Pakistan: Political Parties, Trades Unions and Pressure Groups Material

Scope and Content

Pakistan pamphlets, leaflets, speeches, reports, conference reports, letters, newsletters, and miscellaneous materials, from 1940 onwards issued by the All Pakistan Federation of Trade Unions, the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (Jammu and Kashmir, India), Jamiatiattehad-Ul-Ulma, the Muslim India Information Centre, the National Awami Party of Pakistan (London), the National Democratic Movement (Pakistan), the National Progressive League (Pakistan), the Pakistan Democratic Party, the Pakistan Muslim League, the Pakistan National Movement, and the Pakistan People's Party.

Administrative / Biographical History

Pakistan gained its independence in 1947 and its political system has since been characterised by instability and frequent reversions to military rule (from 1958-1970, 1977-1988 and 1999 onwards). The political parties covered here include the Pakistan Muslim League (PML), which provided the country's early leaders and the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) of Zulfikar Ali and Benazir Bhutto. The failure of the latter party to form a coalition government with the Awami League of East Pakistan after the 1970 elections led to civil war and the creation of Bangladesh in 1971, but also to the resignation of the military's Yahya Khan and the promotion of Zulfikar Ali to president, the country's first non-military chielf martial law administrator, but following the 1977 elections he was deposed by General Zia and executed. In the 1990s both Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif (of the PML) were removed from the prime ministership, though they did not face the same draconian fate. The majority of the materials held here orgininate from the 1950s and 1960s, during the first period of democratic government and reflecting the protests against the imposition of military rule, but there are also items dating from before partition and later materials concerned with the dispute with India over Kashmir.


Alphabetically by organisation, and then in rough chronological order.

Access Information

Open to all for research purposes; access is free for anyone in higher education.

Acquisition Information

Institute of Commonwealth Studies

Other Finding Aids

Records at item level on library catalogue (SASCAT)

Archivist's Note

Description compiled by Daniel Millum, Political Archives Project Officer at the Institutes of Commonwealth and Latin American Studies.

Conditions Governing Use

Copies can usually be obtained - apply to library staff.

Custodial History

The Commonwealth Political Parties Materials collection was begun in 1960-61, with special emphasis being placed then, as now, on 'primary material such as party constitutions, policy statements, convention reports and election manifestos.' (ICS, Twelfth Annual Report 1960-1961). Since then, the main method of gathering material has been to appeal directly to political parties throughout the Commonwealth, though contributions from Institute members and staff following visits to relevant countries have been significant. More recently material has been collected by means of downloading documents from the websites of the major parties.


Further accruals are expected, some in electronic form.

Related Material

See also Aden: Trades Unions Material (TU.AD) and Aden: Pressure Groups Material (PG.AD), as well as Political Party, Trades Unions and Pressure Group Materials for other Commonwealth countries and related material in the library's main classified sequence, all held at the ICS.

Geographical Names