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Post Partition Pakistan #20 Historical Developments 1970-75

Pakistan's Political History (1970-1975): Turmoil, Transition, and Constitutional Challenges

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The period from 1970 to 1975 in Pakistan’s political history was marked by significant developments, including the 1970 general elections, the secession of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), the third Indo-Pakistani War (1971), the return to civilian rule, and the adoption of a new constitution. This article explores key events, constitutional progress, political dynamics, social changes, religious issues, and economic developments during this tumultuous period.

1970:

  • General Elections (December 1970): Pakistan held its first general elections on December 7, 1970. The elections resulted in a clear victory for the Awami League in East Pakistan and the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) in West Pakistan.

1971:

  • Secession of East Pakistan (March 1971): Following the Awami League’s landslide victory in East Pakistan and subsequent political turmoil, East Pakistan seceded, leading to the formation of the independent state of Bangladesh. This marked a significant turning point in Pakistan’s history.
  • Third Indo-Pakistani War (December 1971): The conflict with India over the secession of East Pakistan escalated into the third Indo-Pakistani War, leading to the surrender of Pakistani forces in Dhaka on December 16, 1971, and the emergence of Bangladesh as an independent nation.

1972:

  • Simla Agreement (July 1972): India and Pakistan signed the Simla Agreement, which aimed to resolve outstanding issues, including the return of prisoners of war and the normalization of diplomatic relations, following the third Indo-Pakistani War.
  • Return to Civilian Rule (April 1972): President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto assumed power as the first civilian President of Pakistan after the secession of East Pakistan and the end of military rule under Yahya Khan.

Constitutional Developments:

  • 1973 Constitution (April 1973): Pakistan adopted its third constitution, known as the 1973 Constitution, during this period. It established Pakistan as a federal parliamentary republic, with a President and a Prime Minister. The constitution incorporated the Objectives Resolution and included provisions for provincial autonomy.
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Political Movements:

  • Formation of the PPP: Zulfikar Ali Bhutto founded the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and emerged as a prominent political leader.
  • Bangladesh Liberation War: The secession of East Pakistan and the Bangladesh Liberation War had a profound impact on Pakistan’s political landscape, leading to the end of military rule and the return to civilian governance.

Social and Religious Developments:

  • Religious Freedom: The 1973 Constitution guaranteed religious freedom for all citizens, recognizing the diverse religious landscape of Pakistan.

Economic Progress:

  • Economic Challenges: Pakistan faced significant economic challenges, including the aftermath of the conflict with India, the loss of East Pakistan, and the need for economic reconstruction.

Leadership and Key Figures:

  1. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (1972-1977): Zulfikar Ali Bhutto served as the President of Pakistan and later as Prime Minister after the adoption of the 1973 Constitution. He played a pivotal role in shaping Pakistan’s political and constitutional landscape.

Conclusion:

The period from 1970 to 1975 in Pakistan’s political history was marked by momentous events, including the 1970 general elections, the secession of East Pakistan and the formation of Bangladesh, the third Indo-Pakistani War, and the return to civilian rule. The adoption of the 1973 Constitution established Pakistan as a federal parliamentary republic with provisions for provincial autonomy. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto emerged as a prominent political figure and played a central role in shaping Pakistan’s political trajectory during this challenging period. Despite the turmoil and loss of East Pakistan, Pakistan continued its journey as an independent nation, striving to address political, social, and economic challenges in the years that followed.

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