Jinnah Hall, Pakistan-Courtesy of Lycos Downloads at: http://members.lycos.fr/bktm/geog/pak2.htm
(Created by Daphne Ahalt, History 135, March 2002)


Assignment    History    Timeline    Fact Sheet    Music    Websites and Books    Related Events


What have been some of the characteristic features of Pakistan's history since 1947?

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Pakistan is a country rich in history. From the time civilization began its initial development in the Indus River valley over five thousand years ago to the present, the people and cultures of the region have experienced a diverse set of changing influences.

In the 1700s the British East India Company became the strongest power in South Asia, wresting control from the Mughal Empire, which had been created by invading Muslim Turks, and over time the British gained political control over much of the region. A series of wars fought in the Punjab and Sind in the 1840s added these territories to British control, and by 1900 British India included all of what is now Pakistan, India and Bangladesh.

After World War I, both Indian nationalist leaders, such as Mohandas Gandhi, and the Muslim League called for South Asian independence. During the 1930s, the Muslim League increasingly began to prefer the creation of a separate Muslim nation. Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the League's president, opted to call the proposed country, "Pakistan," which means "land of the pure" in Urdu.

After World War II, England committed itself to an independent South Asia. After unrest between Hindus and Muslims in the region, the United Kingdom and Hindu leaders agreed to a partition of the region. Pakistan became an independent country on 14 August 1947 with Muhammad Ali Jinnah as the first head of government.

Fighting continued between Hindus and Muslims despite the partition. Hindus and Sikhs fled to India, while Muslims departed for Pakistan, a disaster. Thousands died in the scuffle. India and Pakistan also went to war over Kashmir in 1948. Pakistan claimed Kashmir because most of its residents where Muslim, while the region's Hindu leader made Kashmir part of India. The fighting ended only after the United Nations arranged for a cease-fire in 1949.

Eventually in 1956, Pakistan became a republic with Major-General Iskander Mirza as the first president. Military leaders controlled the republican government. In 1965 the dispute over Kashmir led to renewed fighting, and once again, the United Nations had to arrange for a cease-fire. In 1970, representatives from East Pakistan (present-day Bangladesh) objected to West Pakistan's control of the nation's government, economy and armed forces. Elections were held for a new National Assembly responsible for drafting a revised constitution. But shortly after the elections, the differences and disagreements erupted in civil war. President Yahya Kahn, after inciting protests in East Pakistan, postponed the first meeting of the Assembly. Resisting the army, East Pakistan declared itself an independent country on 26 March 1971, "Bangladesh."

In the early 1970s Kahn resigned, and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto restored constitutional government and civilian rule. Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi agreed to withdraw her troops from all Pakistan territories. Kashmir, however, remained in dispute, and Indian troops remained positioned there. In 1973 Pakistan adopted a new constitution that provided for a president as head of state and a prime minister as chief executive. Bhutto became Prime Minister, and Chaudhri Fazal Elahi was elected president. When Bhutto's political party was accused of election fraud in the mid-1970s, General Mohammed Zia-Ul-Haq declared martial law and removed Bhutto from office. Elahi resigned in 1978, and Zia declared himself president. His government convicted Bhutto of ordering the murder of a political opponent and executed him in 1979.

Martial law ended in 1985 when Zia allowed the election of a new parliament. However, three years later he removed the prime minister and parliament from power, but later that year he died in a plane crash. Benazir Bhutto, daughter of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and head of the Pakistan People's Party, was elected prime minister of the new parliament. She became the first woman to ever head an elected government in an Islamic nation. Ghulan Ishaq Khan became president and, in 1990 accused Bhutto of corruption and removed her from office. The Islamic Democratic Alliance, a coalition of reformist political parties, won a majority of parliamentary seats in the new October elections. Nawaz Sharif of the Pakistan Muslim League, the chief party of the coalition, became Prime Minister, but political unrest continued. In the mid-1990s military pressure dissolved Pakistan's parliament and Khan and Sharif resigned. Once more, Benazir Bhutto became prime minister. This time President Leghari accused her of corruption, and she was removed from office again three years later. A law passed by parliament in April 1997 stripped the Pakistani president of the powers to dismiss the prime minister and to call new elections.

