Pakistan means land of the pure. It was the religion (Islam) the unifying element of a people of different ethnic communities and with different languages. The poet and philosopher Mohamed Iqbal created the concept of Pakistan (“land of the pure”) when, in 1931, he proposed to unify the Muslim population of the Indian subcontinent into a single Islamic State.
After the arrival of Arab and Persian traders to India, the first permanent Muslim conquest was Sindh, accomplished by Mohamed bin Qasim in 711.
In 1296 Ala-ud-din Khalji proclaimed himself sultan of Delhi and for the year 1311, all India was under his Sultanate. In 1336, to counter the Muslim power was founded the Vijayanagara Empire, the Kingdom of the Hindu Alliance, with capital at Hampi. Over time, successive uprisings split the Empire and the Muslim sultanates formed a new Alliance. A coalition of sultanates in 1565 defeated the army of Vijayanagara and the power in the region became Muslim rulers. Then their kingdoms were annexed to the Mughal Empire.
During British colonialism were the decline of Muslim power and the rise of class Indian media. In October 1906, Muslim leaders met with the viceroy (representative of England) and demanded a reform of the electoral system with a separate regime for Muslims. They also founded in Dhaka (Bangladesh) League Muslim all India the (All India Muslim League) to defend their interests and political rights. England conceded the reform in 1909 with the law of the Government of India recognized the Muslim League as the representative of the Muslim Indians.
During the 1930s the awareness of a common identity and the need for an own territory grew up among Muslims. Led by Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the all-India Muslim League continued its campaign by Pakistan, a land apart within British India.
The Indo-Muslims a relationship is strained after protests in different parts of the country. This situation convinced the leaders of the National Congress of India (representing mainly nationalists) to accept the creation of Pakistan. On June 3, 1947, after the British withdrawal from India, announced a Plan of separation, and both the Muslim League and the Congress accepted it. On 14 August of the same year was born in the new State of Pakistan, comprising Eastern Punjab, Sind, Baluchistan, the north-eastern border province and East Bengal, surrounding by Northwest and northeast India.
Between 1948 and 1949 Pakistan was annexed a third of the territory of the Indian province of Kashmir. The Muslim-majority territory had joined India in 1947 in Exchange for support military against Pakistani tribes.
Pakistan joined the Organization of the Southeast Asia Treaty (OTSEA) in 1954 and the Central Treaty Organization (OTCEN) in 1955, two powerful military alliances led by the United States, which withdrew later, while maintaining ties with Washington.
Since its independence, Pakistan suffered permanent political crisis. Its first Constitution, March 1956, was superseded by a coup on October 7, 1958, proclaimed martial law. On October 27, 1958, General Ayub Khan introduced a democracy that is basic, with a system of local self-government and indirect presidential election. Martial law was lifted in 1962; a new Constitution gave the President absolute powers and Pakistan became the Islamic Republic. Ayub Khan resigned on March 25, 1969, after massive protests. He turned to declare martial law and General Yahya Khan was appointed President.
In the first general elections, between October and December 1970, triumphed in the Awami League in East Pakistan and the party of the people of Pakistan (PPP) in the western part. In the parliamentary elections absolute majority corresponded to the Awami League, which gave the federal Government. When the session of Parliament was postponed, in March 1971, the village in eastern Pakistan, led by the Awami League, began a movement for the liberation of Bangladesh. The League was outlawed and its leader, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, imprisoned. He began a civil war and formed a Government in exile in India. The Indian army intervened, and on December 16, 1971 Bangladesh attained its independence.
Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, leader of the PPP, formed a civilian Government in 1972, after the resignation of general Yahya; it promoted the participation of the public sector in the economy, it developed a foreign policy of non-alignment and introduced a radical land reform. The PPP again won in the general election of 1977, but the opposition alleged electoral fraud. General Zia-ul Haq overthrew the Bhutto Government and proclaimed martial law. Bhutto was arrested and sentenced to death for conspiracy. Pakistan strongly objected to the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan, at the end of 1979.
Zia accelerated the process of Islamization in all spheres of political and social life. Many members of the opposition were pursued and arrested. In February 1985, general elections without political parties partially legitimized his Government. The leader died in a presumed plane crash in August 1988 and restored democracy. Benazir Bhutto (PPP), daughter of the former President, took over after the general elections of November 1988.
Bhutto, the first woman to preside over a predominantly Islamic country, served two times (1988-1990 and 1993-1996). During their administrations, Pakistan signed the International Convention on the Elimination of discrimination against women, although some Pakistanis did not feel that their situation would improve significantly. Some felt that Bhutto had not made sufficient efforts to impose legislation that restore a quota of female seats in the Parliament. Its weak coalition Government included religious parties and conservatives who opposed such a change. However, during their presidencies, women, for the first time, they were designated as superior court judges, began a campaign against domestic violence and founded a Bank for women.
