A Look at the Past

Although Pakistan is a young nation, it has an ancient history. Pakistan and India have shared elements of their cultural and social history which dates back to 5000 years. Mohenjedaro and Harappa were the two urban centres of the Indus Valley Civilization, one of the oldest in the world. Today, these areas form parts of the Sind and Punjab provinces of Pakistan.

Over the millennia, the Indian subcontinent, which includes Pakistan, witnessed the immigration of different groups from the West. The Aryans migrated around 1500 B.C. and mixed with the people known as Dravidians. Parts of Pakistan were visited by successive armies from Greece, Afghanistan and Persia, known today as Iran. The Arab Muslims arrived in the eighth century A.D. and brought the Islamic religion with them. Waves of Arabs and Turks followed, and large numbers of people converted to Islam from Hinduism.

In 1601 the British came as traders to the Indian subcontinent and by 1858 the British government forcibly took control of the area. In the 19th century the Indian National Congress was formed to challenge British rule over India. Mohamed Ali Jinnah, the leader of the Muslim League, was one of the key political activists along with Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru in the Congress Party.

In 1945, Jinnah the leader of the Muslim League, demanded a separate nation to distinguish its territories from India. Pakistan became a sovereign nation State on August 14, 1947. When the British left the region, millions of Hindus and Sikhs fled to India and millions of Muslims came to Pakistan.

Did you know?

The great Indus Valley civilization developed between 300 B.C. and 1500 B.C. or roughly at the same time as the Mesopotamian and Egyptian civilizations.