Friday, April 21, 2006

History of Pakistan

History of Pakistan. This site is a brief essay on the history of the Asian nation of Pakistan. Unfortunately, it is mostly a modern history as it primarily focuses on the 20th Century.

Wikipedia notes, "The Islamic Republic of Pakistan (Urdu: اسلامی جمہوریۂ پاکستان) is a country located in South Asia that overlaps with the Greater Middle East. It has a thousand-kilometre coastline along the Arabian Sea in the south and borders Afghanistan and Iran to the west, India to the east and the People's Republic of China in the far northeast."

From the site:

Pakistan, along with parts of western India, contain the archeological remains of an urban civilization dating back 4,500 years. Alexander the Great included the Indus Valley in his empire in 326 B.C., and his successors founded the Indo-Greek kingdom of Bactria based in what is today Afghanistan and extending to Peshawar. Following the rise of the Central Asian Kushan Empire in later centuries, the Buddhist culture of Afghanistan and Pakistan, centered on the city of Taxila just east of Peshawar, experienced a cultural renaissance known as the Gandhara period.

Pakistan's Islamic history began with the arrival of Muslim traders in the 8th century in Sindh. The collapse of the Mughal Empire in the 18th century provided an opportunity to the English East India Company to extend its control over much of the subcontinent. In the west in the territory of modern Pakistan, the Sikh adventurer Ranjit Singh carved out a dominion that extended from Kabul to Srinagar and Lahore. British rule replaced the Sikhs in the first half of the 19th century. In a decision that had far-reaching consequences, the British permitted the Hindu Maharaja of Kashmir, a Sikh appointee, to continue in power.

Pakistan emerged over an extended period of agitation by many Muslims in the subcontinent to express their national identity free from British colonial domination as well as domination by what they perceived as a Hindu-controlled Indian National Congress. Muslim anti-colonial leaders formed the All-India Muslim League in 1906. Initially, the League adopted the same objective as the Congress--self-government for India within the British Empire--but Congress and the League were unable to agree on a formula that would ensure the protection of Muslim religious, economic, and political rights.

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