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Pakistan, officially Islāmic Republic of Pakistan Urdu Islām-ī Jamhūrīya-ePākistān country in South Asia. It is bounded to the west by Iran, to the north by Afghanistan, to the northeast by China, to the east and southeast by India, and to the south by the Arabian Sea. It hasan area (excluding the Pakistani-held part of Jammu and Kashmir) of 307,374 square miles (796,095 square kilometres). The capital is Islāmābād.

Pakistan was brought into being at the time of the Partition of British India in 1947 in order to create a separate homeland for India's Muslims in response to the demands of Islāmic nationalists, demands that were articulated by the All India Muslim League under the leadership of Mohammed Ali Jinnah. From independence in 1947 until 1971, Pakistan (both de facto and in law) consisted of two regions—West Pakistan, in the Indus River basin, and East Pakistan, located more than 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometres) away in theGanges River delta. In response to grave internal political problems, however, an independent state of Bangladesh was proclaimed in East Pakistan in 1971.

Since 1947 the territory of Jammu and Kashmir, along the western Himalayas, has been disputed between Pakistan and India, with each holding sectors. The two countries have gone to war over the territory three times, in 1948–49, 1965, and 1971.

The people

Ethnic composition

Race as such plays little part in defining regional or group identity in Pakistan, and no ideal racial type is accepted by all Pakistanis. The population is a complex mixture of indigenous peoples, many racialtypes having been introduced by successive waves of migrations from the northwest, as well as by internal migrationsacross the subcontinent of India. Aryans, Persians, Greeks, Pathans (Pashtuns), and Mughals came from the northwest and spread across the Indo-Gangetic Plain, while the Arabs conquered Sindh. All left their mark on the population and culture of the land. During the long period of Muslim rule, immigrants from the Middle East were brought in and installed as members of the ruling oligarchy. It became prestigious to claim descent from them, and many members of the landed gentry and of upper-class families are either actually or putatively descended from such immigrants. In 1947, when Pakistan and India became independent, there was another massive migration, of a different character, when millions of Muslim refugees were uprooted from different parts of India and settled in Pakistan; an equal number of Hindus were uprootedfrom Pakistan and driven across to India. This development further complicated the racial mixture of the population of the various regions of Pakistan.

By the early 1990s Pakistan's population was divided into five ethnic groups, defined broadly. The Punjabis constitute the majority, with more than 55 percent of the population; the Sindhis account for another 20 percent, the Pathans and the mujahirs for about 10 percent each, and the Balochs for about 5 percent. There are subgroups within each of these five categories. The Arains, Rajputs, and Jats—all Punjabis—regard themselves as ethnically distinct. Some groups overlap the five categories: for instance, there are Punjabi Pathans as well as Hazarvi Pathans. Some smaller groups, such as the Brohis in Sindh and the Seraikis in Punjab, are also ethnically distinct

The economy

Pakistan operates a mixed economy in which the state-owned enterprises (including industrial corporations, trading houses, banks, insurance companies, institutions of higher learning, medical schools and hospitals, and transport companies) account for nearly half of the gross national product (GNP). Inaddition, the state, with the help of an intricate system of industrial licensing and trade regulations, controls new private investments. The state also has at its disposal labour, health, and tax laws to oversee the functioning of the private sector. The balance between the public and private sectors ofthe economy was altered in favour of the former in 1972–74 as a result of a series of nationalization measures. Until then, and unlike most other developing countries, Pakistan had regarded the private sector as the leading sector of the economy.

The economy, which was primarily agricultural at the time of independence, is now considerably diversified. Agriculture, although still the largest sector, now contributes less than one-fourth of the GNP, while manufacturing provides almost one-fifth. In terms of the structure of its economy, Pakistan resembles the middle-income countries of East and Southeast Asia more than the poor nations of the Indian subcontinent. Economic performance compares favourably with that of many other developing countries; the GNP has increased at an average rate of more than 5 percent a year since independence. At the same time, there has been a relentless increase in population, so that, despite a real growth in the economy, output per capita has risen slowly. By1990 Pakistan's economy was four times as large as it was at the time of independence in 1947, its population was three and a half times as large, and its per capita income was twice as large. In general, although the GNP per capita is relatively low, Pakistan does not have a high incidence of absolute poverty (the level below which a minimally adequate diet andother essential requirements are not affordable); the proportion of the population living in absolute poverty is considerably smaller than in other South Asian countries. The relative prosperity of the industrialized regions around Karāchi and Lahore contrasts sharply with the poverty of the Punjab's bārānī areas, the semiarid Balochistān, and the North-West Frontier Province.

One of the paradoxes of Pakistan's economic situation is that, in spite of a healthy increase in its GNP and in spite of its success in alleviating the worst forms of poverty, it has continued to experience a very low level of social development. The social status of Pakistani women is particularly low. The country has a high rate of infant mortality, losing before they reach one year of age more than 100 children out of every 1,000 born; its maternal mortality rate, at 6 per 1,000 live births, is among the highest in the world; the rate of literacy, with only one of every seven women able to read and write, is very low compared to that ofother developing countries.

A system of medium-term planning was introduced in 1958 with the belated publication of the first five-year plan (1955–60). In the following decades a series of five-year plans were formulated, but these met with varying degrees of success.

During the 1980s a movement toward an “Islāmic economy” was announced by the Pakistani government. This movementinvolved the purging of economic practices outlawed by Muslim theology, such as riba (interest), and the mandatory reinstatement of the zakat (an annual tax on several types of personal financial assets that is used to provide aid for the poor) and the ushr (the zakat on land), which had not been universally adhered to but remained central tenets of Islāmic law. General Zia had promised further Islāmization of the economy, but he died before these steps could be taken. Under Benazir Bhutto, his successor, the Islāmization movement slowed, although the government was obliged to keep on the books most of the legislation enacted during the Zia period.

