1958-1971 History of Pakistan 1977-1988

Pakistan since 1971

For earlier history of the state of Pakistan, click here; for earlier history of West Pakistan, click here.
The year 1971 marks a ceasure in the history of Pakistan, as what used to be East Pakistan, as Bangla Desh, broke away; from now on Pakistan was identical with the former West Pakistan.

Government In 1973, President Yahya Khan stepped down and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, leader of the PPP (Pakistan's Peoples' Party) succeeded him in office; he was to stay in power until ousted by a military coup d'etat in 1977.

Foreign Policy In 1972 Pakistan left both the Commonwealth and SEATO. Relations with India, after the 1971 war, were normalized in 1972, but remained precarious. In 1973 Pakistan formally recognized Bangladesh. Pakistan had good relations with the PRC; the Karakorum highway was built in order to improve communication with that country.
Relations with India remained the defining issue in Pakistani policy. After three wars in just over two decades (1948, 1965, 1971), which, apart from the humiliating defeat in 1971 saw Pakistan receive over 10 million Muslim refugees from other regions of the Indian subcontinent (in 1948) and left the Kashmir issue, from a Pakistani point of view, unsettled, Pakistan entered into an arms race with her neighbour India. Pakistan entertained good relations with the PRC because the latter was another enemy of India (war in 1962) and China could, and did, supply Pakistan with weapons and arms technology.

The Economy In the long turn, Bangladesh's independence was a blessing for (truncated) Pakistan, because the former East Pakistan no longer had to be subsidized. The Bhutto administration nationalized major industries (steel ind., chemical ind., cement industry; insurances, domestic banks, schools, universities). The construction of the Karakorum opened up a trade route with the PRC, which with increased in importance with the gradual liberalization of the Chinese economy.
Bhutto believed in socialism, in the modernization of Pakistan's economy by state interference and planning. This policy did contribute to the establishment of new industries, but failed to meet the expectations of Bhutto, his fellow PPP members and the populace.

Domestic Policy Pakistan by 1971 was not a stable democracy, having experienced the assassination of a Governor General in 1951, a military coup d'etat in 1958 and the change from one military dictator to another in 1960 and in 1969. While under military dictatorship elections were held and a camouflage democracy was upheld, the country lacked a stable system of political parties. The socialist PPP was the best-organized party, a party not based on one of Pakistan's distinct ethnicities and religious factions. In 1973 a new constitution was adopted, replacing that of 1956. According to the new constitution, Pakistan was a federation, consisting of 4 parts - Punjab, Sindh, North West Frontier Province (NWFP) and Baluchistan. Islam was declared state religion.
The secular policies of the PPP were resented by the conservative tribal population in Baluchistan and the NWFP, and there was the threat of the secession of Baluchistan.
The socialist policies of the PPP (since 1973) were resented by a considerable sector of the Mohajir population, many of whom were shopowners and small businessmen. The Mohajir already felt ill-treated by the previous military administration.

Timeline Pakistan, from BBC News
History of Pakistan, from Story of Pakistan
History of Pakistan, by Pak Azadi
CASCON Case KAS : Kashmir 1947-, by L.P. Bloomfield, L. Moulton
DOCUMENTS Provincial Assembly of Sindh : Fifth Assembly, 1972-1977, Sixth Assembly, March-July 1977
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, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1972 pp.535-537, 1973 pp.525-526, 1974 pp.531-532, 1975 pp.540-542, 1976 pp.546-547, 1977 pp.548-549, 1978 pp.573-574 [G]
Article : Pakistan, in : The Statesman's Year-Book 1975-1976 pp.1209-1215, 1976-1977 pp.1207-1213 [G]
Article : Pakistan, in : The World in Figures 1st ed. 1976 pp.190-192, 2nd ed. 1978 pp.190-192 [G]
Article : Pakistan, in : Americana Annual 1973 pp.527-528, 1974 pp.460-461, 1976 pp.443-445 [G]

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on November 10th 2006, last revised on April 14th 2007

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