Pakistan’s history is closely linked to that of India. The Harappa culture, which dates back to around the 3rd millennium BC. originated in the Indus Valley is considered one of the oldest advanced cultures in the world. Around the middle of the 2nd millennium BC. Aryan tribes immigrated from Iran and Afghanistan. Around 1000 BC the caste system created by the Aryans (“arya”, noble) is used for the first time, which served to prevent mixing between the peoples.
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From the 6th century BC the area of today’s Pakistan came under Persian influence and belonged to the Achaemenid Empire. After the destruction of the Persian empire by Alexander the Great in the 4th century BC. the area was ruled by a Greek-Persian upper class. From the 3rd century BC The Indian Maurya Empire took over the entire Indian subcontinent and Buddhism spread as the dominant religion.
Islamic area of influence
After several Indian-influenced empires, the area of what is now Pakistan came to in the 7th century AD. under the influence of Islam. AD 712 the first Islamic empires were established in the provinces of Sind and Multan (today in Southeast Pakistan). From the end of the 10th to the 12th centuries, the region belonged to the Islamic Ghasnavid Empire, which was founded by Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni. Lahore, now the capital of the Pakistani province of Panjab, became one of the sultan’s residences. In the middle of the 12th century the Ghurids took over.In the course of the various Muslim ruling dynasties (14th century: empire of Timur-Leng; 16th-19th century: Mughal empires), Islam became established as the dominant religion in the area of today’s Pakistan.
In the 18th century, the dispute over the possessions on the Indian subcontinent broke out between the colonial powers France and Great Britain. The British were able to assert themselves in the middle of the 18th century. Against the background of the first Afghan-British war (1839-42), the colonial power in Pakistan took control relatively quickly: in 1843, the entire Punjab was conquered until 1856. After several uprisings against the British, the Mughal Empire was dissolved and Pakistan became part of the newly created British Indian Crown Colony (1858). At that time, the majority of the population was a Hindu, while Muslims were a minority.After the British government took over the administration of the colonial area (until 1858 British East Indian Company), political groups were formed. In 1885, the Indian National Congress (INC) was formed to represent the interests of the Hindus. In 1906 the Muslim League (All Indian Muslim League) was founded in Dhaka (Eastern Pakistani, now Bangladesh), which was led by Mohammad Ali Dschinnah from 1916 and which represented the interests of the Muslim minorities.
As early as the 30s of the 20th century, the representatives of the Muslim League demanded that the crown colony of India be divided into two states because they feared the dominance of a Hindu majority. Their leader Mohammad Ali Dschinnah is widely regarded as the founding father of Pakistan. The creation of the name Pakistan also dates from this period, which consisted of the initial and final letters of the Muslim-influenced provinces of Punjab, Afghanistan, Kashmir, Indus, Sind and Baluchistan.
After the end of the Second World War, talks took place between the colonial power and the two representative bodies of the INC and the Muslim League. While the INC called for a Hindu-Muslim general state, representatives of the Muslim League called for the division of the former colony. After a series of civil war-like clashes, the Indian Union (India) and Pakistan emerged as two separate states on August 15, 1945.
The state of Pakistan
The new state of Pakistan consisted of two parts of the country, which were separated by 1,500 km by Indian territory: West Pakistan essentially corresponded to today’s Pakistan, East Pakistan corresponds to today’s Bangladesh.
After the two states were founded, an estimated six million Hindus and Sikhs fled Pakistan to India. Around eight million Muslims from India also fled to the Pakistani areas. These shifts were accompanied by numerous acts of violence between the ethnic groups, to which around half a million people fell victim. This led to the first foreign policy tensions between the two young states, as well as territorial disputes over former principalities that had not yet joined either state and insisted on statehood. Three of them, Junagadh, Hyderabad and Kashmir, officially became independent in August 1947. While India quickly annexed Junagadh and Hyderabad,Kashmir was occupied by the troops of both powers, with Pakistan occupying the west and north (1st Indian-Pakistani War). A ceasefire was negotiated through UN mediation in 1949, but the Kashmir conflict has not been resolved to this day, and tensions between India and Pakistan continue to arise.
After the death of Muslim leader Mohammad Ali Dschinnah in 1948, the two parts of Pakistan drifted apart. Numerous changes in government showed the unstable political situation in Pakistan. In March 1956, after an amendment to the constitution, the “Islamic Republic of Pakistan” was proclaimed. In October 1958 martial law was imposed, the National Assembly was dissolved and the constitution was overridden. According to AbbreviationFinder, Mohammad Ayub Khan (1958-69) ruled authoritarian and granted more political rights to East Pakistan (own parliament from 1962). Despite the land reform he carried out, the feudal structures in Pakistan (large landowners) were largely preserved. Ayub had good relations with the United States, from where the country received military and economic aid.
The separation of Bangladesh
General Aga Muhammad Yahya Khan (until 1971), who was appointed by Ayub as successor, held free elections for a Pakistani parliament in December 1970. While in Pakistan the socialist “Pakistan People’s Party” (PPP) under the leadership of Zulfikar Ali-Khan Bhutto became the strongest political force, in East Pakistan the Awamiliga under Sheikh Mujib ur-Rahman, which demanded the detachment of its part of the country, won all seats and thus the majority of seats in the general parliament. After civil war-like unrest, ur-Rhaman declared the independent state of Bangladesh in eastern Pakistan. After the intervention of western Pakistan, Indian troops intervened in the conflict (3rd Indian-Pakistani War), which ended in December 1971 with the recognition of the state of Bangladesh.
Developments since 1972
Zulfikar Ali-Khan Bhutto became the new leader in (western) Pakistan. In 1973 he moved to the post of prime minister (until 1977) and Fazal Elahi Chaudry became the new president.
