1 Dojar

The Founder Of Pakistan Essay In Urdu


(Created by Daphne Ahalt, History 135, March 2002)

Assignment    History    Timeline    Fact Sheet    Music    Websites and Books    Related Events

What have been some of the characteristic features of Pakistan's history since 1947?

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Pakistan is a country rich in history. From the time civilization began its initial development in the Indus River valley over five thousand years ago to the present, the people and cultures of the region have experienced a diverse set of changing influences.

In the 1700s the British East India Company became the strongest power in South Asia, wresting control from the Mughal Empire, which had been created by invading Muslim Turks, and over time the British gained political control over much of the region. A series of wars fought in the Punjab and Sind in the 1840s added these territories to British control, and by 1900 British India included all of what is now Pakistan, India and Bangladesh.

After World War I, both Indian nationalist leaders, such as Mohandas Gandhi, and the Muslim League called for South Asian independence. During the 1930s, the Muslim League increasingly began to prefer the creation of a separate Muslim nation. Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the League's president, opted to call the proposed country, "Pakistan," which means "land of the pure" in Urdu.

After World War II, England committed itself to an independent South Asia. After unrest between Hindus and Muslims in the region, the United Kingdom and Hindu leaders agreed to a partition of the region. Pakistan became an independent country on 14 August 1947 with Muhammad Ali Jinnah as the first head of government.

Fighting continued between Hindus and Muslims despite the partition. Hindus and Sikhs fled to India, while Muslims departed for Pakistan, a disaster. Thousands died in the scuffle. India and Pakistan also went to war over Kashmir in 1948. Pakistan claimed Kashmir because most of its residents where Muslim, while the region's Hindu leader made Kashmir part of India. The fighting ended only after the United Nations arranged for a cease-fire in 1949.

Eventually in 1956, Pakistan became a republic with Major-General Iskander Mirza as the first president. Military leaders controlled the republican government. In 1965 the dispute over Kashmir led to renewed fighting, and once again, the United Nations had to arrange for a cease-fire. In 1970, representatives from East Pakistan (present-day Bangladesh) objected to West Pakistan's control of the nation's government, economy and armed forces. Elections were held for a new National Assembly responsible for drafting a revised constitution. But shortly after the elections, the differences and disagreements erupted in civil war. President Yahya Kahn, after inciting protests in East Pakistan, postponed the first meeting of the Assembly. Resisting the army, East Pakistan declared itself an independent country on 26 March 1971, "Bangladesh."

In the early 1970s Kahn resigned, and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto restored constitutional government and civilian rule. Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi agreed to withdraw her troops from all Pakistan territories. Kashmir, however, remained in dispute, and Indian troops remained positioned there. In 1973 Pakistan adopted a new constitution that provided for a president as head of state and a prime minister as chief executive. Bhutto became Prime Minister, and Chaudhri Fazal Elahi was elected president. When Bhutto's political party was accused of election fraud in the mid-1970s, General Mohammed Zia-Ul-Haq declared martial law and removed Bhutto from office. Elahi resigned in 1978, and Zia declared himself president. His government convicted Bhutto of ordering the murder of a political opponent and executed him in 1979.

Martial law ended in 1985 when Zia allowed the election of a new parliament. However, three years later he removed the prime minister and parliament from power, but later that year he died in a plane crash. Benazir Bhutto, daughter of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and head of the Pakistan People's Party, was elected prime minister of the new parliament. She became the first woman to ever head an elected government in an Islamic nation. Ghulan Ishaq Khan became president and, in 1990 accused Bhutto of corruption and removed her from office. The Islamic Democratic Alliance, a coalition of reformist political parties, won a majority of parliamentary seats in the new October elections. Nawaz Sharif of the Pakistan Muslim League, the chief party of the coalition, became Prime Minister, but political unrest continued. In the mid-1990s military pressure dissolved Pakistan's parliament and Khan and Sharif resigned. Once more, Benazir Bhutto became prime minister. This time President Leghari accused her of corruption, and she was removed from office again three years later. A law passed by parliament in April 1997 stripped the Pakistani president of the powers to dismiss the prime minister and to call new elections.

In October 1999 General Pervez Musharraf led a military coup to stop government corruption. He dissolved the parliament, suspended the Constitution and declared himself the head of a transition government; in 2001 he declared himself president. Musharraf incited protests from Pakistani supporters of Afghanistan's Islamic government when he allowed United States armed forces to operate in Pakistan during the war on terrorism. After India's Parliament building was attacked, causing the death and injury of 20 people, India blamed Pakistan of supporting terrorists. The incident led both countries to build up military forces along their common border, again threatening the fragile stability of the region.

