Pakistan. Under strong pressure from the United States,
President Pervez Musharraf pledged merciless fight against
terrorists in January. According to
Countryaah website, several organizations, including
Kashmiri Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad were banned.
Both had been accused of terrorism in India. A few thousand
members of extreme groups were arrested.
Yet the violence did not decrease. In January, American
journalist Daniel Pearl was kidnapped and murdered, in March
five people were killed in an attack on a church in
Islamabad, in May eleven French marines and three Pakistanis
were killed in a suicide attack in Karachi, and in June
twelve Pakistanis were killed in an explosive attack outside
the United States. consulate in the same city. In August, a
total of nine Pakistanis were killed in a raid against a
Christian school and a hospital chapel in northern Pakistan.
The situation in the divided Kashmir deteriorated after
new attacks in the Indian part. India accused Pakistan of
indulging in the terrorists and both countries reinforced
the border troops. One million soldiers were eye to eye, and
both sides were testing robots capable of carrying nuclear
charges. Intensive international diplomacy slowly reduced
the threat of war.
In April, a fiercely criticized referendum gave Musharraf
a mandate for another five years. He then strengthened his
power by changing the constitution himself. He seized the
right to dissolve Parliament and appointed a National
Security Council that guarantees continued military control
In October, militant politicians went to elections under
the name Pakistan Muslim League - Quaid-e-Azam (PML-Q). The
exiled former prime ministers Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz
Sharif were banned from running for office. The election
gave PML-Q 77 of the 272 directly-elected seats, while
Bhutto's Pakistani People's Party (PPP) received only 62
seats despite more votes.
An Islamic alliance, the United Front of Action (MMA),
received 45 seats. 60 seats were reserved for women and ten
for religious minorities. Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali of
PML-Q was elected prime minister thanks to the support of
several members of the PPP, some of whom were rewarded with
1993 Bhutto back as Prime Minister
In the October 6 election, the PPP got 86 out of
Parliament's 217 seats against 72 for Sharif's coalition.
Benazir Bhutto was thus able to return to the Prime
Minister's post after obtaining support from a number of
smaller parties and a total of 121 members behind her. In
November, PPP candidate Faruk Ahmed Leghari was elected
president, further strengthening Bhutto.
The prime minister tried to stimulate the economy and
avoided confrontation with the religious conservatives.
Still, Islamic fundamentalists pledged an award to the prime
minister after he expressed support for a change in
Pakistani blasphemy laws. The change would include: make
false charges of blasphemy punishable.
Bhutto's attempt at democratization and the introduction
of the League was marred by political and ethnic violence in
94-95. The two bloodiest years since Bangladesh in 71 had
detached. Karachi and the detachment areas in the north
became the center of the conflicts. Over 3,500 people died
in clashes between August 94 and October 95. At the end of
95, a coup attempt led by fundamentalist officers was
In June 96, hundreds of people were detained following
protests against the ban on the election of independent
candidates for the local elections in Azad Jammu and
One of Bhutto's main political opponents - her brother
Murtaza - died in a clash with police on September 20, 96.
He was the leader of a partisan group demanding the
departure of the prime minister. Benazir's brothers and
sisters had split after the coup against her father in 77.
In November, Bhutto was released from office as prime
minister on charges of corruption and new elections were
held. This time, the PPP gained only 19 seats against the
Nawaz Sharif coalition's 136th. Miraj Khalid was
provisionally appointed prime minister until Sharif took
office again at the beginning of 97.
In 97, Amnesty International criticized Pakistan for
having prisoners of conscience and they were tortured and
abused. At the same time, disappearances and executions were
reported without trial.
There were military clashes between Pakistan and India in
the Kashmir area and the talks between New Delhi and
Islamabad were in a stalemate. India claimed that the area
belonged to it and that its future was not negotiable. At
the same time, Pakistan demanded a referendum on
self-determination. Tensions further increased in May 98 as
India conducted a series of nuclear test blasts, provoking
Pakistan to carry out a similar series of blasts.
On October 12, 1999, General Pervez Musharraf conducted a
coup d'etat. He had been commander-in-chief of the military
operations in Kashmir until then, but was ousted by Prime
Minister Sharif. The military put Sharif in jail, accused
him of abduction, terrorism, assassination and for
endangering human life aboard the plane carrying Musharraf
from Islamabad to Karachi. With the coup, Pakistan became
the first nuclear power in history led by military people.
The military dictatorship brought the deposed prime
minister to justice, and his lawyers were constantly subject
to death threats. Sharif's main lawyer, Iqbal Raad, was
murdered in his own house. While the Musharraf government
placed responsibility for the murder of terrorists, Sharif's
supporters accused the government of standing behind.
On December 10, Sharif was released and sought asylum
with his family in Saudi Arabia. The government stated that
it had issued a "presidential pardon" of the former prime
minister and that it had allowed him to leave the country to
come under medical treatment. In return, Sharif had given up
his $ 500 million personal fortune. rupiah (US $ 8 million),
promised not to return to Pakistan for the next 10 years and
not to be included in the country's political life for the
next 21 years.