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Pakistan's Timeline

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about 3500 BC

Civilization developed in the Indus River valley.

530 BC

The Persian emperor Cyrus the Great conquered part of the Punjab.

332 BC

Alexander the Great conquered most of what is now Pakistan before his own troops forced him to turn back.

AD 100s

Peshawar became an important trading center of the Kushan Empire.


Arab Muslims crossed the Arabian Sea and invaded Sind, introducing Islam to Pakistan.


Lahore became an important center of Islamic culture after Turkish Muslims from Persia conquered the Indus River valley.


Much of Pakistan became part of the Delhi Sultanate.


Pakistan became part of the Mughal Empire. The Mughals introduced Sikhism and the Urdu language to Pakistan.


The Mughal Empire began to decline. Its power and influence were gradually assumed by the British East India Company.


Sikh kingdoms gained power in the Punjab. They were eventually conquered by the British during the 1840s.


The British government assumed direct control of India and much of Pakistan. By 1900 the territory had been expanded to include all of modern Pakistan.


The All-Indian Muslim League was founded to campaign for greater self-rule for India’s Muslims.


Fearing Hindu dominance of India, the Muslim League demanded the partition of India into Hindu and Muslim nations. The name Pakistan, meaning land of the pure in Urdu, was introduced to refer to the Muslim nation.


Pakistan gained its independence. The eastern and western parts of the country were separated by more than 1600 km (1000 mi) of Indian territory.


Pakistan and India fought a war over control of the Kashmir region.


Pakistan became a republic.


India and Pakistan again went to war over Kashmir.


East Pakistan proclaimed its independence from Pakistan as the state of Bangladesh. More than 1 million people died in the ensuing civil war, which ended when India and Bangladesh defeated Pakistani forces.


The military, led by General Muhammad Zia Ul-Haq, took control of the government.


Zia died in a plane crash. Benazir Bhutto was elected prime minister, becoming the first woman to lead an Islamic nation.


President Ghulman Ishaq Khan removed Bhutto from office, citing her government with corruption.


The military intervened to resolve a dispute between the president and the prime minister. New elections were held, and Bhutto was returned to office.


Tensions over Kashmir soared again. Prime Minister Bhutto announced plans to continue Pakistan's nuclear weapons development program.


United States lifted some military and economic sanctions against Pakistan.