Some of the world's oldest cultures
originated thousands of years ago along the Indus River. The area that today constitutes Pakistan
has been shaped by Persians, Greeks, Indians, Arabs,
Turks, Afghans and British during the course of history.
Cultural diversity meant that Islam was the only
cohesive factor in the state proclaimed in 1947.
Comprehensive guide to and popular abbreviations of Pakistan, covering history, economy, and social conditions.
Today's Pakistani state formation is over 70 years
old, but the area has an ancient history. Agriculture on
the Indus plain began to develop already 10,000 years
before our time. There arose the so-called Indus
culture, which culminated around 2500-1700 BC. Rich
finds from this time have been made at excavations in
Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa (see Culture).
In the 500s and 400s BC the Persian Empire reached
the area. The Persians were defeated by Alexander the
Great and the following centuries dominated the Indian
Maurya dynasty and various Central Asian state
At the end of the 6th century AD, Islam arrived with
the Arabs. Turkish and Afghan invasions were followed in
1526 by the Indian mogul empire, which peaked in the
early 18th century.
The British East India Company laid down large parts
of India from the 17th century. Punjab and Sindh were
conquered in the 1840s and after the so-called sepoy
uprising of 1857–1858 ("sepoy" = about "foot soldier",
during the colonial era designation for indigenous
soldiers of the British army in India), India became a
British crown colony.
The revolt was crushed but the idea of Indian
independence had taken root and in 1885 the independence
movement was formed by the Indian National Congress. The
Muslims, however, found it difficult to feel at home in
the Hindu-dominated organization and formed the Muslim
League in 1906. Its purpose was initially to guard the
interests of the Muslims. In the struggle for
independence, the Muslim League stood long side by side
with the Indian National Congress.
Over time, the contradictions between the Indian
National Congress and the Muslim League increased. In
1930, the poet Muhammad Iqbal put forward the idea of
a Muslim state in northwestern India. A Muslim student
in Britain proposed the name Pakistan. He got the idea
from the areas that should be included in the state: P =
Punjab, a = Afghan (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), k = Kashmir, s
= Sindh, tan = Baluchistan. (An "i" was inserted to
facilitate pronunciation). In addition, "Pakistan" means
"the land of the purified (= pure, righteous)." Under
its leader Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the Muslim League in
1940 adopted the demand for an independent Pakistan,
which also included eastern Bengal.
As a result, two states were proclaimed when the
British India colony became free. On August 14, 1947,
Pakistan declared its independence and a day later the
Indian Union was formed. In Pakistan, Muslim League
leader Jinnah became governor general - in effect, head
of state - and Liaquat Ali Khan became prime minister.
Indian soldiers kill rebel leaders in Kashmir
Indian government forces say they shot dead Noor Mohammad Tantray, military
leader of Pakistan-based Islamist group Jaish-e-Mohammad, who is fighting
India's rule over the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir. Noor was shot dead in
Srinagar, the capital of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.
India accuses Pakistan of attack across border
Indian police say three Indian soldiers were shot dead by Pakistani military
at checkpoint between Pakistani and Indian Kashmir. The Pakistani authorities do
not comment on the information.
Suicide bombing against church in Quetta
About 10 people are killed and around 30 injured when a suicide attack is
carried out against a Methodist church in Quetta in Baluchistan in the
southwest. The Sunni extremist militant Islamic State (IS) is taking on the
blast, which is taking place in the midst of a Advent worship.
Many dead in attack on universities
Armed men storm an agricultural university in Peshawar and begin to shoot
indiscriminately around them inside the building. At least nine people are
killed. The Pakistani Taliban movement is taking action and says the school is a
front for Pakistani espionage.
The roadblock ends
The government is ordering the military to break up the protest action that
has taken place since November 6, which has blocked one of the main routes to
and from Islamabad and created severe traffic chaos in the capital. The protest
campaign is carried out by around 2,000 people, many of whom belong to the
radical Islamist group Tehrik-i-Labaik Ya Rasul Allah Pakistan. At least one
person, a policeman, is killed and some 140 are injured when violent clashes
occur between soldiers and protesters. The protesters object to a change in the
law proposed by the Minister of Justice and which the protesters perceived as an
attempt to alleviate the country's so-called blasphemy laws (laws against
blasphemy). When the Justice Minister resigns, the Islamist leader blows the
The Minister of Finance is on sick leave indefinitely
Finance Minister Dar resigns indefinitely after working for a long period
under severe pressure because of the charges against Prime Minister Sharif on
financial crime. At the same time, the Supreme Court has resumed a 17-year-old
case against Sharif in which Dar admitted that he helped Sharif to launder
money. Dar later said that his recognition came after hard pressure from the
then military government under General Pervez Musharraf. Dar has recently been
cared for in the UK for heart problems.
