Pakistan Paedia - Pakistan History (2008...) Pakistan Paedia - Pakistan History (2008...)

2008 .... Would Things Change??



The Victors

and the Vanquished


25 February 2008: While the politicians are engaged in seeking support from each other, a powerful suicide attack kills army Surgeon General Mushtaq Baig, beside killing his driver, guard and five pedestrians on Mall Road Rawalpindi.  The suicide bomber was on foot, who blew himself up by the car of Lt. Gen. Mushtaq Baig which was stationary before a red signal.

 The "Lawyers" Long March

In order to restore the deposed judges who refused to take oath under PCO after the president imposed emergency on 3 November 2007, a country wide movement by lawyers started which was soon joined in by the political parties, specially the PML(N) and the JI. It culminated in a long march on the capital from 10-12 June, but could not accrue the desired results as the government did not restore the judges and the much touted "constitutional package" still remains to be materialized. So for the time being, the deposed judges remain deposed - waiting for the next move by the lawyers and some of the hot favourite political parties.

 Brief on Pervez Musharraf

Pervez Musharraf joined Pakistan military academy at Kakul in 1961 and was commissioned in 1964 in the self propelled artillery unit. Later, he volunteered to join the special services group and was posted to field artillery regiments. A graduate of the staff college, Quetta, and national defence college, Rawalpindi, Musharraf also studied at the royal college of defence studies in the United Kingdom. He saw his first action in the 1965 Indo-Pak war in Khem Karan as a 2nd lieutenant in the field artillery regiment in Lahore and Sialkot sectors and was awarded the Imtiaz-I-Sanad for gallantry. During the indo-Pakistan war in 1971, he served as a company commander in the SSG commando battalion. On promotion to the rank of major general in 1991 he was assigned the command of an infantry division. He served as director general military operations from 1993 to 1995. He was promoted to the rank of lieutenant general in 1995. In 1998, following the resignation of General Jehangir Karamat, he was promoted over other senior officers by the than prime minister Nawaz Sharif and took over as chief of army staff. On April 9, 1999, he was given the additional charge of chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff committee which he relinquished in October 2001. General Musharraf had come into power on October 12, 1999 after ousting Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif as Chief Executive.

Profile Asif Ali Zardari

Asif Ali Zardari (born 26 July 1955) is the 11th and current President of Pakistan and the Co-Chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP). Zardari is the widower of Benazir Bhutto, who twice served as Prime Minister of Pakistan. When his wife was assassinated in December 2007, he became the leader of the Pakistan People's Party. He is considered to be among the five richest men in Pakistan with an estimated net worth of US$1.8 billion (2005). Zardari received his primary education from the Karachi Grammar School and his secondary education from Cadet College, Petaro. While a candidate for parliament, a position for which a 2002 rule requires a college degree, Zardari claimed to have graduated from a college in London.

Perhaps 2008 would be one of the most crucial years of Pakistan's turbulent past - since this year a new political era is in the offing. A year when two arch rivals (PPPP and PML-N) are to forge a new political alliance forgetting the bitter past when Nawaz Sharif labeled a number of allegations against Benazir Bhutto and her husband Asif Ali Zardari. These allegations dragged Zardari into courts and jails for years and even government of General Pervez Musharraf took some time to release Zardari and allowed him to go abroad. It was again General Pervez Musharraf  who allowed Benazair, Zardari and Nawaz back into the country in what was called a National Reconciliatory Ordnance, specially promulgated to allow PPPP to form new government in Pakistan. Things however did not work well and no deal could be struck between the government and PPPP. With the tragic death of Benazir in a bomb blast in Rawalpindi on 27 December 2007, the entire political canvas changed and brought to fore Asif Ali Zardari as co-chairperson of PPPP.  After the elections of 18 February 2008, many of the King's party tumbled and the ruling party of PML (Q) crumbled agianst the PPP and PML (N).

