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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Former Pakistan Dictator and President Pervez Musharraf Charged in the Assassination of Benazir Bhutto.


HISTORY IN THE NEWS

Dedicated to the background of contemporary events around the world. 



DEDICATED TO THE ORIGINS OF CONTEMPORARY EVENTS AROUND THE WORLD.


PAKISTAN





IN BRIEF: There has hardly been legal or criminal charge against a public figure in Pakistan that hasn't been part of a political vendetta. 


IN THE NEWS: PERVEZ MUSHARRAF, FORMER PRESIDENT AND MILITARY
DICTATOR OF PAKISTAN IS INDICTED WITH THE 2007 MURDER OF PRESIDENTIAL. CANDIDATE BENAZIR BHUTTO.   MR. MUSHARRAF, HAS BEEN UNDER HOUSE ARREST SINCE HIS RETURN TO PAKISTAN LAST SPRING.  COMMENTATORS  AGREE THAT THE CHARGES ARE MURKY, AS ARE THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF MS. BHUTTO'S MURDER DURING A BOMBING WHILE SHE WAS ON CAMPAIGN. SOME SAY THE PRIMARY EVIDENCE RESTS ON A PHONE CALL MUSHARRAF MADE TO ENGLAND BEFORE MS. BHUTTO'S RETURN FROM EXILE, THREATENING HER WITH DEATH IF SHE RETURNED TO PAKISTAN. MS. BHUTTO REPLIED THAT MUSHARRAF COULDN'T STOP HER.OTHERS CITE REVENGE AGAINST MUSHARRAF FOR FIRING SUPREME COURT JUSTICES WHILE HE WAS IN POWER.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

Musharraf Takes Power in Coup D'Etat.

On October 12, 1999, Nawaz Sharif's government was overthrown by Musharraf in a military coup. Charged with conspiracy, he faced criminal charges when the Saudi kingdom intervened and he was allowed to go to exile in Saudi Arabia. In 1999, Musharraf took power in a bloodless military coup and Sharif went into exile.

 Constructs political Campaign as Dictator
 In 2002, the ISI helped to form 'the King's party' (PML-Q) or the coalition of relgious parties that won Musharraff his electoral majority in his run for president that year.  If anything he needed them on side while he fought the Taliban for Washington.

Crushes red Mosque, Fires Justice Choudhury.
In January, 2007, tensions developed around the Islamist Red Mosque. Then, in the spring, mass protests erupted against Musharraf's firing of Pakistan's chief justice, Iftakar Mohammed Choudhury on charges of misusing his post. Choudhury, an activist judge, had often demanded the investigation of the country's intelligence services on the issue of missing persons and other matters involving military rule. It appears the anger about his dismissal was shared both by Islamist and democratic opponents of the government.

Political Opponents Bhutto and Sharif Sidelined.
To make matters worse for Musharraf, the Supreme Court reinstated Choudhury. With Musharraff weakened by the Choudhury and Red Mosque affairs, Benazir Bhutto, in exile in England, chose the moment to gamble on a return to Pakistan by offering Musharraff a political partnership. As sole viable opposition leader it seemed a wise move. Moreover the return of her old adversary, Nawaz Sharif was nipped in the bud when when Musharraf had him arrested and exiled again at the airport September 8.

To make matters worse for Musharraf, the Supreme Court reinstated Choudhury. With Musharraff weakened by the Choudhury and Red Mosque affairs, Benazir Bhutto, in exile in England, chose the moment to gamble on a return to Pakistan by offering Musharraff a political partnership. As sole viable opposition leader it seemed a wise move. Moreover the return of her old adversary, Nawaz Sharif was nipped in the bud when when Musharraf had him arrested and exiled again at the airport September 8. In October Musharraf won a landslide election. In November, Mursharraf declared a state of emergency.


 On December 27, 2008, Bhutto, while campaigning in Rawalindi, was assassinated in a suicide bombing.

              At the beginning of 2008, Musharraf postponed the election from January 8 to February 19 on grounds of bad security. In the run-up to the elections, suicide bombings took dozens of lives. The intention, most likely, was to prevent what was almost certain to be the return of moderate secular and moderate relgious parties to power. Nevertheless, Pakistan had the courage to vote. In the upshot, Musharraf lost the election. 
 
 2008: Faced with Coalition and Impeachment, Musharraf Resigns.

  Immediately the PPP's Asaf Zadari and opposition PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif consider a coalition in order to oust President Musharraf.. In March, though Sharif is still prevented from running for office by pending charges for hijacking. Yusuf Raza Galani is elected Prime Minister and by August, the agreement by Zardari and Sharif has taken the form of  a plan to impeach Musharraf.  Suprisingly, perhaps, Musharraf resigns and in Septemmber, Zardari is elected president. The army, meanwhile, clears the Swat Valley in Pakistan. In September, 2008, Bhutto's son, Asif Zardari is elected President.