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1940 - 1949:  1947: Pakistan became an independent nation; Muhammad Ali Jinnah elected Governor General with Liaquat Ali Khan as Prime Minister; 1948: Jinnah died; Kwaza Nazimuddin became Governor General.

1950 - 1959:    1951: Nazimuddin became the Prime Minister after Liaquat was assassinated 1956: The Constitution adopted; Governor General Mirza announced as President; 1958: Mirza declared martial law; he was sent into exile when General Mohammad Ayub Khan assumed the presidency.

1960 - 1969: 1965: Second war between India and Pakistan over Kashmir; cease-fire arranged by the United Nations; 1969: Ayub Khan resigned and martial law declared again; General Agha Mohammad Yahya Khan assumed the presidency.

1970 - 1979:    1971: East Pakistan attempted to secede and civil war broke out; East Pakistan declared an independent country named Bangladesh; Yahya Kahn resigned; Zulfikar Ali Bhutto elected President of Pakistan; 1972: Bhutto and Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi signed the SIMLA Agreement which created a new Line of Control; 1973: A new constitution was put into effect; Bhutto became Prime Minister; 1976: Diplomatic ties established between Pakistan and Bangladesh; 1977: General Mohammad Zia Ul-Haq proclaimed martial law; 1978: Zia became the sixth president of Pakistan; 1979: The Islamic penal code was introduced; Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was hanged for government corruption.

1980 - 1989:    1983: Zia lifted martial law; 1985: General elections were held: 1988: Zia dismissed the government and orders new elections; Zia killed in plane crash; Benazir Bhutto sworn in as the first female Prime Minister of an Islamic country.

1990 - 1999:    1990: Bhutto lost to the coalition of rightist parties in the national election; Nawaz Sharif elected Prime Minister; 1995: Benazir Bhutto elected again as Prime minister by a slim margin; 1996: President Farooq Leghari accused Bhutto of government corruption and nepotism; Bhutto was dismissed from her position; 1997: Sharif became head of the government after national elections; 1998: Nuclear tests in India and Pakistan produced worldwide condemnation and sanctions from countries such as the United States and Japan; 1999: General Pervez Musharraf led the Pakistani army in a coup that toppled Sharif's government; Sharif was accused of massive corruption, destroying institutions and undermining the Constitution.

2000 - Present:    2000: A two-year drought forced hundreds of thousands of Pakistanis to leave the southern desert region; deposed Prime Minister Sharif tried for treason; 2001: Musharraf appointed himself President of Pakistan; Musharraf set a date of 1 October 2002 for the return of a democratic government; Pakistan shut down its border with Afghanistan preventing more refugees from entering; Pakistan joined and international coalition against terrorism at the United States' urging.

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Fact Sheet

Flag: Pakistan's flag has a star and a crescent, both traditional symbols of Islam.  Green stands for the nation's Muslim majority.

Official Name: The Islamic Republic of Pakistan

Capital: Islamabad

Official Languages: Urdu and English (Others include: Punjabi, Sindhi, Siraiki, Pashtu, Balochi, Hindko, Brahui and Burushaski)

Population: Estimated for 2002 at 144,135,000 (67% percent rural, 33% urban)

Chief Agricultural Products: Wheat, Cotton, Rice, Sugar Cane, Milk and Chickpeas

Mining: Natural Gas and Petroleum

Manufacturing: Cotton Textiles and Clothing

Money: Pakistani rupee

Climate: Hot, dry desert; temperate in the northwest and arctic in the north; Annual rainfall of 36 inches.

National Holiday: Pakistan Resolution Day (proclamation of the republic in 1956), 23 March

Pakistan covers an area of approximated three hundred thousand square miles with the highest elevation being in the K2 mountain range at 28,250 feet above sea level.  The coastline extends over five hundred miles.
Pakistan is bordered by Afghanistan, Iran, China, India and the Arabian Sea.
Fact sheet information obtained from www.pak.org and www.hipakistan.com.

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Pakistani Music

Jeetaingay (*.mid file), one of the more famous qwaali songs from Pakistan (Source: Vital Signs Downloads)

Jeevay (*.mid file), a famous national songs of Pakistan (Source: Vital Signs Downloads)

Dil Dil Pakistan (*.mid file), music by one of the most famous Pakistani musical groups (Source: Vital Signs Downloads)

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Websites and Books

Some reference websites:

Atlapedia Online includes information and articles on the history of Pakistan and any other country you wish to research!

CIA World Factbook - Pakistan has factual information on Pakistan.

Pakistan WWW Virtual Library maintains an enormous amount of linked information on Pakistan.

Pakistan provides some information on the history of Pakistan, its culture and more.

Pakistan, Encyclopedia.com, contains historical information on the political progress in Pakistan.

Some research websites:

Pakistan's Ruling Elite is an essay on the dominant features of past and recent rulers of Pakistan.

