In 2002, Pakistan was a country of contrasts. It had a population of around 140 million people, and the majority of the population (about 97%) was Muslim. The official language was Urdu, but English and several regional languages were also widely spoken. The capital city of Islamabad was home to many government buildings, and the bustling cities of Lahore and Karachi were popular tourist destinations for their rich cultural heritage.
According to computerannals, the economy of Pakistan in 2002 was largely based on agriculture and textiles. Cotton, wheat, rice and sugarcane were among the main crops grown in the country. Manufacturing had become increasingly important as well; by 2002 it accounted for around 20% of GDP. Tourism had begun to develop as well; visitors were drawn to Pakistan’s beautiful beaches, stunning mountain landscapes, ancient sites such as Mohenjo-daro and Taxila, as well as its vibrant cultural festivals such as Basant Panchami or Jashan-e-Baharan. The government had invested heavily in infrastructure over recent years; by 2002 there were more than 2 million kilometers of roads throughout the country connecting major cities with rural areas.
Pakistan. Under strong pressure from the United States, President Pervez Musharraf pledged merciless fight against terrorists in January. According to Countryaah website, national day of Pakistan is every August 14. 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 over politics.
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 government posts.
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 averted.
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 Kashmir.
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.