British Exile
Having refuge in Britain,  former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf launches political party from exile, while apologizing for "negative actions while in power."


IN HISTORY:


                In 2007 it seemed that the future of Pakistan was more likely to be played out in the Supreme Court than on the electoral field. On September 16, the court declared that a civil servant, contrary to former rulings can run for office without a mandatory two years absence from his post- clearing the way for Musharraf to run in elections. He had to abide by a promise to resign his army post upon taking office. He had to honour a pledge for Benazir Bhutto to return to Pakistan on October 17 free of corruption charges in return for having her her PPP party abstain instead of voting against him. Such was the atmosphere in Pakistan that Bhutto, arriving from exile in Britain, narrowly escaped death from a suicide attack on her convoy. On November 3, Musharraf declared a state of emergency allegedly on the grounds of a conspiracy from religious militants, though it was generally believed that he was merely lengthening his rule; and indeed he used the emergency to sack supreme court justices before they made a decision on the legitimacy of his election victory while still in uniform. Many of his political opponents were imprisoned; all political activity was banned; there was a crackdown on the media and Bhutto was placed under temporary house arrest to prevent her from leading a rally against the state of emergency. Musharraf promised elections for the post of Prime Minister on January 8 but most doubted that they would be free and fair. On December 15 he ended the state of emergency and restored the constitution, causing some question as to whether the state of emergency had indeed been imposed because of a threat from militants.

                On December 27, Bhutto, while campaigning in Rawalindi, was assassinated in a suicide bombing. Nawaz Sharif was the only significant candidate left standing in what appeared to be an opposition vacuum, until the PPP declared Bhutto's 19 year old son her successor at the head of the party with her widowed husband Asif Ali Zardari acting as regent in what seems more than ever to be a dynasty. Sharif, meanwhile, instructed his own party to boycott the January vote. Suspicions that Musharaff, through negligence or conspiracy allowed the assassination to happen, resulted in widespread rioting verging on anarchy. At the beginning of 2008, Musharraf postponed the election from January 8 to February 19 on grounds of bad security. In the run-up to the elections, suicide bombings took dozens of lives. The intention, most likely, was to prevent what was almost certain to be the return of moderate secular and moderate religious parties to power. Nevertheless, Pakistan had the courage to vote.


RELEVANT DATES for Musharraf charged in assassiination of Benazir Bhutto.


1978- July 29- Ali Bhutto, father of Benazir Bhutto, begins campaigning for his return to power..

Oct 24.- Bhutto is tried for vote rigging, corruption and the murder of a political opponent.


1979- April 4- after being sentenced to death, Bhutto is hanged.


1984- Bhutto's daughter, Benazir, exiled to England with her mother, takes leadership of the PPP, the Pakistan People’s Party.

Return of Benazir Bhutto


1986- Benazir Bhutto returns to Pakistan and campaigns for fair elections. She marries Ali Zardari in 1987.


1988- President Zia Ul-Haq killed at Dhaka in a plane crash.


-Ul Haq’s successor, President Ishaq Khan brings back democracy.


Benazir Bhutto Prime Minister.


1988- Aslam Beg of the Inter Services Intelligence Agency (ISI) forms a coalition of religious parties (the IJI) against Benazir Bhutto. When the relgious coaltion loses, the ISI throws its support behind her rival, Nawaz Sharif, then Chief Minister of Punjab.

1988- Benazir Bhutto elected Prime Minister. She takes Pakistan back into the Commonwealth.

1990- constant challenges from a conservative presidency leads to the dismissal of Benzir’s Bhutto’s government. She is charged with corruption charges in an offensive believed to be backed by the ISI. Her husband is also placed under arrest for corruption.

Benazir Bhutto Ousted.


1990- ISI brokers another coalition against Bhutto and raises large amounts of money to back Nawaz Sharif against Bhutto


Nawaz Sharif Prime Minister.


-Nawaz Sharif succeeds Benazir Bhutto as prime minister in an election believed to have been rigged with the assistance of the ISI.

Bhutto re-elected Prime Minister.


1993- Benazir Bhutto leads opposition to Nawaz Sharif,


-Bhutto elected prime minister of a coalition government. Her regime is plagued by crime, the drugs trade, separatist unrest in Balushistan and Sindh and tribal unrest in the north west frontier.

Bhutto Dismissed.


