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Brief HistoryPartition and Independence from British Colonization – Birth of PakistanBrief Political History of Pakistan: 1947-2014Governmental StructureAdministrative Units – Tourist Attractions and Heritage Spots

Brief History Pakistan

The territory that is now part of modern Pakistan has a long, complex[1] history. Historically, Pakistan itself was not conceptualized until Indian citizens began demanding Independence from British colonization, in the late 19th, and early 20th centuries. The Indian Independence Movement gradually morphed into demands for nationhood based on religion and culture, when Indian Muslims began to claim nationhood[2] based mostly on religious and cultural differences from Hindus and Sikhs.

The proposal for a Muslim State in India was first articulated in 1930 by the poet-philosopher Muhammad Iqbal, who suggested that the 4 Northwestern provinces (Sindh, Balochistan, Punjab, and the North West Frontier Province, now called Khyber Pukhtunkhwa) should be joined to form a State for Muslims. In a 1933 pamphlet, Choudhary Rahmat Ali, a Cambridge student, coined the name Pakistan by re-arranging the first letters of the provinces he considered to be part of the new nation (based on Allama Iqbal’s proposition): Punjab, Afghan (North West Frontier Province, now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Kashmir, Sindh, and Balochistan. The word (Pakistan), in Urdu means “Land of the Pure”.

Partition and Independence from British Colonization

The late 1930s and 1940s in British India[3] were characterized by increasing political pressure on the British Empire to grant Independence to India. That demand was then accompanied by the Muslim League’s demand for separate nationhood for India’s Muslims. Results of the elections held in the winter of 1945-46, for example, demonstrated All India Muslim League’s popularity among India’s Muslims, as the political party won all 30 seats reserved for Muslims in the Central Legislative Assembly and most of the reserved provincial seats as well, making the Muslim League the only political voice for the Muslims at both the provincial and federal levels. The All India Congress was successful in gathering most of the general electorate seats, but it could no longer effectively insist that it spoke for the entire population of British India.

By 1946, with the British Empire ready to transfer control to an Indian administration, the Indian political parties had become deadlocked over the question of which political party—and by extension, which religious and cultural majority—could claim to speak for all Indian citizens. The British Secretary of State, Pethick-Lawrence, personally led a three-man Cabinet deputation to New Delhi in 1946, in fact, with the hope of resolving the Congress-Muslim League deadlock and, thus, of transferring British power to a single Indian administration. This Cabinet, which included Lord Pethic-Lawrence, Sir Stafford Cripps, and A. V. Alexander, was responsible primarily for drafting the Cabinet Mission Plan, which proposed a three-tier Federation for India, integrated by a minimal central-union government in Delhi, which would be limited to handling foreign affairs, communications, defense, and only those finances required to care for specific union-wide matters. The subcontinent was to be divided into 3 major groups of provinces. The group governments were to be virtually autonomous in everything but matters reserved to the union center, and within each group, the princely States were to be integrated into their neighboring provinces. Local provincial governments were to have the choice of opting out of the group in which they found themselves should a majority of their populace vote to do so.

Jinnah accepted the Cabinet Mission’s proposal, as did Congress leaders. However, Nehru announced, at his first press conference as the re-elected President of the Congress, that no constituent assembly could be “bound” by any prearranged constitutional formula. Jinnah read Nehru’s remarks as a “complete repudiation” of the Cabinet Mission Plan, which had to be accepted in its entirety for it to work. Jinnah then convened the League’s Working Committee, which withdrew its previous agreement to the Federation scheme and, instead, called upon the “Muslim Nation” to launch “direct action” in mid-August 1946, which resulted in Hindu-Muslim conflicts across the country, leading to immense losses. The Cabinet Mission Plan for Federation, thus, was deemed to be an untenable plan for India’s Independence.

