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Pakistan election 2018: A timeline of major events in Pak’s 70-year political history

On the day of Pakistan Assembly elections 2018, here is a timeline encompassing major political and other events in Pakistan’s history

world Updated: Jul 25, 2018 11:27 IST
Associated Press
Associated Press
Associated Press, Islamabad
Pakistan Election 2018 Live Coverage,Bilawal Bhutton Zardari,Imran Khan
Shabaz Sharif (C), the younger brother of ousted Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the head of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), stands in a queue before casting his vote during Pakistan's general election at a polling station in Lahore on July 25, 2018.(AFP Photo)

Pakistanis are to vote on Wednesday in the third consecutive general elections in their nation’s 71-year-long history to take place without political upheaval, a crisis or a military intervention.

Four military governments had ruled Pakistan for almost half of its existence and in its young democracy, no civilian prime minister has ever completed a full, five-year term in office without some sort of crisis. In some cases, parliaments were dissolved, a prime minister was ousted or replaced, the military staged a coup or early elections were forced.

Here is a timeline encompassing major political and other events in Pakistan’s history:

__Aug. 14, 1947: Pakistan emerges as a sovereign state after getting independence when the departing British left India and split the subcontinent;

__Sept. 11, 1948: Pakistan’s founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah dies;

__Oct. 16, 1951: Pakistan first prime minister, Liaquat Ali Khan, is assassinated in a gun attack at a rally in the city of Rawalpind, triggering political instability;

__Oct. 7, 1958: President Iskander Mirza abolishes the constitution and declares martial law; Gen. Muhammad Ayub Khan, then army chief becomes administrator;

__Oct. 27, 1958: Ayub forces the president to step down; Mirza is sent to exile in Britain where he later dies; Ayub declared himself president;

__March 25, 1969: After months of rioting in West and East Pakistan, Khan hands over power to army chief Gen. Agha Mohammed Yahya Khan;

__Dec. 7, 1970: East Pakistan-based Awami League wins general elections; Yahya Khan delays transfer of power, triggering widespread rioting in East Pakistan; civil war breaks out;

__Dec. 16, 1971: Pakistan troops surrender in East Pakistan after Indian armed intervention in the civil war; East Pakistan becomes independent Bangladesh;

__Dec. 20, 1971: Yahya Khan resigns, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto becomes president; a parliamentary system of government is adopted and Bhutto becomes prime minister;

__July 5, 1977: Army chief Gen. Ziaul Haq seizes power;

__April 4, 1979: Bhutto is hanged after the Supreme Court upholds death sentence on charges of conspiracy to murder and Gen. Zia rejects a mercy petition; Bhutto’s daughter, Benazir Bhutto, takes up her father’s legacy;

__Aug. 17, 1988: Gen. Zia dies in a mysterious plane crash;

__Nov. 16, 1988: Benazir Bhutto becomes Pakistan’s first woman prime minister;

__Aug. 6, 1990: Benazir Bhutto’s government is dismissed amid charges of corruption and mismanagement;

__Oct. 24, 1990: Parliamentary elections are held and Nawaz Sharif becomes prime minister;

__April 19, 1993: President Ghulam Ishaq Khan dismisses Sharif government on corruption charges but the Supreme Court reinstates Sharif; Sharif and Khan fail to reconcile and end conflict so the then-army chief Gen. Waheed Kakar forces both to resign;

__Oct. 6, 1993: Bhutto is voted back into power after mass demonstrations lead to the early dismissal of her 1990 successor, Sharif;

__Nov. 5, 1996: Bhutto’s government is again dismissed amid renewed charges of corruption and incompetence raised by her party’s leader, Farooq Leghari;

__Feb. 3, 1997: Elections bring Sharif back to power; Bhutto goes into self-exile to avoid prosecution on corruption allegations;

__Oct. 12, 1999: Army chief Gen. Pervez Musharraf ousts Sharif’s government in a bloodless coup after Sharif fails in his attempt to sack the army chief. Sharif is sent into exile after a court convicts him of conspiracy against Musharraf;

__Oct. 10, 2002: Elections are held under Musharraf and pro-Musharraf parties form government; Zafarullah Jamali becomes prime minister on Nov. 21, 2002;

__Aug. 23, 2004: Shaukat Aziz became 23rd prime minister after Jamali resigns over differences with Musharraf;

__Oct. 5, 2007: Musharraf issues a controversial national reconciliation law after striking a deal with Bhutto that paves way for elections later in the year and the return home of both Bhutto and Sharif;

__Nov. 3, 2007: Musharraf imposes state of emergency, sacks top judiciary officials to pre-empt a court verdict against his presidency;

__Dec. 27, 2007: Bhutto is assassinated in a gun-and-bomb attack after addressing an election rally in Rawalpindi;

__Feb. 18, 2008: Elections are held and Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party emerges as winner; Yousuf Raza Gilani becomes prime minister.

__Aug. 18 2008: Musharraf resigns from his post as president under pressure;

__Sept. 6, 2008: Bhutto’s husband Asif Ali Zardari becomes president;

__May 2, 2011: Osama bin Laden is killed in a U.S. Navy SEALs raid in the army garrison town of Abbottabad;

__June 19, 2012: Supreme Court disqualifies Gilani as prime minister for not complying with a court order to request a Swiss court reopen corruption cases against Zardari;

__June 22, 2012: Raja Pervez Ashraf becomes prime minister, completes his term on March 16, 2013;

__May 11, 2013: Sharif’s party, the Pakistan Muslim League, overwhelmingly wins in general elections, he becomes prime minister for third time;

__ July 28, 2017: Sharif is disqualified from office by the Supreme Court on corruption charges stemming from so-called leaked Panama papers;

__Aug. 1, 2017 Sharif’s confidant Shahid Khaqan Abbasi is sworn in as prime minister;

__May 31: Abbasi’s government completes its term in office and elections are scheduled for July 25;

__July 6: Anti-graft tribunal convicts Sharif in absentia and sentences him to 10 years in prison, his daughter and son in-law are sentenced to lesser term;

__July 13: Sharif returns home from London where his ailing wife is in hospital; he and his daughter are arrested after landing and taken to a jail in Rawalpindi.

First Published: Jul 25, 2018 11:27 IST