1996- Benazir Bhutto’s government is dismissed by President Leghari on new charges of corruption and mismanagement.


1997- Feb. Benazir Bhutto is defeated in elections. She is succeeded by Nawaz Sharif and becomes leader of the opposition.


1999- Benazir Bhutto removed as a member of parliament and along with her husband is tried, fined and sentenced for corruption.


-Benazir Bhutto chooses self-imposed exile in Dubai.


Sharif Dismissed in Coup by Musharraf.

-Sharif withdraws the army from Kashmir and dismisses its head, General Musharraf, angering the army.

1999-Musharraf dismisses Sharif. Sharif agrees to go into exile rather than face criminal charges.


General Musharraf seizes power.

-General Musharraf takes power in a military coup. Musharraf suspends the constitution, asserts control over the judiciary and parliament.

2002- -Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence Agency (ISI) helps to form the the King's Party a coalition of Pakistan Muslim parties to back Musharraf's  election as president. The MMA, a large alliance of religious parties, the King's Party and Bhutto's PPP are the largest parties in parliament.


Musharraf Consolidates Power, extends Dictatorship,

-Musharraf wins presidential elections. He gains 5 more years in office in a referendum criticized as unconstitutional and biased. He awards himself sweeping new powers.

-after Musharraf is elected, an ammenndment known as the 'legal framework order' gives him a five year term plus the power over many civil institutions and the power to dismiss national and state assemblies. The MMA is indispensable in getting the 'Legal Framework Order' passed into law. The parliament becomes Musharraf's instrument.

2004- Musharraf extends his term as head of the army.

2007- Musharraf Dismisses Chief Justice Chaudhoury

 -9 March-mass protests follow Musharraff’s suspension of Pakistan’s Chief Justice Iftakar Mohammed Choudhury for abuse of power.

April- protests increase against the dismissal of Justice Choudhury.


-12 May- several killed in rival demonstrations in Karachi over the dismissal of Choudhury

20 July- the Supreme Court reinstates Justice Choudhury of Justice Choudhury.


2007- The Return of Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif.


-23 Aug. the Supreme Court decides exiled oppostion leader Nawaz Sharif can return to Pakistan.


Sept. 8- General Musharraf has Sharif arrested upon his return to Pakistan. Sharif is exiled again to Saudi Arabia- in defiance of the Supreme Court's August ruling.


-14 September- Bhutto says she will return from exile in London in mid-October.


-16 September- Pakistan's electoral commission amends a clause stating that a government servant cannot run for office without first being retired from their position for two years. A public servant can now run without leaving office. The amended clause would allow President Musharraf to run again for president. Musharraf's term as president expires November 15.

-18 September- presidential lawyers say that Musharraf will step down as army chief only if he is elected president.


-Oct. 5-in a deal with Musharraf opposition PPP leader Benazir Bhutto agrees to abstain rather than to boycott the Pakistan election if the charges against her are dropped before she returns from exile in London.

2007- Musharrraf Elected President.


-Oct. 6- Musharraf sweeps the elections.

2007- Assassination Attempt on Bhutto Upon her Return.


-Oct. 12- 2 suicide bombs directed at Bhutto's convoy from airport, kill donzens, upon her return from British exile.


2007- Musharraf Declares State of Emergency.

-November- Musharraf declares emergency rule claiming Islamist threats to the government. Opponents charge him with attempting to lengthen his dictatorship as he uses the emergency to sack the Supreme Court on the eve of its decision about the legitimacy of his election as president while still chief of the army.


-Bhutto placed under house arrest as she plans a march against emergency rule.


-Musharraff says he will work with Bhuttto.


-Musharraf brings in a caretaker government.


-the chief election commissioner determines that elections for Prime Minister will be held on January 8, 2008.

-the election commission ratifies Musharraf's second five-year term in office.




2007- Nawaz Sharif allowed to return from exile.


-Nawaz Sharif allowed to return from exile.


-Musharraf hands over command of the Armed Forces to General Ashfaq Kayani.


-Bhutto says she may boycott the January 8 election.


-December 15- Musharraf ends the state of emergency, restores constitution.


Assassination of Benazir Bhutto



-December 27- Bhutto is shot to death as suicide bombers hit her retinue after a rally in Rawalpindi.


2008- January -Musharraf postpones January 8 elections to February 18 due to instability.


2008- Musharraf Resigns


August- Musharraf resigns. Senate speaker Muhammed Sumroo takes on the role of acting president.


-Asif Ali Zardari, Bhutto's widower declares himself a candidate for presidental elections on
September 6.



2008- Zardari Elected President.


2008- Aug.- August- The PPP and the PML-N agree to launch impeachment proceedings against General Musharraf.