In March 1947, Lord Mountbatten was sent to replace Wavell as Viceroy to India, as Britain prepared to transfer power to some “responsible” hands by no later than June 1948. Shortly after reaching Delhi, where he conferred with the leaders of all political parties and with his own officials, Mountbatten decided that the situation was too dangerous to wait even that brief period. Fearing a forced evacuation of British troops still stationed in India, Lord Mountbatten resolved to opt for Partition[4], one that would divide Punjab and Bengal virtually in half, rather than risk further political negotiations while civil war raged and a new mutiny of Indian troops loomed as imminent. Among the major Indian leaders, Gandhi alone refused to reconcile himself to Partition, and urged Mountbatten to offer Jinnah the Premiership of a united India rather than a separate Muslim nation. Nehru, however, would not agree to that, nor would his most powerful Congress deputy, Vallabhai Patel (1875-1950).

Britain’s Parliament passed the Indian Independence Act in July 1947, ordering the demarcation of the dominions of India and Pakistan by midnight of August 14-15, 1947, and dividing—within a single month—the assets of the world’s largest empire, which had been integrated in countless ways for more than a century. The Boundary Commission worked desperately to partition Punjab and Bengal in such a way as to leave a majority of Muslims to the West of the Punjab’s new boundary and to the East of Bengal’s, but as soon as the new borders were made public, no fewer than 10 million Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs fled from their homes on one side of the newly demarcated borders to what they thought would be “shelter” on the other[5]. In the course of that exodus, some 1 million people were slaughtered in communal massacres that made all previous conflicts of the sort known to recent history pale by comparison[6].

Birth of Pakistan

On August 15, 1947, after the Partition and official transfer of power from Britain to both India and Pakistan, Jinnah became the Governor General of the new State, and Liaquat Ali Khan its Prime Minister. The Boundary Commission divided Pakistan into West and East Pakistan, which was separated by more than 1,000 miles of Indian territory in between; transfer of power included the division of assets between India and Pakistan, but that division was marked by political haggling, resulting in the major portion of the wealth and resources of the British heritage passing to India. The provinces that were included in Pakistan were Sindh, Balochistan, and the North West Frontier Province (now Khyber Pukhtunkhwa), all three of which were largely rural rather than urban. The provinces, Punjab and Bengal, were divided, and Kashmir became disputed territory, with both India and Pakistan claiming provenance over it. Economically, the new borders cut off Pakistani raw materials from Indian factories, disrupting industry, commerce, and agriculture. Both the Partition and the movement of refugees across borders were accompanied by terrible massacres for which all communities were responsible, placing further pressure on the newly-formed States. India remained openly unfriendly to Pakistan; its economic superiority expressed itself in a virtual blockade of all trade. The dispute over Kashmir brought the two countries to the brink of war, and India’s command of the headworks controlling the water supplies to Pakistan’s Eastern Canal Colonies gave it an additional economic weapon, leaving Pakistan in a precarious position both economically and politically.

Brief Political History of Pakistan: 1947-2014

With the death of its first Head of State, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, in 1948, and the assassination of its first Prime Minister, Liaqat Ali Khan, in 1951, political instability and economic difficulty became prominent features of post-Independence Pakistan. In its 70 year political history (since Independence), the Pakistani political scene has been characterized by brief periods of civilian-led, democratic governments, which were followed by longer periods of military dictatorships. The first of these dictatorships was led by President Iskander Mirza, who, with the support of the army on October 7, 1958, suspended the 1956 Constitution, imposed Martial Law, and canceled the elections scheduled for January 1959. Twenty days later, the military sent Mirza into exile in Britain, and General Mohammad Ayub Khan assumed control of a military dictatorship. After Pakistan’s loss in the 1965 war against India, Ayub Khan’s popularity and power declined. Subsequent political and economic grievances inspired agitation movements that compelled his resignation in March 1969. He handed over responsibility for governing Pakistan to the Commander In Chief of the Army, General Agha Mohammed Yahya Khan, who became President and Chief Martial Law Administrator.

General elections held in December 1970 polarized relations between Eastern and Western Pakistan. The Awami League, which advocated autonomy for the more populous East Pakistan, swept the East Pakistan seats to gain a majority in Pakistan as a whole. The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), founded and led by Ayub Khan’s former Foreign Minister, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, won a majority of the seats in West Pakistan, but the country was completely split, with the major parties of specific areas lacking support in other areas. Negotiations to form a coalition government broke down, and a civil war ensued. India attacked East Pakistan and captured Dhaka in December 1971, just as East Pakistan declared its Independence, forming the nation of Bangladesh. India’s intervention led to Bangladesh becoming a province of India. Yahya Khan, the party leader of PPP (East Pakistan) resigned the Presidency and handed over leadership of West Pakistan to Bhutto, who became President and the first civilian Chief Martial Law Administrator.

