| A region inhabited since ancient times, Pakistan has been an attractive target for invaders since the Aryans (around 1500 BC) to Alexander the Great (more than 1100 years later) to the empire of Asoka (300 BC). Until the land fall to Islamic invaders, it was a Buddhist center, although portions of the country were more closely tied to Persia and Afghanistan, and others to northern India. The Mongols invaded in the 1200s and were then displaced by the Timur Leng at the end of the 1300s. When that empire fell, the country was divided into several kingdoms, but it came together again in 1526 with the rise of the Mogul empire. By the 1800s, British rule had become dominant and after 1857, that country controlled the area, some regions directly and other as protectorates. Though Muslims and Hindus appeared allied against the British, their Non-Cooperation Movement of the 1920s eventually deteriorated into disarray. In 1940, the Muslim League began agitating for an independent Muslim state. At the time India withdrew in 1947, Hindus and Muslims fled in opposite directions, accompanied by violence and the loss of hundreds of thousands of lives. Pakistan was granted status within the Commonwealth in 1947 and independence in 1956. During the 1960s, Pakistan and India clashed at their border and Pakistan faced difficulties as martial law was declared in 1969. Civil war was followed by the secession of the Eastern half of the country; it became the nation of Bangladesh. india also joined the fray (1972) but the two countries ultimately came to terms and diplomatic relations were restored in 1976. The political instability that has characterized the country has persisted to the present, with military coups, executions, and charges of corruption.