listen)), officially the Islamic
Republic of Pakistan (Urdu:
اسلامی جمہوریہ پاکِستان) is a
country in South Asia.
It has a 1,046-kilometre (650 mi) coastline along the
Arabian Sea and the
Gulf of Oman in the
south and is bordered by
Afghanistan and Iran in
the west, India in the east
China in the far northeast.
Tajikistan also lies
very close to Pakistan but is separated by the narrow
Strategically it is located in a position between the important regions of
Central Asia and the
The region forming modern Pakistan was the site of several
ancient cultures including the
Mehrgarh and the
Indus Valley Civilisation. Subsequently it was the recipient of
Turco-Mongol, and Sikh
cultures through several invasions and/or settlements. As a result the area
has remained a part of numerous empires and dynasties including the
Islamic caliphates and the
British Empires. Pakistan gained independence from the
British Empire in
1947 after a
struggle for independence, led by
Mohammad Ali Jinnah, that sought independent states for the Muslim
majority populations of the eastern and western regions of
With the adoption of its
constitution in 1956, Pakistan became an
In 1971, an
armed conflict in
East Pakistan resulted in the creation of
Pakistan is a
republic consisting of
four provinces and four federal territories. With over 170 million
people, it is the
sixth most populous country in the world
the second largest Muslim population after Indonesia.
It is an
linguistically diverse country with a similar variation in its
wildlife. With a semi-industrialized
economy, it is the
27th largest in the world in terms of purchasing power. Since gaining
independence, Pakistan's history has been characterised by periods of
political instability and
conflicts with neighbouring India. The country faces challenging
Pakistan has the
seventh largest standing armed force and is the only Muslim-majority
possess nuclear weapons. It is designated as a
ally of the United States.
It is a founding member of the
Organization of the Islamic Conference
and a member of the United Nations,
Eleven economies and the
The name Pakistan means
Land of (the)
Pure in Urdu and
Persian. It was coined in 1934 as Pakstan by
Ali, a Pakistan movement activist, who published it in his pamphlet
Now or Never.
The name is a portmanteau
representing the "thirty million Muslim brethren who live in PAKSTAN—by
which we mean the five Northern units of India viz:
North-West Frontier Province (Afghan Province),
The letter 'i' was later added to ease pronunciation.
The Indus Priest/King wearing a Sindhi
Ajruk, ca. 2500 BC.
region, which covers a considerable amount of Pakistan, was the site of
several ancient cultures including the Neolithic era's
Mehrgarh and the bronze
Indus Valley Civilisation (2500–1500 BCE) at
Waves of conquerors and migrants from the west—including
Mughals—settled in the region throughout the centuries, influencing the
locals and being absorbed among them.
Ancient empires of the east—such as the
Guptas and the
these territories at different times from
However, in the medieval period, while the eastern
provinces of Punjab and Sindh grew aligned with
Indo-Islamic civilisation, the western areas became culturally allied
Iranian civilisation of Afghanistan and Iran.
The region served as a crossroads of historic trade routes, including the
Silk Road, and as a
maritime entreport for the coastal trade between
beyond up to Rome in the west and
Malabar and beyond up to
China in the east.
Modern day Pakistan was at the heart of the Indus Valley
Civilisation; that collapsed in the middle of the 2nd millennium BCE and was
followed by the
Vedic Civilisation, which also extended over much of the Indo-Gangetic
plains. Successive ancient empires and kingdoms ruled the region: the
Achaemenid Persian empire around 543 BCE,
the Greek empire founded by
Great in 326 BCE and the
Mauryan empire founded by
Maurya and extended by
Ashoka the Great, until 185 BCE.
Indo-Greek Kingdom founded by
Demetrius of Bactria included
Punjab from 184 BCE, and reached its greatest extent under
Menander, establishing the
Greco-Buddhist period with advances in trade and culture. The city of
became a major centre of learning in ancient times—the remains of the city,
located to the west of
Islamabad, are one of the country's major
The Rai Dynasty
(c.489–632) of Sindh, at
its zenith, ruled this region and the surrounding territories.
the Arab general
Muhammad bin Qasim conquered
Multan in southern
The Pakistan government's official chronology states that "its foundation
was laid" as a result of this conquest.
This Arab and
Islamic victory would set the stage for several successive Muslim
empires in South Asia, including the
Ghaznavid Empire, the
Ghorid Kingdom, the
and the Mughal Empire.
During this period,
Sufi missionaries played a pivotal role in converting a majority of the
regional Buddhist and Hindu population to
The gradual decline of the Mughal Empire in the early
eighteenth century provided opportunities for the
Sikhs to exercise control over large areas until the
British East India Company gained ascendancy over South Asia.
