(Reuters) - Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was assassinated on Thursday in a gun and bomb attack after holding an election rally in the city of Rawalpindi. Her party and state media confirmed her death.
Here is a chronology of major political events in the country in recent months:
March 9, 2007 - President Pervez Musharraf suspends Supreme Court Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry over allegations of misconduct. Lawyers rally round him and Musharraf’s popularity plummets.
July 10 - Musharraf orders troops to storm the Red Mosque in Islamabad to crush a Taliban-style movement there. At least 105 people are killed. Militant attacks and suicide bombings follow.
July 20 - Supreme Court reinstates Chief Justice Chaudhry, dealing a blow to Musharraf’s authority.
July 27 - Musharraf meets former prime minister Benazir Bhutto in Abu Dhabi for inconclusive talks on how to move the country towards a civilian-led democracy. Bhutto demands that Musharraf step down as army chief.
Sept 10 - Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif is arrested at Islamabad airport on his arrival from exile, despite the Supreme Court clearing his return. He is deported to Saudi Arabia.
October 2 - Musharraf’s government announces it will drop graft charges against Bhutto, clearing the way for her return.
October 6 - Musharraf wins a new presidential term in a vote by legislators. Supreme Court holds off confirming legality of vote.
October 19 - Suicide bomber tries to assassinate Bhutto in Karachi as she returns from eight years of exile. At least 139 people are killed in one of the country’s deadliest attacks.
November 2 - Supreme Court reconvenes to decide if Musharraf was eligible to stand for re-election while army chief.
November 3 - Musharraf imposes emergency rule, detaining thousands of opposition politicians and lawyers.
November 11 - Musharraf says election will take place on January 8.
November 13 - Bhutto is placed under house arrest for a week in Lahore, hours before a planned march against emergency rule. Bhutto says Musharraf must quit as president.
November 14 - Sharif says he is ready to work with Bhutto.
November 15 - Musharraf appoints Senate chairman Mohammadmian Soomro to head a caretaker line-up to oversee elections.
November 22 - Commonwealth suspends Pakistan.
November 25 - Sharif returns from exile.
November 28 - A tearful Musharraf hands command of the army to General Ashfaq Kayani.
November 29 - Musharraf is sworn in as civilian leader.
November 30 - Bhutto publishes her manifesto for the January 8 election, keeping open the option of boycotting the vote.
December 9 - Sharif says he will take part in election, rather than boycott.
December 15 - Musharraf lifts the state of emergency and restores the constitution.
December 27 - Bhutto is killed in a gun and bomb attack after a rally in Rawalpindi. At least 16 people are killed in the blast.
Writing by David Cutler and Gill Murdoch, London Editorial Reference Unit; editing by Roger Crabb