ghazni, took over the Ghaznavid dynasty empire established by his father, Sebuktegin, a Turkic origin ruler. Starting from the city of Ghazni (now in Afghanistan), Mehmood conquered the bulk of Khorasan, marched on Peshawar against the Hindu Shahis in Kabul in 1005, and followed it by the conquests of Punjab (1007), deposed the Shia Ismaili rulers of Multan, (1011), Kashmir (1015) and Qanoch (1017). By the end of his reign in 1030, Mahmud's empire briefly 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.
Mahmud's successors, known as the Ghaznavids, ruled for 157 years. Their kingdom gradually shrank in size, and was racked by bitter succession struggles. The Hindu Rajput kingdoms of western India reconquered the eastern Punjab, and by the 1160s, the line of demarcation between the Ghaznavid state and the Hindu kingdoms approximated to the present-day boundary between India and Pakistan. The Ghurid Empire of central Afghanistan occupied Ghazni around 1160, and the Ghaznavid capital was shifted to Lahore.Later Muhammad Ghori conquered the Ghaznavid kingdom, occupying Lahore in 1187.
The Rajput Soomra dynasty replaced the Arab Habbari dynasty in the 10th century. The dynasty lasted until the mid-13th century. The Soomras are one the longest running dynasties in the history of Sindh, lasting 325 years.
The Rajput Samma dynasty replaced the Rajput Soomra dynasty. They gained control of Thatta from the Soomra around 1335 A.D. The dynasty is believed to have originated in Saurashtra, and later migrated to Sindh. During the Sammas saw the rise of Thatta as an important commercial and cultural center. At the time the Portuguese took control of the trading center of Hormuz in 1514 CE, trade from the Sindh accounted for nearly 10% of their customs revenue, and they described Thatta as one of the richest cities in the world. Thatta's prosperity was based partly on its own high-quality cotton and silk textile industry, partly on export of goods from further inland in the Punjab and northern India.
The Samma period contributed significantly to the evolution of the Indo-Islamic architectural style. Thatta is famous for its necropolis, which covers 10 square km on the Makli Hill.
In 1160, Muhammad Ghori, a Turkic ruler, conquered Ghazni from the Ghaznavids and became its governor in 1173. He for the first time named Sindh Tambade Gatar roughly translated as the red passage. He marched eastwards into the remaining Ghaznavid territory and Gujarat in the 1180s, but was rebuffed by Gujarat's Hindu Chaulukya (Solanki) rulers. In 1186–87, he conquered Lahore, bringing the last of Ghaznevid territory under his control and ending the Ghaznavid empire. Muhammad Ghori's successors established the Delhi Sultanate. The Turkic origin Mamluk Dynasty, (mamluk means "owned" and referred to the Turkic youths bought and trained as soldiers who became rulers throughout the Islamic world), seized the throne of the Sultanate in 1211. Several Central Asian Turkic and a Lodhi Pashtun dynasty ruled their empires from Delhi: the Mamluk (1211–90), the Khalji (1290–1320), the Tughlaq (1320–1413), the Sayyid (1414–1451) 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 sultanates.
The sultans (emperors) of Delhi enjoyed cordial relations with 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 native Prakrits, Persian, Turkish and Arabic languages.
Perhaps the greatest contribution of the Sultanate was its temporary success in insulating South Asia from the Mongol invasion from Central Asia in the 13th century; nonetheless the sultans eventually lost Afghanistan and western Pakistan to the Mongols (see the Ilkhanate dynasty). The Sultanate declined after the invasion of Emperor Timur, who founded the Timurid Empire, and was eventually conquered in 1526 by the Mughal Emperor Babar.
The Delhi Sultanate and later Mughal Empire attracted Muslim refugees, nobles, technocrats, bureaucrats, soldiers, traders, scientists, architects, artisans, teachers, poets, artists, theologians and Sufis from the rest of the Muslim world and they migrated and settled in the South Asia. During the reign of Sultan Ghyasuddin Balban (1266-1286) thousands of Central Asian Muslims sought asylum including more than 15 sovereigns and their nobles due to the Mongol invasion of Khwarezmia and Eastern Iran. At the court of Sultan Iltemish in Delhi the first wave of these Muslim refugees escaping from the Central Asian genocide by the Mongol armies of Genghis Khan, brought administrators from Iran, painters from China, theologians from Samarkand, Nishapur and Bukhara, divines and saints from the rest of Muslim world, craftsmen and men and maidens from every region, notably doctors adept in Greek medicine and philosophers from everywhere.
Guru Nanak, Sikhism's founder, was born into a Hindu Khatri family in the village of Rāi Bhōi dī Talwandī (present day Nankana, near Sial in modern-day Pakistan). He was an influential religious and social reformer in north India and the saintly founder of a modern monotheistic order and first of the ten divine Gurus of Sikh religion. At the age of 70, he died at Kartarpur, Punjab of modern-day Pakistan.
In 1526, Babur, a Timurid descendant of Timur and Genghis Khan from Fergana Valley (modern-day Uzbekistan), swept across the Khyber Pass and founded the Mughal Empire, covering modern-day Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. The Mughals were descended from Central Asian Turks (with significant Mongol admixture). However, his son Humayun was defeated by the Pashtun warrior Sher Shah Suri who was from Bihar state of India, in the year 1540, and Humayun was forced to retreat to Kabul. After Sher Shah died, his son Islam Shah Suri became the ruler, on whose death his prime minister, Hemu ascended the throne and ruled North India from Delhi for one month. He was defeated by Emperor Akbar's forces in the Second Battle of Panipat on 6 November 1556.
Akbar the Great, was both a capable ruler and an early proponent of religious and ethnic tolerance and favored an early form of multiculturalism. He declared "Amari" or non-killing of animals in the holy days of Jainism and rolled back the jizya tax imposed upon non-Islamic mainly Hindu people. The Mughal dynasty ruled most of the South Asia by 1600. The Mughal emperors married local royalty and allied themselves with local maharajas. 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, who is regarded as the last Great Mughal Emperor as he expanded the domain to its zenith. After his demise, different regions of modern Pakistan began asserting independence. The empire went into a slow decline after 1707 and its last sovereign, ruling around Delhi region.
After Nadir Shah's death in 1747, his Pashtun general Ahmad Shah Abdali declared his empire as independent and established the "Durrani Empire", which encompassed most of Pakistan and northwest India, including the shared Kashmir region.
In 1758 the Maratha Empire's general Raghunath Rao attacked and conquered Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Kashmir and drove out Timur Shah Durrani, the son and viceroy of Ahmad Shah Abdali. Lahore, Dera Ghazi Khan, Multan, Peshawar, Kashmir, and other subahs on the south eastern side of Afghanistan's border fell under the Maratha rule. From Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Kashmir, the Marathas were driven out after only four years.
In 1761, following the victory at the Third battle of Panipat between the Durrani and the Maratha Empire, Ahmad Shah Abdali captured remnants of the Maratha Empire in Punjab and Kashmir regions and had re-consolidated control over them.
The Sikh Empire (1799–1849) was formed on the foundations of the Punjabi Army by Maharaja Ranjit Singh who was proclaimed "Sarkar-i-Khalsa", and was referred to as the "Maharaja of Lahore". It consisted of a collection of autonomous Punjabi Misls, which were governed by Misldars, mainly in the Punjab region. The empire extended from the Khyber Pass in the west, to Kashmir in the north, to Multan in the south and Kapurthala in the east. The main geographical footprint of the empire was the Punjab region. The formation of the empire was a watershed and represented formidable consolidation of Sikh military power and resurgence of local culture, which had been dominated for hundreds of years by Indo-Afghan and Indo-Mughal hybrid cultures.
The foundations of the Sikh Empire, during the time of the Punjabi Army, could be defined as early as 1707, starting from the death of Aurangzeb. The fall of the Mughal Empire provided opportunities for the Punjabi army to lead expeditions against the Mughals and Pashtuns. This led to a growth of the army, which was split into different Punjabi armies and then semi-independent "misls". Each of these component armies were known as a misl, each controlling different areas and cities. However, in the period from 1762–1799, Sikh rulers of their misls appeared to be coming into their own. The formal start of the Sikh Empire began with the disbandment of the Punjab Army by the time of coronation of Ranjit Singh in 1801, creating a unified political state. All the misl leaders who were affiliated with the Army were from Punjab's nobility.
The entire territory of modern Pakistan was occupied beginning first by the East India Company — and continued under the post-Sepoy Mutiny direct rule of Queen Victoria of the British Empire — through a series of wars, the main ones being the Battle of Miani (1843) in Sindh, the gruelling Anglo-Sikh Wars (1845–1849) and the Anglo-Afghan Wars (1839–1919), to remain a part of British Indian Empire until the independence in 1947.