September- Asif Zardari, widower of Benzir Bhutto, is elected President.

Musharraf goes Into Exile.

2008- 23 November- Musharraf leaves for exile in London where he arrives the following day,


2009- Reinstatement of Justice Choudhury.

2009- March- -government agrees to reinstate Supreme Court Justice Choudhry and other judges dismissed by Musharraf in the faces of mass protests.


The government sacks Balochistan chief minister over bomb blasts in the provincial capital Quetta that killed at least 92 Shia Muslims. Sunni extremist group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi claimed responsibility.
Populist cleric and anti-corruption campaigner Tahirul Qadri, leads a nationwide march on Islamabad, demanding the resignation of the government.

After four days of protests in the capital, the government agrees to dissolve parliament early and to consult Mr Qadri over the formation of a caretaker government ahead of elections.

2013 March - Caretaker government appointed to oversee parliamentary elections.

President Pervez Musharraf Returns for Elections.

2013- March-  Gen Musharraf returns from British exile in March to contest parliamentary elections.


2013 April - A court orders the arrest of Gen Pervez Musharraf over his attempt to impose house arrest on judges during his military rule in March 2007.

-Musharraf is confined to house arrest.

2013- May 3- Supreme Court Justice Cahudry Zulfikar Ali- prosecutor in the 2007 Benazir Bhitto assassination and in the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks-  is shot to death


Nawaz Sharif Prime Minister of Pakistan

2013 June - Parliament approves Nawaz Sharif as prime minister after his Muslim League-N wins parliamentary elections in May. Taliban conduct systematic campaign of attacks and intimidation, but fail to deter largest turnout of voters since 1970.



PAKISTAN HISTORY.

PAKISTAN: 1840- 2006.
While India began to fall under British control after 1840, the northwestern or Pakistan region, which centred on the Valley of the Indus River was mostly Muslim and wasn't formally acquired until the late 19th century. Northwest India had been relatively content under the British Raj but it was the Muslims of northern India who fared less well and consequently formed the Muslim League which distinguished itself from the larger and mostly Hindu Indian national Congress. This the Muslims who would in future make up Pakistan, were radicalized. Throughout the 1930s, the Muslim League, led by Mohammed al Jinnah, was increasingly alarmed by the power and size of the Hindu INC.




In 1940, with the Lahore Resolution, the League declared that if the lot of Muslims didn't improve, Indian Muslims would move for secession. When India became independent in 1947, the Muslim League, rather than share an India dominated by the vastly Hindu INC and a Hindu majority, seceded to form the state of Pakistan in the western region of Baluchistan, Punjab and the Northwest Frontier.
Pakistan's Governor General was Mohammed al Jinnah. Two things were highly significant. The first was that Pakistan's raison d'etre was religious; it was formed as a Muslim state. Secondly, Pakistan inherited a British-made Indian constitution which was inadequate to a region which, despite being Muslim was ethnically diverse.

In 1956, Pakistan was finally given a constitution which proclaimed it an Islamic republic. Two years later, the country's short-lived democracy ended when President Ayub Khan took power in a coup d'etat. The tension between democracy and dictatorship would inform all of Pakistan's future history, west-leaning secular groups tending toward democracy while Muslim religious parties, alarmed by the threats of modern secularism, tending toward dictatorship. The idea of an Islamic State, meanwhile, seemed to be the only solution for an ethnically divided country. The result, time and again, was to be a dictatorship, to some degree Islamic. Yet that did little to solve Pakistan's most deep-seated political problem- how do you define Muslim in a society in which no one agrees on the definition of what it is to be Muslim? But Islam, undefined, remained the shibboleth. Never a marginal force, Islamic radicalism was always close to the centre of power, whether in the army, in government or in the official opposition. The pattern of secular and Muslim rivalry increased. The secular, nationalist and populist Ali Bhutto was elected President. In 1977, he was overthrown by the Islamist General Zia Ul Haq for dividing the country on his platform of "Islamic socialism." Though Islam would never find an official definition, attempts at secularized forms of Islam would only feed the electoral power of the religious zealots who wanted to exploit the very practice of democracy brought in by westernized elites, to form a state along the lines of a 7th century Caliphate. Minorities, even Muslim minorities, suffered; the Muslim Ahmadis, for example were designated a non-Muslim Minority. Radical Islam notwithstanding, Bhutto's family was to become a political dynasty and the accepted spearhead of the secular opposition.

      Meanwhile, the ever shifting priorities of US foreign policy arrived at support for the Islamic Mujehadeen of Afghanistan in their resistance to the Soviet invasion of 1979. Ul Haq's Islamist regime received backing by Washington in return for help in arming and training the Afghan rebels. In 1978, Ali Bhutto was executed after being charged with corruption and murder.