The choice of Yousaf Raza Gilani as the Pakistan People’s Party’s candidate for prime minister initially raised as many questions since it was expected the oldest loyalist Makhdoom Amin Fahim would be the PM. The initial stir has since subsided and the new PM is in chair - though many believe that he is merely the mouth piece of the part while the actual strings are still in the hands of Mr. Zardari. Although the affairs of the government and the presidency seem cordial with smiles on the face of it, but many a storm are hidden behind the scene and it is only marriage of convenience that is holding the two "liking each other". On the other hand the coalition government of PPP and PML (N) is basically hinged on one agenda - restoration of the deposed judges and the CJ of the Supreme Court Mr Justice Iftikhar. There is much overshadow on the issue and no one is for sure what is in the offing and whether the judges be restored or otherwise.

The first budget presented by the PPP government failed to address the issues of load shedding, the price hike and the law and order in the country. It also failed to stop the cross border attacks by the US-led coalition forces, which recently killed scores of civilians including 11 military personnel (one major included). This

In the meantime, the country is in a grip of high inflation, high oil prices, shortage of wheat and acute shortage of electricity. But the judges issue seems to have overtaken every other issue - so while the people lament and suffer for want of food and electricity, the politicians, specially the PML (N), seem busy only in one issue - restoration of the judges and impeachment of the president.

There have been developments of impeachment of the president by the ruling coalition since long, which coupled with the restoration of the judges was taking a heavy toll of the Pakistani economy which was nose diving and the Re had gone the lowest ever in the history (Rs.77+ for 1US $) and the stock market had came back to under 10,000 points after sky rocketing over 15,000 points. The country was in a grip of despair as everyone seemed to be obsessed by the president's impeachment and the judges issue. While the charge sheet against the president was being readied, and all the four provincial assemblies have unanimously demanded resignation of the president, the hard decision finally came on midday 18 August when in a live TV broadcast, president Pervez Musharraf bid farewell to the presidency after a sentimental speech of over one hour. In his address to the nation, he said he was stepping down to avoid confrontation between the institutions and presidency and the parliament and in the best interest of the nation and to save the country from further destabilization. He said for him it is always Pakistan first and added that politics of confrontation must come to an end and instead a policy of reconciliation be pursued. The President said he took all decisions with consultation, took all stake holders onboard, on the most difficult issues. He dismissed what he called the false allegations being leveled against him and said he was neither afraid of the charges against him, nor shy to face them through impeachment. He said no charge sheet can stand against him and not even a single charge can be proved. He stressed immediate measures be taken to arrest the economic downturn and said the nation has the resilience to withstand any challenge.

Thus ended another era of Pakistan history which started in 1999 - with the democracy now fully independent, the ball is now in the court of the PPP and PML(N) to put the country back to normalcy and pave way for the future rather than still clinging to settle old scores. The judges issues still hangs in balance - another test for the rulers.

Well another fathom covered when on 6 September 2008, the presidential election was held in two houses of parliament and all provincial assemblies. Asif Ali Zardari from PPP, Saeed uz Zaman Siddiqui backed by PML (N) and Mushahid Hussain from PML (Q) contested. And the outcome was but obvious. Zardari secured 479 votes out of 702, while Saeed-uz-Zaman Siddiqui received 153 electoral votes and Senator Mushahid Hussein received 43. Asif's victory in three provinces is overwhelming, especially in Sindh where his opposing candidates couldn’t get a single vote. Only in Punjab Assembly Saeed-uz-Zaman Siddiqi was able to get more votes than Asif. Of the total electoral college, Asif Ali Zardari secured 281 votes out of the 426 valid votes polled in the parliament,’ chief election commissioner Qazi Mohammad Farooq said. He has secured 458 out of 702 electoral college votes, according to partial Election Commission results. Thus Asif Zardari becomes the 13th President of Pakistan. The ones who have been President before him include: Iskandar Mirza, Ayub Khan, Yahya Khan, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Fazal Ilahi Chaudhry, Zia-ul-Haq, Ghulam Ishaq Khan, Waseem Sajjad, Farooq Laghari, Waseem Sajjad, Rafiq Tarar and Pervaiz Musharraf. Waseem Sajjad has twice been the President of Pakistan. Zardari took oath of the covetted office on 9 September 2008.

