Pakistan – from the Origins to the 1980s

By | December 18, 2021

The Pakistan was established as an independent state within the Commonwealth in 1947 by the union of the provinces and districts with a Muslim majority already part of India. The Muslim League (LM) dominated the first years of its life and Moḥammed ‛Alī Ginnāh with the post of governor general ruled the country until his death (1948); he was succeeded by Prime Minister Liyāqat ‛Alī Khān, assassinated in 1951, then Ghulām Moḥammed. From birth, Fr had to face serious problems of a religious, economic and social nature. The division of territories between Pakistan and India undermined the productive structure especially in Bengal and Punjab, while millions of Muslim refugees poured into the country, which was in turn abandoned by the Hindus. To this was added the question of the principality of Kashmir, which led to a conflict (1947-48) and the de facto partition of the region between the Pakistan and India.

A source of tension was also the imbalance existing between the Western Pakistan, which exercised a clear political dominance, and Bengal, whose claim for a strong autonomy clashed with the centralist line adopted by the government. The first Constitution (March 1956) proclaimed the Pakistan Federal State, formed by the two provinces of the Western Pakistan and the Eastern Pakistan, with a parliamentary and republican form of government. In 1958, after a period of strong political conflicts, I. Mīrzā (who took over from Ghulām in 1955 and elected president in 1956), repealed the Constitution and proclaimed martial law under the direction of the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, General M. Ayyūb Khān, who later became president. In 1962 a new constitution established a presidential regime. Ayyūb Khān was replaced in 1969 by General Yaḥyā Khān, who called elections for a National Assembly with constituent powers. To the success of the progressive Pakistani People’s Party (PPP) led by Z.‛A in the Western Pakistan Bhutto the victory of the autonomous Awami League (LA), which obtained an absolute majority of seats in the National Assembly, was reflected in Pakistan Orientale. In March 1971, Bengal unilaterally proclaimed independence as the Republic of Bangladesh. The attempt to repress the secession failed in the face of the intervention of India and Yaḥyā Khān took over from Bhutto; the country left the Commonwealth in 1972. In 1974 the separation of Bangladesh was recognized. After the launch of a new Constitution in 1973, Bhutto became prime minister, but in 1977, with a military coup d’état, power was taken over by General Zia ul-Ḥaq ; Bhutto was arrested and hanged in 1979. For Pakistan 2006, please check

The strategic role assumed by Pakistan after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan led Western countries to provide, during the 1980s, huge economic and military aid. In 1985 the 1973 Constitution was reinstated (with an amendment granting broad powers to the president) and General Zia ul-Ḥaq was reconfirmed. In 1986, Bhutto’s daughter Benazir returned from exile ; while the country was crossed by a resurgence of inter-ethnic tensions, in 1988 Zia directly assumed the leadership of the government, but died shortly after. Once again the state of emergency was imposed, Ghulām Isḥaq Khān, former president of the Senate, became president of the Republic. After the legislative elections B. Bhutto she was appointed prime minister of a coalition government between the PPP and the National Muhajir Movement (MNM). The weakness of the government agreement, the lack of stable majorities in the provincial governments and the institutional disagreements with the president progressively weakened the Bhutto government, which failed to carry out its own program of democratic reform of the country.

Pakistan Ghulām Isḥaq Khān