Pakistan is an independent nation in Southern Asia. With the capital city of Islamabad, Pakistan 2020 population is estimated at 220,892,351 according to countryaah. 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.
- AbbreviationFinder.org: 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). For Pakistan political system, please check carswers.
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 formations.
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 campaign.
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 group Lashkar-e-Taiba.
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 northwest.
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 Modern History).
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 start burning.
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 elections.
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 attackers.
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 residents. 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 from land.
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 southwestern Baluchistan.