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This article is about the country. For other uses, see Pakistan (disambiguation).

Coordinates: 30°N70°E / 30°N 70°E / 30; 70

Islamic Republic of Pakistan

اِسلامی جمہوریہ پاكِستان‬ (Urdu)
Islāmī Jumhūriyah Pākistān[1]

Motto: Īmān, Ittihād, Nazam
ایمان، اتحاد، نظم‬ (Urdu)
"Faith, Unity, Discipline" [2]

Area controlled by Pakistan shown in dark green; claimed but uncontrolled region shown in light green

CapitalIslamabad
33°40′N73°10′E / 33.667°N 73.167°E / 33.667; 73.167
Largest cityKarachi
24°51′36″N67°00′36″E / 24.86000°N 67.01000°E / 24.86000; 67.01000
Official languages
Recognised regional languages
National languageUrdu[11][12]
Ethnic groups(2016)44.68% Punjabis
15.42% Pashtuns
14.1% Sindhis
8.38% Saraikis
7.57% Muhajirs
3.57% Balochs
6.28% Others[13]
Religion96.4% Islam(Official)[14]
3.6% others[13]
DemonymPakistani
GovernmentFederal parliamentary constitutional republic

• President

Mamnoon Hussain

• Prime Minister

Shahid Khaqan Abbasi

• Chairman of the Senate

Sadiq Sanjrani

• Speaker of the Assembly

Sardar Ayaz Sadiq

• Chief Justice

Mian Saqib Nisar
LegislatureParliament

• Upper house

Senate

• Lower house

National Assembly
Independence from the United Kingdom

• Dominion

14 August 1947

• Islamic Republic

23 March 1956

• Current constitution

14 August 1973
Area

• Total

881,913 km2 (340,509 sq mi)[a][16] (33rd)

• Water (%)

2.86
Population

• 2017 census

209,970,000[17] (5th)

• Density

244.4/km2 (633.0/sq mi) (56th)
GDP (PPP)2017 estimate

• Total

$1.060 trillion[18] (25th)

• Per capita

$5,374[18] (137th)
GDP (nominal)2017 estimate

• Total

$304.4 billion[19] (42nd)

• Per capita

$1,629 [20] (145th)
Gini (2013)30.7[21]
medium
HDI (2015) 0.550[22]
medium · 147th
CurrencyPakistani rupee (₨) (PKR)
Time zonePST(UTC+5b)
Drives on theleft[23]
Calling code+92
ISO 3166 codePK
Internet TLD.pk

Website
www.pakistan.gov.pk

Pakistan[b] (Urdu: پاکِستان‬‎), officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan (Urdu: اِسلامی جمہوریہ پاکِستان‬‎), is a country in South Asia and crossroads of Middle East and Central Asia. It is the fifth-most populous country with a population exceeding 209,970,000 people.[17] In area, it is the 33rd-largest country, spanning 881,913 square kilometres (340,509 square miles). Pakistan has a 1,046-kilometre (650-mile) coastline along the Arabian Sea and Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by India to the east, Afghanistan to the west, Iran to the southwest, and China in the far northeast. It is separated narrowly from Tajikistan by Afghanistan's Wakhan Corridor in the northwest, and also shares a maritime border with Oman.

The territory that now constitutes Pakistan was the site of several ancient cultures, including the Mehrgarh of the Neolithic and the Bronze AgeIndus Valley Civilisation, and was later home to kingdoms ruled by people of different faiths and cultures, including Hindus, Indo-Greeks, Muslims, Turco-Mongols, Afghans, and Sikhs. The area has been ruled by numerous empires and dynasties, including the Persian Achaemenid Empire, Alexander III of Macedon, the Indian Mauryan Empire, the Arab Umayyad Caliphate, the Gupta Empire,[24] the Delhi Sultanate, the Mongol Empire, the Mughal Empire, the Afghan Durrani Empire, the Sikh Empire (partially), and, most recently, the British Empire.

