With the death of the Soviet Secretary General the previous day, Gorbachev assumes full powers. Seeking to bring pressure to bear on Pakistan so that it will cease its support of the US-backed mujahideen rebellion in neighbouring Afghanistan, he instructs that the head of the Pakistani junta, Zia ul-Haq, that the USSR will be formally downgrading relations with his country. The action comes with a warning that failure to end cooperation with the six-year resistance will result in the Soviets offering support to separatist groups within Pakistan who seek to create the independent state of Baluchistan.
Soviet jets strike and destroy portions of the Kahuta Research Laboratories, outside Islamabad in Pakistan. They manage to hit the gas centrifuge plant, destroying Pakistan’s capacity to build a nuclear weapon. CIA intelligence estimate that it will be 1991 before Pakistan can recover its previous capacity and will be unable to build a nuclear weapon until at least 2005.
The body of Shahnawaz Bhutto, son of late Pakistani Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, is returned for a funeral in Pakistan. Arriving to attend the funeral is Benazir Bhutto, exiled leader of the Pakistani Peoples Party. She is met by a large mob in the street, burning papers in public defiance of presidential orders that prohibit entering Sind Province to attend the funeral. With a new uprising plaguing Baluchistan and support draining away from the government as a result of the Soviet cross-border bombing policy in Punjab, the pressures on the Zia government are reaching a critical point. The Soviet Ambassador to India advises Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi of support if drastic action is necessary to achieve a “mutually-suitable resolution to the crisis in Pakistan”.
After publicly calling for the resignation of Pakistani President, Zia ul-Haq, and calling for democratic elections, Pakistani Peoples Party leader Benazir Bhutto is detained in an extraordinary show of force and deported back to Great Britain, her right to return to her homeland blocked for the duration of the military junta’s rule.
The protests resulting from the recent deportation of Benazir Bhutto lead to parliamentary opposition against the President of Pakistan, General Zia ul-Haq. Handpicked partisans of Zia withdraw from the government, drawing the President closer to extremist radicals from the North-West Province. The radicals become a strategic political partner to the military, and there is concern within the higher echelons of the Pakistani military about such an arrangement.
An attempted assassination against President Muhammad Zia ul-Haq of Pakistan fails. A car bomb explodes outside a military office in Rawalpindi shortly after the President’s departure. Zia threatens to restore rule by decree on security grounds, but the unlikelihood of cooperation by the National Assembly stays his hand.
A second assassination attempt in as many weeks against the President of Pakistan fails in Islamabad and indices point to the involvement of the Soviet KGB. Secretary General Mikhail Gorbachev of the USSR states that he “pays no attention to the baseless accusations of a terrorist state”. There is little support in Pakistan for a resumption of martial law.
Khan Abdul Wali Khan, the former Opposition Leader of Pakistan, warns that the country may be heading down the path of Lebanon, with bombings and assassinations almost a daily occurrence in Peshawar, much of it driven by the heroin trade.
President Zia ul-Haq of Pakistan announces the end of martial law after nearly nine years. Laws prevent the formation of political parties not approved by the President, retain bans on eleven other organisations, and declare Zia will remain President until January 1990. Opposition leader Benazir Bhutto claims the action is fraudulent and calls upon the people to resist.
Benazir Bhutto returns to Pakistan, eight months after being deported from the country. She predicts a popular uprising against President Zia al-Haq unless “immediate free and fair elections” are called. While travelling in a convoy, she is threatened by a retired army officer, who is detained before he can shoot her. It is unclear if she will be detained or deported for her actions, since the state of emergency used to persecute her previously has supposedly been lifted.
Soviet air force jets begin sending waves of airplanes across the Afghan-Pakistani border, hitting strategic planning centres of the mujahedeen in Peshawar, including a major training and storage site just outside the city. The International Centre for Strategic Studies suggests that “the future is beginning to look very bleak for the mujahedeen.” It is later confirmed that three thousand people died in the attack.