The physical presence of the British was minimal; they employed "Divide and Rule" political strategy to remain in power. The administrative units of British India under the tenancy or the sovereignty of either the East India Company or the British Crown lasted between 1612 and 1947.
In 1877, Syed Ameer Ali had formed the Central National Muhammadan Association to work towards the political advancement of the Indian Muslims, who had suffered grievously in 1857, in the aftermath of the failed Sepoy Mutiny against the East India Company; the British were seen as foreign invaders. But the organization declined towards the end of the 19th century.
In 1885, the Indian National Congress was founded as a forum, which later became a party, to promote a nationalist cause. Although the Congress attempted to include the Muslim community in the struggle for independence from the British rule - and some Muslims were very active in the Congress - the majority of Muslim leaders did not trust the party, viewing it as a "Hindu-dominated" organization.
A turning point came in 1900, when the British administration in the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh acceded to Hindu demands and made Hindi, the version of the Hindustani language written in the Devanagari script, the official language. The proslytisation conducted in the region by the activists of a new Hindu reformist movement also stirred Muslim's concerns about their faith. Eventually, the Muslims feared that the Hindu majority would seek to suppress the rights of Muslims in the region following the departure of the British.
The All-India Muslim League was founded on 30 December 1906, in the aftermath of division of Bengal, on the sidelines of the annual All India Muhammadan Educational Conference in Shahbagh, Dhaka. The meeting was attended by three thousand delegates and presided over by Nawab Viqar-ul-Mulk. It addressed the issue of safeguarding interests of Muslims and finalised a programme. A resolution, moved by Nawab Salimullah and seconded by Hakim Ajmal Khan. Nawab Viqar-ul-Mulk(conservative), declared:
The Musalmans are only a fifth in number as compared with the total population of the country, and it is manifest that if at any remote period the British government ceases to exist in India, then the rule of India would pass into the hands of that community which is nearly four times as large as ourselves ... our life, our property, our honour, and our faith will all be in great danger, when even now that a powerful British administration is protecting its subjects, we the Musalmans have to face most serious difficulties in safe-guarding our interests from the grasping hands of our neighbors.
The constitution and principles of the League were contained in the Green Book, written by Maulana Mohammad Ali. Its goals at this stage did not include establishing an independent Muslim state, but rather concentrated on protecting Muslim liberties and rights, promoting understanding between the Muslim community and other Indians, educating the Muslim and Indian community at large on the actions of the government, and discouraging violence. However, several factors over the next thirty years, including sectarian violence, led to a re-evaluation of the League's aims. Among those Muslims in the Congress who did not initially join the League was Jinnah, a prominent statesman and barrister in Bombay. This was because the first article of the League's platform was "To promote among the Mussalmans (Muslims) of India, feelings of loyalty to the British Government".
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 Bengal 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 the party changed its platform to one of Indian independence, as a reaction against the British decision to reverse the 1905 Partition of Bengal, which the League regarded it as a betrayal of the Bengali Muslims. After vociferous protests of the Hindu population and violence engineered by secret groups, such as Anushilan Samiti and its offshoot Jugantar of Aurobindo and his brother etc., the British had decided to reunite Bengal again. Till this stage, Jinnah believed in Mutual 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.
The general elections held in the United Kingdom had already weakened the leftist Labour Party led by Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald. Furthermore, the Labour Party's government was already weakened by the outcomes of the World War I, which fueled new hopes for progress towards self-government in British India. In fact, Mohandas K. Gandhi traveled to London to press the idea of "self-government" in British India, and claimed to represent all Indians whilst duly criticized the Muslim League as being sectarian and divisive. After reviewing the report of the Simon Commission, the Indian Congress initiated a massive civil disobedience movement under Gandhi; the Muslim League reserved their opinion on the Simon Report declaring that the report was not final and the matters should decided after consultations with the leaders representing all communities in India.
As the leaders of the Indian Congress were jailed and restrained, the Round-table conference was held, but these achieved little, since Gandhi and the League were unable to reach a compromise. Witnessing the events in the Round-table conference, Jinnah had despaired of politics and particularly of getting mainstream parties like the Congress to be sensitive to minority priorities. During this time in 1930, notable writer and poet, Muhammad Iqbal called for a separate and autonomous nation-state, who in his presidential address to the 1930 convention of the Muslim League said that he felt that a separate Muslim state was essential in an otherwise Hindu-dominated South Asia.
The name of the nation-state was coined by the Cambridge University's political science student and Muslim nationalist Rahmat Ali, and was published on 28 January 1933 in the pamphlet Now or Never. After coining the name of the nation-state, Ali noticed that there is an acronym formed from the names of the "homelands" of Muslims in northwest India:"P" for Punjab
"A" for Afghania (now known as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa)
"K" for Kashmir
"S" for Sindh
"Tan" for Balochistan; thus forming "Pakstan".
After the publication of the pamphlet, the Hindu Press vehemently criticized it, and the word 'Pakstan' used in it. Thus this word became a heated topic of debate. With the addition of an "i" to improve the pronunciation, the name of Pakistan grew in popularity and led to the commencement of the Pakistan Movement, and consequently the creation of Pakistan. In Urdu and Persian languages, the name encapsulates the concept of Pak ("pure") and stan ("land") and hence a "Pure Land". In the 1935, the British government proposed to hand over substantial power to elected Indian provincial legislatures, with elections to be held in 1937. After the elections the League took office in Bengal and Punjab, but the Congress won office in most of the other provinces, and refused to devolve power with the League in provinces with large Muslim minorities citing technical difficulties.
Meanwhile, Muslim ideologues for independence also felt vindicated by the presidential address of V.D. Savarkar at the 19th session of the famous Hindu nationalist party Hindu Mahasabha in 1937. In it, this legendary revolutionary - popularly called Veer Savarkar and known as the iconic father of the Hindu fundamentalist ideology - propounded the seminal ideas of his Two Nation Theory or ethnic exclusivism, which influenced Jinnah profoundly.
In 1940, Jinnah called a general session of the Muslim League in Lahore to discuss the situation that had arisen due to the outbreak of the World War II and the Government of India joining the war without consulting Indian leaders. The meeting was also aimed at analyzing the reasons that led to the defeat of the Muslim League in the general election of 1937 in the Muslim majority provinces. In his speech, Jinnah criticized the Indian Congress and the nationalists, and espoused the Two-Nation Theory and the reasons for the demand for separate homelands. Sikandar Hayat Khan, the Chief Minister of Punjab, drafted the original resolution, but disavowed the final version, that had emerged after protracted redrafting by the Subject Committee of the Muslim League. The final text unambiguously rejected the concept of a United India because of increasing inter-religious violence and recommended the creation of independent states. The resolution was moved in the general session by Shere-Bangla Bengali nationalist, AKF Haq, the Chief Minister of Bengal, supported by Chaudhry Khaliquzzaman and other leaders and was adopted on 23 March 1940. The Resolution read as follows:
No constitutional plan would be workable or acceptable to the Muslims unless geographical contiguous units are demarcated into regions which should be so constituted with such territorial readjustments as may be necessary. That the areas in which the Muslims are numerically in majority as in the North-Western and Eastern zones of India should be grouped to constitute independent states in which the constituent units shall be autonomous and sovereign ... That adequate, effective and mandatory safeguards shall be specifically provided in the constitution for minorities in the units and in the regions for the protection of their religious, cultural, economic, political, administrative and other rights of the minorities, with their consultation. Arrangements thus should be made for the security of Muslims where they were in a minority.
Important leaders in the Muslim League highlighted that Pakistan would be a 'New Medina', in other words the second Islamic state established after the Prophet Muhammad's creation of an Islamic state in Medina. Pakistan was popularly envisaged as an Islamic utopia, a successor to the defunct Turkish Caliphate and a leader and protector of the entire Islamic world. Islamic scholars debated over whether it was possible for the proposed Pakistan to truly become an Islamic state.
While the Congress' top leadership had been in prison following the 1942 Quit India Movement, there was intense debate among Indian Muslims over the creation of a separate homeland. The majority of Barelvis and Barelvi ulema supported the creation of Pakistan and pirs and Sunni ulema were mobilized by the Muslim League to demonstrate that India's Muslim masses wanted a separate country. The Barelvis believed that any co-operation with Hindus would be counter productive. On the other hand most Deobandis, who were led by Maulana Husain Ahmad Madani, were opposed to the creation of Pakistan and the two-nation theory. According to them Muslims and Hindus could be one nation and Muslims were only a nation of themselves in the religious sense and not in the territorial sense. At the same time some Deobandi ulema such as Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi, Mufti Muhammad Shafi and Maulana Shabbir Ahmad Usmani were supportive of the Muslim League's demand to create a separate Pakistan.
