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Islamic Republic of Pakistan
اسلامی جمہوریۂ پاكستان (Urdu)
Islāmī Jumhūriyah-yi Pākistān
Flag Emblem
Motto: Īmān, Ittiḥād, Naẓm
ایمان، اتحاد، نظم (Urdu)
"Faith, Unity, Discipline" [1]
Anthem: Qaumī Tarānah
قومی ترانہ
"The National Anthem"[2]

Area controlled by Pakistan shown in dark green; claimed but uncontrolled territory shown in light green.
Area controlled by Pakistan shown in dark green; claimed but uncontrolled territory shown in light green.
Capital Islamabad
Largest city Karachi
Official languages
Regional languages Punjabi, Pashto, Sindhi, Saraiki, Balochi, Kashmiri, Brahui, Dogri, Hindko, Shina, Balti, Khowar, Burushaski Yidgha, Dameli, Kalasha, Gawar-Bati, Domaaki[4][5]
Religion Islam
Demonym Pakistani
Government Federal parliamentary republic
 -  President Mamnoon Hussain
 -  Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif
 -  Chief Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk
 -  Chairman Senate Nayyar Hussain Bukhari
 -  Speaker National Assembly Ayaz Sadiq
Legislature Majlis-e-Shoora
 -  Upper house Senate
 -  Lower house National Assembly
 -  Conception of Pakistan[6] 29 December 1930 
 -  Pakistan Declaration 28 January 1933 
 -  Pakistan Resolution 23 March 1940 
 -  Independence and Dominion 14 August 1947 
 -  Islamic Republic 23 March 1956 
 -  Breakup of East and West Pakistan 16 December 1971 
 -  Current constitution 14 August 1973 
 -  Total 803,940 km2[1] (36th)
310,403 sq mi
 -  Water (%) 3.1
 -  2014 estimate 196,174,380 [8] (6th)
 -  Density 234.4/km2 (55th)
607.4/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2014 estimate
 -  Total $565 billion[9] (25th)
 -  Per capita $3034[10] (139th)
GDP (nominal) 2014 estimate
 -  Total $243.818 billion[11] (45th)
 -  Per capita $1,307[11] (147th)
Gini (2008) 30.0[12]
HDI (2013) Steady 0.537[13]
low · 146th
Currency Pakistani rupee (₨) (PKR)
Time zone PKT (UTC+5)
 -  Summer (DST)  (UTC+6b)
Drives on the LHT#Pakistan[14]
Calling code +92
ISO 3166 code PK
Internet TLD .pk
a. See also Pakistani English.
b. Not always observed; see Daylight saving time in Pakistan.

Pakistan ( or ; Urdu: پاكستانALA-LC: Pākistān IPA:  ( )), officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan (Urdu: اسلامی جمہوریۂ پاكستانALA-LC: Islāmī Jumhūriyah-yi Pākistān), is a sovereign country in South Asia. With a population exceeding 180 million people, it is the sixth most populous country and with an area covering 796,095 km2 (307,374 sq mi), it is the 36th largest country in the world in terms of area. Pakistan has a 1,046-kilometre (650 mi) coastline along the Arabian Sea and the 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 from Tajikistan by Afghanistan's narrow Wakhan Corridor in the north, and also shares a marine border with Oman.

The territory that now constitutes Pakistan was previously home to several ancient cultures, including the Mehrgarh of the Neolithic and the Bronze Age Indus 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 Indian Mauryan Empire, the Persian Achaemenid Empire, Alexander of Macedonia, the Arab Umayyad Caliphate, the Mongol Empire, the Mughal Empire, the Durrani Empire, the Sikh Empire and the British Empire. 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 nation for Muslims from the regions in the east and west of Subcontinent where there was a Muslim majority. Initially a dominion, Pakistan adopted a new constitution in 1956, becoming an Islamic republic. A civil war in 1971 resulted in the secession of East Pakistan as the new country of Bangladesh.

Pakistan is a federal parliamentary republic consisting of four provinces and four federal territories. It is an ethnically and linguistically diverse country, with a similar variation in its geography and wildlife. A regional and middle power,[15][16] Pakistan has the seventh largest standing armed forces in the world and is also a nuclear power as well as a declared nuclear-weapons state, being the only nation in the Muslim world, and the second in South Asia, to have that status. It has a semi-industrialised economy with a well-integrated agriculture sector, its economy is the 26th largest in the world in terms of purchasing power and 45th largest in terms of nominal GDP and is also characterized among the emerging and growth-leading economies of the world.

The post-independence history of Pakistan has been characterised by periods of military rule, political instability and SAARC and CERN.[18]


  • Etymology 1
  • History 2
    • Early and medieval age 2.1
    • Colonial period 2.2
    • Independence and modern Pakistan 2.3
  • Politics 3
    • Foreign relations of Pakistan 3.1
    • Administrative divisions 3.2
    • Military 3.3
    • Kashmir conflict 3.4
    • Law enforcement 3.5
  • Geography and climate 4
    • Flora and fauna 4.1
    • National parks and Wildlife sanctuaries 4.2
  • Infrastructure 5
    • Economy 5.1
    • Nuclear power 5.2
    • Tourism 5.3
    • Transport 5.4
    • Science and technology 5.5
    • Education 5.6
  • Demographics 6
    • Religion 6.1
  • Culture and society 7
    • Clothing and fashion 7.1
    • Media and entertainment 7.2
    • Urbanisation 7.3
    • Diaspora 7.4
    • Literature 7.5
    • Architecture 7.6
    • Food and drink 7.7
    • Sports 7.8
  • See also 8
  • Notes 9
  • References 10
  • Further reading 11
  • External links 12


The name Pakistan literally means "Land of the Pure" in Urdu and Persian. It was coined in 1933 as Pakstan by Choudhry Rahmat Ali, a Pakistan Movement activist, who published it in his pamphlet Now or Never,[19] 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, North-West Frontier Province (Afgania Province), Kashmir, Sindh, and Baluchistan".[20][21][22] The letter i was incorporated to ease pronunciation and form the linguistically correct and meaningful name.[23]


Early and medieval age

Some of the earliest ancient human civilisations in South Asia originated from areas encompassing present-day Pakistan. 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.[24] The Indus region, which covers most of Pakistan, was the site of several successive ancient cultures including the Neolithic Mehrgarh[25] and the Bronze Age Indus Valley Civilisation (2800–1800 BCE) at Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro.[26][27]

The Vedic Civilization (1500–500 BCE), characterised by Indo-Aryan culture, laid the foundations of Hinduism, which would become well established in the region.[28][29] Multan was an important Hindu pilgrimage centre.[30] The Vedic civilisation flourished in the ancient Gandhāran city of Takṣaśilā, now Taxila in Punjab.[25] Successive ancient empires and kingdoms ruled the region: the Persian Achaemenid Empire around 519 BCE, Alexander the Great's empire in 326 BCE[31] and the Maurya Empire founded by Chandragupta Maurya and extended by Ashoka the Great until 185 BCE.[25] 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.[25][32] Taxila had one of the earliest universities and centres of higher education in the world.[33][34][35][36]

The Medieval period (642–1219 CE) is defined by the spread of Islam in the region. During this period, Sufi missionaries played a pivotal role in converting a majority of the regional Buddhist and Hindu population to Islam.[37] The Rai Dynasty (489–632 CE) of Sindh, at its zenith, ruled this region and the surrounding territories.[38] The Pala Dynasty was the last Buddhist empire that under Dharampala and Devapala stretched across South Asia from what is now Bangladesh through Northern India to Pakistan and later to Kamboj region in Afghanistan.

The Arab general Muhammad bin Qasim conquered Indus valley from Sindh to Multan in southern Punjab in 711 CE.[39] The Pakistan government's official chronology identifies this as the point where the "foundation" of Pakistan was laid.[39] This conquest 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.[40]

Colonial period

The gradual decline of the Mughal Empire in the early eighteenth century enabled Sikh rulers to control large areas until the British East India Company gained ascendancy over South Asia.[41] The Indian Rebellion of 1857, also known as the Sepoy Mutiny, was the region's major armed struggle against the British.[42] The largely non-violent independence struggle led by the Indian National Congress engaged millions of protesters in mass campaigns of civil disobedience in the 1920s and 1930s.[43][44]

The 1940 Working Committee of the Muslim League in Lahore
Image of the founder and first Governor General of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah
Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder and first Governor General of Pakistan, delivering the opening address of the 1947 Constitutional Assembly, explaining the foundations for the new state of Pakistan.

