Pakistan 1906- 2010


A chronology of key events:Pakistan-flag-3D

1906 – Muslim League founded as forum for Indian Muslim separatism.

Muhammad Ali Jinnah in 1947
Muhammed Ali Jinnah – founding father of Pakistan
Born in Karachi, 1876
Pakistan’s first head of state until his death in 1948

1940 – Muslim League endorses idea of separate nation for India’s Muslims.

1947 – Muslim state of East and West Pakistan created out of partition of India at the end of British rule. Hundreds of thousands die in widespread communal violence and millions are made homeless.

1948 – Muhammed Ali Jinnah, the first governor general of Pakistan, dies.

1948 – First war with India over disputed territory of Kashmir.

Military rule

1951 – Jinnah’s successor Liaquat Ali Khan is assassinated.

1956 – Constitution proclaims Pakistan an Islamic republic.

1958 – Martial law declared and General Ayyub Khan takes over.

1960 – General Ayyub Khan becomes president.

War and secession

1965 – Second war with India over Kashmir.

1969 – General Ayyub Khan resigns and General Yahya Khan takes over.

1970 – Victory in general elections in East Pakistan for breakaway Awami League, leading to rising tension with West Pakistan.

1971 – East Pakistan attempts to secede, leading to civil war. India intervenes in support of East Pakistan which eventually breaks away to become Bangladesh.

1972 – Simla peace agreement with India sets new frontline in Kashmir.

1973 – Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto becomes prime minister.

Zia takes charge

Former Prime Minister Bhutto hanged in 1979
Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was ousted and executed

1977 – Riots erupt over allegations of vote-rigging by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). General Zia ul-Haq stages military coup.

1978 – General Zia becomes president.

1979 – Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto hanged.

1980 – US pledges military assistance to Pakistan following Soviet intervention in Afghanistan.

1985 – Martial law and political parties ban lifted.

1986 – Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s daughter Benazir returns from exile to lead PPP in campaign for fresh elections.

1988 August – General Zia, the US ambassador and top Pakistan army officials die in mysterious air crash.

Ghulam Ishaq Khan takes over as acting president, and is later elected to the post.

Bhutto comeback

General Zia: Killed in mysterious air crash
General Zia’s death in 1988 ended 11-year military rule

1988 November – Benazir Bhutto’s PPP wins general election.

1990 – Benazir Bhutto dismissed as prime minister on charges of incompetence and corruption.

1991 – Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif begins economic liberalisation programme. Islamic Shariah law formally incorporated into legal code.

1992 – Government launches campaign to stamp out violence by Urdu-speaking supporters of the Mohajir Quami Movement.

1993 – President Khan and Prime Minister Sharif both resign under pressure from military. General election brings Benazir Bhutto back to power.

Politics and corruption

BENAZIR BHUTTO 1953 – 2007
Benazir Bhutto: Dogged by corruption charges
Daughter of prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who was ousted and executed
Served as premier 1988-1990, and 1993-1996
Died in a bomb blast in 2007, shortly after returning from exile

1996 – President Leghari dismisses Bhutto government amid corruption allegations.

1997 – Nawaz Sharif returns as prime minister after his Pakistan Muslim League party wins elections.

1998 – Pakistan conducts its own nuclear tests after India explodes several nuclear devices.

1999 April – Benazir Bhutto and her husband convicted of corruption and given jail sentences. Benazir stays out of the country.

1999 May – Kargil conflict: Pakistan-backed forces clash with the Indian military in the icy heights around Kargil in Indian-held Kashmir. More than 1,000 people are killed on both sides.

1999 October – Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif overthrown in military coup led by General Pervez Musharraf. Coup is widely condemned, Pakistan is suspended from Commonwealth.

2000 April – Nawaz Sharif sentenced to life imprisonment on hijacking and terrorism charges.

2000 December – Nawaz Sharif goes into exile in Saudi Arabia after being pardoned by military authorities.

Prime minister Nawaz Sharif, overthrown in 1999 coup
Nawaz Sharif, ousted in 1999 coup, exiled, back in government in 2008

2001 20 June – Gen Pervez Musharraf names himself president while remaining head of the army. He replaced the figurehead president, Rafiq Tarar, who vacated his position earlier in the day after the parliament that elected him was dissolved.

2001 July – Musharraf meets Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee in the first summit between the two neighbours in more than two years. The meeting ends without a breakthrough or even a joint statement because of differences over Kashmir.

2001 September – Musharraf swings in behind the US in its fight against terrorism and supports attacks on Afghanistan. US lifts some sanctions imposed after Pakistan’s nuclear tests in 1998, but retains others put in place after Musharraf’s coup.

Kashmir tensions

2001 December – India imposes sanctions against Pakistan, to force it to take action against two Kashmir militant groups blamed for a suicide attack on parliament in New Dehli. Pakistan retaliates with similar sanctions.

2001 December – India, Pakistan mass troops along common border amid mounting fears of a looming war.

Street in Chakothi, on the Pakistani side of Kashmir's line of control
Tensions with India over Kashmir go back decades

2002 January – President Musharraf bans two militant groups – Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad – and takes steps to curb religious extremism.