Pakistan's Historical Background is a long essay on the background, pre-1948, history of Pakistan.

Story of Pakistan: The Web Site is a comprehensive reference on the political history of Pakistan, including timelines and historical articles.

Some official websites:

Official Pakistan Web Site has links to government offices, travel information and the Pakistani media

HiPakistan.com has current news and information from a variety of Pakistan newspapers and television and radio stations

PakRanks.com maintains links to websites dedicated to Pakistani culture, entertainment, government, media, shopping and more!

DAWN: The Internet Edition Pakistani newspaper online

Our Pakistan Information on Pakistan's history with links to images, movies, music and more.

Pakistan Information is an official Ministry of Information and Broadcasting site.

Some good books:

Some Far and Distant Place by Jonathan S. Addleton, University of Georgia Press, Athens GA, 1997; a vivid and humorous look at the author's life as a missionary's son in Pakistan.

Cultures of the World: Pakistan by Sean Sheehan, Marshall Cavendish Corporation, Tarrytown, NY 1996; written as a juvenile reference.

India and Pakistan: The First Fifty Years by Selig S. Harrison, et al, Cambridge University Press, New York, 1998; a look back at the first fifty years of independence.

The Sole Spokesman: Jinnah, The Muslim League and the Demand for Pakistan by Ayesha Jalal, Cambridge University Press, New York, 1994; history of Jinnah and the Muslim League.

Pakistan in the Twentieth Century: A Political History by Lawrence Ziring, Oxford University Press, 2000; an analysis of both the vision and the reality of South Asian polity.

Pakistan: Political Roots and Development by Safdar Mahmood, Oxford University Press, 2000; a historical background on the development of Pakistan.

Pakistan Leadership Challenges by Jahan Dad Khan, Oxford Univeristy Press, 1999; a historical look at Pakistani leaders and the challenges they faced before.

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Related Events

This article is about the history of the Pakistan before 1947. For the history of Pakistan after 1947, see History of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

Part of a series on the

History of Pakistan


  • Palaeolithic
  • Neolithic
  • Indus Valley Civilisation, c. 3300 – c. 1700 BCE
  • Vedic Civilization, c. 1500 – c. 500 BCE
  • Achaemenid Empire, c. 550 – c. 330 BCE
  • Ror Dynasty, c. 489 – c. 450 BCE
  • Macedonian Empire, c. 329 – c. 323 BCE
  • Mauryan Empire, c. 322 – c. 200 BCE
  • Seleucid Empire, c. 312 – c. 63 BCE
  • Greco-Bactrian Kingdom, c. 190 – c. 140 BCE
  • Indo-Greek Kingdom, c. 170 – c. 50 BCE
  • Indo-Scythian Kingdom, c. 110 BCE – c. 95 CE


  • Caliphate, c. 643 – 860 CE
  • Pala Empire, c. 770 – 850 CE
  • Habbari Dynasty, c. 841 – 1024 CE
  • Kabul Shahi, c. 870 – 1010 CE
  • Samanid Empire, c. 905 – 999 CE
  • Ghaznavids, c. 999 – 1186 CE
  • Soomra Dynasty, c. 1024 – 1351 CE
  • Ghurid Dynasty, c. 1170 – 1215 CE
  • Delhi Sultanate, c. 1206 – c. 1526 CE
  • Mongol Empire, c. 1221 – c. 1327 CE
  • Samma Dynasty, c. 1351 – c. 1524 CE
  • Arghun Dynasty, c. 1520 – c. 1554 CE
  • Mughal Empire, c. 1526 – c. 1707 CE
  • Bombay Presidency, c. 1618 – c. 1947 CE
  • Suri Dynasty, c. 1540 – c. 1556 CE
  • Tarkhan Dynasty, c. 1554 – 1591 CE

The history of Pakistan (Urdu: تاریخ پاکستان‬‎) encompasses the history of the region constituting modern-day Pakistan. For over three millennia, the region has witnessed human activity[1] and one of the world's major civilizations,[2][3][4][5] the Indus Valley Civilisation. The trade routes which traverse the Indus Valley linking Central Asia, the Indian subcontinent and the Orient have attracted people from as far as Greece and Mongolia[6] and several imperial powers, the last being the British Empire.

History by chronology and region[edit]

Main article: Timeline of Pakistani history


Paleolithic period[edit]

The Riwatian is a Paleolithic site in upper Punjab. Riwat Site 55, shows a later occupation dated to around 45,000 years ago. The Soanian is archaeological culture of the Lower Paleolithic, shazi and ali are brother Acheulean. It is named after the Soan Valley in the Sivalik Hills, near modern-day Islamabad/Rawalpindi. In Adiyala and Khasala, about 16 kilometres (9.9 mi) from Rawalpindi, on the bend of the Soan River hundreds of edged pebble tools were discovered. No human skeletons of this age have yet been found.

