History of India’s Neighbours-7
Pakistan Part 2
- Shimla Agreement, was a peace treaty signed between India and Pakistan on 2 July 1972 which was aimed as a way for both countries to “put an end to the conflict and confrontation that have hitherto marred their relations”.
- Some of the major outcomes of the Simla Agreement are:
- Both countries will “settle their differences by peaceful means through bilateral negotiations”.
- The agreement converted the cease-fire line of 17 December 1971 into the Line of Control (LOC) between India and Pakistan and it was agreed that “neither side shall seek to alter it unilaterally, irrespective of mutual differences and legal interpretations”.
- The defeat in the 1971 war shook Pakistan to the core. Understanding that they cannot defeat India in conventional warfare, Pakistan started investing in unconventional warfare. Zulfikar Ali Bhuto, after India successfully conducted its nuclear test in 1974, famously said “We (Pakistan) will eat grass, even go hungry, but we will get one of our own (Atom bomb) …. We have no other choice!”. Hence began Pakistan’s nuclear program, and considering Pakistan’s current economy we can see that they are on the way to reaching the grass eating phase.
- Pakistan began Project-706 in 1974 in response to India’s Operation Smiling Buddha. According to Time magazine, Pakistan received hundreds of millions of dollars for Project-706 from Libya. By the time Libya had joined the research, Bhutto was removed from office after a military coup d’état called Operation Fair Play by Chief of Army Staff Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq.
- Bhutto was tried by the Supreme Court and executed less than two years later for allegedly authorizing the murder of a political opponent. The United States, particularly the Reagan Administration, supported the military coup and increasingly became a close ally of Pakistan.
Military Rule 1977-1988
- General Zia, like other authoritarians, preferred a presidential form of government. He also wanted to convert Pakistan into a technocracy. Zia’s parliament and his military government reflected the idea of “military-bureaucratic technocracy” (MBT) where professionals, engineers, and high-profile military officers became part of the government.
- A referendum was held on 19 December 1984 on the subject to elect or reject the General as the future President. However, the wording of the referendum was made in such a way to create the idea that a vote against Zia is a vote against Islam.
- A nationwide general election was held in February 1985. Before handing over the power to the new government and lifting the martial law, Zia got the new legislature to retroactively accept all of Zia’s actions of the past eight years, including his coup of 1977.
- Zia was also a significant figure in the creation of Afghan Mujahedeen and the Soviet-Afghan war. To know more about Soviet- Afghan war and Afghan Mujahedeen click here.
- Zia died in a plane crash on 17 August 1988.
Return to Democracy
- With the death of President Zia-ul-Haq in 1988, new general elections were conducted. The election resulted in the victory of PPP led by Benazir Bhutto who became the first female Prime Minister of Pakistan. She was removed as the prime minister in 1990 under corruption charges.
- New general elections were conducted, which resulted in the victory of Pakistan Muslim League (N) for the first time and Nawaz Sharif became the Prime Minister of Pakistan. He was removed in 1993 and Benazir Bhutto returned to power. Nawaz Sharif returned to power after 1997 general elections. This also was not to last as he was deposed in 1999 following Kargil war by the military.
- Kargil War as fought between India and Pakistan from May to July 1999 in the Kargil district of Jammu and Kashmir and along the Line of Control (LoC). The conflict was triggered by the infiltration of Pakistani troops disguised as militants into strategic positions on the Indian side of the LoC in a mission code named Operation Badr.
- The Government of India responded with Operation Vijay, a mobilisation of 200,000 Indian troops. However, due to the difficult terrain the total number of Indian soldiers that were involved in the military operation on the Kargil-Drass sector was thus close to 30,000. The Indian Air Force launched Operation Safed Sagar in support of the Indian Army on 26 May. The Indian Navy also prepared to blockade the Pakistani ports to cut off supply routes under Operation Talwar.
- The Indian Army, supported by the Indian Air Force, recaptured a majority of the positions on the Indian side of the LoC. Pakistan facing international diplomatic opposition withdrew from all remaining Indian positions along the LoC.
- Kargil War is the first time two nuclear powers engaged in a direct conflict. The Kargil War is also the most recent example of high-altitude warfare in mountainous terrain