an entity, Pakistan dates back only to 1947. However, modern
day Pakistan formed an important part of the Indus valley
civilization that flourished over 5,000 years ago and covered
an area that stretched from the present day Delhi in the east
and Gujarat in south to large chunks of Sindh province of
Pakistan in the west and parts of today?s Jammu and Kashmir
in the north.
civilization, best known by its city centers of Harappa, Mohen-jo-daro
and Lothal, was an impressive civilization. It was especially
well known for its town planning and science and technology,
which made it the most advanced human civilization of the
period, which had also seen Egyptian, Sumerian and Chinese
civilizations. And unlike its contemporary civilizations,
the Indian civilization was by far the largest civilization,
spread over an area that extended from the borders of Iran
in the west right up to eastern India on the east.
civilization is believed to have possessed the best architectural
and town planning skills. The towns had broad and straight
streets, flanked by houses built of burnt brick on either
side. The houses had an open courtyard, private wells and
bathrooms. The drainage systems of the towns are amongst the
most striking features of this civilization. Pottery pipes
attached to the outer walls of the houses carried the wastewater
and refuse from the houses to the large street drains, made
of stone and carefully cemented and waterproofed with asphalt.
Even the common bath and wash facilities like public tanks
were lined properly in order to avoid water leaching.
civilization boasted of several ports and had contacts with
various parts of the world. This is borne out by the discovery
of Indus valley civilization coins and pieces around the world,
especially in West and Central Asia and southern Europe.
the civilization suddenly ceased to exist. Scientists are
still debating the possible causes?which could be a sudden
natural calamity like a devastating flood or an earthquake.
After the civilization came the Indo-Aryans?the race that
is the origin of almost the entire population of today?s Europe
and south Asia. It was during this period that some of the
oldest surviving works of Indian literature and religious
scripture were composed. Principally, the Rig Veda, recognized
as the oldest book in the world. The Indo-Aryan civilization,
too, kept up the contacts with the outside world. The civilization,
like its predecessor was flourishing and hence often invited
unwelcome attention from invading forces, attracted by the
stories of India?s wealth. Towards the end of 500 B.C.E.,
the northwestern part of India became susceptible to attacks
from the enemies. Due to the Himalayas in the north and the
sea all around south and deep jungles on the east, the Indian
subcontinent was vulnerable to foreign attacks only from the
northwestern part, fact that had led to several drastic changes
in the history of this region. In 522 B.C.E., Persian Emperor
Darius I became the first foreigner king to lead an attack
on India and he captured Punjab and Sindh relatively easily.
The relatively small region was however extremely critical
for the Persians, because of its contribution of 10 tonnes
of gold each year as tribute to the Persian Empire. A great
Indian city of Takshashila became the capital of the Indian
territory under Darius I?s reign.
over 200 years, the area remained under nominal Persian control,
however, around 330 B.C.E., the Greek Emperor Alexander defeated
the Persian King Darius III and took control of the Persian
Empire. He, too, was attracted to India and in 326 B.C.E.
he entered Punjab. Alexander managed to capture chunks of
Punjab; however, his travel weary army soon tired of the wars
and mutinied, forcing Alexander to return to Greece.
this time, however, Takshashila formed part of a powerful
Indian Empire, the Magadha Empire, which had Patliputra in
present day?s Bihar as its capital. Chandragupta took over
the reigns of Magadha in 321 B.C.E., founding a new Mauryan
Dynasty. His army was one of the strongest contemporary armies
and rapidly captured several areas that had been under the
control of the Persians or Greeks for some decades. When Alexander?s
successor Seleukus tried to recapture the lost territories,
he was defeated swiftly and completely in a battle that drove
him back all the way to Syria. Once again, the Hindukush Mountains
in the northwest became the external boundaries of India.
Chandragupta also constructed a huge road, the Royal Road,
which extended all the way from Takshashila to Patliputra,
covering a distance of nearly 2,000 km (1,400 miles).