The All-India Muslim League rose to popularity in the late 1930s amid fears of under-representation and neglect of Muslims in politics. In his presidential address of 29 December 1930, Muhammad Iqbal called for "the formation of a consolidated North-West Indian Muslim State" consisting of Punjab, North-West Frontier Province, Sind and Baluchistan.[45] Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, espoused the two-nation theory and led the Muslim League to adopt the Lahore Resolution of 1940, popularly known as the Pakistan Resolution.[41] In early 1947, Britain announced the decision to end its rule in India. In June 1947, the nationalist leaders of British India—including Jawaharlal Nehru and Abul Kalam Azad representing the Congress, Jinnah representing the Muslim League, and Master Tara Singh representing the Sikhs—agreed to the proposed terms of transfer of power and independence.[46]

The modern state of Pakistan was established on 14 August 1947 (27 Ramadan 1366 in the Islamic Calendar) in the eastern and northwestern regions of British India, where there was a Muslim majority. It comprised the provinces of Balochistan, East Bengal, the North-West Frontier Province, West Punjab and Sindh.[41][46] The partition of the Punjab and Bengal provinces led to communal riots across India and Pakistan; millions of Muslims moved to Pakistan and millions of Hindus and Sikhs moved to India.[47] Dispute over Jammu and Kashmir led to the First Kashmir War.[48][49]

Independence and modern Pakistan

The United States Central Intelligence Agency film on Pakistan made in 1950 examines the history and geography of Pakistan.

After independence, the President of the Queen Elizabeth II became Queen of Pakistan.[50] She retained that title until Pakistan became an Islamic and Parliamentary republic in 1956,[51] but civilian rule was stalled by a military coup led by the Army Commander-in-Chief, General Ayub Khan. The country experienced exceptional growth until a second war with India took place in 1965 and led to economic downfall and internal instability.[52][53] Ayub Khan's successor, General Yahya Khan (President from 1969 to 1971), had to deal with a devastating cyclone which caused 500,000 deaths in East Pakistan.[54]

In 1970, Pakistan held its first democratic elections since independence, that were meant to mark a transition from military rule to democracy, but after the East Pakistani Awami League won, Yahya Khan and the ruling elite in West Pakistan refused to hand over power.[55][56] There was civil unrest in the East, and the Pakistan Army launched a military operation on 25 March 1971, aiming to regain control of the province.[55][56] The genocide carried out during this operation led to a declaration of independence and to the waging of a war of liberation by the Bengali Mukti Bahini forces in East Pakistan, with support from India.[56][57] However, in West Pakistan the conflict was described as a civil war as opposed to War of Liberation.[58]

Independent estimates of civilian deaths during this period range from 300,000 to 3 million.[59] Attacks on Indian military bases by the Pakistan Air Force in December 1971 sparked the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, which ended with the formal secession of East Pakistan as the independent state of Bangladesh.[56]

Pakistan's first Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan with President Harry S. Truman of United States.

With Pakistan's defeat in the war, Yahya Khan was replaced by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto as Chief Martial Law Administrator. Civilian rule resumed from 1972 to 1977.[60] During this period Pakistan began to build nuclear weapons; the country's first atomic power plant was inaugurated in 1972.[61][62] Civilian rule ended with a military coup in 1977, and in 1979 General Zia-ul-Haq became the third military president. Military government lasted until 1988, during which Pakistan became one of the fastest-growing economies in South Asia.[63] Zia consolidated nuclear development and increased Islamization of the state.[64] During this period, Pakistan helped to subsidise and distribute US resources to factions of the Mujahideen movement against the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.[65][66]

Zia died in a plane crash in 1988, and Benazir Bhutto, daughter of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, was elected as the first female Prime Minister of Pakistan. She was followed by Nawaz Sharif, and over the next decade the two leaders fought for power, alternating in office while the country's situation worsened; economic indicators fell sharply, in contrast to the 1980s. This period is marked by political instability, misgovernance and corruption.[67][68] In May 1998, while Sharif was Prime Minister, India tested five nuclear weapons and tension with India heightened to an extreme: Pakistan detonated six nuclear weapons of its own in the Chagai-I and Chagai-II tests later in the same month. Military tension between the two countries in the Kargil district led to the Kargil War of 1999, after which General Pervez Musharraf took over through a bloodless coup d'état and assumed vast executive powers.[69][70]

Islamabad. Pakistan is a leading member of U.S led War on Terror.

Musharraf ruled Pakistan as head of state from 1999 to 2001 and as President from 2001 to 2008, a period of extensive economic reform[71] and Pakistan's involvement in the US-led war on terrorism. On 15 November 2007, Pakistan's National Assembly became the first to complete its full five-year term, and new elections were called.[72] After the assassination of Benazir Bhutto in December 2007, her Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) won the largest number of seats in the 2008 elections, and party member Yousaf Raza Gillani was sworn in as Prime Minister.[73] Musharraf resigned from the presidency on 18 August 2008 when threatened with impeachment, and was succeeded by Asif Ali Zardari.[74][75][76] Gillani was disqualified from membership of parliament and as prime minister by the Supreme Court of Pakistan in June 2012.[77] By its own estimates, Pakistan's involvement in the war on terrorism has cost up to $67.93 billion,[78][79] thousands of casualties and nearly 3 million displaced civilians.[80] The Pakistani general election of 2013 saw the Pakistan Muslim League (N) achieve a majority, following which Nawaz Sharif became elected as the Prime Minister of Pakistan, returning to the post for the third time after fourteen years, in a democratic transition.[81] However claims of electoral fraud, together with allegations of nepotism and corruption dogged his third term, resulting in widespread protests, and resignations by opposition members. He nonetheless resisted calls to step down, while shoring up support in the parliament.[82]


Pakistan is a democratic parliamentary federal republic with Islam as the state religion. The first Constitution of Pakistan was adopted in 1956 but suspended by Ayub Khan in 1958. The Constitution of 1973—suspended by Zia-ul-Haq in 1977 but reinstated in 1985—is the country's most important document, laying the foundations of the current government.[83] The Pakistani military establishment has played an influential role in mainstream politics throughout Pakistan's political history. Presidents brought in by military coups ruled in 1958–1971, 1977–1988 and 1999–2008.[84] Pakistan today is a multi-party system parliamentry state with clear division of power and responsibilities between branches of government. The first successful demonstrative transaction was held in May 2013. As of 2013 elections, the three main political parties in the country are Pakistan Muslim League led by Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan Peoples Party led by Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Pakistan Movement for Justice led by Imran Khan.

  • Head of State: The president who is elected by an electoral college is the ceremonial head of the state and is the civilian commander-in-chief of the Pakistan Armed Forces (with Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee as its principal military adviser), but military appointments and key confirmations in the armed forces are made by the prime minister after reviewing the reports on their merit and performances. Almost all appointed officers in the judicial branches, military chiefs, chairman and branches, and legislatures require the executive confirmation from the prime minister, whom the President must consult, by law. However, the powers to pardon and grant clemency vest with the President of Pakistan.
  • Legislative: The bicameral legislature comprises a 100-member Senate and a 342-member National Assembly. Members of the National Assembly are elected through the first-past-the-post system under universal adult suffrage, representing electoral districts known as National Assembly constituencies. According to the constitution, the 70 seats reserved for women and religious minorities are allocated to the political parties according to their proportional representation. Senate members are elected by provincial legislators, with all of provinces have equal representation.
  • Executive: The prime minister is usually the leader of the largest party or a coalition in the National Assembly. He serves as the head of government and is designated to exercise as the country's chief executive. The premier is responsible for appointing a cabinet consisting of ministers and advisors as well as running the government operations, taking and authorizing executive decisions, appointments and recommendations that require executive confirmation of the Prime Minister.
  • Provincial governments: Each of the four province has a similar system of government, with a directly elected Provincial Assembly in which the leader of the largest party or coalition is elected Chief Minister. Chief Ministers oversees the provincial government and head the provincial cabinet, it is common in Pakistan to have different ruling parties or coalitions in the provinces. The provincial assemblies have power to make laws and approve provincial budget which is commonly presented by the provincial finance minister every fiscal year. Provincial governors who play role as the ceremonial head of province are appointed by the President.[83]
  • Judiciary: The judiciary of Pakistan is a hierarchical system with two classes of courts: the superior (or higher) judiciary and the subordinate (or lower) judiciary. The superior judiciary is composed of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, the Federal Shariat Court and five High Courts, with the Supreme Court at the apex. The Constitution of Pakistan entrusts the superior judiciary with the obligation to preserve, protect and defend the constitution. Neither the Supreme Court nor a High Court may exercise jurisdiction in relation to Tribal Areas, except otherwise provided for. The disputed regions of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit–Baltistan have separate court systems

Foreign relations of Pakistan

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif with President of the United States Barack Obama at the Oval Office.

Pakistan is the second most populous terrorism, and has the world's eighth-largest standing military force in terms of number of active personnel.