 
His daughter, the Oxford-educated Benazir Bhutto inherited the mantle of leader of the secular opposition and in 1984 founded the PPP or Pakistan People'd Party. She and her husband, Asif Ali Zardan like her father, would endure periods of arrest and exile and repeated charges of corruption by Islamist parties and governments. In 1988, General Zia Ul Haq was killed in plane crash, rumoured to be an assassination. In the same year, Benazir Bhutto was elected Prime Minister. In 1990 she was ousted on charges of corruption. She was succeeded as prime minister by Nawaz Sharif, chief councillor of Punjab province. Sharif took on the President's right to fire the Prime Minister head on. A forceful fiscal conservative, he faced down the president and the judiciary, eventually giving the position of prime minister almost despotic power. (Born in 1949 in Lahore, Sharif was the son of a Punjab indistrialist. He obtained a law degree and in 1981 became Finance minister for Punjab where he singificantly advanced rural development. In 1985, he became Chief minister of Punjab. On March 31 1988, he was made caretaker after President Zia Ul Haq dismissed both houses of parliament.) In 1988, the year Bhutto was elected, Sharif was re-elected in Punjab before running for Prime Minister on a conservative, anti-corruption platform. In 1990 Bhutto was ousted on charges of corruption. After the election of Sharaf as Prime Minister in November 1990, he worked with the private sector to strengthen Pakistan's industry and land reform for the peasants of Sindh. Despite US sanctions, he achieved economic progress. But in April, 1993, he was dismissed by the president. He was reinstated by the judiciary but after corruption allegations he had to resign along with the president in July.

                   In 1993 Benazir Bhutto was re-elected. Meanwhile, the MML, a powerful alliance of religious parties, was expressly formed by the ISI to block the election of any secular party as well as to gather or to fabricate corruption charges against Benazir Bhutto. In 1996, Bhutto was duly dismissed, again on charges of corruption. In 1997, Sharif was re-elected prime minister and used his overwhelming majority to strip the president of his constitutional power to dismiss the Prime minister. Sharif made the the position of Prime Minister all-powerful, indeed unassailable to the point of dissenting from the Chief Justice. As a result, the president resigned and the supreme court justice was removed. In 1998, in response to social unrest, he suspended many civil liberties and set up military courts. Throughout his career he had already had several run-ins with chiefs of the military. In 1998, Sharif appointed General Musharraf to head the army. But Sharif angered the army by resisting pressure to give it political power, pulling it out of confrontation with India in Kashmir at the behest of the United States and dismissing its head, General Pervez Musharraf. In February 1999, Sharif signed the Lahore Declaration to normalize relations with India. Under pressure from US president Clinton, he withdrew the army from confrontation with India in Kashmir. Electricity shortages led him to put the army in charge of water and power but rumours of selling out to the generals led him to fire Musharraff.

              On October 12, 1999, Sharif's government was overthrown by Musharraf in a military coup. Charged with conspiracy, he faced criminal charges when the Saudi kingdom intervened and he was allowed to go to exile in Saudi Arabia. In 1999, Musharraf took power in a bloodless military coup and Sharif went into exile. After Al Qaeda's attacks on the United States on 9/11, Musharraf was coerced into supporting Washington's War on Terror, a campaign which would in fact amount to a war against radical Islam in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The US invaded Afghanistan and overthrew the Taliban obliging Musharraf to take up its fight against the Taliban resistance as well as al Qaeda, which had taken refuge in Pakistan's semi-autonomous tribal agencies. Musharraf, still presiding over an army which was at least in part Islamist and traditionally allied with the religious parties, as well as powerful Islamist elements in the ISI intelligence service, has had to walk a tightrope, on the one hand supporting Washington against the Taliban and al Qaeda and on the other, placating the religious parties and Islamist elements in his own government. In 2002, the ISI helped to form 'the King's party' (PML-Q) or the coalition of relgious parties that won Musharraff his electoral majority that year.        If anything he needed them on side while he fought the Taliban for Washington.


               Marsharraf sent the army into Waziristan after the Taliban in the winter of 2003-2004. They were so badly mauled by the Taliban and its tribal alllies among the Mahsuds and Waziris that two peace deals were stuck, in 2004 and February 2005, leaving Waziristan and effective Taliban "Emirate". By a September 2006 peace deal, by which the Waziristan Taliban would restrict their operations to Afghanistan and refrain from attacking Pakistani forces , Pakistan withdrew its troops to their bases. In Kashmir, meanwhile, Musharraf has cracked down on Islamist Kashmir separatists and made half-hearted attempts to stop the Afghan Taliban insurgency from hiding out in Pakistan. Faced on the other hand with a strong moderate, secular movement, he was been forced, nevertheless, to turn his attention to the development of a powerful Islamist cell in the Red Mosque, in central Islamabad, right under the nose of his intelligence agencies. bloc which has in turn prevented him from cracking down too hard on the Taliban.