In mid-1990, there were about three million Afghan refugees in the country. During the years the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan, United States used Pakistani territory to supply arms to the Mujahideen (rebels groups fighting against the Government of Kabul). This situation became Pakistan an ally indispensable for Washington in the region, which resulted in an important economic help.
On 6 August 1990 President Ghulam Ishaq Khan dismissed Benazir Bhutto on charges of nepotism and corruption. He dissolved the National Assembly and the leader of the opposition, Ghulam Mustafá Jatoi, appointed to lead an interim Government.
On October 24, 1990 he was elected Nawaz Sharif as Prime Minister, with the support of the Muslim League (LM). The PPP of Benazir Bhutto (who returned to run) denounced fraud and began an intensive campaign of opposition.
At the outbreak of the conflict in the Persian Gulf, Pakistan sent troops to Saudi Arabia after the Iraqi invasion to Kuwait, but before revealing huge pro-Iraqi sympathies surveys among the population, the Government announced that his forces would be limited to defend the Holy places of Islam and would not participate in combat or would enter into Iraqi territory.
Just assume Sharif adopted a plan of incentives for private investment, which included privatization of public enterprises and generated great resistance among the nearly 300,000 workers in the sector.
A process of re-Islamization of the society, led by Sharif, included the introduction of Sharia (Islamic law) with consequent recoil of the legal and social situation of women. The media were banned any mention of women’s right to divorce.
In November 1991 the opposition accused Nawaz Sharif of fraud in the management of public finances. Only the unconditional support of the President Ishaq Khan prevented Sharif, responsible for the bankruptcy of some cooperative credit institutions, to fall. The scandal generated a wave of demonstrations led by the PPP, which the Government faced with repression. Amnesty International denounced violations of human rights by the Government.
In February 1992, the dispute over the Kashmir border territory put to Pakistan and India on the brink of a new armed conflict. The Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front, a Muslim group which calls for the creation of an independent nation, organized a March in protest against the division of the State between the two countries. The army, by order of the Government, opened fire on the protesters, causing several deaths and injuries.
Before the Pakistani development of a program of nuclear weapons in 1992, United States suspended arms sales to Islamabad and credits. Pakistan said that it did have the economic and technological support of China to continue with its program.
President Ishaq Khan accused the Prime Minister Mohammed Nawaz Sharif of mismanagement, corruption and nepotism, forcing his resignation in April 1993. Sharif appealed to the Court of Justice and in May was reinstated in power. The dissolution of the Assembly was revoked and canceled the call for elections. Both Khan and Sharif resigned in July.
Benazir Bhutto returned to the Government in October. The PPP won 86 of the 217 seats in the Assembly against 72 of Sharif.
Between 1994 and 1995, Bhutto tried to democratize the country in the midst of the years of greater political and ethnic violence since the separation of Bangladesh in 1971. Karachi and the Northern separatist regions were the center of the dispute that caused more than 3,500 dead.
In November, Bhutto, accused of corruption, was ceased in his duties. In the new parliamentary elections, supporters of the former Minister Nawaz Sharif won 136 of 217 seats. Miraj Khalid was named interim premier until, in early 1997, Sharif took over.
The tension with India deepened in May 1998, when a series of nuclear tests in that country were answered by other so many nuclear tests of Pakistan.
While India was still claiming authority over all Kashmir, Pakistan insisted on holding a referendum among its inhabitants to determine if they preferred independence.
In October 1999, general Pervez Musharraf, in charge of operations military in Kashmir and dismissed by Sharif, he staged a coup and imprisoned the President accusing him of hijacking, terrorism and attempted murder. Pakistan became the first country with nuclear power, ruled by the military.
On December 10, 1999, Sharif won the presidential pardon and went into exile in Saudi Arabia, in Exchange not to return to Pakistan before 10 years and give up his personal fortune, and for 21 years, to politics.
At the end of December was the first phase of the local elections in 18 of 106 districts in the country. Analysts warned a change of the domain of the electoral scene, passing local feudal families of political parties.
For March 2000 the second phase of the local elections in 20 districts had been held, and the pressure increased on the Chief Executive so that it establishes a clear timetable for the return to democracy. At the same time, police arrested over 2,000 activists of the Alliance for the restoration of democracy and 22 of their leaders.
Musharraf took the head of State and was appointed President of Pakistan in June 2001, announcing that he would retain his duties as Chief Executive and would remain the Commander of the General staff of the army. In October, Musharraf announced that he prolonged his mandate indefinitely as Supreme Head of the army.
After the attacks of September 11, 2001 in New York and Washington, United States announced the lifting of the economic and military sanctions imposed on India and Pakistan after the 1998 nuclear tests. The measure was motivated by the support of Musharraf to the U.S. military operation against the Islamist Taliban regime in Afghanistan, the terrorist network Al – Qaeda ally. In previous years, when he struggled to impose its dominance in Afghanistan, the Taliban had received military, economic, and ideological support from Pakistan.
