65 most powerful pictures in Pakistan’s History


A powerful image can take us back in time, and give us a better understanding of who we are and where we come from.

August 1947 – Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah in Karachi

Qaid e Azam

As slogans of “Quaid-e-Azam Zindabad! Pakistan Zindabad!” echoed, Jinnah along with his sister, Fatima Jinnah, on August 7, 1947, landed in Karachi — a week before Pakistan became recognised as a separate nation.

August 1947 – Pakistan gains independence from India


Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s hard work paid off when Pakistan was announced as an independent state for Muslims of the subcontinent. Following its creation as a new country, Pakistan applied for membership of the United Nations and was accepted by the General Assembly on September 30, 1947.


August 1947 — Transfer of power


Jinnah delivers a speech on the occasion of Transfer of Powers at Constituent Assembly of Pakistan. Lord Louis Mountbatten on August 14, 1947, appointed Jinnah as Governor General of Pakistan and transferred all powers to him. Fatima Jinnah and Edwina Mountbatten were also present at the ceremony.


August 1947 – Muslims leave for Pakistan


With about 10 million people migrating to Pakistan in what was called the largest mass migration in human history, as many as one million civilians died due to riots and internal conflicts.


September, 1948 – Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah passes away


Suffering from tuberculosis, Jinnah’s health began to deteriorate and had to be flown from his residence in Ziarat to Karachi. He was brought into the city on September 11, 1948 where he succumbed to his health and passed away later at night.


1951 – Rana Liaquat meets Walt Disney


Pakistan’s first Prime Minister, Liaquat Ali Khan’s wife, Rana Liaquat met the famous American film-maker and animator, Walt Disney in Washington DC. She was accompanying her husband to an official tour to the United States. Rana was one of the leading female figures in the Pakistan Movement.


May 1955 — Second constituent Assembly


The second Constituent Assembly of Pakistan was created on 28th May, 1955. The strength of the Assembly was 80 Members, half each from East Pakistan and West Pakistan. It was under this Constitution that Pakistan became an Islamic Republic.


October 1958 — Constitution abrogated; Martial Law imposed


On October 7, 1958, President Iskander Mirza abrogated the Constitution and declared Martial Law in the country. As soon as the announcement was made, army units immediately captured all sensitive points and buildings in Karachi.


1959 – Pakistan’s first international gold medal in athletics


Pakistani sprinter, Abdul Khalique (left), won the first ever international gold medal in athletics for Pakistan in the 1959 Commonwealth Games in the 100 meters dash. Khalique won a total of 36 international gold medals, 15 international silver medals & 12 international bronze medals for Pakistan.


February 1961 – Queen Elizabeth II visits Karachi


Queen Elizabeth II drives through Karachi with President Ayub Khan in a white Cadillac, marking the beginning of her visit to Pakistan, February 1, 1961.


1965 – Pak-Indo War


The helmet of Major Aziz Bhatti (Shaheed), Nishan-e-Haider, resting on his rifle near the spot where he fell after being hit by an Indian shell during the 1965 war.


1967 – Pakistan’s first ever horror film


Pakistan’s first ever horror film, directed by Khwaja Sarfaraz was released in 1967 and also has the distinction of being the first ever horror film to be screened at two major international film festivals.


December 1971 – Pakistan surrenders armed forces in Bangladesh


Pakistan Eastern Command agreed to surrender all Pakistan Armed forces in Bangladesh to the general officer commander in chief of the Indian and Bangladesh forces in the Eastern Theatre. The surrender included all Pakistan land, air and naval forces as well as all para-military forces and civil armed forces.


April 1973 – Pakistan issues special stamp for prisoners of war


The government of Pakistan issued a stamp in 1973 portraying 90,000 prisoners of war languishing in Indian jails after the 1971 war. To date, there have been reports that India continues to hold some prisoners of war who were not released.


July 1977 — Constitution suspended; Martial Law imposed


On July 5, 1977, General Ziaul Haq dismissed Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s elected government. The military dictator imposed martial law and ruled the country for the next 11 years.


May 1978 — Journalists after censorship and newspapers’ closure


The image from May 1978 shows journalists courting arrest in protest against censorship and newspapers’ closure in 1978. The then military government had ordered flogging of journalists for protesting against the government’s media policy.