SEE ALSO - MUMBAI TERRORISTS TRACED TO PAKISTAN: 11/27/08



PREVIOUS ENTRIES ON PAKISTAN:

3/27/09 Afghan Supply lines (from Pakistan) at root of Canadian deaths.

2/26/09 The Talban's Ancient Geopolitics.
9/10/08 Zardari elected Prime Minister.
8/18/08 Musharraf not to be praised or mourned.
3/25/08- PPP's Gillani is president of Pakistan.
2/20/08- Musharraf loses parliamentary vote.
12/27/07- Benazir Bhutto assassinated.
11/03/07 -Musharraf declares state of emergency.



PAKISTAN, 2007 UNTIL 2013: In January, 2007, tensions developed around the Islamist Red Mosque. Then, in the spring, mass protests erupted against Musharraf's firing of Pakistan's chief justice, Iftakar Mohammed Choudhury on charges of misusing his post. Choudhury, an activist judge, had often demanded the investigation of the country's intelligence services on the issue of missing persons and other matters involving military rule. It appears the anger about his dismissal was shared both by Islamist and democratic opponents of the government. Meanwhile, weeks of conflict involving Pakistan's Islamist extremists finally culminated in the army's assault on the Red Mosque and the killing of most of its radical defenders which led in turn to counter-attacks by Islamists all around the counrty. To make matters worse for Musharraf, the Supreme Court reinstated Choudhury. With Musharraff weakened by the Choudhury and Red Mosque affairs, Benazir Bhutto, in exile in England, chose the moment to gamble on a return to Pakistan by offering Musharraff a political partnership. As sole viable opposition leader it seemed a wise move. Moreover the return of her old adversary, Nawaz Sharif was nipped in the bud when when Musharraf had him arrested and exiled again at the airport September 8.

                    The future of Pakistan is more likely being played in the Supreme Court than it is on the electoral field. On September 16, 2007, the court declared that a civil servant, contrary to former rulings can run for office without a mandatory two years absence from his post- clearing the way for Musharraf to run in elections. He had to abide by a promise to resign his army post upon taking office. He had to honour a pledge for Benazir Bhutto to return to Pakistan on October 17 free of corruption charges in return for having her her PPP party abstain instead of voting against him. Such was the atmosphere in Pakistan that Bhutto, arriving from exile in Britain, narrowly escaped death from a suicide attack on her convoy. On November 3, Musharraf declared a state of emergency allegedly on the grounds of a conspiracy from religious militants, though it was generally believed that he was merely lengthening his rule; and indeed he used the emergency to sack supreme court justices before they made a decision on the legitimacy of his election victory while still in uniform. Many of his political opponents were imprisoned; all political activity was banned; there was a crackdown on the media and Bhutto was placed under temporary house arrest to prevent her from leading a rally against the state of emergency. Musharraf promised elections for the post of Prime Minister on January 8 but most doubted that they would be free and fair. On December 15 he ended the state of emergency and restored the constitution, causing some question as to whether the state of emergency had indeed been imposed because of a threat from militants.

                On December 27, Bhutto, while campaigning in Rawalindi, was assassinated in a suicide bomibing. Nawaz Sharif was the only significant candidate left standing in what appeared to be an opposition vacuum, until the PPP declared Bhutto's 19 year old son her successor at the head of the party with her widowed husband Asif Ali Zardari acting as regent in what seems more than ever to be a dynasty. Sharif, meanwhile, instructed his own party to boycott the January vote. Suspicions that Musharaff, through negligence or conspiracy allowed the assassination to happen, resulted in widespread rioting verging on anarchy. At the beginning of 2008, Musharraf postponed the election from January 8 to February 19 on grounds of bad security. In the run-up to the elections, suicide bombings took dozens of lives. The intention, most likely, was to prevent what was almost certain to be the return of moderate secular and moderate religious parties to power. Nevertheless, Pakistan had the courage to vote.

2008: MUSHARRAF RESIGNS AMID INPEACHMENT PROCEEDINGS.