Pakistan is the only country to have been created in the name of Islam.[25][26] As a result of the Pakistan Movement led by Muhammad Ali Jinnah and the subcontinent's struggle for independence, Pakistan was created in 1947 as an independent homeland for Indian Muslims.[27] It is an ethnically and linguistically diverse country, with a similarly diverse geography and wildlife. Initially a dominion, Pakistan adopted a constitution in 1956, becoming an Islamic republic. An ethnic civil war in 1971 resulted in the secession of East Pakistan as the new country of Bangladesh.[28] In 1973 Pakistan adopted a new constitution establishing, alongside its pre-existing parliamentary republic status, a federal government based in Islamabad consisting of four provinces and four federal territories. The new constitution also stipulated that all laws are to conform to the injunctions of Islam as laid down in the Quran and Sunnah.[29]

A regional[30][31][32] and middle power,[33][34][35] Pakistan has the sixth-largest standing armed forces in the world and is also a nuclear power as well as a declared nuclear-weapons state, the second in South Asia and the only nation in the Muslim world to have that status. Pakistan has a semi-industrialised economy with a well-integrated agriculture sector and a growing services sector.[36][37] The Pakistani economy is the 24th-largest in the world in terms of purchasing power and the 41st-largest in terms of nominal GDP (World Bank). It is ranked among the emerging and growth-leading economies of the world,[38][39] and is backed by one of the world's largest and fastest-growing middle class.[40][41]

Pakistan's political history since independence has been characterized by periods of military rule, political instability and conflicts with India. The country continues to face challenging problems, including overpopulation, terrorism, poverty, illiteracy, and corruption.[42][43][44][45] Pakistan is a member of the United Nations, the Non-Aligned Movement, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, the Commonwealth of Nations, the Economic Cooperation Organisation, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, the Developing Eight, and the G20 developing nations, Group of 24, Group of 77, and ECOSOC. It is also an associate member of CERN. Pakistan is a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol, the Paris Agreement, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Etymology

The name Pakistan literally means "land of the pure" in Urdu and Persian. It alludes to the word pāk meaning pure in Persian and Pashto.[46] The suffix ـستان (-stān) is a Persian word meaning the place of, and also recalls the synonymous (and cognate) Sanskrit word sthānaस्थान.[47]

The name of the country was coined in 1933 as Pakstan by Choudhry Rahmat Ali, a Pakistan Movement activist, who published it in his pamphlet Now or Never,[48] using it as an acronym ("thirty million Muslim brethren who live in PAKSTAN") referring to the names of the five northern regions of the British Raj: Punjab, Afghania, Kashmir, Sindh, and Baluchistan.[49][50][51] The letter i was incorporated to ease pronunciation.[52]

History

Main article: History of Pakistan

See also: Outline of South Asian history

Early and medieval age

Main articles: Indus Valley Civilization, Vedic Civilization, Mauryan Empire, Indo-Greek Kingdom, Gupta Empire, Pala Empire, Sikh Empire, and Mughal Empire

Some of the earliest ancient human civilisations in South Asia originated from areas encompassing present-day Pakistan.[53] The earliest known inhabitants in the region were Soanian during the Lower Paleolithic, of whom stone tools have been found in the Soan Valley of Punjab.[54] The Indus region, which covers most of present day Pakistan, was the site of several successive ancient cultures including the Neolithic Mehrgarh[55] and the Bronze Age Indus Valley Civilisation[57][58][59][60] (2,800–1,800 BCE) at Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro.[61][62]

The Vedic Civilisation (1500–500 BCE), characterised by Indo-Aryan culture, during this period the Vedas, the oldest scriptures associated with Hinduism, were composed and this culture later became well established in the region.[63][64]Multan was an important Hindu pilgrimage centre.[65] The Vedic civilisation flourished in the ancient Gandhāran city of Takṣaśilā, now Taxila in the Punjab, which was founded around 1000 BCE.[55] Successive ancient empires and kingdoms ruled the region: the Persian Achaemenid Empire (around 519 BCE), Alexander the Great's empire in 326 BCE[67] and the Maurya Empire, founded by Chandragupta Maurya and extended by Ashoka the Great, until 185 BCE.[55] The Indo-Greek Kingdom founded by Demetrius of Bactria (180–165 BCE) included Gandhara and Punjab and reached its greatest extent under Menander (165–150 BCE), prospering the Greco-Buddhist culture in the region.[55][68] Taxila had one of the earliest universities and centres of higher education in the world, which was established during the late Vedic period in 6th century BCE.[69][70] The school consisted of several monasteries without large dormitories or lecture halls where the religious instruction was provided on an individualistic basis.[70] The ancient university was documented by the invading forces of Alexander the Great, "the like of which had not been seen in Greece," and was also recorded by Chinese pilgrims in the 4th or 5th century CE.[71][72][73][74]