In a period of one year after take over, General Zia’s government closed down about 11 newspapers and while penalising 13 others.


April 1979 – Zulfikar Ali Bhutto hanged


Bhutto was convicted in a murder case and sentenced to death by the Lahore High Court (LHC) in 1979 during the dictatorship of the then army chief General Ziaul Haq. Bhutto was the prime minister and founding chairperson of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party.


1979 — Flogging of journalists


An anti-Zia journalist being flogged at Karachi’s KarKi Stadium in 1979. Journalists were flogged for protesting against the military government’s media policy.


1980 — Women protesting against the Zia dictatorship being baton-charged 


Woman’s rally in Lahore protesting against the Zia dictatorship being baton-charged by the police in 1980. Women in universities and colleges along with women organisations came out on the streets to protest against Zia’s anti-women laws.


March 1981 – Pakistan International Airlines hijacked


This rare photograph shows Salamulla Tipu, hanging out from the cockpit of a PIA plane that he had hijacked with three other colleagues. In March 1981, a Peshawar-bound flight from Karachi carrying 135 passengers and nine crew members was hijacked by organisation named Al Zulfikar, headed by Murtaza Bhutto.


1981 — Anti-Zia protests


Female activists played a significant role in anti-Zia protests. Women took to streets to burn their dupattas as a protest against Zia’s anti-women laws.


February 1983 — Revolutionary poet Habib Jalib arrested


Habib Jalib was a revolutionary poet who stood up to every military ruler — Ayub Khan, Yahya Khan, Ziaul Haq and Pervez Musharraf. During the Zia era, Jalib was arrested three times. The image is from February 12, 1983, when Jalib was arrested in Lahore during a Women Action Forum protest against Zia’s Hudood Ordinance.


March 1992 – Worldcup victory


Pakistan cricket team wins the 1992 Cricket World Cup against England in Melbourne, Australia. The team won its first ever World Cup beating England by 22 runs. The glorious victory came as captain Imran Khan bagged the last wicket and the match’s highest score.


May 1998 – Pakistan’s first nuclear test


On May 28, Pakistan cut communication links for all Pakistani seismic stations to the outside world and all military installations along with the Pakistan Air Forcewere placed on high alert to carry out the first nuclear test, known as Chagai-I.


October 1999 — Army coup


On October 12, 1999, Pakistan’s military within 17 hours overthrew Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s government, replacing him with Army Chief General Pervez Musharraf.


January 2002 – Gen Pervez Musharraf shakes hands with Indian PM Vajpayee at Saarc Summit.


President Pervez Musharraf extended a ‘hand of friendship’ to India as he shook hands with the Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee- a gesture which was warmly applauded by delegates at the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) summit 2002.

Later in January 2004, President Musharraf and Vajpayee met in Islamabad to discuss bilateral issues including the long drawn Kashmir dispute. The meeting lasted for 65 minutes and according to diplomatic sources ended on a positive note at the Aiwan-i-Sadr.


February 2002- Daniel Pearl beheaded in Pakistan


Daniel Pearl, working for the Wall Street Journal went missing in January 2002 from in Karachi, a month after which the government announced that he had been killed. The announcement came after the government received and examined a videotape containing scenes of his beheading.


October 2005 – Earthquake kills over 80,000 people in Pakistan


A 7.6 magnitude earthquake which occurred on October 8, 2005 at 8:50am, shook the Kashmir region leaving over 80,000 dead and about 4 million others homeless.


May 2007 – Black Saturday riots


Karachi’s Shara e Faisal turned into a battlefield as the recently suspended Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry arrived at the Jinnah International Airport on 12 May 2007. Clashes erupted rival parties who supported the judge and and those against him took to the streets against each other. CJ Chaudhry was dismissed by General Pervez Musharraf in March 2007.


2007 – Taliban take over Swat


Seeking to establish Sharia law in Pakistan, a militant group, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) came into being in 2007, taking control of Swat. The militant group began with taking over Madyan and Kalam which were major tourist destinations.


