The scene of a high culture
A high culture was settled in the area of today’s Pakistan during antiquity. The Harappa culture originated on the Indus River flowing through Pakistan, which has played a role over and over again throughout history. In the 3rd millennium BC The high culture that arose in BC met Aryan tribes around a millennium later. They came from Afghanistan and Iran. The self-designation Arier comes from arya, which translates as “noble”.
From one realm to the next
In the 6th century BC The Persians expanded their area of power to include today’s Pakistan and joined it to the Achaemenid Empire. Two centuries later, Alexander the Great conquered the empire and brought Greek influences with him. This mixture of Buddhism and Greek culture spread over the then Gandhara Empire, which comprised the area of what is now Afghanistan and northern Pakistan. In the centuries that followed, the affiliation of what is now Pakistan changed among various empires, including the Kushana and Gupta empires.
Islam comes to Pakistan
At the beginning of the 8th century AD, Islam began to spread in what is now Pakistan. In the year 712 the Arabs conquered the Indus valley.
However, it was still some time before the empire of the Islamic conquerors extended to all of Pakistan.
Arts and Culture
While the Ghaznavids settled in what is now Pakistani territory, art and culture in this region experienced a veritable heyday. The Ghaznavids were a wealthy people and they were not least because they regularly went on raids. With their wealth, the wealthy sultans supported artists such as painters, sculptors and architects as well as engineers in their work.
The British East India Company and British India
In the middle of the 19th century, the British East India Company influenced developments in what is now Pakistan. They conquered India, which at that time also included the areas of today’s Pakistan and Bangladesh. A British colony was established: British India.
Towards the end of the 19th century, an Indian independence movement emerged that led to the founding of the Congress Party in 1885. Soon, in 1906, their opponent was brought into being: the Muslim League. Their goals were primarily religious, while Hindus and Muslims in the Congress Party represented more national interests. The Muslim League represented the Indian Muslims, a minority in the country.
The idea of an independent Muslim state
A member of the Muslim League, Muhammad Iqbal, saw only one solution to the disputes between the parties. The philosopher and poet spoke out in favor of establishing a separate and independent Muslim state. Although there were opponents of this “two-nation theory” formulated by Iqbal, there were no convincing alternatives to avoid the conflicts between the interest groups.
Iqbal’s ideas were taken up by Muhammad Ali Jinnah. He is considered the founder of the state of Pakistan. The party decided to partition at a party conference in the city of Lahore in 1940. This resolution is therefore also called the Lahore resolution.
The division of India – Pakistan arises
On August 14, 1947, Pakistan became independent and finally separated from India. The main motivation of the Muslim League was to found a state for Muslim Indians. Therefore, the new border was drawn in such a way that the Muslim areas of Punjab were assigned to the new state of Pakistan.
But still not all non-Muslims were automatically in the rest of India and all Muslims in Pakistan. First the people had to move to the respective state. This resulted in a mass migration in which over four million Muslims left Indian territory and migrated to Pakistan. On the other hand, seven million Sikhs and Hindus traveled to India from the new Pakistan. Around 750,000 people died on this hike in conflicts between the groups or from the poor conditions on the way.
The new national territory
As a country located in Asia according to ehistorylib, Pakistan now consisted of two separate parts of the country. You can see these on the map on the previous page. There was a West Pakistan and an East Pakistan. Both were 1,500 kilometers apart. The west remains today as Pakistan, while East Pakistan later became the independent state of Bangladesh.
The distance between the two areas of Pakistan made it very difficult to develop a sense of togetherness or community. In addition, East Pakistan has been neglected by the government in West Pakistan. In December 1971, Bangladesh gained independence.
The Kashmir conflict
Kashmir was a disputed region. Mostly Muslims lived there, which is why Pakistan claimed them for itself. However, the region’s government was Hindu and therefore wanted to join India.
The two countries fought over Kashmir and there were several Kashmir Wars, also known as the Indo-Pakistani Wars. The first was from 1947 to 1949 and the second in 1965, others followed. However, there was no solution to the Kashmir conflict. Today, Kashmir is administered by Pakistan but remains controversial. This conflict affects the relationship between the two countries to this day.