The U.S. bombardment of Afghanistan provoked broad protests from Pakistani Islamic groups. Musharraf made some changes in the Army shortly before the start the air raid in the neighboring country, removing some generals pro Islamist strategic positions.
When the US Secretary of State Colin Powell visited Islamabad in October 2001, Musharraf sought support from U.S. In the conflict in Kashmir, as well as help to deal with the economic consequences of the flood of Afghan refugees crossing the border.
India blamed Pakistan for a suicide attack perpetrated by Islamist activists against the Parliament in New Delhi on December 13. Musharraf condemned the attack and denied any connection of his Government with the authors. On 26 December 2001 India moved troops and aircraft increased tension in Kashmir to the Pakistani border. While at the border, Indian and Pakistani troops exchanged shots, Pakistani authorities arrested December 30 leader of one of the activist groups, Mohamed Said, held responsible for the attack on Parliament.
In April 2002, the American journalist Daniel Pearl, kidnapped in January by an Islamist group, was killed. That month, in a referendum called by Musharraf, 97% of the votes supported his permanence in power for another five years. All observers reported a great electoral fraud.
After tests carried out by Pakistan missile ground and medium-range, capable of carrying nuclear warheads, Musharraf said that the country did not want war, but was ready to defend itself if it was attacked.
Opposition forces have accused Musharraf of perpetuating his dictatorship, after which it was decreed new powers, including the right to dissolve a Parliament democratically elected. For the elections of October 2002, the Government imposed restrictions and outlawed important leaders, including Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto. The PPP, which supported the military, received a slight majority; However, the most noticeable result was growth (that key would return them in any coalition Government) of the Islamist parties, especially in the border areas with Afghanistan.
The National Assembly appointed, in November 2002, (close to Musharraf) Zafarullah Jamali as Prime Minister. In the elections to the Senate of February 2003 (last stage of the transition to democracy, according to the President), returned to win the ruling party.
Sharia law was introduced in June 2003 in the north-eastern border province.
Pakistan declared the ceasefire in Kashmir in November 2003, and India immediately imitated it. In December, Musharraf miraculously survived an attack, when a bomb exploded seconds after the passage of his car.
In February 2004, the main nuclear scientist of the country, Abdul Qadir Khan, admitted having worked in secret development of nuclear weapons and said that the technology had been transferred to Libya, of Iran and North Korea.
In March and April 2004, after 14 years without dispute, resumed matches of cricket between India and Pakistan, an important symbol of rapprochement between the two countries.
The Prime Minister Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain resigned in March 2004 and was succeeded by Shaukat Aziz, until then Minister of finance.
In December, Musharraf announced that he would remain Army Chief, even though he had promised to leave the Office.
In the Western Province of Baluchistan, nationalist forces had begun in 2004 attacks guerrillas to claim more autonomy, greater percentage of the revenues from its reserves of gas and the end of the military cantonments of the Government in the region. To March 2005, the conflict, which had already claimed dozens of lives of military and paramilitary Pakistani tribal militia, intensified, with attacks almost daily – if either reduced scale-nationalists.
In July 2005, more than 300 suspected Islamic militants were arrested in Koranic schools and offices of Muslim organizations, in an operation by the Government against religious extremism carried out days after a multiple attack on London’s public transport. Three of the four suicide perpetrators of the attacks, had recently visited Pakistan.
Some 74 thousand people died because of an earthquake that hit the North of the country in October 2005. More than three million Pakistanis homeless in mid-winter. As symbolic approach, India and Pakistan agreed to open the border in Kashmir to facilitate aid to survivors.
In January 2006, 18 civilians were killed in a U.S. bombing in a tribal border area with Afghanistan, allegedly directed against the number two of Al-Qaeda, Ayman-al-Zawahiri, who was not hit by the attack.
In February, as much of the Islamic world, Pakistan was the scene of protests against the publication of caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed in the Danish press, which left several dead and wounded. The Embassy of Denmark in Islamabad closed temporarily and the Pakistani Ambassador in Copenhagen was recalled for consultations.
In March, visit in Islamabad, US President George W. Bush praised Musharraf for his “brave decision” to join the war against terrorism and recalled the ‘strategic partnership’ of their respective countries in this fight. Days earlier, a suicide attack in Karachi had caused the death of a U.S. diplomat and three Pakistanis.
In April, a suicide bombing at a Sunni religious ceremony in Karachi left at least 57 dead. In February, another attack against a Shiite religious procession in Hangu (Northwest) had left 31 dead.
Washington said, in August 2007, not only that not hesitate bomb Pakistan if it suspected that there members of Al-Qaeda or Taliban fighters are hidden “but it was of course the support of Islamabad for an initiative of this type.
Till the year 2013 Asif Ali Zardari is the President of Pakistan. In this age two Prime Ministers were changed by the PPP Government, first one was Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani and the next one was Raja Perwaiz Ashraf.
Next election is scheduled in the country and it will be held on 11th of the May 2013.