Immediately the PPP's Asaf Zadari and opposition PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif consider a coaltion in order to oust President Musharraf. In March, though Sharif is still prevented from running for office by pending charges for hijacking. Yusuf Raza Galani is elected Prime Minister and by August, the agreement by Zardari and Sharif has taken the form of  a plan to impeach Musharraf.  Suprisingly, perhaps, Musharraf resigns and in Septemmber, Zardari is elected president. The army, meanwhile, clears the Swat Valley in Pakistan.

The burden of the new leadership becomes apparent when the Hotel Mariott is bombedi in September, 2008. killing 50, with Islamists claiming responsibility. In December, November's Mumbai massacre is traced by Indian intelligence to a Pakistani terror group with suspicion focusing on Lashkar-e-Taiba and links to elements in Pakistani intellligence.

The Taliban invade the Swat Valley.  In February 2009 and the government obtains a ceasefire, allowing limited Shria law in the area,  Zardari finds himself between Islamists and his American ally as he protests US drone missile striles inside Pakistan in November. His country's fragile relationship with the west is further tested as Pakistan borrows billions from the IMF to fend of its debt crisis.


2009: THE TALIBAN CONTROLS THE SWAT VALLEY.

With the Taliban, meanwhile, in virtual control of Pakistan's northern Swat Valley, the government agrees in February, 2009, to allow the imposition of Sharia law in Swat in exchange for a ceasefire. Pakistan's internatiomnal status falls lower yet in March as a bus carrying the Sri Lankan soccer team is ambushed  in Lahore with several players injured and five police killed. In a rare victory for secularism and democracy, the government is pushed by mass protests into reinstating Supreme Court Justice Choudry and other justices fired by Musharraf. Terror returns to Lahore as insurgents kill 40 at a police academy.

In April the Taliban breaks the Swat Valley ceasefire and annxes more territory as the government launches a military operation to cear Taliban from the region. On July 8th fanaticism rears its head in Punjab as eight Christians are burned alive by Muslim extremists in Gojra in Punjab. 17 insurgents are arrested in the atrocity and realeased without trial.

2009: INDIA AND PAKISTAN AGREE TO FIGHT TERROR.

Meanwhile, fear of war between India and Pakistan remains so great  that Prime Minister Gilani meets Prime Minister Singh of India, in July in Cairo, to plot a strategy to fight terror without regard to political or relgious differences. At  home, later in  July, 2009 Nawaz Sharif is cleared of an old hijacking charge, enabling him to run for office. In the same month, finally, the army clears the Taliban out of Swat Valley. In August, Pakistan sends out an international alert in order to track eleven suspects November's Mumbai massacre. In a move to erase the authoritarian legacy of Musharraf, President Zardari orders the suspension of  supreme court judges Musharraff had apppointed to replace those he had fired.

With the death of Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud in a US drone missile attack at end of summer, a new leader, Hakimullah Mehsud, rises to ereplace him in October.

2009: THE US SEPARATES MILITARY AID FROM CIVILIAN AID TO PAKISTAN,

In one of US president Obama's changes of policy, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton obtains passage of a bill in Congress separating military from civilian aid to Pakistan, making military aid dependant on Pakistan purging Islamist elements from the intelligence services and the military. In the fall, after a wave of terror attacks kills 170 across Pakistan, the army, also acting under US pressure, begins a 30,000 man offensive to destroy Hakimullah's Taliban insurgency at its home base in South Waziristan. But just as Secretary of State Clinton arrives for a visit in Pakistan, nearly 100 are killed in a terrorist bombing in a Peshawar market.

Ethnic massacres continue into 2010 ,with 43 Shia murdered in a mosque in December, 2009 and over 200 Baluchis killed by Baluch separatists in the first six months of  2010. Meanwhile President Zidari brings in measures of long-needed reform, reducing the power of the presidency, reforming the judiciary and providing autonomy to the provinces.

The Islamist war on the West without, and on Muslim minorities within continues as the Pakistan Taliban extends his reach to New York City before a car bomb is discovered in Times Square and its operative sent to jail. The Pakistani Taliban outfit, Tehrik-e-Taliban, (TTP) claims responsibility. Attacks on Pakistan minorities by radical Islamists continue with 90 Ahamadis killed in Lahore in May. Islamists launch an attack on a Karachi courthouse freeing rebel fighters arrested in December, 2009.

 2010: MASS FLOODING OF PAKISTAN ENDS UP EMPOWERING ISLAMISTS. 

Deadly flooding in much of the country in August and September, 2010, exposes the inefficiency of the government in extending supplies and rescue, leaving open a large space for teams of Islamist militants to gain adherents by providing emergency help and quick relief. More insurgent bombings and attacks on the Shia appear to be attempts to exploit the chaos caused by the flooding.