2002 April – President Musharraf wins another five years in office in a referendum criticised as unconstitutional and fraught with irregularities.

Missile tests

2002 May – Pakistan test fires three medium-range missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads, amid rumours of impending conflict with India. President Musharraf says Pakistan does not want war, but is ready to respond with full force if attacked.

2002 June – Britain and US maintain mount offensive to avert war.

Pervez Musharraf (2005 picture)
President Musharraf – a key player in the US "war on terror”

2002 August – President Musharraf grants himself sweeping new powers, including the right to dismiss an elected parliament, prompting opposition anger.

2002 October – First general election since the 1999 military coup results in a hung parliament.

2002 November – National Assembly elects Mir Zafarullah Jamali – a member of a party close to General Musharraf – to head a coalition government as the first civilian prime minister since the 1999 military coup.

2003 June – North-West Frontier Province votes to introduce Sharia law.

Kashmir ceasefire

2003 November – Pakistan declares a Kashmir ceasefire; India follows suit.

2003 December – Pakistan and India agree to resume direct air links and to allow overflights of each other’s planes from beginning of 2004, after a two-year ban.

Police restrain man during protest against Shia mosque bomb, Karachi, June 2004
Tensions spill out into Karachi’s streets

2004 February – Leading nuclear scientist Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan admits to having leaked nuclear weapons secrets, reportedly to Libya, North Korea and Iran.

2004 April – Parliament approves creation of military-led National Security Council, institutionalising role of armed forces in civilian affairs.

2004 June – Pakistan mounts military offensive against suspected al-Qaeda militants and their supporters near Afghan border after attacks on checkpoints, resulting in high casualties.

2004 May – Pakistan readmitted to Commonwealth.

2004 December – President Musharraf says he will stay on as head of the army, having previously promised to relinquish the role.

2005 January – Tribal militants in Balochistan attack facilities at Pakistan’s largest natural gas field, forcing closure of main plant.

Kashmir quake survivors arrive at temporary camp in Mansehra, Pakistan, Oct 2005
2005 quake killed thousands, left millions without shelter

2005 7 April – Bus services, the first in 60 years, operate between Muzaffarabad in Pakistani-administered Kashmir and Srinagar in Indian-controlled Kashmir.

2005 August – Pakistan tests its first, nuclear-capable cruise missile.

Kashmir quake

2005 8 October – An earthquake, with its epicentre in Pakistani-administered Kashmir, kills tens of thousands of people. The city of Muzaffarabad is among the worst-hit areas.

2006 January – Up to 18 people are killed in a US missile strike, apparently targeting senior al-Qaeda figures, in the northwest.

Armed tribal men, Balochistan, 2006
Baloch nationalists have been fighting for autonomy

2006 August – Security forces kill prominent Balochistan tribal leader, Nawab Akbar Bugti. Protests over his death turn violent.

2006 October – Raid on an Islamic seminary in the tribal area of Bajaur bordering Afghanistan kills up to 80 people, sparking anti-government protests. The army says the madrassa was a training camp for militants.

2006 December – Pakistan says it has successfully test-fired a short-range missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.

2007 January – Islamabad rejects an assertion by the head of US National Intelligence that al-Qaeda leaders are hiding out in Pakistan.

2007 January-June – Tension mounts between the government and the radical Red Mosque in Islamabad.

2007 February – Sixty-eight passengers are killed by bomb blasts and a blaze on a train travelling between the Indian capital New Delhi and the Pakistani city of Lahore.

Pakistan and India sign an agreement aimed at reducing the risk of accidental nuclear war.

Musharraf targets judiciary

2007 March – President Musharraf suspends the Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry, triggering a wave of anger across the country.

First joint protests held by the parties of exiled former prime ministers Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif.

Students man the barricades outside the Lal Masjid mosque in Islamabad 3 July 2007
The battle for the radical Red Mosque killed over 100 people.

2007 March-April – Officials say around 250 people have been killed in fighting between South Waziristan tribesmen and foreign militants said to be linked to al-Qaeda.

2007 May – Several killed in Karachi during rival demonstrations over dismissal of Chief Justice Chaudhry. Subsequent strikes paralyse much of the country.

2007 June – President Musharraf extends media controls to include the internet and mobile phones amid a growing challenge to his rule.

2007 July – Security forces storm the militant-occupied Red Mosque complex in Islamabad following a week-long siege.

Supreme Court reinstates Chief Justice Chaudhry.

2007 July – Ms Bhutto, President Musharraf hold a secret meeting in Abu Dhabi on a possible power-sharing deal.

Chief Justice Chaudhry
Suspended Chief Justice Chaudhry became a focus for opposition to President Musharraf

2007 October – Musharraf wins most votes in presidential election. The Supreme Court says no winner can be formally announced until it rules if the general was eligible to stand for election while still army chief.

Nearly 200 people die in fighting with Islamic militants in North Waziristan, stronghold of pro-Taleban and al-Qaida groups.

Ex-prime minister Benazir Bhutto returns from exile. Dozens of people die in a suicide bomb targeting her homecoming parade in Karachi.

