and Muslim League
The British ruled the Indian subcontinent for nearly 200 years-from 1756 to 1947. After the Indian Mutiny of 1857, the British government abolished the powers of the British East India Company, which had ruled the sub-continent on behalf of the British Crown, and took on direct powers of governance. Political reforms were initiated, allowing the formation of political parties. The Indian National Congress, representing the overwhelming majority of Hindus, was created in 1885. The Muslim League was formed in 1906 to represent and protect the position of the Muslim minority. When the British introduced constitutional reforms in 1909, the Muslims demanded and acquired separate electoral rolls. This guaranteed Muslims representation in the provincia l as well as national legislatures until the dawn of independence in 1947.The idea of a separate Muslim state in south Asia was raised in 1930 by the poet and philosopher Sir Muhammad Iqbal.
Creation of Pakistan
After Liaquat was assassinated in 1951, Khwaja Nazimuddin, an East Pakistani who had been Governor-General since Jinnah's death, became Prime Minister. Unable to prevent the erosion of the Muslim League's popularity in East Pakistan, however, he was forced to yield to another East Pakistani, Muhammad Ali Bogra, in 1953.
Ayub also promulgated an Islamic marriage and family laws ordinance in 1961, imposing restrictions on polygamy and divorce, and reinforcing the inheritance rights of women and minors.
A civil servant, Ghulam Ishaq Khan, was appointed President, and Benazir Bhutto became Prime Minister after the PPP won the general elections held in November 1988. She was the first female political leader of a modern Islamic state. In August 1990 President Ishaq Khan dismissed her government, charging misconduct, and declared a state of emergency. Bhutto and the PPP lost the October elections after she was arrested for corruption and abuse of power. The new prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, head of the Islamic Democratic Alliance, continued the programme of privatizing state enterprises and encouraging foreign investment begun in the 1980s. He also promised to bring the country back to Islamic law and to ease continuing tensions with India over Kashmir. The charges against Bhutto were resolved, and she returned to lead the PPP.
In April 1993 Ishaq Khan once again used his presidential power, this time to dismiss Sharif and to dissolve parliament. However, Sharif appealed to the Constitutional Court of Pakistan, which stated that Kahn's actions were unconstitutional and reinstated Sharif as Prime Minister. Sharif and Kahn subsequently became embroiled in a power struggle that paralysed the Pakistani government. In an agreement designed to end the stalemate, Sharif and Kahn resigned together in July 1993, and elections were held in October of that year. The PPP won and Bhutto was again named Prime Minister. Farooq Ahmad Khan Leghari became the new president in November 1993.
With Bhutto in office, relations between India and Pakistan became more tense. Bhutto openly supported the Muslim rebels in Indian-held Jammu and Kashmir, who were involved in sporadic fighting against the Indian army. She also announced that Pakistan would continue with its nuclear weapons development programme, raising concerns that a nuclear arms race could start between Pakistan and India, which is believed to have had nuclear weapons since the 1970s. In February 1992, when the Pakistani government admitted to having nuclear capability, it claimed that its nuclear weapons programme had been stopped at the level achieved in 1989-that is, with an actual nuclear device far from completion. In 1996 the United States returned to a policy of delaying delivery of military equipment to Pakistan owing to China having supplied nuclear-weapons-related materials in 1995. Relations between Pakistan and India deteriorated in early 1996, when each country accused the other of conducting nuclear tests, though the first officially confirmed tests did not take place for another two years.
Pakistan has generally been considered a moderate Islamic state; Islamic fundamentalists won only nine National Assembly seats in the 1993 elections; however, during the 1990s Islamic activists seemed to be gaining in influence. There were persistent reports of discrimination against religious minorities. The incidents increased after 1991 when the National Assembly ruled that the criminal code should conform to Islamic law and the death sentence was made mandatory for a blasphemy conviction.In February 1995 the position of religious minorities was highlighted by the conviction and sentencing to death of two Christians, one aged 14, for the alleged writing of blasphemous remarks on a mosque wall in a village in Punjab province. The imposition of the death sentence on a child and questions surrounding the evidence provoked an outcry within Pakistan, as well as abroad. The High Court at the end of the month overturned the conviction, saying there was no evidence to sustain it; earlier the original complainant, an imam (Muslim prayer leader) in the village, had withdrawn his charges. The government, which had supported the changes in the law, appeared caught in a dilemma. Benazir Bhutto described herself as "shocked" by the sentences but declined to intervene. However, following the High Court ruling she said there would be a review of the law.
In June 1995 violence flared in Karachi over Bhutto's alleged condemnation of the ethnically based Mohajor Qaumi Movement, leaving over 290 people dead; all-party talks with the movement were convened immediately afterwards, but did not bring the hoped-for ceasefire in the city. In October a number of army officers were arrested over an attempted Islamic fundamentalist coup. Tension with India following a mysterious rocket strike on a mosque in the Pakistani province of Azad Kashmir, bordering Indian-controlled Kashmir, escalated into heavy fighting along the Kashmir ceasefire line in January 1996. In April 1996 the former Pakistan cricket captain Imran Khan formed an anti-government political group, the Justice Movement, while bombings and political violence took place in Lahore and elsewhere.
In November 1996 Bhutto's government was for the second time dismissed by the president under renewed charges of corruption and misrule. The National Assembly was dissolved for the third time since civilian rule replaced military rule. Following Bhutto's petitioning of the Supreme Court to reinstate her, the court voted by a 6-1 majority to reject her appeal.
On February 3, 1997, elections were held in order to replace the Bhutto government. A low turnout (around 30 per cent), mainly because of widespread disgust over politics, nevertheless produced a vast majority for former prime minister Sharif. The PML faction led by Sharif won 130 out of 217 seats, with Bhutto's PPP winning only 20 seats. Despite his large majority and his election having been welcomed by the business community, Sharif has to contend with a president vying for greater influence, indicated in his setting-up of a special council that gives the military an official governmental role-and which reflects the military's perennial influence in the country's political process. Sharif also faces widespread economic problems and rising crime and violence.
In late March 1997 the government announced the implementation of an economic revival programme aiming to enhance exports, reduce prices, and generate employment. In April the National Assembly unanimously passed a constitutional amendment removing the president's power to dissolve the assembly. This controversial ability had been used to dismiss three elected governments since 1985. The rupee was devalued in October by 8.5 per cent, an action followed (later that month) by the announcement a three-year financing package from the IMF amounting to US$1,558 million; a World Bank loan of US$250 million was announced in December.
Following a constitutional crisis, during which Sharif had accused President Leghari and the chief justice of trying to undermine his government, Leghari unexpectedly resigned his position in December; the chief justice was dismissed from his post. Sharif's position was further enhanced when his nominee for the presidential office, Muhammad Rafiq Tarar, was successfully elected.
A year after enquiries into corruption allegations against the Bhutto family begun, 12 corruption cases were filed with Pakistan's accountability commission in January 1998. Although the family's Swiss bank accounts had been frozen in September, courts in the United Kingdom questioned the legality of the request for release of all documents held in the United Kingdom pertaining to the Bhutto's finances and dealings. Talks with India resumed in January regarding the possibility of a resolution to the Kashmir situation. A complementary working party has been established, which also covers the issue of the disputed Himalayan territory of Siachen. In April Pakistan openly tested a surface-to-surface missile with a range of 1,500 km (930 mi). Following five underground nuclear tests by India in May 1998, Pakistan responded within days with six nuclear tests. The events further heightened tensions between the two countries.