Islamic Republic of Pakistan
اسلامی جمہوریۂ پاکستان
Islāmī Jumhūrī-ye Pākistān
Flag State Emblem
Motto: Unity, Discipline, Faith
(Urdu: اتحاد، تنظيم، يقين مُحکم)
Ittehad, Tanzeem, Yaqeen-e-Muhkam
Anthem: Qaumī Tarāna
Area controlled by Pakistan in dark green; claimed but uncontrolled territory in light green
Area controlled by Pakistan in dark green; claimed but uncontrolled territory in light green
Capital Islamabad
33°40′N 73°10′E / 33.667°N 73.167°E / 33.667; 73.167
Largest city Karachi
Official language(s) Urdu (National)
Recognised regional languages Balochi, Pashto, Punjabi, Saraiki, Sindhi[1]
Demonym Pakistani
Government Federal Parliamentary republic
 -  President Asif Zardari (PPP)
 -  Prime Minister Yousaf Gillani (PPP)
 -  Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry
 -  Chair of Senate Farooq Naek (PPP)
 -  House Speaker Fahmida Mirza (PPP)
Legislature Majlis-e-Shoora
 -  Upper House Senate
 -  Lower House National Assembly
 -  Pakistan Declaration 28 January 1933 
 -  Pakistan Resolution 23 March 1940 
 -  Independence from the United Kingdom 
 -  Declared 14 August 1947 
 -  Islamic Republic 23 March 1956 
 -  Total 796,095 km2 (36th)
307,374 sq mi 
 -  Water (%) 3.1
 -  September 2011 estimate 177,163,231[2] (6th)
 -  1998 census 132,352,279[3] 
 -  Density 214.3/km2 (55th)
555/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2011 estimate
 -  Total $482.913 billion[4] 
 -  Per capita $2,851[4] 
GDP (nominal) 2011 estimate
 -  Total $202.831 billion[4] 
 -  Per capita $1,197[4] 
Gini (2005) 31.2 (medium
HDI (2011) increase 0.504[5] (low) (145th)
Currency Pakistani Rupee (Rs.) (PKR)
Time zone PST (UTC+5)
 -  Summer (DST) PDT (UTC+6)
Drives on the left[6]
ISO 3166 code PK
Internet TLD .pk
Calling code 92

Pakistan (Listeni/ˈpækɨstæn/ or Listeni/pɑːkiˈstɑːn/; Urdu: پاکِستان) (Urdu pronunciation: [paːkɪˈst̪aːn] ( listen)), officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan (Urdu: اسلامی جمہوریۂ پاکِستان) is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a 1,046-kilometre (650 mi) coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan lies adjacent to Pakistan but is separated by the narrow Wakhan Corridor. In addition, Oman is also located in maritime vicinity and shares a marine border with Pakistan.[7] Strategically, Pakistan is located in a position between the important regions of South Asia, Central Asia and the greater Middle East.[8]

The region forming modern Pakistan was the site of several ancient cultures including the neolithic Mehrgarh and the bronze era Indus Valley Civilisation. Subsequently it was the recipient of Hindu, Persian, Indo-Greek, Islamic, Turco-Mongol, Afghan and Sikh cultures through several invasions and/or settlements. As a result the area has remained a part of numerous empires and dynasties including the Indian empires, Persian empires, Arab caliphates, Mongol, Mughal, Durrani Empire (Afghan Empire), Sikh and British Empire. Pakistan gained independence from the British Empire in 1947, after a struggle for independence led by Mohammad Ali Jinnah that sought the partition of British India and a new independent state for the Muslim majority populations of the eastern and western regions of India.[9] Initially a dominion, with the adoption of its constitution in 1956 Pakistan became an Islamic republic.[10] In 1971, an armed conflict in East Pakistan resulted in the creation of Bangladesh.[11]

Pakistan is a federal parliamentary republic consisting of four provinces and four federal territories. With a population exceeding 170 million people, it is the sixth most populous country in the world[2] and has the second largest Muslim population after Indonesia.[12] It is an ethnically and linguistically diverse country, with a similar variation in its geography and wildlife. Its semi-industrialized economy is the 27th largest in the world in terms of purchasing power. Since gaining independence, Pakistan's history has been characterised by periods of military rule, political instability and conflicts with neighbouring India. The country faces challenging problems including terrorism, poverty, illiteracy and corruption.

Pakistan has the eighth largest standing armed force and is the only Muslim-majority nation to possess nuclear weapons. Pakistan is the first nuclear power country in the Muslim world, and the second in the South Asia, the first being India.[13] It is designated as a major non-NATO ally of the United States and a strategic ally of China.[14][15] It is a founding member of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (now the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation)[16] and a member of the United Nations,[17] Commonwealth of Nations,[18] Next Eleven economies and the G20 developing nations.



The name Pakistan means Land of (the) Pure in Urdu and Persian. It was coined in 1933 as Pakstan by Choudhary Rahmat Ali, a Pakistan movement activist, who published it in his pamphlet Now or Never.[19] The name is an acronym representing the "thirty million Muslim brethren who live in PAKSTAN—by which we mean the five Northern units of India viz: Punjab, North-West Frontier Province (Afghan Province), Kashmir, Sind, and Baluchistan".[20] The letter 'i' was added to ease pronunciation and form the linguistically correct name.


Early period

A carved stone statue of a bearded man with a prominent nose wearing a garment with a pattern
The Indus Priest/King wearing a Sindhi Ajruk, ca. 2500 BC.
Map of India during the Vedic period, including the modern day Pakistan.
Standing Buddha, Gandhara, Pakistan, 1st century AD

The Indus region, which covers a considerable amount of Pakistan, was the site of several ancient cultures including the Neolithic era's Mehrgarh and the bronze era Indus Valley Civilisation (2500–1500 BCE) at Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro.[21]

The Vedic Civilization, dating from around 1700-1400 BCE flourished in the ancient Gandhāran city of Takṣaśilā, now Taxila in Punjab.[22] The extent of the Swat and Cemetery H culture of the Rig Vedic people was in the Hindu Kush to Punjab region and the upper gangetic plains.[22] The territory of the present-day Pakistan was once the seat of the ancient Hindu civilization, and the place of origin of the Rig Veda.[23] Much of the area in which Hinduism originated is now in Pakistan, and the religion was well established in the region before the arrival of Islam in the 8th century AD.[24] The city of Multan, which was once considered an important Hindu pilgrimage centre, was known to have had Hindu shrines.[25]

