In the last decade, Pakistani politics has undergone a major shift with various key, historic events taking place. Given the impending end of the decade, we thought it would be interesting to take a look at some of the significant political moments that have shaped Pakistan in the last 10 years.
This was a turbulent year for Pakistani politics. Following the imposition of emergency law from then president Pervez Musharraf, there was an outbreak of protests across the nation which eventually forced the government to reinstate previously dismissed judges. Also in this year, about 2 million people were displaced during major fighting between government forces and the Taliban. This year further saw the leader of the Pakistani Taliban, Baitullah Mehsud, get killed in a US drone attack in South Waziristan.
2010 saw a host of reform efforts in the nation. The Pakistani Parliament approved wide ranges of constitutional reforms including measures to transform key powers from the president to the prime minister. Moreover, this year saw the worst floods in Pakistani history killing at least 1,600 people and affecting 20 million more. The government’s slow response was widely criticised.
A campaign to reform Pakistans infamous blasphemy laws was introduced in this year, which led to the assassination of two political figures; Punjab Governor Salman Taseer and Minorities Minister Shahbaz Bhatti. In Pakistani news that dominated the international sphere, Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden was killed by US forces in Abbottabad. The year also saw the the infamous “Memogate scandal” where the government came under pressure over a leaked memo alleging senior officials sought US aid against a military coup after the killing of Osama bin Laden.
2012 was a major year for Pakistani politics. Following the “Memogate scandal” and growing tensions between the government and the Pakistan army, then army chief General Pervez Kayani warns the then Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani of “unpredictable consequences” if he criticises or fires any top army officials. In the summer of this year, the Pakistani Supreme Court disqualified Gilani from his post after finding him guilty of contempt of court. Also in this year, 14-year-old blogger Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head by the Taliban for “promoting secularism”.
The Pakistan Muslim League-Noon win the parliamentary elections in May and Nawaz Sharif becomes the Prime Minister of Pakistan. The beginning of this year sees a host of terrorist attacks in Quetta which end up killing 100 people. In sports news, the Zimbabwe cricket team tours Pakistan for the first time since the attack on the Sri Lankan team in 2009.
In June of this year, a deadly assault on Karachi’s international airport leaves dozens dead. Uzbek militants fighting with the Pakistani Taliban say they carried out the attack leading to a halt on peace talks with the Taliban and the Pakistan army launching a major offensive on Islamist hide-outs in north-west Pakistan. Malala Yousafzai becomes the youngest person to win a Nobel Peace Prize. The year ends with the infamous and tragic Peshawar attack; almost 150 schoolchildren were killed in a school in Peshawar by the Taliban. The government responds to this by lifting the moratorium on the death penalty and launching a round-up of terror suspects.
China and Pakistan sign agreements amounting to billions of dollars to boost infrastructure in Pakistan. These agreements are designed with the goal of ending Pakistan’s chronic energy crisis and transform the country into a regional economic hub. A major bombing at a church in Lahore kills at least 11 people and injures 48 more.
This year begins with Pervez Musharraf being acquitted from the murder trial of Akbar Bugti. Famous Sufi singer Amjad Sabri is killed in a targeted shooting in Karachi. This is also the year that General Qamar Bajwa is made the Chief of Army Staff, arguably the most powerful position in the country.
2017 saw the resignation of Nawaz Sharif from office after the Supreme Court disqualified him over a corruption case regarding the ownership of luxury flats in London. Additionally, the Islamic State group took responsibility for a suicide bombing at a major Sufi shrine in Sindh which killed nearly 90 people. Following this, Pakistan closed it’s borer with Afghanistan. This is also the year that the Parliament passed a law allowing the country’s Hindu minority to register their marriages for the first time since partition from India in 1947. In this year, Nawaz Sharif was forced to resign and following disqualification over corruption charges and is given a jail sentence.
This is the year that Pakistan saw the rise of Imran Khan. In August of this year, former cricket Imran Khan becomes the prime minister and pledges to end corruption and dynastic politics. Also in this year we saw Nawaz Sharif and his daughter, Maryam Nawaz getting arrested following their return to Lahore from London, where they were tending to ailing wife and mother Kulsoom Nawaz. Asia Bibi, a Christian woman acquitted of blasphemy after eight years on death row, is freed from prison, prompting violent protests by Islamists.
This was a turbulent year for Pakistani politics. The rise of two prominent political cases- the foreign funding case against the ruling PTI party and the high treason case against former president Musharraf resulting in the death penalty- dominated Pakistani media outlets. This was also the year that Pakistan saw the annexation of its disputed Jammu and Kashmir territory by the Indian government. In health news, the outbreak of HIV in Sindh becomes a Grade 2 emergency and Lahore becomes the most air polluted city in the world.
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