Following is a chronology of key events in Pakistan since its independence in 1947. 

Aug. 14, 1947: Pakistan gains independence. 

Oct. 27, 1947:  War breaks out with India in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir. 

Sept. 11, 1948:  Pakistan's founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah, known as Qaid-e-Azam (great leader), dies. 

Jan. 1, 1949:  Cease-fire ordered by the U.N. Security Council takes effect in Himalayan territory of Kashmir. 

April 8, 1948:  Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan and Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru sign pact to protect minorities in both countries. 

Oct. 17, 1951:  Liaqat Ali Khan is shot dead at a rally in Rawalpindi. 

Jan. 3, 1954:  Constituent Assembly declares Urdu and Bengali as official languages of Pakistan. 

May 1954:  Pakistan signs mutual defense agreement with the United States. 

Sept. 23, 1955: Pakistan signs Baghdad pact for mutual defense with Turkey, Iraq and Britain. 

March 23, 1956: Constituent assembly adopts name of Islamic Republic of Pakistan and first constitution. 

Oct. 7, 1958:  Governor-general Iskander Mirza abrogates constitution, enforces martial law with General Ayub Khan as Chief Martial Law Administrator and bans political parties. 

Oct. 24, 1958:  Ayub Khan becomes prime minister. 

Feb. 17, 1960:  Ayub Khan becomes first elected president. 

April 28, 1962:  Elections for new national assembly are held under so-called "basic democracy" system. 

Sept. 6-22, 1965:  Full-scale India-Pakistan war over Kashmir, which ends after a U.N. call for cease-fire . 

Dec. 22, 1965:  Pakistan inaugurates first atomic reactor. 

Jan. 3, 1966:  President Ayub Khan and Indian Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri sign Soviet-mediated peace pact in Tashkent. 

March 26, 1969:  General Yayha Khan imposes martial law, dissolving national and provincial assemblies. 

Dec. 3-17, 1971:  India and Pakistan fight war over East Pakistan, which ends in surrender of 90,000 Pakistani troops and leads to creation of Bangladesh. 

Dec. 20, 1971:  Yahya hands power to Zulfikar Ali Bhutto who becomes chief martial law administrator of West Pakistan. 

April 20, 1972:  Martial law is lifted and an interim constitution enforced. 

July 2, 1972:  Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi sign peace accord in Simla, India. 

April 10, 1973:  Parliament approves new constitution. 

Aug. 28, 1973:  India agrees to release Pakistani prisoners of war held since December 1971. 

July 4, 1977:  Army chief General Mohammad Zia-ul-Haq seizes power, arrests Bhutto and declares martial law. 

April 4, 1979:  Bhutto is hanged on disputed conviction for conspiring to commit a political murder. 

Feb. 25, 1985:  Zia holds non-party elections and names Mohammad Khan Junejo as prime minister. 

Dec. 30, 1985:  Martial law is lifted. 

Aug. 17, 1988:  Zia and many senior military officers die in plane crash near Bahawalpur. 

Nov. 16, 1988:  Benazir Bhutto and her Pakistan People's Party win 39 percent of vote in general elections. 

Dec. 13, 1988:  Ghulam Ishaq Khan becomes president. 

Dec. 31, 1988:  India and Pakistan sign agreement not to attack each other's nuclear facilities. 

Jan. 1990:  An uprising against Indian rule in the Kashmir Valley breaks out, inflaming tensions with India. 

Aug. 6, 1990:  President Ghulam Ishaq Khan sacks Bhutto's government. Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi is named caretaker prime minister until general elections in October 1990. 

Nov. 6, 1990:  Nawaz Sharif is elected prime minister. 

April 18, 1993:  President Ishaq Khan dismisses Sharif's government. 

Oct. 19, 1993:  Benazir Bhutto becomes prime minister for the second time after winning general elections. 

Nov. 13, 1993:  Farooq Leghari, a Bhutto nominee, is elected president. 

January 1994:  Peace talks with India break down over Kashmir. 

Nov. 5, 1996:  President Farooq Leghari sacks Bhutto, dissolves parliament and calls elections for February 3. 

Feb 3, 1997:  Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League party wins general elections by landslide margin. 

Feb. 17, 1997:  Sharif becomes prime minister for second time. 

March 28, 1997:  Pakistan and India resume peace talks at foreign secretary level for first time since 1994. 

Dec. 2, 1997:  President Farooq Leghari resigns after a six- month legal battle to have Sharif investigated for misuse of power during his first premiership. 

May 28, 1998:  Pakistan conducts five nuclear tests in response to India's tests earlier in the month. 

Aug. 4, 1998:  Guerrillas in India's Kashmir region kill 19 people as cross-border firing by the Indian and Pakistani armies runs into its sixth day. 

Oct. 18, 1998:  Pakistan and India end their first peace talks in a year with agreement to meet again next February in New Delhi. 

April 15, 1999:  Former Pakistan prime minister Benazir Bhutto and her husband are sentenced in absentia to a five-year jail terms on charges of corruption. 

June-July, 1999:  Weeks of border skirmishes erupt between Pakistan and India over Muslim militant infiltrators who seized hilltop positions on the Indian side of the line of control. 

July 12, 1999:  Pakistan orders the Muslim militant infiltrators to withdraw from Kashmir, ending the standoff with India.

October 12, 1999:  Chief of Army Staff and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, Gen. Pervez Musharraf suspended Pakistan's constitution during a military coup and assumed the additional title of Chief Executive of Pakistan. Sharif was imprisoned on hijack charges.