Successive ancient empires and kingdoms ruled the region: the Achaemenid Persian empire around 543 BCE,[26] the Greek empire founded by Alexander the Great in 326 BCE and the Mauryan empire founded by Chandragupta Maurya and extended by Ashoka the Great, until 185 BCE.[27]

The Indo-Greek Kingdom founded by Demetrius of Bactria included Gandhara and Punjab from 184 BCE, and reached its greatest extent under Menander, establishing the Greco-Buddhist period with advances in trade and culture. The city of Taxila (Takshashila) became a major centre of learning in ancient times—the remains of the city, located to the west of Islamabad, are one of the country's major archaeological sites.[28] Taxila is considered to be amongst the earliest universities and centers of higher education in the world.[29][30][31][32][33]

Medieval age

The Rai Dynasty (c.489–632) of Sindh, at its zenith, ruled this region and the surrounding territories.[34] In 712 CE, the Arab general Muhammad bin Qasim conquered Sindh and Multan in southern Punjab.[35] The Pakistan government's official chronology states that "its foundation was laid" as a result of this conquest.[36] This Arab and Islamic victory would set the stage for several successive Muslim empires in South Asia, including the Ghaznavid Empire, the Ghorid Kingdom, the Delhi Sultanate and the Mughal Empire. During this period, Sufi missionaries played a pivotal role in converting a majority of the regional Buddhist and Hindu population to Islam.

British colony

The gradual decline of the Mughal Empire in the early eighteenth century provided opportunities for the Afghans, Balochis and Sikhs to exercise control over large areas until the British East India Company gained ascendancy over South Asia.[37] The Indian Rebellion of 1857, also known as the Sepoy Mutiny, was the region's last major armed struggle against the British Raj, and it laid the foundations for the largely non-violent freedom struggle led by the Indian National Congress in the twentieth century. In the 1920s and 1930s, a movement led by Congress leader Mahatma Gandhi engaged millions of protesters in mass campaigns of civil disobedience.[38]

Image of the seventeenth-century Badshahi Masjid
The 17th century Badshahi Masjid built during Mughal rule in Lahore

The All India Muslim League rose to popularity in the late 1930s amid fears of under-representation and neglect of Muslims in politics. On 29 December 1930, Allama Iqbal's presidential address called for an autonomous "state in northwestern India for Indian Muslims, within the body politic of India."[39] Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah espoused the Two Nation Theory and led the Muslim League to adopt the Lahore Resolution of 1940, popularly known as the Pakistan Resolution. 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 on behalf of 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.

The modern state of Pakistan was established on 14 August 1947 (27 Ramadan 1366 in the Islamic Calendar), carved out of the two Muslim-majority wings in the eastern and northwestern regions of British India and comprising the provinces of Balochistan, East Bengal, the North-West Frontier Province, West Punjab and Sindh.[40] The controversial, and ill-timed, division of the provinces of Punjab and Bengal caused communal riots across India and Pakistan—millions of Muslims moved to Pakistan and millions of Hindus and Sikhs moved to India.[41]

Disputes arose over several princely states including in the Muslim-majority Jammu and Kashmir, whose Hindu ruler had acceded to India following an invasion by Pashtun tribal militias, leading to the First Kashmir War in 1948.[42]

The Working Committee of the Muslim League in Lahore (1940)


From 1947 to 1956, Pakistan was a Dominion of Pakistan in the Commonwealth of Nations, as West-Pakistan claimed an exclusive mandate for all of Pakistan, considering itself to be the reorganized continuation of the country in the United Nations. It became a Parliamentary Republic in 1956, but the civilian rule was stalled by a coup d’état by then-Army Commander-in-Chief General Ayub Khan, who was the first Chief Martial Law Administrator and also the President during 1958–69, a period of internal instability and a second war with India in 1965. His successor, General Yahya Khan (1969–71), also an Army Commander, had to deal with a devastating cyclone—which caused 500,000 deaths in East-Pakistan—and also face a bitter civil war in 1971. Economic grievances and political dissent in East Pakistan led to violent political tension and military repression that escalated into a civil war.[43] After nine months of guerrilla warfare between the Pakistan Armed Forces and the Indian backed Bengali Mukti Bahini militia, Indian intervention escalated into the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, and ultimately to the secession of East Pakistan as the independent state of Bangladesh.[44]

Image of the founder and first Governor General of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah
The first Governor General Muhammad Ali Jinnah delivering the opening address on 11 August 1947 to the new state of Pakistan.

Isolated and devastated, General Yahya Khan immediately surrendered his executive powers to Zulfikar Ali Bhutto who became the first and to-date only civilian Chief Martial Law Administrator. Civilian rule resumed in Pakistan from 1972 to 1977 under Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, until he was deposed and later sentenced to death in 1979 by General Zia-ul-Haq, who became the country's third military president and fourth Chief Martial Law Administrator. From the period of 1971 to 1977, Bhutto worked on uniting the remaining part of the country and taking initiatives to stabilizing the economy. As part of this policy, Bhutto inaugurated the country's first atomic power plant in Karachi, Sindh Province in 1972. Under Bhutto, Pakistan became first nuclear power country in the Muslim world, and also authorized the integrated nuclear weapons development the same year. As awake of Smiling Buddha, an Indian nuclear test in 1974, Bhutto intensified and accelerated the scientific research on nuclear weapons. By the 1978, this crash program had fully became mature, and Pakistan conducted a cold-test of a nuclear device (see Kirana-I) in Kirana Hills in 1983, followed by another cold test (see Kahuta Test) in 1984.

However, another serious liberation movement took place in Balochistan Province in 1974. In response, Bhutto launched an armed operation in the province and the rebellion was successfully quelled by the Pakistan Armed Forces in 1978. Bhutto was removed in a coup d'état led by General Zia-ul-Haq, Chief of Army Staff, in 1977. The Supreme Court of Pakistan ordered the execution of Bhutto after he allegedly approved the murder of political opponent. In 1979, Bhutto was executed and General Zia-ul-Haq became the Chief Martial Law Administrator and President after Bhutto's execution. General Zia's martial law and military government lasted until 1988 when he died in a plane crash in 1988.

