Pakistan profile

A chronology of key events:

Muhammad Ali Jinnah

Muhammed Ali Jinnah - founding father of Pakistan

  • Born in Karachi, 1876
  • Pakistan's first head of state until his death in 1948

1906 - Muslim League founded as forum for Indian Muslim separatism.

1940 - Muslim League endorses idea of separate nation for India's Muslims.

1947 - Muslim state of East and West Pakistan created out of partition of India at the end of British rule. Hundreds of thousands die in widespread communal violence and millions are made homeless.

1948 - Muhammed Ali Jinnah, founding leader of Pakistan, dies. First war with India over disputed territory of Kashmir.

Military rule

1951 - Jinnah's successor Liaquat Ali Khan is assassinated.

1956 - Constitution proclaims Pakistan an Islamic republic.

1958 - Martial law declared and General Ayyub Khan takes over.

1960 - General Ayyub Khan becomes president.

War and secession

1965 - Second war with India over Kashmir.

1969 - General Ayyub Khan resigns and General Yahya Khan takes over.

1970 - Victory in general elections in East Pakistan for breakaway Awami League, leading to rising tension with West Pakistan.

1971 - East Pakistan attempts to secede, leading to civil war. India intervenes in support of East Pakistan which eventually breaks away to become Bangladesh.

Zia ul-Haq

General Zia's death in 1988 ended 11-year military rule

1972 - Simla peace agreement with India sets new frontline in Kashmir.

1973 - Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto becomes prime minister.

Zia takes charge

1977 - Riots erupt over allegations of vote-rigging by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party (PPP). General Zia ul-Haq launches military coup.

1978 - General Zia becomes president, launches campaign to introduce Islamic law and usher in an Islamic system in Pakistan.

1979 - Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto hanged.

1980 - US pledges military assistance to Pakistan following Soviet intervention in Afghanistan.

1985 - Martial law and political parties ban lifted.

1986 - Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto's daughter Benazir returns from exile to lead PPP in campaign for fresh elections.

1988 August - General Zia, the US ambassador and top Pakistan army officials die in mysterious air crash.

Benazir Bhutto addressing a rally

Benazir Bhutto: Twice prime minister of Pakistan

  • Daughter of hanged PM Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto
  • Served as PM 1988-1990 and 1993-1996
  • Died in a bomb blast in 2007, shortly after returning from exile

Ghulam Ishaq Khan takes over as acting president, and is later elected to the post.

Bhutto comeback

1988 November - Benazir Bhutto's PPP wins general election.

1990 - Benazir Bhutto dismissed as prime minister on charges of incompetence and corruption.

1991 - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif begins economic liberalisation programme. Islamic Shariah law formally incorporated into legal code.

1992 - Government launches campaign to stamp out violence by Urdu-speaking supporters of the Mohajir Quami Movement.

1993 - President Khan and Prime Minister Sharif both resign under pressure from military. General election brings Benazir Bhutto back to power.

Politics and corruption

1996 - President Leghari dismisses Bhutto government amid corruption allegations.

1997 - Nawaz Sharif returns as prime minister after his Pakistan Muslim League party wins elections.

1998 - Pakistan conducts its own nuclear tests after India explodes several nuclear devices.

Nawaz Sharif

Nawaz Sharif, ousted in 1999 coup, exiled, back in government in 2008

1999 April - Benazir Bhutto and her husband convicted of corruption and given jail sentences. Ms Bhutto stays out of the country.

1999 May - Kargil conflict: Pakistan-backed forces clash with the Indian military in the icy heights around Kargil in Indian-held Kashmir. More than 1,000 people are killed on both sides.

1999 October - General Pervez Musharraf seizez power in coup.

2000 April - Nawaz Sharif sentenced to life imprisonment on hijacking and terrorism charges over his actions to prevent the 1999 coup.

2000 December - Nawaz Sharif goes into exile in Saudi Arabia after being pardoned by military authorities.

2001 June - Gen Pervez Musharraf names himself president while remaining head of the army.

2001 September - Musharraf swings in behind the US in its fight against terrorism and supports attacks on Afghanistan. US lifts some sanctions imposed after Pakistan's nuclear tests in 1998.

Kashmir tensions

2001 December - India, Pakistan prompt fears of full-scale war by massing troops along common border amid growing tensions over Kashmir following suicide attack on Indian parliament.

Pakistani soldiers build bunkers at Line of Control separating Pakistani- and Indian-held Kashmir

Tensions with India over Kashmir go back decades

2002 January - President Musharraf bans two militant groups - Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad - and takes steps to curb religious extremism.

2002 April - President Musharraf wins another five years in office in a referendum criticised as unconstitutional and flawed.

Missile tests

2002 May - Pakistan test fires three medium-range missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads, amid rumours of impending conflict with India.