Bhutto took immediate steps to restore national confidence and pursued an active foreign policy, taking a leading role in Islamic and Third World forums. Domestically, Bhutto pursued a populist agenda and nationalized major industries as well as the banking system. In 1973, he promulgated a new Constitution which was accepted by most political elements and relinquished the Presidency to become Prime Minister. Although Bhutto continued his populist and socialist rhetoric, he increasingly relied on Pakistan’s urban industrialists and rural landlords to maintain power over the federal government. Over time, the economy stagnated, largely as a result of the dislocation and uncertainty produced by Bhutto’s frequently changing economic policies. When Bhutto proclaimed his own victory in the March 1977 National Elections, the opposition, Pakistan National Alliance (PNA), denounced the results as fraudulent and demanded new elections. Bhutto resisted, and arrested the PNA leadership, leading to further unrest in the country.

With increasing anti-government unrest, the army grew restive. On July 5, 1977, the military removed Bhutto from power and placed him under house arrest (he was taken to his Murree Hill Resort), declared Martial Law, and suspended portions of the 1973 Constitution. The Chief of Army Staff, General Muhammad Zia ul-Haq, became Chief Martial Law Administrator and promised to hold new elections within 3 months.

Zia released Bhutto from the house arrest, and asserted that he could contest the new elections scheduled for October 1977. However, after it became clear that Bhutto’s popularity was unabated, Zia postponed the elections, and began criminal investigations of the senior PPP leadership. Subsequently, Bhutto was convicted and sentenced to death for participating in an alleged conspiracy to murder a political opponent. Despite international appeals on his behalf, Bhutto was hanged on April 4, 1979.

Zia assumed the Presidency, and called for elections in November. However, fearful of a PPP victory, Zia banned political activity in October 1979 and postponed National Elections indefinitely.

In 1980, most of Pakistan’s center and left parties, led by the PPP under the leadership of Zulfiqar Bhutto’s daughter Benazir Bhutto, formed the Movement for the Restoration of Democracy (MRD). The MRD demanded Zia’s resignation, an end to Martial Law, new elections, and the restoration of the Constitution as it existed before Zia’s takeover. In early December 1984, President Zia proclaimed that a National Referendum would be held on December 19. This referendum was purportedly designed to gain people’s opinions on his “Islamization[7]” progrom. He implicitly linked the approval of “Islamization” with a mandate for his continued Presidency. Zia’s opponents, led by the MRD, boycotted the elections. When the government claimed a 63% turnout, with more than 90% approving the progrom, many observers questioned these figures; however, these figures were used to justify Zia’s continued Presidency.

On August 17, 1988, a plane carrying President Zia, American Ambassador Arnold Raphel, U.S. Brig. Gen. Herbert Wassom, and 28 Pakistani military officers crashed on a return flight from a military equipment trial near Bahawalpur, killing all of its occupants. In accordance with the Pakistani Constitution, Chairman of the Senate, Ghulam Ishaq Khan became Acting President and announced that elections scheduled for November 1988 would take place as scheduled.

After winning 93 of the 205 National Assembly seats contested, the PPP, under the leadership of Benazir Bhutto, formed a coalition government with several smaller parties, including the Muhajir Qaumi Movement[8] (MQM), based mainly in Karachi, and other urban centers of Sindh, like Hyderabad and Sukkur. The Islamic Democratic Alliance (IJI), a multi-party coalition led by the Pakistan Muslim League (PML) and including religious right parties such as the Jamaat-i-Islami (JI), won 55 National Assembly seats.

During Bhutto’s first term as Prime Minister, differing interpretations of constitutional authority, debates over the powers of the central government relative to those of the provinces, and the antagonistic relationship between the Bhutto administration and opposition governments in Punjab and Balochistan seriously impeded social and economic reform programs. Ethnic conflict, primarily in Sindh province, exacerbated these problems. A fragmentation in the governing coalition and the military’s reluctance[9] to support an apparently ineffectual and corrupt government were accompanied by a significant deterioration in law and order.