Pakistani Opposition Leader Benazir Bhutto leads large rallies, blaming President Zia ul-Haq for recent Soviet attacks on Peshawar. She is trying to win over the support of the current legislature to use their combined powers to force the President to resign and call elections. She also criticises US intervention in Pakistani affairs, warning that debt extended by the US to advance war might not be considered a valid debt by any future government.
Pakistani opposition leader, Benazir Bhutto, is again arrested in a sudden reversal of policy by President Zia al-Haq. Political rallies are banned and five people are shot and killed during a spontaneous protest in Lahore. Congressional leaders in the United States respond by sitting on a $4 billion aid package. 28 August
Riots rock the major cities of Pakistan, driven by supporters of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, after the Soviet Air Force stages an air strike against the headquarters of Pakistani intelligence in Islamabad. In the destruction of the building, the Director of the organisation, General Akhtar Abdul Rahman, is killed. President Zia al-Haq calls for the United States to provide further aid and support to his administration.
The Central Intelligence Agency confirm that the prototype Tupelov Tu-160, codenamed “Blackjack”, was used in the most recent bombing in Pakistan and that it may have been upgraded with US technology. US President Ronald Reagan is advised by his National Security Advisor, Lieutenant General Colin Powell, that the Soviet Union now has the capacity to penetrate Alaskan airspace undetected. Soviet Ambassador Alexander Bovin is demanded at the Oval Office, and advised of a new $210 million grant to Pakistani intelligence.
33 year-old Pakistani opposition leader, Benazir Bhutto, is released from prison. She admits that the failure of the Pakistani people to rally to her cause and protest her arrest have shaken her confidence. Three days later, the Soviet Politburo will vote to inflict the ultimate sanction on President Zia al-Huq.
Jam Ghulam Qadir Khan, Chief Minister of the Pakistani province of Balochistan, is delivered a message by an unnamed group. They demand a return to parliamentary government, a significant weakening of the executive and the decentralisation of tax power, threatening that they have hundreds of thousands of armed rebels ready to seize control of the province if immediate moves are not made to start to fulfil their demands.
Akbar Bugti, former Governor of Balochistan, calls for the immediate removal of Pakistan’s President Zia al-Haq, the immediate withdrawal of all troops to barracks, an inquiry into the violence of the Zia government and a meeting of the National Assembly to decide the way forward. He and other members of his family are placed under house arrest and, for good measure, so is Benazir Bhutto for her refusal to stop pushing for immediate elections for the National Assembly.
Benazir Bhutto is released once again after agreeing to stop all public comments and cease campaigning against the government. She tells friends privately that she will wait for the next opportunity, but that it has become too dangerous to oppose openly the government of President Zia ul-Haq of Pakistan.
Satellites note three hundred and fifty thousand Indian troops have gathered on the borders of Pakistan, nearly double the figure advised for a scheduled war game on the frontier. India’s army chief, General Sundarji, claims that there is no hostile intent, however he suggests that the Pakistani ISI is supporting resistance activity in Kashmir that would justify an attack.
During Pakistan independence celebrations, the Soviet air force engages with defences depleted by the need for ceremonial flyovers. Seventy-two fighter planes are shot down and three hundred eighty-one killed in the air and on the ground. It is the most punishing cross border assault and Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev states that it is related to Pakistani intelligence attacks on “targets inside the Soviet Union”. However, he refuses to reveal what those attacks were and where they occurred.
US Senator John Glenn tells the Senate that funds to Pakistan should be reduced in light of reduced conflict and the continued push by the government of President Zia ul-Haq to set off “a regional arms race”. He proposes that the Senate block a $4.2 billion package, arguing that the Pakistanis are unlikely to be driven into the arms of the Soviets.
