India tests first nuclear device; Pakistan begins nuclear program
India tests its first nuclear device in May. Pakistan begins its nuclear program the same year, prompting the start of a bitter arms race between the two nations.
Gen. Zia ul-Haq stages military coup in Pakistan
Riots erupt over allegations of vote-rigging by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party. Gen. Zia ul-Haq stages a military coup and becomes president. Bhutto is hanged.
Soviet Union invades Afghanistan; Pakistan remains U.S. ally
During the Cold War, Pakistan remains allied with the United States against Soviet advances into northern Afghanistan and Central Asia. Meanwhile, as Kashmiri separatists and insurgent movements increase in strength, India accuses Pakistan of aiding militia groups, which begin attacking villages in Indian-controlled areas in Kashmir. Pakistan denies it provides military or financial aid to the separatists, maintaining it only gives moral support to their cause.
Pakistan ends martial law and ban on political parties
A Pakistani statute rescinds martial law and lifts the ban on forming political parties.
Benazir Bhutto returns from exile
Benazir Bhutto, daughter of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, returns
to Pakistan from exile and leads the Pakistan People's
Party in a movement for new elections.
Aug. 17, 1988
Pakistan gets new president
After a deadly airplane crash claims the lives of Pakistan's Gen. Zia ul-Haq, the U.S. ambassador to Pakistan and top Pakistani army officials, Ghulam Ishaq Khan takes over as acting president and is later elected to the post.
Benazir Bhutto becomes prime minister Pakistan People's Party wins the general election, and at 35, Benazir Bhutto becomes the youngest and first female leader of a Muslim nation. After two years in office, Bhutto is dismissed as prime minister on charges of incompetence and corruption. Nawaz Sharif takes over as prime minister.
President Khan, Prime Minister Sharif resign Pakistani President Ghulam Ishaq Khan and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif resign under pressure from the military. General elections bring Bhutto back into power.
May 28, 1998
Pakistan detonates first nuclear bomb India and then Pakistan successfully detonate nuclear weapons. The international community condemns the tests and levies economic sanctions on the feuding neighbors.
Bhutto convicted of corruption charges Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and her husband are convicted of corruption and given jail sentences. Benazir stays out of the country, and Nawaz Sharif regains power in her absence.
Pakistan invades Indian-controlled Kashmir Pakistani-led troops, including a unit headed by Gen. Pervez Musharraf, crosses the border into Indian-controlled Kashmir. Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee launches air strikes against the Pakistani army. Pakistan asserted that it was fighting for Kashmir's liberation, while India contended that its control of the southern portion of the province was legitimate.
The conflict subsides when Pakistan's Nawaz Sharif orders the army to withdraw. The leaders officially end fighting with the Lahore Declaration, which stressed that both countries must respect the line of control.
Oct. 12, 1999
Musharraf takes power in military coup Gen. Pervez Musharraf stages a military coup, overthrowing elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The Pakistani Supreme Court later validates Musharraf's leadership.
Indian-Pakistan peace summit held on Kashmir Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf and Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee hold a summit in New Delhi to negotiate a truce over Kashmir.