India?s northwestern region remained vulnerable to foreign
attacks. In the second century B.C.E., Greeks from Bactria,
who were in turn displaced by Scythians or Sakas from Central
Asia around 80 B.C.E., captured the area. The next major attack
came over six centuries later when Huns from Central Asia
went on a rampage, capturing large chunks of northwestern
the early eight century, the Arabs invaded Sindh province
and captured it. The province was under Arab rule for nearly
three centuries. In the beginning of the 11th century, northern
Sindh fell Mahmud of Ghazni, the Turkish ruler, while southern
Sindh was ruled by Hindu kings from Rajputana and Gujarat.
Ghazni, who had no interest in capturing India, raided the
country several times and destroyed cities, while carrying
away a lot of wealth from the country. Muhammed Ghauri, who
now occupied the throne at Ghazni, followed him in 1173.
Arab conquest of Sindh also marked the first Islamic influence
in India. The Arabs and the Turks who followed them were quick
to convert their subjects to Islam and after several centuries
of Islamic rule, the area had a Muslim majority. For almost
five centuries various Islamic kings from various parts of
Central and West Asia continued to raid India, lured by its
wealth. And a disunited India, ruled by several kings of small
kingdoms, could not resist the attacks, which not only left
large cities and villages devastated but also saw Indian wealth
go into foreign hands.
trend, however, came to an end in the early 13th century,
with the establishment of a Muslim Dynasty in Delhi. The founder
was Qutub ud din Aibak, a former slave who rose to become
a general in Muhammed Ghauri?s army. A succession of Islamic
kings followed for the next three centuries, till the arrival
of the Mughals in the early 16th century. Babar, the first
Mughal emperor, is supposed to have originated from the present
day Afghanistan and established the Mughal Kingdom in 1526
C.E. For almost three centuries, Mughal emperors ruled almost
all of India and also recaptured the parts in northwest that
had been taken over Turkish or other invaders. Unlike the
other Islamic rulers before them, the Mughals really made
India their home and contributed significantly to the country?s
architecture and literature.
was during the Mughal rule that the first Europeans stepped
on Indian soil and established their posts. British traders
arrived in South Asia in 1601 and established themselves in
the east at Calcutta. The Mughal Empire continued until the
middle of the 19th century, by which time the British and
other foreign powers had started conquering chunks of India.
By 1830, almost all of India was under the British control.
By the early 20th century, firm signs of an independence struggle
had clearly emerged all over the country.
British, realizing the difficulties of holding on to India,
tried to divide the independence movement. In 1905, under
the pretext that the state was too big to be governed properly,
they divided the eastern state of Bengal, which was spearheading
the independence movement. The division was clearly on the
religious lines with eastern Bengal being Muslim dominated
while the western part had largely a Hindu population. The
British had hoped that by sowing seeds of division between
the two of the biggest communities of India, they would be
able to prolong their rule. They were helped to some extent
by the fears of some extremists in both the Hindu as well
as the Muslim camps. Concerns about a Hindu dominated Indian
National Congress, the freedom movement?s foremost organization,
led some Muslim leaders to form the all-India Muslim League
in 1906. However, many of most notable Muslim leaders stayed
with the Congress.
dating back to the late 19th century show the British strategy
had been in the making for sometime. Lord Dufferin, the secretary
of state in London, advised the British viceroy of India between
1884 and 1888 that ?the division of religious feelings is
greatly to our advantage,? and that he expected ?some good
as a result of your committee of inquiry on Indian education
and on teaching material.? A few years later, Lord Curzon
(governor general of India 1895-99 and viceroy 1899-1904)
was told by the secretary of state for India, George Francis
Hamilton, that they ?should so plan the educational text books
that the differences between community and community are further
it was with the creation of the Muslim League that the British
saw their best chance to extend their rule in India, which
was becoming a difficult prospect. The military and economic
pressures of the World War I made the British departure imminent.
But the British exploited divisions between the Hindus and
Muslims to the hilt, sowing the seeds of the idea of an independent
Muslim country to cater to the needs in the mid-1920s.
the 1930s, the Muslim League, under the leadership of its
highly ambitious leader Mohammed Ali Jinnah began talking
of being the sole representative of the Indian Muslims, even
though it had not won any popular vote to prove its credentials.