Neolithic period[edit]

Main article: Mehrgarh

Mehrgarh is an important neolithic site discovered in 1974, which shows early evidence of farming and herding,[7] and dentistry.[1] The site dates back to 7000–5500 BCE) and is located on the Kachi Plain of Balochistan. The residents of Mehrgarh lived in mud brick houses, stored grain in granaries, fashioned tools with copper ore, cultivated barley, wheat, jujubes and dates, and herded sheep, goats and cattle. As the civilization progressed (5500–2600 BCE) residents began to engage in crafts, including flint knapping, tanning, bead production, and metalworking. The site was occupied continuously until 2600 BCE,[8] when climatic changes began to occur. Between 2600 and 2000 BCE, region became more arid and Mehrgarh was abandoned in favor of the Indus Valley,[9] where a new civilization was in the early stages of development.[10]

Indus Valley Civilisation[edit]

Main article: Indus Valley Civilisation

The Bronze Age in the Indus Valley began around 3300 BCE with the Indus Valley Civilization. Along with Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, it was one of three early civilizations of the Old World, and of the three the most widespread, covering an area of 1.25 million km2.[13] It flourished in the basins of the Indus River, in what is today the Pakistani provinces of Sindh, Punjab and Balochistan, and along a system of perennial, mostly monsoon-fed, rivers that once coursed in the vicinity of the seasonal Ghaggar-Hakra river in parts of northwest India.[15][16][note 1] At its peak, the civilization hosted a population of approximately 5 million spread across hundreds of settlements extending as far as the Arabian Sea to present-day southern and eastern Afghanistan, and the Himalayas.[17] Inhabitants of the ancient Indus river valley, the Harappans, developed new techniques in metallurgy and handicraft (carneol products, seal carving), and produced copper, bronze, lead, and tin.

The Mature Indus civilisation flourished from about 2600 to 1900 BCE, marking the beginning of urban civilisation in the Indus Valley. The civilisation included urban centres such as Harappa, Ganeriwala and Mohenjo-daro as well as an offshoot called the Kulli culture (2500–2000 BCE) in southern Balochistan and was noted for its cities built of brick, roadside drainage system, and multi-storeyed houses. It is thought to have had some kind of municipal organisation as well.

During the late period of this civilisation, signs of a gradual decline began to emerge, and by around 1700 BCE, most of the cities were abandoned. However, the Indus Valley Civilisation did not disappear suddenly, and some elements of the Indus Civilisation may have survived. Aridification of this region during the 3rd millennium BCE may have been the initial spur for the urbanisation associated with the civilisation, but eventually also reduced the water supply enough to cause the civilisation's demise, and to scatter its population eastward.[18][19][16][20][note 2] The civilization collapsed around 1700 BCE, though the reasons behind its fall are still unknown. Through the excavation of the Indus cities and analysis of town planning and seals, it has been inferred that the Civilization had high level of sophistication in its town planning, arts, crafts, and trade.

7000–5500 BCEPre-HarappanMehrgarh I (aceramic Neolithic)Early Food Producing Era
5500–3300 BCEMehrgarh II-VI (ceramic Neolithic)Regionalisation Era
c.4000-2500/2300 BCE (Shaffer)
c.5000–3200 BCE (Coningham & Young)
3300–2800 BCEEarly HarappanHarappan 1 (Ravi Phase; Hakra Ware)
2800–2600 BCEHarappan 2 (Kot Diji Phase, Nausharo I, Mehrgarh VII)
2600–2450 BCEMature Harappan
(Indus Valley Civilisation)
Harappan 3A (Nausharo II)Integration Era
2450–2200 BCEHarappan 3B
2200–1900 BCEHarappan 3C
1900–1700 BCELate Harappan
(Cemetery H);Ochre Coloured Pottery
Harappan 4Localisation Era
1700–1300 BCEHarappan 5

Early history – Iron Age[edit]

Vedic period[edit]

Main article: Vedic Civilization

See also: Indo-Aryan Migration, Indo-Aryans, and Vedas

Indus Valley[edit]

The Vedic Period (c. 1500 – c. 500 BCE) is postulated to have formed during the Indo-Aryan migration between 1500 BCE to 800 BCE. As Indo-Aryans migrated and settled into the Indus Valley, along with them came their distinctive religious traditions and practices which fused with local culture.[23] The Indo-Aryans religious beliefs and practices from the Bactria–Margiana Culture and the native Harappan Indus beliefs of the former Indus Valley Civilisation eventually gave rise to Vedic culture and tribes.[24][note 3] The initial early Vedic culture was a tribal, pastoral society centered in the Indus Valley, of what is today Pakistan. During this period the Vedas, the oldest scriptures of Hinduism, were composed.[note 4]