Rebellion of 1857, also known as the Sepoy Mutiny, was the
region's last major armed struggle against the British Raj, and it laid the
foundations for the generally unarmed freedom struggle led by the
National Congress in the twentieth century. In the 1920s and 1930s, a
movement led by the Hindu politician
Mahatma Gandhi, and displaying commitment to long enshrined
tenet of ahimsa, or
non-violence, engaged millions of protesters in mass campaigns of
All India Muslim League rose to popularity in the late 1930s amid fears
of under-representation and neglect of Muslims in politics. On 29 December
Allama Iqbal's presidential address called for an autonomous "state in
northwestern India for Indian Muslims, within the body politic of India."
Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah espoused the
Two Nation Theory and led the Muslim League to adopt the
of 1940, popularly known as the
Pakistan Resolution. In early 1947, Britain announced the decision to
in India. In June 1947, the nationalist leaders of
Nehru and Abul
Kalam Azad on behalf of the Congress, Jinnah representing the Muslim
Master Tara Singh representing the
Sikhs—agreed to the proposed terms of transfer of power and
The modern state of Pakistan was established on 14 August
1947 (27 Ramadan 1366 in
Islamic Calendar), carved out of the two Muslim-majority wings in the
eastern and northwestern regions of
British India and comprising the provinces of
North-West Frontier Province,
West Punjab and Sindh.
The controversial, and ill-timed,
division of the provinces of Punjab and Bengal caused communal riots
across India and Pakistan—millions of Muslims moved to Pakistan and millions
of Hindus and
Sikhs moved to India.
Disputes arose over several
princely states including in the Muslim-majority
Jammu and Kashmir, whose
Hindu ruler had acceded to India following an invasion by Pashtun tribal
militias, leading to the
First Kashmir War in 1948.
From 1947 to 1956, Pakistan was a
Pakistan in the
of Nations. It became a Republic in 1956, but the civilian rule was
stalled by a coup d’état by General
Ayub Khan, who was
president during 1958–69, a period of internal instability and a
second war with India in 1965. His successor,
Yahya Khan (1969–71)
had to deal with a devastating
cyclone—which caused 500,000 deaths in East Pakistan—and also face a
civil war in 1971. Economic grievances and political dissent in
East Pakistan led
to violent political tension and
military repression that escalated into a
After nine months of guerrilla warfare between the
Pakistan Army and
the Indian backed Bengali
militia, Indian intervention escalated into the
Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, and ultimately to the secession of East
Pakistan as the independent state of
Civilian rule resumed in Pakistan from 1972 to 1977 under
Bhutto, until he was deposed and later sentenced to death in 1979 by
Zia-ul-Haq, who became the country's third military president. Zia
introduced the Islamic Sharia
legal code, which increased religious influences on the civil service and
the military. With the death of President Zia in a plane crash in 1988,
daughter of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, was elected as the first female Prime
Minister of Pakistan. Over the next decade, she fought for power with
Nawaz Sharif as the
country's political and economic situation worsened. Pakistan got involved
in the 1991 Gulf War and
sent 5,000 troops as part of a U.S.-led coalition, specifically for the
defence of Saudi Arabia.
Military tensions in the
conflict with India were followed by a
Pakistani military coup d'état in 1999 in which General
assumed vast executive powers.
In 2001, Musharraf became
President after the controversial resignation of
Rafiq Tarar. After the 2002 parliamentary elections, Musharraf
transferred executive powers to the newly elected Prime Minister
Khan Jamali, who was succeeded in the 2004 prime-ministerial election by
Shaukat Aziz. On 15
November 2007, the National Assembly, for the first time in Pakistan's
history, completed its tenure and new elections were called. The exiled
political leaders Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif were permitted to return
to Pakistan. However, the
assassination of Benazir Bhutto during the election campaign in December
led to postponement of elections and nationwide riots. Bhutto's
Peoples Party (PPP) won the largest number of seats in the elections
held in February 2008 and its member
Gillani was sworn in as Prime Minister.
On 18 August 2008, Pervez Musharraf resigned from the presidency when
and was succeeded by current president
Asif Ali Zardari.
By the end of 2009, more than 3 million Pakistani civilians have been
displaced by the on going
conflict in North-West Pakistan between the government and Taliban
Government and politics
Prime Minister's Secretariat
Pakistan is a democratic
parliamentary federal republic with Islam as the state religion.
Constitution of Pakistan was adopted in 1956, but was suspended in 1958
by General Ayub Khan.
