Pakistan: A Select Political Chronology, 1947-2008

by Vinay Lal

 

At a Glance...

 

HISTORY & POLITICS

Fast, Counter-Fast, Anti-Fast

CURRENT AFFAIRS

Shahrukh and the Shiv Sena

Manmohan Singh and the Naxalites

The Ayodhya Judgment (2010)

Corporate Greed and Bhopal's Continuing Tragedy

BP, Union Carbide, and Corporate Responsibility

Caste, the Census, and Modernity

A Monumental Non-event: TheIndia's Commonwealth ’Games

The Strange and Beguiling Relationship of India and Pakistan

Prabhakaran‘ ’sDeath and the Politics of the Double

Prabhakaran: In the Shadow of Che?

A Pyrrhic Victory? The ‘End’ of the LTTE and the ‘Tamil Question’

The centre will hold (with apologies to Yeats): Reading the Indian elections of 2009

Framing a Discourse: China and India in the Modern World read the PDF version here.

The Politics & Ethics of Reservations

Pakistan: A Select Political Chronology, 1947-2008

The Ajmer Bomb Blast

The Courage of Bilkis Bano

Musharraf’s Lincoln

Snakes, Ladders, and Indian Billionaires

The Dalai Lama’s Laugh

Reading Nandigram through ‘The Hindu’

India’s Problem with Toilets (with some thoughts on Stalin, Tanizaki, and Gandhi)

Kashmir Earthquake, 2005

Anti Christian Violence

Muhammad Afzal and the Death Sentence

Muhammad Yunus and the Nobel Prize

Bamiyan Buddhas

Bhopal

Sweets and
Cricket


India's Moment: Elections 2004

Indian History
Bibliography

Mukhtaran Mai, the Conscience of Pakistan

India - US Relations in 2020

The Karma of Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola in India

The Future of Indian Democracy


ANCIENT INDIA

INDEPENDENT INDIA

MUGHALS AND MEDIEVAL INDIA

GANDHI

SOCIAL AND POLITICAL MOVEMENTS

BRITISH INDIA

HINDU RASHTRA

 

1947 -- (August 14th) Birth of Pakistan; Muhammad Ali Jinnah becomes the first head of state; Fighting erupts between Pakistan and India

1948 – Agreement signed between Liaquat Ali Khan, first Prime Minister of Pakistan, and Jawaharlal Nehru, Indian Prime Minister, to protect minorities; (September) Death of Jinnah; Dispute between India and Pakistan over Kashmir goes to the United Nations

1949 – (January 1st) Ceasefire between India and Pakistan

1951 – Liaquat Ali Khan, first Prime Minister of Pakistan, assassinated in Rawalpindi Park

1954 – Urdu and Bengali declared as official languages of Pakistan; (May) Pakistan signs defence agreement with the United States

1955 – Pakistan, Turkey, Iraq and Britain sign a mutual defence agreement known as the Baghdad Pact

1956 – Constitution promulgated and country renamed the Islamic Republic of Pakistan

1958 – Army takes over and Pakistan turned into a military state under General Ayub Khan, who takes over as chief martial law administrator and Prime Minister

1960 – Ayub elected as Pakistan’s first President

1962 – Talks commence between India and Pakistan, under the auspices of the US and UK, over the future of Kashmir

1963 – Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto appointed Foreign Minister of Pakistan. He signs the Sino-Pakistan Boundary Agreement on March 2, which transfers 750 sq. km. of territory from Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (or Azad Kashmir, as it is called in Pakistan) to China

1965 – War breaks out between India and Pakistan; Peace treaty signed between Pakistan, represented by Ayub and Bhutto, and India (represented by Indian Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri)

1967 – (November 30th) Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) founded by Bhutto and others; its creed is: "Islam is our faith; democracy is our politics; socialism is our economy; all power to the people."

1968 – Pakistan also swept by the worldwide revolt of university students; mass movement of students, peasants, and workers, led in part by Bhutto and PPP functionaries, agitates for political and social reforms

1969 – Ayub replaced by General Yahya Khan, who imposes martial law and dissolves national and provincial assemblies

1971 – Political dissent in East Pakistan; refugees from East Pakistan stream into India; occupation of East Pakistan by military from West Pakistan; Bhutto takes over from Yahya Khan as chief martial law administrator of West Pakistan; war breaks out between India and Pakistan; secession of East Pakistan and birth of Bangladesh

1972 – Simla Accord signed between Bhutto and Indira Gandhi, Prime Minister of India. Bhutto is accompanied by his daughter, Benazir. Z. A. Bhutto returns to Lahore and declares at once: “On the vital question of Kashmir we have made no compromise.”

