Pakistan was created, as an Islamic state, out of the partition of the UK’s Indian Empire, at independence in August 1947. It originally consisted of two parts, West Pakistan (present Pakistan) and East Pakistan (present Bangladesh), separated by 1,600 km of Indian territory. Partition was followed by a war with India over Kashmir and the mass migration of Muslims, Hindus, and Sikhs to resettle within the new borders, an upheaval which led to violence, financial loss and death on a large scale. With the arrival of Indian Muslims and departure of Pakistan’s Hindus and Sikhs, Pakistan became an almost entirely Muslim society. Jinnah, who is honored as the Quaid-i-Azam, or great leader, died in 1948.
In 1956, Pakistan became a Federal Republic. It has been under military rule for long periods. Its first Prime Minister, Liaquat Ali Khan, was assassinated in 1951. In 1958, martial law was declared and political parties abolished. General (later Field Marshal) Ayub Khan became President in 1960 and allowed a form of guided ‘basic democracy’. However, failure to win the 1965 war against India and Accusations of Nepotism and corruption undermined his position. In the east, the Awami League of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman voiced the grievances of the Bengali population. Ayub Khan resigned in 1969 and power was taken over by General Yahya Khan, who in December 1970 held the first National Election in Independent Pakistan.