Muslims who were living in provinces where they were demographically a minority, such as the United Provinces where the Muslim League enjoyed popular support, were assured by Jinnah that they could remain in India, migrate to Pakistan or continue living in India but as Pakistani citizens. The Muslim League had also proposed the hostage population theory. According to this theory the safety of India's Muslim minority would be ensured by turning the Hindu minority in the proposed Pakistan into a 'hostage' population who would be visited by retributive violence if Muslims in India were harmed.
In the Constituent Assembly elections of 1946, the Muslim League won 425 out of 496 seats reserved for Muslims (polling 89.2% of total votes). The Congress had hitherto refused to acknowledge the Muslim League's claim of being the representative of Indian Muslims but finally acquiesced to the League's claim after the results of this election. The Muslim League's demand for Pakistan had received overwhelming popular support from India's Muslims, especially those Muslims who were living in provinces such as UP where they were a minority.
The British had neither the will, nor the financial resources or military power, to hold India any longer and were also determined to avoid partition and for this purpose they arranged the Cabinet Mission Plan. According to this plan India would be kept united but would be heavily decentralized with separate groupings of Hindu and Muslim majority provinces. The Muslim League accepted this plan as it contained the 'essence' of Pakistan but the Congress rejected it. After the failure of the Cabinet Mission Plan, Jinnah called for Muslims to observe Direct Action Day to demand the creation of a separate Pakistan. The Direct Action Day morphed into violent riots between Hindus and Muslims in Calcutta. The riots in Calcutta were followed by intense communal rioting between Hindus and Muslims in Noakhali, Bihar, Garhmukteshwar and Rawalpindi.
The British Prime Minister Attlee appointed Lord Louis Mountbatten as India's last viceroy, to negotiate the independence of Pakistan and India and immediate British withdrawal. British leaders including Mountbatten did not support the creation of Pakistan but failed to convince Jinnah otherwise. Mountbatten later confessed that he would most probably have sabotaged the creation of Pakistan had he known that Jinnah was dying of tuberculosis.
In early 1947 the British had announced their desire to grant India its independence by June 1948. However, Lord Mountbatten decided to advance the date. In a meeting in June, Nehru and Abul Kalam Azad representing the Congress, Jinnah representing the Muslim League, B. R. Ambedkar representing the Untouchable community, and Master Tara Singh representing the Sikhs, agreed to partition India along religious lines.
On 14 August 1947 (27th of Ramadan in 1366 of the Islamic Calendar) Pakistan gained independence. India gained independence the following day. The two provinces of British India: Punjab and Bengal were divided along religious lines by the Radcliffe Commission. Mountbatten is alleged to have influenced the Radcliffe Commission to draw the line in India's favour. Punjab's mostly Muslim western part went to Pakistan and its mostly Hindu/Sikh eastern part went to India but there were significant Muslim minorities in Punjab's eastern section and likewise there were many Hindus and Sikhs living in Punjab's western areas.
Intense communal rioting in the Punjab forced the governments of India and Pakistan to agree to a forced population exchange of Muslim and Hindu/Sikh minorities living in Punjab. After this population exchange only a few thousand low-caste Hindus remained in Pakistan's side of Punjab and only a tiny Muslim population remained in the town of Malerkotla in India's part of Punjab. Political scientist Ishtiaq Ahmed says that although Muslims started the violence in Punjab, by the end of 1947 more Muslims had been killed by Hindus and Sikhs in East Punjab than the number of Hindus and Sikhs who had been killed by Muslims in West Punjab.
More than ten million people migrated across the new borders and between 200,000-2,000,000 people died in the spate of communal violence in the Punjab in what some scholars have described as a 'retributive genocide' between the religions. The Pakistani government claimed that 50,000 Muslim women were abducted and raped by Hindu and Sikh men and similarly the Indian government claimed that Muslims abducted and raped 33,000 Hindu and Sikh women. The two governments agreed to repatriate abducted women and thousands of Hindu, Sikh and Muslim women were repatriated to their families in the 1950s.
The dispute over Kashmir escalated into the first war between India and Pakistan. With the assistance of the United Nations (UN) the war but it became a hitherto unresolved Kashmir dispute.
In 1947, the Founding fathers of Pakistan agreed upon to appoint Liaquat Ali Khan as country's first Prime minister with the founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, tenuring as both first Governor-General and Speaker of the State Parliament. Mountbatten had offered to serve as Governor-General of both India and Pakistan but Jinnah refused this offer and opted to become the Governor-General of Pakistan himself. When Jinnah died of tuberculosis in 1948, Islamic scholar Maulana Shabbir Ahmad Usmani described Jinnah as the greatest Muslim after the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb and also compared Jinnah's death to the Prophet's passing. Usmani asked Pakistanis to remember Jinnah's message of Unity, Faith and Discipline and work to fulfil his dream ''to create a solid bloc of all Muslim states from Karachi to Ankara, from Pakistan to Morocco. He [Jinnah] wanted to see the Muslims of the world united under the banner of Islam as an effective check against the aggressive designs of their enemies''.
The first formal step taken to transform Pakistan into an ideological Islamic state was in March 1949 when the country's first Prime Minister, Liaquat Ali Khan, introduced the Objectives Resolution in the Constituent Assembly. The Objectives Resolution declared that sovereignty over the entire universe belongs to God Almighty. The calls for the Objectives Resolution and the transformation of Pakistan into an Islamic state were led by Maulana Shabbir Ahmad Usmani, a respected Deobandi alim (scholar) who occupied the position of Shaykh al-Islam in Pakistan in 1949, and Maulana Mawdudi of Jamaat-i Islami.
Indian Muslims from the United Provinces, Bombay, Central Provinces and other areas of India continued migrating to Pakistan throughout the 1950 and 1960s and settled mainly in urban Sindh, particularly in the new country's first capital: Karachi. The national government of Ali Khan was left to face challenges soon after holding the office. Liaquat Ali Khan established a strong government; his Finance secretary Victor Turner announced the country's first monetary policy by establishing the State bank and federal bureaux of statistics and revenue to improve the statistical finance, taxation, and revenue collection in the country. Territorial problems arose with neighboring Afghanistan over the Durand Line in 1949, and with India over Line of Control in Kashmir which was the theater of the first war between the two countries in 1947.
Diplomatic recognition became a challenging problem when Soviet Union led by Secretary-General Joseph Stalin did not welcome the division which established Pakistan and India. Iran was the first country to recognize Pakistan in 1947. In 1948, Ben-Gurion of Israel sent a secret courier to Jinnah to establish the diplomatic relations, but Jinnah did not given any response to Ben-Gurion.
After gaining Independence, Pakistan vigorously pursued bilateral relations with other Muslim countries and made a wholehearted bid for leadership of the Muslim world, or at least for leadership in achieving its unity. The Ali brothers had sought to project Pakistan as the natural leader of the Islamic world, in large part due to its large manpower and military strength. A top ranking Muslim League leader, Khaliquzzaman, declared that Pakistan would bring together all Muslim countries into Islamistan-a pan-Islamic entity.
The USA, which already did not approve of Pakistan's creation, was against this idea and British Prime Minister Clement Attlee voiced international opinion at the time by stating that he wished that India and Pakistan would re-unite. Since most of the Arab world was undergoing a nationalist awakening at the time, there was little attraction to Pakistan's Pan-Islamic aspirations. Some of the Arab countries saw the 'Islamistan' project as a Pakistani attempt to dominate other Muslim states.
Pakistan vigorously championed the right of self-determination for Muslims around the world. Pakistan's efforts for the independence movements of Indonesia, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco and Eritrea were significant and initially led to close ties between these countries and Pakistan.
In a 1948 speech, Jinnah declared that "Urdu alone would be the state language and the lingua franca of the Pakistan state", although at the same time he called for the Bengali language to be the official language of the Bengal province; nonetheless, tensions began to grow in East Bengal. Jinnah's health further deteriorated and he died in 1948. Bengali leader, Sir Khawaja Nazimuddin succeeded as the governor general of Pakistan.
During a massive political rally in 1951, Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan was assassinated in Rawalpindi, and Nazimuddin became the second prime minister. Tensions in Eastern Pakistan reached to its climax in 1952, when the East-Pakistani police opened fire on students near the Dhaka Medical College protesting for Bengali language to receive equal status with Urdu. The situation was controlled by Nazimuddin who gave a waiver to Bengali language as equal status, a right codified in the 1956 constitution. In 1953 at the instigation of religious parties, anti-Ahmadiyya riots erupted, which led to many Ahmadi deaths. 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 into the politics and civilian affairs of the country.