In August 1990, President Khan, citing his powers under the 8th Amendment to the Constitution (Article 58-2b), dismissed the Bhutto government, and dissolved the National and Provincial Assemblies. New elections, held in October 1990, confirmed the political ascendancy of the IJI. In addition to a two-thirds majority in the National Assembly, the alliance acquired control of all 4 Provincial Parliaments and enjoyed the support of the military as well as that of President Khan. Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, as leader of the PML, the foremost Party in the IJI, was elected Prime Minister by the National Assembly.

Sharif’s electoral victory established him as the most secure and powerful Pakistani Prime Minister, but his political power was short-lived. The implementation of Sharif’s Economic Reform Program, involving privatization, deregulation, and encouragement of Private Sector economic growth, greatly improved Pakistan’s economic performance and business climate. The passage into law of a Shari’a bill in May 1991, making special provisions for widespread Islamization, legitimized the IJI government among much of Pakistani society.

However, Nawaz Sharif was not able to reconcile the different objectives of the IJI’s constituent parties. The largest religious party, JI, abandoned the alliance because of its perception of PML hegemony. The regime was weakened further by the military’s suppression of the MQM, which had entered into a coalition with the IJI to contain PPP influence and which levelled allegations of corruption directed at Nawaz Sharif. This signalled a destabilization of the federal government. In April 1993, President Khan again invoked Article 58 (2b) of Pakistan’s Constitution and sacked Sharif’s government, but the Pakistan Supreme Court reinstated the National Assembly and the Nawaz Sharif government the following month. Continued tensions between Sharif and Khan resulted in governmental gridlock and the Chief of Army Staff brokered an arrangement under the terms of which both the President and the Prime Minister resigned their offices in July 1993.

An interim government, headed by Moeen Qureshi, a former World Bank Vice President, took office with a mandate to hold National and Provincial Parliamentary elections in October 1993. Despite its brief term, the Qureshi government adopted political, economic, and social reforms that generated considerable domestic support and foreign admiration.

In the October 1993 elections, the PPP won a plurality of seats in the National Assembly, and Benazir Bhutto was asked to form a government. However, because the party did not acquire a majority in the National Assembly, the PPP’s control of the government depended upon the continued support of numerous independent parties, particularly the PML/J. The unfavorable circumstances surrounding PPP rule—the imperative of preserving a coalition government, the formidable opposition of Nawaz Sharif’s PML/N movement, and the insecure provincial administrations—presented significant difficulties for the government of Prime Minister Bhutto. However, the election of Prime Minister Bhutto’s close associate, Farooq Leghari, as President in November 1993 gave her a stronger power base.

Bhutto’s government came to an end in November 1996, when President Leghari dismissed it, charging it with corruption, mismanagement of the economy, and implication in extrajudicial killings in Karachi. Elections in February 1997 resulted in an overwhelming victory for the PML/N, and President Leghari called upon Nawaz Sharif to form a government. In March 1997, with the unanimous support of the National Assembly, Sharif amended the Constitution, stripping the President of the power to dismiss the government and making his power to appoint military service chiefs and provincial governors contingent on the “advice” of the Prime Minister. Another amendment prohibited elected members from “floor crossing” or voting across party lines. The Sharif government engaged in a protracted dispute with the Judiciary, culminating in the storming of the Supreme Court by ruling party loyalists and the engineered dismissal of the Chief Justice and the resignation of President Leghari in December 1997.

The new President elected by Parliament, Rafiq Tarar, was a close associate of the Prime Minister. Sharif’s government launched an anti-corruption campaign against opposition politicians and critics of the regime. Similarly, the government moved to restrict press criticism of the government and ordered the arrest and beating of prominent journalists. As domestic criticism of Sharif’s administration intensified, Sharif attempted to replace Chief of Army Staff, General Pervez Musharraf, on October 12, 1999, with the help of Director General ISI, Lt. Gen. Ziauddin. Although General Musharraf was out of the country at the time, the army moved quickly to depose Sharif in order to prevent the removal of Pervez Musharraf as COAS, in a bloodless coup d’etat with Nawaz Sharif and the Cabinet placed under house arrest.

