Islamic Republic of Pakistan
Location of Pakistan (dark green); claimed but uncontrolled region (light green)
|Recognised regional languages|
|Government||Federal parliamentary constitutional republic|
|Asif Saeed Khan Khosa|
from the UK
|14 August 1947|
|23 March 1956|
|14 August 1973|
|881,913 km2 (340,509 sq mi)[a] (33rd)|
• Water (%)
• 2017 census
|244.4/km2 (633.0/sq mi) (56th)|
|GDP (PPP)||2017 estimate|
|$1.060 trillion (25th)|
• Per capita
|GDP (nominal)||2017 estimate|
|$304.4 billion (42nd)|
• Per capita
|HDI (2017)|| 0.562|
medium · 150th
|Currency||Pakistani rupee (₨) (PKR)|
|Time zone||UTC+5b (PST)|
|ISO 3166 code||PK|
Pakistan is a country in southern Asia. It is next to India, Iran, Afghanistan, and China. It is officially called the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. It has a long coastline along the Arabian Sea in the south. Pakistan has the fifth largest population (207.77 million) in the world. Pakistan has a total land area of 880,940 km2 (340,130 sq mi) (including the Pakistani-administered territories of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan). This makes Pakistan the 34th largest country in the world. Pakistan has the seventh largest army in the world. The capital of Pakistan is Islamabad. Before 1960, it was Karachi, which is now the country's largest city.
The name Pākistān means Land of the Pure in Persian and Urdu.
Name of Pakistan[change | change source]
The name Pakistan (English pronunciation: // (listen) or // (listen); Urdu: پاکستان [paːkɪˈst̪aːn]) means Land of (the) Spiritually Pure in both Urdu and Persian languages. Many South-central Asian states and regions end with the element -stan, such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Baluchistan, Kurdistan, and Turkistan. This -stan is formed from the Iranian root *STA "to stand, stay," and means "place (where one stays), home, country". Iranian peoples have been the principal inhabitants of the various geographical region of the Ancient Persian Empires now occupied by the states for over a thousand years. The names are compounds of -stan and the name of the peoples living there. Pakistan is a bit of an exception; its name was coined on 28 January 1933 as Pakstan by Choudhary Rahmat Ali, a Pakistan Movement activist, who published it in his paper Now or Never. by using the suffix -istan from Baluchistan preceded by the initial letters of Punjab, Afghania, Kashmir and Sindh. The name is actually an acronym that stands for the "thirty million Muslim brethren who lived in Pakistan—by which we mean the Five Northern units of India viz: Punjab, (Afghan Province), Kashmir, Sind, and Baluchistan". The letter i was incorporated to ease pronunciation and forms the linguistically correct and meaningful name. Most notably interestingly, a word almost identical in form, etymology, and meaning to the Iranian suffix -stan is found in Polish, which has a word stan meaning "state" (in the senses of both polity and condition). It can be found in the example of a Polish name for the "United States of America," Stany Zjednoczone Ameryki (literally "States United of America").
Government and politics[change | change source]
Pakistan has a federal parliamentary system. The head of state is an indirectly-elected ceremonial President. The Electoral college of the country, (composed of the Senate, the National Assembly, and the four Provincial Assemblies) chooses a leadership representing the President of Pakistan for a five-year term. The president is also the Commander in Chief of the Joint Armed Forces. The head of government is the Prime Minister, who is also indirectly elected.
The President's appointment and term are constitutionally independent of the Prime Minister’s term. The Prime Minister is usually the leader of the largest party in the National Assembly or of a coalition in the National Assembly.
The Prime Minister is the head of government. Pakistan's legislature is made of a 100-member Senate (upper house) and a 342-member National Assembly (lower house). The Chief Justice of Pakistan is the chief judge who oversees the judicature's court system at all levels of command.
On 17 August 2018 Ex-cricketer Imran Khan was elected as the new Prime Minister of Pakistan. Because Pakistan does not have a "President", the Prime Minister acts as the leader of Pakistan.
Politics[change | change source]
Pakistan is officially a federal republic, but during a long period in its history it changed to a democratic state and a military dictatorship. Military dictators include Ayub Khan in the 1960s, General Zia-ul-Haq in the 1980s.
Pakistan's two largest political parties are the Pakistan People's Party and the government party Pakistan Muslim League (N). The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf has also gained prominence in the past years.
Administrative divisions[change | change source]
Pakistan is made up of four provinces, two territories and two special areas. Both special areas are in Kashmir. The provinces and territories are divided into 26 divisions with now 147 districts directly divided from the provinces. Each district is divided into several tehsils and each tehsil is divided into several union councils. There are around 596 tehsils and over 6,000 union councils in Pakistan.
Among the four provinces, Punjab has the most people but Balochistan is the largest province by area. (Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa also have Provincially Administered Tribal Areas (PATA) which are going to be regular districts.)
Administrative Areas (Pakistan-administered Kashmir)
India, Pakistan and China separately control parts of the Kashmir region. India and Pakistan's parts are divided by a Line of Control. The Pakistan–China border is internationally recognised. Trade is common between the 2 countries.
National symbols[change | change source]
|National tree||Cedrus deodara|
|National flower||Jasminum officinale|
|National heritage state animal||Snow Leopard|
|National heritage state bird||Shaheen Falcon|
|National aquatic marine mammal||Indus river dolphin|
|National reptile||Indus Crocodile|
|National fish||Tor putitora|
|National amphibian||Bufo stomaticus|
|National butterfly||Indian purple emperor|
|National staple crop||Sugarcane|
|National beverage||Sugarcane juice|
|National cuisine||Pakistani Biryani (Beef)|
|National sport||Field hockey|
|National dress||Salwar kameez|
|National mosque||Faisal Mosque|
|National river||Indus River|
Economy[change | change source]
Pakistan has a semi-industrialized economy. The growth poles of the Pakistani economy are situated along the Indus River. Diversified economies of Karachi and Punjab's urban centres, coexist with less 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 market position and rapid growth in hard currency reserves.