Citing the danger to it civilian population by American drone strikes, Pakistan closes NATO supply routes in September. Sensing the country's continued disorder, former president Musharraf plans an electoral comeback from exile in London. Meanwhile, proponents of reform to Pakistan's draconian blasphemy law are murdered by Islamic fundamentalists.

2011: US SPECIAL FORCES KILL OSAMA BIN LADEN INSIDE PAKISTAN.

The May 2, 2011 killing of Osama Bib Laden in Abottabad, inside Pakistan by US Special Forces ans without Pakistan's knowledge, causes as much embarrassment as outrage among the Pakistani military, further straining an already strained relationship between the two countries. Things get worse when US warplanes accidentally kill 25 Pakistani soldiers. Once again Pakistan shuts down NATO supply routes to Afghanistan. In Dcember the crisis continues with outcry over leaked memos showing that the government had asked for US aid against an army coup d'etat  in response to US trespass in the killing of Bin Laden.

In January, 2012, The army is in uproar over Prime Minister Gilani's firing of a defence official. Divisions deepen as the Supreme Court threatens Prime Minister Gilani for attempting to block an investigation of President Zardari on corruption charges. Pakistan lays charges of treason against a doctor who worked for the CIA in the tracking and killing of Bin Laden; in retalation, the  withdraws $33 million in anid.

Prime Minister Gilani is finally removed from office by the Supreme Court for attempting to block the investigation of President Zardari for corruption. Pakistan finally reopens NATO supply routes after the United States apologizes for the accidental killing of Pakistani troops y US fighter jets.  

2012: A CHRISTIAN GIRL IS ACCUSE OF BLASPHEM AGAINST ISLAM

In fall, 2012, a Christian girl in Islamabad is accused of blasphemy for displaying burnt pages of the Koran, causing widespread fear and the exodus of local Christians. The case is dropped after it's discovered that the evidence was planted. An even more notorious attack by Islamist occurred when a 14 year old cool girl Mahala Yusufsai survived being shot in the head by a gunman for protesting the closing of schools for girls by the Taliban. Meanwhile, former cricket star Imran Khan launches his own political offensive by leading a protest against US drone missile strikes.

2013: BLOODY ISLAMIST ATTACKS ON SHIA CONTINUE.

November witnesses numerous casualties from Taliban attacks on Shia Muslims in Rawalpindi. Quetta and Karachi while celebrating their holy month of Muharram. The terror group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi is believed to be responsible.  The bloodshed carries over into January, 2013, when more Shia are murdered in Balushistan by Sunni extremists. The gvernment sacks the Balushistan minister but  Balushi demonstrations demand the resignation of the government itself. The carnage continues in Februrary as as scores of Shia are murdered by the same group.

Meanwhile in February, 2013, British Prime Minister David Cameron helps broker future talks between President Zardari and Afghan president Karzai for a peace plan for Afghanistan. In Quetta, 89 Shia are killed in a bomb attack for which Lashkar-e-Jhangy claims responsibility. 



PAKISTAN UNTIL THE LATE 19TH CENTURY.. From ancient times, the region of the Indus river lay at the frontier between invasion from west and central Asia, on the one hand, and the empires of the Indian subcontinent on the other. In the third millenium BC, the Aryans invaded from Central Asia. The Indus, which runs southward from the highlands of Central Asia and forms northwest India's natural border with continental Asia, would provide a route of invasion and migration into India for millennia to come. In the fourth and third centuries BC, the Maurya empire of the Indian subcontinent governed the region as far as Afghanistan. In the early centuries AD, the region of the Indus was invaded and ruled by the Kushans of Central Asia. Thenceforward, southeastward expansion from Asia would form the pattern up until British rule in the 19th century. In 711, Arabs invaded, establishing Islam in the region of Pakistan. Mahmud of Ghazni an Afghan warlord of the Abbasid Caliphate, continued the pattern of conquest from the northwest, conquering Sindh, crossing the Indus and plundering northern India. In the 13th century, the Mongol invasions penetrated the region from the north. In the early16th century, a Central Asian Muslim warlord took the region again. Babur established his rule from central Asia to northern India and founded the empire of the Moghuls which would last until British rule. The late 16th century saw a rare reversal of the pattern in which the Moghul emperor Akbar, from his base in northern India, reconquered Sindh and Afghanistan- establishing enlightened rule and an attempted synthesis of Hinduism and Islam. In the eighteenth century, even as Britain began to colonize India, Persian and Afghan Muslim warlords established brief empires extending south and east across the Indus and into northern, Moghul India. With the British occupation of Sindh, West Punjab, Baluchistan and the Northwest in the late 19th century, the old pattern of conquest from the northwest ended.
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