At its zenith, the Rai Dynasty (489–632 CE) of Sindh ruled this region and the surrounding territories.[75] The Pala Dynasty was the last Buddhist empire, which, under Dharmapala and Devapala, stretched across South Asia from what is now Bangladesh through Northern India to Pakistan.

The Arab conqueror Muhammad bin Qasim conquered Sindh in 711 CE.[76][77][78][79][80] The Pakistan government's official chronology claims this as the time when the foundation of Pakistan was laid[76][81][82] but the concept of Pakistan came in 19th century.The Early Medieval period (642–1219 CE) witnessed the spread of Islam in the region. During this period, Sufimissionaries played a pivotal role in converting a majority of the regional Buddhist and Hindu population to Islam.[83] These developments set the stage for the rule of several successive Muslim empires in the region, including the Ghaznavid Empire (975–1187 CE), the Ghorid Kingdom, and the Delhi Sultanate (1206–1526 CE). The Lodi dynasty, the last of the Delhi Sultanate, was replaced by the Mughal Empire (1526–1857 CE).

The Mughals introduced Persian literature and high culture, establishing the roots of Indo-Persian culture in the region.[84] From the region of modern-day Pakistan, key cities during the Mughal rule were Lahore and Thatta,[85] both of which were chosen as the site of impressive Mughal buildings.[86] In the early 16th century, the region remained under the Mughal Empire ruled by Muslim emperors.[87] By the early 18th century, increasing European influence contributed to the slow disintegration of the empire as the lines between commercial and political dominance became increasingly blurred.[87]

During this time, the English East India Company had established coastal outposts.[87] Control over the seas, greater resources, technology, and British military protection led the Company to increasingly flex its military muscle, allowing the Company to gain control over the subcontinent by 1765 and sideline European competitors.[88] Expanding access beyond Bengal and the subsequent increased strength and size of its army enabled it to annex or subdue most of region by the 1820s.[87] Many historians see this as the start of the region's colonial period.[87] By this time, with its economic power severely curtailed by the British parliament and itself effectively made an arm of British administration, the Company began more deliberately to enter non-economic arenas such as education, social reform, and culture.[87] Such reforms included the enforcement of the English Education Act in 1835 and the introduction of the Indian Civil Service (ICS).[89] Traditional madrasahs—primary institutions of higher learning for Muslims in the subcontinent—were no longer supported by the English Crown, and nearly all of the madrasahs lost their financial endowment.[90]

Colonial period

Main articles: Aligarh Movement and British Raj

The gradual decline of the Mughal Empire in the early 18th century enabled the Sikh Empire to control larger areas until the British East India Company gained ascendancy over the Indian subcontinent.[91] A rebellion in 1857 called the Sepoy mutiny was the region's major armed struggle against the British Empire and Queen Victoria.[92] Divergence in the relationship between Hinduism and Islam created a major rift in British India that led to racially motivated religious violence in India.[93] The language controversy further escalated the tensions between Hindus and Muslims.[94] The Hindu renaissance witnessed an awakening of intellectualism in traditional Hinduism and saw the emergence of more assertive influence in the social and political spheres in British India.[95][96] An intellectual movement to counter the Hindu renaissance was led by Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, who helped found the All-India Muslim League in 1901 and envisioned, as well as advocated for, the two-nation theory.[91] In contrast to the Indian Congress's anti-British efforts, the Muslim League was a pro-British movement whose political program inherited the British values that would shape Pakistan's future civil society.[97] In events during World War I, British Intelligence foiled an anti-Englishconspiracy involving the nexus of Congress and the German Empire.[citation needed] The largely non-violent independence struggle led by the Indian Congress engaged millions of protesters in mass campaigns of civil disobedience in the 1920s and 1930s against the British Empire.[98][99][100]

