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Pakistan: Chronology of a troubled nation


Islamabad : Following are the important events in the turbulent history of Pakistan:

1948 First war with India over Kashmir

1949 New constitution declares Pakistan to be an Islamic republic

1958 General Ayub Khan seizes power in a military coup

1965 Second war with India over Kashmir

1969 Ayub Khan hands over power to General Yahya Khan

1970 The Bengali nationalist Awami League wins elections but the military refuses to convene the National Assembly

1971 12-day war with India, East Pakistan becomes the independent state of Bangladesh. Yahya Khan steps down and Pakistan peoples Party (PPP) leader Zulfikar Ali Bhutto becomes president.

1972 Pakistan, India sign the Simla Agreement

1973 Zulfikar Ali Bhutto becomes prime minister under a new constitution

1973-77 The Pakistan military takes on and defeats a major insurgency in Balochistan

1977 General Zia ul-Haq seizes power in a coup

1979 Zulfikar Ali Bhutto is hanged. The Soviet Union invades neighbouring Afghanistan

1980 Mujahideen operations begin against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. In Pakistan, the Hudood ordinance is passed as Zia pursues Islamisation policies

1986 Benazir Bhutto returns from exile to campaign for the restoration of democracy

1988 General Zia dies in an air crash. The PPP wins election. Benazir Bhutto becomes prime minister

1989 The Soviet Union withdraws from Afghanistan

1990 Benazir Bhutto dismissed as Prime Minister on charges of corruption. Nawaz Sharif becomes prime minister after his Muslim League-led coalition wins election. Pro-independence Kashmiri separatists launch military activities in India

1993 Nawaz Sharif forced to resign under military pressure. Benazir Bhutto becomes prime minister of the second time.

1996 Benazir Bhutto dismissed amid corruption charges. In Afghanistan, the Taliban take power with Pakistan support

1997 Nawaz Sharif returns to power after the Muslim League wins election.

1998 India carries out nuclear tests; Pakistan responds with similar tests

1999 Further clashes with India over Kashmir in the Kargil sector, General Pervez Musharraf seizes power, overthrowing Nawaz Sharif. Sharif is subsequently sentenced to life imprisonment of hijacking and terrorism charges and sent into exile.

2001 Musharraf names himself president while remaining head of the army. After the 9/11 attacks in the US, Musharraf renounces the Taliban in Afghanistan. Gunmen attack parliament in New Delhi. India suspects Pakistani complicity. The US lifts sanctions imposed after 1998 nuclear tests.

2002 Following a rigged referendum, Musharraf’s term as president is extended to five years. Pro-Musharraf faction of the Muslim League leads a new governing coalition following elections. Islamic parties form government in North West Frontier Province. Renewed tension between Pakistan and India over Kashmir.

2003 Kashmir ceasefire by India and Pakistan, reducing tension

2004 Top nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan admits selling nuclear technology to North Korea, Iran and Libya. He is placed under house arrest. Major military operations in Waziristan against Islamic militants. Musharraf reneges on an earlier promise to stand down as head of the army.

2005 Earthquake with epicentre in Pakistan-administered Kashmir kills more than 73,000 people

2007 Pakistan is plunged into political crisis as Musharraf suspends the chief justice of the Supreme Court as elections approach, only to be overruled by the apex court itself, leading to the chief justice’s reinstatement. Bhutto and Sharif both announce their plans to return and contest the polls, but Bhutto discusses a political deal with Musharraf that would give her the prime ministership leaving him as president.

2007 State of Emergency announced