Taxation accounts for more than three-quarters of government revenue, and government expenditures exceed revenues by a large amount. Income tax rates have been comparatively high, but the tax base has been so small that individual and corporate income tax revenues have remained substantially less than excise, sales, and other indirect taxes. The government has been able to maintain heavy expenditure on development and defense because of the inflow of foreign aid and the remittances sent by Pakistanis working abroad. In the 1970s and '80s external capital inflows were equivalent to as much as one-tenth of the GNP and financed well over half of the total domestic investment. In allowing this dependence on foreign capital to persist, however, the country has accumulated an enormous foreign debt, the financing of which has been a major problem.

The trade union movement dates to the late 19th century, but, because Pakistan's industrial sector (inherited at independence) was so small, organized labour as a proportionof total employment is still in a minority. This has not prevented it from becoming an important political force. Before the 1971 civil war, there were well over 1,000 registered unions, most of them organized within individual establishments. Countrywide unions based on a common craft or industry were very few. Most of the unions were situated in the urban centres and were affiliated to one of three national labour confederations. After the civil war and the emergence of Bangladesh, the number of unions declined to a few hundred, affiliated to one umbrella organization, the Pakistan National Federation of Trade Unions. Because of the high rates of unemployment, employers remained in a strong position, and many of them were able to bypass working agreements and laws. Only the unions in the bigger industries (e.g., cotton textiles) had the necessary coherence to fight back. Labour laws introduced in1972 met some of the demands (job security, social welfare, pensions) of organized labour but also sought to control political activity by industrial workers. Labour union activity was severely constrained by the military government of 1977–88 but was revived by the administration of Benazir Bhutto.

Mineral resources

The exploration of Pakistan's mineral wealth is far from complete, but more than 20 different types of minerals have been located. Coal mining is oneof the country's oldest industries. The quality of the coal is poor, and the mines workbelow capacity because of the lack of demand. Iron ore deposits are also mostly of poor quality. The most extensive known reserves are situated in the Kālābāgh region in western Punjab. Other low-grade ore reserves have been found in Hazāra in the North-West Frontier Province. Small reserves of high-grade iron ore have been identified in Chitrāl and in the Chilghāzi area (located in northwestern Balochistān), also in the North-West Frontier Province. Deposits of copper ore, equaling or surpassing the reserves of iron ore, have been located, but most sites remain unexploited. There are enormous reserves of easily exploited limestone that form the basis of a growing cement industry, the largest component of the manufacturing sector. Other minerals that are exploited include chromite (mostly for export), barite (a white, yellow, or colourless mineral resembling marble), celestite (strontiumsulfate), antimony, aragonite (a mineral resembling calcite [calcium carbonate]), gypsum, rock salt, and marble. Radioactive minerals have been found in southwestern Punjab.

Pakistan also has small quantities of oil and some very large natural gas fields. The first oil discovery was made in 1915. Pakistan intensified the search for oil and natural gas in the 1980s and was rewarded with the discovery of a number of new oil fields in the Potwar Plateau region and in Sindh. The oilfields near Badīn, in Sindh, are particularly promising. Oil fulfills a substantial portion of Pakistan's energy requirements,and the search for new and richer fields has continued. The largest natural gas deposits are at Sūi (on the border between Balochistān and the Punjab), discovered in 1953. A smaller field, at Māri, in the northeast of Sindh province, was found in 1957. A number of smaller natural gas fields were discovered in the 1980s. A network of gas pipelines links the fields with the main consumption areas: Karāchi, Lahore, Multān, Faisalābād (Lyallpur), and Islāmābād.

Biological resources

The variety of climates and soils has given rise to a wide diversity in biological resources. As Balochistān is mostly desert, only in the small areas of intensive cultivation do cropsand orchards thrive. In Sindh and Punjab, where the annual rainfall is also low, most of the vegetation is basically xerophilous, except for the riverine forests along the Indus and its tributaries. Parts of the coastal region have mangrove forests. Regular rain and snow in the Himalayan foothills of the north have given them a variety of vegetation and animal life ranging from the Mediterranean to the Alpine types. Thereis a fishing industry centred in Karāchi, and part of the lobsterand other shellfish catch is exported.

Hydroelectric and other power resources

Although energy production has grown faster than the economy as a whole, it has not kept pace with demand, and as a result there are shortages of fuel and electric power. Great progress, however, has been made in the development of the hydroelectric potential of Pakistan's rivers. A giant hydroelectric plant is in operation at the Mangla Dam on the Jhelum River in Azad Kashmir (the part of the disputed states of Jammu and Kashmir under Pakistan's control). Another such source is the giant Tarbela Dam on the Indus River.

The generation, transmission, and distribution of power is the responsibility of the Pakistani Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA), a public-sector corporation. WAPDA lost its monopoly over generation after Pakistan signed an agreement in 1989 with a consortium of foreign firms to produce power from giant oil-fired plants to be located at Hub, near Karāchi. The majority of Pakistan's energy requirements are now fulfilled by oil, mostly imported, and by natural gas. Nuclear power provides a very small percentage of the total energy used; it is supplied primarily to Karāchi. In 1989 Pakistan concluded agreements with China and France to set up additional nuclear power-generating plants. These reactors are to be located inland on the Indus River to serve the rapidly increasing demand of Punjab.

Agriculture, forestry, and fishing

Agriculture, forestry, and fishing provide employment for at least one-half of the official labour force and a livelihood for an even larger proportion of thepopulation. Land-reform programs implemented in 1959, 1972, and 1977 began todeal with the problems of large-scale, often absentee ownership of land and the excessive fragmentation of small holdings by introducing maximum and minimum area limits. The commercialization of agriculture has also resulted in fairly large-scale transfers of land, concentrating its ownership among middle-class farmers.

The attention given to the agricultural sector in development plans has brought about some radical changes in centuries-old farming techniques. The construction of tube wells for irrigation and salinity control, the use of chemical fertilizers and scientifically selected seeds, and the gradual introduction of farm machinery have all contributed to the notable increase in productivity. Early on, one of the prime objectives of agricultural development programs was self-sufficiency in wheat, which Pakistan achieved in the early 1970s.