In fact, the 1937 elections led to a humiliation of the Muslim
League at the hands of the Congress all over India, including
the Muslim majority parts.
almost a decade long propaganda of hatred and fear -- by extremists
on both sides -- began to show its affects in the 1940s, during
the Quit India Movement launched by the Congress between 1942
and 1945. The League told the Muslim elites in the Muslim
majority states that they would be denied all rights in a
Hindu dominated India and that only they ? the Muslim League
?could guarantee their rights as Muslims. And in the 1945
provincial elections, the league ended up with almost half
the seats in Bengal and it gained in Punjab, winning as many
as the Unionist Party?comprising people of all religious beliefs?and
pushing the Congress to the third place.
is also noteworthy that several important Islamic theologians
were against partition. Maulana Madani undertook a whirlwind
tour to campaign against the league. And representatives of
the Muslim working class were also against partition. The
Ansari Muslims (weavers by profession) who were very politically
conscious and well organized in the northern India publicly
demonstrated against the league?s partition resolution. These
ought to have weakened the claim of Muslim League that it
was the sole representative of the Muslims in India. But the
British, by now actually eager to get out of India, accepted
the league as the sole representative of the Muslims.
June 1945 India became a charter member of the United Nations.
In the same month the British government issued a white paper
on the Indian situation. However, the proposals closely resembled
those, which had been rejected by both the Congress and the
league. Another deadlock developed and during the second half
of 1945 a new wave of anti-British riots and outbursts swept
over India. Three representatives of the British government
made another attempt to negotiate an agreement with Indian
leaders in the spring of 1946. Although the Muslim League
temporarily withdrew its demands for the partition of India
along religious lines, insuperable differences developed with
respect to the character of an interim government. The negotiations
were fruitless, and in June the British viceroy Archibald
Wavell announced the formation of an emergency ?caretaker?
government. An interim executive council, headed by Congress?
Jawaharlal Nehru and representative of all major political
groups except the Muslim League, replaced this government
in September. In the next month the Muslim League agreed to
participate in the new government. Nonetheless, communal strife
between Muslims and Hindus increased in various parts of India.
the end of 1946 the political situation in the subcontinent
was on the brink of anarchy. The British prime minister, Clement
R. Atlee, announced in February 1947 that his government would
relinquish power in India not later than June 30, 1948. According
to the announcement, the move would be made whether or not
the political factions of India agreed on a constitution before
that time. Political tension mounted in India following the
announcement, creating grave possibilities of a disastrous
Hindu-Muslim civil war. After consultations with Indian leaders,
Louis Mountbatten, who succeeded Wavell as viceroy in March
1947, recommended immediate partition of India to the British
government as the only means of averting catastrophe. A bill
incorporating Mountbatten?s recommendations was introduced
into the British Parliament on July 4; it obtained speedy
and unanimous approval in both houses of Parliament. Under
the provisions of this enactment, termed the Indian Independence
Act, which became effective on Aug. 15, 1947, India and Pakistan
were established as independent nations within the Commonwealth
of Nations, with the right to withdraw from or remain within
new states of India and Pakistan were created along religious
lines. Areas inhabited predominantly by Hindus were allocated
to India and those with a predominantly Muslim population
were allocated to Pakistan. Because the overwhelming majority
of the people of the Indian subcontinent are Hindus, partition
resulted in the inclusion within the Union of India, as the
country was then named, of most of the 562 princely states
in existence prior to Aug. 15, 1947, as well as the majority
of the British provinces and parts of three of the remaining
a bifurcated Muslim nation separated by more than 1,600 kilometers
(1,000 miles) of Indian territory emerged when Pakistan became
an independent country on 14 Aug. 1947. West Pakistan comprised
the contiguous Muslim-majority districts of present-day Pakistan;
East Pakistan consisted of a single province, which, after
gaining independence following a revolution in 1971, is now
Bangladesh. But the two sides?the Congress and the Muslim
League were unable to come to any agreement over the status
of the highly contentious state of Jammu and Kashmir. The
issue was left unresolved at the time of the partition, leaving
it up to the Maharaja of J and K to take a decision on whether
to merge with Pakistan or remain with India.