The Constitution of 1973 - suspended in 1977, by
Zia-ul-Haq, but re-instated in 1985 - is the country's most important
document, laying the foundations of the current government.
bicameral legislature comprises a 100-member
Senate and a 342-member
National Assembly. The
President is the
Head of state and the
of the Armed Forces and is elected by an
electoral college. The
prime minister is usually the leader of the largest party in the
National Assembly. Each province has a similar system of government with a
directly elected Provincial Assembly in which the leader of the largest
party or alliance becomes Chief Minister. Provincial Governors are appointed
by the President.
Pakistani military has played an influential role in mainstream
politics throughout Pakistan's history, with military presidents ruling
from 1958–71, 1977–88 and from 1999–2008.
Pakistan Peoples Party, led by
Bhutto, won support after the loss of East Pakistan but was overthrown
amidst riots in 1977.
Under the military rule of
Zia-ul-Haq, A politically nationalist
insurgency in Balochistan was also bloodlessly
quelled by military
The 1990s were characterised by coalition politics dominated by the Pakistan
Peoples Party and a rejuvenated Muslim League.
Pakistan is an active member of the United Nations (UN) and the Organisation
of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the latter of which Pakistan has used as a
forum for Enlightened Moderation, a plan to promote a
enlightenment in the Muslim world.
Pakistan is also a member of the
South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and the
Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO).
In the past, Pakistan has had mixed relations with the United States; in the
early 1950s, Pakistan was the United States' "most allied ally in Asia"
and a member of both the
Central Treaty Organisation (CENTO) and the
Southeast Asia Treaty Organisation (SEATO).
Soviet-Afghan War in the 1980s, Pakistan was a major U.S. ally.
But relations soured in the 1990s, when sanctions were imposed by the U.S.
over Pakistan's refusal to abandon its nuclear activities.
However, the American
War on Terrorism, as an aftermath of
11 September 2001 attacks in New York, led to an improvement in
US–Pakistan ties, especially after Pakistan ended its support of the
Taliban regime in
Kabul. Its positive side
was evidenced by a major increase in American military aid, providing
Pakistan $4 billion more in three years after the 9/11 attacks than before.
On the other hand, Pakistan is presently burdened with nearly 3 million
displaced civilians due to the ongoing Afghan war. As of 2004, in contexts
of the War on Terror,
Pakistan was being referred to as part of the
East by the US under the Bush administration.
On 18 February 2008, Pakistan held its
general elections after
Benazir Bhutto's assassination postponed the original date of 8 January
The Pakistan Peoples Party won the majority of the votes and formed an
alliance with the
Pakistan Muslim League (N). They nominated and elected
Yousaf Raza Gilani as Prime Minister.
On 18 August 2008, Pervez Musharraf resigned as President of Pakistan amidst
calls for his impeachment.
In the presidential election that followed,
Asif Ali Zardari
of Pakistan People's Party won a landslide majority and became President of
Pakistan Administrative Units - Tier 1
Pakistan is a
federation of four
provinces, a capital territory and a group of federally administered tribal
areas. The government of Pakistan exercises de facto jurisdiction
over the western parts of the disputed
Kashmir region, organized
as two separate political entities;
Azad Kashmir and
Prior to 2001, the sub-provincial tier of government was
composed of 26
divisions with two further tiers (districts
administered directly from the provincial level. The divisions were
abolished in 2001
and a new three-tiered system of local government came into effect
comprising districts, tehsils and
union councils with an elected body at each tier.
There are currently 113 districts in Pakistan-proper, each
with several tehsils and union councils. The tribal areas comprise seven
tribal agencies and six small frontier regions
detached from neighboring districts whilst Azad Kashmir comprises ten
and Gilgit-Baltistan seven
The armed forces of Pakistan are the
seventh-largest in the world. The three main services are the
Navy and the
Air Force, supported by a number of
paramilitary forces which carry out internal security roles and border
National Command Authority is responsible for exercising employment and
development control of all strategic
nuclear forces and organisations, and for Pakistan's
The Pakistan Army came into existence after
independence in 1947 and is currently headed by General
Kayani. The Pakistan Army is a professional fighting force.
It has an active force of 612,000 personnel and 513,000 men in reserve.
Conscription may be
introduced in times of emergency, but it has never been imposed.
Since independence, the Army has been involved in four
wars with neighbouring India and several border skirmishes with Afghanistan.
It maintained division and brigade strength presences in some of the Arab
countries during the past
Arab–Israeli Wars, and aided the Coalition in the first
Gulf War. Other major
operations undertaken by the Army include
Operation Black Thunderstorm and
Rah-e-Nijat. Apart from conflicts, the Army has been an active
United Nations peacekeeping missions and played a major role in rescuing
trapped American soldiers from
Mogadishu, Somalia in
Operation Gothic Serpent.