Pakistan experienced a “green revolution” during the late 1960s. In this period wheat production increased dramatically, leaving a surplus over domestic consumption that was partly shipped to East Pakistan (Bangladesh) and partly exported. Cotton production also rose. Yields remain low by international standards, but increasing amounts are processed locally; in addition, much of Pakistan's edible oil is produced from cottonseed. Rice is the second major food staple and one of the country's important export crops. By the end of the 1980s, Pakistan had become the third largest exporter of rice in the world, after the United States and Thailand. Large domestic sugar subsidies have been the maincause for the increase in sugarcane production.

Animal husbandry provides important domestic and export products. Apart from the supply of meat and dairy products for local consumption, it includes production of wool for the carpet industry and for export and of hides and skins for the leather industry. The contribution of forestry to national income remains negligible, but that of fisheries has risen.


Mining and quarrying account for a small percentage of gross domestic product and of total employment. Manufacturing, however, accounts for a healthyproportion. The beginning of the main industrialization effort dates to the cessation of trade between India and Pakistan in 1949 soon after the two countries gained independence. Initially it was based on the processing of domestic agricultural raw materials for the home market and for export. This led to the setting up of cotton textile mills—a development that now accounts for a large part of the total employment in industry. Woolen textiles, sugar, paper, tobacco, and leather industries also provide many jobs for the industrial labour force.

The growing trade deficit in the mid-1950s compelled the government to cut down on imports, which encouraged the establishment of a number of import-substitution industries. At first these industries produced mainly consumer goods, but gradually they came to produce intermediate goods and a range of capital goods, including chemicals, fertilizers, and light engineering products. Nevertheless, Pakistan still has to import a large proportion of the capital equipment and raw materials required by industry. In the 1970s and early 1980s Pakistan set up an integrated iron and steel mill at Pipri, near Karāchi, with the financial and technical assistance of the Soviet Union. A new port, Port Qāsim (officially Port Muhammad Bin Qāsim), was built to bring iron ore and coal forthe mill.

Initially Karāchi was the centre of Pakistan's industrialization effort, but in the late 1960s and early 1970s Lahore and the cities around it began to industrialize rapidly. Karāchi's ethnic problems in the late 1980s and early 1990s accelerated this process, and Punjab increasingly became Karāchi's competitor in industrial output.


Pakistan has a fairly well-developed system of financial services. The State Bank of Pakistan has overall control over the banking sector,which consists of a number of commercial banks and specialist credit institutions. The State Bank acts as banker to the central and provincial governments and administers official monetary and credit policies, including exchange controls. It has sole currency-issuing rights and has custody of the country's gold and foreign-exchange reserves. Pakistan has a number of commercial banks, called scheduled banks, which are subject to strict State Bank requirements as to paid-up capital and reserves. They account for the bulk of total deposits, collected through a network of branch offices. A few specialist financial institutions provide medium- and long-term credit for industrial, agricultural, and housing purposes and include thePakistan Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation, the Industrial Development Bank of Pakistan, the Agricultural Development Bank of Pakistan, and the House Building Finance Corporation. A new financial institution, the National Development Finance Corporation, was set up in the 1970s tofinance industries managed by the state. The Karāchi and Lahore stock exchanges deal in stocks and shares of registered companies. The Investment Corporation of Pakistan and the National Investment Trust have helped to channel domestic savings into the capital market. As part of the return to an “Islāmic economy,” interest-free banking andfinancing practices have been instituted.


Although there has been a trend toward increasing exports, overall trade has remained heavily in deficit. Overthe years, important changes have taken place in the composition of foreign trade. In particular, while the proportion of total exports from primary commodities, including raw cotton, has fallen, the share of manufactures has greatly increased. But the bulk of the manufactured products coming into the export trade consists of cotton goods, so thatPakistan remains as dependent as ever on its leading cash crop.The other manufactures exported come mostly from industries based on agriculture, such as leather and leather goods and carpets. The shift toward manufactured agricultural exports, which have a higher added-value content than primary commodities, has been encouraged by the government. The trade deficits and shortages of foreign exchange have made it necessary for thegovernment to restrict imports and to provide financial incentives to promote export trade.


The dominant role of rail as the principal long-distance carrier has been displaced by the bus and truck. A program of deregulation of the road transport industry was undertaken in 1970; it encouraged the entry of a largenumber of independent operators into the sector. Motor trucks and tractor-drawn trailers are also displacing the traditional bullock cart for local transport of produce to markets.

The main arterial road, which runs from Karāchi to Peshāwar via Lahore and Rāwalpindi, is 1,080 miles (1,740 kilometres) long. The main rail route runs more than 1,000 miles north from Karāchi to Peshāwar, via Lahore and Rāwalpindi. Another main line branches northwestward from Sukkur to Quetta.

In the early 1990s the limitations of the transportation system emerged as a major constraint on the modernization of the economy, prompting the government to undertake large-scale investments in the highway sector. Private entrepreneurs were also invited to participate on the basis of a “build-operate-transfer” (BOT) approach, which has becomepopular in developing countries. (In the BOT system, private entrepreneurs build and operate infrastructure facilities such as ports, highways, and power plants and then recover their costs by charging tariffs from the users. Once the investors have recovered their outlay, the facility created is transferred to the government.)

Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), established in 1954, is the sole carrier of internal air traffic. PIA also runs international flights to Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and East Asia, as well as to neighbouring Afghanistan. The principal airports are at Karāchi, Lahore, Rāwalpindi, Quetta, and Peshāwar. Karāchi and Port Qāsim are the principal ports;in addition, a number of small harbours along the Makran Coast handle the small boats that ply between Pakistan and the Persian Gulf states.