Pakistan's foreign policy focuses on security against threats to national identity and territorial integrity, and on the cultivation of close relations with Muslim countries. A 2004 briefing on foreign policy for Pakistani Parliamentarians says, "Pakistan highlights sovereign equality of states, bilateralism, mutuality of interests, and non-interference in each other's domestic affairs as the cardinal features of its foreign policy."[85] The country is an active member of the United Nations. It is a founding member of the Taiwan in terms of business generated by Japanese companies. Pakistan’s data was generated from 27 Japanese firms doing business here. The results found that 74.1% of the Japanese companies estimated operating profit in 2013.[189]

Left is a Pakistani textile market, Pakistan has the third largest spinning capacity in Asia. Right is the Karachi stock exchange, which is the best performing market in the world as of 2014.[190][191]

Pakistan is one of the largest producers of natural commodities, and

External links

  • Ahmed, Akbar (1997). Jinnah, Pakistan and Islamic Identity: The Search for Saladin. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-14966-2
  • Cohen, Stephen Philip (2006). The Idea of Pakistan. Brookings Institution Press ISBN 978-0-8157-1503-0
  • Lieven, Anatol (2012). Pakistan: A Hard Country. PublicAffairs. ISBN 978-1-61039-145-0
  • Malik, Hafeez (2006). The Encyclopedia of Pakistan. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-597735-6
  • Malik, Iftikhar (2005). Culture and Customs of Pakistan (Culture and Customs of Asia). Greenwood. ISBN 978-0-313-33126-8
  • McCartney, Matthew (2011). Pakistan – The Political Economy of Growth, Stagnation and the State, 1951–2009 Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-57747-2
  • Raja, Masood Ashraf (2010) [1857–1947]. Constructing Pakistan: Foundational Texts and the Rise of Muslim National Identity. Oxford. ISBN 978-0-19-547811-2
  • Spear, Percival (2007). India, Pakistan and the West. Read Books Publishers. ISBN 1-4067-1215-9

Further reading

  1. ^ "The State Emblem". Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of Pakistan. Archived from the original on 1 July 2007. Retrieved 18 December 2013. 
  2. ^ "National Symbols and Things of Pakistan". Government of Pakistan. Retrieved 27 May 2014. 
  3. ^ "Welcome". Government of Pakistan. 2012. Retrieved 24 October 2012. The Pakistani Government states that English is the official language. It is being widely used in business, law, and government documents, as well being taught throughout schools as a medium of instruction.  "English, as an Official Language of Pakistan". Heritage Pakistan. 2012. Retrieved 24 October 2012. 
  4. ^ "Population by Mother Tongue". Population Census Organization, Government of Pakistan. Retrieved 28 December 2011. 
  5. ^ a b "Background Note: Pakistan-Profile". State.Gov. 6 October 2010. Retrieved 29 May 2012. 
  6. ^ Ehsan Rashid (1977). "THE CONCEPT OF PAKISTAN IN THE LIGHT OF IQBAL’S ADDRESS AT ALLAHABAD". Iqbal Memorial Talks. Retrieved 5 March 2014.  Ehsan Rashid explains how concept of Pakistan and Iqbal's Allahabad address are interlinked.
  7. ^ "Pakistan statistics". Geohive. Retrieved 20 April 2013. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ "GDP, PPP (current international $)". IMF. Retrieved 6 Dec. 2014. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ a b "Pakistan". International Monetary Fund. Retrieved 6 Dec 2014. 
  12. ^ "Gini Index". World Bank. Retrieved 2 March 2011. 
  13. ^ "2014 Human Development Report Summary". United Nations Development Programme. 2014. pp. 21–25. Retrieved 27 July 2014. 
  14. ^ Miguel Loureiro (28 July 2005). "Driving—the good, the bad and the ugly". Daily Times (Pakistan). Archived from the original on 10 January 2012. Retrieved 6 February 2014. 
  15. ^ Barry Buzan (2004). The United States and the great powers: world politics in the twenty-first century. Polity. pp. 71, 99.  
  16. ^ Hussein Solomon. "South African Foreign Policy and Middle Power Leadership". Archived from the original on 24 June 2002. Retrieved 27 December 2011. 
  17. ^ Pakistan among top 20 happiest countries, beating India, US: Report
  18. ^ Thumbs up: Pakistan meets criteria for CERN
  19. ^ Choudhary Rahmat Ali (28 January 1933). "Now or never: Are we to live or perish for ever?". Columbia University. Retrieved 4 December 2007. 
  20. ^ Choudhary Rahmat Ali (28 January 1933). "Now or Never. Are we to live or perish forever?". 
  21. ^ S.M. Ikram (1 January 1995). Indian Muslims and partition of India. Atlantic Publishers & Dist. pp. 177–.  
  22. ^ Rahmat Ali. "Rahmat Ali ::Now or Never". The Pakistan National Movement. p. 2. Retrieved 14 April 2011. 
  23. ^ Roderic H. Davidson (1960). "Where is the Middle East?". Foreign Affairs 38 (4): 665–675.  
  24. ^ Parth R. Chauhan. "An Overview of the Siwalik Acheulian & Reconsidering Its Chronological Relationship with the Soanian – A Theoretical Perspective". Sheffield Graduate Journal of Archaeology. University of Sheffield. Retrieved 22 December 2011. 
  25. ^ a b c d Vipul Singh (2008). The Pearson Indian History Manual for the UPSC Civil Services Preliminary Examination. Dorling Kindesley, licensees of Pearson Education India. pp. 3–4, 15, 88–90, 152, 162.  
  26. ^ Robert Arnett (15 July 2006). India Unveiled. Atman Press. pp. 180–.  
  27. ^ Meghan A. Porter. "Mohenjo-Daro". Minnesota State University. Archived from the original on 22 December 2011. Retrieved 15 January 2010. 
  28. ^ a b Marian Rengel (2004). Pakistan: a primary source cultural guide. New York, NY: The Rosen Publishing Group Inc. pp. 58–59,100–102.  
  29. ^ "Britannica Online – Rigveda". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 16 December 2011. 
  30. ^ a b c Sarina Singh; Lindsay Brow; Paul Clammer; Rodney Cocks; John Mock (2008). Pakistan & the Karakoram Highway. Lonely Planet. p. 60,128,376.  
  31. ^ David W. del Testa, ed. (2001). Government Leaders, Military Rulers, and Political Activists. Westport, Connecticut: The Oryx Press. p. 7.  
  32. ^ Ahmad Hasan Dani. "Guide to Historic Taxila". The National Fund for Cultural Heritage. Retrieved 15 January 2010. 
  33. ^ Joseph Needham (1994). A selection from the writings of Joseph Needham. McFarland & Co. p. 24.  
  34. ^ Hermann Kulke; Dietmar Rothermund (2004). A History of India. Routledge. p. 157.  
  35. ^ Balakrishnan Muniapan; Junaid M. Shaikh (2007). "Lessons in corporate governance from Kautilya's Arthashastra in ancient India". World Review of Entrepreneurship, Management and Sustainable Development 2007 3 (1): 50–61.  
  36. ^ Radha Kumud Mookerji (1951) [reprint 1989]. Ancient Indian Education: Brahmanical and Buddhist (2nd ed.). Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 478–479.  
  37. ^ Ira Marvin Lapidus (2002). A history of Islamic societies. Cambridge University Press. pp. 382–384.  
  38. ^ Andre Wink (1996). Al Hind the Making of the Indo Islamic World. Brill Academic Publishers. p. 152.  
  39. ^ a b "History in Chronological Order". Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of Pakistan. Retrieved 15 January 2010. 
  40. ^ Robert L. Canfield (2002). Turko-Persia in historical perspective. Cambridge University Press. pp. 4–21.  
  41. ^ a b c d e f g "Country Profile: Pakistan" (PDF). Library of Congress. 2005. pp. 2, 3, 6, 8. Retrieved 28 December 2011. 
  42. ^ "Sepoy Rebellion: 1857". 12 September 2003. Retrieved 19 December 2013. 
  43. ^ John Farndon (1 March 1999). Concise encyclopaedia. Dorling Kindersley Limited. p. 455.  
  44. ^ Daniel Lak (4 March 2008). India express: the future of a new superpower. Viking Canada. p. 113.  
  45. ^ "Sir Muhammad Iqbal's 1930 Presidential Address". Speeches, Writings, and Statements of Iqbal. Retrieved 19 December 2006. 
  46. ^ a b Stanley Wolpert (2002). Jinnah of Pakistan. Oxford University Press. pp. 306–332.  
  47. ^ William D. Rubinstein (2004). Genocide: a history. Pearson Longman Publishers. p. 270.  
  48. ^ Subir Bhaumik (1996). Insurgent Crossfire: North-East India. Lancer Publishers. p. 6.  
  49. ^ "Resolution adopted by the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan". Mount Holyoke College. Retrieved 19 January 2010. 
  50. ^ a b "Pakistan". Retrieved 27 December 2011. 
  51. ^ "29 February 1956 – Pakistan becomes a republic". Sify News. Sify Technologies. 29 February 2008. Retrieved 8 July 2010. 
  52. ^ James Wynbrandt (2009). A brief history of Pakistan. Infobase Publishing. pp. 190–197.  
  53. ^ a b Anis Chowdhury; Wahiduddin Mahmud (2008). Handbook on the South Asian economies. Edward Elgar Publishing. pp. 72–75.  
  54. ^ Mission with a Difference. Lancer Publishers. p. 17. GGKEY:KGWAHUGNPY9. Retrieved 13 March 2012. 
  55. ^ a b Adam Jones (2004). Genocide: A Comprehensive Introduction. Routledge. p. 420.  
  56. ^ a b c d R. Jahan (2004). Samuel Totten, ed. Teaching about genocide: issues, approaches, and resources. Information Age Publishing. pp. 147–148.  
  57. ^ "1971 war summary". BBC. 2002. Retrieved 16 March 2009. 
  58. ^
  59. ^ Samuel Totten; Paul Robert Bartrop; Steven L. Jacobs. Dictionary of Genocide: A-L. Volume 1: Greenwood. p. 34.  
  60. ^ M. Zafar. "How Pakistan Army moved into the Political Arena". Defence Journal. Retrieved 15 March 2009. 
  61. ^ "Bhutto was father of Pakistan's Atom Bomb Programme". International Institute for Strategic Studies. Retrieved 19 December 2011. 
  62. ^  
  63. ^ Sushil Khanna. "The Crisis in the Pakistan Economy". Revolutionary Democracy. Retrieved 16 November 2011. 
  64. ^ Michael Heng Siam-Heng; Ten Chin Liew (2010). State and Secularism: Perspectives from Asia. Singapore: World Scientific. p. 202.  
  65. ^  
  66. ^ Odd Arne Westad (2005). The global Cold War: third world interventions and the making of our times. Cambridge University Press. pp. 348–358.  
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  1. ^ "Include data for Pakistani territories of Kashmir; Azad Kashmir (13,297 km2 or 5,134 sq mi) and Gilgit–Baltistan (72,520 km2 or 28,000 sq mi).[7] Including these territories would produce an area figure of 881,912 km2 (340,508 sq mi)."
  2. ^ Urdu: دیودارALA-LC: Diyodār


