Pakistan Fast Facts
Here’s a look at Pakistan. It borders Iran, Afghanistan and India in Southeast Asia. In 1947, Pakistan gained its independence from Great Britain.
(from the CIA World Factbook)
Area: 796,095 sq km (slightly less than twice the size of California)
Population: 242,923,845 (2022 est.)
Median age: 22 years
Ethnic Groups: Punjabi 44.7%, Pashtun (Pathan) 15.4%, Sindhi 14.1%, Saraiki 8.4%, Muhajirs 7.6%, Balochi 3.6%, other 6.3%
Unemployment: 6% (2017 est.)
August 14, 1947 – Pakistan becomes independent from the United Kingdom.
1947-1948 – Pakistan fights its first war against India over control of the Kashmir area.
1965 – Pakistan and India fight their second war over Kashmir.
1971 – Pakistan and India go to war over independence for East Pakistan, later renamed Bangladesh.
1973 – A constitution providing for a parliamentary system of government is adopted.
July 5, 1977 – Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto is deposed in a coup led by the army. He is executed in April 1979.
December 1, 1988 – Benazir Bhutto, the daughter of Bhutto, is elected as the first female prime minister of Pakistan and the first woman to lead a modern Muslim nation.
1990 – Nawaz Sharif is elected as prime minister.
1991 – Legislation is passed making Islamic law the law of the land.
October 12, 1999 – Army chief Pervez Musharraf takes power, overthrowing Sharif. Sharif had fired Musharraf after the army’s failed invasion in Kashmir. Bhutto, who is facing possible arrest on corruption charges, goes into self-imposed exile.
October 5, 2007 – Musharraf signs a reconciliation ordinance that drops corruption charges against Bhutto. It could pave the way for a power-sharing deal with Bhutto, who is planning a return to Pakistan after years in exile.
October 18, 2007 – Hours after Bhutto arrives in Karachi, her motorcade is attacked by a suicide bomber. More than 120 people die in the blast but Bhutto is uninjured. Two days after the bombing, Bhutto vows to continue campaigning to promote her party, the People’s Political Party (PPP).
November 3, 2007 – Musharraf declares a state of emergency. He suspends the country’s constitution, postpones the upcoming elections and imposes restrictions on the media. Government authorities arrest 1,500 people who protest the state of emergency.
November 9, 2007 – Bhutto is placed under house arrest, preventing her from attending a protest rally. By day’s end, the arrest order is lifted.
December 27, 2007 – Bhutto is assassinated during a rally.
March 9, 2008 – Sharif and Bhutto’s widower, Asif Ali Zardari, jointly call on Musharraf to immediately convene the parliament.
March 25, 2008 – After winning the election, Gilani is sworn in as prime minister. Gilani, a member of the PPP, served in various capacities as a cabinet member during Bhutto’s terms as prime minister.
August 18, 2008 – Musharraf resigns.
September 9, 2008 – Zardari is sworn in as the new president.
July-August 2010 – Catastrophic flooding leads to deaths of at least 1,600 people. Four million more are displaced.
May 14, 2011 – Parliament adopts a resolution condemning the US raid on bin Laden’s compound. Lawmakers also threaten to cut off access to a facility used by NATO forces to ferry troops into Afghanistan.
April 26, 2012 – Gilani is convicted of contempt.
June 19, 2012 – The Supreme Court rules that Gilani is ineligible to hold office. Days later, Parliament elects Raja Pervez Ashraf to take Gilani’s place as prime minister.
May 19, 2013 – Sharif gains a majority in Parliament, allowing him to form a government and become prime minister.
September 24, 2013 – A magnitude 7.7 earthquake strikes Balochistan province. More than 300 people are killed.
December 16, 2014 – Taliban gunmen attack the Army Public School and Degree College in Peshawar. One hundred forty-five people are killed, most of them children.
October 24, 2016 – At least 61 people are killed and 117 injured when militants attack a police training academy in Quetta.
December 7, 2016 – A Pakistan International Airlines plane crashes near Abbottabad, killing all 47 on board, including pop star-turned-religious artist Junaid Jamshed.
July 25, 2018 – Former cricket star Imran Khan claims victory in a disputed election after his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party wins the most seats in the country’s general elections. The election is marred by violence, including a deadly suicide attack, and allegations by other parties of election rigging.
August 18, 2018 – Khan is sworn in as prime minister.
September 5, 2018 – During a visit to Islamabad, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declares that he hopes to improve the strained relationship between Pakistan and the United States.
February 14, 2019 – A car bomb blast in an Indian-controlled section of Kashmir kills at least 40 people. A Pakistan-based terror group, Jaish-e-Muhammad claims responsibility.
February 26, 2019 – India announces it has conducted airstrikes on an alleged terrorist training camp in Pakistan. In response, Pakistani officials say two Indian jets tried to cross into Pakistani territory but were driven back.
February 27, 2019 – Pakistan claims the country’s air force has shot down two Indian fighter jets. India confirms the loss of one plane and says it shot down a Pakistani jet as it responded to the incident. In the wake of the confrontation, Pakistan closes its airspace.
June 10, 2019 – Zardari is arrested on corruption charges.
July 17, 2019 – Pakistani authorities arrest Hafiz Saeed, the alleged mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. Saeed had been arrested once before in 2017 but was released.
July 22, 2019 – Khan visits US President Donald Trump at the White House. During a joint press conference, the men discuss Afghanistan, the Taliban, Kashmir and Iran.
August 5, 2019 – Tensions between India and Pakistan increase after Modi announces that India will revoke a constitutional provision giving the state of Jammu and Kashmir autonomy to set its own laws. In the wake of the announcement, widespread communications blackouts are reported in the Muslim majority region.
August 6, 2019 – India’s parliament votes to approve the status change for the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The reorganization bill increases New Delhi’s authority over the region, changing it from an autonomous state into a union territory. Pakistan responds that the change is illegal. “If the world does not act now, if the so-called developed world does not uphold its own laws, then things will go to a place that will damage the whole world,” Khan says.
August 7, 2019 – Pakistan announces that diplomatic relations and bilateral trade with India are being suspended.
August 8, 2019 – Modi delivers a televised address in which he claims that revoking Kashmir’s autonomous status will promote stability, reduce corruption and boost the economy. Pakistan’s foreign minister says the country will remain vigilant but no military options are being considered. The United Nations issues a statement calling on both countries to resolve the issue peacefully while respecting human rights in the region.
December 17, 2019 – A three-member special court in Islamabad convicts Musharraf of violating the constitution by unlawfully declaring emergency rule while he was in power, in a case that had been pending since 2013. Musharraf is sentenced to death in absentia for high treason.
January 13, 2020 – A court in Pakistan overturns Musharraf’s death sentence, dismissing it as “unconstitutional.”
January 4, 2021 – In a landmark ruling that’s the first of its kind in the country, the Lahore High Court in Punjab province declares the practice of performing virginity tests on sexual assault survivors illegal.
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