Administration and social conditions


The political system of Pakistan has undergone several far-reaching changes since independence. In 1971 its turbulent politics culminated in the secession of its eastern region (having more than 54 percent of the total population at that time), which established itself as the independent state of Bangladesh. In the aftermath that event, Pakistan (now reduced to what was previously West Pakistan) faced a number of political and economic problems and uncertainties about its future.

Several conflicts have left their mark on the politics of Pakistan. The first of these, initially obscured by the paraphernalia of a parliamentary form of government but later made manifest by overt seizure of power by men at the head of the military and bureaucratic establishment, was a continuing struggle between political leadership and a military-bureaucratic oligarchy for supremacy and authority in the state; ideologically, this struggle was expressed as a struggle for democracy. The military-bureaucratic oligarchy triumphed for a while and set up three military administrations, in 1958–69, 1969–71, and 1977–88.

A second and quite distinct conflict was a struggle between regional groups. Because it was directed against centralized authority, it merged with the democratic struggle. But its express aims were to secure greater regional representation in the bureaucratic and military establishment, especially in the higher echelons, and to achieve effective decentralizationof powers within a federal governmental structure by emphasizing regional autonomy. This struggle manifested itself first in the civil war between East and West Pakistan in 1971–72. It also brought to a virtual standstill the working of the first civilian government after the 1977–88 military administration.

A third conflict concerned the allocation of economic resources and burdens and the distribution of a greater shareof the benefits of development among the more deprived regions and strata of the population. This resulted in a number of violent confrontations between the less-privileged segments of society and the state. Some of these confrontations, such as those in 1969 and 1977, led to the fallof constitutional governments and the imposition of martial law.

A fourth conflict was between the landed interests that had dominated Pakistan's political and economic life for much of the country's history and the new urban interests that began to assert themselves in the late 1980s and the 1990s. One manifestation of this was the struggle between Punjab and the federal government in the late 1980s. Under the Islāmic Democratic Alliance, the Punjab government continued to represent the interests of the landed aristocracy, while the government of Benazir Bhutto, with a more liberal bent and a wider support base, espoused the economic and social interests of urban groups and nonpropertied classes. The two governments often clashed in the late 1980s, creating serious economic management problems.

The constitutional framework

The task of framing a constitution was entrusted in 1947 to a Constituent Assembly that was also to function as the interim legislature under the 1935 Government of India Act, which was to be the interim constitution. Pakistan's first constitutionwas enacted by the Constituent Assembly in 1956. It followedthe form of the 1935 act, allowing the president far-reaching powers to suspend federal and provincial parliamentary government. It also included the “parity formula,” by which representation in the National Assembly for East and West Pakistan would be decided on a parity, rather than population, basis. (A major factor in the political crisis of 1970–71 was abandonment of the “parity formula” and adoption of representation by population, giving East Pakistan an absolute majority in the National Assembly.)

In 1958 the constitution was abrogated and martial law was instituted. A new constitution, promulgated in 1962, provided for the election of the president and national and provincial assemblies by an electoral college composed of members of local councils. Although a federal form of government was retained, the assemblies had little power, which was, in effect, centralized through the authority of governors acting under the president. In April 1973 Pakistan's third constitution was adopted by the National Assembly; it was suspended in 1977. In March 1981 a Provisional Constitutional Order was promulgated, providing aframework for government under martial law. Four years latera process was initiated for reinstating the constitution of 1973. By October 1985 a newly elected National Assembly had passed an amended constitution, giving extraordinary powers to the president, including the authority to appoint any member of the National Assembly as prime minister. Withthe end of military rule in 1988 and following elections to the National Assembly held in November of that year, the new president used these powers to appoint a prime minister to form a civilian government under the amended 1973 constitution.

The amended constitution provides for a president as head of state and a prime minister as head of government; both mustbe Muslims. The president is elected for a term of five years bythe National Assembly, the Senate, and the four provincial assemblies. The prime minister is elected by the National Assembly. The president acts on the advice of the prime minister.

The National Assembly has 237 seats. Of these, 217 are filled by direct popular election; 207 are for Muslim candidates and 10 for non-Muslims. The remaining 20 seats are reserved for women who are chosen by the elected members. Members of the National Assembly serve five-year terms. The Senate has 87 members who are chosen by the provincial assemblies for six-year terms. One-third of the senators relinquish their seats every two years.

Political parties

The role of Islām in the political and cultural unification of Pakistan has been controversial. Some factions have argued that Islāmic ideology is the only cement that can bind together its culturally diverse peoples. Opposing factions have argued that the insistence on Islāmic ideology, in opposition to regional demands expressed in secular and cultural idiom, has alienated regional groups and eroded national unity.

The Pakistan People's Party (PPP) was formed in 1968 by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, working with a number of socialists who wanted Pakistan to disregard the idiom of religion in politics infavour of a program of rapid modernization of the country and the introduction of a socialist economy. The PPP emergedas the majority party in West Pakistan in the elections of 1970and was invited to form a government after the collapse of the second military administration in 1972. The PPP was suppressed under the military government of 1977–88 but returned to power in 1988.

In 1962 the Muslim League, which had spearheaded the Pakistan movement under Mohammed Ali Jinnah, splintered into two parts, the Pakistan Muslim League and the Council Muslim League. In the elections of 1970 it almost disappearedas a political party, but it was resurrected in 1985 and became the most important component of the Islāmic Democratic Alliance, which took over Punjab's administration in 1988. The Islāmic Assembly, founded in 1941, commands a great deal of support among the urban lower-middle classes. Two other religious parties, the Assembly of Islāmic Clergy and the Assembly of Pakistani Clergy, have strong centres of support, the former in Karāchi and the latter in the rural areas of the North-West Frontier Province. Ethnic interests are served by organizations such as the Muhajir National Movement in Karāchi and Hyderābād, the Sindhi National Front in Sindh, and the Balochistān Students Union in Balochistān.