1973 (New) Constitution of Pakistan, promulgated in April and brought into effect on Aug 14th, twenty-sixth anniversary of the founding of Pakistan; (July) Bhutto officially recognizes Bangladesh

1974 – Bhutto reportedly says that “we will eat grass but make our bomb” when India detonates a so-called “peaceful nuclear device” at Pokharan in western India

1977 – (July 5th) General Zia-ul Haq stages a coup; Bhutto is arrested, released, and again arrested; trial of Bhutto on charges of assassinating a political opponent takes place and lasts six months

1978 – (March 18th) Bhutto convicted and sentenced to death; (September 16th) Gen. Zia-ul Haq takes over as President of Pakistan; the opening of the Karkoram Highway furnishes new links to China and Central Asia

1979 – (April 4th) Bhutto hanged at Adiyala jail, Rawalpindi; Nusrat Bhutto, Benazir’s mother and Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s widow, becomes Chairperson of PPP; Zia-ul Haq initiates the policy of “Islamicization”, as signified, for example, by the passage of the Hudood Ordinance and the introduction of the Sharia

1980 – Zia-ul Haq forms the Majlis-e-Shoora, in lieu of Parliament

1983 -- Benazir takes over from Nusrat as Chairperson of PPP; will later declare herself as Chairperson of PPP for life

1987 – (Dec 10th) Marriage of Benazir to Asif Ali Zardari, scion of a powerful business family

1988 – Gen. Zia-ul Haq killed in a mysterious plane crash; Benazir elected as Prime Minister; Pakistan under Benazir withdraws some support to separatists in the Indian Punjab agitating for a Khalistan homeland for Sikhs, but diverts aid to insurgents in Kashmir

1989 – Insurgency commenced in Jammu & Kashmir with push from jihadis from PoK [Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir]; bilateral talks between Benazir and Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi

1990 – Benazir removed from office on charges of corruption; Nawaz Sharif commences his first term of office; Asif Ali Zardari, Benazir’s husband known popularly as “Mr. Ten Percent” for allegedly extracting a 10% commission on contracts, jailed on numerous charges, including murder, extortion, and corruption

1993 – Nawaz Sharif is replaced with Benazir as Prime Minister, who commences her second term in office; Zardari released from jail; Dawood Ibrahim, wanted in India as the mastermind of the Bombay bomb blasts, arrives in Karachi from Dubai and is furnished with a Pakistani passport

1996 – Benazir directs Pervez Musharraf, Director-General of Military Operations, to rehabilitate Osama bin Laden, later to be known as America’s Number One Enemy, and bring him to Jalalabad from Sudan; Benazir is dismissed on charges of corruption; Nawaz Sharif restored to the Prime Ministership

1997 – Foreign Ministers of Pakistan and India meet in Delhi

1998 – India carries out nuclear tests and becomes an openly declared nuclear state; Pakistan follows suit; sanctions imposed on both countries by the United States; Pakistan tests its Ghauri missile (range of 1,500 kms or 932 miles)

1999 – Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee travels to Pakistan to meet Sharif; Pakistan initiates the ill-fated excursions into Kargil; Gen. Pervez Musharraf engineers coup in October and becomes head of state; Nawaz Sharif sent into exile

2000 – Pakistan’s Supreme Court validates Musharraf’s coup and grants him executive powers

2001 – (September 11th) Terrorist attacks on World Trade Center (New York) and the Pentagon; Pakistan under Musharraf declares its support for the US-initiated “War on Terror”; (December 13th) Attack on the Indian Parliament, for which India holds Pakistan-backed militants responsible; massive build of troops on both sides of the border

2002 – Pakistan’s constitution restored; referendum extends Musharraf’s Presidency by five years

2003 – Musharraf survives two assassination attempts

2004 – Resumption of talks between India and Pakistan; series of bombings in Pakistan

2007 – (March) removal of popular Chief Justice of Pakistan by Musharraf; Lawyers’ agitation; (June) Chaudhary, who had been under house arrest, reinstated as Chief Justice; (November 11th) so-called second coup by Musharraf, who sacks Chaudhary and a number of other justices, and imposes Emergency; Nawaz Sharif attempts to return to Pakistan but is sent back from the airport; Benazir returns to Pakistan from exile, and so does, on his second attempt, Nawaz Sharif; Musharraf calls for elections, and steps down as Martial Law commander and chief of the armed forces

2007 – (December 27th): assassination of Benazir Bhutto at Rawalpindi Park; (December 30th) Benazir’s son, Bilawal, named as head of PPP, with her husband, Asif Ali Zardari, acting as ‘regent’

2008 – (February 18th) Elections in Pakistan: no party has a majority, but PPP gains more seats than any other party; Musharraf retains the Presidency but his allies suffer a huge electoral setback; religious parties trounced at the polls

(21 February 2008)