In 1954, the controversial One Unit Program was imposed by the last PML Prime minister Ali Bogra dividing Pakistan on the German geopolitical model. The same year, the first legislative elections were held in Pakistan, which saw the Communists gaining the control of East-Pakistan. The 1954 elections results clarified the differences in ideology between West and East, with East under the influence of communism nexus of Communist Party allying with Workers Party and the Awami League. The Pro-American Republican Party gained majority in West, ousting the PML government who secured only 10 seats in East.
In a vote of confidence movement in state parliament and promulgation of 1956 constitution which granted Pakistan as Islamic republic, the notable Bengali figures, Huseyn Suhrawardy became the Prime minister leading the communist-socialist alliance, and Iskander Mirza became the first President of Pakistan, both as first Bengali leaders of the country. Just two years later, the military would take control of the nation.
Suhrawardy's foreign policy was directed towards the improving fractured relations with the Soviet Union, strengthening and establishing relations with the United States and China after paying first a state visit to both countries. Announcing the new self-reliance program, Suhrawardy began building a massive military and launched the plan of nuclear power program in the West in an attempt to legitimize his mandate in West. Foreign efforts by Suhrawardy led to an assigning of American training program for country's armed forces which met with great opposition in East-Pakistan after his party in East-Pakistan Parliament which threatened to leave the state of Pakistan. Furthermore, Suhrawardy gave verbal authorization of leasing the ISI's secret installation to American CIA to conduct operations in Soviet Union.
Differences in East Pakistan further encouraged the Baloch separatism, and in an attempt to intimidate the communists in East, President Mirza initiated massive arrests of communists and party workers of Awami League in East Pakistan, which damaged the image of West-Pakistan in the East. The Western contingent's lawmakers determinately followed the idea of Westernized Parliamentary form of the democracy when East opted for becoming a socialist state. One Unit program and centralizing of national economy on USSR model was met with great hostility and resistance in West, although the Eastern contingent's economy was quickly centralized by Suhrawardy's government. Egoistic problems grew between the two Bengali leaders further damaging the unity of the country, which soon forced Suhrawardy whose political position in his own party lost an edge in a growing influence of cleric, Maulana Bhashani. Resigned under a threat of Mirza's dismissal, Suhrawardy was succeeded by I. I. Chundrigar in 1957.
Within two months, Chundrigar was dismissed; followed by Sir Feroz Noon, who proved to be an incapable prime minister. The support of Pakistan Muslim League led by Nurul Amin began to get its supports which threatened President Mirza who was unapproved by the public. In less than two years, Mirza dismissed four elected prime ministers, and was increasingly in great pressure for calling for new elections in 1958.
On October 1958, President Iskandar Mirza issued order for massive naval, air, and troop mobilization of Pakistan Armed Forces all over the country and appointed chief of army staff General Ayub Khan as Commander-in-chief of Pakistan armed forces. In a quick move, President Mirza declared state of emergency and imposed martial law in 1958, having suspended the constitution, and dissolved the socialist government in East and the parliamentary government in West.
His actions also approved General Ayub Khan as the Chief Martial Law Administrator to enforce the martial law all over the country who asserted his position in all over the country. Within two weeks, President Mirza also attempted to dismiss General Ayub Khan after Khan's action made him incapable of taking any decisions. This move backfired on President Mirza who was soon to be relieved from his presidency and exiled to London, United Kingdom in 1958. The same year, General Ayub Khan appointed himself to the rank of a five-star Field Marshal and named a new civil-military government under him. Upon becoming the President, Ayub Khan was succeeded by General Muhammad Musa as chief of army staff in 1958.
The parliamentary system came to an end in 1958, following the imposition of martial law. Tales of corruption in civil bureaucracy and public administration had maligned the democratic process in the country as the public seemed supportive towards the actions taken by General Ayub Khan. Major land reforms were carried out by the military government and enforced controversial Elective Bodies Disqualification Order (EBDO) which ultimately disqualified Suhrawardy from holding the public office. Introducing a new presidential system called "Basic Democracy", which featured the Local government system in West-Pakistan and promulgate a 1962 constitution, by which an electoral college of 80,000 would select the President. In a national referendum held in 1960, Ayub Khan secured nationwide popular and ground support for his bid as second President and replaced his military government into civilian constitutional government. In a major development, the capitol infrastructure had been moved to newly planned state capital, Islamabad, all capital work development was relocated from Karachi to Islamabad.
The presidency of Ayub Khan is often dubbed and celebrated as "Great Decade" which highlighted the economic development plans and reforms executed. Under Ayub's presidency, the country took a cultural shift when the pop music industry, film industry and drama picture began to notice by public and became extremely popular in the country in the 1960s. Rather than neutrality, Ayub Khan worked closely to make an alliance with the United States and the Western world to gain support and proceeded to join two formal military alliances, the CENTO in 1955; and the SEATO in 1962, against the Soviet bloc. During this time, the private-sector gained more power to control the national economy, educational reforms, human development and scientific achievements gained a lot of international appraisal from the global community. In 1961, the space program was launched with the continuation of nuclear power program on the other hand. Military aid from the U.S. grew unprecedentedly but the country's national security was severely compromised following the exposure of the secret spy operation launching from Peshawar to Soviet Union in 1960. The same year, Pakistan signed Water treaty with India in an attempt to normalize the relations. The relations with China further strengthened after the Chinese war with India, and both countries signed a boundary agreement which shifted the balance of the Cold War by bringing Pakistan and China closer together while loosening ties between Pakistan and the United States in 1963. In 1964, the Pakistan Armed Forces quelled the suspected pro-communist revolt in the Western Pakistan allegedly supported by the Afghanistan, where subsequently American armoury was used to stop the rebellion. During the controversial 1965 presidential elections, Ayub Khan had almost lost the presidential elections to Fatima Jinnah.
In 1965, after Pakistan went ahead with its strategic air-borne mission code named the Operation Gibraltar, India declared a full-scale war on Pakistan. The war, which ended militarily in a stalemate, was mostly fought in West as only mild operations were conducted in East by India. Controversially, East-Pakistan Army did not interfere in the conflict that brought a great ire in West against East. The news of war with India was highly unapproved by the United States which dismayed Pakistan by adopting a policy of denying military aid to both India and Pakistan during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 over Kashmir and the Rann of Kutch. A positive gain of the treaties was the re-strengthening of Pakistan's close historical bonds with its western neighbors in Asia.
A successful intervention of USSR led to signing of Tashkent Agreement between India and Pakistan in 1965. Witnessing the American disapproval and USSR's mediation, Ayub Khan made tremendous efforts to normalize relations with USSR and Bhutto's negotiation expertise led to the Soviet Premier, Alexei Kosygin, visit to Islamabad.
Delivering a blistering speech at the UN General Assembly in 1965, Foreign Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto with the atomic scientist Aziz Ahmed present there for good measure, Bhutto made Pakistan's intentions clear and loudly announced that: "If India builds the (nuclear) bomb, we will eat grass, even go hungry, but we will get one of own ... We have no other choice". Abdus Salam and Munir Khan jointly collaborated to expand the nuclear power infrastructure, receiving tremendous support from Bhutto. Following such announcement, the nuclear power expansion was given an accelerated after signing a commercial nuclear power plant agreement with GE Canada, and several other agreements with the United Kingdom and France.
Disagreeing with the signing of Tashkent agreement, Zulfikar Bhutto was ousted from the ministry on personal directives of President Ayub Khan in 1966. Dismissal of Bhutto led to a spontaneous mass demonstrations and public anger against Ayub Khan, leading to major industrial and labour strikes in the country. Within weeks, Ayub Khan lost the momentum in the West and his image was destroyed at the public circles.
Amidst further allegations that economic development and hiring for government jobs favoured West Pakistan, the Bengali nationalism began to take a sharp rise and an independence movement began to gather ground in East Pakistan. In 1966, the Awami League led by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman presented demanded the provisional autonomy at the Round Table Conference held by Ayub Khan which was forcefully rejected by Bhutto. The influence socialism spectrum began to rise after country's notable economist, Mahbub ul Haq, publishing a report on private-sector's schemes of evading taxation and the few oligarchs control over the national economy. In 1967 Socialist convention attended by country's leftist philosophers and notable thinkers in Lahore, the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) was founded with Zulfikar Ali Bhutto becoming its first elected chairman. The Peoples Party's leaders, JA Rahim and Mubashir Hassan, notably announced to "defeat the great dictator with the power of the people."