Local government and administration

Pakistan's four provinces are divided into divisions, districts, and tahsils (subdistricts), which are run by a hierarchy of administrators, such as the divisional commissioner, the deputy commissioner (in the district), and the subdivisional magistrate, subdivisional officer, or tahsildar, at the tahsil level. The key level is that of the district, where the deputy commissioner, although in charge of all branches of government, shares power with the elected chairman of the district council. In addition to the provinces, Pakistan has 11 federally administered tribal areas, which are overseen by agents responsible to the federal government; the Islāmābād Capital Territory; and a number of tribal areas that are administered by the provincial governments.


There is a formal division between the judiciary and the executive branches of government. The judiciary consists of the Supreme Court, the provincial high courts, and (under their jurisdiction and supervision) district courts that hear civil cases and sessions courts that hear criminal cases. There is also a magistracy that deals with cases brought by the police. The district magistrate (who, as deputy commissioner,also controls the police) hears appeals from magistrates under him; appeals may go from him to the sessions judge. The Supreme Court is a court of record. It has original, appellate, and advisory jurisdictions and is the highest court in the land. At the time of independence, Pakistan inherited legal codes and acts that have remained in force, subject to amendment.

The judicial system also began a reorientation to Islāmic tenets and values designed to make legal redress inexpensiveand accessible to all persons. A complete code of Islāmic laws was instituted, and the Federal Shariat Court, a court of Islāmic law (Sharīʿah), was set up in the 1980s.


Pakistan's literacy rate is substantially lower than that of many developing nations; only about a fourth of all adults are literate. A significant percentage of those who are literate, however, have not had any formal education. Educational levels for women are much lower than those for men. The share of females in educational levels progressivelydiminishes above the primary school level.

Education in Pakistan is not compulsory. Since independence Pakistan has increased the number of primary and secondary schools, and the number of students enrolled has risen dramatically. Teacher training has been promoted by the government and by international agencies. Higher education is available at vocational schools, technical schools, and colleges throughout the country. The oldest university is the University of the Punjab, established in 1882,and the largest universities are Allama Iqbal Open University in Islāmābād, the University of Peshāwar, and the University of Karāchi. Universities established during the 20th century include the University of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (1980), the North-West Frontier Province Agricultural University in Peshāwar (1981), the International Islāmic University in Islāmābād (1980), the Aga Khan University in Karāchi (1983), and the Lahore University for Management Sciences (1986). Most university classes are taught in Urdu or English.

Education suffered a major setback in the 1970s as a result ofthe nationalization of private schools and colleges. The reversal of this policy in the 1980s led to a proliferation of private institutions, particularly in the large cities. In the 1980s the government also began to focus on the Islāmization of the curriculum and the increased use of Urdu as the medium of instruction. The more Westernized segments of the population prefer to send their children to private schools, which continue to offer Western-style education and instruction in English. A number of private schools offer college entrance examinations administered by educational agencies in the United States and the United Kingdom, and many graduates of these schools are educated abroad. The division of the educational system into a private, Westernized section and a state-run Islāmized section has thus caused social tensions and exacerbated the problem of “brain drain,” the emigration to the West of many of the better-educated members of the population.

Islāmic Republic of Pakistan

Mohammed Ali Jinnah died in September 1948, only 13 months after independence. The leaders of the new Pakistan were mainly lawyers with a strong commitment to parliamentary government. They had supported Jinnah in his struggle against the Congress not so much because they desired an Islāmic state but because they had come to regard the Congress as synonymous with Hindu domination. They had various degrees of personal commitment to Islām. To some it represented an ethic that might (or might not) be the basis of personal behaviour within a modern, democratic state. To others it represented a tradition, the framework within which their forefathers had ruled India. But there were also groups that subscribed to Islām as a total way of life, and these people were said to wish to establish Pakistan as a theocracy (a term they repudiated).The members of the old Constituent Assembly, elected at the end of 1945, assembled at Karāchi, the new capital.

Liaquat Ali Khan, Jinnah's lieutenant, inherited the task of drafting a constitution. Himself a moderate (he had entered politics via a landlord party), he subscribed to the parliamentary, democratic, secular state. But he was conscious that he possessed no local or regional power base. He was a muhajir (“refugee”) from the United Provinces, the Indian heartland, whereas most of his colleagues and potential rivals drew support from their own people in Punjab or Bengal. Liaquat Ali Khan therefore deemed it necessary to gain the support of the religious spokesmen (the mullahs or, more properly, the ʿulamāʾ). He issued a resolution on the aims and objectives of the constitution, which began, “Sovereignty over the entire universe belongs to Allāh Almighty alone” and went on to emphasize Islāmic values. Hindu members of the old Constituent Assembly protested; Islāmic states had traditionally distinguished between the Muslims, as full citizens, and dhimmīs, nonbelievers who were denied certain rights and saddled with certain additional obligations.

Political decline

Liaquat Ali Khan fell to an assassin's bullet in October 1951. Into his place as prime minister stepped Khwājah Nazimuddin, the leading member of the family of the nawāb of Dacca. He was a Bengali aristocrat and a man of extreme personal piety. Nazimuddin had followed Jinnah as governor-general under the interim constitution. He was succeeded as governor-general by Ghulam Mohammad, a Punjabi, so that the twin pillars of power represented the two main regional power bases in West Pakistan and East Pakistan.

With Nazimuddin in office, militant Muslims, led by the Ahrars,a puritanical political group, called for the purification of national life. In 1953 they demanded that the Aḥmadīyah sect be outlawed from the Islāmic community. Nazimuddin temporized, and rioting and arson enveloped Lahore and other Punjabi towns. The secretary of defense, Colonel Iskander Mirza, pressed the Cabinet into sanctioning martial law in Lahore, and order was restored. Ghulam Mohammad decided that Nazimuddin must go, although he had the support of the Constituent Assembly. The dismissal was effected, and Mohammad Ali Bogra became prime minister.

