Until independence in 1947 and partition from India, the provinces of Pakistan are politically conjoined with the Indian empires of the subcontinent. Consequently, the long history of what will become the state of Pakistan belongs to the chronology of India and includes such phases as the ancient Harappan civilization of the Indus Valley, the rise of Sikhism in Punjab, the Delhi sultanate and Mughal periods, the nationalist movement, and other events before independence.
Pakistan's history since independence is politically tumultuous. The military vies for power with the civil authorities; civilian and, frequently, military governors-general, then prime ministers compete with the legislature for authority, and prime ministers arrogate dictatorial powers. Martial law is several times declared, and the country is for twenty years directly under military power, governed by generals Ayub Khan and Zia after military coups. Corruption and nepotism are rife.
Relations with India after independence are for the most part tense, occasionally erupting into open warfare: Pakistan fights, and loses, three wars with India. It is the Cold War, however, that dominates foreign relations until the 1990s. Pakistan allies itself with U.S.-led Western nations that funnel a large amount of advanced weaponry into the country to counter the USSR, particularly after the Soviet invasion of neighboring Afghanistan in 1979. At the same time, Pakistan pursues a vigorous nuclear program, refusing to sign international treaties and citing its need to match India's nuclear capability. This culminates in Pakistan's first successful nuclear bomb test in 1998.
August 14, 1947: Pakistan is born as provinces of British India with a large Islamic population (Sind, North West Frontier Province, Baluchistan, and parts of Punjab and Bengal) are partitioned into an independent nation of 32.5 million. Pakistan itself is geographically split, its western and eastern wings separated by the thousand-mile expanse of northern India; until 1959, its capital is Karachi, on the Arabian Sea coast in West Pakistan. Muhammad Ali Jinnah (dies September 1948), leader of the Muslim
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Publication information: Book title: Columbia Chronologies of Asian History and Culture. Contributors: John S. Bowman - Editor. Publisher: Columbia University Press. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 2000. Page number: 370.
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