A series of bombs rock military targets through Quetta, killing twenty-nine Pakistani soldiers. Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev states that his nation had nothing to do with the attack, having achieved its revenge with the recent Republic Day bombing which claimed twenty-one Soviet jets. It emerges that Republic Day bombings were retaliation for a terrorist bomb in the Tajik SSR and involved eleven military and three civilians dead. This new attack is the result of an empowered Baluchi separatist front.
Sources out of Pakistan state that Indian troops have crossed the ceasefire line in Kashmir and are using their artillery against mountain passes being held by Pakistan. Due to the lack of diplomatic information emerging from New Delhi, there is a high degree of confusion about the allegations.
Pakistani authorities claim that the Indian Army has occupied the towns of Keran, Chakothi and Mahahol. President Mohammed Zia ul-Haq calls on the US Administration to provide AWAC radar surveillance planes to enable the Air Force to fight back the Indian assault, claiming that such planes were promised by former Secretary of State George Schultz. However, there are a number of problems. US President George Bush is only prepared to send the E-2C Hawkeye (while Zia demands the Boeing E-3A) and states his unwillingness to send US soldiers to Pakistan, insisting that training must take place in the United States.
Pakistan declares war on India, making the conflict, between the two, official for the first time. They move to cut the Jammu-Akhnur Road, hoping to prevent resupply of Indian troops who are progressing in disputed Kashmir territory. (India has not yet been legally obliged declare war, as the land has a disputed international boundary.)
India declares war on Pakistan; its troops cross the international border in response to a Pakistani offensive against Amritsar. They attack the town of Sialkot, which has been under heavy air raids for the past six days. The capture of the city places India in control of the North-Western railway, blocking off transport between Lahore and the Pakistani capital in Islamabad.
Indian troops close on the city of Lahore and, when the Lahore International Airport is struck by artillery, the United Nations calls a meeting of the Security Council in New York. International businesspeople flee the city, heading south away from the front. UN Ambassador Vernon Walters states that the Soviets are frustrating the process of creating a resolution condemning the war in India, leaving it to US Secretary of State James Baker to unilaterally condemn the attacks on Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
The Indian Navy confirms the destruction of a radar facility east of Karachi, but refuses to discuss any engagement with Pakistan’s navy. Meanwhile, on the Sri Lankan front, the occupation of large parts of the island is underway. Any large gathering of Sri Lankan forces has been quickly purged from the air, with few casualties on the Indian side, until the death toll has Sri Lankan dead outnumbering Indian dead by ten to one.
Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi rejects the calls of the UN Security Council, stating he retains twice the land power of Pakistan, with 85% of his reserves still not called up. He states that continual interference by Pakistan in the affairs of its neighbours means that they must be dealt a final and conclusive blow. A number of Muslim countries begin to express concern about the future of Pakistan.
US agents arrest a Canadian of Pakistani origin, charging him with attempting to smuggle a metal used in the enrichment of uranium out of the country, presumably to assist in the reconstruction of the nuclear weapons facility in Kahuta. In response, the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs calls for formal action to be taken against Pakistan.
During a visit to London, Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto announces her intention to wed a wealthy Sindhi businessman, Asif Ali Zardari, as part of an arranged marriage. She has met Zardari only twice. She expresses disappointment at the direction of Pakistani politics and suggests that Pakistan will need do “whatever is necessary” to achieve peace with India.
The city of Lahore falls to Indian troops, forcing the government of Pakistan to seek terms for peace. The UN estimates that nearly ten thousand people have been killed in the conflict after just seven weeks.
Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi announces the end of military action in Pakistan. Under the ceasefire signed between his government and Pakistani representatives, the region of Azad Kashmir is added to Indian rule. Pakistan is forced to renounce the development of biological, chemical and nuclear weapons, downsize the armed forces, abolish most of its intelligence infrastructure and surrender the right to offensive action against any country unless first attacked. Many analysts suspect that retaliation will, however, eventually be forthcoming.