So from now on, Pakistan moves in a pure democratic set, wherein both the president and the prime minister have been elected with a heavy support of the elected representatives. It is hoped now that a new era will be ushered in the history of Pakistan - an era of progress and stability.

20th of September would be remembered as a fateful day in the history of Pakistan - a day when Mr Asif Ali Zardari, a civilian president after a decade of military rule addressed the joint session of the parliament - and a day when just hours after a powerful bomb blast completely destroyed the Islamabad Marriot Hotel, leaving some 50 dead and over 300 injured. While the Pakistanis want to go ahead and live in an economically healthy country, there are some cloaked in the garb of Islamists who want Pakistan to be taken back to dark ages - with people being executed on streets publicly, and men ready to kill any woman that comes out of her home without "hijab" - men who want to show their muscles not by their intellect or brain but on the strength of the weapons they hold. Who is behind all this - we may never know but one wonders what would become of Pakistan in days to come.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Tuesday 19th June declared Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani ineligible to hold office, Express News reported. The court said that he had been ineligible since April 26.
He has been declared ineligible to be prime minister ever since the verdict in the contempt case had been announced.The Election Commission of Pakistan, following the court order, issued the notification of Gilani’s disqualification. Gilani will not be a member of parliament following the verdict, and his name was also removed from the Press Information Department website.“Yousaf Raza Gilani is disqualified from membership of parliament from April 26, the date of his conviction. He has also ceased to be the prime minister of Pakistan,” said Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, reading the order.

Yes, there is a hope that things would change  - When the lawyers, backed by PML(N) and other political parties opposed to PPP decided to wage a Long March towards Islamabad and stage an indefinite sit-in on Shahrah-e-Jamhooriat (The Constitution Avenue), most of the people sitting on the fence kept their fingers crossed. But as the march commenced, it gathered a storm and despite a major crack down on the political workers and erection of barricades on all exits of major cities in Punjab, the march continued with a bull's speed. And this caused a change of heart and President Zardari had no choice left but to give in and it was announced by the Prime Minister Gilani, in an address to the nation in the early hours of 16th March morning  that the government has restored all the deposed judges including the deposed CJ Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. So from now on, there seems to be a hope that things would change for better - there would be justice for everyone and the country will come out of the political quagmaire and would journey towards prosperity and hope. Only time will tell what lies ahead........

Supreme Court strikes down Nov 3 emergency: In what has been billed as a verdict that may change the course of the country’s political and judicial history, the Supreme Court on Friday 31 July 2009  denounced successive military takeovers over the past four decades and their endorsement by the superior judiciary and then went ahead to declare Gen Pervez Musharraf’s Emergency Order of Nov 3, 2007, and most of the actions taken under it, including the appointment of over 100 superior court judges, as illegal and unconstitutional. In a judgment that has no precedence in the country’s judicial history, a 14-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, declared unconstitutional Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar’s appointment as the Chief Justice of Pakistan after the imposition of emergency. The court decided to refer to the Supreme Judicial Council the cases of Justice Dogar and other judges who had defied the order of a seven-judge bench on the same day and took oath under the PCO.

Operation Rah-e-Rast: The menace of militants threatening life and property of FATA (specially the North and South Waziristan) and Swat/surrounding areas finally compelled the government to launch Pakistan Army to quelch the militancy.  The operation code named "Operation Rah-e-Rast" is continuing with moderate to high degree of success and Army claims big gains. However, the militants presumably backed by some foreign neighboring countries reappear in other areas, equipped with most modern communication equipment and small arms. The western media on the other hand, taking advantage of the fragile law and order situation, laments threats to Pakistan's nuclear arsenal - many believe that the entire game plan from 9/11 onwards and gradually inching in of the NATO and other forces towards Pakistan, including onslaught of hired militants in the name of Islam, is in fact to neutralize Pakistan's nuclear capability.