See also

At national level, polo is popular, with regular national events in different parts of the country. Boxing, billiards, snooker, rowing, kayaking, caving, tennis, contract bridge, golf and volleyball are also actively pursued, and Pakistan has produced regional and international champions in these sports.[28][345][346] Basketball enjoys regional popularity especially in Lahore and Karachi.[350]

In squash, world-class players such as Jahangir Khan, widely considered to be the greatest player in the sport's history,[344] and Jansher Khan won the World Open Squash Championship several times during their careers.[345] Jahangir Khan also won the British Open a record ten times.[344] Pakistan has competed many times at the Olympics in field hockey, boxing, athletics, swimming, and shooting.[346] Pakistan's Olympic medal tally stands at 10 of which 8 were earned in hockey.[347] The Commonwealth Games and Asian Games medal tallies stand at 65 and 160 respectively.[348][349]

In Athletics Abdul Khaliq The Flying Bird of Asia participated in 1954 Asian Games & 1958 Asian Games. He won 34 International Gold, 15 International Silver and 12 Bronze Medals for Pakistan.[343]

Cricket, however, is the most popular game across the country.[341] The national cricket team has won the Cricket World Cup once (in 1992), been runners-up once (in 1999), and co-hosted the tournament twice (in 1987 and 1996). Pakistan were runners-up in the inaugural 2007 ICC World Twenty20 in South Africa and won the 2009 ICC World Twenty20 in England. Lately, however, Pakistani cricket has suffered severely because teams have refused to tour Pakistan for fear of terrorism. No teams have toured Pakistan since March 2009, when militants attacked the touring Sri Lankan cricket team.[342]

The national sport of Pakistan is hockey, in which it has won three gold medals (1960, 1968, and 1984).[339] Pakistan has also won the Hockey World Cup a record four times (1971, 1978, 1982, 1994).[340]

Gaddafi Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium in Lahore, mainly used for Cricket.
The A1 car of A1 Team Pakistan driven by Pakistani British motorsport driver Adam Khan.


Although being part of South Asia, Pakistani cuisine has some similarities with different regions of the Indian subcontinent, originating from the royal kitchens of sixteenth-century Mughal emperors. Pakistan has a greater variety of meat dishes compared to the rest of the sub-continent and most of those dishes have their roots in Central Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine. Pakistani cooking uses large quantities of spices, herbs and seasoning. Garlic, ginger, turmeric, red chilli and garam masala are used in most dishes, and home cooking regularly includes curry. Chapati, a thin flat bread made from wheat, is a staple food, served with curry, meat, vegetables and lentils. Rice is also common; it is served plain or fried with spices and is also used in sweet dishes.[149][335][336] Lassi is a traditional drink in the Punjab region. Black tea with milk and sugar is popular throughout Pakistan and is taken daily by most of the population.[30][337] Sohan Halwa is a very popular sweet dish of southern region of Punjab province and is enjoyed all over Pakistan.[338]

A Pakistani dish cooked using the tandoori method

Food and drink

The arrival of Islam in today's Pakistan meant a sudden end of Buddhist architecture in the area and a smooth transition to the predominantly pictureless Islamic architecture. The most important Persian-style building still standing is the tomb of the Shah Rukn-i-Alam in Multan. During the Mughal era, design elements of Persian-Islamic architecture were fused with and often produced playful forms of Hindustani art. Lahore, occasional residence of Mughal rulers, exhibits many important buildings from the empire. Most prominent among them are the Badshahi mosque, the fortress of Lahore with the famous Alamgiri Gate, the colourful, Persian-style Wazir Khan Mosque, the Shalimar Gardens in Lahore and the Shahjahan Mosque in Thatta. 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 Minar-e-Pakistan and the Mazar-e-Quaid.[334]

Pakistani architecture has four recognised periods: pre-Islamic, Islamic, colonial and post-colonial. With the beginning of the Indus civilisation around the middle of the 3rd millennium BCE,[331] an advanced urban culture developed for the first time in the region, with large buildings, some of which survive to this day.[332] Mohenjo Daro, Harappa and Kot Diji are among the pre-Islamic settlements that are now tourist attractions.[152] The rise of Buddhism and the Persian and 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 at the peak of the Gandhara style. An example of Buddhist architecture is the ruins of the Buddhist monastery Takht-i-Bahi in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.[333]

The Lahore Fort, a landmark built during the Mughal era, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Well-known representatives of contemporary Pakistani Urdu literature include Faiz Ahmed Faiz. Sadequain is known for his calligraphy and paintings.[325] Sufi poets Shah Abdul Latif, Bulleh Shah, Mian Muhammad Bakhsh and Khawaja Farid are very popular in Pakistan.[329] Mirza Kalich Beg has been termed the father of modern Sindhi prose.[330]

The national poet of Pakistan, Muhammad Iqbal, wrote poetry in Urdu and Persian. He was a strong proponent of the political and spiritual revival of Islamic civilisation and encouraged Muslims binding all over the world to bring about successful revolution.[326][327][328]

Pakistan has literature in Urdu, Sindhi, Punjabi, Pushto, Baluchi, Persian, English and many other languages.[323] Before the 19th century it consisted mainly of lyric and religious poetry, mystical and folkloric works. During the colonial age, native literary figures influenced by western literary realism took up increasingly varied topics and narrative forms. Prose fiction is now very popular.[324][325]

Muhammad Iqbal
Muhammad Iqbal, Pakistan’s national poet


In 2009–10, Pakistanis sent home US$9.4 billion, the eleventh-largest total remittance in the world.[322] By 2012, Pakistan increased its ranking to tenth in the world for remittances with a total sum of US$13 billion.[321][322] The Overseas Pakistani Division (OPD) was created in September 2004 within the Ministry of Labour and Manpower, and has since recognized the importance of overseas Pakistanis and their contribution to the nation's economy. Together with Community Welfare Attaches (CWAs) and the Overseas Pakistanis Foundation (OPF), the OPD is improving the welfare of Pakistanis who reside abroad. The division aims to provide better services through improved facilities at airports, and suitable schemes for housing, education and health care—its largest effort is the facilitation of the rehabilitation of returning overseas Pakistanis.

The term Overseas Pakistani is officially recognized by the Government of Pakistan. The Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis was established in 2008 to exclusively deal with all the matters and affairs of the overseas Pakistanis such as attending to their needs and problems, intending schemes and projects for their welfare and working for resolution of their problems and issues. Overseas Pakistani workers are the second largest source of Foreign Exchange Remittances to Pakistan after exports and over the last several years, the foreign exchange remittances have maintained a steady rising trend, with a recorded increase of 21.8% from $6.4 million in 2007–08 to $7.8 million during 2008–09.

According to the Pakistani Government, there are around 7 million Pakistani people living abroad with a vast majority of them residing in the Middle East, Europe and North America.[320] Pakistan ranks 10th in the world for remittances sent home in 2012 at $13 billion.[321][322]

British Pakistani Zayn Malik is a member of pop boy band One Direction.


Migration from other countries, mainly those in the neighbourhood, has further catalysed the process of urbanisation in Pakistani cities. Of particular interest is migration that occurred in the aftermath of the independence of Bangladesh in 1971,[319] in the form of stranded Biharis who were relocated to Pakistan. Smaller numbers of Bengalis and Burmese immigrants followed suit much later. The Soviet war in Afghanistan in the 1980s forced millions of Afghan refugees into Pakistan, particularly in the northwestern regions. Inevitably, the rapid urbanisation caused by these large population movements has also brought new political and socio-economic complexities.[319] In addition to immigration, economic events such as the green revolution and political developments, among a host of other factors, are also important causes of urbanisation.[319]

Immigration, both from within and outside the country, is regarded as one of the main factors that has contributed to urbanisation in Pakistan. One analysis of the 1998 Pakistan Census highlighted the significance of the Partition of India in the 1940s in the context of understanding urban change in Pakistan.[319] During the independence period, Muslim Muhajirs from India migrated in large numbers and shifted their domicile to Pakistan, especially to the port city of Karachi, which is today the largest metropolis in Pakistan.[319]

Urbanisation in Pakistan has increased since the time of independence and has several different causes. The majority of southern Pakistan's population lives along the Indus River. Karachi is its most populous city.[270] In the northern half of the country, most of the population lives in an arc formed by the cities of Lahore, Faisalabad, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Gujranwala, Sialkot, Gujrat, Jhelum, Sargodha, Sheikhupura, Nowshera, Mardan and Peshawar. During 1990–2008, city dwellers made up 36% of Pakistan's population, making it the most urbanised nation in South Asia. Furthermore, 50% of Pakistanis live in towns of 5,000 people or more.[271]

View of a densely populated old city center of Faisalabad, the city is home to over 4 million people.