Several early tribes and kingdoms arose during this period and internecine military conflicts between these various tribes was common; as described in the Rig Veda, which was being composed at this time, the most notable of such conflicts was the Battle of Ten Kings. This battle took place on the banks of the River Ravi in the 14th century BC (1300 BCE). The battle was fought between the Bharatas tribe and a confederation of ten tribes:

  • Abhira Kingdom, centered in the Cholistan-Thar region.[citation needed]
  • Bahlika Kingdom, centered in Punjab.
  • Gandhara grave culture, also called Swat culture and centered in the Swat Valley of present-day Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
  • Kamboja Kingdom, centered in the Hindu Kush region.
  • Kasmira Kingdom, centered in present-day Kashmir Valley.
  • Madra Kingdom, centered in upper Punjab, with its capital at Sialkot
  • Pauravas, a sub-clan of Kambojas
  • Sindhu Kingdom, centered in present-day Sindh.
  • Sudra Kingdom, centered in the Cholistan-Thar region.[citation needed]

Ganges Plain[edit]

After 1200 BCE, some Vedic tribes began migrating to the Ganges Plain, present-day India, which was characterized by increasing settled agriculture, a hierarchy of four social classes, and the emergence of monarchical, state-level polities. In addition to the Vedas, the principal texts of Hinduism, the core themes of the Sanskrit epics Ramayana and Mahabharata are said to have their ultimate origins during this period.[29] The early Indo-Aryan presence probably corresponds, in part, to the Ochre Coloured Pottery culture in archaeological contexts.[30] The end of the Vedic period witnessed the rise of large, urbanised states as well as of shramana movements (including Jainism and Buddhism) which challenged the Vedic orthodoxy. Around the beginning of the Common Era, the Vedic tradition formed one of the main constituents of the so-called "Hindu synthesis".

Achaemenid Empire[edit]

Main article: Achaemenid invasion of the Indus Valley

The main Vedic tribes remaining in the Indus Valley by 550 BC were the Kamboja, Sindhu, Taksas of Gandhara, the Madras and Kathas of the River Chenab, Mallas of the River Ravi and Tugras of the River Sutlej. These several tribes and principalities fought against one another to such an extent that the Indus Valley no longer had one powerful Vedic tribal kingdom to defend against outsiders and to wield the warring tribes into one organized kingdom. The area was wealthy and fertile, yet infighting led misery and despair. King Pushkarasakti of Gandhara was engaged in power struggles against his local rivals and as such the Khyber Pass remained poorly defended. King Darius I of the Achaemenid Empire took advantage of the opportunity and planned for an invasion. The Indus Valley was fabled in Persia for its gold and fertile soil and conquering it had been a major objective of his predecessor Cyrus The Great.[33] In 542 BC, Cyrus had led his army and conquered the Makran coast in southern Balochistan. However, he is known to have campaigned beyond Makran (in the regions of Kalat, Khuzdar and Panjgur) and lost most of his army in the Gedrosian Desert (speculated today as the Kharan Desert).

In 518 BC, Darius led his army through the Khyber Pass and southwards in stages, eventually reaching the Arabian Sea coast in Sindh by 516 BC. Under Persian rule, a system of centralized administration, with a bureaucratic system, was introduced into the Indus Valley for the first time. Provinces or "satrapy" were established with provincial capitals:

  • Gandhara satrapy, established 518 BC with its capital at Pushkalavati (Charsadda). Gandhara Satrapy was established in the general region of the old Gandhara grave culture, in what is today Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. During Achaemenid rule, the Kharosthi alphabet, derived from the one used for Aramaic (the official language of Achaemenids), developed here and remained the national script of Gandhara until 200 AD.
  • Hindush satrapy, established in 518 BC with its capital at Taxila. The satrapy was established in upper Punjab (presumably in the Potohar plateau region).
  • Arachosia satrapy, established in 517 BC with its capital at Kandahar. Arachosia was one of the larger provinces covering much of lower Punjab, southern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa of modern-day Pakistan and Helmand province of what is today Afghanistan. The inhabitants of Arachosia were referred to as Paktyans by ethnicity, and that name may have been in reference to the ethnic Pax̌tūn (Pashtun) tribes.
  • Sattagydia satrapy, established in 516 BC in what is today Sindh. Sattagydia is mentioned for the first time in the Behistun inscription of Darius the Great as one of the provinces in revolt while the king was in Babylon. The revolt was presumably suppressed in 515 BC. The satrapy disappears from sources after 480 BC, possibly being mentioned by another name or included with other regions.[34]
  • Gedrosia satrapy, established in 542 BC, covered much of the Makran region of southern Balochistan. It had been conquered much earlier by Cyrus The Great.[35]