July 2007 – Lal Masjid saga


In July 2007, military stormed into Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) when talks failed between the government and the extremist group at the helm of the mosque. The government crackdown on the controversial pro-Taliban mosque in the capital ended in a bloody eight-day siege killing at least 58 Pakistani troops and seminary students.


October 2007 – Benazir Bhutto returns to Pakistan


Two powerful blasts on 18 October 2007 rocked Benazir Bhutto’s vehicle upon her return to Karachi after eight years of exile in Dubai and London, to prepare for the 2008 national elections. While Bhutto survived the attack, over 125 participants of the procession lost their lives.


November 2007 – Nawaz Sharif returns from exile


Nawaz Sharif returned to Pakistan in November 2007 after surviving a military coup, a seven-year exile to Saudi Arabia and a government dismissal.


December 2007- Benazir Bhutto shot dead


A photographer managed to capture the last photograph of Benazir Bhutto alive, seconds before a ‘tall, thin’ assassin leaped out of the crowd and fired gunshots, one of which struck Bhutto in the neck.

Bhutto was assassinated in a gun-and-bomb attack outside Rawalpindi’s Liaquat Bagh on December 27, 2007, right after addressing an election campaign rally in the city.


September 2008 – Marriot Hotel Islamabad attacked


A truck bomb which exploded at the entrance to the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad killed over 40 people and wounded at least 250. The attack was just a few hundred yards from the prime minister’s house.


March 2009 – Sri lankan cricket team attacked


On March 3 2009, a bus carrying the Sri Lankan cricket team touring Lahore was attacked by 12 gunmen near the Gaddafi Stadium. Six members of the Sri Lanka national cricket team were injured while six Pakistani policemen and two civilians were killed. No international cricket was played in Pakistan since the attack.


March 2009 – Chief Justice restored


The lawyers’ movement — a mass protest initiated against General Pervez Musharraf for deposing Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry for alleged ‘misuse of authority’  – came to an end when Chaudhry was finally restored as the chief justice by the government of Pakistan in March 2009.


July 2010 – Airblue crash 


An Airblue flight flying from Karachi to Islamabad crashed into the Margalla Hills on July 28 2010, killing all of 152 passengers on board. The Peshawar High Court in 2013 announced its verdict, stating that the pilot, Parvez Iqbal was guilty.


July 2010 – Floods deluge one fifth of Pakistan


In 2010 Pakistan was struck by its worst ever natural disaster, one fifth of the country was inundated by floodwater, leaving about tens of thousands of people living in emergency camps.

A report last year, of the WB-funded Pakistan Flood Emergency Cash Transfer project of $125 million revealed that there are some beneficiaries who are still awaiting a second tranche of Rs20,000 that was promised to them in order to aid the reconstruction of their damaged homes.


August 2010 – Mohammad Amir banned for spot-fixing 


On 29 August 2010, Mohammad Amir was implicated in allegations of spot-fixing and was banned for allegedly bowling two-deliberate no-balls. Following a five-year ban, he was allowed back into domestic cricket earlier this year and is likely to return to International cricket too.


January 2011 – Salmaan Taseer assassinated


Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer was gunned down by one of his security guards, an elite force personnel by the name of Mumtaz Qadri. Taseer was shot 25 times and died on the spot in Islamabad’s Kohsar market. The accused later admitted shooting Taseer, saying he objected to the politician’s calls to reform Pakistan’s strict blasphemy laws which can carry the death penalty.


January 2011 – Raymond Davis, US diplomat kills two in Lahore


On January 26, Raymond Davis shot two men at a traffic signal of Qartaba Chowk, Lahore after which he fled from the scene. Davis claimed that it was an act of self-defence. Soon after US embassy claimed that Davis had diplomatic immunity.

On March 26, Davis was acquitted after 18 relatives of the dead men pardoned him in court under Pakistan’s Sharia law. The judgement came as family members claimed to have received a sum of $2 million in blood money from Davis.


May 2011 – Osama bin Laden killed


On May 2, al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was shot dead in a night-time helicopter raid by US covert forces at a compound in Abbottabad. Following the success of the operation led by US Navy SEALs, a senior US official announced that Bin Laden had been buried at sea.


