The military comes to power
Just a year after the founding of the state of Pakistan, the politician Muhammad Ali Jinnah died. He was considered one of the most important founders of the country. After his death in 1948, the political situation in the country became increasingly uncertain.
There was a military coup in 1958 by Muhammad Ayub Khan. Another coup followed with a new president. The situation in the country deteriorated. When Bangladesh gained independence in 1971, the then president was forced to resign. Then his successor Zulfikar Ali Bhutto initiated the first attempts at democratization. But the next military dictatorship followed as early as 1977 and the new ruler Mohammed Zia ul-Haq aligned Pakistani politics to Sharia law and Islamized the country.
The Afghan War
From 1979 onwards, the Afghan War raged in neighboring Afghanistan. This also influenced the situation in Pakistan, which took part in the war to prevent a government that supported Russia. This goal was pursued jointly with Saudi Arabia and the USA. You can find more about the Afghan war at History of Afghanistan.
A woman at the helm of Pakistan
When the military ruler Mohammed Zia-ul-Haq died in 1988, the politician Benazir Bhutto came to power. She was elected in free elections. She was the first woman to rule an Islamic state. She was soon fighting for political power with Nawaz Sharif, who she finally replaced in 1997.
When India, which had always been at odds with Pakistan, developed more nuclear weapons, Pakistan also began developing such nuclear weapons. Pakistan has been a nuclear power since the 1980s.
Change of government and constitutional amendment
After a defeat in an area in Kashmir, Nawaz Sharif was replaced by another military dictatorship. The new president was called Pervez Musharraf. He changed the constitution and shaped politics according to his ideas.
However, many of its amendments and resolutions were rejected by the citizens and there were demonstrations and strikes against the government. However, Sharif had cemented his position to the point that he remained in power. Another problem were attacks by radical Islamists, some of whom had fled Afghanistan to Pakistan.
A bad earthquake
In October 2005 there was a terrible earthquake on Pakistani territory, killing 40,000 people and making more than two million homeless, especially in the already weakened Kashmir region.
During these unstable times, the former head of state Bhutto returned from exile and wanted to come back to power together with her party critical of the government. Musharraf prevented this and was reinstated as president. Since he was under pressure from NATO and the US, he announced parliamentary elections for early 2008.
Parliamentary elections in Pakistan
The former head of state Benazir Bhutto also wanted to take part in the parliamentary elections and made advertising for herself and her party, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP, Pakistani People’s Party). During one of her speeches she was shot by an opponent. Her son succeeded her at the party leadership. The Muslim League party, which supported the then head of state Musharraf, lost the election.
The new Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani came from the PPP. For the time being, however, Musharraf remained president because he had already strengthened his position through constitutional amendments. But the newly elected government repeatedly threatened him with impeachment. He then resigned in 2008 under increasing pressure. The husband of the late Benazir Bhutto, Asif Ali Zardari, took his place.
Riots in Pakistan
Unrest and fighting spread particularly in northwestern Pakistan. There were more and more clashes with the rising Islamists. The economic situation also deteriorated increasingly. There was an economic crisis across the country. The Islamist Taliban were increasingly cruel in the north-west of the country. Hundreds of thousands fled the contested areas in 2008 and 2009. In these parts of Pakistan there are still Islamists who are being fought by the army. You keep perpetrating attacks. For more information about Pakistan and Asia, please visit computergees.
The largely illegal changes in policy made by Musharraf were reversed in April 2010 with a constitutional reform. Musharraf’s allies were also dismissed because they were not democratically elected. Since then the democratization of the country has been advanced and democratic elections have taken place. But the problem with Islamism persists in Pakistan.
Government in Pakistan
The head of state and thus President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is Arif-ur-Rehman Alvi and the head of government is Imran Ahmad Khan Niazi. Both took office in September and August 2019.