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Parliamentary History

The Muslims of India had, since the middle of nineteen century, begun the struggle for a separate homeland on the basis of the two Nation theory.  The British rulers realized that the Hindus and Muslims of India remained two separate and distinct nations and socio-cultural entities. The British rulers were left with no option but to eventually accept the demand of the Muslims of India.   


On 3rd June1947, Lord Mountbatten, the last Viceroy of India, called the conference of all the leaders of the Sub-continent and communicated to them his Government's Plan for the transfer of power.  At that time, a notification was issued in the Gazette of India, published on 26th July 1947 in which the first Constituent Assembly of Pakistan was given shape with 69 Members (later on the membership was increased to 79), including one female Member.


The State of Pakistan was created under the Independence Act of 1947.   The Act made the existing Constituent Assemblies, the dominion legislatures. These Assemblies were allowed to exercise all the powers which were formerly exercised by the Central Legislature, in addition to the powers regarding the framing of a new Constitution, prior to which all territories were to be governed in accordance with the Government of India Act, 1935. 


The first session of the first Constituent Assembly of Pakistan was held on 10th August 1947 at Sindh Assembly Building Karachi.  On 11th August 1947 Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah was elected unanimously as the President of the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan and the National Flag was formally approved by the Assembly.  


On 12th August 1947 , a resolution was approved regarding officially addressing Mr. Muhammad Ali Jinnah as "Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah".  On the same day, a special committee called the "Committee on Fundamental Rights of Citizens and Minorities of Pakistan" was appointed to look into and advise the Assembly on matters relating to fundamental rights of the citizens, particularly the minorities, with the aim to legislate on these issues appropriately.   On 14th August 1947 , the Transfer of Power took place.  Lord Mountbatten, Governor General of India , addressed the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan.  The Quaid gave a reply to the address in the House, on which the principles of the State of Pakistan were laid.  On 15th August 1947 , Quaid-i-Azam was sworn in as the first Governor General of Pakistan .  Mian Sir Abdur Rashid, Chief Justice of Pakistan, administered oath of office from him.  The Quaid remained in this position till his death i.e.11th September 1948.  more....




Pakistan, along with parts of western India, contains the archeological remains of an urban civilization dating back 4,500 years. Alexander the Great included the Indus Valley in his empire in 326 B.C., and his successors founded the Indo-Greek kingdom of Bactria based in what is today Afghanistan and extending to Peshawar. Following the rise of the Central Asian Kushan Empire in later centuries, the Buddhist culture of Afghanistan and Pakistan, centered on the city of Taxila just west of Islamabad, experienced a cultural renaissance known as the Gandhara period.

Pakistan's Islamic history began with the arrival of Muslim traders in the 8th century in Sindh. The collapse of the Mughal Empire in the 18th century provided an opportunity to the English East India Company to extend its control over much of the subcontinent. The Sikh adventurer Ranjit Singh carved out a dominion that extended from Kabul to Srinagar and Lahore, encompassing much of the northern area of modern Pakistan. British rule replaced the Sikhs in the first half of the 19th century. In a decision that had far-reaching consequences, the British permitted the Hindu Maharaja of Kashmir, a Sikh appointee, to continue in power.

Pakistan emerged from an extended period of agitation by Muslims in the subcontinent to express their national identity free from British colonial domination as well as domination by what they perceived as a Hindu-controlled Indian National Congress. Muslim anti-colonial leaders formed the All-India Muslim League in 1906. Initially, the League adopted the same objective as the Congress--self-government for India within the British Empire--but Congress and the League were unable to agree on a formula that would ensure the protection of Muslim religious, economic, and political rights

Other Sources  

The Indus region, which covers a considerable amount of Pakistan, was the site of several ancient cultures including the Neolithic era's Mehrgarh and the bronze era Indus Valley Civilisation (2500–1500 BCE) at Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro.

Waves of conquerors and migrants from the west—including Harappan, Indo-Aryans, Persians, Greeks, Sakas, Parthians, Kushans, Hephthalites, Afghans, Arabs, Turks and Mughals—settled in the region throughout the centuries, influencing the locals and being absorbed among them. Ancient empires of the east—such as the Nandas, Mauryas, Sungas, Guptas and the Palas—ruled these territories at different times from Patliputra.

However, in the medieval period, while the eastern provinces of Punjab and Sindh grew aligned with Indo-Islamic civilisation, the western areas became culturally allied with the Iranian civilisation of Afghanistan and Iran. The region served as a crossroads of historic trade routes, including the Silk Road, and as a maritime entreport for the coastal trade between Mesopotamia and beyond up to Rome in the west and Malabar and beyond up to China in the east.

Modern day Pakistan was at the heart of the Indus Valley Civilisation; that collapsed in the middle of the 2nd millennium BCE and was followed by the Vedic Civilisation, which also extended over much of the Indo-Gangetic plains. Successive ancient empires and kingdoms ruled the region: the Achaemenid Persian empire around 543 BCE, the Greek empire founded by Alexander the Great in 326 BCE and the Mauryan empire founded by Chandragupta Maurya and extended by Ashoka the Great, until 185 BCE.

The Indo-Greek Kingdom founded by Demetrius of Bactria included Gandhara and Punjab from 184 BCE, and reached its greatest extent under Menander, establishing the Greco-Buddhist period with advances in trade and culture. The city of Taxila (Takshashila) became a major centre of learning in ancient times—the remains of the city, located to the west of Islamabad, are one of the country's major archaeological sites.] The Rai Dynasty (c.489–632) of Sindh, at its zenith, ruled this region and the surrounding territories.