In March 1954 a general election was held in East Bengal (East Pakistan) to choose a new provincial legislature. The contest was between the official Muslim League and a “UnitedFront” of parties from the extreme right (orthodox religious) to extreme left (quasi-Marxist). The Muslim League lost in a landslide. At the head of the victorious opposition stood two politicians who had previously kept one foot in the Muslim League and the other in the camp of the Congress and regional politics; these were the aged Fazl ul-Haq, with his Workers and Peasants Party, and Hussein Shaheed Suhrawardy, with a new party, the Awami League. This result was a dramatic demonstration of the gulf between West and East Pakistan.

The Constituent Assembly reflected the new political mood of Pakistan by attempting to curb the powers of the governor-general, Ghulam Mohammad, who retaliated by proclaiming the dissolution of that body. His action was validated by the Supreme Court, with the rider that a new assembly must be convened. This was produced by a system of indirect election. The ministry of Mohammad Ali Bogra was completely reorganized, and three newcomers were introduced as strongmen from outside politics: these were Major General Iskander Mirza, as minister of the interior, General Mohammad Ayub Khan, commander in chief, as minister of national defense, and Chaudhri Mohammad Ali, a senior civil servant, as minister of finance. Mohammad Ali Bogra had little support in the new assembly, and he was replaced by Chaudhri Mohammad Ali.

Ghulam Mohammad, whose health had broken down, was replaced as governor-general in August 1955 by Iskander Mirza. Mirza had no regional power base and little in common with any of the politicians. He insisted that his fellow administrator Chaudhri Mohammad Ali remain prime minister, and the Chaudhri was able to succeed in one objective over which his three predecessors had failed: he induced the politicians to agree to a constitution (February 1956). To create a better balance between the West and Eastwings, the provinces and parts of West Pakistan were amalgamated into one administrative unit.

The constitution of 1956 embodied the Islāmic provisions of the “aims and objectives” resolution of 1949 and declared Pakistan to be an Islāmic republic. The national parliament was to comprise one house of 300 members, equally representing East and West. Ten seats were reserved for women. The prime minister and Cabinet were to govern according to the will of the parliament, with the president exercising only reserve powers.

Khan Sahib, a former premier of the North-West Frontier Province, was invited by the Muslim League to become the chief minister of the new “one unit” of West Pakistan. Soon after taking office, Khan Sahib was faced with a revolt against his leadership in the Muslim League, but he adroitly turned the tables by forming a new group, the Republican Party, out of dissident Muslim League assemblymen. In the National Assembly also, members adopted the Republican ticket, and Prime Minister Chaudhri Mohammad Ali found himself withouta majority. He resigned in September 1956.

Iskander Mirza, then president, was compelled to accept an Awami League government headed by Suhrawardy but dependent on Republican support to retain office. For a time the combination worked, but the flimsy consensus of Pakistani politics soon began to dissolve into factionalism, regionalism, and sectarianism. Khan Sahib found his hold over the West Pakistan legislature slipping, and he asked the president to suspend the constitution. The East Pakistan legislature voted unanimously for autonomy in all matters except foreign affairs, defense, and currency. The country was to hold its first complete general election in 1958, but a dispute over the basis of the constituencies led to Suhrawardy's resignation. His successors proved ineffective, and the legislative process came to a halt.

Military government

President Mirza had made no secret of his dissatisfaction with the working of parliamentary democracy in Pakistan. On October 7, 1958, a presidential proclamation announced thatthe political parties were abolished, the constitution abrogated, and the country placed under martial law, with Mohammad Ayub Khan as chief martial-law administrator. Mirza announced that the martial-law period would be brief and that a new constitution would be drafted. On October 27 he swore in his new Cabinet.

General Ayub became prime minister, and three lieutenant generals were named to the Cabinet. The eight civilian members included businessmen and lawyers, one being a young newcomer, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. On the evening of October 27 the new military ministers called on the president, with contingents of armed soldiers, and informed him that he was to resign. After a short interval, Mirza was exiled to London. A proclamation issued by Ayub announced his assumption of the presidency.

Martial law lasted 44 months. During that time a number of army officers took over vital civil-service posts. A number of politicians were excluded from public life under the Electoral Bodies (Disqualification) Order, or EBDO. A similar purge took place among civil servants.

Ayub sought to create political institutions that would express Islāmic ideals and foster national development. He initiated a plan for “basic democracies,” directly elected by the people, as local units of development. Elections took placein January 1960. The Basic Democrats, as they became known, were at once asked to endorse Ayub's presidency and to give him a mandate to frame a constitution. Of the 80,000 Basic Democrats, 75,283 affirmed their support for Mirza in a referendum in February 1960. A constitutional commission was asked to advise on a suitable form of government. Ayub accepted some of its proposals and substituted some of his own, aiming, he said, for “a blending of democracy with discipline.” In the early days of Ayub's regime there were notable reform measures, such as the Muslim Family Laws Ordinance of 1961, restricting polygamy, but later the president found it necessary to make concessions to Muslims in order to bolster his regime.

One feature of the Ayub regime was the quickening pace of economic growth. During the initial phase of independence, the growth rate was less than three percent per annum and scarcely moved ahead of the rate of population growth. During the mid-1950s even this rate declined, but from 1960 to 1965 the rate advanced to more than six percent per annum. Development was particularly vigorous in the manufacturing sector.

There was considerable imbalance between East and West; during the 1950s East Pakistan was becoming poorer in per capita terms every year, whereas the West was achieving positive growth. A continuing grievance was the contribution made by East Pakistan to foreign exchange by the export of jute and tea, from which it was felt the West reaped more advantage; the West was also the major beneficiary of foreign aid.

The outstanding example of favoured treatment for the West was the great Indus basin scheme for hydroelectric development. Pakistan skillfully negotiated for assistance from the World Bank, the United States, and other friends. In addition to economic aid, Pakistan also received a great deal of military aid from the United States.