Pakistani music ranges from diverse provincial folk music and traditional styles such as Qawwali and Ghazal Gayaki to modern forms fusing traditional and western music.[314][315] Pakistan has many famous folk singers. The arrival of Afghan refugees in the western provinces has stimulated interest in Pashto music, although there has been intolerance of it in some places.[316] Pakistan has some of the world's modern vibrant and open media.[317] Pakistani media has also played a vital role in exposing corruption.[318]

State-owned Pakistan Television Corporation (PTV) and Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation for radio were the dominant media outlets until the start of the 21st century. There are now numerous private television channels.[310] In addition to the national entertainment and news channels, foreign television channels and films are also on air.[310][311] There is a small indigenous film industry based in Lahore and Peshawar, titled as Lollywood. While Bollywood films were banned from public cinemas from 1965 until 2008, that have remained important in popular culture.[312][313]

Media and entertainment

[309] The Pakistan Fashion Design Council based in

Pakistani fashion has flourished well in the changing environment of fashion world. Since Pakistan came into being its fashion has been historically evolved from different phases and made its unique identity apart from Indian fashion and culture. At this time, Pakistani fashion is a combination of traditional and modern dresses and it has become the cultural identification of Pakistan. Despite of all modern trends, the regional and traditional dresses have developed their own significance as a symbol of native tradition. This regional fashion is not static but evolving into more modern and pure forms.

The shalwar kameez is the national dress of Pakistan and is worn by men and women in all four provinces Punjab, Sindh, Baluchistan, Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa and FATA in the country and in Azad Kashmir. Each province has its own style of wearing the Shalwar Qameez. Pakistanis wairclothes range from exquisite colors and designs to the type of fabric (silk, chiffon, cotton, etc.).[308]

Clothing and fashion

Pakistani society is largely hierarchical, emphasising local cultural etiquettes and traditional Islamic values that govern personal and political life. The basic family unit is the extended family,[304] although there has been a growing trend towards nuclear families for socio-economic reasons.[305] The traditional dress for both men and women is the Shalwar Kameez; trousers and shirts are also popular among men.[30] The middle class has increased to around 35 million and the upper and upper-middle classes to around 17 million in recent decades, and power is shifting from rural landowners to the urbanised elites.[306] Pakistani festivals like Eid ul-Fitr, Eid al-Adha and Ramadan are mostly religious in origin.[304] Increasing globalisation has resulted in Pakistan ranking 56th on the A.T. Kearney/FP Globalization Index.[307]

Truck art in Pakistan is a unique feature of Pakistani culture.

Culture and society

After Islam, Hinduism and Christianity are the largest religions in Pakistan, with 2,800,000 (1.6%) adherents each in 2005.[41] They are followed by the Bahá'í Faith, which has a following of 30,000, then Sikhism, Buddhism and Zoroastrianism, each claiming 20,000 adherents,[290] and a very small community of Jains. There is a Roman Catholic community in Karachi which was established by Goan and Tamil migrants when Karachi's infrastructure was being developed by the British during colonial administration between World War I and II.

Islam to some extent syncretized with pre-Islamic influences, resulting in a religion with some traditions distinct from those of the [301] and Shahbaz Qalander in Sehwan, Sindh (ca. 12th century). Sufism, a mystical Islamic tradition, has a long history and a large popular following in Pakistan. Popular Sufi culture is centered on Thursday night gatherings at shrines and annual festivals which feature Sufi music and dance. Contemporary Islamic fundamentalists criticize its popular character, which in their view, does not accurately reflect the teachings and practice of the Prophet and his companions.[302][303]

Pakistan is the second most populous Muslim-majority country[288] and has the second largest Shia population in the world.[289] About 97% of Pakistanis are Muslim. The majority are Sunni, with an estimated 5–20% Shia.[41][290][291] A further 2.3% are Ahmadis,[292] who are officially considered non-Muslims by virtue of a 1974 constitutional amendment.[293] There are also several Quraniyoon communities.[294][295] Sectarian violence among Muslim denominations has increased in recent times with over 400 targeted deaths of Shias in the year 2012 alone.[296] After the Quetta blast in 2013, there were country-wide protests by Shia Muslims supported by fellow Sunni Muslims calling an end to sectarian violence in the country and urging for Shia-Sunni unity in the country.[297] Ahmadis are particularly persecuted, especially since 1974 when they were banned from calling themselves Muslims. In 1984 Ahmadiyya places of worship were banned from being called "mosques".[298] As of 2012, 12% of Pakistani Muslims self-identify as non-denominational Muslims.[299]

The national mosque of Pakistan, Faisal Mosque, was built in 1986 by Turkish architect Vedat Dalokay on behalf of King Faisal bin Abdul-Aziz.
Religions in Pakistan[284][285][286][287]
Religions Percent


The population comprises several ethnic groups. As of 2009, the Punjabi population dominates with 78.7 million (44.15%), followed by 27.2 million (15.42%) Pashtuns, 24.8 million (14.1%) Sindhis, 14.8 million (10.53%) Seraikis, 13.3 million (7.57%) Muhajirs and 6.3 million (3.57%) Balochs. The remaining 11.1 million (4.66%) belong to various ethnic minorities.[281] There is also a large worldwide Pakistani diaspora, numbering over seven million.[282]

Pakistan's census does not include immigrant groups such as the 1.7 million registered refugees from neighbouring Afghanistan, who are found mainly in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA areas, with small numbers in Karachi and Quetta.[276][277] As of 1995, there were more than 1.6 million Bengalis, 650,000 Afghans, 200,000 Burmese, 2,320 Iranians and Filipinos and hundreds of Nepalese, Sri Lankans and Indians living in Karachi.[278][279] Pakistan hosts more refugees than any other country in the world.[280]

More than [275]

Expenditure on health was 2.6% of GDP in 2009.[272] Life expectancy at birth was 65.4 years for females and 63.6 years for males in 2010. The private sector accounts for about 80% of outpatient visits. Approximately 19% of the population and 30% of children under five are malnourished.[177] Mortality of the under-fives was 87 per 1,000 live births in 2009.[272] About 20% of the population live below the international poverty line of US$1.25 a day.[273]

The majority of southern Pakistan's population lives along the Indus River. Karachi is its most populous city.[270] In the northern half of the country, most of the population lives in an arc formed by the cities of Lahore, Faisalabad, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Gujranwala, Sialkot, Gujrat, Jhelum, Sargodha, Sheikhupura, Nowshera, Mardan and Peshawar. During 1990–2008, city dwellers made up 36% of Pakistan's population, making it the most urbanised nation in South Asia.[83][194] Furthermore, 50% of Pakistanis live in towns of 5,000 people or more.[271]

With 180.1 million residents reported in 2012, Pakistan is the sixth most populated country in the world, behind Brazil and ahead of Bangladesh. Its 2.03% population growth rate is the highest among the SAARC countries and gives an annual increase of 3.6 million. The population is projected to reach 210.13 million by 2020 and to double by 2045. In 1947, Pakistan had a population of 32.5 million.[194][266] From 1990 to 2009 it increased by 57.2%.[267] By 2030, it is expected to surpass Indonesia as the largest Muslim-majority country in the world.[268][269] Pakistan is a 'young' nation, with a median age of about 22 and 104 million people under 30 in 2010. Pakistan's fertility rate stands at 3.07, higher than its neighbours India (2.57) and Iran (1.73). Around 35% of the people are under 15.[194]

Population density


In October 2014 education activist Malala Yousafzai became by far the youngest ever person in the world to receive the Nobel peace prize.[265]

After earning their HSC, students may study in a professional college for Bachelor's degree courses such as engineering (B.Engg/BS Engg.),B.Tech Hons/ BS Engg.Tech medicine (MBBS), dentistry (BDS), veterinary medicine (DVM), law (LLB), architecture (B.Arch), pharmacy (Pharm-D) and nursing (B.Nurs). Students can also attend a university for Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Science (BSc), Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) or Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree courses.