As military president, General Zia introduced the Islamic Sharia legal code, which increased religious influences on the civil service and the military. With the death of President Zia in a plane crash in 1988, Benazir Bhutto, daughter of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, was elected as the first female Prime Minister of Pakistan. Over the next decade, she fought for power with conservative leader Nawaz Sharif as the country's political and economic situation worsened. Pakistan got involved in the 1991 Gulf War and sent 5,000 troops as part of a U.S.-led coalition, specifically for the defence of Saudi Arabia.[45]

Recent elections

Navaz Sharif secured an overwhelming victory over Benazir Bhutto in the 1997 parliamentary elections and sworned as Prime minister of Pakistan. Navaz Sharif became the second politically strongest Prime minister, only after Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, to have claimed and have achieved the exclusive mandate of all over the Pakistan, defeating Benazir Bhutto on a large scale margin. In 1998, tensions with India heightened, as Navaz Sharif ordered the nuclear tests in Balochistan in May of 1998 (see Chagai-I and Chagai-II) as a reaction to that of Indian nuclear tests (Pokhran-II). Military tensions in the Kargil conflict with India were followed by a Pakistani military coup d'état in 1999 in which General Pervez Musharraf assumed vast executive powers.[46][47] In 2001, Musharraf became President after the controversial resignation of Rafiq Tarar. After the 2002 parliamentary elections, Musharraf transferred executive powers to the newly elected Prime Minister Zafarullah Khan Jamali, who was succeeded in the 2004 prime-ministerial election by Shaukat Aziz. On 15 November 2007, the National Assembly, for the first time in Pakistan's history, completed its tenure and new elections were called. The exiled political leaders Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif were permitted to return to Pakistan. However, the assassination of Benazir Bhutto during the election campaign in December led to postponement of elections and nationwide riots. Bhutto's Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) won the largest number of seats in the elections held in February 2008 and its member Yousaf Raza Gillani was sworn in as Prime Minister.[48] On 18 August 2008, Pervez Musharraf resigned from the presidency when threatened with impeachment,[49] and was succeeded by current president Asif Ali Zardari. By the end of 2009, more than 3 million Pakistani civilians have been displaced by the on going conflict in North-West Pakistan between the government and Taliban militants.[50]


Aiwan-e-Sadr, the official residence of the President of Pakistan
Asif Ali Zardari – President of Pakistan.
Asif Ali Zardari is the current President of Pakistan, he has faced heavy public opposition and corruption allegations.

Pakistan is a democratic parliamentary federal republic with Islam as the state religion.[51] The first Constitution of Pakistan was adopted in 1956, but was suspended in 1958 by General Ayub Khan. The Constitution of 1973 – suspended in 1977, by Zia-ul-Haq, but re-instated in 1985  – is the country's most important document, laying the foundations of the current government.[52]

The bicameral legislature comprises a 100-member Senate and a 342-member National Assembly. The President is the Head of state and the Commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces and is elected by an electoral college. The prime minister is usually the leader of the largest party in the National Assembly. Each province has a similar system of government with a directly elected Provincial Assembly in which the leader of the largest party or alliance becomes Chief Minister. Provincial Governors are appointed by the President.[51]

A man in black suite having mustaches, prime minister of Pakistan
Prime Minister of Pakistan, Yousaf Raza Gillani.

The Pakistani military has played an influential role in mainstream politics throughout Pakistan's history, with military presidents ruling from 1958–71, 1977–88 and from 1999–2008.[53] The leftist Pakistan Peoples Party, led by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, won support after the loss of East Pakistan but was overthrown amidst riots in 1977.[54] Under the military rule of Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, a politically nationalist insurgency in Balochistan was also bloodlessly quelled by military governor Rahimuddin.[55] The 1990s were characterised by coalition politics dominated by the Pakistan Peoples Party and a rejuvenated Muslim League.[51] Pakistan is an active member of the United Nations (UN) and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the latter of which Pakistan has used as a forum for Enlightened Moderation, a plan to promote a renaissance and enlightenment in the Muslim world.[51] Pakistan is also a member of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and the Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO).[51] In the past, Pakistan has had mixed relations with the United States; in the early 1950s, Pakistan was the United States' "most allied ally in Asia"[56] and a member of both the Central Treaty Organisation (CENTO) and the Southeast Asia Treaty Organisation (SEATO). After Sino-Indian War in 1962 Pakistan's closest strategic, military and economic ally is China.[57][58]

Pakistan National Symbols of Pakistan[59]
Flag Flag of Pakistan
Emblem Faith, Unity, Discipline
Anthem Qaumi Tarana
Animal Markhor
Bird Chukar
Flower Jasmine
Tree Cedrus deodara
Juice Sugarcane juice
Sport Field hockey
Dress Shalwar Kameez

During the Soviet-Afghan War in the 1980s, Pakistan was a major U.S. ally.[60] But relations soured in the 1990s, when sanctions were imposed by the U.S. over Pakistan's refusal to abandon its nuclear activities.[61] However, the American War on Terrorism, as an aftermath of 11 September 2001 attacks in New York, led to an improvement in US–Pakistan ties, especially after Pakistan ended its support of the Taliban regime in Kabul. Its positive side was evidenced by a major increase in American military aid, providing Pakistan $4 billion more in three years after the 9/11 attacks than before.[62] On the other hand, Pakistan is presently burdened with nearly 3 million displaced civilians due to the ongoing Afghan war. As of 2004, in contexts of the War on Terror, Pakistan was being referred to as part of the Greater Middle East by the US under the Bush administration.[63]

On 18 February 2008, Pakistan held its general elections after Benazir Bhutto's assassination postponed the original date of 8 January 2008.[64] The Pakistan Peoples Party won the majority of the votes and formed an alliance with the Pakistan Muslim League (N). They nominated and elected Yousaf Raza Gilani as Prime Minister.[65] On 18 August 2008, Pervez Musharraf resigned as President of Pakistan amidst increasing calls for his impeachment.[66] In the presidential election that followed, Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan People's Party won a landslide majority and became President of Pakistan.[67]

Administrative divisions

Pakistan is a federation of four provinces, Punjab, Sind, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, a capital territory and a group of federally administered tribal areas. The government of Pakistan exercises de facto jurisdiction over the western parts of the disputed Kashmir region, organised as separate political entities; Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. The latter has been given a province-like status for self government by the Gilgit-Baltistan Empowerment and Self-Governance Order, 2009.[68]

Pakistan Administrative Units – Tier 1
Pakistan Administrative Units – Tier 1

Prior to 2001, the sub-provincial tier of government was composed of 26 divisions with two further tiers (districts and tehsils) administered directly from the provincial level. The divisions were abolished in 2001[69] and a new three-tiered system of local government came into effect comprising districts, tehsils and union councils with an elected body at each tier.

There are currently 113 districts in Pakistan-proper, each with several tehsils and union councils. The tribal areas comprise seven tribal agencies and six small frontier regions[70] detached from neighbouring districts while Azad Kashmir comprises ten[71] and Gilgit-Baltistan seven[72] districts respectively.