In the meantime, while the US Army drones continue to "destroy" targets inside Pakistan territory, a similar attack by the Predator drone claims to have killed the much wanted militant Baitullah Mahsud which is not only likely to divide the so-called Taliban in Pakistan but also bring down militancy. Most people are keeping their fingers crossed since unless foreign involvement is not neutralized, militancy in Pakistan would take time to finish.

16 December 2009 - A day in life of Pakistan: The day when the Supreme Court of Pakistan unanimously annulled the most controversial act of a military ruler – the NRO. An order due to which many a criminals were granted amnesty and heinous crimes of money laundering, fraud, murders and other misdeeds were absolved of the committed crimes. Now people of Pakistan can hope for justice.

The month of April 2010 saw the much awaited passing of the The Eighteenth Amendment to the constitution by both the parliament and the senate and signed by the president is being viewed by many as a democratic victory as has undone many clauses by the successive military rulers to strengthen their hold on the seat of the presidency and making the prime minister as a rubber stamp. Now the president's only function, role and duty, not authority, will be to simply put his signatures on recommendations sent to him by Prime Minister in different spheres. It will become mandatory for the president to sign the notifications for appointment of official functionaries, summon the Senate, the National Assembly and their joint session, dissolve the lower house of parliament and assign legislation to the government, each and every thing proposed by the prime minister. The amendment abolishes the “concurrent list” and gives much more provincial autonomy than is now available to the provinces. The Council of Common Interest has been given additional powers and the provinces have been given more say on national matters by enhancing their representation in the council. With the passing of the amendment, the erstwhile NWFP (North West Frontier Province) becomes Khyber-Pakhtunkwa. Although the renaming has been viewed by many non-pushto speaking residents of the province as a blow to their status and already there are demands of more provinces to be carved out of the Khyber-Pakhtunkwa to suit their languages and aspirations.


The operation 'Kill OBL" in May 2011 had a negative fallout on the politics of Pakistan. It created a rift between the government and the Army and ISI for the blame game. Amidst allegations and mistrust, the Memogate Scandal surfaced. It was alleged by a Pakistani American citizen Mansoor Ijaz that he had been approached by the Pakistan Ambassador to USA to deliver a letter from someone very high and important to Admiral Mullen of the USA. The contents of the letter mainly focused on saving the civil government from a possible coup by the army, and in return offered some very lucrative concessions to the USA. army has since reacted very strongly and the matter is in the Supreme Court as well as being investigated by a parliamentarian committee. At the time of updating the site, news is that Mansoor Ijaz is all set to come to Pakistan and appear before the court and the committee to provide details of the entire scandal.

  In the meantime the Supreme Court hearing the case of the notorious NRO, ordered the Prime Minister to appear before the court on 19 January in the case of the the contempt of the court for not implementing the court order of 2009 to write to the Swiss authorities to re-open the case which implicates the president Zardari for illegally sending out $600 million in his Swiss bank account. Though the PM appeared before the court, more than the contempt, the president's immunity came to forth as a disputed case. The government is to present its answer soon - which would decide the future course of action in the politics of Pakistan.

On 19th June, in what was an expected move by the Supreme Court of Pakistan, after government's persistent refusal to write letter to the Swiss Government to re-open cases against the president, the 'unanimously elected' Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilanai was sacked and ordered to relinquish his office immediately. The 16th prime minister of the country and first from the Seraiki belt, ruled for a longer period compared to most of his predecessors, is the first head of government who lost his office after being disqualified by the Supreme Court. Prime ministers Muhammad Khan Junejo, Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif had been dismissed by the then presidents, who had the constitutional power to do so, on various charges.
In his stead, Raja Pervez Ashraf has been sworn in as the 17th prime minister of the country. The incumbent prime minister faces the same action from the Supereme Court and has been asked to appear before the court on 27th August 2012. The fate of PM Ashraf also hangs in limbo as a refusal to write letter to Swiss Government might result into a similar decision by the Supreme Court.


|1947 - 1958 | 1958 - 1968 | 1968 - 1977 | 1977 - 1988 | 1988 - 1999| 1999 - 2008 |

This page was created on 1 January 2005 / 22 August 2012

Copyright©JalalsPages - 2007 - 2012