Pakistan’s history of coups and assassinations



Former Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan was shot at in the shin on Thursday when his anti-government protest convoy came under attack in the east of the country, in what his aides said was a clear assassination attempt.
Pakistan has a history of political coups and unrest. Here are some details.

  • 2007 – Two-time PM Benazir Bhutto is assassinated in a gun and bomb attack after holding an election rally in Rawalpindi. A few months before her death, she survives a suicide bomb assassination attempt in Karachi, where at least 139 people were killed in one of the country’s deadliest attacks.
  • 1999 – Former army chief Pervez Musharraf seizes power in a bloodless coup. He is sworn in as president and head of state in June 2001. He resigns in 2008 and Asif Ali Zardari, Benazir Bhutto’s husband, takes over as president.
  • 1988 – Military ruler president Mohammad Zia ul-Haq is killed when the Hercules C-130 aircraft carrying him crashes under mysterious circumstances. Conspiracy theorists have suggested a case of mangoes put aboard the plane shortly before take-off contained a timer device that released gas that knocked out the cockpit crew.
  • 1979 – Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, the father of Benazir, who was elected as prime minister in 1970, is hanged on a disputed conviction for conspiring to commit a political murder, by Zia ul-Haq.
  • 1977 – Zia ul-Haq seizes power after a coup against the Bhutto government. He puts Bhutto under house arrest, imposes martial law, suspends the constitution and bans political parties
  • 1973 – Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto elected as prime minister, taking over from General Yahya Khan.
  • 1958 – In Pakistan’s first military coup, Governor-General Iskander Mirza enforces martial law with General Ayub Khan as chief martial law administrator. Ayub Khan later assumes the presidency and sacks Mirza, who is exiled.
  • 1951 – Pakistan’s first Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan, after the 1947 partition of India, is shot dead at a political rally in Rawalpindi.


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