Early period of Pakistan Movement
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.
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 Muslim League
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.
Allama Sir Muhammad Iqbal.
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.
Muslim homeland – “Now or Never“
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.
Final phase of the Pakistan Movement
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 but they 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.
Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
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.
Liaquat Ali Khan.
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.
Huseyn Suhrawardy (left) with Sheikh Mujibur Rahman
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. The One Unit program and centralizing of national economy on the 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 to lose an edge in his own party to the growing influence of cleric Maulana Bhashani. Resigning 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 for the Pakistan Muslim League led by Nurul Amin began to threaten President Mirza who was unapproved of by the public. In less than two years, Mirza dismissed four elected prime ministers, and was increasingly under 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 a state of emergency and imposed martial law in 1958, suspended the constitution and dissolved the socialist government in the Eastern wing and the parliamentary government in West Pakistan.
General Ayub Khan, as the Chief Martial Law Administrator, asserted his position all over the country. Within two weeks President Mirza also attempted to dismiss General Ayub Khan. This move backfired on President Mirza who was soon to be relieved from his presidency and exiled to London, United Kingdom in 1958. That 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.
Presidential republic (1962–1969)
Muhammad Ayub Khan.
The parliamentary system came to an end in 1958, following the imposition of martial law. Tales of corruption in the 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 it enforced the controversial Elective Bodies Disqualification Order (EBDO) which ultimately disqualified Suhrawardy from holding public office. Ayub Khan introduced a new presidential system called “Basic Democracy”, by which an electoral college of 80,000 would select the President, and he also promulgated the 1962 constitution. 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 industry began to be noticed by the public and became extremely popular in the country during the 1960s. Rather than preferring 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 a suspected pro-communist revolt in Western Pakistan allegedly supported by the Afghanistan and American armoury was used to stop the rebellion. During the controversial 1965 presidential elections, Ayub Khan 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 against 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, the East Pakistani Army did not interfere in the conflict and this brought a great ire in West Pakistan against the Eastern wing. 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.
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.
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.
|“||Today, we have settled a score and have carried out six successful nuclear tests”||”|
|— Prime minister Nawaz Sharif announcing the tests on May 30, 1998, |
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 …— Nawaz Sharif—Prime minister, on 30 May 1998, televised at PTV, 
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.
Third military era (1999–2007): Musharraf–Aziz period
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 licenses to the 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. Musharraf asked his parliamentary opponents to reach a concession by December 2003. The Musharraf-backed liberals eventually mustered the two-thirds majority required to pass the 17th Amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan. The transformation of the country’s political system from parliamentary republic to semi-presidential republic was made through the 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,. The political situation became more chaotic when 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 while Musharraf made desperate attempts 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 their 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.
Fourth democratic era (2008–present)
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