The Pakistan military first saw combat in the
First Kashmir War, gaining control of what is now
Pakistan-administered Kashmir. In 1961, the army repelled a major
Afghan incursion on Pakistan's western border.
Pakistan and India were at war again in
1965 and in
1971. In 1973, the military quelled a
Baloch nationalist uprising.
In the past, Pakistani personnel have volunteered to serve
alongside Arab forces in conflicts with Israel. During the
Six-Day War in 1967
and Yom Kippur War
in October 1973
PAF pilots volunteered to go to the Middle East to support Egypt and
Syria in a state of war against Israel, Air Force pilots shot down ten
Israeli planes in the
Six-Day War. During the
Yom Kippur War 16
PAF pilots volunteered to leave for the Middle East in order to support
Egypt and Syria but by the time they arrived Egypt had already agreed on a
Soviet–Afghan war, Pakistan shot down several intruding pro-Soviet
Afghan aircraft and provided covert support to the
Afghan mujahideen through the
Inter-Services Intelligence agency. In 1999, Pakistan was involved in
Kargil conflict with India. Currently, the military is engaged in an
armed conflict with extremist Islamic militants in the north-west of the
Since 2004, Pakistani armed forces are engaged in fighting
Pakistani Taliban groups. Militant groups have engaged in suicide
bombings in Pakistani cities, killing more than 3,000 civilians and armed
personnel in 2009 alone.
Internationally the Pakistani armed forces contributed to
United Nations peacekeeping efforts, with more than 10,700 personnel
deployed in 2009,
and are presently the largest contributor. Pakistan provided a military
contingent to the UN-backed coalition in the first Gulf War.
The Pakistani troops were rushed to
Saudi Government's request and Pakistani
SSG commandos lead the operation of the
Geography and climate
Glacier, in northern Pakistan, is one of the longest
glaciers outside the polar regions
Pakistan covers an area of 796,095 km2 (307,374
sq mi), approximately equaling the combined land areas of France and the
United Kingdom. It is the 36th
largest nation by total area although this ranking varies depending on
how the disputed territory of
Kashmir is counted. Apart from the 1,046 km (650 mi) coastline along the
Arabian Sea, Pakistan's land borders a total of 6,774 km (4,209 mi)—2,430 km
(1,510 mi) with Afghanistan, 523 km (325 mi) with China, 2,912 km (1,809 mi)
with India and 909 km (565 mi) with Iran.
The territory it controls mostly lies between latitudes
37° N (a small area is north of 37°), and longitudes
78° E (a small area is west of 61°).
Geologically, Pakistan overlaps with the
Indian tectonic plate in its Sindh and Punjab provinces, while
Balochistan and most of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa lie within the
Eurasian plate which mainly comprises the
Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir lie mainly in Central Asia along the edge
of the Indian plate and are hence prone to violent earthquakes.
The geography of Pakistan is a blend of landscapes varying
from plains to deserts, forests, hills, and plateaus ranging from the
coastal areas of the Arabian Sea in the south to the mountains of the
Karakoram range in the
north. Pakistan is divided into three major geographic areas: the northern
Indus River plain; and the Balochistan Plateau.
The northern highlands of Pakistan contain the Karakoram,
Hindu Kush 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
in the East. An expanse of alluvial plains lies in Punjab and Sindh along
the Indus river. The 1,609 km (1,000 mi)
Indus River and its
tributaries flow through the country from the Kashmir region to the Arabian
Pakistan's climate varies from tropical to temperate with
arid conditions existing in the coastal south, characterized by a
monsoon season with
adequate rainfall and a dry season with lesser rainfall. There are four
distinct 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.
Rainfall can vary radically from year to year, and successive patterns of
flooding and drought are common.
The diversity of landscapes and climates in Pakistan
allows for a wide variety of trees and plants to flourish in this region.
The forests range from
subalpine trees such as
spruce, pine, and
deodar cedar in the extreme northern mountains, to
deciduous trees such as
Shisham in the
Sulaiman range in the majority of the country, to palms such
date in South
Punjab and all of Sindh.
The western hills are home to
tamarisk as well as coarse grasses and scrub plants.
Mangrove forests form
much of the coastal wetlands along the coast in the south.
Coniferous forests in most of the northern and
north-western highlands are found at altitudes ranging from 1,000m to
4,000m. In the
xeric regions of Balochistan,
date palms and ephedra
are common floral varieties. In most of Punjab and Sindh, the Indus plains
support tropical and subtropical dry and moist broadleaf forestry as well as
tropical and xeric shrublands. These forests are mostly
mulberry, acacia, and
According to statistics, 2.5% or about 1,902,000 hectares
(19,020 km2) of Pakistan was forested in 2000.
