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Pakistan: 71 Years in 71 Photos


Getting Pakistan to the relatively stable state that it’s in today has been an arduous series of unfortunate events. This independent, democratic state is the result of a lot of bloodshed and sacrifices made on both sides across the border. On it’s 71st year since inception, we take you on a visual journey through Pakistan’s erratic past in hopes that we can leave this history in the past and make progress towards a brighter tomorrow.

  1. Jinnah arrives in Karachi with his sister as Pakistan nears its formation.

  1. First official Pakistani newspapers announce the subcontinent’s division into two separate states.

  1. Millions struggle to cross the border after partition.

  1. Jinnah is officially appointed as Governor General with a peaceful transition of leadership from Lord Mountbatten.

  1. Ordinary people now divided between religious lines struggle with forced migration

  1. Quaid-E-Azam passes away in 1948 on September 11th

  1. Liaqat Ali Khan’s wife meets Walt Disney in 1951.

  1. In 1955 the second constituent assembly is formed.

  1. Just 3 years later in 1958, the assembly is abolished in favour of martial law .

  1. In 1959 Abdul Khalique won the 1st international gold medal in the Commonwealth games.

  1. In 1961 Queen Elizabeth 2nd takes a tour of Karachi.

  1. In 1965 the Indo Pak war begins.

  1. In 1967 Pakistan makes it first horror film called Zinda Lash.

  1. In 1971 the war over East Pakistan (now modern day Bangladesh) comes to an end as Pakistan surrenders.

  1. 3 years later a special stamp is signed for the 90,000 POW’s of 1971 held in India.

  1. Martial law makes a repeat appearance in 1977.

  1. Journalists protesting against Indian media policy are arrested.

  1. Bhutto is replaced by Zia-ul-Haq.

  1. Bhutto is convicted of murder in 1979 and sentenced to be hanged.

  1. Zia introduces Islamization at all sectors of Pakistan in 1979.

  1. Journalists protest against the conservative laws and are flogged on the streets by policemen.

  1. Women protesting against Zia’s extreme policies in 1980.

  1. In 1981 Salamulla Tipu hijacks a Pakistan International Airlines plane

  1. Anti-Zia protests gain momentum in 1981 as women take to the streets.

  1. Habib Jalib is arrested for the 3rd time in Lahore for standing up against Zia’s reforms in 1983.

  1. 17th August 1988, Zia dies in a plane crash.

  1. Ghulam Ishaq takes over as president of Pakistan.

  1. In 1992 Imran Khan brings home the Cricket World Cup defeating England.

  1. In 1998 Pakistan conducts its first ever nuclear test.

  1. Nawaz Sharif is re-elected as Prime Minister.

  1. In 1999 Sharif is suspended as PM and the army takes over his house.

  1. Pervez Musharraf comes into power on October 12th, 1999

  1. In 2002 Musharraf shares his hand in the iconic attempt to befriend India.

  1. The same year a wall-street worker Daniel Pearl goes missing in Karachi later declared abducted and killed by his captors.

  1. In October 2005 the infamous 7.6 magnitude earthquake strikes various parts of Pakistan, leaving more than 80,000 people dead and more than 4 million people homeless.

  1. Rival parties battle it out in the streets of Karachi over Musharraf’s dismissal of Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry in 2007.

  1. The same year TTP is formed and Swat falls into the control of the Taliban.

  1. In July 2007 the Lal Masjid siege kills 60 Pakistani troop members.

  1. In October of 2007, Benazir Bhutto returns to Pakistan after being exiled – she is met with suicide attacks that she survives.

  1. A month later Nawaz Sharif returns to Pakistan after being exiled for 7 years as well.

  1. Two months after her return Benazir Bhutto is shot dead during an election rally.

  1. The Mariott Hotel in Islamabad is bombed leaving more than 40 people dead and 300 injured.

  1. In March 2009 the international Sri Lankan cricket team is attacked by 12 gunmen while on tour in Lahore. Up until 2015 no international matches were held in Pakistan as a result.