The Muslim League slowly rose to mass popularity in the 1930s amid fears of under-representation and neglect of Muslims in politics. In his presidential address of 29 December 1930, Allama Iqbal called for "the amalgamation of North-West Muslim-majority Indian states" consisting of Punjab, North-West Frontier Province, Sindh, and Balochistan.[102] The perceived neglect of muslim interests by Congress led provincial governments during the period of 1937–39 convinced Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan to espouse the two-nation theory and led the Muslim League to adopt the Lahore Resolution of 1940, popularly known as the Pakistan Resolution.[91] In World War II, Jinnah and British-educatedfounding fathers in the Muslim League supported the United Kingdom's war efforts, countering opposition against it whilst working towards Sir Syed's vision.[103]

Pakistan Movement

Main articles: History of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Pakistan Movement, and Partition of India

The 1946 elections resulted in the Muslim League winning 90 percent of the seats reserved for Muslims. Thus, the 1946 election was effectively a plebiscite in which the Indian Muslims were to vote on the creation of Pakistan, a plebiscite won by the Muslim League.[104] This victory was assisted by the support given to the Muslim League by the support of the landowners of Sindh and Punjab. The Congress, which initially denied the Muslim League's claim of being the sole representative of Indian Muslims, was now forced to recognise the fact.[104] The British had no alternative except to take Jinnah's views into account as he had emerged as the sole spokesperson of India's Muslims. However, the British did not want India to be partitioned, and in one last effort to prevent it they devised the Cabinet Mission plan.[105]

As the cabinet mission failed, the British government announced its intention to end the British Raj in India in 1946–47.[106]Nationalists in British India—including Jawaharlal Nehru and Abul Kalam Azad of Congress, Jinnah of the All-India Muslim League, and Master Tara Singh representing the Sikhs—agreed to the proposed terms of transfer of power and independence in June 1947 with the Viceroy of India, Lord Mountbatten of Burma.[107] As the United Kingdom agreed to the partitioning of India in 1947, the modern state of Pakistan was established on 14 August 1947(27th of Ramadan in 1366 of the Islamic Calendar), amalgamating the Muslim-majority eastern and northwestern regions of British India.[100] It comprised the provinces of Balochistan, East Bengal, the North-West Frontier Province, West Punjab, and Sindh.[91][107]

In the riots that accompanied the partition in Punjab Province, it is believed that between 200,000 and 2,000,000[108][109][110][111][112][113] people were killed in what some have described as a retributive genocide between the religions[114][115] while 50,000 Muslim women were abducted and raped by Hindu and Sikh men and 33,000 Hindu and Sikh women also experienced the same fate at the hands of Muslims.[116][117][118][119] Around 6.5 million Muslims moved from India to West Pakistan and 4.7 million Hindus and Sikhs moved from West Pakistan to India.[120] It was the largest mass migration in human history.[121][122][123] Dispute over Jammu and Kashmir led to the First Kashmir War in 1948.[124][125]

Independence and modern Pakistan

Main articles: Dominion of Pakistan and History of Pakistan

"You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place or worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed – that has nothing to do with the business of the State."

—Muhammad Ali Jinnah's first speech to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan[126]

After independence in 1947, Jinnah, the President of the Muslim League, became the nation's first Governor-General as well as the first President-Speaker of the Parliament,[127] but he died of tuberculosis on 11 September 1948.[128] Meanwhile, Pakistan's founding fathers agreed to appoint Liaquat Ali Khan, the secretary-general of the party, the nation's firstPrime Minister. With dominion status in the Commonwealth of Nations, independent Pakistan had two British monarchs before it became a republic.[127]