Maharaja of Kashmir was reluctant to make a decision on accession
to either Pakistan or India. Armed incursions into the state
by tribesman from the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP),
however, led him to seek military assistance from India. The
Maharaja signed accession papers in October 1947 and allowed
Indian troops into much of the state. The government of Pakistan
refused to recognize the accession and campaigned to reverse
the decision. To this day, the status of Kashmir remains in
dispute. (See discussion under ?Foreign Relations? in this
history as a nation is full of political instability, blamed
largely on ambitious generals of a very powerful army who
have never really let go of their iron grip on all the aspects
of the Pakistani society. When the military has not been in
power, it has never been far away from it either. The instability
in Pakistan began almost with the independence. The death
of its founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah in September 1948 was the
first shock and it also robbed Pakistan of an almost mythical
figure who had for the last two decades been the sole leader
and dictator of the Muslim League. Jinnah?s death left a power
vacuum that was never really filled, at least by a popular
death was followed in 1951 by the assassination of the Prime
Minister Liaqat Ali Khan pushing the country deeper into the
mire of instability. The year also saw two attempts coups
by the Pakistan army, popularly referred to as the ?Rawalpindi
Conspiracy.? The situation led to the imposition of Martial
Law in Pakistan in 1953, the first time that the army had
bared its teeth in the newly formed nation, which, unfortunately,
was setting the tone of the things to come. Things seemed
to improve with the restoration of a civil administration
within a year and in 1956 Pakistan had its first constitution.
However, barely a year later, the civilian government was
thrown out and generals took control of the administration.
On Oct. 7, 1958, President Iskander Mirza, under pressure
from the army, suspended the 1956 constitution, imposed martial
law and canceled the elections scheduled for January 1959.
Twenty days later the military sent Mirza into exile in Britain,
and General Mohammad Ayub Khan assumed control of a military
dictatorship. Thus began the first direct rule by a Pakistani
general, a trend that repeated at various turns in the nation?s
history. For almost eight years, Ayub Khan kept his grip intact
on both the civil society as well as the armed forces of Pakistan.
He also led Pakistan into its second war with India in 1965,
which began when India alleged that Pakistan was aiding and
instigating armed groups to infiltrate Kashmir and attack
Indian forces there. However, as in 1947-48, the Indians defeated
the Pakistani army. This loss had serious consequences on
the domestic politics of Pakistan. Ayub Khan?s power declined
sharply, leading to large-scale political and economic grievances
all over the country. There were massive agitations and movements
against Ayub Khan?s rule and that forced his resignation in
March 1969. He was succeeded by yet another general, Yahya
Khan, who tried to bring a sense of normalcy in Pakistan?s
civil society, as well boost the morale of the military, which
was still nursing its wounds of 1965.
Yahya Khan?s tenure was not even off the ground when serious
problems again engulfed Pakistan. This time, the problems
were entirely internal and they were about the relations between
East and West Pakistan. The relations had been uneasy ever
since indepedence, especially due to the total domination
that West Pakistan maintained over the national affairs, pushing
East Pakistan, which was bigger in population, on to the sidelines.
people in the East believed that they had been colonized once
again and this time by West Pakistan. This belief stemmed
from the fact the political, military and economic controls
rested with West Pakistan, while the eastern part of the newly
created country had literally no powers of self-governance.
East Pakistanis were upset that not only did West Pakistan,
especially the two provinces of Punjab and Sindh, dominate
the political life, but also threatened the culturally different
Bengalis of East Pakistan. One such highly unpopular decision
was the imposition of Urdu as the national and official language
of Pakistan, even though less than 10 percent of all Pakistan
and below one percent of East Pakistan spoke the language.