President Mohammed Zia ul-Haq of Pakistan is advised that he must, under the terms of the ceasefire, agree to on-site inspection of nuclear facilities. He threatens to renounce the ceasefire, until US Secretary of State James Baker advises him that doing so would result in the cancellation of a further $540 million in aid.
Pakistani President Mohammad Zia ul-Haq is killed in an aircraft crash with several leading members of his government. In accordance with the constitutional rules, he is succeeded by Ghulam Ishaq Khan, the Chairman of the Pakistani Senate. Khan immediately dissolves the Parliament of Pakistan and calls for new, democratic elections within ninety days.
Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi of India signs a treaty with President Ghulam Ishaq Khan of Pakistan, under which Azad Kashmir and the Northern Areas are transferred to Indian sovereignty. They will be incorporated into the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Gandhi claims that the conclusion of the conflict over Kashmir and the settlement of the final border between the two countries will end the historical animosity between the two countries. He also states that it will allow negotiations with China over the disputed regions ceded by Pakistan in 1963.
With a turnout of nearly half the electorate, the Pakistani Peoples Party wins ninety-nine of a possible 207 seats in the new national parliament. Benazir Bhutto expresses strong confidence that she will be able to build a governing coalition with various independents and is invited by President Ghulam Ishaq Khan to assume the role of the first female Prime Minister in a Muslim country.
Prime Minister of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto, weds Asif Ali Zardari, at her family’s residence in Karachi under a rose-garlanded canopy. Aged thirty-four, she has insisted on a traditional ceremony and immediately declares a strong desire to have a family.
Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto tells a joint session of the parliament that an agreement with Afghanistan, designed to end the tensions between the two countries, is imminent. It provides for “non-interference and non-intervention” in each other’s affairs, provides for the voluntary return of three million refugees and stipulates that all foreign troops and intelligence teams, those belonging to the USA and the CSSN, will be removed by the end of 1990. All deliveries of armaments must cease by 15 May.
Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan confirms that she is pregnant with her first child. In addition to being the first female leader of an Islamic state, she will also be the first Prime Minister to give birth while in office.
Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto decides to establish a commission to investigate the conduct of the war in Kashmir against India, drawing excited criticism by General Rahimuddin Khan and Lieutenant General Fazle Haq. However, President Ghulam Ishaq Khan sides with his new head of government.
A bomb detonates at an air field in Rawalpindi, Pakistan destroying a hangar and a jet which was expected to carry Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto to the capital. It is confirmed that heavily pregnant Bhutto was delayed in her activities by her condition and, had this not occurred, she may have been in the hangar at the time of the explosion. A large number of people had access to her schedule and thus it is never known who planted the explosive, but suspicion falls on the intelligence services, who are disgusted by Bhutto’s less than vigorous endorsement of its activities.
Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan gives birth to her first child, a son she names Bilawal. Mother and child are both confirmed to be well.
Long-standing tensions in Hyderabad and Karachi, complicated by recent Communist protests, spill over into street warfare between various racial, political and separatist groups. Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto confirms that over two hundred ten people have been killed in the last week, including the mayor of Hyderabad himself. Bhutto expresses concern about the ongoing push to fragment the country and admits that it has been exacerbated by Punjab’s receipt an unequal share of government revenue due to needs for reconstruction. She suggests devolution of power to the provincial level in order to allay separatist feelings.
Allegations of fraud are made Asif Ali Zardari, the husband of the Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. Police officials charge that details of Zardari’s activity, ripping off the Pakistan treasury, were revealed by recent investigations into the Bank of Credit and Commerce International. President Ghulam Ishaq Khan advises that the Prime Minister must step aside as leader of the government until matters can be resolved and asks the Parliament to elect a new caretaker Prime Minister.
Benazir Bhutto steps down after one year as Prime Minister, but pledges that her husband will be exonerated of all accusations and that she will return to leadership of the government in the “immediate future”. She accuses the political opposition of using “unjust tactics” to “persecute” her family and promises her supporters that she will be vindicated.