The creation of Pakistan was never fully accepted by many British leaders, among them Lord Mountbatten.[129] Mountbatten clearly expressed his lack of support and faith in the Muslim League's idea of Pakistan.[130] Jinnah refused Mountbatten's offer to serve as Governor-General of Pakistan.[131] When Mountbatten was asked by Collins and Lapierre if he would have sabotaged Pakistan had he known that Jinnah was dying of tuberculosis, he replied 'most probably'.[132]

Maulana Shabbir Ahmad Usmani, a respected Deobandi alim (scholar) who occupied the position of Shaykh al-Islam in Pakistan in 1949, and Maulana Mawdudi of Jamaat-i-Islami played a pivotal role in the demand for an Islamic constitution. Mawdudi demanded that the Constituent Assembly make an explicit declaration affirming the "supreme sovereignty of God" and the supremacy of the shariah in Pakistan.[133]

A significant result of the efforts of the Jamaat-i-Islami and the ulama was the passage of the Objectives Resolution in March 1949. The Objectives Resolution, which Liaquat Ali Khan called the second most important step in Pakistan's history, declared that "sovereignty over the entire universe belongs to God Almighty alone and the authority which He has delegated to the State of Pakistan through its people for being exercised within the limits prescribed by Him is a sacred trust". The Objectives Resolution has been incorporated as a preamble to the constitutions of 1956, 1962, and 1973.[134]

Democracy was stalled by the martial law that had been enforced by President Iskander Mirza, who was replaced by army chief, General Ayub Khan. After adopting a presidential system in 1962, the country experienced exceptional growth until a second war with India in 1965 that led to an economic downturn and wide-scale public disapproval in 1967.[135][136]Consolidating control from Ayub Khan in 1969, President Yahya Khan had to deal with a devastating cyclone that caused 500,000 deaths in East Pakistan.[137]

In 1970 Pakistan held its first democratic elections since independence, meant to mark a transition from military rule to democracy, but after the East Pakistani Awami League won against the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Yahya Khan and the military establishment refused to hand over power.[138][139]Operation Searchlight, a military crackdown on the Bengali nationalist movement, led to a declaration of independence and the waging of a war of liberation by the Bengali Mukti Bahini forces in East Pakistan.[139][140] However, in West Pakistan the conflict was described as a civil war as opposed to a war of liberation.[141]

Independent researchers estimate that between 300,000 and 500,000 civilians died during this period while the Bangladesh government puts the number of dead at three million,[142] a figure that is now nearly universally regarded as excessively inflated.[143] Some academics such as Rudolph Rummel and Rounaq Jahan say both sides[144] committed genocide; others such as Richard Sisson and Leo E. Rose believe there was no genocide.[145] In response to India's support for the insurgency in East Pakistan, preemptive strikes on India by Pakistan's air force, navy

Over 10 million people were uprooted from their homeland and travelled on foot, bullock carts, and trains to their promised new home during the Partition of India. During the partition, between 200,000 to 2,000,000 people were killed in the retributive genocide.[101]
The American CIA film on Pakistan made in 1950 examines the history and geography of Pakistan.
Islamic Republic of Pakistan

اسلامی جمہوریۂ پاکستان‎
Islāmī Jumhūrī-ye Pākistān

Motto: Unity, Discipline, Faith
(Urdu: اتحاد، تنظيم، يقين مُحکم‎)
Ittehad, Tanzeem, Yaqeen-e-Muhkam

Anthem: Qaumī Tarāna

Area controlled by Pakistan in dark red; claimed and disputed but uncontrolled territory marked in light red

CapitalIslamabad
Largest cityKarachi
Official languagesUrdu[1] (National)
English
Recognised regional languagesBalochi, Pashto, Punjabi, Saraiki, Sindhi[2]
DemonymPakistani
GovernmentFederalParliamentaryrepublic

• President

Mamnoon Hussain (PML N)

• Prime Minister

Shahid Khaqan Abbasi (PML N)

• Chief Justice

Nasir ul Mulk

• Chair of Senate

Raza Rabani (PPP)

• House Speaker

Ayaz Sadiq (PML-N)
LegislatureMajlis-e-Shoora

• Upper house

Senate

• Lower house

National Assembly
Formation

• Pakistan Declaration

28 January 1933

• Pakistan Resolution

23 March 1940

• Independence

from the United Kingdom

• Declared

14 August 1947

• Islamic Republic

23 March 1956
Area

• Total

796,095 km2 (307,374 sq mi) (36th)