Provinces Territories
Balochistan Islamabad Capital Territory
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Federally Administered Tribal Areas including the Frontier Regions
Punjab Azad Jammu and Kashmir
Sindh Gilgit-Baltistan


Pakistani F-16s in preparation for training with the USAF. Pakistan is classed as a Major non-NATO ally of the United States
A nuclear capable Babur cruise missile with a theoretical range of 1000km
A nuclear capable Babur cruise missile with a theoretical range of 1000km
USS Rueben James along with Pakistan Navy Ship (PNS) Shahjahan and PNS Tippi Sultan are currently participating in Exercise Inspired Siren 2002.
Pakistani Navy during a Drill.
JF-17 Thunder.
The JF-17 Thunder is built in Pakistan in cooperation with China.

The armed forces of Pakistan are the eighth-largest in the world. The three main services are the Army, Navy and the Air Force, supported by a number of paramilitary forces which carry out internal security roles and border patrols. The National Command Authority is responsible for exercising employment and development control of all strategic nuclear forces and organisations, and for Pakistan's nuclear doctrine. Pakistani defence forces has had close military relation with China and United States and predominantly imports military equipments from these two countries.[73] The defence forces of China and Pakistan also organise joint military exercises.[74]

The Pakistan Army came into existence after independence in 1947 and is currently headed by General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. The Pakistan Army is "the heart of power" in Pakistan who "consistently meddled in politics," as well as "run secretive industrial conglomerates".[75] It has an active force of 612,000 personnel and 513,000 men in reserve.[76] Conscription may be introduced in times of emergency, but it has never been imposed.[77]

Since independence, the Army has been involved in four wars with neighbouring India and several border skirmishes with Afghanistan. It maintained division and brigade strength presences in some of the Arab countries during the past Arab–Israeli Wars, and aided the Coalition in the first Gulf War. Other major operations undertaken by the Army include Operation Black Thunderstorm and Operation Rah-e-Nijat. Apart from conflicts, the Army has been an active participant in United Nations peacekeeping missions and played a major role in rescuing trapped American soldiers from Mogadishu, Somalia in 1993 in Operation Gothic Serpent.

The Pakistan military first saw combat in the First Kashmir War, gaining control of what is now Pakistan-administered Kashmir. In 1961, the army repelled a major Afghan incursion on Pakistan's western border.[78] Pakistan and India were at war again in 1965 and in 1971. In 1973, the military quelled a Baloch nationalist uprising.

In the past, Pakistani personnel have volunteered to serve alongside Arab forces in conflicts with Israel. During the Six-Day War in 1967 and Yom Kippur War in October 1973 PAF pilots volunteered to go to the Middle East to support Egypt and Syria in a state of war against Israel, Air Force pilots shot down ten Israeli planes in the Six-Day War. During the Yom Kippur War 16 PAF pilots volunteered to leave for the Middle East in order to support Egypt and Syria but by the time they arrived Egypt had already agreed on a cease-fire.[79]

During the Soviet–Afghan war, Pakistan shot down several intruding pro-Soviet Afghan aircraft and provided covert support to the Afghan mujahideen through the Inter-Services Intelligence agency.

In 1999, Pakistan was involved in the Kargil War. Currently, the military is engaged in an armed conflict with extremist Islamic militants in the north-west of the country.[80] Since 2004, Pakistani armed forces have engaged in fighting against Pakistani Taliban groups. Militant groups have engaged in suicide bombings in Pakistani cities, killing more than 3,000 civilians and armed personnel in 2009 alone.[81]

Internationally the Pakistani armed forces contributed to United Nations peacekeeping efforts, with more than 10,700 personnel deployed in 2009,[82] and are presently the largest contributor. Pakistan provided a military contingent to the UN-backed coalition in the first Gulf War.[83] Pakistani troops were rushed to Makkah on the Saudi Government's request and Pakistani SSG commandos led the operation of the Grand Mosque Seizure.

Kashmir conflict

The Kashmir conflict (Hindi: कश्मीर विवाद, Urdu: مسئلہ کشمیر) is a territorial dispute between India and Pakistan over the Kashmir region, the northwesternmost region of South Asia.

India claims the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir and as of 2010, administers approximately 43% 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 37% of Kashmir, namely Azad Kashmir and the northern areas of Gilgit and Baltistan. China controls 20% of Kashmir, including Aksai Chin, which it occupied following the brief Sino-Indian War of 1962, and the Trans-Karakoram Tract (also known as the Shaksam Valley), which was ceded by Pakistan in 1963.

India has officially stated that it believes that Kashmir is an integral part of India, though the Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh, stated after the 2010 Kashmir Unrest that his government is willing to grant autonomy within the purview of Indian constitution to Kashmir if there is consensus on this issue.[84] Pakistan says that Kashmir is a disputed territory whose final status must be determined by the people of Kashmir. China states that Aksai Chin is a part of China and does not recognize the addition of Aksai Chin to the Kashmir region. Certain Kashmiri independence groups believe that Kashmir should be independent of both India and Pakistan.

India and Pakistan have fought at least three wars over Kashmir, including the Indo-Pakistani Wars of 1947, 1965 and 1999. India and Pakistan have also been involved in several skirmishes over the Siachen Glacier.


Baltoro Glacier
The 62-kilometre-long Baltoro Glacier, in northern Pakistan, is one of the longest glaciers outside the polar regions

Pakistan covers an area of 796,095 km2 (307,374 sq mi), approximately equalling the combined land areas of France and the United Kingdom. It is the 36th largest nation by total area although this ranking varies depending on how the disputed territory of Kashmir is counted. Apart from the 1,046 km (650 mi) coastline along the Arabian Sea, Pakistan's land borders a total of 6,774 km (4,209 mi)—2,430 km (1,510 mi) with Afghanistan, 523 km (325 mi) with China, 2,912 km (1,809 mi) with India and 909 km (565 mi) with Iran.[52] The territory it controls mostly lies between latitudes 23° and 37° N (a small area is north of 37°), and longitudes 61° and 78° E (a small area is west of 61°).

Geologically, Pakistan overlaps with the Indian tectonic plate in its Sindh and Punjab provinces, while Balochistan and most of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa lie within the Eurasian plate which mainly comprises the Iranian plateau. Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir lie mainly in Central Asia along the edge of the Indian plate and are hence prone to violent earthquakes.