49-year-old Minister for Transport and Telecommunications, Ameen Faheem, is elected by the parliament as the new Prime Minister of Pakistan. Faheem, who is the spiritual leader of a Sufi order, pledges that he will work by consensus and accommodation. Benazir Bhutto will remain the chairman of the party and there is wide expectations that Bhutto will continue to control the government but without any formal position.
Pakistani Prime Minister Ameen Faheem tests his power by announcing the dismissal of the Army Chief of Staff, General Mirza Aslam Beg, replacing him with General Asif Nawaz. Faheem states that the General has been taken into custody after the emergence of new evidence linking him to the murder of former President Zia ul-Haq. He also questions whether charges will be laid over corrupt activities and the conduct of foreign policy without authorisation. He states that stability is necessary to address the educational, economic and social problems afflicting his country.
Pakistani Prime Minister Ameen Faheem, in talks with US President George Bush, agrees that the independence of the Inter-Services Intelligence must come to an end, and that it will be subjected to the authority of the Interior Ministry. The political wing will be disbanded. Faheem plans to justify the action at home by stating that the action is vital to restoring control of foreign policy to the government.
Prime Minister Ameen Faheem of Pakistan is advised in Paris that Lieutenant General Hamid Gul has staged a coup d’etat in Islamabad. General Gul appears on national television to call for order and declares a state of emergency. He pledges to “restore the dignity of Pakistan” and to “clean the government of corruption”. He states his support for “genuine democracy” and states that he will restore the national assembly as soon as possible, but will, in the interim, take the position of Chief Administrator.
It is confirmed that a number of members of the deposed Pakistani government have been arrested, including four ministers. US President George Bush states that General Hamid Gul and President Ghulam Ishaq Khan must give assurances that Prime Minister Ameen Faheem can return safely and that his position must be restored. Citizens begin to gather around the parliamentary compound to protect further MP’s from arrest and dissenting journalists put the protests to air.
Islamabad comes under a curfew as it is alleged that both the army and the protestors are arming themselves. A tank company in the capital has declared support for the Faheem government, believed to be members of the Prime Minister’s ethnic group. In the afternoon, rumours abound in the capital that the junta is preparing to assault the Parliament.
There is fire in Pakistan’s Parliament House and three protestors have been killed after a thwarted early morning army attack. At the end of the day, Prime Minister Ameen Faheem announces that he is returning home immediately to dismiss the junta leadership from their positions and seek an audience with President Ghulam Ishaq Khan. There is civil unrest also in Gwadar and Karachi.
Prime Minister Ameen Faheem’s plane flies into Karachi, where he is welcomed by enthusiastic crowds. He was refused permission to land in the capital by the armed forces on security grounds. He calls on his supporters to resist violence but to refuse to give in to the rebellion by “disloyal military elements”. He confirms that General Asif Nawaz remains in charge of the armed forces, though he has not heard from him or the President of Pakistan for the last four days.
A bomb rocks the Habib Bank Plaza in downtown Karachi, with Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi expressing grave concern about the increasing unrest in Pakistan. He expresses his support for the Faheem government and calls on President Ghulam Ishaq Khan to either revese his endorsement of General Hamid Gul or resign his office. It has been only twenty-two months since the last war between India and Pakistan ended.
Prime Minister Ameen Faheem of Pakistan appeals to his nation to avoid violence, despite the division of the armed forces and the government. Faheem and his supporters remain in charge in Karachi and Hyderabad, while the Gul regime remains in charge of Lahore and Rawalpindi. Faheem states that he will launch a legal case in the Supreme Court to determine who the legitimate head of government is.
Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi states that his country has quickly established air superiority over Pakistan and that the air force which survived the war two years ago has been eliminated. He claims that advances will be made quickly due to the dry grounds of winter and the fact that the Himalayan passes are cut by snow will prevent any progress by Pakistan in the northern theatre, where they are strongest. He also confirms that Indian armies will be supplying the new National Army of the Sindh.