Despite all this, there is no archaeological evidence of Achaemenid control over these region as not a single archaeological site that can be positively identified with the Achaemenid Empire has been found anywhere in Pakistan, including at Taxila. What is known about the easternmost satraps and borderlands of the Achaemenid Empire is alluded to in the Darius inscriptions and from Greek sources such as the Histories of Herodotus and the later Alexander Chronicles (Arrian, Strabo et al.). These sources list three Indus Valley tributaries or conquered territories that were subordinated to the Persian Empire and made to pay tributes to the Persian Kings: Gandhara, Sattagydia and Hindush.[34]

Ror dynasty[edit]

Main article: Ror Dynasty

The Ror dynasty (Sindhi: روهڙا راڄ‎) was a SindhiBuddhist dynasty which ruled much of what is today Sindh, Punjab and northwest India in 450 BC.[36] The Rors ruled from Rori and was built by Dhaj, Ror Kumar, a Ror Kshatriya. BuddhistJataka stories talk about exchanges of gifts between King Rudrayan of Roruka and King Bimbisara of Magadha.[37]Divyavadana, the Buddhist chronicle has said that Rori historically competed with Pataliputra in terms of political influence.[38] Rori was wiped out in a major sand storm,[39] which was recorded in both the Buddhist Bhallatiya Jataka and Jain annals.

Macedonian Empire[edit]

Main articles: Indian campaign of Alexander the Great and Macedonian Empire

In 328 BC, Alexander The Great of Macedonia and now the king of Persia, had conquered much of the former Satraps of the Achaemenid Empire up to Bactria. The remaining satraps lay in the Indus Valley, but Alexander ruled off invading the Indus until his forces were in complete control of the newly acquired satraps. In 327 BC, Alexander married Roxana (a princess of the former Bactria satrapy) to cement his relations with his new territories. Now firmly under Macedonian rule, Alexander was free to turn his attention to the Indus Valley. The rationale for the Indus campaign is usually said to be Alexander's desire to conquer the entire known world, which the Greeks thought ended around the vicinity of the River Indus.

In the winter of 327 BC, Alexander invited all the chieftains in the remaining five Achaemenid satraps to submit to his authority. Ambhi, then ruler of Taxila in the former Hindush satrapy complied, but the remaining tribes and clans in the former satraps of Gandhara, Arachosia, Sattagydia and Gedrosia rejected Alexander's offer. By spring of 326 BC, Alexander began on his Indus expedition from Bactira, leaving behind 3500 horses and 10,000 soldiers. He divided his army into two groups. The larger force would enter the Indus Valley through the Khyber pass, just as Darius had done 200 years earlier, while a smaller force under the personal command of Alexander entered through a northern route, possibly through Broghol or Dorah Pass near Chitral. Alexander was commanding a group of shield-bearing guards, foot-companions, archers, Agrianians, and horse-javelin-men and led them against the tribes of the former Gandhara satrapy.

The first tribe they encountered were the Aspasioi tribe of the Kunar Valley, who initiated a fierce battle against Alexander, in which he himself was wounded in the shoulder by a dart. However, the Aspasioi eventually lost and 40,000 people were enslaved. Alexander then continued in a southwestern direction where he encountered the Assakenoi tribe of the Swat & Buner valleys in April 326 BC. The Assakenoi fought bravely and offered stubborn resistance to Alexander and his army in the cities of Ora, Bazira (Barikot) and Massaga. So enraged was Alexander about the resistance put up by the Assakenoi that he killed the entire population of Massaga and reduced its buildings to rubble – similar slaughters followed in Ora.[40] A similar slaughter then followed at Ora, another stronghold of the Assakenoi. The stories of these slaughters reached numerous Assakenians, who began fleeing to Aornos, a hill-fort located between Shangla and Kohistan. Alexander followed close behind their heels and besieged the strategic hill-fort, eventually capturing and destroying the fort and killing everyone inside. The remaining smaller tribes either surrendered or like the Astanenoi tribe of Pushkalavati (Charsadda) were quickly neutralized where 38,000 soldiers and 230,000 oxen were captured by Alexander.[41] Eventually Alexander's smaller force would meet with the larger force which had come through the Khyber Pass met at Attock. With the conquest of Gandhara complete, Alexander switched to strengthening his military supply line, which by now stretched dangerously vulnerable over the Hindu Kush back to Balkh in Bactria.