Topographical map of Pakistan
Topography of Pakistan

The geography of Pakistan is a blend of landscapes varying from plains to deserts, forests, hills, and plateaus ranging from the coastal areas of the Arabian Sea in the south to the mountains of the Karakoram range in the north. Pakistan is divided into three major geographic areas: the northern highlands; the Indus River plain; and the Balochistan Plateau.[85] The northern highlands of Pakistan contain the Karakoram, Hindu Kush and Pamir mountain ranges, which incorporate some of the world's highest peaks, including K2 (8,611 m or 28,251 ft) and Nanga Parbat (8,126 m or 26,660 ft). The Balochistan Plateau lies to the West, and the Thar Desert in the East. An expanse of alluvial plains lies in Punjab and Sindh along the Indus river. The 1,609 km (1,000 mi) Indus River and its tributaries flow through the country from the Kashmir region to the Arabian Sea.[86]


Pakistan's climate varies from tropical to temperate with arid conditions existing in the coastal south, characterised by a monsoon season with frequent flooding rainfall and a dry season with significantly lesser to no rainfall. There are four distinct seasons; a cool, dry winter from December through February; a hot, dry spring from March through May; the summer rainy season or southwest monsoon period, from June through September; and the retreating monsoon period of October and November.[87] Rainfall can vary radically from year to year, and successive patterns of flooding and drought are common.[88]

Flora and fauna

Cedrus deodara, Pakistan's national tree

The diversity of landscapes and climates in Pakistan allows for a wide variety of trees and plants to flourish in this region. The forests range from coniferous alpine and subalpine trees such as spruce, pine, and deodar cedar in the extreme northern mountains, to deciduous trees such as the mulberry-type Shisham in the Sulaiman range in the majority of the country, to palms such coconut and date in South Punjab and Balochistan and all of Sindh. The western hills are home to juniper and tamarisk as well as coarse grasses and scrub plants. Mangrove forests form much of the coastal wetlands along the coast in the south.[89]

Coniferous forests in most of the northern and north-western highlands are found at altitudes ranging from 1,000m to 4,000m. In the xeric regions of Balochistan, date palms and ephedra are common floral varieties. In most of Punjab and Sindh, the Indus plains support tropical and subtropical dry and moist broadleaf forestry as well as tropical and xeric shrublands. These forests are mostly mulberry, acacia, and Eucalyptus.

According to statistics, 2.5% or about 1,902,000 hectares (19,020 km2) of Pakistan was forested in 2000.[90]

Similar to the vegetation, the animal life in Pakistan reflects the varied climatic regions of the land. The southern plains are home to crocodiles in the Indus while boars, deer, porcupines, and small rodents are found more commonly in the surrounding areas. The sandy scrublands of central Pakistan are home to a jackals, hyenas, wild cats, panthers, and leopards.

Markhor, Pakistan's national animal

In the north, a wide variety of animals have found home in the mountainous regions including the Marco Polo sheep, Urial sheep, Markhor and Ibex goats, black and brown Himalayan bears, and the rare Snow Leopard. Another rare species is the blind Indus River Dolphin of which there are believed to be about 1,100 remaining, protected at the Indus River Dolphin Reserve in Sindh.[91] There have been sightings of the rare Asiatic cheetahs in the southwestern deserts of Sindh and Balochistan.

Apart from crows, sparrows and myna, hawks, falcons, and eagles are the more commonly found birds in Pakistan. A lot of birds sighted within Pakistan are migratory as they make their way from Europe, Central Asia and India.[92]

In recent years, the number of wild animals being killed for fur and leather trading led to a new law banning the hunting of wild animals and birds as well as the establishment of several wildlife sanctuaries and game reserves. The number of hunters have greatly dwindled since then.[93]

Vast sections of the Indus flood plains have been cleared of natural vegetation to grow crops. Only animals like the jackal, mongoose, jungle cat, civet cat, scaly anteater, desert cat and the wild hare occur in these areas. Hog deer are found in riveine tracts. The crop residues and wild growth support reasonable populations of black and grey partridges.[94]

The lack of vegetative cover, severity of climatic conditions, and the impact of grazing animals on the deserts have left wild animals in a precarious position. Chinkara is the only animal that can still be found in significant numbers in Cholistan.[95] The blackbuck, once plentiful in Cholistan, has now been eliminated; efforts are being made to reintroduce them into the country. A small number of blue bulls are found along the Pakistan-Indian border, and in some parts of Cholistan. Grey partridge, species of sand grouse and the Indian courser are the main birds of the area. Peafowl occur in some areas in Cholistan.[96] The Kohistan region of Pakistan, Palas Velley, also has a significant population of Western Tragopan.[97]


A view of the skyline in Karachi's financial district.

Pakistan has a semi-industrialized economy.[98][99] The growth poles of the Pakistani economy are situated along the Indus River.[99][100] Diversified economies of Karachi and Punjab's urban centres, coexist with lesser developed areas in other parts of the country.[99] 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.[101]

Recently, wide-ranging economic reforms have resulted in a stronger economic outlook and accelerated growth especially in the manufacturing and financial services sectors.[101] Since the 1990s, there has been great improvement in the foreign exchange position and rapid growth in hard currency reserves.[101]

The 2005 estimate of foreign debt was close to US$40 billion. However, this has decreased in recent years with assistance from the International Monetary Fund and significant debt-relief from the United States. Pakistan's gross domestic product, as measured by purchasing power parity, is estimated to be $475.4 billion[102] while its per capita income stands at $2,942.[102] The poverty rate in Pakistan is estimated to be between 23%[103] and 28%.[104]

GDP growth was steady during the mid-2000s at a rate of 7%;[105][106] however, slowed down during the Economic crisis of 2008 to 4.7%.[52] A large inflation rate of 24.4% and a low savings rate, and other economic factors, continue to make it difficult to sustain a high growth rate.[107][108] Pakistan's GDP is US$167 billions, which makes it the 48th-largest economy in the world or 27th largest by purchasing power adjusted exchange rates. Today, Pakistan is regarded as to having the second largest economy in South Asia.[109]

The structure of the Pakistani economy has changed from a mainly agricultural base to a strong service base. Agriculture now only accounts for roughly 20% of the GDP, while the service sector accounts for 53% of the GDP.[110] Significant foreign investments have been made in several areas including telecommunications, real estate and energy.[111][112] Other important industries include apparel and textiles (accounting for nearly 60% of exports), food processing, chemicals manufacture, and the iron and steel industries.[113] Pakistan's exports in 2008 amounted to $20.62 billion (USD).[114] Pakistan is a rapidly developing country.[115][116][117]

However, the economic crisis of 2008 led Pakistan to seek more than $100 billion in aid in order to avoid possible bankruptcy.[118][119] This was never given to Pakistan and it had to depend on a more aggressive fiscal policy, backed by the IMF. A year later, Asian Development Bank reported that the Pakistan economic crisis was easing.[120] Furthermore it is projected that in 2010 Pakistan economy would grow at least 4% and could grow more with strong international economic recovery.[121]


green landscape with mountain in the back ground
The Deosai National Park is located in Skardu, Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan.
K2 is the second-highest mountain on Earth after Mount Everest. With a peak elevation of 8,611 metres (28,251 ft), K2 is part of the Karakoram range, Pakistan.