The government is in a development stage, in which it is extending English medium education to all schools across the country.[260] Meanwhile, by 2013 all educational institutions in Sindh will have to provide Chinese language courses, reflecting China's growing role as a superpower and Pakistan's close ties with China.[261] The literacy rate of the population above ten years of age in the country is 58.5%. Male literacy is 70.2% while female literacy rate is 46.3%.[188] Literacy rates vary by region and particularly by sex; for instance, female literacy in tribal areas is 3%.[262] The government launched a nationwide initiative in 1998 with the aim of eradicating illiteracy and providing a basic education to all children.[263] Through various educational reforms, by 2015 the ministry of education expects to attain 100% enrolment levels among children of primary school age and a literacy rate of 86% among people aged over 10.[264]

Education in Pakistan is divided into six main levels: pre-primary (preparatory classes); primary (grades one through five); middle school (grades six through eight); matriculation (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 graduate and postgraduate degrees.[256] Pakistani private schools also operate a parallel secondary education system based on the curriculum set and administered by the Cambridge International Examinations. Some students choose to take the O level and A level exams conducted by the British Council.[259]

The constitution of Pakistan requires the state to provide free primary and secondary education.[253] At the time of independence Pakistan had only one university, the University of the Punjab.[254] As of September 2011 it has 136 universities, of which 74 are public universities and 62 are private universities.[255] It is estimated that there are 3193 technical and vocational institutions in Pakistan,[256] and there are also madrassahs that provide free Islamic education and offer free board and lodging to students, who come mainly from the poorer strata of society.[257] After criticism over terrorists' use of madrassahs for recruitment, efforts have been made to regulate them.[258]


Prominent Pakistani Inventions Detail
Ommaya reservoir system for the delivery of drugs into the cerebrospinal fluid for treatment of patients with brain tumours.
(c)Brain One of the first computer viruses in history
Electroweak interaction Discovery led Muslim world's first Nobel Prize in Physics.
Plastic magnet world's first workable plastic magnet at room temperature.
Non-lethal fertilizer a formula to make fertilizers that cannot be converted into bomb-making materials.
Non-Kink Catheter Mount A crucial instrument used in anesthesiology.
Human Development Index devised by Pakistan's former finance minister, Mahbub ul Haq.[251]
Standard Model particle physics theory devised part by Pakistan scientist Abdus Salam

Pakistan is one of a small number of countries that have an active research presence in Antarctica. The Pakistan Antarctic Programme was established in 1991. Pakistan has two summer research stations on the continent and plans to open another base, which will operate all year round.[247] Electricity in Pakistan is generated and distributed by two vertically integrated public sector utilities: the Karachi Electric Supply Corporation (KESC) for Karachi and the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) for the rest of Pakistan.[248] Nuclear power in Pakistan is provided by three licensed commercial nuclear power plants under Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC).[249] Pakistan is the first Muslim country in the world to embark on a nuclear power program.[250] Commercial nuclear power plants generate roughly 3% of Pakistan's electricity, compared with about 64% from thermal and 33% from hydroelectric power.[248]

Pakistan has an active space program led by its space research agency, SUPARCO. Polish-Pakistani aerospace engineer W. J. M. Turowicz developed and supervised the launch of the Rehbar-I rocket from Pakistani soil, making Pakistan the first South Asian country to launch a rocket into space.[244] Pakistan launched its first satellite, Badr-I, from China in 1990, becoming the first Muslim country and second South Asian country to put a satellite into space.[245] In 1998, Pakistan became the seventh country in the world to successfully develop its own nuclear weapons.[246]

In medicine, Salimuzzaman Siddiqui was the first Pakistani scientist to bring the therapeutic constituents of the Neem tree to the attention of natural products chemists.[240][241][242] Pakistani neurosurgeon Ayub Ommaya invented the Ommaya reservoir, a system for treatment of brain tumours and other brain conditions.[243]

Pakistan is active in physics and mathematics research. Every year, scientists from around the world are invited by the Pakistan Academy of Sciences and the Pakistan Government to participate in the International Nathiagali Summer College on Physics.[237] Pakistan hosted an international seminar on Physics in Developing Countries for International Year of Physics 2005.[238] Pakistani theoretical physicist Abdus Salam won a Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on the electroweak interaction.[239]

Science and technology

Pakistan had 35 airports in 2007–8. The state-run Pakistan International Airlines is the major airline; it carries about 73% of domestic passengers and all domestic freight. Karachi's Jinnah International Airport is the principal international gateway to Pakistan, although Islamabad and Lahore also handle significant amounts of traffic. Pakistan's major seaports are Karachi, Muhammad bin Qasim and Gwadar, which is still under construction.[232][234]

Pakistan Railways, under the Ministry of Railways, operates the railroad system. Rail was the primary means of transport till 1970. In the two decades from around 1990, there was a marked shift in traffic from rail to highways. Now the railway's share of inland traffic is only 10% for passengers and 4% for freight traffic. The total rail track decreased from 8,775 km in 1990–91 to 7,791 km in 2011.[232][234] Pakistan expects to use the rail service to boost foreign trade with China, Iran and Turkey.[235][236]

Roads form the backbone of Pakistan's transport system; a total road length of 259,618 km accounts for 91% of passenger and 96% of freight traffic. Road transport services are largely in the hands of the private sector, which handles around 95% of freight traffic. The National Highway Authority is responsible for the maintenance of national highways and motorways. The highway and motorway system depends mainly on north–south links, connecting the southern ports to the populous provinces of Punjab and NWFP. Although this network only accounts for 4.2% of total road length, it carries 85 percent of the country's traffic.[232][233]

The transport sector accounts for 10.5% of Pakistan's GDP.[229] Its road infrastructure is better than those of India, Bangladesh and Indonesia, but the rail system lags behind those of India and China, and aviation infrastructure also needs improvement.[230] There is scarcely any inland water transportation system, and coastal shipping only meets minor local requirements.[231]

Jinnah International Airport in Karachi handles 12 million passengers annually.
Lahore Metro Bus System is country's first bus rapid transit, while Metrobus Rawalpindi-Islamabad is under construction.


In October 2006, just one year after the 2005 Kashmir earthquake, The Guardian released what it described as "The top five tourist sites in Pakistan" in order to help the country's tourism industry.[225] The five sites included Taxila, Lahore, The Karakoram Highway, Karimabad and Lake Saiful Muluk. To promote Pakistan's unique and various cultural heritage.[226][227] In 2009, The World Economic Forum's Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report ranked Pakistan as one of the top 25% tourist destinations for its World Heritage sites. Ranging from mangroves in the South, to the 5,000-year-old cities of the Indus Valley Civilization which included Mohenjo-daro and Harappa.[228]

The country's attraction range from the ruin of civilisation such as Mohenjo-daro, Harappa and Taxila, to the Himalayan hill stations. Pakistan is home to several mountain peaks over 7000 m.[223] The north part of Pakistan has many old fortresses, ancient architecture and the Hunza and Chitral valley, home to small pre-Islamic Animist Kalasha community claiming descent from Alexander the Great. Other attractions include the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Punjab province. Pakistan's cultural capital, with many examples of Mughal architecture such as Badshahi Masjid, Shalimar Gardens, Tomb of Jahangir and the Lahore Fort. Before the Global economic crisis Pakistan received more than 500,000 tourists annually.[224] However, this number has now come down to near zero figures since 2008 due to instability in the country and many countries declaring Pakistan as unsafe and dangerous to visit.

Pakistan, with its diverse cultures, people and landscapes attracted 1 million tourists in 2012.[221] Pakistan's tourism industry was in its heyday during the 1970s when the country received unprecedented amounts of foreign tourists. The main destinations of choice for these tourists were the Khyber Pass, Peshawar, Karachi, Lahore, Swat and Rawalpindi.[222]

Shalimar Gardens, Lahore was constructed in 1641 AD, today it is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


The People's Republic of China has been a strong vocal and avid supporter of Pakistan's nuclear power generation programme from early on. In 2005, both Pakistan government and the Chinese government adopted an Energy Security Plan, calling for a huge increase in generating capacity to more than 160,000 MWe by 2030. Pakistan Government plans for lifting nuclear capacity to 8800 MWe, 900 MWe of it by 2015 and a further 1500 MWe by 2020.[220] In June 2008, the Pakistani Government announced plans to build commercial nuclear power plants III and IV commercial nuclear power plants at Chashma, Punjab Province, each with 320–340 MWe and costing PKR 129 billion, 80 billion of this from international sources, principally China. A further agreement for China's help with the project was signed in October 2008, and given prominence as a counter to the US–India agreement shortly preceding it. Cost quoted then was US$1.7 billion, with a foreign loan component of $1.07 billion.

As of 2012, nuclear power in Pakistan is provided by three licensed-commercial nuclear power plants.[212] Pakistan is the first Muslim country in the world to construct and operate civil nuclear power plants.[213] The Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC), the scientific and nuclear governmental agency, is solely responsible for operating these power plants.[214] As of 2012, the electricity generated by commercial nuclear power plants constitutes roughly ~3.6% of electricity generated in Pakistan, compared to ~62% from fossil fuel, ~33% from hydroelectric power and ~0.3% from coal.[215][216] Pakistan is one of the four nuclear armed states (along with India, Israel, and North Korea) that is not a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty but is a member in good standing of the International Atomic Energy Agency.[217][218][219]

Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission contributed in the development of Compact Muon Solenoid.