This led to a widespread belief in the East Pakistan that
West Pakistan had taken up from where the British colonial
rulers had left.
only common factor between West and East was religion. Otherwise,
it was an entirely different country, with a different language,
culture and ethnic composition. These differences led in 1949
to the creation of Awami League by Sheikh Mujibir Rahman,
known widely as Mujib. The league was a party designed mainly
to promote Bengali interests. Though most political parties
of West Pakistan had their branches in the East, the Bengalis
felt that these parties had failed to protect their interests
at the national level and hence Awami League emerged as the
unchallenged party of the East.
became president of the Awami League and emerged as leader
of the Bengali autonomy movement. However, the autonomy demand
was not tolerated by the West Pakistanis and in 1966, Mujib
was arrested for his political activities. This led to a further
rise in the league?s popularity in the East.
simmering discontent in the East exploded towards the end
of 1970. The elections held in December 1970 saw the emergence
of Awami League as the single largest party in all of Pakistan,
despite the fact that Mujib had been in the prison and unable
to campaign. The league swept the elections in East Pakistan,
winning all the seats there, while it failed to make any impact
in the West Pakistan, where Zulfikar Ali Bhutto?s Pakistan
People?s Party emerged with a majority. For the first time
since the independence of Pakistan, a party based in the East
had emerged as the largest party. The situation was viewed
with alarm by the PPP, which had been pushed into the second
place behind the Awami League.
unprecedented sweep forced the West Pakistanis to open negotiations
with Mujib on constitutional questions concerning the division
of power between the central government and the provinces,
as well as the formation of a national government headed by
the Awami League. However, clearly, the West, then ruled by
Gen. Yahya Khan, was not prepared to make any real concessions
to the autonomy demand of the East and the talks collapsed
soon. And on March 1, 1971, the Pakistani president, Yahya
Khan, indefinitely postponed the pending National Assembly
session, precipitating massive civil disobedience in East
Pakistan. Mujib was arrested again, his party was banned,
and most of his aides fled to India, where they organized
a provisional government in exile. Mujib also founded Mukti
Bahini, an armed group to fight for the independence of the
East. This marked the beginning of end of a united Pakistan.
army crackdown led to millions of Bengalis fleeing into India,
creating a humanitarian crisis. Despite several appeals by
the Indian and international leadership for peaceful and negotiated
settlement, the Pakistani army continued to carry out its
operations against the independence campaigners, increasing
the flow of refugees into India. Tensions mounted again and
the two countries went to war in December 1971. The Indian
army made swift gains against the Pakistani army and within
10 days had captured Dhaka, forcing the Pakistani army to
Rehman was freed from the prison and East Pakistan declared
itself independent and changed the name to Bangladesh. The
events of December 1971 had disastrous effects on the internal
situation of Pakistan. More than the loss of the eastern part,
it was the defeat inflicted by India that rattled Pakistan.
Yahya Khan was forced to step down in face of huge public
outcry against him. The general was replaced his foreign minister
Bhutto, who became president and the first civilian chief
martial law administrator.
moved decisively to restore national confidence and pursued
an active foreign policy, taking a leading role in Islamic
and ?Third World? forums. Although Pakistan did not formally
join the Non-Aligned Movement until 1979, the position of
the Bhutto government coincided largely with that of the non-aligned
nations. Domestically, Bhutto pursued a populist agenda and
nationalized major industries and the banking system. In 1973,
he promulgated a new constitution accepted by most political
elements and relinquished the presidency to become prime minister.
Bhutto continued his populist and socialist rhetoric, he increasingly
relied on Pakistan?s urban industrialists and rural landlords.
Over time the economy stagnated, largely as a result of the
dislocation and uncertainty produced by Bhutto?s frequently
changing economic policies. When Bhutto proclaimed his own
victory in the March 1977 national elections, the opposition
Pakistan National Alliance (PNA) denounced the results as
fraudulent and demanded new elections. Bhutto resisted and,
after endemic political violence in Pakistan, arrested the
increasing anti-government unrest, the army grew restive.
On July 5, 1977, the military removed Bhutto from power and
arrested him; declared martial law; and suspended portions
of the 1973 constitution. Chief of Army Staff General Muhammad
Zia ul-Haq became chief martial law administrator and promised
to hold new elections within three months.
released Bhutto and asserted that he could contest new elections
scheduled for October 1977. After it became clear that Bhutto?s
popularity had survived his government, however, Zia postponed
the elections and began criminal investigations of the senior
Pakistan People?s Party leadership (Bhutto?s party). Subsequently,
Bhutto was convicted and sentenced to death for alleged conspiracy
to murder a political opponent. Despite international appeals
on his behalf, Bhutto was hanged on April 6, 1979.
assumed the presidency and called for elections in November.