Following the October 12 ouster of the government of Prime Minister Sharif, the military-led government, with Pervez Musharraf at its head, stated its intention to restructure the political and electoral systems. On October 14, 1999, General Musharraf declared a state of emergency and issued the Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO), which suspended the Federal and Provincial Parliaments, held the Constitution in abeyance, and designated him as Chief Executive. Musharraf appointed an eight-member National Security Council to function as Pakistan’s supreme governing body, with mixed military and civilian appointees, a civilian Cabinet, and a National Reconstruction Bureau (think tank) to formulate structural reforms. On May 12, 2000, Pakistan’s Supreme Court unanimously validated the October 1999 coup and granted Musharraf Executive and Legislative authority for 3 years from the coup date. On June 20, 2001, Musharraf named himself President, and was sworn in as such.

After the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Arlington were attacked on September 11, 2001, Musharraf pledged complete cooperation with the United States in its War on Terror, which included locating, and shutting down, terrorist training camps within its borders and cracking down on extremist groups. This policy was highly unpopular with many Pakistani citizens, and the country was, for a while, plagued by popular anti-Musharraf and anti-US demonstrations. However, in a referendum held on April 30, 2002, Musharraf’s Presidency was extended by 5 more years.

During his Presidency, Musharraf became a key player in the American-led War on Terror. He reinstated the Constitution of Pakistan in 2002, but amended it heavily with the Legal Framework Order. He oversaw a rise of around 50% in overall GDP, but domestic savings declined, and there was a rapid rise in economic inequality within the urban and rural centers. By 2004, there was a sharp rise in domestic terrorism incidents, the most serious of which was Islamabad’s Lal Masjid incident during which Special Police Forces raided the mosque to forcibly remove religious leaders allegedly associated with terrorist networks. The Mullahs allege that several girl students were killed in the raid, but Musharraf continues to deny these allegations. The raid on the mosque seriously undermined Musharraf’s popularity in Pakistan, and divided the country significantly. Musharraf suspended the Judiciary in late 2007, which resulted in a further, more dramatic, decline in his popularity.

On 8 November 2007, Musharraf announced that National Elections would be held by 8, January 2008. On December 27, 2008, Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in Karachi, which lead to a postponement of the National Elections to 18 February 2008.

These elections saw the defeat of President Musharraf and his party—the PML/Q (Quaid-e-Azam or Q). The PPP and the PML-N (Nawaz or N) emerged as the majority parties. PPP formed the government with Benazir Bhutto’s husband Asif Zardari as the President of Pakistan.

Musharraf tendered his resignation in 2008 and moved to London.

Elections were again held on 11th May 2013 in which PML (N) emerged as the majority party and formed the government with Nawaz Sharif as the Prime Minister and Mamnoon Hussain as President.

[1] The ancient history of the territories has been included in the relevant chapters on provinces and districts, and is not being recounted here.

[2] The concept of a separate Muslim “nation” or “people”/ qaum, is inherent in Islam, but this concept of nationhood does not depend on territory for Muslims to be considered a nation/ quam.

[3] This section contains a very brief overview of the political decisions that lead to the formation of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, and is not intended as a detailed historical account.

[4] Partition here refers to the literal division of the Indian subcontinent into two independent Nation States: India and Pakistan. The proposal was to divide the land, as well as the bureaucracy between India and Pakistan; religion became the guiding principle of this division of all assets.

[5] Since the Partition was based on religious divisions—Pakistan was to be the land of the Muslims and India that of Hindus and Sikhs—Hindu and Sikh families that found themselves in cities and villages on the Pakistani side travelled to the Indian side, while Muslims travelled to Pakistan.

[6] For accounts and testimonies, see the work of Urvashi Butalia, Ritu Menon and Kamla Bhasin, as well as Sara Ansari, Gyan Pandey, and Veena Das, among others.

[7] General Zia-ul-Haq proposed the Islamization of the country’s laws and political systems; this Islamization progrom sought to align the country’s laws with Islamic Shariah, in conscious opposition to Bhutto’s (more popular) secular agenda.

