Modern Day Pakistan (1999-Present)

A memorial to Benazir Bhutto who died in 2007 after a political campaign rally 

After being plotted against by Prime Minister Sharif, General Musharraf was in charge of an operation that took the government back into the hands of the military and ousted Sharif. Although the US viewed this operation as a act of “short-circuting democratic processes,” the Pakistani Supreme Court ruled it a valid coup in 2000. In 2001, Musharraf dismissed the national and provincial assemblies and named himself President. Musharraf then introduced the Local Government System, which had the purpose of giving individuals more say at a local government and, like Ayub Khan’s Basic Democracies System, citizens had control through the representatives they elected. In 2002, in preparation for the October elections, he issued the Legal Framework Order of 2002 which gave the president power to make laws in regards to the general election and it also gave him the power to dismiss the Prime Minister and dissolve Parliament, like the eighth amendment in past years. In the election, Zafarullah Khan Jamali came to power as prime minister and Musharraf resumed presidency. In 2004, major Pakistani political figures (who were opposed to Musharraf) were arrested along with Shahbaz Sharif (brother of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif). In June of 2004, Prime Minister Jamali resigned without explanation and was replaced by Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz.  In regards to more political turmoil, both Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto were both in exile and were the heads of the two lead opposition groups (political parties), resulting in neutralized opposition force against Musharraf.

Along with other problems, in 2007, terrorism was Musharraf’s main concern since it had become increasing hotspot for militants from all around the area (including Afghanistan) and, as a whole, terrorism was increasing significantly each year. Along with terrorism, in Baluchistan, the Baluch Liberation Organization, along with the Baluch Liberation Army, were starting new nationalist movement and claiming the lives of many in nationalist attacks around the province. Tensions in the Pakistan were also on edge due to the Sunni and Shi’i extreme Islamic groups. These extremist groups formed political parties and militia groups to fight each other.

In 2007, while the Supreme Court was questioning if the rule of Musharraf was legal, the chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, was suspended due to charges of power abuse and nepotism. This increased calls for Musharraf’s resignation. Later the Supreme Court ruled that Chaudhry’s suspension was illegal. In order to deal with public discontent, Musharraf called for new elections, and that Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif return from exile for the election. When Nawaz Sharif returned to Pakistan, he was immediately charged of corruption and deported to Saudi Arabia. He was allowed to return to Pakistan after some time, but was not allowed to run for Parliament. Bhutto returned to Pakistan and began to campaign for the elections. Before the election, Musharraf maid the claim that if he were to be reelected he would give up his controversial position as army Chief of Staff. In the election, Musharraf was reelected president and then in late November of 2007 resigned as army chief of staff. Musharraf declared yet another state of emergency and elected a new Supreme Court. In December of 2007, Benazir Bhutto was assassinated after a rally in her campaign for the 2008 election.

In the 2008 elections, the PPP (Pakistani People Party) won the most seats and the PML came in second. Since neither party had the two thirds majority, the parties began speaking of a coalition government. Although the relationship between the PPP and PML didn’t work out in the long run, it showed a great accomplishment that the two major parties of Pakistan could work together for civilian rule. In late 2008 Musharraf, with fears of being impeached, resigned from the position of President and Asif Ali Zardari took his place as the elected President of Pakistan.

These graphics point to the fact that, in 2007, terrorism was at a pinicale for the 1989-2008 timespan

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