Similar to the vegetation, the animal life in Pakistan
reflects the varied climatic regions of the land. The southern plains are
crocodiles in the Indus while
porcupines, and small rodents are found more commonly in the surrounding
areas. The sandy scrublands of central Pakistan are home to a
Markhor, Pakistan's national animal
In the north, a wide variety of animals have found home in
the mountainous regions including the
Marco Polo sheep,
brown Himalayan bears, and the rare
Another rare species is the blind
Indus River Dolphin of which there are believed to be about 1,100
remaining, protected at the Indus River Dolphin Reserve in
There have been sightings of the rare
Asiatic cheetahs in the southwestern deserts of Sindh and Balochistan.
eagles are the more commonly found birds in Pakistan. A lot of birds
sighted within Pakistan are migratory as they make their way from Europe,
Central Asia and India.
In recent years, the number of wild animals being killed
for fur and leather trading led to a new law banning the hunting of wild
animals and birds as well as the establishment of several wildlife
sanctuaries and game reserves. The number of hunters have greatly dwindled
Vast sections of the
flood plains have been cleared of natural vegetation to grow crops. Only
animals like the jackal,
mongoose, jungle cat,
civet cat, scaly anteater,
desert cat and the wild hare occur in these areas.
Hog deer are found in riveine tracts. The crop residues and wild growth
support reasonable populations of black and grey
The lack of vegetative cover, severity of climatic
conditions, and the impact of grazing animals on the deserts have left wild
animals in a precarious position.
Chinkara is the only
animal that can still be found in significant numbers in Cholistan.
The blackbuck, once
plentiful in Cholistan, has now been eliminated; efforts are being made to
reintroduce them into the country. A small number of
blue bulls are found along the Pakistan-Indian border, and in some parts
Grey partridge, species of
sand grouseand the
Indian courser are the main birds of the area.
Peafowl occur in some
areas in Cholistan.
Pakistan's Rate of GDP Growth, 1951-2009.
Pakistan has a semi-industrialized economy.
The growth poles of the Pakistani economy are situated along the
Diversified economies of Karachi and Punjab's urban centres, coexist with
lesser developed areas in other parts of the country.
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.
Recently, wide-ranging economic reforms have resulted in a
stronger economic outlook and accelerated growth especially in the
manufacturing and financial services sectors.
Since the 1990s, there has been great improvement in the
foreign exchange position and rapid growth in
The 2005 estimate of foreign debt was close to
US$40 billion. However, this has decreased in recent years with assistance
International Monetary Fund and significant debt-relief from the United
product, as measured by
power parity, is estimated to be $475.4 billion
while its per
capita income stands at $2,942.
The poverty rate in Pakistan is estimated to be between 23%
GDP growth was steady during the mid-2000s at a rate of
however, slowed down during the
Economic crisis of 2008 to 4.7%.
A large inflation rate of 24.4% and a low savings rate, and other economic
factors, continue to make it difficult to sustain a high growth rate.
Pakistan's GDP is US$167 billions, which makes it the 48th-largest economy
in the world or 27th largest by purchasing power adjusted exchange rates.
Today, Pakistan is regarded as to having the second largest economy in
The structure of the Pakistani economy has changed from a
mainly agricultural base to a strong service base. Agriculture now only
accounts for roughly 20% of the GDP, while the
service sector accounts for 53% of the GDP.
Significant foreign investments have been made in several areas including
telecommunications, real estate and energy.
Other important industries include apparel and textiles (accounting for
nearly 60% of exports), food processing, chemicals manufacture, and the iron
and steel industries.
Pakistan's exports in 2008 amounted to $20.62 billion (USD).
Pakistan is a rapidly developing country.
However, the economic crisis of 2008 led Pakistan to seek
more than $100 billion in aid in order to avoid possible bankruptcy.
This was never given to Pakistan and it had to depend on a more aggressive
fiscal policy, backed by the
IMF. A year later, Asian Development Bank reported that the Pakistan
economic crisis was easing.
Furthermore it is projected that in 2010 Pakistan economy would grow at
least 4% and could grow more with strong international economic recovery.
Population density in Pakistan.
The estimated population of Pakistan in 2010 was over 170
making it the world's sixth most-populous country, behind Brazil and ahead
of Bangladesh. In 1951 Pakistan had a population of 34 million.
The population growth rate now stands at 1.6%.
The majority of southern Pakistan's population live along the
Indus River. By
population size, Karachi
is the largest city of Pakistan.