Nuclear power

Name Headquarters 2012 revenue
(Mil. $)[211]
Pakistan State Oil Karachi 11,570
Pak-Arab Refinery Qasba Gujrat 3,000
Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited Lahore 2,520
Shell Pakistan Karachi 2,380
Oil and Gas Development Company Islamabad 2,230
National Refinery Karachi 1,970
Hub Power Company Hub, Balochistan 1,970
K-Electric Karachi 1,840
Attock Refinery Rawalpindi 1,740
Attock Petroleum Rawalpindi 1,740
Lahore Electric Supply Company Lahore 1,490
Pakistan Refinery Karachi 1,440
Sui Southern Gas Company Karachi 1,380
Pakistan International Airlines Karachi 1,360
Engro Corporation Karachi 1,290
Pakistan key economic statistics
Pakistan GDP composition by sector [208]
Agriculture 25.3%
Industry 21.6%
Services 53.1%
Labor force by occupation [209]
Agriculture 45.1%
Industry 20.7%
Services 34.2%
Employment [210]
Labour force 59.7 million
People employed 56.0 million
The list includes the largest Pakistani companies by revenue in 2012:

The Pakistani competitive yet profitable banking sector is continuously improving with a diversified pattern of ownership due to an active participation of foreign and local stakeholders. It has resulted into an increased competition among banks to attract a greater number of customers by the provision of quality services for long-term benefits. Now there are 6 full-fledged Islamic banks and 13 conventional banks offering products and services. Islamic banking and finance in Pakistan has experienced phenomenal growth. Islamic deposits – held by full-fledged Islamic banks and Islamic windows of conventional banks at present stand at 9.7% of total bank deposits in the country.[207]

The textile sector enjoys a pivotal position in the exports of Pakistan. Pakistan is the 8th largest exporter of textile products in Asia. This sector contributes 9.5% to the GDP and provides employment to about 15 million people or roughly 30% of the 49 million workforce of the country. Pakistan is the 4th largest producer of cotton with the third largest spinning capacity in Asia after China and India, and contributes 5% to the global spinning capacity. China is the second largest buyer of Pakistani textiles, importing $1.527 billion of textiles last fiscal. Unlike US where mostly value added textiles are imported, China buys only cotton yarn and cotton fabric from Pakistan. In 2012, Pakistani textile products accounted for 3.3% or $1.07b of total UK’s textile imports, 12.4% or $4.61b of total Chinese textile imports, 2.98% or $2.98b of total US’s textile imports, 1.6% or $0.88b of total German textile imports and 0.7% or $0.888b of total Indian textile imports.[206]

Foreign direct investment (FDI) in Pakistan soared by 180.6 per cent year-on-year to US$2.22 billion and portfolio investment by 276 per cent to $407.4 million during the first nine months of fiscal year 2006, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) reported on 24 April. During July–March 2005–06, FDI year-on-year increased to $2.224 billion from only $792.6 million and portfolio investment to $407.4 million, whereas it was $108.1 million in the corresponding period last year, according to the latest statistics released by the State Bank.[203] Pakistan has achieved FDI of almost $8.4 billion in the financial year 06/07, surpassing the government target of $4 billion.[204] Foreign investment had significantly declined by 2010, dropping by 54.6% due to Pakistan's political instability and weak law and order, according to the Bank of Pakistan.[205]

GDP growth rate of Pakistan compared with global average since 2000.

[202] Pakistan has an installed capacity of 44,768,250 metric tons of cement and 42,636,428 metric tons of clinker. In the 2012–2013 cement industry in Pakistan became the most profitable sector of economy.[201] of cement.metric tons and countries boosting real estate sector, In 2013 Pakistan exported 7,708,557 Afghanistan is also fast growing mainly because of demand from cement Pakistan's [200], but it is severely affected by the country's instability.tourism in Pakistan There is great potential for [199] Other important industries include clothing and textiles (accounting for nearly 60% of exports), food processing, chemicals manufacture, iron and steel.[198] Between 2002 and 2007 there was substantial foreign investment in Pakistan's banking and energy sectors.[197] The structure of the Pakistani economy has changed from

[196] The trade deficit in the fiscal year 2010–11 was US$11.217 billion.[195]

Pakistan is a rapidly developing country[170][171][172] and is one of the [176] Pakistan's estimated nominal GDP as of 2011 is US$202 billion. The GDP by PPP is US$488.6 billion. The estimated nominal per capita GDP is US$1,197, GDP (PPP) per capita is US$2,851 (international dollars), and debt-to-GDP ratio is 55.5%.[178][179] A 2010 report by RAD-AID positioned Pakistan's economy at 27th largest in the world by purchasing power and 45th largest in absolute dollars.[177] It is South Asia's second largest economy, representing about 15 percent of regional GDP.[180][181]

View of Pakistan's capital Islamabad, the city is home to several of countries largest companies.
Bahria Icon Tower in Karachi. Karachi is the financial and commercial capital of Pakistan.



As of present, there are around 157 protected areas in Pakistan that are recognized by IUCN. According to the 'Modern Protected Areas' legislation, a national park is a protected area set aside by the government for the protection and conservation of its outstanding scenery and wildlife in a natural state. The oldest national park is Lal Suhanra in Bahawalpur District, established in 1972.[169] It is also the only biosphere reserve of Pakistan. Lal Suhanra is the only national park established before the independence of the nation in August 1947. Central Karakoram in Gilgit Baltistan is currently the largest national park in the country, spanning over a total approximate area of 70061390100000000001,390,100 hectares (3,435,011.9 acres). The smallest national park is the Ayub, covering a total approximate area of 7002931000000000000931 hectares (2,300.6 acres).

National parks and Wildlife sanctuaries

The flora and fauna of Pakistan suffer from a number of problems. Pakistan has the second-highest rate of deforestation in the world. This, along with hunting and pollution, is causing adverse effects on the ecosystem. The government has established a large number of protected areas, wildlife sanctuaries, and game reserves to deal with these issues.[158][159]

The southern plains are home to mongooses, civets, hares, the Asiatic jackal, the Indian pangolin, the jungle cat and the desert cat. There are mugger crocodiles in the Indus, and wild boar, deer, porcupines and small rodents are common in the surrounding areas. The sandy scrublands of central Pakistan are home to Asiatic jackals, striped hyenas, wildcats and leopards.[162][163] The lack of vegetative cover, the severe climate and the impact of grazing on the deserts have left wild animals in a precarious position. The chinkara is the only animal that can still be found in significant numbers in Cholistan. A small number of nilgai are found along the Pakistan-India border and in some parts of Cholistan.[162][164] A wide variety of animals live in the mountainous north, including the Marco Polo sheep, the urial (a subspecies of wild sheep), Markhor and Ibex goats, the Asian black bear and the Himalayan brown bear.[162][165][166] Among the rare animals found in the area are the snow leopard,[165] the Asiatic cheetah[167] and the blind Indus river dolphin, of which there are believed to be about 1,100 remaining, protected at the Indus River Dolphin Reserve in Sindh.[165][168] In total, 174 mammals, 177 reptiles, 22 amphibians, 198 freshwater fish species and 5,000 species of invertebrates (including insects) have been recorded in Pakistan.[158][159]

The fauna of Pakistan reflects its varied climates too. Around 668 bird species are found there:[158][159] crows, sparrows, mynas, hawks, falcons and eagles commonly occur. Palas, Kohistan, has a significant population of Western Tragopan.[160] Many birds sighted in Pakistan are migratory, coming from Europe, Central Asia and India.[161]

Coniferous forests are found at altitudes ranging from 1,000 to 4,000 metres in most of the northern and northwestern highlands. In the xeric regions of Balochistan, date palm and Ephedra are common. 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 of mulberry, acacia, and eucalyptus.[156] About 2.2% or 1,687,000 hectares (16,870 km2) of Pakistan was forested in 2010.[157]

The diversity of landscapes and climates in Pakistan allows a wide variety of trees and plants to flourish. The forests range from coniferous alpine and subalpine trees such as spruce, pine and deodar cedar in the extreme northern mountains, through deciduous trees in most of the country (for example the mulberry-like shisham found in the Sulaiman Mountains), to palms such as coconut and date in southern Punjab, southern Balochistan and all of Sindh. The western hills are home to juniper, tamarisk, coarse grasses and scrub plants. Mangrove forests form much of the coastal wetlands along the coast in the south.[155]

Deodar,[2] Pakistan's national tree.

