In the course of the partition of India after 89 years of direct British colonial rule (from 1858 to 1947), Pakistan was born on August 14, 1947 as the “homeland of Indian Muslims”. Today August 14th is celebrated as Independence Day in Pakistan. According to the “Lahore Resolution” 1940, in which based on the so-called “Two Nations Theory”A separate state for Muslims of the subcontinent was demanded, British India was divided up so that the predominantly Muslim populated areas were assigned to Pakistan. This idea of a separate state for Muslims still serves as the raison d’être of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Some areas were controversial, including the princely state of Kashmir, which was ruled by a Hindu maharaja but populated predominantly by Muslims, which is still the cause of the Kashmir conflict today. The politically far-reaching decision of the “partition of India” or the “independence of the Muslims” – depending on the perspective from which it is viewed – resulted in what is probably one of the largest and bloodiest migration flows of the second half of the 20th century. After the partition of India Pakistan consisted of two territorially (1500 km) separated areas, namely West Pakistan, within the borders of today’s Pakistan, and East Pakistan, which split off 24 years later, in 1971, through a bloody uprising and a cruel war and became independent within the borders of today’s Bangladesh.
A comparison between these three countries shows the socio-economic and political changes after the partition of India.
The traumatic experiences of 1947 and 1971 and the associated suffering of the divided families has since been processed in literature, film, music and art in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Authoritarian government structures of a post-colonial state paired with the need to make quick decisions regarding the refugee crisis and the Kashmir war after independence led to a politically very volatile time after the establishment. It is probably also due to the untimely death of the founder of the state, Muhammad Ali Jinnah (one year after the founding of Pakistan), that the first years after Pakistan’s independence brought with it an unstable civil reign and resulted in the first military coup.
In almost half of the young state’s existence from 1947 to 2016, the Pakistani military ruled; in the other half, predominantly unstable civil governments took turns in power. Pakistan was ruled four times by different military dictatorships: 1958-68 under General Ayub Khan and seamlessly from 1968-71 under General Yahya Khan, 1977-88 under General Zia-ul-Haq and most recently 1999-2008 under General Pervez Musharra). The alleged inability of the civilian political forces was repeatedly cited as a reason for the intervention in politics by the military, who coined and used slogans such as “controlled democracy” or “guided democracy”.
The civil government under Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (1971-77), the founder and leader of one of the strongest political parties in Pakistan, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), tried to shape an Islamic-socialist republic. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was overthrown by his self-appointed commander in chief of the military, General Zia-ul-Haq, and ultimately sentenced to death and hanged for a conspiracy accused of him. The mysterious death of Zia-ul-Haq in a plane crash in 1988 was followed by a decade of civil but unstable governments, dominated by either Benazir Bhutto, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s daughter, or Nawaz Sharif, leader of the Punjabi Pakistan Muslim League (PML- N) Party for not more than three years each. In 1999, the then incumbent Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was the victim of a military coup by General Pervez Musharraf in the wake of the Kargil crisis. After Musharraf’s military government (1999-2008), the last civilian government (February 2008- May 2013) under the PPP is the first in Pakistan’s history to bring the entire legislative period of five years to an end. With the elections in May 2013, Pakistan also carried out a civil, democratic change of government through elections for the first time in history – despite internal political power struggles. which could bring the entire legislative term of five years to an end. With the elections in May 2013, Pakistan also carried out a civil, democratic change of government through elections for the first time in history – despite internal political power struggles. which could bring the entire legislative term of five years to an end. With the elections in May 2013, Pakistan also carried out a civil, democratic change of government through elections for the first time in history – despite internal political power struggles.
According to cheeroutdoor, the previous military coups and dictatorships were legitimized by the judiciary, the highest court in Pakistan, the Supreme Court, on the basis of the so-called “state of necessity doctrin”. Accordingly, the constitution was continuously tailored to the needs of the respective ruler. The traditionally closely interwoven relationship between the military and the judiciary changed in part with the beginning of the judges’ movement in 2007. The history since independence is presented in detail on the Internet portal Südasien-Info.
The chronological table provides a detailed historical outline from the early history of Pakistan to current historical events.