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Key events in Pakistan's political history

A chronology of key events in Pakistan's history:

— Aug. 14, 1947: Pakistan is founded when British rule over the region ends and the Asian subcontinent is partitioned into Islamic Pakistan, divided into East and West, and predominantly Hindu India.

— Sept. 11, 1948: Pakistan founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah dies.

— Oct. 16, 1951: Pakistan's first prime minister, Liaquat Ali Khan, assassinated in gun attack, triggering political instability.

— Oct. 27, 1958: Pakistani army chief Mohammed Ayub Khan seizes power.

— March 25, 1969: After months of opposition rioting in West and East Pakistan, Mohammed Ayub Khan hands over power to army chief Gen. Yahya Khan.

— Dec. 7, 1970: East Pakistan-based Awami League wins general elections. In response, Yahya Khan suspends the government, triggering widespread rioting in East Pakistan. Civil war breaks out in the wake of army action.

— Dec. 16, 1971: Pakistan troops surrender in East Pakistan after India's intervention in the civil war. East Pakistan becomes independent Bangladesh.

— Dec. 20, 1971: Yahya Khan resigns, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto becomes president. A parliamentary system of government is adopted later, and Bhutto becomes prime minister.

— July 5, 1977: Pakistani army chief Gen. Mohammed Zia ul-Haq seizes power.

— April 4, 1979: Bhutto hanged after Supreme Court upholds his death sentence on charges of conspiracy to murder and Zia rejects his mercy petition.

— Aug. 17, 1988: Zia dies in a mysterious plane crash.

— Dec. 2, 1988: Bhutto's daughter Benazir becomes Pakistan's first woman prime minister.

— Aug. 6, 1990: Ms. Bhutto's government dismissed amid charges of corruption and mismanagement.

— Nov. 1, 1990: Nawaz Sharif becomes prime minister following election.

— April 18, 1993: President Ghulam Ishaq Khan dismisses Sharif's government on corruption charges but the Supreme Court revokes the order and reinstates Sharif.

— July 18, 1993: Due to serious differences between President Khan and Prime Minister Sharif, then-army chief Gen. Waheed Kakar forces both to resign.

— Oct. 19, 1993: Ms. Bhutto becomes prime minister for a second time following elections.

— Nov. 5, 1996: Ms. Bhutto again dismissed amid renewed charges of corruption and incompetence by her own party president Farooq Leghari.

— Feb. 17, 1997: Sharif becomes prime minister for a second time after elections. Ms. Bhutto goes into self-imposed exile to avoid prosecution in corruption cases.

— Oct. 12, 1999: Army chief Gen. Pervez Musharraf ousts Sharif in a bloodless coup after the prime minister tries to sack the general. Sharif exiled after court convicts him of conspiracy against Musharraf.

— Nov. 21, 2002: Zafarullah Jamali becomes prime minister after pro-Musharraf parties win election.

— Aug. 23, 2004 Shaukat Aziz elected prime minister after Jamali resigns due to differences with Musharraf.

— Oct. 5, 2007: Musharraf issues a controversial ordinance protecting officials from past corruption charges as part of a deal that paves the way for Ms. Bhutto and Sharif to return home.

— Oct. 18, 2007: Ms. Bhutto returns to the country from exile to participate in elections.

— Nov. 3, 2007: Musharraf declares state of emergency and sacks the chief justice of the Supreme Court, trigger a nationwide protest movement led by lawyers that weakens his grip on power.

— Nov. 25, 2007: Sharif returns home from exile.

— Dec. 27, 2007: Ms. Bhutto assassinated in a gun and bomb attack.

— March 25, 2008: Yousuf Raza Gilani becomes prime minister after the Pakistan People's Party wins election on the back of sympathy over Ms. Bhutto's death.

— Aug. 18, 2008: Musharraf resigns from presidency under pressure from main political parties.

— Sept. 6, 2008: Ms. Bhutto's husband, Asif Ali Zardari, elected president.

— June 19, 2012: Supreme Court disqualifies Prime Minister Gilani for refusing to reopen old corruption case against the president.

— June 22, 2012: Raja Pervez Ashraf becomes prime minister.

— March 16, 2013: Pakistan People's Party government reaches historic milestone by completing its full five-year term.

— March 24, 2013: Mir Hazar Khan Khoso appointed as caretaker prime minister.

— May 11, 2013: Elections will mark the first time a civilian government has completed its full five-year term and transferred power in democratic elections.