• Water (%)

3.1
Population

• 2014 estimate

199,085,847[3] (6th)

• 1998 census

132,352,279[4]

• Density

214.3/km2 (555.0/sq mi) (55th)
GDP (PPP)2011 estimate

• Total

$482.913 billion[5]

• Per capita

$2,851[5]
GDP (nominal)2011 estimate

• Total

$202.831 billion[5]

• Per capita

$1,197[5]
Gini (2005)31.2
medium
HDI (2011) 0.504[6]
low · 145th
CurrencyPakistani Rupee (Rs.) (PKR)
Time zonePST(UTC+5)

• Summer (DST)

PDT (UTC+6)
Drives on theleft[7]
Calling code92
ISO 3166 codePK
Internet TLD.pk

Pakistan is a country in southern Asia. It is next to India, Iran, Afghanistan, and China. It is officially called the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. It has a long coastline along the Arabian Sea in the south. Pakistan has the fifth largest population (207.77 million) in the world. Pakistan has a total land area of 880,940 km2 (340,130 sq mi) (including the Pakistani-administered territories of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan). This makes Pakistan the 34th largest country in the world. Pakistan has the seventh largest army in the world. The capital of Pakistan is Islamabad. Before 1960, it was Karachi, which is now the country's largest city.

The name Pākistān means Land of the Pure in Persian and Urdu.

Name of Pakistan[change | change source]

The name Pakistan (English pronunciation: ( listen) or  ( listen); Urdu: پاکستان  [paːkɪˈst̪aːn]) means Land of (the) Spiritually Pure in both Urdu and Persian languages. Many South-central Asian states and regions end with the element -stan, such as Afghanistan,PAKISTAN,Baluchistan,Kurdistan, and Turkistan. This -stan is formed from the Iranian root *STA "to stand, stay," and means "place (where one stays), home, country". Iranian peoples have been the principal inhabitants of the various geographical region of the Ancient Persian Empires now occupied by the states for over a thousand years. The names are compounds of -stan and the name of the peoples living there. Pakistan is a bit of an exception; its name was coined on the 28th January 1933 as Pakstan by Choudhary Rahmat Ali, a Pakistan Movement activist, who published it in his paper Now or Never.[8] by using the suffix -istan from Baluchistan preceded by the initial letters of Punjab, Afghania, Kashmir and Sindh. The name is actually an acronym that stands for the "thirty million Muslim brethren who lived in PAKSTAN—by which we mean the Five Northern units of India viz: Punjab, (Afghan Province), Kashmir, Sind, and Baluchistan".[9] The letter i was incorporated to ease pronunciation and forms the linguistically correct and meaningful name.[10] Most notably interestingly, a word almost identical in form, etymology, and meaning to the Iranian suffix -stan is found in Polish, which has a word stan meaning "state" (in the senses of both polity and condition). It can be found in the example of a Polish name for the "United States of America," Stany Zjednoczone Ameryki (literally "States United of America").

Government and politics[change | change source]

Main articles: Government of Pakistan and Politics of Pakistan

Pakistan has a federal parliamentary system.[11] The head of state is an indirectly-elected President. The president is also the Commander in Chief of the Joint Armed Forces. The head of government is the Prime Minister, who is also indirectly elected.

The President's appointment and term are constitutionally independent of the Prime Minister’s term. The Electoral college of the country, (composed of the Senate, the National Assembly, and the four Provincial Assemblies) chooses a leadership representing the President of Pakistan for a five-year term. The Prime Minister is usually the leader of the largest party in the National Assembly and is assisted by a cabinet of ministers drawn from both chambers of the federal legislature.

Politics[change | change source]

Pakistan is officially a federal republic, but during a long period in its history it changed to a democratic state and a military dictatorship. Military dictators include Ayub Khan in the 1960s, General Zia-ul-Haq in the 1980s.

Pakistan's two largest political parties are the Pakistan People's Party and the government party Muslim League (Pakistan), which have military support. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf has also gained prominence in the past years.

