Pakistan. During the year, political developments in Pakistan were marked by severely deteriorating relations between three centers of power: the government, the military and the courts. In the Pashtun clan areas in the north-west, Taliban movements and al-Qaeda-inspired groups continued to commit acts of violence, while Pakistan’s relations with the outside world, primarily the United States, were strained by Washington’s demand for tougher strikes by the Islamabad government against Taliban and al-Qaeda-friendly groups. Amounts of violent attacks with many casualties were reported from, among others, Karachi, Baluchistan and the clan areas.
Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani was forced to leave his post as head of government in June after he was convicted in April despite the Supreme Court refusing to resume a trial against President Asif Ali Zardari for suspected corruption. According to Gilani, the president was protected by prosecution immunity as long as he was head of state. However, as of 2009, the Supreme Court had ruled that the President’s immunity from prosecution was not valid because it was issued in violation of the Constitution of 2007 by the then President, General Pervez Musharraf. The 2007 prosecutorial immunity laid the lid on a series of corruption suspicions directed at, among other things, then Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and her husband Zardari. Many judges, however, considered that the Supreme Court passed the military case in the case of court proceedings in order to bring down the government through the judiciary.
- AbbreviationFinder.org: Provides most commonly used acronyms and abbreviations for Pakistan. Also includes location map, major cities, and country overview.
As new Prime Minister, Raja Pervez Ashraf was appointed from the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). He did not make any major changes to the government upon his entry.
The power struggle between the government and the military was manifested, among other things, in the so-called Memogate, where a US businessman of Pakistani origin in May 2011 had handed over a PM to the US military leadership in which Pakistan’s ambassador to the US, Husain Haqqani, said, according to the businessman. at a feared military coup in Pakistan. The Supreme Court decided in early 2012 to open an investigation into the charges. Haqqani, who was now dismissed, had previously said that Memogate was constructed by forces within the military for political reasons because Haqqani previously rewrote the links between mainly the Pakistani military intelligence service ISI and militant Islamists. In June, the Supreme Court’s investigation found that Haqqani signed the PM, and the former ambassador, who was in the United States,
In January, US President Barack Obama acknowledged for the first time that the US intelligence service used driverless aircraft, known as drones, to attack the Taliban and al-Qaeda strongholds on Pakistani territory near the Afghanistan border. However, Obama said that these were precision bombings against al-Qaeda and its supporters and that they did not cause large numbers of civilian casualties. A report, published in September by the legal faculties of two US universities, came to other conclusions. The report found that the majority of those killed by drones between June 2004 and September 2012 were militant opponents, but that the civilian casualties were few. During the period, between 2 562 and 3 325 people must have been killed in 345 drone attacks. Of those, between 474 and 881 were civilians, 176 of whom were children. The report also described that the method of using drones for “precision bombing” undermined the respect for international law and that the drones spread a climate of fear in the areas being fired. There were examples of how children no longer dared to go to school for fear of gunshots and that relatives stayed at home from funerals for fear of being in a crowd.
The PPP-dominated government reaped success in the Senate elections in March and strengthened its position in Parliament. The senators are elected indirectly by members of the House of Commons and local parishes.
In September, a movie clip that aroused Prophet Muhammad’s great anger in the Muslim world, including Pakistan. The movie clip was made in the US and spread through the Internet and social media. A violent wave of protests against the film spread across Pakistan, where about 25 people were killed in the unrest. In one play, the country’s railway minister promised a great reward to the person (s) who managed to kill the film’s creator. But the governments of both Islamabad and Washington sharply distanced themselves from the minister’s statement.
A number of suicide attacks were carried out during the year. In February, for example, at least 25 people were killed in a suicide attack in a Shiite Muslim part of the Kurram clan area in the northwest. The deed was carried out by the Taliban in revenge for the Shi’a Muslims for several years refusing to cooperate with the Taliban in Kurram. A peace agreement was finally concluded in 2011.
Fierce fighting was also going on in the clan areas in the northwest. On a single spring day, at least 60 militant Islamists and about ten government soldiers were killed in fighting as well as in a suicide attack in two different areas. Active groups in the areas included Lashkar-e-Islam and Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan. According to The Times, about a quarter of a million people fled the Khyber province in April to escape the escalating violence that occurred when the military launched a new offensive there.
In the spring, a slight glimmer of light came in the poor relations with India when the neighboring country declared that it had in principle decided to allow foreign direct investment from Pakistan. Visa rules for travel between the two countries were simplified during the year and it would also be easier for banks to open branches in the neighboring country. In April, however, Pakistan fired a mid-range robot in response to a similar test shooting in India a few days earlier. The war of positions between the two nuclear powers thus continued.
In May, a Pakistani doctor was sentenced to 33 years in prison by a local court for helping the United States find Usama bin Ladin in Abbottabad, where the terrorist leader was killed by US soldiers in May 2011. The US condemned the verdict against the doctor, and Pakistan-US relations deteriorated further. A few months later, a temporary improvement occurred when Pakistan reopened the Khyber Pass border crossing to Afghanistan, allowing NATO troops to begin transporting cross-border supplies again. The border was closed in November 2011 after a NATO flight over Pakistan killed 24 people. The border crossings were opened as a result of the United States regretting it.
A new major attack on Shia Muslims was carried out in August outside the city of Gilgit in the north. Around 25 Shi’ites lost their lives in ambush against the bus they were traveling on. Hundreds of Shi’ites have been killed in similar atrocities by extreme Sunni Muslims, mainly Taliban, in recent years.
One incident that reverberated throughout Pakistan and abroad was the attempted murder of 14-year-old schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai in the Swat Valley in October. Malala was shot in the head by Taliban who wanted to stop her from advocating for girls’ right to go to school. The perpetrators believed that Malala was too Western and spread a message of secularism. Malala suffered severe damage from the attack, which also disgusted in more conservative religious circles.
In December, the World Health Organization (WHO) was forced to temporarily halt a national vaccination program against polio after dozens of relief workers were shot dead by unknown perpetrators. No group took the kill, but Taliban movements had previously targeted the program.
According to countryaah, the population of Pakistan in 2012 was 199,426,853, ranking number 6 in the world. The population growth rate was 2.140% yearly, and the population density was 258.7004 people per km2.