After conquering Gandhara and solidifying his supply line back to Bactria, Alexander combined his forces with the King Ambhi of Taxila and crossed the River Indus in July 326 BC to begin the Archosia (Punjab) campaign. His first resistance would come at the River Jhelum near Bhera against King Porus of the Paurava tribe. The famous Battle of the Hydaspes (Jhelum) between Alexander (with Ambhi) and Porus would be the last major battle fought by him. After defeating King Porus, his battle weary troops refused to advance into India[42] to engage the army of Nanda Dynasty and its vanguard of trampling elephants. Alexander, therefore proceeded southwest along the Indus Valley.[43] Along the way, he engaged in several battles with smaller kingdoms in Multan and Sindh, before marching his army westward across the Makran desert towards what is now Iran. In crossing the desert, Alexander's army took enormous casualties from hunger and thirst, but fought no human enemy. They encountered the "Fish Eaters", or Ichthyophagi, primitive people who lived on the Makran coast, who had matted hair, no fire, no metal, no clothes, lived in huts made of whale bones, and ate raw seafood.

Alexander founded several new settlements in Gandhara, Punjab and Sindh.[44] and nominated officers as Satraps of the new provinces:

  • In Gandhara, Oxyartes was nominated to the position of Satrap by Alexander in 326 BC.
  • In Sindh, Alexander nominated his officer Peithon as Satrap in 325 BC, a position he would hold for the next ten years.
  • In Punjab, Alexander initially nominated Philip as Satrap from 327 BC to 326 BC. In 326 BC, he nominated Eudemus and Taxiles as joint-Satraps until 323 BC when Eudemus resigned leaving Taxiles as Satrap until 321 BC. Porus of Jhelum then became Satrap of Punjab.
  • In Gedrosia, Sibyrtius was nominated as Satrap in 323 BC and remained so until 303 BC.

When Alexander died in 323 BCE, he left behind an expansive empire stretching from Greece to the Indus River. The empire was put under the authority of Perdiccas, and the territories were divided among Alexander's generals (the Diadochi), who thereby became satraps of the new provinces. However, the Satraps of the Indus Valley largely remained under the same leaders while conflicts were brewing in Egypt and Mesopotamia.

Mauryan Empire[edit]

Main article: Maurya Empire

Due to the internal conflicts of Alexanders generals, Chandragupta and his Brahmin counselor Chanakya saw an opportunity to expand the Mauryan Empire from its Ganges Plain heartland in Bihar towards the Indus Valley between 325 BC to 303 BC. At the same time, Seleucus I now ruler much of the Macedonian Empire was advancing from Babylon in order to establish his writ in the former Persian and Indus Valley provinces of Alexander. During this period, Chandragupta's mercenaries may have assassinated Satrap of Punjab Philip. They presumably also fought Eudemus, Porus and Taxiles of Punjab and Peithon of Sindh. In 316 BC, both Eudemus and Peithon left Punjab and Sindh for Babylon, thus ending Macedonian rule. The Mauryan Empire now controlled Punjab and Sindh. As the Seleucid Empire expanded eastwards towards the Indus, it was becoming more difficult for Seleucus to assert control over the vast eastern domains. Seleucus invaded Punjab in 305 BC, confronting Chandragupta Maurya. It is said that Chandragupta fielded an army of 600,000 men and 9000 war elephants. After two years of war, Seleucus reached an agreement with Chandragupta, in which he gave his daughter in marriage to Chandragupta and exchanged his eastern provinces for a considerable force of 500 war elephants, which would play a decisive role at Ipsus (301 BC). Strabo, in his Geographica, wrote:

"He [Seleucus] crossed the Indus and waged war with Maurya who dwelt on the banks of that stream, until they came to an understanding with each other and contracted a marriage relationship."

Alexander took these away from the Indo-Aryans and established settlements of his own, but Seleucus Nicator gave them to Sandrocottus (Chandragupta), upon terms of intermarriage and of receiving in exchange 500 elephants.[45]

— Strabo, 64 BC–24 AD

Thus Chandragupta was given Gedrosia (Balochistan) and much of what is now Afghanistan, including the modern Herat[46] and Kandahar provinces, thereby ending Macedonian control in the Indus Valley by 303 BC.

Under Chandragupta and his successors, internal and external trade, agriculture and economic activities, all thrived and expanded across the empire thanks to the creation of a single and efficient system of finance, administration, and security. The empire was divided into four provinces, with the imperial capital at Pataliputra. From Ashokan edicts, the names of the four provincial capitals were Tosali (in the eastern Ganges plain), Ujjain (in the western Ganges plain), Suvarnagiri (in the Deccan), and Taxila (in the Indus Valley). The head of the provincial administration was the Kumara (royal prince), who governed the provinces as king's representative. The kumara was assisted by Mahamatyas and council of ministers. The empire also enjoyed an era of social harmony, religious transformation, and expansion of the sciences and of knowledge. Mauryans were followers of Buddhism and Hinduism. Chandragupta Maurya's embrace of Jainism increased social and religious renewal and reform across his society, while Ashoka's embrace of Buddhism has been said to have been the foundation of the reign of social and political peace and non-violence across the empire.[46] Following the demise of Chandragupta, Ashoka became Emperor who ruled between 268 BC – 232 BC. Ashoka was followed for 50 years by a succession of weaker kings. In 185 BC, the Shunga coup took place in which the emperor was killed, thus ending Mauryan rule. The fall of the Mauryas left the Khyber Pass unguarded, and a wave of invasions followed.

