Chronology: Pakistan

The Middle East Journal, Autumn 2012 | Go to article overview

Chronology: Pakistan


See also Afghanistan

Apr. 20: A Boeing 737 airliner, operated by local Pakistani airline Bhoja Air, crashed into wheat fields more than five miles from Benazir Bhutto International Airport in Islamabad. All 127 passengers on board were declared dead. Bhoja Air said the airplane crashed due to bad weather. [Reuters, 4/21]

Apr. 20: At least ten people were shot dead in Karachi in a single day, with five of the deceased coming from Orangi Town, a slum plagued by crime and bloody politics. The Sindh High Court ordered an investigation into a similar spate of shootings on April 18, in which 16 people were killed. The provincial police chief noted in his report that most of those killings appeared to be ethnic and not political in nature. [GN, 4/21]

Apr. 26: Pakistan's Supreme Court convicted Prime Minister Yusuf Reza Gilani of contempt of court for failing to reopen a decades-old investigation into current President Asif 'Ali Zardari. The justices spared Gilani any prison time, yet the decision put his political position at risk; opposition leader Nawaz Sharif immediately called on Gilani to resign. A day after the Supreme Court's decision, Gilani insisted he would not step down, and his lawyer vowed to appeal the verdict. [WP, GN, AJE, 4/26, 4/27]

Apr. 27: The US conducted a drone strike in Pakistan's North Waziristan Province which killed four al-Qa'ida linked fighters who were hiding out in a girls' school they had commandeered. It was the first US drone strike in a month and came on the heels of a decision by Pakistan's parliament to approve new guidelines for relations with the US, which included an immediate cessation of drone attacks. [AJE, 4/29]

Apr. 27: The first high-level talks aimed at ending a five-month diplomatic deadlock between Pakistan and the US failed. Both sides insisted that they were ready to repair an uneasy alliance that fell apart after the US mistakenly killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in November 2011. Pakistan demanded a formal apology for the incident, but Washington refused to give an apology at the Islamabad conference in light of the April 15 terrorist attacks in Kabul, which the US claimed were conducted by the Haqqani network operating out of Pakistan's tribal areas. [NYT, 4/27]

May 4: A teenager conducted a suicide attack on a government checkpoint in Pakistan's Bajur District on the Afghan border, killing at least 26 people, including the commander and deputy commander of a local security force. The Pakistani Taliban took credit for the attack and claimed it was in retaliation for the death of Shaykh Marwan, an al-Qa'ida commander killed in Bajur in 2011. [NYT, 5/4]

May 10: The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) announced that it would suspend its work in Pakistan pending a review of its presence there. The decision followed the targeted killing of ICRC worker Khalil Rasjed Dale in Quetta, whose body was found in April 2012. [CNN, 5/10]

May 11: Pakistanis took to the streets in several cities to protest a worsening electricity shortage. Shahbaz Sharif, the chief minister of Punjab Province, blamed a federal "conspiracy" for the shortages. President Asif 'Ali Zardari summoned an emergency meeting to address the power crisis. [GN, 5/11]

May 22: Unknown gunmen opened fire on a political rally in Karachi, killing nine and wounding scores more. Awami Tehrik, a small regional party, hosted the rally to protest the proposed creation of a new province and the recent police crackdown in the Lyari area. [AJE, 5/23]

May 22: The US and Pakistan failed to come to an agreement at a NATO summit to reopen NATO supply routes through Pakistan, which Pakistan closed when a US airstrike in November mistakenly killed 24 soldiers. President Barack Obama appeared to snub his Pakistani counterpart at the meeting, thanking Russia and other Central Asian countries for providing "critical transit" of war supplies into Afghanistan in the six months since Pakistan closed its supply routes, while failing to mention Pakistan at all as President Zaradari sat only a few feet away.

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