He remained fearful of a PPP victory, and, in October 1979,
banned political activity and postponed the national elections.
1980, most center and left parties, led by the PPP, formed
the Movement for the Restoration of Democracy (MRD). The MRD
demanded Zia?s resignation; an end to martial law; new elections;
and the restoration of the constitution as it existed before
Zia?s takeover. In early December 1984, President Zia proclaimed
a national referendum for Dec. 19, on his Islamization program.
He implicitly linked approval of ?Islamization? with a mandate
for his continued presidency. Zia?s opponents, led by the
MRD, boycotted the elections. When the government claimed
a 63 percent turnout, with more than 90 percent approving
the referendum, many observers questioned these figures.
March 3, 1985, President Zia proclaimed constitutional changes
designed to increase the power of the president vis-?is the
prime minister (under the 1973 constitution the president
had been mainly a figurehead). Subsequently, Zia nominated
Muhammad Khan Junejo, a Muslim League member, as prime minister.
The new National Assembly unanimously endorsed Junejo as prime
minister, and, in October 1985, passed Zia?s proposed eighth
amendment to the constitution, legitimizing the actions of
the martial law government; exempting them from judicial review
(including decisions of the military courts); and enhancing
the powers of the president.
Dec. 30, 1985, President Zia removed martial law and restored
the fundamental rights safeguarded under the constitution.
He also lifted the Bhutto government?s declaration of emergency
powers. The first months of 1986 witnessed a rebirth of political
activity throughout Pakistan. All parties, including those
continuing to deny the legitimacy of the
government, were permitted to organize and hold rallies. In
April 1986, PPP leader Benazir Bhutto, daughter of Zulfiqar
Ali Bhutto, returned to Pakistan from exile in Europe.
the lifting of martial law, the increasing political independence
of Prime Minister Junejo and his differences with Zia over
Afghan policy resulted in tensions between them. On May 29,
1988, President Zia dismissed the Junejo government and called
for November elections. In June, Zia proclaimed the supremacy
in Pakistan of Shari?a (Islamic law), by which all civil law
had to conform to traditional Muslim edicts.
Aug. 17, a plane carrying President Zia, American Ambassador
Arnold Raphel, U.S. Brig. General Herbert Wassom, and 28 Pakistani
military officers crashed on a return flight from a military
equipment trial near Bahawalpur, killing all of its occupants.
In accordance with the constitution, Chairman of the Senate
Ghulam Ishaq Khan became acting president and announced that
elections scheduled for November 1988 would take place.
winning 93 of the 205 National Assembly seats contested, the
PPP, under the leadership of Benazir Bhutto, formed a coalition
government with several smaller parties, including the Mohajir
Qaumi Movement (MQM, formerly the All Pakistan Mohajir Students?
Organization). The Islamic Democratic Alliance (IJI), a multi-party
coalition led by the Pakistan Muslim League (PML) and including
religious right parties such as the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI),
won 55 National Assembly seats.
interpretations of constitutional authority; debates over
the powers of the central government relative to those of
the provinces; and the antagonistic relationship between the
Bhutto administration and opposition governments in Punjab
as well as Balochistan, together seriously impeded social
and economic reform programs. Ethnic conflict, primarily in
Sindh province, exacerbated these problems. A fragmentation
in the governing coalition and the military?s reluctance to
support an apparently ineffectual and corrupt government were
accompanied by a significant deterioration in law and order.
August 1990, President Khan, citing his powers under the eighth
amendment to the constitution, dismissed the Bhutto government
and dissolved the national and provincial assemblies. New
elections, held in October 1990, confirmed the political ascendancy
of the Islamic Democratic Alliance. In addition to a two-thirds
majority in the National Assembly, the alliance acquired control
of all four provincial legislative assemblies and enjoyed
the support of the military and of President Khan. The National
Assembly elected Mohammad Nawaz Sharif, the leader of the
Pakistan Muslim League (the most prominent party in the Islamic
Democratic Alliance), prime minister.
emerged as the most secure and powerful Pakistani prime minister
since the mid-1970s. Under his rule, the Islamic Democratic
Alliance (IJI) achieved several important political victories.