In the northern half, most of the population live in an arc formed by the
cities of Lahore,
Nowshera, Mardan and
Peshawar. About 20% of
the population live below the international poverty line of US$1.25 a day .
Life expectancy at birth is 63 years for females and 62
years for males as of 2006
compared to the healthy life expectancy at birth which was 54 years for
males and 52 years for females in 2003.
Expenditure on health was at 2% of the GDP in 2006.
The mortality below 5 was at 97 per 1,000 live births in 2006.
During 1990–2003, Pakistan sustained its historical lead as the most
urbanised nation in South
Asia, with city dwellers making up 36% of its population.
Furthermore, 50% of Pakistanis now reside in towns of 5,000 people or more.
Pakistan is a
multilingual country with more than sixty languages being spoken.
English is the
official language of Pakistan and used in official business, government,
and legal contracts,
and Punjabi has a plurality of native speakers, Urdu is the
lingua franca and
national language in Pakistan.
Punjabi is the provincial language of
Saraiki is also spoken in the larger area of Punjab province.
Pashto is the provincial language of
Sindhi is the provincial language of
Balochi is the provincial language of Balochistan.
Pakistan is the second-most populous
and also has the second-largest
Shi'a population in the world.
About 97% of the Pakistanis are
Muslim. The majority are
with an estimated 5-20%
who are officially considered non-Muslims since a 1974 "anti-Ahmadi"
There are also several
Although the groups of Muslims usually coexist peacefully, sectarian
violence occurs sporadically.
The religious breakdown of the country is as follows:
Islam 173,000,000 (97%) (the
Sunni Muslims, 5-20% are
Shi'a and 2.3% are
Hinduism 2,800,000 (1.6%)
Christianity 2,800,000 (1.6%)
Sikhs Around 20,000 (0.001%)
- The remaining are
Animists (mainly the
Kalasha of Chitral).
The population comprises several main ethnic groups (2009):
Punjabis (44.15%) 78.7 million
Pashtuns (15.42%) 27.2 million
Sindhis (14.1%) 24.8 million
Seraikis (10.53%) 14.8 million
Muhajirs (7.57%) 13.3 million
Balochs is (3.57%) 6.3 million
- Others (4.66%) 11.1 million
Smaller ethnic groups, such as
Khowar, Shina, and
Turwalis are mainly found in the northern parts of the country.
Pakistan's census does not include the registered 1.7
refugees from neighbouring
Afghanistan, who are
mainly found in the
Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) areas, with small numbers in
the cities of Karachi and
Around 2 million refugees from
Africa, and other places
are also found in Pakistan.
Largest cities of Pakistan
Rahim Yar Khan
According to the constitution of Pakistan, it is the
state’s responsibility to provide free primary education.
At the time of independence Pakistan had only one university, the University
of the Punjab, founded in 1882 in Lahore. Pakistan now has more than 132
universities of which 73 are public universities and 59 are private
Education in Pakistan is divided into five levels:
primary (grades one through five);
middle (grades six through eight);
high (grades nine and ten, leading to the
Secondary School Certificate);
intermediate (grades eleven and twelve, leading to a Higher Secondary
School Certificate); and university programmes leading to
Pakistan also has a parallel secondary school education
system in private schools, which is based upon the curriculum set and
administered by the
Cambridge International Examinations, in place of government exams. Some
students choose to take the
O level and
exams through the
There are currently 730
technical & vocational institutions in Pakistan.
The minimum qualifications to enter male vocational institutions, is the
completion of grade 8, and for female is grade 5.
English medium education is to be
extended, on a phased basis, to all schools across the country.
Through various educational reforms, by the year 2015, the ministry of
education expects to attain 100% enrolment levels amongst primary school
aged children, and a literacy rate of 86% amongst people aged over 10.
Pakistan also has
madrassahs that provide free Islamic education and also offer free
boarding and lodging to students who come mainly from the poorer strata of
After criticism over terrorists using them for recruiting purposes, efforts
have been made to regulate them.
In 2004 only 46.6 percent of adult Pakistanis were
literate. Male literacy was 60.6 percent, while female literacy was 31.5
percent. Literacy rates also vary regionally, and particularly by sex, for
instance in tribal areas female literacy is 3%.
The government launched a nationwide initiative in 1998 with the aim of
eradicating illiteracy and providing a basic education to all children.
A sitar workshop in Islamabad
Pakistani society is largely hierarchical, with high
regard for traditional
although urban families have grown into a
system because of the socio-economic constraints imposed by the traditional
joint family system.