On 27 December 2007, the leader of the Pakistan Peoples Party, Benazir Bhutto, was assassinated. The reason is yet to be determined.

Administrative divisions[change | change source]

Main articles: Administrative units of Pakistan and Districts of Pakistan

Pakistan is made up of four provinces, two territories and two special areas. Both special areas are in Kashmir. The provinces and territories were divided into 26 divisions with now 147 districts directly divided from the provinces. Each district is divided into several tehsils and each tehsil is divided into several union councils. There are around 596 tehsils and over 6,000 union councils in Pakistan.

Provinces:

  1. Balochistan
  2. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (formerly NWFP)
  3. Punjab[12]
  4. Sindh

Among the four provinces, Punjab has the most people but Balochistan is the largest province by area. (Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa also have Provincially Administered Tribal Areas[13] (PATA) which are going to be regular districts.)

Territories:

  1. Islamabad Capital Territory
  2. Federally Administered Tribal Areas

Administrative Areas (Pakistan-administered Kashmir)

  1. Azad Kashmir
  2. Gilgit Baltistan

India, Pakistan and China separately control parts of the Kashmir region. India and Pakistan's parts are divided by a Line of Control. The Pakistan–China border is internationally recognised. Trade is common between the 2 countries.[14]

National symbols[change | change source]

Main article: National symbols of Pakistan

Economy[change | change source]

Main article: Economy of Pakistan

Pakistan has a semi-industrialized economy.[15][16] The growth poles of the Pakistani economy are situated along the Indus River.[16][17] Diversified economies of Karachi and Punjab's urban centres, coexist with less developed areas in other parts of the country.[16] Despite being a very poor country in 1947, Pakistan's economic growth rate has been better than the global average during the subsequent four decades, but imprudent policies led to a slowdown in the late 1990s.[18]

Recently, wide-ranging economic reforms have resulted in a stronger economic outlook and accelerated growth especially in the manufacturing and financial services sectors.[18] Since the 1990s, there has been great improvement in the foreign exchange market position and rapid growth in hard currency reserves.[18]

The 2005 estimate of foreign debt was close to US$40 billion. However, this decreased with help from the International Monetary Fund and significant debt-relief from the United States. Pakistan's gross domestic product, as measured by purchasing power parity, is estimated to be $475.4 billion[19] while its per capita income stands at $2,942.[19] The poverty rate in Pakistan is estimated to be between 23%[20] and 28%.[21]

History[change | change source]

Pakistan became Independent in 1946 from the Indian empire of British Raj. The first people in Ancient Pakistan lived 9000 years ago. These people were the ones who made up the Indus Valley Civilization,[22] which is one of the oldest civilizations on Earth. After that, the Vedic period came. This also included parts of north-western Republic of India. Until 1971, Pakistan also included an area in the North-east India region. This is now called Bangladesh. It lost that area after a war with the Indian Army and the joint militant group of Indo-Bangladeshi alliance of Mitro Bahini of West Bengal. During recent times Pakistan has been in the centre of world politics. This is first because of its support to guerillas in Afghanistan, following Sovietinvasion 1979, and later during the 1990s because of its cooperation with and support for the Talibanregime in Afghanistan. However, since 2000 Pakistan has basically supported the West in their war against fundamentalist terrorism, including the removal of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.

Pakistan is a member of the Commonwealth. However, after the war in East Pakistan the country was excluded (between 1972-1989). It was also a member between 1999 and 2007, it was excluded in 2007 for a time but again became a member in 2008.[23]

Geography and climate[change | change source]

Main article: Geography of Pakistan

There are many earthquakes in the area. The earthquake in 2005 with its earthquake center in Kashmir is the strongest so far. Over 100,000 people were killed or wounded on October 8, 2005.