In 1967, the PPP tapped a wave a of anger against Ayub Khan and successfully called for major labour strikes in the country. Criticism on the United States and Ayub Khan further damaged Ayub Khan's authority in the country. By the end of 1968, Ayub Khan forwarded the Agartala Case which led the arrests of many of Awami League leaders, but forced to withdraw after serious provisional uprising in East. Under pressured from PPP, public resentment, and anger against his administration, Ayub Khan resigned from the presidency in poor health and handing over his authority to army commander, a less-known in public and heavy alcohol drinker, General Yahya Khan, who imposed martial law and suspended the constitution, thus dissolving the presidential republic.
Witnessing the events and tensions, President General Yahya Khan was deeply aware of the explosive political situation in the country, in 1969. The progressiveness and socialism in the country was rising, and calls for change of regime was gaining momentum. On a television address to the nation, President Yahya Khan announced his intention to hold the nationwide general elections in the following year and set his motion to transfer power to the elected representatives of the people. Earliest authoritative decisions were towards the establishment of National Security Council (NSC) by President Yahya Khan to analyze the military and political situation. Virtually suspending the 1962 Constitution, President Yahya Khan instead issued the LFO Order No. 1970 which brought radical changes in West. Tightening the grip of martial law, the One Unit program was dissolved in West Pakistan, removing the "West" prefix from Pakistan, and direct ballot replaced the principle of parity. Territorial changes were carried out on four provinces of the country, allowing to retain their geographical structures as it were in 1947. The LFO No. 1970 had restored the borders and geographical positions of four provinces as of 1947 and the provincial assemblies and provincial boundaries also were restored. The state parliament, supreme court and major government and authoritarian institutions also regained their status. This decree was only limited to West, it had no effects on East.
Civilians in Ayub Khan's administration were dismissed by the military government appointment of high-profile joint military officers occupying civilian government assignments and posts. The Election Commission (EC) registered a total of twenty-four political parties, and the public meetings attracted a lot of huge crowd. On the eve of the elections in 1970, a cyclone struck East-Pakistan killing approximately 500,000 people, though this event did not deter the people to participate in first ever general elections. Mobilizing support for Six Points manifesto, the Awami League secured its electoral support in East-Pakistan. The PPP assert itself even more densely; its socialist rationale, "Food, Cloth, and Shelter, and party's socialist manifesto quickly popularized the party and in a small span of time. The intellectuals, philosophers, and Bhutto's charismatic personality, were the key factors that contributed to the popularity of Pakistan Peoples Party. The Conservative, PML led by Nurul Amin, raised the religious and nationalist slogans all over the country.
In a total 313 seat of National Assembly, electoral results showed the Awami League, won 167 seats but none from West Pakistan and PPP won 88 but none from East Pakistan. Though Awami League won enough seat to form a government without any qualition, West Pakistani elites refused to handover power to East Pakistan party. Efforts were made to start a constitutional dialogue. Bhutto asked for share in government saying 'Udhar tum, idhar hum' , means 'You are in east, I am in west'. The PPP's intellectuals maintained that Awami League had no mandate in Western contingent. Although President Yahya Khan invited Awami League to for a National Assembly session in Islamabad, but did not handed over the powers to form the government due to constant pressure by PPP. With no united concessions were seemed to be reached, President Yahya Khan consequently appointed Bengali anti-war activist, Nurul Amin as Prime Minister with additional office of country's first and only Vice-President.
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman then launched civil disobedience movement which effectively paralyzed the state machinery of East. Convening a round-table conference with Bhutto and Rehman in Dhaka, the talks collapsed and President Yahya Khan ordered an armed action against Awami League. Operation Searchlight and Barisal, led to a crackdown on East Pakistani politicians, civilians, and student activists in all over the East. An arrested Mujibur Rahman was extradite to Islamabad, while the entire Awami League leadership escaped to India to set up a parallel government. Popular guerrilla insurgency was initiated by the Indian organized and supported Mukti Bahini (lit "freedom fighters"). Millions of Bengali Hindus and Muslims took refuge in Eastern India leading to Indian Prime minister Indira Gandhi announcing support for theBangladesh liberation war and providing direct "military assistance" to the Bengalis. On March 1971, regional commander, Major Ziaur Rahman of East-Pakistan Army declared the independence of East Pakistan as the new nation of Bangladesh on behalf of Mujib.
Pakistan launched pre-emptive air strikes on 11 Indian airbases on 3 December 1971, leading to India's entry on the side of Bangladeshi nationalist forces. Untrained in guerrilla warfare, the Eastern high command quickly scrambled its operational capabilities under its commanders, General Amir Niazi and Admiral Muhammad Sharif. Exhausted, outflanked and overwhelmed, the Eastern high command could no longer continue its fight against the intense guerrilla insurgency, and finally surrendered to the Allied Forces of Bangladesh and India in Dhaka on 16 December 1971. Nearly 90,000 soldiers taken as prisoners of war and the result was the emergence of the new nation of Bangladesh, thus ending 24 years of turbulent union of the two wings. The figures of the Bengali civilian death toll from the entire civil war vary greatly, depending on the sources. Pakistan's official report, by the Hamood-ur-Rahman Commission, placed the figure at only 26,000, while estimates range up to 3 million; the 'million' is attributed to vernacular 'lakh' getting mistranslated in Western media, thus increasing the casualties ten-fold. Discredited by the defeat, President General Yahya Khan resigned and Bhutto was inaugurated as president and chief martial law administrator on 20 December 1971.
The 1971 war and separation of East-Pakistan demoralized and shattered the nation. President General Yahya Khan handed over the political power to Zulfikar Ali Bhutto of the Pakistan Peoples Party. With PPP's coming to power, the democratic socialists and visionaries came to the power for the first time in the country's history, under a democratic transition. Bhutto made critical decision after dismissing chiefs of army, navy and the air force while authorized home confinement orders for General Yahya Khan and several of his collaborators. He adopted the East-Pakistan Commission's recommendations and authorized large-scale court-martial of army officers tainted for their role in East Pakistan. To keep the country united, Bhutto launched a series of internal intelligence operations to crack down on the fissiparous nationalist sentiments and movements in the provinces. Proponents of socialism were supported as part of the internal policies and the PPP faced serious challenges, both on internal and foreign fronts.
This period starting from 1971 until 1977 was a period of left-wing democracy, the growth of national spirit, economic nationalization, covert atomic bomb projects, promotion of scientific, literary, cultural activities and the left-wing socialism. Regarded as the period of reconstruction, rehabilitation, re-establishment, and the rise of the left-wing sphere of the country, the new industrial, manpower development, and the labour policies were promulgated in the ending weeks of December 1971. In 1972, the country's top intelligence services provided an assessment on Indian nuclear program, citing the evidences that: "India was close to developing a nuclear weapon under its nuclear programme". Chairing a secret winter seminar in January 1972, which came to be known as "Multan meeting", Bhutto rallied a large numbers academic scientists to build the atomic bomb for national survival. The atomic bomb project brought together a team of prominent academic scientists and engineers, headed by theoretical physicist Abdus Salam to develop nuclear devices. Salam later won the Nobel Prize for Physics for developing the theory for unification of weak nuclear forces and strong electromagnetic forces.
The PPP created the 1973 Constitution with the support of Islamists. The Constitution declared Pakistan an Islamic Republic and Islam as the state religion. It also stated that all laws would have to be brought into accordance with the injunctions of Islam as laid down in the Quran and Sunnah and that no law repugnant to such injunctions could be enacted. The 1973 Constitution also created certain institutions such as the Shariat Court and the Council of Islamic Ideology to channel the interpretation and application of Islam.
In 1973, a serious nationalist rebellion also took place in Balochistan province and led to harsh suppression of Baloch rebels with the Shah of Iran purportedly assisting with air support in order to prevent the conflict from spilling over into Iranian Balochistan. The conflict ended later after an amnesty and subsequent stabilization by the provincial military administrator Rahimuddin Khan. In 1973, Parliament approved a supreme, but a new constitution, which provided the basis for the parliamentary democracy in the country. Bhutto and his government carried out major and serious reforms for establishment and development and re-designing of the country's infrastructure. First and foremost, Bhutto supervised the successful promulgation of 1973 constitution that validated the parliamentary democracy in the country; the establishment of Joint Chiefs Committee (as well Joint Strategic Forces Command), reorganization of the military, special forces and chain of commands in the military. Steps were taken for democratization of civil bureaucracy, election commission and the political structure, expansion of country's economic and human infrastructure growth, starting first with the agriculture, land reforms, and government-control (nationalization) of major private industries, industrialization and the expansion of the higher education system throughout the country. In 1974, Bhutto succumbed to increasing pressure from religious parties and helped Parliament to declare the Ahmadiyya adherents as non-Muslims. Bhutto's efforts undermined and dismantled the private-sector and conservative approach for political power in country's political setup.