The implementation of Sharif?s economic reform program, involving
privatization, de-regulation, and encouragement of private
sector economic growth, greatly improved Pakistan?s economic
performance and business climate. The passage into law in
May 1991 of a Shariat bill, providing for widespread Islamization,
legitimized the IJI government among much of Pakistani society.
PML party president Junejo?s death in March 1993, Sharif loyalists
unilaterally nominated him as the next party leader. Consequently,
the PML divided into the PML/Nawaz Sharif Group (PML/N), loyal
to the prime minister, and the PML/Junejo Group (PML/J), supportive
of Hamid Nasir Chatta, the president of the group.
time, Sharif was unable to reconcile the different objectives
of the IJI?s constituent parties. The largest fundamentalist
party, Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), abandoned the alliance because
of its perception of PML control. The regime was weakened
further by the military?s suppression of the Mohajir Qaumi
Movement (MQM), which had entered into a coalition with the
IJI to contain PPP influence, and also by allegations of corruption
directed at Prime Minister Sharif. In April 1993, President
Khan, citing ?mal-administration, corruption and nepotism?
and the espousal of political violence, dismissed the Sharif
following month, the Pakistan Supreme Court reinstated the
National Assembly and the Sharif government. Continued tensions
between Prime Minister Sharif and President Khan resulted
in governmental gridlock. The chief of army staff brokered
an arrangement under which both the president and the prime
minister resigned their offices in July 1993.
interim government, headed by Moeen Qureshi, a former World
Bank vice president, took office with a mandate to hold national
and provincial parliamentary elections in October. Despite
its brief term, the Qureshi government adopted political,
economic and social reforms that generated considerable domestic
support and foreign admiration.
the October 1993 elections, the Pakistan People?s Party (PPP)
won a plurality of seats in the National Assembly, and Benazir
Bhutto was asked to form a government. Since the PPP did not
have a majority of seats in the National Assembly, the party?s
control of the government depended upon the continued support
of numerous independent parties, in particular, the Pakistan
Muslim League/Junejo Group (PML/J).
unfavorable circumstances surrounding PPP rule; the imperative
of preserving a coalition government; the formidable opposition
of Sharif?s PML/N movement; and the insecure provincial administrations
together presented significant difficulties for Prime Minister
Bhutto?s government. The November 1993 election of Bhutto?s
close associate, Farooq Leghari, as president, somewhat augmented
her power base. In November 1996, however, President Leghari
dismissed the Bhutto government, charging it with corruption,
mismanagement of the economy, and implication in extra-judicial
killings in Karachi.
in February 1997 resulted in an overwhelming victory for the
PML/Nawaz, and President Leghari called upon Nawaz Sharif
to form a government. In March 1997, Sharif proposed, and
parliament passed, a constitutional amendment removing the
president?s power to dissolve parliament and making his power
to appoint military service chiefs and provincial governors
contingent on the ?advice? of the prime minister.
cited tackling the economic crisis, corruption and institutional
reform as his three primary objectives. In October 1997, Sharif?s
government secured a $1.6 billion IMF assistance program.
Approval of the program was expected to trigger support from
other international financial institutions as well as give
a boost to business confidence and the markets. An increase
in sectarian violence and a lengthy confrontation over appointments
of Supreme Court judges, however, distracted the government
from its stated objectives.
conflict between Prime Minister Sharif and the Supreme Court,
sparked by Sharif?s appointment of new judges, led to a charge
of slander and defiance of the Supreme Court against Sharif
and some of his officials. This resulted in mass demonstrations
by Sharif?s supporters who ended up raiding the Supreme Court.
The chief justice resigned and soon thereafter, the president
also stepped down. Prime Minister Sharif nominated Mohammad
Rafiq Tarar for the presidency. On Dec. 31, 1997, the Electoral
College convened to elect a president choosing Tarar by a