[8] The MQM’s political agenda centered on providing a voice at the federal level to the (allegedly) ignored populace that had migrated from India at the time of Partition, and settled mainly in Karachi.

[9] Given the military’s consistent involvement in matters of governance at the Pakistani center, the Pakistani political scene is overtly and covertly dominated and controlled by its military leaders. Without the military’s tacit or open approval, no civilian government can remain in power for extended periods of time in Pakistan.


Governmental Structure Pakistan

The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan (as modified and amended up to 19th March 1985) provides for a Federal Parliamentary System with a President as Head of State and a popularly elected Prime Minister as Head of Government.

There are 3 main constituents of the federal government:

  • Executive Government: This is headed by the Prime Minister, who is assisted by the Federal Cabinet that consists of Ministers and Advisors
  • Parliament: The Parliament is headed by the President, who is assisted by the National Assembly and the Senate
  • Judiciary: The Judiciary is headed by the Supreme Court, which is assisted by the Federal Shariat Court, Provincial High Courts (who, in turn, are helped by City Courts) and the Mohtasib/ Ombudsperson

The Prime Minister is appointed by the members of the National Assembly (housed in Islamabad) through a vote.

The National Assembly of Pakistan consists of elected members (numbers decided based on population; see table) from each of the four provinces.

The following table provides the name of the province and number of National Assembly seats according to the Constitution of Pakistan:

Administrative Unit General Seats Women Seats Minority Seats Total
Balochistan 14 3 17
FATA 12 12
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 35 8 43
Punjab 148 35 183
Islamabad 2 2
Sindh 61 14 75
Total 272 60 10 332 + 10

Table 1.2 Pakistan Governmental Structure: National Assembly

The Senate consists of members from all provinces elected by the members of their respective Provincial Assemblies. The Chairman of the Senate, under the Constitution, acts as President, should the office become vacant, until a new President can be formally elected. Both the Senate and the National Assembly can initiate, and pass, legislation and amendments to the Constitution but only the National Assembly can approve the federal budget and all finance bills.

Pakistan is a Federation of 4 provinces, and the Islamabad Capital Territory. Gilgit-Baltistan (formerly Northern Areas) and FATA have their own respective governments, which enjoy financial and administrative autonomy. The provincial governments are headed by the Chief Minister who is elected by the members of the Provincial Assembly and assisted by the Provincial Cabinet which comprises of Ministers and Advisors of various departments. Each province has a Governor who is the representative of the Federation in the province. In most cases, the Governor acts on the advice of the Chief Minister and assents to the legislation made by the Provincial Assemblies.

The following table provides details of the province and number of seats in the Provincial Assembly:

Name of Assembly General Seats Women Seats Minority Seats Total Location (City)
Balochistan 51 11 3 65 Quetta
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 99 22 3 124 Peshawar
Punjab 297 66 8 371 Lahore
Sindh 130 29 9 168 Karachi

Table 1.3 Pakistan Governmental Structure: Provincial Assemblies

Administrative Units Pakistan

Pakistan is divided into 4 provinces and 4 territories as follows:

Punjab Province 36 Districts and 1,831 Tehsils/Talukas
Sindh Province 23 Districts with 116 Tehsils/Talukas
Balochistan Province 30 Districts with 97 Tehsils/Talukas
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) 25 Districts with 56 Tehsils/Talukas
FATA 07 Agencies & 06 Frontier Regions (FRs)
Islamabad Capital Territory 1 Territory
Gilgit-Baltistan 07 Districts
Azad Kashmir[12] 10 Districts

Table 1.4 Pakistan Administrative Units

[12] Both Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir are disputed territories and have not been included in this volume


Tourist Attractions and Heritage Spots Pakistan

The variety of attractions in Pakistan ranges from the ruins of ancient civilizations such as Mohen-jo-Daro, Harappa, and Taxila, to the Himalayan hill stations, which attract those interested in field and winter sports. 5 out of 14 of the world’s highest mountain peaks (reaching heights of over 8,000 meters or 26,250 ft) are in Pakistan, attracting adventurers and mountaineers from around the world. The most popular peak visited by climbers is K2.