2002 August - President Musharraf grants himself sweeping new powers, including the right to dismiss an elected parliament.

Kashmir ceasefire

2003 November - Pakistan declares a Kashmir ceasefire; India follows suit.

Pervez Musharraf in 2000

Military ruler put under pressure by US's "war on terror": Pervez Musharraf

2003 December - Pakistan and India agree to resume direct air links and to allow overflights of each other's planes from beginning of 2004, after a two-year ban.

2004 February - Leading nuclear scientist Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan admits to having leaked nuclear weapons secrets, reportedly to Libya, North Korea and Iran.

2004 June - Pakistan mounts first military offensive against suspected Al-Qaeda militants and their supporters in tribal areas near Afghan border. US begins using drone strikes to target Al-Qaeda leaders in the area.

2004 April - Parliament approves creation of military-led National Security Council, institutionalising role of armed forces in civilian affairs.

2004 May - Pakistan readmitted to Commonwealth.

2005 April - Bus services, the first in 60 years, operate between Muzaffarabad in Pakistani-administered Kashmir and Srinagar in Indian-controlled Kashmir.

2005 August - Pakistan tests its first nuclear-capable cruise missile.

Kashmir quake

2005 October - Earthquake kills tens of thousands of people in Pakistani-administered Kashmir.

Gunmen defending the Red Mosque, Islamabad, in 2008

The 2008 storming of the radical Red Mosque killed more than 100 people.

2006 September - Government signs peace accord to end fighting with pro-Al-Qaeda militants in Waziristan tribal areas near Afghan border.

2007 February - Sixty-eight passengers are killed by bomb blasts and a blaze on a train travelling between the Indian capital New Delhi and the Pakistani city of Lahore.

Pakistan and India sign an agreement aimed at reducing the risk of accidental nuclear war.

Musharraf targets judiciary

2007 March - President Musharraf suspends Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry, triggering a wave of protests across the country.

2007 July - Security forces storm the militant-occupied Red Mosque complex in Islamabad following a week-long siege.

Supreme Court reinstates Chief Justice Chaudhry.

Two women mourn assassinated former Pakistani PM Benazir Bhutto

The assassination of former PM Benazir Bhutto shook Pakistani politics

2007 October - Ex-prime minister Benazir Bhutto returns from exile. Dozens of people die in a suicide bomb targeting her homecoming parade in Karachi.

Army launches offensive against militants in North Waziristan. Nearly 200 people die in the fighting.

2007 October-November - Musharraf wins presidential election but is challenged by Supreme Court. He declares emergency rule, dismisses Chief Justice Chaudhry and appoints new Supreme Court, which confirms his re-election.

2007 November - Former PM Nawaz Sharif returns from exile.

Bhutto killed, Musharraf resigns

2007 December - State of emergency lifted.

Benazir Bhutto assassinated at political rally at election campaign rally in Rawalpindi.

2008 February-March - Pakistan People's Party (PPP) nominee Yusuf Raza Gilani becomes PM at head of coalition with Nawaz Sharif's Muslim League party following parliamentary elections in February.

2008 August - President Musharraf resigns after the two main governing parties agree to launch impeachment proceedings against him.

Taliban fighters train in South Waziristan tribal area

Taliban militia expanded their influence in Pakistan's tribal areas in 2008

Nawaz Sharif pulls his PML-N out of the coalition, accusing the PPP of breaking its promise to reinstate all judges sacked by Mr Musharraf.

2008 September - MPs elect Pakistan People's Party's (PPP) Asif Ali Zardari - the widower of assassinated former PM Benazir Bhutto - president.

Suicide bombing on Marriott Hotel in Islamabad kills 53 people. Soon after, government launches major offensive in Bajaur tribal area, killing more than 1,000 militants.

2008 November - The government borrows billions of dollars from the International Monetary Fund to overcome its spiralling debt crisis.

Militancy

2008 December - India blames Mumbai attacks in November on Pakistani-based militants and demands Pakistan take action. Islamabad denies involvement but promises to co-operate with the Indian investigation.

2009 February - Government agrees to implement Sharia law in north-western Swat valley in effort to persuade Islamist militants there to agree to permanent ceasefire.

2009 March - After days of protests, government yields to demands for reinstatement of judges dismissed by former President Musharraf.

2009 April - Swat agreement breaks down after Taleban-linked militants seek to extend their control. Government launches offensive to wrest control of Swat from militants.

A boy makes his way through flood waters in a village south of Muzaffargarh in Punjab, 21 August 2010

The 2010 monsoon floods were the worst in 80 years

  • At least 1,600 people killed
  • 20 million people affected
  • 4 million lost livehoods and homes

2009 July - The Supreme Court acquits opposition leader Nawaz Sharif of hijacking charges dating from 1999 army coup, removing ban on his running for public office.