In October 1999 General Pervez Musharraf led a military coup to stop government corruption. He dissolved the parliament, suspended the Constitution and declared himself the head of a transition government; in 2001 he declared himself president. Musharraf incited protests from Pakistani supporters of Afghanistan's Islamic government when he allowed United States armed forces to operate in Pakistan during the war on terrorism. After India's Parliament building was attacked, causing the death and injury of 20 people, India blamed Pakistan of supporting terrorists. The incident led both countries to build up military forces along their common border, again threatening the fragile stability of the region.

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Muhammad Ali Jinnah  - Clip Art courtesy of ArtToday.com Member Services Downloads 1940 - 1949:  1947: Pakistan became an independent nation; Muhammad Ali Jinnah elected Governor General with Liaquat Ali Khan as Prime Minister; 1948: Jinnah died; Kwaza Nazimuddin became Governor General.

1950 - 1959:    1951: Nazimuddin became the Prime Minister after Liaquat was assassinated 1956: The Constitution adopted; Governor General Mirza announced as President; 1958: Mirza declared martial law; he was sent into exile when General Mohammad Ayub Khan assumed the presidency.

1960 - 1969: 1965: Second war between India and Pakistan over Kashmir; cease-fire arranged by the United Nations; 1969: Ayub Khan resigned and martial law declared again; General Agha Mohammad Yahya Khan assumed the presidency.

1970 - 1979:    1971: East Pakistan attempted to secede and civil war broke out; East Pakistan declared an independent country named Bangladesh; Yahya Kahn resigned; Zulfikar Ali Bhutto elected President of Pakistan; 1972: Bhutto and Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi signed the SIMLA Agreement which created a new Line of Control; 1973: A new constitution was put into effect; Bhutto became Prime Minister; 1976: Diplomatic ties established between Pakistan and Bangladesh; 1977: General Mohammad Zia Ul-Haq proclaimed martial law; 1978: Zia became the sixth president of Pakistan; 1979: The Islamic penal code was introduced; Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was hanged for government corruption.

1980 - 1989:    1983: Zia lifted martial law; 1985: General elections were held: 1988: Zia dismissed the government and orders new elections; Zia killed in plane crash; Benazir Bhutto sworn in as the first female Prime Minister of an Islamic country.

Benazir Bhutto - Picture courtesy of ArtToday.com Member Services Downloads General Mohammad Zia Ul-Haq  - Photo courtesy of ArtToday.com Member Services Downloads

1990 - 1999:    1990: Bhutto lost to the coalition of rightist parties in the national election; Nawaz Sharif elected Prime Minister; 1995: Benazir Bhutto elected again as Prime minister by a slim margin; 1996: President Farooq Leghari accused Bhutto of government corruption and nepotism; Bhutto was dismissed from her position; 1997: Sharif became head of the government after national elections; 1998: Nuclear tests in India and Pakistan produced worldwide condemnation and sanctions from countries such as the United States and Japan; 1999: General Pervez Musharraf led the Pakistani army in a coup that toppled Sharif's government; Sharif was accused of massive corruption, destroying institutions and undermining the Constitution.

2000 - Present:    2000: A two-year drought forced hundreds of thousands of Pakistanis to leave the southern desert region; deposed Prime Minister Sharif tried for treason; 2001: Musharraf appointed himself President of Pakistan; Musharraf set a date of 1 October 2002 for the return of a democratic government; Pakistan shut down its border with Afghanistan preventing more refugees from entering; Pakistan joined and international coalition against terrorism at the United States' urging.

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Fact Sheet
National Flag of Pakistan

Flag: Pakistan's flag has a star and a crescent, both traditional symbols of Islam.  Green stands for the nation's Muslim majority.