Pakistan covers 880,940 km2 (340,130 sq mi),[24] approximately equalling the combined land areas of France and the United Kingdom. Its eastern regions are located on the Indian plate and the western and northern regions on the Iranian plateau and Eurasian landplate. Apart from the 1,046 km (650 mi) Arabian Sea coastline, Pakistan's land borders total 6,774 km (4,209 mi) — 2,430 km (1,510 mi) with Afghanistan to the northwest, 523 km (325 mi) with China to the northeast, 2,912 km (1,809 mi) with India to the south and east, and 909 km (565 mi) with Iran to the southwest.[25]

The northern and western highlands of Pakistan contain the towering Karakoram and Pamir mountain ranges, which incorporate some of the world's highest peaks, including K2 8,611 m (28,251 ft) and Nanga Parbat 8,126 m (26,660 ft). The Balochistan Plateau lies to the west, and the Thar Desert and an expanse of alluvial plains, the Punjab and Sindh, lie to the east. The 1,609 km (1,000 mi) Indus River and its tributaries flow through the country from the disputed territory of Occupied Kashmir to the Arabian Sea.[26]

Pakistan has four seasons: a cool, dry winter from December through February; a hot, dry spring from March through May; the summer rainy season, or southwest monsoon period, from June through September; and the retreating monsoon period of October and November. The beginning and length of these seasons vary somewhat according to location.[27] Rainfall can vary radically from year to year, and successive patterns of flooding and drought are also not uncommon.[28]

People[change | change source]

Languages[change | change source]

Main article: Languages of Pakistan

Urdu is replacing English as the national language of the country.[29] English is still spoken among the Pakistani elite and in most government ministries.[25] Many people also speak Saraiki, Punjabi, Hindko, Pashto, Sindhi , Balochi, Brahui and Khowar.

Shina is also one of the regional languages of Pakistan. It is spoken in Gilgit-Baltistan.

Religion[change | change source]

Main article: Islam in Pakistan

Pakistan is a muslim country which means the religion is Islam

Most (97%) of the people are Muslim. Most of the Muslims in Pakistan are Sunni Muslims (>75%) and some are Shia Muslims (20%). However a few minority groups exist. Pakistan also has some Christian, Hindu, Sikh, Zoroastrians and animist minority groups in the northern parts of the country.

After the separation from British India, Hinduism had much less importance in the newly created state of Pakistan, but has played an important role in its culture and politics as well as the history of its regions. In fact, Pakistan has the 5th largest population of Hindus, after Sri Lanka.

The word Hindu comes from the Sindhu (Indus River) of Pakistan. The Sindhu is one of the holy rivers of Hinduism. Thus, in many ways, the land which is today's heavily Muslim Pakistan has played an important part in the origin of Hinduism. There are about 3 million Hindus living in Pakistan.

Poverty[change | change source]

Poverty in Pakistan is a growing concern. Although the middle-class has grown in Pakistan, nearly one-quarter of the population is classified poor as of October 2006.

Sports[change | change source]

For more details, see Pakistan at the Olympics, Pakistan national field hockey team, and Pakistan national football team

The national sport of Pakistan is field hockey, although cricket is the most popular game across the country.[30] The national cricket team has won the Cricket World Cup once (in 1992), were runners-up once (in 1999), and co-hosted the games twice (in 1987 and 1996). Pakistan were runners-up in the inaugural 2007 ICC World Twenty20 held in South Africa and were the champions at the 2009 ICC World Twenty20 held in England. The team also won two Asia Cups in 2000 and 2012. Lately however, Pakistani cricket has suffered heavily due to teams refusing to tour Pakistan after militants attacked the touring Sri Lankan team in March 2009, after which no international cricket was played until May 2015, when the Zimbabwean team agreed to tour.

In addition to sports like field hockey, cricket, squash rackets, football and others, Pakistanis are also very keen on equestrianism of various types,and equestrian sports such as Polo and the traditional Tent pegging are played by many. Other traditional rural sports include two types of Wrestling, Kabbadi and a martial art called Gatka. Pakistan won ICC Champions trophy against India in 2017.

Related pages[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

This is a map of Pakistan and Kashmir, as it is seen from space.
K2 at 8,611 m (28,251 ft) is the second highest peak in the world
The famed 'Data Durbar' shrine of Sufi saint Hazrat Ali al-Hajvery in Lahore, is a famous for devotees from over the world.

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