A map shows South Asia today.
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This map shows South Asia today. West Pakistan is now called Pakistan. East Pakistan is now called Bangladesh. Ceylon is now called Sri Lanka. What geographic reason made it difficult for Pakistan to retain control of Bangladesh?

In the 1980s, the Hindu nationalist party, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), began to challenge the secular, or nonreligious, Congress Party. The BJP accused Indira Gandhi of overstepping her authority and favoring minority religions at the expense of Hinduism. They wanted a government based on Hindu traditions. Religious minority groups accused the party of stoking violence.

Pakistan and Bangladesh Separate

When Pakistan gained independence in 1947, it was a divided country. West Pakistan and East Pakistan were located on either side of India, separated by a thousand miles. India made trade and travel between the two Pakistans difficult.

Bangladesh Declares Independence

Although East and West Pakistanis were Muslim, their languages and cultures differed. Bengalis in the east outnumbered Punjabis in the west, but Punjabis dominated the government. The government concentrated most economic development programs in West Pakistan, while East Pakistan remained deep in poverty. Many Bengalis resented governmental neglect of East Pakistan.

In 1971, Bengalis in East Pakistan declared independence. They named their country Bangladesh, or “Bengali nation.” Pakistan's military ruler ordered the army to crush the rebellion. Millions of Bengalis fled into India. India responded by attacking and defeating the Pakistani army in Bangladesh. Pakistan was then compelled to recognize the new country.

Pakistan's Unstable Government

After independence, Pakistan struggled to build a stable government. Power shifted back and forth between elected civilian leaders and military rulers. Tensions among the country's diverse ethnic groups posed problems. The fiercely independent people in the northwestern “tribal areas” were left largely on their own and resisted government control.

The activities of Islamic fundamentalists created tension. The fundamentalists wanted a government that followed strict Islamic principles, while other Pakistanis wanted greater separation between religion and state.


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World History Topic 1 Origins of Civilization (Prehistory–300 B.C.) Topic 2 The Ancient Middle East and Egypt (3200 B.C.–500 B.C.) Topic 3 Ancient India and China (2600 B.C.–A.D. 550) Topic 4 The Americas (Prehistory–A.D. 1570) Topic 5 Ancient Greece (1750 B.C.–133 B.C.) Topic 6 Ancient Rome and the Origins of Christianity (509 B.C.-A.D. 476) Topic 7 Medieval Christian Europe (330–1450) Topic 8 The Muslim World and Africa (730 B.C.-A.D. 1500) Topic 9 Civilizations of Asia (500–1650) Topic 10 The Renaissance and Reformation (1300–1650) Topic 11 New Global Connections (1415–1796) Topic 12 Absolutism and Revolution Topic 13 The Industrial Revolution Topic 14 Nationalism and the Spread of Democracy (1790–1914) Topic 15 The Age of Imperialism (1800–1914) Topic 16 World War I and the Russian Revolution (1914–1924) Topic 17 The World Between the Wars (1910–1939) Topic 18 World War II (1930–1945) Topic 19 The Cold War Era (1945–1991) Topic 20 New Nations Emerge (1945–Present) Topic 21 The World Today (1980-Present) United States Constitution Primary Sources 21st Century Skills Atlas Glossary Index Acknowledgments