Relations with the United States gradually went down, and completing the gap after normalizing the relations with the Soviet Union, the Eastern bloc, North Korea, China, and the Arab world. With Soviet technical assistance, the country's first steel mill was established in Karachi, which proved to be a crucial step in industrializing the economy. Bhutto promised in a speech to Pakistan's National Assembly that "If India builds the bomb, we will eat grass and leaves, even go hungry. But we will get one of our own, we have no alternative." Alarmed by India's surprise nuclear test in 1974, Bhutto accelerated Pakistan's atomic bomb project. This crash project reached a historical milestone in 1978 when the desired level of production of fissile core material was reached as well as first design of physics package which eventually led to a secret subcritical testings ("Kirana-I" and "Test Kahuta") in 1983. Relations with India soured and Bhutto launched aggressive diplomatic war and measures against India at the United Nations. Openly targeting Indian nuclear programme on multiple occasions and pushing India on the defense, Bhutto's covertly worked on expanding the atomic bomb project on a shortest time possible. From 1976 to 1977, Bhutto more densely emphasized his political position and faced an intense and heated diplomatic war with the United States and President Jimmy Carter, who worked covertly to damage the credibility of Bhutto in Pakistan. Bhutto, with his scientist colleague Aziz Ahmed, thwarted any U.S. attempts to infiltrate the atomic bomb programme. In 1976, during a secret mission, Henry Kissinger threatened Bhutto and his colleague using an inhumane language. After the meeting, Bhutto aggressively put efforts to successfully develop the atomic project before the coming elections.
As the country entered 1976, the socialist alliance of Bhutto collapsed, forcing his left-wing allies to form an alliance with right-wing conservatives and Islamists, to challenge the power of Peoples Party. The Islamists started a Nizam-e-Mustafa movement which demanded the establishment of an Islamic state in the country and removal of immorality from society. In an effort to meet the demands of Islamists, Bhutto banned the drinking and selling of wine by Muslims and also banned nightclubs and horse racing.
In 1977, the general elections were held which marked the Peoples Party as victorious but this was challenged by the opposition, which accused Bhutto of rigging the election process. An intensified political disorder took place against Bhutto and in a nexus of chief of army staff general Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq and chief of naval staff Admiral Mohammad Shariff, took power in a bloodless coup. Following this, Bhutto and his leftist colleagues were dragged into a two-year-long controversial trial in Supreme Court. Bhutto was later executed in 1979, after being convicted of authorizing the murder of a political opponent, in a controversial 4–3 split decision by the Supreme Court.
This period of military rule, lasting from 1977 to 1988, is often regarded as a period of great purge and growth of state-sponsored religious conservatism. Zia-ul-Haq committed himself to establishing an Islamic state and enforcing sharia law. Zia established separate Shariat judicial courts and court benches to judge legal cases using Islamic doctrine. New criminal offences (of adultery, fornication, and types of blasphemy), and new punishments (of whipping, amputation, and stoning to death), were added to Pakistani law. Interest payments for bank accounts were replaced by "profit and loss" payments. Zakat charitable donations became a 2.5% annual tax. School textbooks and libraries were overhauled to remove un-Islamic material. Offices, schools, and factories were required to offer praying space. Zia bolstered the influence of the ulama (Islamic clergy) and the Islamic parties, whilst conservative scholars became fixtures on television. 10,000s of activists from the Jamaat-e-Islami party were appointed to government posts to ensure the continuation of his agenda after his passing. Conservative ulama (Islamic scholars) were added to the Council of Islamic Ideology. Separate electorates for Hindus and Christians were established in 1985 even though Christian and Hindu leaders complained that they felt excluded from the county's political process.
Zia's state sponsored Islamization increased sectarian divisions in Pakistan between Sunnis and Shias (due to Zia's anti-Shia policies) and also between Deobandis and Barelvis. Zia-ul-Haq forged a strong alliance between the military and Deobandi institutions. Possible motivations for the Islamization programme included Zia's personal piety (most accounts agree that he came from a religious family), desire to gain political allies, to "fulfill Pakistan's raison d'être" as a Muslim state, and/or the political need to legitimise what was seen by some Pakistanis as his "repressive, un-representative martial law regime".
Although, President Zia's long eleven-year rule era features the country's first successful technocracy, but other side, it also features the tug of war between far-leftist forces in direct competition with populist far-right circles. President Zia made strong use of installing high-profile military officers from joint services of joint forces in civilian posts, ranging from central government to provisional governments. Gradually, the socialist influence in the public policies were dismantled disbanded, instead a new system of capitalism was revived with the introduction of corporatization and Islamization. The populist front against Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto scattered, with far right-wing conservatives allying with General Zia's government and encouraging the military government crack down on the pro-Soviet left-wing elements in the country. The left-wing alliance led by Benazir Bhutto was brutalized by Zia who took every mean of aggressive measures against the movement. Further, in his time, secessionist uprisings in Balochistan were put down successfully by the provincial governor, General Rahimuddin Khan. In 1984, Zia held a referendum asking the civil society for the support of his religious programme that received overwhelming support and extended the term of General Zia as country's administrator for next five years.
After Zia assuming power, Pakistan's relations with the Soviet Union deteriorated after Zia renewed strong relations with the United States, whilst accelerated the atomic bomb projects to counter the Soviet communism. Repressive situation in Communist Afghanistan invited the Soviet Union's intervention and President Reagan immediately jumped to help Zia to supply and finance an anti-Soviet insurgency in Afghanistan, using Pakistan as a conduit. Zia's military administration effectively handled national security matters and notably managed the multibillion-dollar aid from the United States. Millions of Afghan refugees poured into the country, fleeing the Soviet occupation and atrocities (some estimate that the Soviet troops killed up to 2 million Afghans and raped many Afghan women). During this time, it was the largest refugee population in the world, which had a heavy impact on Pakistan.
Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province became a base for the anti-Soviet Afghan fighters, with the province's influential Deobandi ulama playing a significant role in encouraging and organising the 'jihad' against the Soviet forces. In retaliation, the Afghan secret police, KHAD, mastered the idea of "terrorism" after carrying out a large number of terrorist operations against Pakistan, which also suffered from an influx of illegal weapons and drugs from Afghanistan. Responding to the terrorism, Zia used "counter-terrorism" tactics after allowing the religiously far-right parties to send thousands of young students from clerical schools to participate in Afghan Jihad against the Soviet Union.
Problems with India rose up when India attacked and took the Siachen glacier, prompting Pakistan to strike back, leading Indian Army to formalize a controversial military exercise, summoning up to 400,000 troops near Southern Pakistan. Facing an indirect war with the Soviet Union in West, General Zia used the Cricket diplomacy to lessen the tensions between two countries. However he also reportedly threatened India by adding to Rajiv Gandhi: "If your [forces] crossed our border an inch ... We are going to annihilate your (cities)...".
Under pressured by President Ronald Reagan, General Zia finally lifted martial law in 1985, holding non-partisan 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 instance, Junejo signed the Geneva Accord, which Zia greatly frowned upon. As retaliation, a controversy was planned after a large-scale blast at a munitions dump and Prime minister Junejo vowed to bring to justice those responsible for the significant damage caused, implicating several senior generals. In return, General Zia dismissed the Junejo government on several charges in May 1988 and called for elections in November 1988. However, before the elections could ever take place, General Zia died in a mysterious plane crash on 17 August 1988 (See Death of Zia-ul-Haq).
According to Shajeel Zaidi a million people attended Zia ul Haq's funeral because he had given them what they wanted: more religion. A PEW opinion poll found that 84% of Pakistanis favoured making Sharia the official law of the land. Conversely, towards the end of Zia's regime, there was a popular wave of cultural change in the country. Despite Zia's tough rhetoric against the Western culture and music in the country, the underground rock music jolted the country and revived the culturecounter attack on Indian film industry. The 1980s fashion such as hairstyles and clothing was very popular in the country and on casual basis at the five-star hotels in the country and near the residence of President Zia-ul-Haq, the rock bands performed Western-influenced rock music, and generally were welcomed by the public and some government elements.