November 2011 – NATO attack on Pakistan check post


An attack by North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) helicopters killed at least 24 security personnel and injured 12 soldiers on a Pakistani check post in Salala, located in the Tehsil Bayzai area of Mohmand Agency on the Pak-Afghan border. As a result of the attack, Pakistan immediately closed all Nato supplies to Afghanistan.


April 2012 – Avalanche hits Siachen Glacier


An avalanche at at Gayari sector near Siachen Glacier buried over 130 soldiers and members of civil defence staff. It was noted as the worst avalanche that the Pakistani military ever experienced in the area.

While troops with sniffer dogs, aided by helicopters, were frantically trying to find signs of life in the deep snow after the avalanche engulfed the camp in mountainous Gayari, Siachen, heavy machinery was flown in from Rawalpindi.


September 2012 – Baldia Factory fire


On September 11, 2012, Ali Enterprises, a garment factory on the outskirts of Karachi caught fire and took away the lives of 259 workers trapped inside.

Even though it has been three years, the investigators have to rely on the owners’ claims to establish the cause of the fire. There is no scientific evidence. It was recently revealed that an extortionist group was behind the attack.


December 2012 – First time in Pakistan’s history people gathered to listen Dr. Tahirul Qadri against the corrupt political system of Pakistan


Shaykh-ul-Islam Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri addressed historic grand public meeting titled ‘Save the State, not politics’ on December 23 (Saturday) which was attended by two million from across the country. He gave a deadline to the government until January 10 to correct the system. He made it clear that if constitutional and legal demands raised by him were not accepted to reform the outdated, corrupt system, there would be a peaceful march of four million people in Islamabad on January 14, 2013.

More than two million people extended historic welcome to Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri at Minar-e-Pakistan, which is a huge event in the history of sub-continent. In addition to 50-member MQM delegation, Tehreek-e-Tauffez-e-Pakistan, Awami Muslim League, JUI Niazi, renowned TV anchor Dr Shahid Masood, representatives of religious and political parties, religious scholars and Mayshyakh, students, lawyers, and traders attended the mega event. In the beginning of his address, Shaykh-ul-Islam Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri offered condolences on the demise of senior Minister of KP Government and ANP stalwart Bashir Balor and prayed to Allah Almighty to rest the departed soul in peace.


Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri said on oath in front of two million people that no domestic or foreign agency, power or government funded nor supported MQI in holding the mega event. He made it clear that all expenses of the programme were borne by the workers of MQI and the people themselves from their own pockets. He said that these people wanted to see a change taking place in the country. He said on oath that he did not come to Pakistan at the behest of any foreign power nor was he working on any foreign agenda. He said that the slogan ‘Save the state, not politics’ should not be taken to mean as if he had come to disrupt or delay the elections. He said that his purpose was to bring about reforms in the electoral system before the polls were actually conducted. He said that he was a great supporter of democracy. His third oath was on the fact that he was neither against democracy nor constitution in the country. He said that the objective of the public gathering was not to hint at any military takeover. He stated categorically that if the military tried to take over power, he would be the first person to oppose such a move along with other political and democratic leaders.

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January 2013 – Tehrir Square in Islamabad, about million of people get sit in for 4 days on open sky


Dr. Tahirul Qadri is a well-known Muslim cleric who has returned home and promised a Pakistani equivalent of Egypt’s Tahrir Square protests.


Million of people made sit in in D-Chock of Islamabad in front of Parliament House for 4 days of coldest nights. People committed with their oath & leave their homes & join the protest against the corrupt political system.

Addressing his supporters after the expiration of the 11 am deadline given to the government to resign and dissolve all assemblies, Dr Tahirul Qadri, chief of the Tehrik-i-Minhajul Quran (TMQ) said the nation had gathered in Islamabad to demand its rights, adding that the conclusion of the long march was the revolution’s victory.

Terming it the “Islamabad Declaration “, Qadri said the conclusion of the long march was the beginning of the revolution.

Qadri said he wanted changes and reforms in the country’s system, adding that his long march was democratic and peaceful.

He moreover said that if he would ask the protesters to take over the houses of parliament, they would go ahead with the instruction, adding that no power in the world could stop the march’s participants from taking over the parliament.