Despite being once listed as one of the most dangerous countries in the world by The Economist,[122] tourism is still a growing industry in Pakistan because of its diverse cultures, peoples and landscapes.[123] The variety of attractions ranges from the ruins of ancient civilisations such as Mohenjo-daro, Harappa and Taxila, to the Himalayan hill-stations, that attract those interested in field and winter sports. Pakistan also has five out of fourteen mountain peaks of height over 8,000 metres (26,250 ft), that attract adventurers and mountaineers from around the world, especially to K2.[124] From April to September, domestic and international visitors to these areas bring tourist income to the local people.

Noor Mahal, one of the many palaces of the Nawabs of Bahawalpur
Utror, Swat Valley

In Balochistan there are many caves for cavers and tourists to visit especially the Juniper Shaft Cave, the Murghagull Gharra cave, Mughall saa cave, and Pakistan's naturally decorated cave, the Mangocher Cave. Pakistan is a member country of the Union International de Spéléologie (UIS).[125]

The northern parts of Pakistan are home to several historical fortresses, towers and other architecture including the Hunza and Chitral valleys, the latter being home to the Kalash, a small pre-Islamic Animist community.[126] Punjab is also the site of Alexander's battle on the Jhelum River. The historic city of Lahore is considered Pakistan's cultural centre and has many examples of Mughal architecture such as the Badshahi Masjid, Shalimar Gardens, Tomb of Jahangir and the Lahore Fort.[127] The Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) also helps promote tourism in the country.[128] However, tourism is still limited because of the lack of proper infrastructure and the worsening security situation in the country. The recent militancy in Pakistan's scenic sites, including Swat in Khybar Pakhtoon Kawa province, have dealt a massive blow to the tourism industry. Many of the troubles in these tourist destinations are also blamed on the frail travel network, tourism regulatory framework, low prioritisation of the tourism industry by the government, low effectiveness of marketing and a constricted tourism perception.[129][130] After these areas were being cleared off the militant groups in late 2009, the government, with financial support from the USAID, started a campaign to reintroduce tourism in Swat valley. Pakistan receives 500,000 tourists annually, with almost half of them heading to northern Pakistan.[131]


Map of major Highways and Motorways in Pakistan
The Karachi Port is the largest port in the country and one of South Asia's busiest.

Rail services in Pakistan are provided by the state-run Pakistan Railways, under the supervision of the Ministry of Railways. Pakistan Railways provides an important mode of transportation in Pakistan, catering to the large-scale movement of people and freight. The railway network comprises 8,163 km[132] of which 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in) (broad gauge) forms 7,718 km including 293 km of electrified track. Pakistan Railways carry 65 million passengers annually and daily operates 228 mail, express and passenger trains. Pakistan Railways also operate special trains for various occasions. The Freight Business Unit with 12000 personnel operates over 200 freight stations on the railway network. Pakistan has also planned or had many Mass Transit Systems. The Karachi Circular Railway, which opened in the early 1940s, is the only functioning Mass Transit System in Pakistan as of March 2010. In 1976, Karachi was slated to begin work on an underground metro system, but plans have been put on hold since. The Lahore Metro is another proposal still in planning and is scheduled to be completed by 2020. Pakistan has been successful in foreign trade by rail. Pakistan has successfully traded with countries such as Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, India, Turkmenistan and China.[133]

During the 1990s, Pakistan began an ongoing project to rebuild all national highways throughout the country specifically to important financial, cargo and textile centres. The National Highway Authority or NHA is responsible for the maintenance of all national highways in Pakistan. The construction of motorways began in the early 1990s with the idea building a world class road network and to reduce the load off the heavily used national highways throughout the country. The first motorway to be completed was M2 in 1997 from Islamabad to Lahore. Later on, highways such as M1 from Peshawar to Islamabad, M3 from Pindi Bhattian to Faisalabad, M9 from Hyderabad to Karachi, Karachi Northern Bypass from Hyderabad to Karachi, and the Lahore Ring Road[134] were completed.

The waterway network in Pakistan is in its infancy with Karachi being the only major city situated next to the Arabian Sea. Plans are being proposed for the development of the waterways in the country along the Indus River and through the Punjab as it would boost employment opportunities and the economic and social development in Pakistan.[135] Pakistan has an estimated 139 airports, 10 of them international.[136]

Science and Technology

Research and development forms an integral part in Pakistan's economy.[137] For the most of the 20th century, Scientific efforts were at the rising level in Pakistan, that brought international recognition in its achievements, and became a major component of Pakistan's foreign policy.[137] Pakistan is the home of Professor Abdus Salam— Pakistan's only Nobel laureate in Physics, and pioneer of the electroweak theory for which he received such honor.[138] In modern time, the work of Pervez Hoodbhoy, Ishfaq Ahmad, and Riazudding played a crucial development in particle and theoretical physics. Pakistan also produced the world class mathematicians such as Asghar Qadir and Raziuddin Siddiqui where their research played a crucial advancement in mathematical physics. Munir Ahmad Rashid became the first Pakistani mathematician to provide the another theoretical proof of Fermat's Last Theorem in 2008.[139] Dr. Salimuzzaman Siddiqui was the first Pakistani scientist that bring the anthelmintic, antifungal, anti-bacterial, and antiviral constituents of the Neem tree to the attention of natural products chemists. He was preceded by Atta ur Rahman, UNESCO laureate, and Naveed Zaidi, organic chemist being the first scientist to developed first workable plastic magnet at room temperature. Each and every year, scientists from all over the world are invited by the Pakistan Academy of Sciences and the Pakistan Government to participate in International Nathiagali Summer College on Physics, one of the largest seminar in Physics and Mathematics.[140]