Democracy returned again in 1988 after the general elections which were held after the death of President General Zia-ul-Haq. The elections marked the return of Peoples Party back into the power whose leader, Benazir Bhutto, became the first female Prime minister of Pakistan as well as the first female head of government in a Muslim-majority country. This period, lasting until 1999, introduced the parliamentary system and competitive two-party democracy in the country, featuring a fierce competition between centre-right conservatives led by Nawaz Sharif and centre-left socialists directed by Benazir Bhutto. The far-left politics and the far-right politics had disintegrated from the political arena with the fall of global communism and the United States lessening its interests in Pakistan. It was during the 1990s when various bands released their highly acclaimed and commercially successful albums which it led to the boom of rock music in Pakistan's music industry. Following the success of Vital Signs and other bands, the rock music bands enormous popularity and success significantly opened a new wave of rock music and opened a modern chapter in the history of Pakistan, bringing the significant shift of country's conservative transformation into semi-Western modernism during the 1990s.
Benazir Bhutto presided over the country during the penultimate times of Cold war, and cemented pro-Western policies due to common distrust of communism. Her government oversaw the successful troop evacuation of Soviet Union from neighboring Communist Afghanistan. Soon after the evacuation, the alliance with U.S. came to end when the secret of a successful clandestine atomic bomb project was revealed to world which led to imposition of economic sanctions by the United States. In 1989, she ordered a military intervention in Afghanistan that brutally failed, leading her to depose the directors of the intelligence services. With offing American aid to the country, she hastily imposed the 7th Plan to restore the national economy while centralizing the economy. Nonetheless, the economic situation worsened when the state currency of Pakistan lost the currency war with India. The country significantly entered in era of stagflation during this period, and her government was soon dismissed by the conservative President Ghulam Ishaq Khan.
The 1990 General elections allowed the right-wing conservative alliance, the Islamic Democratic Alliance (IDA) led by Nawaz Sharif, to form the government under a democratic system for the first time in history. Attempts to end the stagflation, Sharif launched the privatization and economic liberalisation while on the other hand, adopted a policy of ambiguity on atomic bomb programs. Sharif intervened in Gulf War in 1991, and ordered an operation against the liberal forces in Karachi in 1992. Institutional problems arose with president Ghulam Khan, whose attempt was to dismiss Sharif on the same charges as he had pressed on Benazir Bhutto. Through the Supreme Court judgement, Sharif was restored and together with Benazir Bhutto ousted President Ishaq Khan from the presidency. Later in weeks, Sharif was forced to relinquish office by the military leadership.
During the general elections, Benazir Bhutto secured the plurality and formed the government after appointing a hand-picked president for the presidential office and a new cabinet. Approving the appointments of all four-star chiefs of navy, air force, army and chairman joint chiefs, the internal policies were exercised on tough stance to bring political stability in the country; her tough rhetoric her a nickname "Iron Lady" by her rivals. Proponents of social democracy and national pride were supported at an extreme level while the nationalization and centralization of economy continued after the 8th Plan was enacted to end the historical era of stagflation. Her foreign policy made an efforts to balance the relations with the Iran, United States, Western world, and socialist states.
Pakistan's intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) became involved in supporting Muslims around the world. Despite the UN arms embargo on Bosnia, ISI's Director-General Javed Nasir later confessed that the ISI airlifted anti-tank weapons and missiles to the Bosnian mujahideen which turned the tide in favour of Bosnian Muslims and forced the Serbs to lift the siege. Under Nasir's leadership the ISI was also involved in supporting Chinese Muslims in Xinjiang Province, rebel Muslim groups in the Philippines, and some religious groups in Central Asia.
Relations with India and Afghanistan worsened in 1995 when allegations were leveled of Pakistan and other countries providing economic and military aid to the group from 1994 as a part of supporting the anti-Soviet alliance. Pakistan was one of three countries which recognized the Taliban government and Mullah Mohammed Omar as the legitimate ruler of Afghanistan. Benazir Bhutto continued her pressure on India, pushing India on to take defensive positions on its nuclear programme. Benazir Bhutto clandestine initiatives modernized and expanded the atomic bomb programme after launching the missile system programs. In 1994, she successfully approached the France for the technology transfer of AIP technology to the country. Focusing on culture development, her policies resulted in shaping the rock and pop music industry in the country, and film industry made its notable comeback after introducing new talent to the public. She exercised tough policies to banned the Indian media in the country, while promoting television industry to produce dramas, films, artist programs, and music, extremely devoting to the country. The grievousness and public angst about the weaknesses of Pakistan education led to large-scale federal support for science education and research in the country by both Benazir and Nawaz Sharif to meet with the competition with India.
Despite her tough policies, the popularity of Benazir Bhutto waned after her husband became allegedly involved in the controversial death of Murtaza Bhutto. Many public figures and officials suspected even Benazir Bhutto's involvement in the murder, although there were no proves. In 1996, seven weeks passed this incident, Benazir Bhutto's government was dismissed by her own hand-picked president on charges of Murtaza Bhutto's death.
The 1997 election resulted in conservatives receiving a heavy majority of the vote, obtaining enough seats in parliament to change the constitution, which Prime minister Sharif amended to eliminate the formal checks and balances that restrained the Prime Minister's power. Institutional challenges to his authority - led by the civilian President Farooq Leghari, chairman joint chiefs general Jehangir Karamat, chief of naval staff admiral Fasih Bokharie, and Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah - were put down and all four were forced to resign; Chief Justice Shah doing so after the Supreme Court was stormed by Sharif partisans.
Problems with India further escalated in 1998, when the television media reported the Indian nuclear explosions, codename Operation Shakti. When news flooded in Pakistan, a shocked Sharif called for a national security meeting in Islamabad and vowed that "she (Pakistan) would give a suitable reply to the Indians ...". After reviewing the effects of tests for roughly two weeks, Sharif ordered PAEC to perform a series of nuclear tests at the remote area of Chagai Hills in 1998 itself. The military forces in the country were mobilize at a war-situation level on Indian border.
Internationally condemned, but extremely popular at home, Sharif took steps to control the economy and mobilized all the defence assets of Pakistan by closed all airspace routes by giving red-alerts orders to PAF and Pakistan Navy. Sharif responded fiercely, and defused the international pressure by targeting India for global nuclear proliferation while gave great criticism to the United States for atomic bombings on Japanese cities of Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki:
If [Pakistan] had wanted, she would have conducted nuclear tests 15–20 years ago ... but the abject poverty of the people of the region dissuaded ... [Pakistan] from doing so. But the [w]orld, instead of putting pressure on (India) ... not to take the destructive road ... imposed all kinds of sanctions on [Pakistan] for no fault of her.....! If (fellow) Japan had its own nuclear capability.. (cities of) ... Hiroshima and Nagasaki would not have suffered atomic destruction at the hands of the ... United States ...
Under Nawaz Sharif's leadership, Pakistan became the seventh nuclear power country, the first country in the Muslim world, as well as a declared nuclear-weapon state. The conservative government also adopted environmental policies after establishing the environmental protection agency. Sharif too continue Bhutto's cultural policies, though he did allowed Indian channels to be viewed in the country. The next year, Kargil war by Pakistan-backed Kashmiri militants threatened to escalate to a full-scale war and increased fears of a nuclear war in South Asia. Internationally condemned, the Kargil war was followed by Atlantique Incident which came on a bad juncture for the Prime minister Sharif who no longer a hold the public support for his government.
On 12 October 1999, Prime minister Sharif's daring attempt to dismiss General Pervez Musharraf from the posts of chairman joint chiefs and chief of army staff failed after the military leadership refused to accept the appointment of ISI director Lieutenant-General Ziauddin Butt as chairman and army chief. General Musharraf returning to Pakistan from a PIA commercial airliner, Sharif ordered the Jinnah Terminal to be sealed to prevent the landing of the PIA flight, which then circled the skies over Karachi for several hours. A counter coup d'état was initiated, the senior commanders of the military leadership ousted Sharif's government and took over the airport; the flight landed with only a few minutes of fuel to spare. The Military Police seized the Prime Minister's Secretariat and deposed Sharif, Ziauddin Butt and the cabinet staffers who took part in this assumed conspiracy, shifting placed him in infamous Adiala Jail. A quick trial was set in Supreme Court which gave Sharif a life sentence, with his assets being frozen based on a corruption scandal, and he was near receiving the death sentence based on the hijacking case.
The news of the Sharif's dismissal made headlines all over the world and under pressure by the US President Bill Clinton and King Fahd of Saudi Arabia, Musharraf succumbed to spare Sharif's life in an agreement facilitated by Saudi Arabia. Departed to Saudi Arabia to be settled in a Jeddah in King Fahd's private residence, Sharif was forced to be out of politics for nearly ten years.
The presidency of Musharraf features the coming of liberal forces in the national power for the first time in the history of Pakistan. Earlier initiatives taken towards the continuation of economic liberalization, privatization, and freedom of media in Pakistan in 1999. The Citibank executive, Shaukat Aziz, returned to country upon Musharraf's request to take the control of the national economy after securing the appointment in Finance ministry in 1999.