Flora and fauna

The climate varies from tropical to temperate, with arid conditions in the coastal south. There is a monsoon season with frequent flooding due to heavy rainfall, and a dry season with significantly less rainfall or none at all. 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.[41] Rainfall varies greatly from year to year, and patterns of alternate flooding and drought are common.[154]

Pakistan is divided into three major geographic areas: the northern highlands, the Indus River plain and the Balochistan Plateau.[151] The northern highlands contain the Karakoram, Hindu Kush and Pamir mountain ranges (see mountains of Pakistan), which contain some of the world's highest peaks, including five of the fourteen eight-thousanders (mountain peaks over 8,000 metres or 26,250 feet), which attract adventurers and mountaineers from all over the world, notably K2 (8,611 m or 28,251 ft) and Nanga Parbat (8,126 m or 26,660 ft).[152] The Balochistan Plateau lies in the west and the Thar Desert in the east. The 1,609 km (1,000 mi) Indus River and its tributaries flow through the country from the Kashmir region to the Arabian Sea. There is an expanse of alluvial plains along it in Punjab and Sindh.[153]

Geologically, Pakistan overlaps the Indian tectonic plate in its Sindh and Punjab provinces; Balochistan and most of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are within the Eurasian plate, mainly on the Iranian plateau. Gilgit–Baltistan and Azad Kashmir lie along the edge of the Indian plate and hence are prone to violent earthquakes. Ranging from the coastal areas of the south to the glaciated mountains of the north, Pakistan's landscapes vary from plains to deserts, forests, hills and plateaus .[150]

Pakistan covers an area of 796,095 km2 (307,374 sq mi), approximately equal to 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. Pakistan has a 1,046 km (650 mi) coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south[146] and land borders of 6,774 km (4,209 mi) in total: 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.[83] It shares a marine border with Oman,[147] and is separated from Tajikistan by the cold, narrow Wakhan Corridor.[148] Pakistan occupies a geopolitically important location at the crossroads of South Asia, the Middle East and Central Asia.[149]

Geography and climate

Law enforcement in Pakistan is carried out by several federal and provincial police agencies. The four provinces and the Islamabad Capital Territory each have a civilian police force with jurisdiction extending only to the relevant province or territory. At the federal level, there are a number of civilian agencies with nationwide jurisdictions including the Federal Investigation Agency and the National Highways and Motorway Police, as well as several paramilitary forces including the Pakistan Rangers and the Frontier Corps. The most senior officers of all the civilian police forces also form part of the Police Service of Pakistan, which is a component of the civil service of Pakistan. The five regional policies are namely Balochistan Police, Capital Territory Police, Frontier Police, Punjab Police and Sindh Police. Pakistan also has a National Highways & Motorway Police which is responsible for enforcement of traffic and safety laws, security and recovery on Pakistan's National Highways and Motorway network. Regional police departments also maintain respective Elite Police which is specialized in counter-terrorist operations and VIP security duties. Pakistan Rangers are an internal security force with the prime objective to provide and maintain security in war zones and areas of conflict as well as maintaining law and order which includes providing assistance to the police.[145]

Elite Police official on left and a Pakistan Rangers commando on the right.

Law enforcement

Pakistan claims that its position is for the right of the people of Jammu and Kashmir to determine their future through impartial elections as mandated by the United Nations,[143] while India has stated that Kashmir is an integral part of India, referring to the 1972 Simla Agreement and to the fact that elections take place regularly.[144] Certain Kashmiri independence groups believe that Kashmir should be independent of both India and Pakistan.[98]

The conflict of Kashmir has its origin in 1947, when British India was separated into the two states of Pakistan and India. As part of the partition process, both countries had agreed that the rulers of princely states would be allowed to opt for membership of either Pakistan or India, or in special cases to remain independent.[137] India claims Kashmir on the basis of the Instrument of Accession, a legal agreement with Kashmir's leaders executed by Maharaja Hari Singh, then ruler of Kashmir, agreeing to accede the area to India.[138][139] Pakistan claims Kashmir on the basis of a Muslim majority and of geography, the same principles that were applied for the creation of the two independent states.[140][141] India referred the dispute to the United Nations on 1 January 1948.[142] In a resolution in 1948, the UN asked Pakistan to remove most of its troops. A plebiscite would then be held. However, Pakistan failed to vacate the region. A ceasefire was reached in 1949 and a Line of Control was established, dividing Kashmir between the two countries.[137]

The Kashmir conflict is a territorial dispute between India and Pakistan over the Kashmir region, the most northwesterly region of South Asia. The two countries have fought at least three wars over Kashmir—the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947, 1965, 1971 and 1999—and several skirmishes over the Siachen Glacier.[98] India claims the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir and administers approximately 45.1% of the region, including most of Jammu, the Kashmir Valley, Ladakh, and the Siachen Glacier. India's claim is contested by Pakistan, which controls approximately 38.2% of Kashmir, consisting of Azad Kashmir and the northern areas of Gilgit and Baltistan.[98][136]

Kashmir conflict

Pakistani armed forces have been engaged in a war in North-West Pakistan since 2001, mainly against the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan.[132][133] Major operations undertaken by the Army include Operation Black Thunderstorm and Operation Rah-e-Nijat.[134][135]

Pakistan maintained significant numbers of troops in some Arab countries in defence, training and advisory roles.[128][129] During the Six-Day War in 1967 and the Yom Kippur War in October 1973, PAF pilots volunteered to go to the Middle East to support Egypt and Syria, which were in a state of war with Israel; they shot down ten Israeli planes in the Six-Day War.[124] In 1979, at the request of the Saudi government, commandos of the Pakistani Special Service Group were rushed to assist Saudi forces in Mecca to lead the operation of the Grand Mosque Seizure.[130] In 1991 Pakistan got involved with the Gulf War and sent 5,000 troops as part of a US-led coalition, specifically for the defence of Saudi Arabia.[131]

Al-Zarrar (left) is a main battle tank's produced by Pakistan and M60 AVLB is an armored vehicle launched bridge.

Apart from its own conflicts, Pakistan has been an active participant in United Nations peacekeeping missions. It played a major role in rescuing trapped American soldiers from Mogadishu, Somalia, in 1993 in Operation Gothic Serpent.[124][125][126] Pakistani armed forces are the largest troop contributors to UN peacekeeping missions.[127]

Since independence, Pakistan has been involved in four wars with neighbouring India, beginning in 1947 with the First Kashmir War, when Pakistan gained control of present-day Azad Kashmir and Gilgit–Baltistan. The two countries were at war again in 1965 and in 1971,[120] and most recently in the Kargil War of 1999.[69] The Army has also been engaged in several skirmishes with Afghanistan on the western Durand Line border. In 1961, it repelled an Afghan incursion in the Bajaur Agency near the Durand Line border.[121][122] During the Soviet war in Afghanistan, Pakistan's military provided support to the mujahideen rebels through its ISI agency. Pakistani forces also shot down several intruding Soviet/Afghan aircraft during the 1980s,[123] one of which belonged to Alexander Rutskoy.

The armed forces of Pakistan are the nuclear doctrine under the nuclear defence theory. Pakistan's defence forces maintain close military relations with China and the United States and import military equipment mainly from them.[116] The defence forces of China and Pakistan occasionally carry out joint military exercises.[115][117][118] Conscription may be introduced in times of emergency, but it has never been imposed.[119]

JF-17 Thunder (left) is Pakistan's first indigenous multirole combat aircraft and AH-1 Cobra (right) are imported from the United States.


The Supreme Court at the apex, below which are High Courts, Federal Shariat Courts (one in each province and one in the federal capital), District Courts (one in each district), Judicial Magistrate Courts (in every town and city), Executive Magistrate Courts and Civil Courts. Pakistan's penal code has limited jurisdiction in the Tribal Areas, where law is largely derived from tribal customs.[111][112]

Law enforcement in Pakistan is carried out by federal and provincial police agencies. The four provinces and the Islamabad Capital Territory each have a civilian police force with jurisdiction limited to the relevant province or territory. At the federal level, there are a number of civilian agencies with nationwide jurisdictions; including the Federal Investigation Agency, the National Highways and Motorway Police, and several paramilitary forces such as the Pakistan Rangers and the Frontier Corps.[111]

Clickable map of the four provinces and four federal territories of Pakistan.

Local government follows a three-tier system of districts, tehsils and union councils, with an elected body at each tier.[107] There are about 130 districts altogether, of which Azad Kashmir has ten[108] and Gilgit–Baltistan seven.[109] The Tribal Areas comprise seven tribal agencies and six small frontier regions detached from neighbouring districts.[110]

Pakistan is a federation of four provinces: Punjab, Sindh, Azad Kashmir and Gilgit–Baltistan (formerly Northern Areas). The Gilgit–Baltistan Empowerment and Self-Governance Order of 2009 assigned a province-like status to the latter, giving it self-government.[106]

Administrative divisions

Pakistan and India continue to be rivals. The Kashmir conflict remains the major point of rift; three of their four wars were over this territory.[98] Pakistan has had mixed relations with the United States. As an anti-Soviet power in the 1950s and during Soviet-Afghan War in the 1980s, Pakistan was one of the closest allies of the US,[85][99] but relations soured in the 1990s when the US imposed sanctions because of Pakistan's possession and testing of nuclear weapons.[100] The US war on terrorism led initially to an improvement in the relationship, but it was strained by a divergence of interests and resulting mistrust during the war in Afghanistan and by issues related to terrorism.[101][102][103][104] Since 1948, there has been an ongoing, and at times fluctuating, violent conflict in the southwestern province of Balochistan between various Baloch separatist groups, who seek greater political autonomy, and the central government of Pakistan.[105]

Pakistan maintains good relations with all Arab and most other Muslim countries. Since the Sino-Indian War of 1962, Pakistan's closest strategic, military and economic ally has been China. The relationship has survived changes of governments and variations in the regional and global situation. Chinese cooperation with Pakistan has reached economic high points, with substantial Chinese investment in Pakistan's infrastructural expansion including the Pakistani deep-water port at Gwadar. Both countries have an ongoing free trade agreement. Pakistan has served as China's main bridge between Muslim countries. Pakistan also played an important role in bridging the communication gap between China and the West by facilitating the 1972 Nixon visit to China.[95][96][97]

[94]".credible minimum deterrence Pakistan now maintains a policy of "[93] India's nuclear tests were seen as a threat to Pakistan and led it to establish itself as a nuclear power.[92].G20 developing nations and the [91][90]

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