Medical scientists from Pakistan also pioneered in neuroscience. Dr. Ayub Ommaya, the inventor of the Ommaya reservoir, was one of the leading scientist in the field of Neurosciences.[141] Another medical scientist, Naweed Syed became the first scientist who managed to "connect brain cells to a silicon chip".[142] Pakistan has produced prolific technologist such as dr. Umar Saif, a pioneer in ICTD technology and Munir A. Khan, a leading figure in nuclear power technology.[143] Aerospace engineer W. J. M. Turowicz developed and supervised the launch of the Rehbar-I rocket from Pakistan soil, making Pakistan first South Asian country to launch the rocket in space.[144] In 1990, Pakistan launched its first and ingeniously satellite, Badr-I from PR China, becoming first Muslim country and second South Asian country to have put the satellite in space.[145] In 1972, with the opening inauguration of country's commercial nuclear power plant in Karachi, Pakistan became first nuclear power in the Islamic world, and second emerging nuclear power in South Asia, while her neighbor India became the first.[13] In 1998, due to amid domestic and international pressure, Pakistan became first Muslim majority and seventh country in the world to successfully develop and test nuclear weapons.[146] Pakistan's scientists have played an influential role in advancing the economical sciences such as Akhtar Hameed Khan, pioneer of microcredit and microfinance initiatives in developing world; Mahbub-ul-Haq, creator of the Human development theory and the founder of the Human Development Report; and Agha Hasan Abedi, founder of the BCCI.[147]


Population density in Pakistan
Population in Pakistan [148]
Year Million
1971 62.5
1980 82.7
1990 108.0
2000 138.1
2004 152.1
2008 166.0
Source: OECD/World Bank

Population in Pakistan increased from 1990 to 2008 with 58 million and 54 % growth in population.[148] The estimated population of Pakistan in 2010 was over 170 million[2] making it the world's sixth most-populous country, behind Brazil and ahead of Bangladesh. In 1951 Pakistan had a population of 34 million.[149] The population growth rate now stands at 1.6%.[150] It is expected that by 2030, Pakistan will overtake Indonesia as the largest Muslim country in the world.[151][152][153]

The majority of southern Pakistan's population live along the Indus River. By population size, Karachi is the largest city of Pakistan.[154] In the northern half, most of the population live in an arc formed by the cities of Lahore, Faisalabad, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Gujranwala, Sialkot, Gujrat, Jhelum, Sargodha, Sheikhupura, Nowshera, Mardan and Peshawar. About 20% of the population live below the international poverty line of US$1.25 a day .[155]

Life expectancy at birth is 63 years for females and 62 years for males as of 2006[156] compared to the healthy life expectancy at birth which was 54 years for males and 52 years for females in 2003.[156] Expenditure on health was at 2% of the GDP in 2006.[156] The mortality below 5 was at 97 per 1,000 live births in 2006.[156] During 1990–2003, Pakistan sustained its historical lead as the most urbanised nation in South Asia, with city dwellers making up 36% of its population.[52] Furthermore, 50% of Pakistanis now reside in towns of 5,000 people or more.[157]

Pakistan is a multilingual country with more than sixty languages being spoken. English is the official language of Pakistan and used in official business, government, and legal contracts,[52] and Punjabi has a plurality of native speakers. Urdu is the lingua franca and national language in Pakistan. Punjabi is the provincial language of Punjab. Saraiki is also spoken in the larger area of Punjab province. Pashto is the provincial language of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Sindhi is the provincial language of Sindh and Balochi is the provincial language of Balochistan.[158]

The population comprises several main ethnic groups (2009):[159]

  1. Punjabis (44.15%) 78.7 million
  2. Pashtuns (15.42%) 27.2 million
  3. Sindhis (14.1%) 24.8 million
  4. Seraikis (10.53%) 14.8 million
  5. Muhajirs (7.57%) 13.3 million
  6. Balochs is (3.57%) 6.3 million
  7. Others (4.66%) 11.1 million

Smaller ethnic groups, such as Kashmiris, Hindkowans, Kalash, Burusho, Brahui, Khowar, Ranghar, Meo, Balti, Shina, and Turwalis are mainly found in the northern parts of the country.

Pakistan's census does not include the registered 1.7 million Afghan refugees from neighbouring Afghanistan, who are mainly found in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) areas, with small numbers in the cities of Karachi and Quetta.[160] Around 2 million refugees from Bangladesh, Iran, Africa, and other places are also found in Pakistan.


Pakistan is the second-most populous Muslim-majority country[12][162] and also has the second-largest Shi'a population in the world.[163] About 97% of the Pakistanis are Muslim. The majority are Sunni, with an estimated 5–20% Shi'a.[164][165][166][167][168] 2.3% are Ahmadis,[169] who are officially considered non-Muslims since a 1974 "anti-Ahmadi" constitutional amendment.[170] There are also several Sufi and Quraniyoon communities.[171][172][173][174] Although the groups of Muslims usually coexist peacefully, sectarian violence occurs sporadically.[175] The religious breakdown of the country is as follows:[164][165][166][167][168]


International Islamic University Islamabad.

According to the constitution of Pakistan, it is the state’s responsibility to provide free primary education.[177] At the time of independence Pakistan had only one university, the University of the Punjab, founded in 1882 in Lahore. Pakistan now has more than 132 universities of which 73 are public universities and 59 are private universities.[178][179]

Education in Pakistan is divided into five levels: primary (grades one through five); middle (grades six through eight); high (grades nine and ten, leading to the Secondary School Certificate); intermediate (grades eleven and twelve, leading to a Higher Secondary School Certificate); and university programmes leading to graduate and advanced degrees.[180]

Literacy rate – Pakistan

Pakistan also has a parallel secondary school education system in private schools, which is based upon the curriculum set and administered by the Cambridge International Examinations, in place of government exams. Some students choose to take the O level and A level[181] exams through the British Council.

There are currently 730 technical & vocational institutions in Pakistan.[182] The minimum qualifications to enter male vocational institutions, is the completion of grade 8, and for female is grade 5.

English medium education is to be extended, on a phased basis, to all schools across the country.[183] Through various educational reforms, by the year 2015, the ministry of education expects to attain 100% enrolment levels amongst primary school aged children, and a literacy rate of 86% amongst people aged over 10.[184]

Pakistan also has madrassahs that provide free Islamic education and also offer free boarding and lodging to students who come mainly from the poorer strata of society.[185] After criticism over terrorists using them for recruiting purposes, efforts have been made to regulate them.[186]

In 2004 only 46.6 percent of adult Pakistanis were literate. Male literacy was 60.6 percent, while female literacy was 31.5 percent. Literacy rates also vary regionally, and particularly by sex; for instance, in tribal areas female literacy is 3%.[187] The government launched a nationwide initiative in 1998 with the aim of eradicating illiteracy and providing a basic education to all children.[188] By 2013 all educational institutions in Sindh province of Pakistan will have to provide Chinese language courses. This initiative reflects China's growing role as a Superpower and Pakistan's close ties with China.[189]


A sitar workshop in Islamabad, Pakistan.
Rubab, a traditional instrument from Pakistan