Terrorist-suspected Islamist leader is released
Pakistani Muslim leader Hafiz Said, accused by the US and India of being the
brains behind the Mumbai attack in 2008, has been released from his house arrest
in Lahore where he has been sitting since January 2017. A court has rejected the
Pakistani government's argument that Saif poses a security threat to the public.
The United States has pushed Pakistan to arrest Saif and has promised a $ 10
million reward to the one who allows Saif to be convicted of the concerted
terrorist acts in Mumbai that claimed 160 lives in 2008. Saif denies any
involvement in the attack. Saif is the founder of the banned militant Islamist
The US military is helping Pakistan with cross-border raids
The commander of the US forces in Afghanistan announces that the US will "act
against" militant groups trying to raid the border with Pakistan. The statement
is made after the Pakistani military for several days fired hundreds of grenades
into the Afghan province of Kunar, forcing villagers to flee. The Pakistan
military welcomes the message.
Fewer dead in terrorist act in Pakistan
20th of November
The number of people killed in terrorist attacks in Pakistan fell by 12
percent in 2016 compared to the previous year, the Australia-based Institute of
Economics and Peace writes in a new report.
The court orders that the roadblock be stopped
When protests against the Justice Minister and his now withdrawn proposal to
mitigate blasphemy laws have been going on for over two weeks in Islamabad, a
capital court orders the authorities to step in and disperse the demonstration.
More than 2,000 people now take part in the protest, many belonging to a radical
Islamist group called Tehrik-i-Labaik Ya Rasul Allah Pakistan. The protesters
have blocked the main route into Islamabad since November 6, causing serious
problems for the city's commuters.
Doctors without borders are forced to leave Fata
The aid organization Doctors Without Borders is forced to leave the Bajaur
clan area at the Afghan border in the northwest. This has happened since the
Pakistani authorities refused to renew the organization's permission to operate
there. A few weeks earlier, MSF was also ordered to leave the Kurram district.
As a result, access to health care is significantly deteriorating for thousands
of residents in the poor areas, according to the organization. Pakistan has
increased control of foreign aid organizations in the country. Doctors Without
Borders now has no business remaining in the seven autonomous clan areas in the
Protest against proposals to soften the blasphemy laws
Hundreds of people have been blocking the main route to Islamabad since
November 6 in protest of the Justice Minister's proposal to alleviate the
country's severe blasphemy laws. Although the government backs away from the
proposal, the protesters demand the departure of the minister. The blasphemy
laws have been criticized for being often used by radical Muslims to oppress the
country's Christian minority.
Pakistani diplomat killed in Afghanistan
A Pakistani diplomat is shot dead in Afghanistan. The motive for the deadly
attack is not known, nor who or who is behind it.
Sharif back in Pakistan
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif returns to Pakistan after a time in London. He,
together with his daughter and son-in-law, is facing trial for corruption and
will attend the trial.
Arrest warrant against Sharif
Since the dismissed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been absent from a court
hearing, an arrest warrant is issued against him. Sharif is in London, where his
wife is undergoing medical treatment.
Sharif is prosecuted for corruption
Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter and his son-in-law are being
prosecuted in a Islamabad court for corruption charges in connection with
apartment purchases in London. All three refuse a crime. Sharif was forced to
step down as head of government in July 2017 when his private affairs were
published through the so-called Panama Papers (see July 2017).
Dozens of dead in drone attack against Haqqani
Five days after the exemption of an American-Canadian three-child family,
which has been the prisoner of the militant Islamist Haqqani network in the
Kurram clan area, American drones attack a meeting place for Haqqani soldiers
Kurram at the border with Afghanistan. At least 26 people are killed when drones
shoot at the Haqqani meeting on two occasions. It is described as the largest US
drone attack against Haqqani in 2017.
American-Canadian family is fired by Pakistani soldiers
An American-Canadian couple, captured in Afghanistan by the Islamist network
Haqqani nearly five years ago, has been exempted by Pakistani soldiers. The
couple and their three children were trapped in the Kurram clan area on the
Pakistan-Afghanistan border. US President Trump commends Pakistani exemption and
says it will improve US-Pakistan relations, which were strained during Trump's
term as president when he considered that Pakistan did too little to curb
terrorism in the country.