  1. In March 2009, Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudry formerly dismissed by Musharraf is restored to his position.

  1. In July 2010 an Airblue plane crashes into the Margala Hills killing all 153 passengers on board. Later it was confirmed that the crash resulted because of the pilot’s misjudgment.

  1. In July 2010, Pakistan meets terrible floods dislocating several thousand Pakistanis.

  1. The same year, the cricketer Mohammad Amir is banned from playing after being caught match fixing

  1. In January 2011 Governor of Punjab Salman Taseer is gunned down by his guard after being shot 25 times in Islamabad. The reason for this was Taseer’s attempt to save a woman’s life from the blasphemy law.

  1. In 2011 Raymond Davis, a former US soldier and CIA contractor shoots and kills two men in Lahore while waiting at a traffic light claiming it was “self-defense.” He is later freed from jail after paying the family members 2 million dollars.

  1. Osama Bin Laden is killed in May 2011 in Abottabad by US forces and is later buried at sea.

  1. The same year NATO attacks Pakistan’s check post in Salala.

  1. An avalanche hits the Siachen glacier in 2012 burying 130 soldiers.

  1. September of the same year a garment factory in Karachi catches fire killing 259 workers.

  1. In early 2013, a Hazara town in Quetta is bombed twice within a short span and the families protest by refusing to bury their loved ones.

  1. In May 2013, general elections are held bringing out the most Pakistani voters since the 80’s.

  1. Ayesha Farooq is taken in as the first ever female fighter pilot in Pakistan Air Force.

  1. Balochistan Liberation army bombs founding father Jinnah’s residence

  1. Suicide bombers attack Peshawar Church in 2013 killing over 80 people. TTP claims responsibility.

  1. Aitzaz Hassan sacrifices his own life while trying to prevent a bomb attack on his school, saving 2000 students in January 2014.

  1. Raheel Sharif starts Zarb-e-Azb against the tribal militants to bring an end to Taliban attacks, killing approximately 3000 terrorists.

  1. Imran Khan commences a rally against poll rigging during the elections of 2013. The rally was called the Azadi March, lasted 4 months and was only suspended after the December 16th school attack.

  1. December 16th, 2014, Peshawar school massacre leaves 500 students dead. The day is officially been declared as the Black Day.

  1. March 2015 marks the return of the Pakistan Day parade after 7 years of abandonment.

  1. Just a few months later International Cricket also returns to Pakistan after 6 years for the T20 matches.

  1. June 2015 brings with it the deadliest heatwave in Karachi taking more than a 1000 lives.

  1. The late Punjab Home Minister, Shuja Khanzada is killed in a bomb blast along with 16 others by the TTP.

  1. October of 2015 marks another terrible earthquake killing more than 200 people in northern Pakistan.

  1. Mumtaz Qadri is hanged in February 2016 after being convicted for Salman Taseer’s murder leading to riots.

  1. PMLN members are accused of corruption, found guilty and suspended from the government for the 3rd time.

  1. Nawaz Sharif and daughter Maryam Nawaz are found guilty in the Panama papers of corruption and are arrested to be jailed for 10 and 7 years respectively.

  1. July 2018 Imran Khan becomes the 19th Prime Minister of Pakistan.

Pakistan has seen some things in its 71 years but the tides may be turning to a brighter future under a new, value-based leadership. This year, on its birthday, let’s do our part to hold ourselves, our community, and our nation’s leaders to account for a happier Pakistan.

Rida Khalid
Rida Khalid

An English Literature graduate with a passion for Psychology. An avid reader, writer, poet (self-proclaimed) and part-time fitness trainer. Currently working with NIC, Lahore. I spin words to make my narcissistic wit sound like diffident profundity. The above feels a lot like braggadocio, meh!

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