Pakistani society is largely hierarchical, with high regard for traditional Islamic values, although urban families have grown into a nuclear family system because of the socio-economic constraints imposed by the traditional joint family system.[190] Recent decades have seen the emergence of a middle class in cities like Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Hyderabad, Faisalabad, Multan and Peshawar (now numbering at 30 million, with an average annual income of US$10,000, with another 17 million belonging to the upper and upper-middle classes[191] that wish to move in a more centrist direction, as opposed to the northwestern regions bordering Afghanistan that remain highly conservative and dominated by centuries-old regional tribal customs. Increasing globalisation has resulted in ranking 46th on the A.T. Kearney/FP Globalization Index.[192]

picture taken in evening, having a bazaar with people walking around, and food shops.
View of Food Street in Lahore

The variety of 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, such as the synchronisation of Qawwali and western music by the world renowned Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. In addition Pakistan is home to many famous folk singers such as the late Alam Lohar, who is also well known in Indian Punjab. However a majority of Pakistanis listen to Indian music produced by Bollywood and other Indian film industries.[citation needed] The arrival of Afghan refugees in the western provinces has rekindled Pashto and Persian music and established Peshawar as a hub for Afghan musicians and a distribution center for Afghan music abroad.[193]

State-owned Pakistan Television Corporation (PTV) and Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation were the dominant media outlets, but there are now numerous private television channels. Various American, European, and Asian television channels and films are available to the majority of the Pakistani population via private television networks, cable, and satellite television (43 million Pakistanis have satellite television).[194] There are also small indigenous film industries based in Lahore and Peshawar (often referred to as Lollywood). While Bollywood films were banned from being played in public cinemas from 1965 until 2008[195] they have remained in popular culture.[196]


A black and white picture of a man with mustaches.
Sir Muhammad Iqbal was a key leader in the Pakistan Movement. He is also recognised as the national poet of Pakistan.

The literature of Pakistan covers the literatures of languages spread throughout the country, namely Urdu, Sindhi, Punjabi, Pushto, Baluchi as well as English[197] and Persian as well. Prior to the 19th century, the literature mainly consisted of lyric poetry and religious, mystical and popular materials. During the colonial age the native literary figures, under the influence of the western literature of realism, took up increasingly different topics and telling forms. Today, short stories enjoy a special popularity.[198]

The national poet of Pakistan, Allama Muhammad Iqbal, suggested the creation of a separate homeland for the Muslims of India. However, Iqbal had also wrote the Tarana-e-Hind which stated the belief of a strong united India. His book The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam is a major work of modern Islamic philosophy. The most well-known representative of the contemporary Urdu literature of Pakistan is Faiz Ahmed Faiz. Sufi poets Shah Abdul Latif, Bulleh Shah, Mian Muhammad Bakhsh and Khawaja Farid are also very popular in Pakistan.[199] Mirza Kalich Beg has been termed the father of modern Sindhi prose.[200]


The Pakistani architecture of the areas now constituting Pakistan can be designated to four distinct periods—pre-Islamic, Islamic, colonial and post-colonial. With the beginning of the Indus civilisation around the middle of the 3rd millennium B.C.,[201] an advanced urban culture developed for the first time in the region, with large structural facilities, some of which survive to this day.[202] Mohenjo Daro, Harappa and Kot Diji belong to the pre-Islamic era settlements. 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 with the culmination of the Gandhara style.

An example of Buddhist architecture is the ruins of the Buddhist monastery Takht-i-Bahi in the northwest province.[203]

The arrival of Islam in today's Pakistan meant a sudden end of Buddhist architecture.[204] However, a smooth transition to predominantly pictureless Islamic architecture occurred. The most important of the few completely discovered buildings of Persian style is the tomb of the Shah Rukn-i-Alam in Multan. During the Mughal era design elements of Islamic-Persian architecture were fused with and often produced playful forms of the Hindustani art. Lahore, occasional residence of Mughal rulers, exhibits a multiplicity of important buildings from the empire, among them the Badshahi mosque, the fortress of Lahore with the famous Alamgiri Gate, the colourful, still strongly Persian seeming Wazir Khan Mosque as well as numerous other mosques and mausoleums. Also the Shahjahan Mosque of Thatta in Sindh originates from the epoch of the Mughals. In the British colonial period, predominantly functional buildings of the Indo-European representative style developed from a mixture of European and Indian-Islamic components. Post-colonial national identity is expressed in modern structures like the Faisal Mosque, the Minar-e-Pakistan and the Mazar-e-Quaid.[205]


Beef Sekh Kebabs on skewers
Pakistani-style Chinese pulao

Known for its richness and flavour, Pakistani cuisine is a blend of cooking traditions from regions of the subcontinent. Although there are great variations from one area to another, dishes from Sindh province, and the Punjab region are identical to north Indian cuisine due to the strong similarity of culture and ethnicity. These can be highly seasoned and very spicy. Chinese migrants living in Pakistan have adopted a distinct style of Pakistani taste blend of both Chinese and Pakistani cuisine. Some of the popular Pakistani-Chinese dishes include, chicken Manchurian, Chinese basmati rice, Chinese soup and chicken chowmein noodles. [206]


The national sport of Pakistan is hockey, although cricket is the most popular game across the country.[207] 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. Lately however, Pakistani cricket has suffered heavily due to teams refusing to tour Pakistan because of terrorism fears. No teams have toured Pakistan since March 2009, when militants attacked the touring Sri Lankan cricket players.[208]

Hockey, the National sport of Pakistan
Jahangir Khan, six times winner of the Squash World Open.

Squash is another sport that Pakistanis have excelled in. Successful world-class squash players such as Jahangir Khan and Jansher Khan have won the World Open several times during their careers. Other international players are Kiran Khan in Swimming and Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi in Tennis.

At international level, Pakistan has competed many times at the Olympics in field hockey, boxing, athletics, swimming, and shooting. Pakistan's Olympic medal tally stands at 10 (3 gold, 3 silver and 4 bronze) while the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games medal tally stands at 61 and 182 respectively. Hockey is the sport in which Pakistan has been most successful at the Olympics, with three gold medals in (1960, 1968, and 1984). Pakistan has also won the Hockey World Cup a record four times (1971, 1978, 1982, 1994).

Among others, Association football and Polo are the more prominent sports with regular national events held in different parts of the country. Boxing, Billiards, Snooker, Rowing, Kayaking, Caving, Tennis, Contract Bridge, Golf and Volley Ball are also actively participated and Pakistan has produced notable champions in these sports at regional and international levels. In Tennis doubles, Pakistan's Aisam-ul-haq Qureshi and India's Rohan Bopanna play together in many International tournaments portraying Indo-Pak friendship.

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