Warfare with India over Kashmir in 1965 had more far-reaching effects on Pakistan than on India. Ayub received a new mandate in January when he won decisively against a spirited challenge from Fatima Jinnah, the sister of Mohammed Ali Jinnah. In the early days of his presidency, Ayub had moved freely among the rural people, talking to them face-to-face. After the war, he withdrew behind a curtain of dictatorship, becoming a remote figure in a bulletproof limousine. Bhutto, the chief exponent of struggle against India, was relieved of office in 1966. Mujibur Rahman (Sheikh Mujib), who had inherited the leadership of the Awami League, the major force in East Pakistan, was arrested and accused of conspiring with India.

Ayub's autocratic position was suddenly challenged in the autumn of 1968; an unsuccessful attempt on his life was followed by the arrest of Bhutto and other opposition leaders. Ayub summoned a conference of opposition leaders and withdrew the state of emergency under which Pakistan had been governed since 1965, but these concessions failed to conciliate the opposition, and in February 1969 Ayub announced that he would not contest the presidential election due in 1970. Protests and strikes flared everywhere, being especially militant in Bengal. At length, on March 25, 1969, Ayub resigned, handing over responsibility for governing to the commander in chief, General Agha Mohammad Yahya Khan. Once again the country was placed under martial law. Yahya assumed the title of president as well as chief martial-law administrator. He made it clear that his aim was an early general election, which took place in December 1970.

Civil war

The success of the Awami League in East Pakistan surprised even its friends. Sheikh Mujib emerged with a majority at his command among the membership of the new assembly (167of the 300 total). But what upset all predictions was the victory in West Pakistan of Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party (PPP), which won particularly heavily in Punjab and gained a clear majority (83) of the representation from the West. Yahya's plan provided that when the new assembly met it must produce a constitution within 100 days. Mujib, however,stood out for complete independence for East Pakistan, except for foreign policy, though the East wanted to make its own aid, trade, and defense agreements. Bhutto rejected these terms and refused to bring his party to Dacca to participate in the assembly. On March 1, 1971, President Yahya announced that the National Assembly would be suspended indefinitely. Sheikh Mujib replied by ordering a boycott and general strike throughout East Pakistan. Bowing to the inevitable, Yahya proceeded to Dacca in mid-March to negotiate a compromise that would concede the substance of Mujib's demands while retaining tenuous ties that might still preserve the name of Pakistan. But compromise proved impossible. President Yahya denounced Mujib and his men as traitors and launched a drive to “reoccupy” the East with West Pakistan troops.

Warfare between government troops and supporters of the Awami League broke out in the East in March. Sheikh Mujib and many of his colleagues were arrested, while others escaped to India, proclaiming East Pakistan an independent state under the name Bangladesh (“Bengal Land”). As fighting continued, the number of refugees crossing the border into India grew into the millions. In December 1971 India successfully invaded East Pakistan. The establishment of a Bangladesh government with Mujib as prime minister followed in January 1972.

Bhutto's regime

Accepting responsibility for the defeat and breakup of Pakistan, President Yahya resigned on December 20, 1971, and Bhutto became the undisputed leader of former West Pakistan. Bhutto's declared policy of Islāmic socialism broughtfew tangible changes, but his populism was undeniably successful. He became increasingly autocratic, however, suppressing criticism, jailing opponents, and using militant methods against the restive Pathans and Balochis. A new constitution was adopted on April 10, 1973, and Bhutto became prime minister.

In January 1977 Bhutto announced that elections would be held within two months, unfolding a national charter of peasant reform. Nine opposition parties hastily patched together the Pakistan National Alliance (PNA) and launched a demand for the Islāmic way of life in Pakistan. The campaign was marked by violence, with opposition candidates complaining of brutal discrimination. The results were a sweeping victory for Bhutto's PPP, although they were denounced as fraudulent by the PNA. Mounting protest soon brought chaos to Karāchi and other major cities, where Bhutto was compelled to call out the army and proclaim martial law. He tried to buy peace by offering concessions to the PNA leaders (most of whom were under arrest), but they would accept nothing short of a new election.

Zia ul-Haq's regime

To avoid total chaos, the chief of staff of the army, General Mohammad Zia ul-Haq, took over as chief administrator of martial law on July 5, 1977. His early efforts to create an acceptable political alternative had only limited success. He announced that elections would be held in 90 days, but it wasclear that Bhutto was the only politician of mass appeal. In early September Bhutto was arrested and charged with attempted murder; on March 18, 1978, he was sentenced to death, and, after Supreme Court review, he was hanged on April 4, 1979.

Zia's efforts to create an acceptable political alternative had only limited success. Thirteen months after taking over the martial-law administration, he announced the formation of a civilian Cabinet of administrators, technocrats, and some political leaders drawn from the Muslim League and the religious parties. The PNA was now split, with most elements forming an opposition that demanded early elections, withdrawal of the army from Balochistān, and the introduction of a full Islāmic code of laws. A zealous Muslim, Zia had already imposed Islāmic criminal punishments such as flogging and maiming (these were formally enacted as law in February 1979), but he declined to meet the full oppositiondemand. On September 16, 1978, he was proclaimed president of Pakistan.

Pakistan became a “frontline state” in the Cold War when the Soviet Union occupied neighbouring Afghanistan in December 1979. A guerrilla war began between Afghan mujahideen (freedom fighters) and the Soviet forces, and millions of Afghan refugees fled into Pakistan. The mujahideenused a number of refugee camps and other areas inside Pakistan as bases for their activities. The conflict was further internationalized when the United States channeled massive arms supplies to the mujahideen via Pakistan. This program included renewed U.S. aid to Pakistan of $4.2 billion for the years 1987 to 1992.

