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International Socialism, Spring 2016


Geoff Brown

Pakistan: Timeline of key events


From International Socialism 2 : 150, Spring 2016.
Copyright © International Socialism.
Copied with thanks from the International Socialism Website.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.



Muslim League founded.


Muslim League adopts principle of a separate nation for India’s Muslims.


India partitioned creating East and West Pakistan. Around one million die in communal violence, millions more are displaced.


Pakistan army invades Balochistan. Dispute over Kashmir leads to first war between India and Pakistan.


Student uprising in East Pakistan protesting against Urdu as sole national language.


Pakistan joins the Baghdad Pact, later known as the Central Treaty Organisation (CENTO).


Pakistan’s first military dictatorship: General Ayub Khan takes over.


Second war with India over Kashmir.


Mass movement triggered by students leads to overthrow of military dictatorship.


Pakistan’s first proper general election. Awami League wins in East Pakistan.


Army repression in East Pakistan leads to over a million deaths. Army defeated by India. East Pakistan becomes Bangladesh. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto takes office as president.


Mass strike in Karachi.


General Zia leads coup overthrowing Bhutto.


Zia introduces elements of sharia law.


Bhutto hanged.


Russian invasion of Afghanistan. Pakistan becomes key US ally.


Zia killed in plane crash.


Bhutto’s daughter, Benazir, becomes prime minister, holding office 1988–90 and 1993–6.


First structural adjustment agreement with the IMF.


Nawaz Sharif takes office. Prime minister 1991–3 and 1997–9.


India explodes nuclear devices followed by Pakistan carrying out its own nuclear tests.


Military coup led by General Pervez Musharraf.


Musharraf supports US attacks on Afghanistan.


Renewed insurgency in Balochistan.

March 2007

Musharraf suspends Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry. Protest movement across Pakistan.

July 2007

Chaudhry reinstated by Supreme Court.

Nov 2007

Musharraf declares emergency rule.

Dec 2007

State of emergency lifted. Benazir Bhutto assassinated.

Aug 2008

Musharraf resigns.

Sept 2008

Asif Ali Zardari, widower of Benazir Bhutto, elected president.

April 2009

Army invasion of Swat: thousands killed, over two million refugees.

Aug 2010

Monsoon floods kill over 1,600, 20 million people displaced.

April 2011

Osama Bin Laden, found hiding in Pakistan, is seized and killed by American special forces.

May 2013

General election. Nawaz Sharif’s Muslim League declared victor. Widespread protests alleging vote-rigging.

June 2014

Taliban attack on Karachi airport. Army launches Operation Zarb-i-Azb in North Waziristan.

Aug 2014

PTI leader Imran Khan and cleric Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri lead march on Islamabad followed by sit-in before Parliament House.

Dec 2014

Taliban attack on Army Public School in Peshawar. 150 killed, mostly children. Islamabad sit-in called off.

Jan 2015

National Action Plan established to tackle Taliban. Moratorium on use of death penalty lifted.

Feb 2016

Eight day strike at Pakistan International Airlines after the military fire on demonstration killing two employees.

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