The 2005 estimate of foreign debt was close to US$40 billion. However, this decreased with help from the International Monetary Fund and significant debt-relief from the United States. Pakistan's gross domestic product, as measured by purchasing power parity, is estimated to be $475 billion while its per capita income stands at $2,942. The poverty rate in Pakistan is estimated to be between 23% and 28%.
History[change | change source]
Pakistan became Independent in 1947 from the United Kingdom which was known as the British Raj. The first people in Ancient Pakistan lived 9000 years ago. These people were the ones who made up the Indus Valley Civilization, which is one of the oldest civilizations on Earth. After that, the Vedic period came. This also included parts of north-western Republic of India. Until 1971, Pakistan also included an area in the North-east India region. This is now called Bangladesh. It lost that area after a war with the Indian Army and the joint militant group of Indo-Bangladeshi alliance of Mitro Bahini of West Bengal. During recent times Pakistan has been in the centre of world politics. This is first because of its support to guerillas in Afghanistan, following Soviet invasion 1979, and later during the 1990s because of its cooperation with and support for the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. However, since 2000 Pakistan has basically supported the West in their war against fundamentalist terrorism, including the removal of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.
Pakistan is a member of the Commonwealth. However, after the war in East Pakistan the country was excluded (between 1972-1989). It was also a member between 1999 and 2007, it was excluded in 2007 for a time but again became a member in 2008.
Geography and climate[change | change source]
Pakistan covers 880,940 km2 (340,130 sq mi), approximately equalling the combined land areas of France and the UK. Its eastern regions are located on the Indian plate and the western and northern regions on the Iranian plateau and Eurasian landplate. Apart from the 1,046 km (650 mi) Arabian Sea coastline, Pakistan's land borders total 6,774 km (4,209 mi)—2,430 km (1,510 mi) with Afghanistan to the northwest, 523 km (325 mi) with China to the northeast, 2,912 km (1,809 mi) with India to the south and east, and 909 km (565 mi) with Iran to the southwest.
The northern and western highlands of Pakistan contain the towering Karakoram and Pamir mountain ranges, which incorporate some of the world's highest peaks, including K2 8,611 m (28,251 ft) and Nanga Parbat 8,126 m (26,660 ft). The Balochistan Plateau lies to the west, and the Thar Desert and an expanse of alluvial plains, the Punjab and Sindh, lie to the east. The 1,609 km (1,000 mi) Indus River and its tributaries flow through the country from the disputed territory of Occupied Kashmir to the Arabian Sea.
Pakistan has four seasons: a cool, dry winter from December through February; a hot, dry spring from March through May; the summer rainy season, or southwest monsoon period, from June through September; and the retreating monsoon period of October and November. The beginning and length of these seasons vary somewhat according to location. Rainfall can vary radically from year to year, and successive patterns of flooding and drought are also not uncommon.
People[change | change source]
Languages[change | change source]
Urdu is replacing English as the national language of the country. English is still spoken among the Pakistani elite and in most government ministries. Many people also speak Saraiki, Punjabi, Hindko, Pashto, Sindhi , Balochi, Brahui and Khowar.
Religion[change | change source]
Pakistan is a Muslim country which means the religion is Islam
|Religion in Pakistan|
Most (97%) of the people are Muslim. Most of the Muslims in Pakistan are Sunni Muslims (>75%) and some are Shia Muslims (20%). However a few minority groups exist. Pakistan also has some Christian, Hindu, Sikh, Zoroastrians and animist minority groups in the northern parts of the country.
After the separation from British India, Hinduism had much less importance in the newly created state of Pakistan, but has played an important role in its culture and politics as well as the history of its regions. In fact, Pakistan has the 5th largest population of Hindus, after Sri Lanka.
The word Hindu comes from the Sindhu (Indus River) of Pakistan. The Sindhu is one of the holy rivers of Hinduism. Thus, in many ways, the land which is today's heavily Muslim Pakistan has played an important part in the origin of Hinduism. There are about 3 million Hindus living in Pakistan.
Poverty[change | change source]
Poverty in Pakistan is a growing concern. Although the middle-class has grown in Pakistan, nearly one-quarter of the population is classified poor as of October 2006.
Sports[change | change source]
The national sport of Pakistan is field hockey, 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 2007 ICC World Twenty20 held in South Africa and were the champions at the 2009 ICC World Twenty20 held in England. The team also won two Asia Cups in 2000 and 2012. Lately however, Pakistani cricket has suffered heavily due to teams refusing to tour Pakistan after militants attacked the touring Sri Lankan team in March 2009, after which no international cricket was played until May 2015, when the Zimbabwean team agreed to tour.
In addition to sports like field hockey, cricket, squash rackets, football and others, Pakistanis are also very keen on equestrianism of various types,and equestrian sports such as Polo and the traditional Tent pegging are played by many. Other traditional rural sports include two types of Wrestling, Kabbadi and a martial art called Gatka.
Related pages[change | change source]
- Religions of Pakistan
- List of rivers of Pakistan
- Political families of Pakistan
- Transportation in Pakistan
References[change | change source]
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- Not to be confused with the Indian state of Punjab. Both together make up the Punjab region.
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- Ministry Of Commerce
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