Image of Menander I, one of the rulers of the Indo-Greek Kingdom which existed in the territory of modern Pakistan
Menander I was a Bactrian ruler, who established one of the Indo-Greek Kingdom which existed in the territory of modern day Pakistan

In 712 CE, the Arab general Muhammad bin Qasim conquered Sindh and Multan in southern Punjab. The Pakistan government's official chronology states that "its foundation was laid" as a result of this conquest. This Arab and Islamic victory would set the stage for several successive Muslim empires in South Asia, including the Ghaznavid Empire, the Ghorid Kingdom, the Delhi Sultanate and the Mughal Empire. During this period, Sufi missionaries played a pivotal role in converting a majority of the regional Buddhist and Hindu population to Islam.

The gradual decline of the Mughal Empire in the early eighteenth century provided opportunities for the Afghans, Balochis and Sikhs to exercise control over large areas until the British East India Company gained ascendancy over South Asia. The Indian Rebellion of 1857, also known as the Sepoy Mutiny, was the region's last major armed struggle against the British Raj, and it laid the foundations for the generally unarmed freedom struggle led by the Indian National Congress in the twentieth century. In the 1920s and 1930s, a movement led by the Hindu politician Mahatma Gandhi, and displaying commitment to long enshrined Hindu tenet of ahimsa, or non-violence, engaged millions of protesters in mass campaigns of civil disobedience.

Image of the seventeenth-century Badshahi Masjid
17th Century Badshahi Masjid built during Mughal rule

The All India Muslim League rose to popularity in the late 1930s amid fears of under-representation and neglect of Muslims in politics. On 29 December 1930, Allama Iqbal's presidential address called for an autonomous "state in northwestern India for Indian Muslims, within the body politic of India. Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah espoused the Two Nation Theory and led the Muslim League to adopt the Lahore Resolution of 1940, popularly known as the Pakistan Resolution. In early 1947, Britain announced the decision to end its rule in India. In June 1947, the nationalist leaders of British India—including Nehru and Abul Kalam Azad on behalf of the Congress, Jinnah representing the Muslim League, and Master Tara Singh representing the Sikhs—agreed to the proposed terms of transfer of power and independence.

The modern state of Pakistan was established on 14 August 1947 (27 Ramadan 1366 in the Islamic Calendar), carved out of the two Muslim-majority wings in the eastern and northwestern regions of British India and comprising the provinces of Balochistan, East Bengal, the North-West Frontier Province, West Punjab and Sindh. The controversial, and ill-timed, division of the provinces of Punjab and Bengal caused communal riots across India and Pakistan—millions of Muslims moved to Pakistan and millions of Hindus and Sikhs moved to India.

Disputes arose over several princely states including in the Muslim-majority Jammu and Kashmir, whose Hindu ruler had acceded to India following an invasion by Pashtun tribal militias, leading to the First Kashmir War in 1948.

The Working Committee of the Muslim League in Lahore (1940)

From 1947 to 1956, Pakistan was a Dominion of Pakistan in the Commonwealth of Nations. It became a Republic in 1956, but the civilian rule was stalled by a coup d’état by General Ayub Khan, who was president during 1958–69, a period of internal instability and a second war with India in 1965. His successor, Yahya Khan (1969–71) had to deal with a devastating cyclone—which caused 500,000 deaths in East Pakistan—and also face a civil war in 1971. Economic grievances and political dissent in East Pakistan led to violent political tension and military repression that escalated into a civil war.After nine months of guerrilla warfare between the Pakistan Army and the Indian backed Bengali Mukti Bahini militia, Indian intervention escalated into the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, and ultimately to the secession of East Pakistan as the independent state of Bangladesh.

Image of the founder and first Governor General of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah
The first Governor General Muhammad Ali Jinnah delivering the opening address on 11 August 1947 to the new state of Pakistan.

Civilian rule resumed in Pakistan from 1972 to 1977 under Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, until he was deposed and later sentenced to death in 1979 by General Zia-ul-Haq, who became the country's third military president. Zia introduced the Islamic Sharia legal code, which increased religious influences on the civil service and the military. With the death of President Zia in a plane crash in 1988, Benazir Bhutto, daughter of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, was elected as the first female Prime Minister of Pakistan. Over the next decade, she fought for power with Nawaz Sharif as the country's political and economic situation worsened. Pakistan got involved in the 1991 Gulf War and sent 5,000 troops as part of a U.S.-led coalition, specifically for the defence of Saudi Arabia.

Military tensions in the Kargil conflict with India were followed by a Pakistani military coup d'état in 1999 in which General Pervez Musharraf assumed vast executive powers. In 2001, Musharraf became President after the controversial resignation of Rafiq Tarar. After the 2002 parliamentary elections, Musharraf transferred executive powers to the newly elected Prime Minister Zafarullah Khan Jamali, who was succeeded in the 2004 prime-ministerial election by Shaukat Aziz. On 15 November 2007, the National Assembly, for the first time in Pakistan's history, completed its tenure and new elections were called. The exiled political leaders Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif were permitted to return to Pakistan. However, the assassination of Benazir Bhutto during the election campaign in December led to postponement of elections and nationwide riots. Bhutto's Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) won the largest number of seats in the elections held in February 2008 and its member Yousaf Raza Gillani was sworn in as Prime Minister. On 18 August 2008, Pervez Musharraf resigned from the presidency when threatened with impeachment, and was succeeded by current president Asif Ali Zardari. By the end of 2009, more than 3 million Pakistani civilians have been displaced by the on going conflict in North-West Pakistan between the government and Taliban militants.

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