Official Name: The Islamic Republic of Pakistan

Capital: Islamabad

Official Languages: Urdu and English (Others include: Punjabi, Sindhi, Siraiki, Pashtu, Balochi, Hindko, Brahui and Burushaski)

Population: Estimated for 2002 at 144,135,000 (67% percent rural, 33% urban)

Chief Agricultural Products: Wheat, Cotton, Rice, Sugar Cane, Milk and Chickpeas

Mining: Natural Gas and Petroleum

Manufacturing: Cotton Textiles and Clothing

Money: Pakistani rupee

Climate: Hot, dry desert; temperate in the northwest and arctic in the north; Annual rainfall of 36 inches.

National Holiday: Pakistan Resolution Day (proclamation of the republic in 1956), 23 March

Geographical Map of Pakistan from Microsoft Publishing Platinum 2002 Pakistan covers an area of approximated three hundred thousand square miles with the highest elevation being in the K2 mountain range at 28,250 feet above sea level.  The coastline extends over five hundred miles.
Pakistan is bordered by Afghanistan, Iran, China, India and the Arabian Sea. Regional Map of Pakistan from Microsoft Publishing Platinum 2002
Fact sheet information obtained from www.pak.org and www.hipakistan.com.

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Pakistani Music

bullet.gif Jeetaingay (*.mid file), one of the more famous qwaali songs from Pakistan (Source: Vital Signs Downloads)

bullet.gif Jeevay (*.mid file), a famous national songs of Pakistan (Source: Vital Signs Downloads)

bullet.gif Dil Dil Pakistan (*.mid file), music by one of the most famous Pakistani musical groups (Source: Vital Signs Downloads)

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Websites and Books

Some reference websites:

bullet gif. Atlapedia Online includes information and articles on the history of Pakistan and any other country you wish to research!

bullet gif. CIA World Factbook - Pakistan has factual information on Pakistan; also check Infoplease.

bullet gif. Pakistan WWW Virtual Library maintains an enormous amount of linked information on Pakistan.

bullet gif. Pakistan provides some information on the history of Pakistan, its culture and more.

bullet gif. Pakistan, Encyclopedia.com, contains historical information on the political progress in Pakistan.

Some research websites:

bullet gif. Pakistan's Ruling Elite is an essay on the dominant features of past and recent rulers of Pakistan.

bullet gif. Pakistan's Historical Background is a long essay on the background, pre-1948, history of Pakistan.

bullet gif. Story of Pakistan: The Web Site is a comprehensive reference on the political history of Pakistan, including timelines and historical articles.

Some official websites:

bullet gif. Official Pakistan Web Site has links to government offices, travel information and the Pakistani media

bullet gif. HiPakistan.com has current news and information from a variety of Pakistan newspapers and television and radio stations

bullet gif. PakRanks.com maintains links to websites dedicated to Pakistani culture, entertainment, government, media, shopping and more!

bullet gif. DAWN: The Internet Edition Pakistani newspaper online

bullet gif. Our Pakistan Information on Pakistan's history with links to images, movies, music and more.

bullet gif. Pakistan Information is an official Ministry of Information and Broadcasting site.

Some good books:

bullet gif.Some Far and Distant Place by Jonathan S. Addleton, University of Georgia Press, Athens GA, 1997; a vivid and humorous look at the author's life as a missionary's son in Pakistan.

bullet gif.Cultures of the World: Pakistan by Sean Sheehan, Marshall Cavendish Corporation, Tarrytown, NY 1996; written as a juvenile reference.

bullet gif.India and Pakistan: The First Fifty Years by Selig S. Harrison, et al, Cambridge University Press, New York, 1998; a look back at the first fifty years of independence.

bullet gif.The Sole Spokesman: Jinnah, The Muslim League and the Demand for Pakistan by Ayesha Jalal, Cambridge University Press, New York, 1994; history of Jinnah and the Muslim League.

bullet gif.Pakistan in the Twentieth Century: A Political History by Lawrence Ziring, Oxford University Press, 2000; an analysis of both the vision and the reality of South Asian polity.

bullet gif.Pakistan: Political Roots and Development by Safdar Mahmood, Oxford University Press, 2000; a historical background on the development of Pakistan.

bullet gif.Pakistan Leadership Challenges by Jahan Dad Khan, Oxford Univeristy Press, 1999; a historical look at Pakistani leaders and the challenges they faced before.

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