Many killed in suicide in Baluchistan
About 20 people, including at least three children and two police officers,
are killed in a suicide attack against a Sufic shrine in the Jhal Magsi district
of Baluchistan. The extreme Islamist group IS takes on the deed. The same shrine
suffered a similar attack in 2005. At that time, 35 people were killed.
Sharif re-elected PML-N leader
Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is re-elected chairman of the PML-N
government party, despite being forced to resign as head of government since the
Supreme Court found that he had not accounted for all of his financial assets.
Major military exercise with Russia begins
Pakistan and Russia embark on a two-week military exercise in the Russian
Republic of Karateja-Cherkessia. In 2014, both countries signed an agreement on
enhanced defense cooperation.
Sharif's wife is in parliament
His wife Kulsoom Nawaz wins the election in the parliamentary seat left by
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
Doctors without borders are asked to leave the clan area
Pakistan asks Doctors Without Borders to leave the Kurram clan area in the
northwest, where the relief organization has been active for 14 years. The
reason for the decision is not known.
The United States holds military support
The United States holds $ 225 million in military aid to Pakistan. The reason
is that the US accuses Pakistan of offering militants and groups from
Afghanistan sanctuary. The money is paid out when Pakistan has done something
about the problem.
Taliban are released for the Bhutto murder
A special court in Pakistan is acquitting five Taliban who were charged with
organizing the assassination of then Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in December
2007. The Taliban are being released for lack of evidence. At the same time, two
police are sentenced to imprisonment for the protection of Bhutto. At the same
time, the Court declares that President Musharraf is "on the run from justice".
Musharraf was president when Bhutto was assassinated in a combined gun and bomb
attack following a political rally in Rawalpindi. Taliban are suspected of the
murder, but Musharraf is also accused of having played a role in the events (see
Zardari is set free in corruption cases
Former President Asif Ali Zardari, husband of murdered Prime Minister Benazir
Bhutto, is acquitted of charges of corruption in a court case that has been
ongoing since 1998. Zardari and his wife Bhutto were suspected of failing to
report to the authorities private assets hidden in accounts in Switzerland.
Zardari left the presidential office in 2013.
IS attack on military vehicles
12th of August
At least 15 people are killed and over 30 injured in a blast attack in
Quetta, carried out by a suicide bomber on a motorcycle. IS takes on the attack
aimed at a military vehicle but causes several vehicles at a bus station to
Sharif's wife wants to take over her husband's mandate
Deputy Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's wife, Begum Kulsoom Nawaz, is
registering to take part in the elections to be held to fill her husband's
parliamentary seat. In the past, there have been speculations that that place
would be occupied by a younger brother of Sharif.
New prime minister appointed
Former oil minister Shahid Abbasi is elected new head of government.
Sharif is forced to resign
Prime Minister Sharif resigns, after the Supreme Court has declared that he
is not fit to hold office. The court's ruling follows an investigation into the
Sharif family's personal assets following disclosures in the Panama Papers (see
April 2016). The inquiry was presented a few weeks before the
court's decision, which is taken unanimously by the five judges. Sharif has
defended himself by buying expensive apartments that his children have bought in
London legally and that he personally does not own them. But opposition groups
have accused Sharif of exploiting his political influence to illegally increase
his family's wealth, and have demanded his departure. The Court also recommends
continued corruption investigations against Sharif and several other persons,
including his daughter and son-in-law, and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar. The PML-N
Government Party is now expected to be commissioned by the Speaker to appoint a
new Prime Minister who will rule during a transitional period for the 2018
Many dead in explosion in Lahore
At least 26 people are killed and over 50 injured in an explosion attack near
a vegetable market in Lahore. Taliban say they are behind the attack, believed
to have been carried out by a suicide bomber on a motorcycle. Several police
officers are among the dead.
About 70 dead in bombing attacks against Shia Muslims
At least 69 people are killed and more than 200 injured when two explosive
charges detonate in a crowded market in the city of Parachinar in the
Shiite-dominated clan area of Kurram in the northwest.
Over 200 dead in tanker accident
More than 200 people are killed and over 100 injured when a truck filled with
oil overturns and catches fire on the road between Karachi and Lahore in central
Pakistan. Many are killed and injured when they reach the truck to collect oil
that is flowing out.
Iranian drone shot down
Pakistani military has shot down an Iranian drone "far" inside Pakistani
airspace. The shooting took place across Baluchistan on June 17 or 18. Iran
recently warned Pakistan that its military would attack "refugees for militant"
people after ten Iranian border guards were previously killed by unknown
Impaired relations with Iran
Iran threatens to enter Pakistani territory and carry out attacks on specific
targets if the country's government does not take adequate measures to prevent
Pakistani militant Sunni Muslims from attacking Iran. The neighboring country
blames Pakistani Sunni groups for an attack in April 2017 when ten Iranian
border guards were killed.