Recent decades have seen the emergence of a middle class in cities like
Peshawar (now numbering
at 30 million, with an average annual income of US$10,000, with another
17 million belonging to the upper and upper-middle classes
that wish to move in a more centrist direction, as opposed to the
northwestern regions bordering Afghanistan that remain highly conservative
and dominated by centuries-old regional
tribal customs. Increasing globalisation has resulted in ranking 46th on
the A.T. Kearney/FP
The variety of
Pakistani music ranges from diverse provincial folk music and
traditional styles such as
Ghazal Gayaki to modern forms fusing traditional and western music, such
as the synchronisation of Qawwali and western music by the world renowned
Ali Khan. In addition Pakistan is home to many famous folk singers such
as the late Alam Lohar,
who is also well known in
Indian Punjab. However, majority of Pakistanis listen to Indian music
produced by Bollywood
and other Indian film industries. The arrival of
in the western provinces has rekindled
Persian music and established
Peshawar as a hub for
Afghan musicians and a distribution center for Afghan music abroad.
Pakistan Television Corporation (PTV) and
Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation were the dominant media outlets, but
there are now numerous private television channels. Various American,
European, and Asian television channels and films are available to the
majority of the Pakistani population via private television networks, cable,
and satellite television (43 million Pakistanis have satellite television).
There are also small indigenous film industries based in Lahore and Peshawar
(often referred to as
Lollywood). And while
Bollywood films have been banned from being played in public cinemas
since 1965 they have remained in popular culture.
architecture of the areas now constituting Pakistan can be designated to
four distinct periods—pre-Islamic,
post-colonial. With the beginning of the Indus civilisation around the
middle of the 3rd millennium B.C.,
an advanced urban
culture developed for the first time in the region, with large
structural facilities, some of which survive to this day.
Mohenjo Daro, Harappa
and Kot Diji belong to
the pre-Islamic era settlements. The rise of
Buddhism and the
Greek influence led to the development of the
Greco-Buddhist style, starting from the 1st century CE. The high point
of this era was reached with the culmination of the
An example of Buddhist architecture is the ruins of the
Takht-i-Bahi in the
The arrival of Islam in today's Pakistan meant a sudden
end of Buddhist architecture.
However, a smooth transition to predominantly pictureless
architecture occurred. The most important of the few completely
discovered buildings of Persian style is the
of the Shah Rukn-i-Alam in
Multan. During the
Mughal era design elements of Islamic-Persian architecture were fused
with and often produced playful forms of the Hindustani art. Lahore,
occasional residence of Mughal rulers, exhibits a multiplicity of important
buildings from the empire, among them the
Badshahi mosque, the
fortress of Lahore with the famous
Alamgiri Gate, the
colourful, still strongly Persian seeming
Wazir Khan Mosque
as well as numerous other mosques and mausoleums. Also the
Shahjahan Mosque of Thatta
in Sindh originates from the epoch of the Mughals. In the British colonial
period, predominantly functional buildings of the Indo-European
representative style developed from a mixture of European and Indian-Islamic
components. Post-colonial national identity is expressed in modern
structures like the
Faisal Mosque, the
and the Mazar-e-Quaid.
literature of Pakistan covers the literatures of languages spread
throughout the country, namely
Baluchi as well as English
Persian as well. Prior to the 19th century, the literature mainly
consisted of lyric
popular materials. During the
colonial age the native literary figures, under the influence of the
realism, took up increasingly different topics and telling forms. Today,
short stories enjoy a special popularity.
The national poet of Pakistan,
Allama Muhammad Iqbal, suggested the creation of a separate homeland for
the Muslims of India. However, Iqbal had also wrote the
Tarana-e-Hind which stated the belief of a strong united India. His book
The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam is a major work of
modern Islamic philosophy. The most well-known representative of the
contemporary Urdu literature of Pakistan is
Faiz Ahmed Faiz.
Shah Abdul Latif,
Mian Muhammad Bakhsh and
Khawaja Farid are also very popular in Pakistan.
Mirza Kalich Beg
has been termed the father of modern Sindhi prose.
Despite being once listed as one of the most dangerous
countries in the world by The Economist,
tourism is still a growing industry in Pakistan because of its diverse
cultures, peoples and landscapes.
The variety of attractions ranges from the ruins of ancient civilisations
such as Mohenjo-daro,
Taxila, to the Himalayan
hill-stations, that attract those interested in field and winter sports.
Pakistan also has five out of fourteen
mountain peaks of height over 8,000 metres (26,250 ft), that attract
adventurers and mountaineers from around the world, especially to
From April to September, domestic and international visitors to these areas
bring tourist income to the local people.