Balochistan is home to many caves for cavers and tourists to visit. The main attractions are the Juniper Shaft Cave, the Murghagull Gharra cave, Mughall saa cave, and Pakistan’s naturally decorated cave, the Mangocher cave. The northern parts of Pakistan are home to several historical fortresses, towers, and other buildings.

Punjab is the site of Alexander’s battle on the Jhelum River. The historic city of Lahore is considered to be Pakistan’s cultural center and has many examples of Mughal architecture such as the Badshahi Masjid, Shalimar Gardens, Tomb of Jehangir, and the Lahore Fort.

World Heritage sites in Pakistan include:

  • Mohen-jo-Daro, Larkana (Sindh)
  • Taxila near Rawalpindi (Punjab)
  • Takht-e-Bahai and Sahr-e-Bahlol, Mardan (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa)
  • Historic monuments of Thatta (Sindh)
  • Fort and Shalimar Gardens, Lahore (Punjab)
  • Rohtas, Fort Jhelum (Punjab)
  • Archaeological Site of Harrapa, Sahiwal (Punjab)
  • Archaeological Site of Mehrgarh (near Bolan Pass Balochistan)
  • Foot of Bolan Pass, Quetta (Balochistan)
  • Archaeological Site of Ranighat, district Buner (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa)
  • Archaelogical Site of Rehman Dheri, D I Khan (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa)
  • Badshahi Mosque, Lahore (Punjab)
  • Baltit Fort, Hunza Valley (Gilgit-Baltistan)
  • Chaukhandi Tombs, Thatta (Sindh)
  • Hiran Minar and Tank, Sheikhupura (Punjab)
  • Mansehra Rock Edict, Mansehra (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa)
  • Port of Bhambore between Dhabeji and Gharo (Sindh)
  • Rani Kot Fort, Jamshoro District (Sindh)
  • Shahbazgarhi Rock Edicts, Mardan District (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa)
  • Tomb of Bibi Jawindi, and 4 other monuments in Uch Shareef, which include
    • Tomb of Baha’al Halim
    • Tomb of Ustead (the architect)
    • Tomb and Mosque of Jalaluddin Bukhari, Bahawalpur
  • Tomb of Hazrat Rukn-e-Alam, Multan (Punjab)
  • Tomb of Mughal Emperor Jehangir, Lahore (Punjab)
  • Tomb of Asif Khan, Lahore (Punjab)
  • Tomb of Akbar, Lahore (Punjab)
  • Tomb of Wazir Khan and Mosque, Lahore (Punjab)

The following table shows the total number of heritage sites and buildings being protected under Pakistan Laws [10]:

Province Protected by Provincial Governments Protected by Federal Government
Sindh 211 126
Punjab 233 149
Balochistan 27
KPK and Northern Areas   87
Total 444 389[11]

Table 1.16 Pakistan Protected Historical Sites by Province

Notable National Monuments are:

  • Mausoleum of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Karachi, Sindh (Founder of Pakistan)
  • Wazir Mansion (Jinnah’s birthplace), Karachi, Sindh
  • Khaliq Dina, Public Hall and Library, Karachi, Sindh
  • Quaid-e-Azam House/ Museum (Flag Staff House), Karachi, Sindh
  • Tomb of Allama Muhammad Iqbal (Poet & Philosopher), Lahore, Punjab
  • Allama Iqbal Museum (Javed Manzil), Lahore, Punjab
  • Islamic Summit Minar (Minar-e-Pakistan), Lahore, Punjab
  • Professor Abdus Salaam’s House, Jhang, Punjab
  • Quaid-e-Azam’s Residency, Ziarat, Balochistan

Other notable historical sites and monuments include:

  • Archaeological Site of Mohen-jo-Daro, Larkana, Sindh
  • Historical Monuments, Thatta, Sindh
  • Old Fort, Lahore, Punjab
  • Shalimar Gardens, Lahore, Punjab
  • Archaeological Remains, Taxila, Punjab
  • Buddhist Remains at Takht-i-Bhai, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
  • City Remains at City Bahlol, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa















Figure 1.16 Buddhist Remains Takht-i-Bahai















Figure 1.17 Ruins of Taxila

[10] Guidelines for Critical & Sensitive Areas, GoP

[11] Includes National Monuments.