Ahead of the 1977 elections, nine opposition parties formed an alliance (Pakistan National Alliance, PNA). After Bhutto’s PPP (Pakistan’s People’s Party) won the election, the alliance accused the government of election fraud. There were riots across the country for weeks. In July 1977, General Mohammad Zia ul-Haq’s military took control of Pakistan after a bloodless coup. Parties were banned again, the constitution was overridden and martial law was declared. Former Prime Minister Bhutto was tried on charges of instigating murder and executed two years later.
Zia ul-Haq introduced Islamic Sharia law as the legal basis of the state. After the entry of Soviet troops into Afghanistan in December 1979, the number of Afghan refugees quickly rose to around three million. After Zia ul-Haq’s death in May 1988, new elections were held in November 1988, which the PPP won under the leadership of Benazir Bhutto, the daughter of the executed Prime Minister. Benazir Bhutto became the first female head of government in an Islamic state. Her reign was short, in 1990 Mian Nawaz Sharif became the country’s new prime minister (until 1993) from the “Islamic Democratic Alliance” (IDA). Benazir Bhutto was again Prime Minister of Pakistan from 1993 to 1997, then Mian Nawaz Sharif again led the government.
Both India and Pakistan declared themselves nuclear powers in 1998. In October 1999, the Sharif government was overthrown by a military coup. Sharif went into exile first to Saudi Arabia and then to London; Bhutto to Dubai. In his absence, Bhutto was sentenced to five years in prison. Pervez Musharraf overruled the constitution and declared himself “the executive director of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan”. Musharraf was retrospectively recognized as the head of state by the Pakistani Supreme Court in 2000. In June 2001, he officially declared himself President of the State. In August 2002, he strengthened his position as a strong man in the state with 29 constitutional changes. After the 2002 elections, Musharraf transferred government affairs to the new government, headed by Zafarullah Jamali.
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After the al Qaeda terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, the country agreed to cooperate with the United States against international terror. This improved the relationship with the United States again, which had deteriorated as a result of the nuclear tests at the end of the 1990s. The Pakistani leadership had previously supported the Taliban regime. The refugees from Afghanistan, the number of which increased sharply after the US attacks, were a major economic burden for the state. In the medium term, the lack of success in fighting Islamist groups and the fact that Pakistan continued to be used as a supply base by the Taliban have led to criticism from the United States and Afghanistan. Relations with India are still tense due to the unresolved Kashmir conflict and are repeatedly expressed in hostilities in the region.
In October 2005, a 7.6 magnitude earthquake devastated numerous settlements, particularly in the Kashmir region; at least 40,000 people died and over two million were left homeless.
The removal of Supreme Judge Iftikhar Chaudhry by Musharraf in March 2007 resulted in weeks of demonstrations culminating in street battles and a general strike. Violent fighting between radical Islamists and security forces occurred in Islamabad in July of the year after armed Koran students barricaded themselves in the “Red Mosque”. In the unrest provinces in the north-west of the country there were sometimes heavy fights with foreign Islamists. Musharraf’s re-election as president in October 2007 was subject to legal review by the Supreme Court.
On October 18, 2007, the former head of government and then opposition leader Benazir Bhutto returned from her eight-year exile. Her acclaimed return was overshadowed by a suicide bombing. Musharraf declared a state of emergency on November 3. After Bhutto’s attempt to negotiate a common strategy of the opposition parties against the state of emergency and after calling for mass demonstrations, she was repeatedly put under house arrest. The newly composed Supreme Court finally confirmed the legality of Musharraf’s re-election. The latter resigned as chief of staff and took up his second term as president in November 2007. In December he lifted the state of emergency. Under pressure from the United States, Musharraf finally announced parliamentary elections for the 8th January 2008.
Benazir Bhutto was shot dead at a campaign event on December 27, 2007. After the murder there were riots that claimed over 40 lives. Her son Bilawal Bhutto Zardari succeeded Bhutto as leader of the opposition party “Pakistan’s People Party” (PPP). The ruling Pakistani Muslim League, which supports President Musharraf, suffered a defeat in the parliamentary elections in February 2008. The new Prime Minister, Yusuf Raza Gilani, who was elected by Parliament for the first time in eight years, was a member of the PPP.
Clashes with militant Islamists increased in the northwest of the country. Rapidly rising energy and food prices plunged the Pakistani economy into a serious crisis. At the same time, an internal political power struggle broke out with the president. After the government threatened impeachment proceedings, Musharraf finally resigned in August 2008. In September 2008, Asif Ali Zardari (PPP), widower of Benazir Bhutto, was elected new president. As a result of military clashes between the army and Taliban fighters, hundreds of thousands fled Northwest Pakistan in 2008/09. Military conflicts between the Pakistani military and the Pakistani Taliban have intensified since the end of April 2009. The Taliban continue to perpetrate T. serious terrorist attacks.
In April 2010, a far-reaching constitutional reform was passed with the aim of returning to the basic form of the 1973 constitution, which had been changed almost beyond recognition after numerous interventions by military rulers Zia-ul Haq and Musharraf.
Prime Minister Gilani lost his job in a June 2012 ruling by the Supreme Court. His successor was the PPP politician Raja Pervez Ashraf. In the parliamentary elections in May 2013, the previous ruling party “Pakistan’s People Party” (PPP) was replaced by the “Pakistan Muslim League-N” (PML-N) under Nawaz Sharif. It was the first time in the country’s history that the democratic change was constitutional. In July 2013, PML-N politician Mamnoon Hussain was elected Pakistan’s new head of state.