XII. Political Evolution Since 1971

The political evolution of Pakistan since 1971 has been marked by significant changes and challenges. After the separation of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) in 1971, Pakistan struggled to establish a stable democratic system of governance. Instead, it experienced periods of authoritarian military rule and weak democratic governments.

In 1977, General Zia-ul-Haq overthrew the democratically elected government of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and imposed martial law. During his eleven-year rule, Zia-ul-Haq introduced Islamic laws and policies, which significantly changed the social and political landscape of Pakistan. His policies also had long-lasting effects on the political system, including the strengthening of the military’s role in politics.

After Zia-ul-Haq’s death in 1988, Pakistan held its first democratic elections in more than a decade. However, the government of Benazir Bhutto was dismissed twice by the president on corruption charges. In 1999, General Pervez Musharraf seized power in a military coup and ruled until 2008. During his regime, Musharraf introduced some measures to modernize the country’s political and economic systems, but his rule was also characterized by human rights violations and suppression of the media.

Since 2008, Pakistan has experienced a transition to democracy with the election of Asif Ali Zardari and Nawaz Sharif as prime ministers. However, the country still faces many challenges, including corruption, weak institutions, terrorism, and political instability. The military continues to play a significant role in Pakistan’s politics and foreign policy.

In recent years, the government of Imran Khan has promised to implement significant reforms and address these challenges. However, there are concerns about the government’s commitment to democracy and human rights, and its ability to deliver on its promises.

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