Another external pressure was the Islāmic revolution in Iran. Partly in response, Zia extended his own Islāmization program. In addition to Islāmic criminal laws, this included interest-free banking and other measures in keeping with traditional Islāmic economic practice. A national referendum was held in December 1984 on the Islāmization measures, coupled with an endorsement of Zia's presidency for an additional five years; some 62 percent of those eligible were declared to have voted, with 98 percent of the voters in favour of both propositions. The opposition disputed this result, however, claiming that only 10 to 15 percent of the electorate had participated.

In February 1985 elections for the national and provincial assemblies were held. Political parties were not allowed to participate, but there was a high turnout, despite a boycott by the opposition. Zia chose as prime minister Muhammad Khan Junejo, a Sindhi politician who had previously served in Zia's Cabinet. Martial law was lifted in December 1985. In January 1986 Junejo announced the revival of the Pakistan Muslim League. Soon afterward, Benazir Bhutto, the daughterof Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, returned from abroad to re-form the PPP.She received an enthusiastic welcome, but her attempts to arouse popular protest met with little success.

In late 1986 Karāchi, Quetta, and Hyderābād were rocked by riots between the muhajir majority and Pathans, originally from the North-West Frontier Province and Afghanistan. Ethnic violence continued through the early 1990s and spread to involve other ethnic groups and other cities in Sindh province.

In May 1988 Zia dissolved the national and provincial assemblies and dismissed the Junejo government, alleging that it was corrupt, weak, and inept. He announced that elections would be held within 90 days, but they were later postponed to November. In June a caretaker government wasset up, with Zia acting as head of government.

The administration of Benazir Bhutto

On August 17, 1988, Zia was killed in an airplane crash, together with his leading generals and the U.S. ambassador to Pakistan. Suspicion rested on Soviet agents, but nothing was proved. The chairman of the Senate, Ghulam Ishaq Khan,a long-standing Zia supporter, took over as acting president. He subsequently announced that elections would be held in November as planned.

When the election results were counted, the PPP, led by Benazir Bhutto, had won 93 seats; the Islāmic Democratic Alliance, claiming the mantle of Zia, won 54 seats; and the remaining 58 seats were won by independents and candidates from minor parties. Support for Bhutto in the key province of Punjab, with 60 percent of the population, was weak, and in subsequent provincial elections the Islāmic Democratic Alliance held this key province. PPP candidates became chief ministers of Sindh and the North-West Frontier Province. Bhutto had a mandate, but it was incomplete. In subsequent negotiations conducted by Ishaq Khan, who was elected president in December 1988, she had to make concessions in important areas of policy. Thus, Pakistan's commitment to the Afghan mujahideen continued, and the army retained its premier place in the system. (Pakistan's armed forces numbered over half a million people in the late 1980s; some 480,000 of these were in the army.) In December 1988 Benazir Bhutto became the first woman to lead a modern Islāmic state.

Given office without real power, Benazir Bhutto responded by projecting her image on the national and international stage without attempting to make fundamental changes at home. Distrusted by the president and the military, she was ousted 20 months later. She was succeeded in November 1990 by a Punjabi industrialist, Mohammed Nawaz Sharif. However, relations between Sharif and Khan were also tense. Khan dismissed Sharif as prime minister in April 1993, accusing him of mismanagement, corruption, and a “reign of terror.” Khan dissolved the National Assembly and promised new elections for July, but the Supreme Court overturned his actions and reinstated Sharif and his government in May. The bitter power struggle reached a deadlock in July, forcing both Sharif and Khan to resign, reportedly because of pressure from the army chief of staff, General Abdul Waheed. An interim government took over, and elections were scheduled for the fall. In October the PPP won a majority of seats in the National Assembly, and Benazir Bhutto again became prime minister.

The Bhutto government's three-year rule was marked by steadily deteriorating economic conditions and growing ethnic and religious violence, particularly in southern Sindh where clashes between muhajirs and Pathans grew into pitched battles that left thousands dead. Violence by Islāmic extremist groups directed against the nation's small Christiancommunity and the heterodox Aḥmadīyah sect continued to rise throughout the country, and in 1995 the government foiled a coup by fundamentalist military officers opposed to the idea of a woman ruling the country.

Bhutto's 1996 crackdown on violence, however, came just as allegations began to surface of financial mismanagement andcorruption by her and her family. President Farooq Ahmed Leghari dismissed Bhutto's government in November, and in 1997 elections, Pakistanis returned Sharif to office. The new prime minister quashed the president's power to dismiss elected governments and, likewise, abolished the Council for Defense and National Security, thereby earning the resentment of the military.

Sharif's inability to cope with the nation's worsening economyand accusations that he had engaged in corruption far in excess of that alleged of Bhutto alienated many among Pakistan's political elite, especially members of the military who saw the government's failed economic policies as a threat to national security. The prime minister's willingness to respond to India's testing of five nuclear weapons in May 1998—within weeks Pakistan had detonated its own nuclear devices—failed to bring the military to his side, and in October1999 the army chief of staff, General Pervez Musharraf, suspended the constitution and arrested Sharif on charges oftreason.

The military government faced numerous obstacles at the beginning of the 21st century. In addition to ongoing factional violence, a faltering economy, and high rates of crime, the country was increasingly troubled by Islāmic extremism both at home and abroad. Pakistan's alleged support for Islāmic insurgents in the disputed Kashmir region frequently strained relations with India and placed the two nuclear powers on the verge of serious armed conflict. Yet, in late 2001 the Musharraf government cooperated with U.S. forces attempting to uproot Islāmic extremists in Afghanistan, which led to acts of violence by Pakistani supporters of that country's ruling Taliban regime—a group Pakistan had theretofore supported. Although the rapid collapse of the Taliban had the fortuitous effect of encouraging Afghan refugees to return home, the fighting in Afghanistan threatened to spill over into Pakistan, and Musharraf's regime was faced with the possibility that it might be toppled by extremists, who claimed numerous supporters in the government, military, and intelligence services. Nonetheless, most Pakistanis seemed to acquiesce to rule by the military because of the stability it provided, andin May 2002 voters in a national referendum granted Musharraf five additional years of rule.
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