Martial law has been declared in Pakistan three times. In the first instance President Iskander Mirza abrogated the Constitution in 1958 and declared Martial Law over the country.
The second instance was when General Yahya Khan declared martial law in March, 1969 after Mirza's successor, General Ayub Khan handed over power to him. The 3rd Martial Law declared by the General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq.
After several tumultuous years, which witnessed the secession of East Pakistan, politician Zulfikar Ali Bhutto took over in 1971 as the first civilian martial law administrator in recent history, imposing selective martial law in areas hostile to his rule, such as the country's largest province, Balochistan. Following widespread civil disorder, General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq overthrew Bhutto and imposed martial law in its totality on July 5, 1977 in a bloodless coup d'état. Unstable areas were brought under control through indirect military action, such as Balochistan under Martial Law Governor, General Rahimuddin Khan. Civilian government resumed in 1988 following General Zia's death in an aircraft crash.
On October 12, 1999, the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was dissolved, and the Army took control once more. But no Martial Law was imposed. General Pervez Musharraf took the title of Chief Executive until the President Rafiq Tarar resigned and General Musharraf became President. Elections were held in October 2002 and Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali became Prime Minister. Jamali premiership was followed by Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Shaukat Aziz. While the government was supposed to be run by the elected Prime Minister, there was a common understanding that important decisions were made by the President General Parvez Musharraf.
On November 3, 2007, President General Pervez Musharraf declared the state of emergency in the country which is claimed to be equivalent to the state of Martial Law as the constitution of Pakistan of 1973, was suspended, and the Chief Justices of the Supreme Court were fired.
On November 12, 2007, President General Pervez Musharraf issued some amendments in the Military Act, which gave the Armed forces some additional powers.