Utror Swat valley May-2010
Balochistan there are many caves for cavers and tourists to visit
especially the Juniper Shaft Cave, the Murghagull Gharra cave, Mughall saa
cave, and Pakistan's naturally decorated cave, the Mangocher Cave. Pakistan
is a member country of the Union International de Spéléologie (UIS).
The northern parts of Pakistan are home to several
historical fortresses, towers and other architecture including the
Chitral valleys, the latter being home to the
Kalash, a small
Punjab is also the site of Alexander's
battle on the Jhelum
River. The historic city of
Lahore is considered
Pakistan's cultural centre and has many examples of
Mughal architecture such as the
Tomb of Jahangir
and the Lahore Fort.
The Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC)
also helps promote tourism in the country.
However, tourism is still limited because of the lack of proper
infrastructure and the worsening security situation in the country. The
recent militancy in Pakistan's scenic sites, including
Swat in Khybar Pakhtoon Kawa province, have dealt a massive blow to the
tourism industry. Many of the troubles in these tourist destinations are
also blamed on the frail travel network, tourism regulatory framework, low
prioritisation of the tourism industry by the government, low effectiveness
of marketing and a constricted tourism perception.
After these areas were being cleared off the militant groups in late 2009,
the government, with financial support from the
USAID, started a campaign to reintroduce tourism in Swat valley.
Pakistan receives 500,000 tourists annually, with almost half of them
heading to northern Pakistan.
Cricket is the most popular sport in
The national sport of Pakistan is
although cricket is the
most popular game across the country.
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
World Twenty20 held in South Africa and were the champions at the
World Twenty20 held in England. Lately however, Pakistani cricket has
suffered heavily due to teams refusing to tour Pakistan because of terrorism
fears. No teams have toured Pakistan since March 2009, when militants
attacked the touring
Lankan cricket players.
Squash is another sport that
Pakistanis have excelled in. Successful world-class squash players such as
Jahangir Khan and
Jansher Khan have
won the World Open
several times during their careers.
At international level, Pakistan has competed many times
Olympics in field hockey, boxing, athletics, swimming, and shooting.
Pakistan's Olympic medal tally stands at 10 (3 gold, 3 silver and 4 bronze)
Commonwealth Games and
Asian Games medal
tally stands at 61 and 182 respectively. Hockey is the sport in which
Pakistan has been most successful at the Olympics, with three gold medals in
(1960, 1968, and 1984). Pakistan has also won the
Hockey World Cup
a record four times (1971, 1978, 1982, 1994).
football and Polo are
the more prominent sports with regular national events held in different
parts of the country. Boxing,
Contract Bridge, Golf
Volley Ball are also actively participated and Pakistan has produced
notable champions in these sports at regional and international levels.
Rail services in Pakistan are provided by the state-run
under the supervision of the
Ministry of Railways. Pakistan Railways provides an important mode of
transportation in Pakistan, catering to the large-scale movement of people
and freight. The railway network comprises 8,163 km
of which 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in) (broad gauge) forms 7,718 km including 293 km
of electrified track. Pakistan Railways carry 65 million passengers annually
and daily operates 228 mail, express and passenger trains.
also operate special trains for various occasions. The Freight Business Unit
with 12000 personnel operates over 200 freight stations on the railway
network. Pakistan has also planned or had many Mass Transit Systems. The
Karachi Circular Railway, which opened in the early 1940s, is the only
functioning Mass Transit System in Pakistan as of date. In 1976, Karachi was
slated to begin work on an underground metro system, but plans have been put
on hold since. The
Lahore Metro is another proposal still in planning and is scheduled to
be completed by 2020. Pakistan has been successful in foreign trade by rail.
Pakistan has successfully traded with countries such as Turkey, Iran,
Turkmenistan and China.
During the 1990s, Pakistan began an ongoing project to
national highways throughout the country specifically to important
financial, cargo and textile centres. The
Highway Authority or NHA is responsible for the maintenance of all
national highways in Pakistan. The construction of motorways began in the
early 1990s with the idea building a world class road network and to reduce
the load off the heavily used national highways throughout the country. The
first motorway to be completed was
M1 in 1997 from Peshawar
to Islamabad. Later on,
highways such as
M2 from Islamabad
M3 from Pindi Bhattian to
Hyderabad to Karachi,
Northern Bypass from
Hyderabad to Karachi,
and the Lahore Ring
The waterway network in Pakistan is in its infancy with
Karachi being the only major city situated next to the Arabian Sea. Plans
are being proposed for the development of the waterways in the country along
the Indus River and
through the Punjab as it would boost employment opportunities and the
economic and social development in Pakistan.
Pakistan has an estimated 139 airports, 10 of them international.
Source : Wikipedia