Pakistani politics has been experiencing many ups and downs since independence in 1947 with the power struggle between civilian and military leaders shaping the country’s political arena. Only three governments have completed their full tenure.
Pakistan will head to the polls on July 25 to choose a new leader in what will be the second democratic transition of power in seven decades.
The South Asian nation has been ruled by the military for about half of its history since independence in 1947.
Ahead of the historic election, we look at major events that have formed the country’s politics.
August 14, 1947 - Muslim League leader Mohammad Ali Jinnah, known as Quaid-e-Azam (Father of the nation), is sworn in as the first governor-general of Pakistan after British India is divided into two independent states – the Muslim majority Pakistan (comprising East and West wings) and Hindu-majority India. Liaquat Ali Khan becomes the first prime minister.
October 16, 1951 - Liaquat Ali Khan, who drafted the Objectives Resolution – a preamble to the current constitution – is assassinated in Rawalpindi.
1951-1954 - Several prime ministers are sacked over drafting the constitution and defining the role of various institutions for governance.
March 23, 1956 - Military strongman Iskander Mirza, who played an important role in ousting of Governor-General Sir Malik Ghulam, is sworn in as the first president and approves Pakistan's first constitution.
October 7, 1958 - Iskander Mirza declares martial law.
October 27, 1958 - Army Commander General Ayub Khan dismisses Mirza in the first successful coup of the country.
January 2, 1965 - Ayub Khan defeats Fatima Jinnah, sister of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, and is re-elected as president in an election that is marred by allegations of political rigging by the powerful military.
March 25, 1969 - Ayub hands over power to Army Chief General Yahya Khan, who imposes martial law for the second time and dissolves all assemblies, after protests led by politician Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.
December 7, 1970 - First general elections are held with victory of East Pakistani leader of the Awami League, raising tensions with the country’s West wing.
March 26, 1971 - Pakistan military experiences one of the heaviest setbacks after tensions between East Pakistan and West Pakistan over the outcome of the election lead to a war. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who founded Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), assumes power as country’s only civilian martial law administrator after Indian intervention in Bangladesh results in separation.
December 20, 1971 - Zulfikar Ali Bhutto is elected president
August 14, 1973 - New constitution comes into effect, giving the power of decision-making to the prime minister and rendering the president as a figurehead. Bhutto, who formulated the constitutional change, becomes the prime minister and Fazal Ellahi president.
March 7, 1977 - General elections see a victory for Bhutto's party amid rigging allegations.
July 5, 1977 - Bhutto is deposed by then army chief General Ziaul Haq and arrested on charges of authorising a murder of a political opponent. Zia declares martial law.
April 4, 1979 - Bhutto is hanged in Rawalpindi after a controversial trial on charges of corruption and extrajudicial killings.
February 28, 1985 - General elections are held on a non-party basis. Zia becomes president as Muhammad Khan Junejo is appointed prime minister. The new national assembly ratifies Zia's actions over the last eight years.
August 17, 1988 - Zia dies, along with 31 others, including the US ambassador, in a plane crash.
November 16, 1988 - Benazir Bhutto, daughter of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, wins elections, becoming the country's first female prime minister.
August 6, 1990 - President Ghulam Ishaq Khan sacks Benazir's government on charges of corruption.
October 24, 1990 - Nawaz Sharif becomes prime minister after the Islami Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI) – a coalition of religious parties and the Pakistan Muslim league widely believed to have been engineered by the military – wins the elections.
April 19, 1993 - Ghulam Ishaq Khan dismisses Sharif's government on charges of corruption.
July 18, 1993 - Ghulam Ishaq Khan and Sharif resign.
October 6, 1993 - Benazir is elected prime minister once again.
November 14, 1993 - Farooq Leghari is elected president.
November 5, 1996 - Leghari dismisses Benazir's government on corruption charges.
February 3, 1997 - Sharif becomes the prime minister for the second time after his party wins a landslide in general elections.
October 12, 1999 - Chief of Army Staff General Pervez Musharraf stages a coup to topple the civilian government of Sharif.
May 13, 2000 - Supreme Court justices who take their oath under a Provisional Constitutional Order validate the military coup in the country.
June 20, 2001 - General Musharraf becomes president while holding the post of chief of army staff.
April 30, 2002 - Musharraf holds a referendum on staying on as president for another five years. He wins the majority.
October 10, 2002 - General elections are held under Musharraf's military government. The Pakistan Muslim League-Q wins most seats. Zafarullah Khan Jamali is sworn in as prime minister.
August 28, 2004 - Shaukat Aziz, then the finance minister, replaces Jamali as prime minister.
October 18, 2007 - Bomb blast targets a PPP reception rally for Benazir as she returns to the country for an election bid after a reconciliation deal with Musharraf following an eight-year exile.
December 27, 2007 - Benazir is assassinated in a gun and bomb attack after addressing a campaign rally in Rawalpindi.
February 18, 2008 - Yousuf Raza Gilani is elected prime minister as the PPP wins general elections.
September 6, 2008 - Asif Ali Zardari, the widower of Benazir Bhutto, is elected president.
April 8, 2010 - Zardari hands over power to dissolve assemblies to the prime minister shifting the country from a semi-presidential system to a complete parliamentary system.
June 19, 2012 - Pakistan Supreme Court disqualifies Gilani from his post after finding him in contempt of court.
June 22, 2012 - Raja Parvez Ashraf of the PPP is sworn in as prime minister.
May 11, 2013 - General elections are held and Sharif becomes prime minister after his PML-N wins the polls.
July 28, 2017 - Sharif resigns from office after the Supreme Court disqualifies him over a corruption case related to ownership of luxury flats in London.
August 1, 2017 - PML-N’s Shahid Khaqan Abbasi becomes the new prime minister.
July 14, 2018 - Sharif and daughter Maryam Nawaz are arrested after their return to Lahore from London, where they were tending to an ailing wife and mother Kulsoom Nawaz.
July 25, 2018 - Elections to be held in Pakistan.