Since its independence in 1947, the political scenario in Pakistan has largely been influenced and even defined by its military leadership. The constitution
of Pakistan was drafted and adopted in 1956 which turned it into an “Islamic Republic”. The fledgling constitution only lasted for about two years when the then President Iskander Mirza (also a retired Major General) carried out a coup d’etat
suspending the constitution and declaring martial law on October 7, 1958. Mirza appointed General Ayub Khan as his Commander-in-Chief of the Army only to be overthrown by the latter soon. President and General Ayub Khan won the confidence of the United States
by assuring them of opposing the soviet communist designs in the Middle East and Pesian Gulf. It was at this juncture in the history of Pakistani Politics, that the Army Generals got a flavour of dictatorship and the military leadership seized the opportunity
of deciding the internal as well as foreign policies of Pakistan. These policies were framed keeping in mind a long term perspective the fruits of which are still reaped by the Pakistan Army.
The extent of Military dictatorship had reached new pinnacles. The first democratic elections were held in 1970 (23 years after independence) where the difference in ideologies of people of West Pakistan and
East Pakistan emerged. The Sheikh Mujib-ur-Rehman led Awami League won majority in East Pakistan where as the Zulfikar Ali Bhutto led Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) won majority in West Pakistan. Both leaders came to an arrangement and decided to form
a coalition government. The ridiculous power bestowed upon the military leadership of Pakistan ensured that no coalition government was actually formed. General Ayub Khan ordered the arrest of both Mub-ur-Rehman and Bhutto and ensured that no session of the
parliament could be convened. East Pakistani masses felt bereaved and betrayed and displayed stiff resistance. Following this, the war of 1971 broke out which led to a humiliating Pakistani defeat due to lack of coordination and command and control among various
wings of its armed forces.
After over two decades of pseudo democracy, finally the martial law was uplifted and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was a legitimately
elected head of state of Pakistan who formulated a new constitution and reverted Pakistan into a parliamentary form of government. Visible development was seen in defence procurements, healthcare, education and various sectors of the Pakistan economy under
Bhutto only to be overthrown by his personally appointed Chief of Army Staff General Zia-ul-Haq. After winning the general elections in 1977, the Pakistan Army backed public unrest initiated by the opposition sparked fire in Pakistan. The Military dictator
having achieved his goal suspended the constitution, which through these many years since independence has been a mockery in Pakistan, and re-declared martial law. He was sworn in as President and got Bhutto executed after having been found guilty of “conspiracy
to murder”. This incident is testimony to the condition of the helpless political leadership and its public in Pakistan. It was only after the death of Zia-ul-Haq in a plane crash in 1988 that democracy breathed in Pakistan. Assembly elections resulted
in the PPP wining under Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s daughter Benazir Bhutto. Benazir’s government lasted for only two years. It is widely accepted that Nawaz Sharif, who became Prime Minister in 1990, was groomed under Zia-ul-Haq and that the military
overthrew the Benazir Bhutto government on charges of incompetence.