2009 August - The leader of Pakistan's Taliban, Baitullah Mehsud, is killed in US drone attack in South Waziristan. He is succeeded by Hakimullah Mehsud.

Suicide bombing in northwestern city of Peshawar kills 120 people.

2009 November - President Asif Ali Zardari hands control of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal to PM Yousuf Raza Gilani, in apparent attempt to ease political pressure.

2010 January - Suicide attack on a volleyball match in north-west kills more than 100 people.

Reform efforts

2010 April - Parliament approves package of wide-ranging constitutional reforms. Measures include transferring key powers from office of president to prime minister.

2010 August - Worst floods in 80 years kill at least 1,600 people and affect more than 20 million. Government response widely criticised.

Compound where Osama Bin Laden was found and killed on outskirts of Abbottabad, northwest Pakistan

Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden was found hiding in a suburban compound in Pakistan

2010 October - Rise in targeted political killings, bombings in commercial hub of Karachi.

2011 January - A campaign to reform Pakistan's blasphemy law leads to the killing of two prominent supporters, Punjab Governor Salman Taseer in January, and Minorities Minister Shahbaz Bhatti in March.

2011 March - The prime ministers of India and Pakistan meet to watch a cricket match, an occasion seen as an chance for the two nations to repair relations.

2011 April - The founder of Al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, is killed by American special forces in Abbottabad.

2011 November - Pakistan shuts down Nato supply routes after a Nato attack on military outposts kills 25 Pakistani soldiers.

"Memogate"

2011 December - Pakistan boycotts the Bonn Conference on Afghanistan in protest at the Nato attack on a border checkpoint.

The government comes under pressure over a leaked memo alleging that senior officials sought US aid against a military coup after the killing of Osama bin Ladin in April.

2012 January - Amid growing tension between government and military over "memogate" scandal, army chief Gen Pervez Kayani warns of "unpredictable consequences" after PM Yousuf Raza Gilani criticises army leaders and sacks top defence official.

Supreme Court threatens to prosecute Prime Minister Gilani for contempt of court over government's refusal to reopen corruption cases against President Asif Ali Zardari and other political figures.

2012 May - A US Senate panel cuts $33m in aid to Pakistan over the jailing of Pakistani doctor Shakil Afridi who helped the CIA find Osama Bin Laden.

Christians protest against Pakistani blasphemy laws, August 2012 The arrest of Rimsha, a Christian girl, prompted protests against blasphemy laws

2012 June - Supreme Court disqualifies Prime Minister Gilani from holding office after he declines to appeal against a token sentence in President Zardari corruption row. Parliament approves Water and Power Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf as his successor.

2012 July - Pakistan agrees to reopen Nato supply routes to Afghanistan after the US apologises for killing 24 Pakistani soldiers in November.

2012 September - Muslim cleric Khalid Chishti is arrested on suspicion of planting burnt pages of the Koran on a Christian girl briefly detained for blasphemy. Amid widespread condemnation of the case against the girl at home and abroad, a court dropped it November.

2012 October - Taliban gunmen seriously injure 14-year-old campaigner for girls' rights Malala Yousafzai, whom they accused of "promoting secularism". The shooting sparked a brief upsurge of anger in Pakistan against the militants.

2012 November - Taliban suicide bomber kills at least 23 people at a Shia Muslim procession in the Rawalpindi.

2013 January - Supreme Court orders the arrest of Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf over corruption allegations dating back to his time as a minister in 2010. He denies wrongdoing.

The government sacks Balochistan chief minister over bomb blasts in the provincial capital Quetta that kill at least 92 Shia Muslims. Sunni extremist group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi claims responsibility.

Populist cleric and anti-corruption campaigner Tahirul Qadri leads a nationwide march on Islamabad. The government responds by agreeing to dissolve parliament early and to consult Mr Qadri over the formation of a caretaker government.

2013 February - President Zardari and Afghanistan's President Karzai agree to work for an Afghan peace deal.

Bomb attack targeting Shia Muslims in Quetta kills 89 people. Police detain Lashkar-e-Jhangvi militant group founder Malik Ishaq after the group claims responsibility.

2013 March - Caretaker government appointed to oversee 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. Gen Musharraf returned from British exile in March to contest parliamentary elections.

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.

2013 July - Mamnoon Hussain elected president by parliament.

2013 September - More than 80 people are killed in a double suicide bombing at a church in Peshawar. It is the deadliest attack so far against Christians in Pakistan. Taliban-linked Islamists claim responsibility.

2013 November -  Lt Gen Raheel Sharif takes over as head of the army on the retirement of General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani.

2014 February - Former president Pervez Musharraf goes on trial on treason charges.

2014 March - Government and Taliban representatives meet in North Waziristan for peace talks, with a cease-fire top of the agenda.

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