Pakistan. Following India’s nuclear weapons explosions in mid-May, Pakistan conducted six own nuclear tests at the end of the month. Test blasts were met by euphoria in the country over the “Islamic bomb”, but the outside world with the US at the head punished Pakistan, like India, with harsh economic sanctions, which were estimated to cost Pakistan at least $ 1.5 billion.
The sanctions were a blow to Pakistan’s weak economy. According to Countryaah, the capital of Pakistan is Islamabad. The government froze private accounts in foreign currencies to prevent capital flight, raised gasoline prices by 25% and reduced public spending. At the same time, however, the defense allocation was increased by 8.4%. In the fall, Pakistan was extremely close to being forced to suspend its $ 32 billion foreign debt repayments, when the foreign exchange reserves only lasted four weeks of imports. In November, Pakistan was rescued from bankruptcy through a loan of $ 5.5 billion from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.
Sectarian violence shook Pakistan throughout the year. A series of blast attacks were aimed at civilian targets. The worst was in the port city of Karachi, where close to 1,000 people were murdered through October, when the province of Sind was placed under federal direct rule. Military courts were set up to convict terrorists.
Critics felt that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s proposal to base the judiciary entirely on Islamic law, sharia, was an attempt to turn attention away from the country’s problems. The law was passed by a large majority in the National Assembly, Parliament’s second chamber. In the Senate, the first chamber, however, Sharif did not have the required two-thirds majority, and it was therefore uncertain whether he would get the law passed there.
Several corruption charges were brought during the year against former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and her husband in courts in Pakistan and Switzerland.
The opposition accused Musharraf of extending his dictatorship after he gave himself new powers of power, such as the right to dissolve a democratically elected parliament. Up until the October elections, the government issued restrictions on the participation of a number of key candidates such as Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto. Bhutto’s party, the PPP got a small minority, but the most notable was the growth of the religious parties. Growth was particularly strong in border areas with Afghanistan. This strength gives them decisive influence over any government coalition.
In November 2002, the National Assembly appointed Zafarullah Jamali – who is closely linked to Musharraf – as prime minister. In the election to the Senate in February 2003 – according to. the dictator the last stage in the transition to democracy – it was PPP again that got the most votes.
In June 2003, Sharia law was introduced in the northeastern border province. In November, Pakistan declared a ceasefire in Kashmir and it was immediately accepted by India. The month after, Musharraf miraculously survived when a bomb burst under a bridge, seconds after his car had passed.
In February 2004, the country’s most important nuclear physicist, Doctor Abdul Qadeer Khan, admitted that he had transferred nuclear weapons manufacturing knowledge to Libya, North Korea and Iran. It did not affect his status as a people hero in Pakistan.
US Secretary of State Colin Powell declared in March 2004 that Pakistan was the most important country outside NATO in the fight against terrorism. This happened after extensive Pakistani military action against the al-Qaeda network along the Afghanistan border.
In June 2004, Zafarullah Khan Jamali resigned from the post of Prime Minister, to be temporarily replaced by Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain. Due. his ill health was replaced by Hussain in the post 2 months later by Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz. Observers believe there will be no change in the country’s politics, as the real power lies with President Musharraf.
In the western province of Baluchistan, in 2004, partisans intensified their struggle for greater autonomy, a greater share of oil and gas extraction revenues, and the government halted the military’s assault on the population. By March 2005, the conflict had already killed dozens of partisans and military people. It continued with daily attacks and clashes.
A train collision at the city of Ghotki in southern Sindh province cost 200 lives and was the worst in 15 years. The provincial government sharply criticized the staff at the local train station. Musharraf sent his condolences to the victims’ families, promising that those responsible would be punished.
In July 2005, over 300 militant Islamists were arrested at Quran schools and offices of Islamic organizations in Pakistan. The authorities chose to crack down on Islamists just a few days after the suicide bombings in London’s underground. Three of the four suicide bombers behind the London attack had visited Pakistan shortly before.
In October 2005, the north-eastern part of Pakistan was hit by a violent earthquake that cost about 65,000 lives and made almost 3 million. homeless people. The Pakistani government and international relief organizations sent thousands of tents, blankets, food and medicine to the area. It was a race against time because most roads and bridges in the area were destroyed and the Himalayas winter would soon make transportation in the area completely impossible. Pakistan and India, which have otherwise been in conflict over Kashmir, agreed to open the borders between the two countries in the area to facilitate the work of relief organizations.