January 2013 – Hazaras refuse to bury their loved ones


Following a deadly twin bombing that killed over a hundred people in Hazara Town, Quetta, families and community members staged an unprecedented protest refusing to bury the victims. Thousands of Hazara Shias staged the sit-in in freezing cold on Alamdar Road for three days along with the bodies of dozens of victims killed in bombings. The protest ended when the government announced Governor’s Rule in the province.


May 2013 – Pakistanis come out to vote


According to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) the overall voter turnout in the 2013 general elections was recorded at 55.02% — a much higher percentage than elections since the 80s.


June 2013 – Pakistan gets its only war-ready female fighter pilot


Hailing from Bahawalpur, 26-year-old Ayesha Farooq is the first and only female war pilot in the Pakistan Air Force (PAF). Being the first of six female fighter pilots in the force to pass qualify for battle, Farooq is set to fly missions in a Chinese-made F7PG fighter jet alongside her 24 male colleagues. Women joining the air force is seen as less of a taboo now as Pakistan currently has 316 women in the air force whereas it had only about 100 five years ago.


June 2013 – Ziarat burnt down


Militants blew up Jinnah’s residency in Ziarat, the building where Quaid spent the last days of his life with his sister Fatima Jinnah in 1948, a year after Pakistan came into being. Soon after the attack, the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) claimed responsibility, who also removed Pakistan’s flag from the building, replacing it with the BLA flag.


September 2013 – Peshawar church attack


A twin suicide bombing killed over 80 people at a service at All Saints Church in Peshawar, officials said, in what is believed to be the country’s deadliest attack on Christians.


January 2014 – A student gives his life to save thousand others


Aitizaz Hasan sacrificed his life while trying to prevent a suicide attack on his school on January 6, 2014. There were nearly 2,000 students in the school at the time the attack occurred.


June 2014 – Operation Zarb e Azb begins


Following a deadly attack on the Karachi Airport in 2014, the military announced to launch Operation Zarb-e-Azb against militants in the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan and after a year, military forces claim to have killed at least 2,763 militants since the offensive was launched.


August 2014 – Inqilab March by Dr. Tahirul Qadri



The Inqilab March (انقلاب مارچ) (English: March for Revolution) is a public protest by the Pakistan Awami Tehrik (PAT) Party occurring in August and September 2014.

In mid-August 2014, Islamic Scholar Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri led thousands[citation needed] of people, in hundreds of cars, buses and trucks towards the federal capital, Islamabad, from the provincial capital, Lahore. Many of the protesters were daily wage workers and students from different parts of rural Punjab who were reportedly being paid to join the protest. Some of these paid protesters were then allegedly forced to stay in the protest against their wishes by the organizers, something the organizers have denied.


December 2014 – Attack on Army Public School, Peshawar



Pakistan’s darkest day fell on December 16, 2014, when at least 141 people, including 132 children and nine staff members of the school, were killed when unidentified armed men opened fire on an Army Public School. The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility for the terrorist attack, the biggest in the history of the country.


March 2015 – Pakistan Day Parade after 7 years


The annual Pakistan Day parade was last held in 2008 before authorities abandoned it because of fears it could be targeted as militants increased their attacks on the military.


May 2015 – International cricket returns to Pakistan


After security concerns were addressed, Zimbabwe cricket team accepted an invitation to play in Pakistan, marking the first visit by a test-playing nation since 2009. The teams played a series comprising of two T20s and three ODIs.


June 2015 – Heatwave in Pakistan kills over 1,000


With the temperatures rising over 42 degrees Celsius, the worst heat wave to hit Karachi for nearly 35 years took over 1,000 lives. Morgues ran out of space and residents rushed to supply over-stretched public hospitals.


August 2015 – Shuja Khanzada killed


Late Punjab home minister Col (retd) Shuja Khanzada was killed along with 16 others in a suicide blast at his political office in Shadi Khan near Attock on August 16. Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the attack.


October 2015 – Earthquake kills over 200 people in Pakistan and Afghanistan


October once again turned out to be the cruellest month in Pakistan. On October 26, Pakistan relived the horror when a major earthquake centred in the Hindu Kush – the 800km mountain range that stretches between central Afghanistan and northern Pakistan – killed more than 200 people in the two countries and injured hundreds of others, sending shockwaves as far as New Delhi.