Emergency rule

2007 November – Gen Musharraf declares emergency rule while still awaiting Supreme Court ruling on whether he was eligible to run for re-election. Chief Justice Chaudhry is dismissed. Ms Bhutto is briefly placed under house arrest.

Caretaker government sworn in. New Supreme Court – now staffed with compliant judges – dismisses challenges to Musharraf’s re-election.

Nawaz Sharif returns from exile.

Supporters light candles in front of a picture of slain former PM Benazir Bhutto

Musharraf resigns from army post and is sworn in for second term as president.

Bhutto assassinated

2007 15 December – State of emergency lifted.

27 December – Benazir Bhutto assassinated at election campaign rally in Rawalpindi.

2008 January – Up to 90 fighters killed in clashes in the tribal region of South Waziristan, near the Afghan border, where militants have been openly challenging the army.

2008 February – Parliamentary elections hand the two main opposition parties gain a clear majority. They later agree to form a coalition government.

2008 March – Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) nominee Yusuf Raza Gilani becomes prime minister.

2008 May – The disgraced Pakistani nuclear scientist, Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan, says allegations he passed on nuclear secrets are false and that he was made a scapegoat.

Musharraf steps down

2008 August – The two main governing parties agree to launch impeachment proceedings against President Musharraf, who resigns soon after. Senate Speaker Muhammad Sumroo becomes acting president.

PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari – Benazir Bhutto’s widower – says he will be the party’s candidate in the presidential election set for 6 September.

Taleban fighters in the Waziristan tribal region
Taliban militia expanded their influence in Pakistan’s tribal areas in 2008

Former PM Nawaz Sharif pulls his PML-N out of the coalition government, accusing the PPP of breaking its promise to approve the reinstatement of all judges sacked by former President Pervez Musharraf.

2008 September – Asif Ali Zardari elected by legislators as Pakistan’s new president.

Marriott Hotel in Islamabad devastated in a suicide truck bombing which leaves at least 50 dead. An Islamist militant group claims responsibility.

2008 November – The government borrows billions of dollars from the International Monetary Fund to overcome its spiralling debt crisis.


2008 December – India says militants who carried out the Mumbai terrorist attacks in November had Pakistani links, and demands Pakistani action. Islamabad denies any involvement but promises to co-operate with the Indian investigation.

2009 February – Government agrees to implement Sharia law in north-western Swat valley in effort to persuade Islamist militants there to agree to permanent ceasefire.

2009 March – Gunmen in Lahore attack a bus carrying the Sri Lankan cricket team. Five policemen are killed and seven players injured.

After days of protests, government gives in to opposition demands for reinstatement of Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry and other judges dismissed by former President Pervez Musharraf.

Baitullah Mehsud giving a TV interview in Kotkai, Pakistan tribal areas
Pakistan’s most wanted militant was killed by a US drone strike in 2009

At least 40 people are killed when gunmen storm a police academy in Lahore.

2009 April – Swat agreement breaks down after Taleban-linked militants seek to extend their power-base. Government launches offensive lasting months to wrest control of north-western districts from militants.

2009 July – The Pakistani and Indian prime ministers pledge to work together to fight terrorism at a meeting in Egypt irrespective of progress on improving broader relations.

The Supreme Court acquits opposition leader Nawaz Sharif of hijacking charges, removing the final ban on his running for public office.

2009 August – Pakistan issues a global alert for 13 suspects over November’s attacks in the Indian city of Mumbai.

President Zardari orders the suspension of judges appointed under emergency rule in 2007, after the Supreme Court ruled the emergency declared by former President Musharraf to have been unconstitutional.

2009 August – The leader of Pakistan’s Taliban, Baitullah Mehsud, is killed in US drone attack in South Waziristan.

2009 October – New Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud pledges revenge for the drone attack that killed Baitullah Mehsud.

Suicide bombing in northwestern city of Peshawar kills 120 people.

2009 November – President Asif Ali Zardari hands control of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal to PM Yousuf Raza Gilani, in apparent attempt to ease political pressure.

Family awaiting rescue on top of a mosque in Punjab province, August 2010
The 2010 monsoon floods were the worst in 80 years
At least 1,600 people killed
20 million people affected
4 million lost livehoods and homes

2009 December – Supreme Court rules that amnesty decree protecting President Zardari and several of his allies against corruption charges was illegal.

2010 January – Suicide attack on a volleyball match in north-west kills more than 100 people.

Reform efforts

2010 April – Parliament approves package of wide-ranging constitutional reforms. Measures include transferring key powers from office of president to prime minister.

2010 August – Worst floods in 80 years kill at least 1,600 people and affect more than 20 million. Government response widely criticised.

2010 September – Pakistan temporarily suspends NATO supply route into Afghanistan after series of US drone strikes in northwest.

2010 October – Ex-military ruler Musharraf apologises for "negative actions” while in power, launches political party from exile in UK.

Rise in targetted political killings, bombings in commercial hub of Karachi.

2010 December – 50 killed in a double suicide attack in Mohmand, near the Afghan border, during a gathering of tribal elders.

Reference : BBC