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Pakistan's Political History

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Pakistan has been facing insurmountable problems since it came into being. there have been major mistakes in policy starting from the very beginning with the formation of the country with 2 wings separated by 1600 miles of Indian territory.

The recurrent military takeovers of the government made Pakistan politically, constitutionally and economically unstable.

Pakistan's military leaders have intervened politics often with the excuse of inefficiency of government or national security. for instance Ayub khan was given the command of Pakistan army in 1951 believing that they are turning the army over to an efficient military bureaucrat rather than a Bonaparte. but the political leaders were wrong.

THE FIRST MARSHAL LAW (followed by many others)

From 1951 to 1958 Ayub khan continually increased the power and prerogatives of the military. in 1954 he was the minister of defense as well. finally in 1958 he carried out a bloodless coup and ruled the country for the next decade. His justification was that the politicians were inefficient and corrupt.

he initiated major policy programs such as the development of alliances with the powerful neighbors I.e. China and Soviet Union and some of them did prove to be beneficial. alliance with US proved to be beneficial during the war over Kashmir in 1965. But imposing marshal law weakens the country's structure as there's virtually no constitution during marshal law.

after lifting marshal law, facing political protest in 1969 he declared marshal law again, turning the power to Yahya khan.


In the elections of 1970 Awami league won outright majority in east wing and PPP won heavily in Punjab and Sindh. most politicians acquiesced (agreed) to it but Bhutto was not willing to let the rules of parliamentary democracy prevail.

he refused to enter into coalition with the Awami league which would let Mujibur Rehman become the Prime Minister. this destroyed the already fragile ties between East and West wings of Pakistan.

The tragic sequence of political chaos, death and destruction can be laid at the feet of Bhutto which eventually led up to independence of East Pakistan as Bangladesh.

The military regime of Yahya khan failed miserably and Bhutto blamed Yahya khan for the military defeat of the Pakistani army by the Indian army and the loss of East wing. As a result Yahya khan resigned and Bhutto was declared president and chief marshal law administrator in Dec 1971.


Bhutto immediately began to consolidate his power and move towards a socialist economy. He nationalized key industries and began to tax the land property of the rich families....

In 1973 he used his political power to install a new constitution which further enhanced his power. He used his popularity to rule as an autocrat (a ruler who has total control) if not an outright dictator. He lost support of politically active urbanities because of the ineffectiveness of his regime to achieve the goals he promised. And ONCE AGAIN the military under leadership of General Zia ul Haq took control of the government and imprisoned Bhutto. He charged Bhutto with arranging the assassination of a political opponent in 1974. After being tried in Lahore high court and sentenced to death, within a period of 10 days he was executed by hanging. Pakistan was left with the legacy of its most popular leader having been martyred by a military junta.


Zia-ul-Haq was chosen by Bhutto to command the army in 1976. he was selected on the much same basis as was Ayub Khan I.e. he didn't seem to have any political ambitions. Bhutto was disastrously wrong.

To gain control of Pakistan Zia only had to declare marshal law. Though he asserted that he had taken control of the government solely to administer new elections for the national and provincial officers. He promised elections within 90 days but that promise was



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