The Greco-Bactrian king, Demetrius, capitalized on the break-up, and he conquered the Indus Valley in around 180 BC, forming the Indo-Greek Kingdom.

Greco-Bactrian Kingdom[edit]

Main article: Greco-Bactrian Kingdom

By the time Chandragupta's grandson Ashoka had become emperor, Buddhism was flourishing in the Indus Valley and much of the eastern Seleucid Empire. In 250 BC, the eastern part of the Seleucid Empire broke away to form the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom by Diodotus of Bactria. Some of the Greeks apparently also converted to Buddhism during this period.

Here in the king's domain among the Greeks, the Kambojas, the Nabhakas, the Nabhapamkits, the Bhojas, the Pitinikas, the Andhras and the Palidas, everywhere people are following Beloved-of-the-Gods' instructions in Dharma. (Edicts of Ashoka, 13th Rock Edict, S. Dhammika).

Although Buddhism was flourishing, Brahminism was resisting Buddhist advances in the Ganges Plain and when Ashoka himself converted to Buddhism, he directed his efforts towards expanding the faith in the Indo-Iranian and Hellenistic worlds. According to the Edicts of Ashoka, set in stone, some of them written in Greek, he sent Buddhist emissaries to the Greek lands in Asia and as far as the Mediterranean. The edicts name each of the rulers of the Hellenistic world at the time.

The conquest by Dharma has been won here, on the borders, and even six hundred yojanas (4,000 miles) away, where the Greek king Antiochos rules, beyond there where the four kings named Ptolemy, Antigonos, Magas and Alexander rule, likewise in the south among the Cholas, the Pandyas, and as far as Tamraparni. (Edicts of Ashoka, 13th Rock Edict, S. Dhammika).

Furthermore, according to Pali sources, some of Ashoka's emissaries were Greek-Buddhist monks, indicating close religious exchanges between the two cultures:

When the thera (elder) Moggaliputta, the illuminator of the religion of the Conqueror (Ashoka), had brought the (third) council to an end… he sent forth theras, one here and one there: …and to Aparantaka (the "Western countries" corresponding to Gujarat and Sindh) he sent the Greek (Yona) named Dhammarakkhita... and the thera Maharakkhita he sent into the country of the Yona. (Mahavamsa, XII).

When Ashoka died in 232 BC, Mauryan hold on the Indus began weakening as Brahminism was attempting to retake control of the Ganges heartland though the Shunga revolt. As such, the Mauryans began retreating out of the Indus back east towards Pataliputra (Patna) to protect the imperial capital. This left most of the Indus Valley unguarded and most importantly left the Khyber Pass open to invasion. In 230 BC, Euthydemus overthrew Diodotus to establish himself as king. The Greco-Bactrians were allied with the Mauryans and had kept close relations with Ashoka.

Following the collapse of the Mauryans, the first Brahmin emperor of the Shunga Empire (Pushyamitra Shunga) is believed to have persecuted Buddhists and contributed to a resurgence of Brahmanism that forced Buddhism outwards to Kashmir, Gandhara and Bactria.[47] Buddhist scripture such as the Asokavadana account of the Divyavadana and ancient Tibetan historian Taranatha have written about persecution of Buddhists. Pushyamitra is said to have burned down Buddhist monasteries, destroyed stupas, massacred Buddhist monks and put rewards on their heads, but some consider these stories as probable exaggerations.[47][48] The Shunga revolt was viewed as a persecution of Buddhists by Euthydemus.[49]Demetrius, the son of Euthydemus, “invaded” the Indus Valley in 180 BC. Historians now suggest that the invasion was intended to show their support for the Mauryans and thus, the Indo-Greek Kingdom was established in 170 BC, in order to prevent the Shungas from advancing the Indus Valley.

Classical period – Middle Kingdoms[edit]

Indo-Greek Kingdom[edit]

A map outlining historical sites in Pakistan
Archaeological cultures. The GGC, Cemetery H, Copper Hoard and PGW cultures are candidates for cultures associated with Indo-Aryans.
Much of the area corresponding to modern-day Pakistan was subordinated to the Achaemenid Empire and forced to pay tributes to Persia
Alexander's campaign in the Indus Valley.

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