Four men are executed for terrorist offenses
Four men sentenced for membership in the Taliban movement are executed by
hanging. The men have participated in terrorist attacks targeting Pakistani
police and security personnel. Pakistan reintroduced the death penalty and
reinstated military courts in 2014 following a terrorist attack against a school
that demanded 150 deaths, most of them children.
Indians sentenced to death for espionage
A Pakistani military court sentenced an Indian to death, accused of spying on
the Indian intelligence service's behalf. The Government of India condemns the
decision in harsh terms.
The military courts remain
The military courts set up to try terrorist offenses (see January
2015) will remain for another two years. The special courts have powers
to try civilians in cases involving terrorism. The law has received criticism
from human rights organizations, including the International Law Commission
(ICJ). The special military courts were set up by a constitutional extension
following the terrorist act against a school in Peshawar in December 2014, when
more than 150 people (the majority of whom were children) were killed.
Defense agreement with South Africa
Pakistan and South Africa's defense ministers sign an agreement that allows
the purchase of military equipment and joint military exercises.
Hindu marriage can be registered
A law is enacted that allows Hindu couples to register their marriage. Hindus
are also given the right to divorce and remarry. According to the law, the law
will increase the financial security of women and children after a divorce.
Census is carried out
Pakistan begins the first census in 19 years. It should last for 70 days. For
the first time, participants will have the opportunity to register as male,
female or transsexual.
Hydropower plants are to be built by Chinese
Pakistan signs a $ 1.7 billion deal with two Chinese companies to build the
Dasu hydropower plant in the Indus River. The first phase of construction will
be completed by 2021.
Nearly 20 dead in fire fighting
At least 15 resistance men and two government soldiers are killed when
security forces enter two villages in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the northwest.
The government wants to increase power over Fata
The government makes decisions on political and administrative reforms, which
aim to increase the influence of the central power over the seven clan areas
(Fata) and improve the living conditions of Fata's inhabitants. One of the most
important reforms is to link Fata administratively with the neighboring province
of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The reforms must be approved by Parliament before they
come into force.
New wave of violence
, around 10 acts of violence are being carried out in the country, which
together require around 130 people's lives. The attack on the Suit temple in
Sindh is the worst. The attacks are feared to be the beginning of a new
coordinated wave of violence in Pakistan.
At least 90 dead in suicide attacks
Nearly 90 people are killed and hundreds injured when a bomb detonates in a
Sufis temple in the city of Sehwan in Sindh province in the south. The extreme
Islamist group IS takes on the deed. The blast is performed by a suicide bomber
who enters the temple and blasts himself and others into the air. Pakistan
closes border with Afghanistan and asks neighboring country to extradite 76
suspected perpetrators. Pakistani forces kill over 100 "terrorists" in the
pursuit of the perpetrators that follow.
Many dead in Taliban attack in Lahore
At least 15 people are killed and more than 80 injured when a suicide bomber
strikes against a demonstration in central Lahore. Hundreds of protesters,
including many pharmacists, have gathered to protest new restrictions on drug
sales. Pakistani Taliban group Jamaat-ul-ahrar is taking on the deed. The
Pakistani Foreign Ministry announces that the war on terrorism at this time has
cost the country more than 60,000 people's lives and about $ 111 billion.
Suspected Mumbai terrorist in house arrest
Hafiz Muhammad Said, suspected of being the mastermind behind the terrorist
attack in Mumbai in 2008, is under house arrest in Lahore. The suspected
perpetrator has been able to move freely in Pakistan until now. Pakistan denies
that pressure from other countries should have been behind the decision.
Successful missile test from submarine
The military announces that for the first time a cruise missile was shot from
a submarine beneath the surface of the water. The missile, which can carry
nuclear warheads, according to the military dotted its target with great
precision. The Babur-3 underwater missile is a variant of Babur-2 that is pushed
Significantly fewer violence-related deaths in 2016
According to the Pakistani think tank Center for Research and Security
Studies (CRSS), the number of violent deaths in 2016 decreased by 45 percent
compared to 2015 and by 66 percent compared to 2014. In 2016, 2,610 such cases
were registered, while the violent deaths according to CRSS were 4,647 years
2015. One reason for the decrease is the military offensive carried out in 2014
against resistance groups in the northwestern customer territories. Two areas
had a slightly increased frequency of violent deaths in 2016: central Punjab and