In 2000, the government issued a massive nationwide amnesty to the political workers of liberal parties, sidelining the conservatives and leftists in the country. Reviewing the policy to create a counter cultural attack on India, Musharraf personally signed and issued hundreds of license to private sector to open new media houses and set up channels, free from government influence. On 12 May 2000, the Supreme Court ordered the Government to hold general elections by 12 October 2002. Ties with the United States were renewed by Musharraf who endorsed the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan as reactionary to 9/11 attacks in the United States, in 2001. Confrontation with India continued over the disputed Kashmir, which led to serious military standoff in 2002 after India alleged Pakistan-backed Kashmiri militants laid the attack on Indian parliament in ending month of 2001. Military formations and deployment continued in all over the country during this period, with stationing of XI Corps in North-western Pakistan while the rest of the components were positioned in eastern, southern, and the northern borders of the country.
Attempting to legitimize his presidency and assuring its continuance after the impending elections, Musharraf held a controversial referendum in 2002, which allowed the extension of his presidential term to a period ending five years. The LFO Order No. 2002 was issued by Musharraf in August 2001, which established the constitutional basis for his continuance in office. The 2002 general elections marked the liberals, the MQM, and centrist PML(Q), winning the majority in the parliament to form the government.
The LFO effectively paralyzed the state parliament for over a year, which Musharraf succumbed to his parliamentary opponents to reach a concession on December 2003. The Musharraf-backed liberals mustered the two-thirds majority required to pass the 17th Amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan. Transformation of country's political system from parliamentary republic into semi-presidential republic was made through 17th Amendment which retroactively legitimized Musharraf's 1999 actions and many of his subsequent decrees. In a vote of confidence on January 2004, Musharraf won 658 out of 1,170 votes in the electoral college, and according to Article 41(8) of the Constitution of Pakistan, was elected to the office of President. Soon after his presidential election, Musharraf increased the role of Shaukat Aziz in the parliament and helped him to secure the party nomination for the office of Prime Minister.
With Shaukat Aziz becoming the prime minister in 2004, his regime yielded positive results on economic front and his proposed social reforms were met with resistance. The far-right religious alliance mobilized itself in fierce opposition to Musharraf and Aziz who were dismayed by their Post-9/11 alliance with the United States and endorsement of military support to the U.S. Forces in 2001 campaign in Afghanistan. In over two years, several attempts were survived by Musharraf and Aziz hatched by al-Qaeda including at least two instances where they had inside information from a member of his military administration. On foreign fronts, the allegations of nuclear proliferation further damaged Musharraf and Aziz's credibility when country's scientists were accused of suspected activities of giving and sharing the technology to global atomic proliferation. Repression and subjugation in Tribal line led to a heavy fighting in Warsk between Pakistan Armed Forces and 400 al-Qaeda operatives who were entrenched in several fortified settlements on March 2004. The hunt for Egyptian Ayman al-Zawahiri was launched in the border-side of the country, contributing in sparking the sectarian violence. This new war forced the government to sign a truce with the militants on 5 September 2006; nonetheless the sectarian violence continued.
Since 2001 and onward, Navaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto's popular support was gaining a lot of momentum in the country. In 2007, Sharif made a daring attempt to return from exile but was refrained from landing at Islamabad Terminal. Sharif was forcefully departed to Saudi Arabia on a first given flight, whilst outside the airport there were violent confrontations between Sharif's supporters and the police. This did not deter another former prime minister, Benazir Bhutto, from returning on 18 October 2007 after an eight-year exile in Dubai and London, to prepare for the parliamentary elections to be held in 2008. While leading a massive rally of supporters, two deadly suicide attacks were carried out in an attempt to assassinate Benazir Bhutto, though she escaped unharmed but there were 136 casualties and at least 450 people were injured.
With Aziz completing his term, the liberal alliance now led by Musharraf was further weakened after General Musharraf proclaimed a state of emergency and sacked the Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry along with other 14 judges of the Supreme Court, on 3 November 2007,. Political situation became more chaotic when the lawyers launched a protest against this action but they were arrested. All private media channels including foreign channels were banned, and Musharraf declared that the state of emergency would end on 16 December 2007. The global financial crises, energy crises, domestic crime and violence further escalated as Musharraf made desperate attempt to contain the political pressure. Stepping down from the military, Musharraf was sworn in for a second presidential term on 28 November 2007.
Popular support for Musharraf declined when Nawaz Sharif, this time accompanied by his younger brother and his daughter, successfully made a second attempt to return from exile; hundreds of their supporters, including a few leaders of the party were detained before the pair arrived at Iqbal Terminal, on 25 November 2007. Nawaz Sharif filed his nomination papers for two seats in the forthcoming elections whilst Benazir Bhutto filed for three seats including one of the reserved seats for women. Departing an election rally in Rawalpindi on 27 December 2007, Benazir Bhutto 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 Benazir Bhutto was hit by shrapnel or the gunshots, the Pakistan Interior ministry maintained that her death was due from a skull fracture sustained when the explosive waves threw her against the sunroof of her vehicle. The issue remains controversial and the investigations were further conducted by British Scotland Yard. After a meeting in Islamabad, the Election Commission announced that, due to the assassination, the elections, which had been scheduled for 8 January 2008, would take place on 18 February.
The 2008 general elections marked the return of the leftists in the country's power politics, on 18 February 2008. The left oriented, PPP, and conservative PML, won majority of seats together in the election and formed a coalition government; the liberal alliance then finally faded. Yousaf Raza Gillani of PPP became the Prime minister and consolidated his power after ending a policy deadlock in order to lead the movement to impeach the president on 7 August 2008. Before restoring the deposed judiciary, Gillani and his leftist alliance leveled accusation against Musharraf for weakening Pakistan's unity, violating its constitution and creating economic impasse. As momentum on Musharraf gained, President Musharraf began consultations with his close aides on the implications of the impeachment and readily made available himself to reply to the charges levied upon him. Gillani's effective strategy to force Musharraf from presidency succeeded when Pervez Musharraf announced in a very short long televised address to the nation to announce his resignation, ending his nine-year-long reign on 18 August 2008.
The unpopular war in Afghanistan, suspension of chief justice, and state emergency had weakened Musharraf and a massive left-wing alliance led by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani ousted Pervez Musharraf. In an indirect election, Asif Zardari succeeded Musharraf and the current period marks the return of the left-right directional politics but also features of the multiparty democracy.
After the elections, Yousaf Raza Gillani presided the country as the Prime minister and headed the collective government, with the winner parties of the four provinces. Gillani proposed the idea of collective leadership with the installment major parties of the four provinces in the government; objections raised by conservative PML-N was replaced with centrist, PML(Q). Presided by Gillani, a major transformation in a political structure was carried out to replace the semi-presidential system into parliamentary democracy system. The Parliament unanimously passed the 18th amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan, which signifies the parliamentary democracy in the country. Lessening the powers of the President to dissolve the parliament unilaterally, it turns the President into a ceremonial head of state and transfers the authoritarian and executive powers to the Prime Minister. In 2009-11, Gillani, under pressured from the public and cooperating with the United States, ordered the armed forces to launch military campaigns against Taliban advancing in the country. The joint-forces operations quelled and crushed the Taliban militias in the country but the terrorist attacks continued in elsewhere of the country. The country's media was further liberalized with the banning of the Indian channels, the music, art, and cultural activities were promoted to the national level, devoted to the nationalist spirit.
In 2010 and 2011, the anti-American emotions reached a climax after a CIA contractor killed two civilians in Lahore which further fractured relations with the United States. In the United States as well, the anti-Pakistan sentiment increased after the execution of the secret operation conducted in Abbottabad that killed the Al-Qaeda supremo Osama bin Laden, without the knowledge of Pakistan Government. A strong U.S. criticism was made against Pakistan for supporting a network of hiding al-Qaeda supremo, Gillani called his government to review the foreign policy. Steps were taken by Gillani to block all major supply lines after the NATO attack. Relations with Russia advanced in 2012, following the secret trip of country's foreign minister Hina Khar. Following endless procrastination of Gillani in probing corruption charges as ordered by the Supreme Court, and treating it as contempt of court, the Supreme Court ousted Gillani from the office on 26 April 2012, and was quickly succeeded by Pervez Ashraf.
After the parliament historically completed its term, the general elections held on 11 May 2013 changed the country's political landscape when conservative PML(N) achieved the near-supermajority in the parliament. Nawaz Shareef took the oath and became the prime minister of Pakistan on May 28. As of August 2013, national debates continue over the ongoing sequestration, the country's foreign policy, gun control, taxation, immigration, and anti-terrorism reforms