1930-1947 History of Pakistan 1958-1971

Pakistan 1947-1958

Establishment of Pakistan . In August 1947 PaKiStan became independent - the name consists of P for Punjab, K for Kashmir and S for Sindh. There was another part not mentioned in the name, (East Bengal, separated from West Pakistan by 1600 km of Indian territory. While the political center - capital Karachi (later Rawalpindi, then Islamabad) and the economic centers (Karachi, Lahore) all are located in the west, the majority of the population lived in East Bengal.
Immediately after independence, Pakistan had to deal with a massive refugee problem : while 5.3 million Hindus fled from Punjab and Sindh into India, 5.9 million Muslims fled from India into West Pakistan. 3.3 million Hindus fled East Bengal, 1.3 million Muslims fled from India into East Bengal.
Another problem was formed by the 500+ Indian principalities who had been 'indirectly' ruled by Britain. Both India and Pakistan expected these to opt for either of them. While this went through without major complication in most cases, for instance Bahawalpur was integrated into Pakistan's province of Punjab, the case of Kashmir was complex. The vast majority of Kashmir was and is Muslim; the fathers of Pakistan therefore counted on it forming a central element of the new state. However, the Rajah of Jammu and Kashmir, a Hindu, opted for India. The First Indo-Pakistani War of 1948 was fought over the issue; the result was that Kashmir was partitioned, the smaller western part being held by Pakistan, the larger eastern and central part held by India. In Baluchistan and the NWFP, sentiment for the establishment of an independent Kalat respectively Pathan State was evident; Afghanistan claimed the Pathan territory within Pakistan.

Government . Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan and the country's first governor-general, died in 1948, even before the brief war. A provisional constitution was promulgated in 1951, ending the status of Pakistan as a dominion. In March 1951, a conspiracy of army officers with alleged Communist sympathies was uncovered. Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan was assassinated Oct. 16th 1951. In 1955 the princely states were annexed into adjacent provinces. In 1956 Pakistan was declared a Federal Islamic Republic, the constitution promulgated. Elections were held on provincial level, the delegates to the federal parliament elected by the provincial assemblies.
The government was moved from Karachi to Rawalpindi in 1958. After a military coup d'etat in 1958, Gen. Ayub Khan assumed the presidency in 1960.

Foreign Policy . Pakistan fought a war with India in 1948, which was followed by an Indo-Pakistani Cold War. India in 1949 declared Pakistan to be a foreign nation, and thus the Indo-Pakistani trade subject to customs tariffs. India claimed full control over her waterways; Pakistan's main rivers enter the country from Indian territory. This question was of vital to Pakistan.
Pakistan was a member of the Commonwealth of Nations and sought close cooperation with Islamic countries. Pakistan established diplomatic relations with the United States in 1949, with the USSR and the PRC in 1950. In 1954, Pakistan joined SEATO. In 1955, Pakistan and Iran acceded to the Baghdad Pact (also called CENTO, between Great Britain, Turkey and Iraq). In June 1957, diplomatic relations with Afghanistan were restored. In 1958 the enclave of Gwadar (hitherto belonging to Oman) was annexed.

Domestic Policies . The early years of Pakistani history (1947-1958) were marked by political instability. The nation's geography posed problems; not only was East Bengal remote from the larger West, but also the connection of the new capital Karachi with the most densely populated province of Punjab was poor. The partition of the Punjab, Bengal and Kashmir caused further problems; the traditional Punjabi capital of Lahore now found itself on the Indian border, having lost the eastern part of its hinterland. East Bengal was cut off from her traditional capital and port, Calcutta; Dacca had to be developed as the administrative center, Chittagong as its main port. The administration of Sind was relocated to Hyderabad, to create room for the administration of Pakistan (BBY 1949).
In March 1954, the Muslim League suffered a crushing defeat in elections in East Bengal. Bengali was declared official language in East Bengal. Following riots, the state of emergency was declared in East Bengal. In July 1954, Communist parties in both parts of Pakistan were declared illegal. In 1955 the provinces were abolished, replaced by East Bengal and West Pakistan. An act of 1957 abolished the separate electorates for Muslims and Non-Muslims, established in 1909.

The Economy . In 1948-1951 Pakistan's economic policy was focussed on solving problems of the day, the integration of large numbers of refugees, questions arising from the development of Indo-Pakistani relations. When Britain devaluated the Pound Sterling and the Indian Rupee followed suit in 1951, Pakistan maintained the value of her Rupee, which resulted in her main export products, to a large part traditionally sold to markets within the British Empire and Commonwealth, becoming more expensive; Pakistan experienced a recession. Pakistan did devaluate her currency in July 1955.
According to the 1951 census, Pakistan had a population of 75.8 million, of whom 42.0 million lived in East Bengal, 33.8 million in West Pakistan.
In June 1951 the National Development Plan was launched. The partition of British India into India and Pakistan had left the latter with a partially truncated infrastructure; the emphasis of the NDP lay thus in infrastructure projects turning the existing infrastructure into a functioning national one, while securing the food supply and developing the country's industries. The projects were financed with Colombo Plan credits and other overseas loans. Several hydroelectric dams constructed in the NWFP, as part of the NDP, had both economic and political purpose, as the Pakistani government feared India might divert the headwaters of the main rivers on which Pakistan depended for irrigation. In 1954 construction of a pipeline to transport gas from gas fields in Baluchistan to Pakistan's industrial centers was begun.
A Five Year Development Plan for 1955-1960 was launched.

Cultural History . The Pakistan National Olympic Committee was formed in 1948 and recognized by the IOC the same year.

Timeline Pakistan, from BBC News
History of Pakistan, from Story of Pakistan
History of Pakistan, by Pak Azadi
Articles CENTO, SEATO, Colombo Plan, Constitution of Pakistan, Foreign Relations of Pakistan, Liaquat Ali Khan, Pashtunistan, Elections in Pakistan : 1947-1958, List of Political Parties in Pakistan, Pakistani Rupee, from Wikipedia
CASCON Case KAS : Kashmir 1947-, by L.P. Bloomfield, L. Moulton
DOCUMENTS Pakistan Statesmen, from World Statesmen (B. Cahoon)
Historical Population Statistics, from Population Statistics (J. Lahmeyer)
REFERENCE Christophe Jaffrelot (ed.), A History of Pakistan and its Origins, translated from the French, London : Anthem Press (2002) 2004, KMLA Lib. Call Sign 954.91 J23h
Article : Pakistan, Dominion of, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1948 pp.565-566, 1949 pp.501-502, 1950 pp.529-530 [G]
Article : Pakistan, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1951 pp.538-539, 1952 pp.542-544, 1953 pp.545-547, 1954 pp.546-547, 1955 pp.593-595, 1956 pp.529-531, 1957 pp.594-595, 1958 pp.528-530, 1959 pp.527-529 [G]
Article : Pakistan, in : Americana Annual 1947 p.532, 1957 pp.604-605 [G]

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on November 9th 2006, last revised on April 26th 2007

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