| Islami Jumhuriyah Pakistan
Islamic Republic of Pakistan
|Anthem: Qaumi Tarana|
|Official Language: Urdu, English and many others|
|Government: Islamic Republic|
|Leader: Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq|
|Area: 880,940 km² km2|
|Population: 114,649,406 (July 1990), growth rate 2.2% (1990)|
|Currency: Pakistani Rupee|
Pakistan is a nation in south-central Asia bordering India, Iran, Afghanistan, People's Republic of China and the Arabian Sea. Pakistan is home to around 140 million people, most of whom are Muslim, with Islam being the state religion.
Pakistan is an Urdu term meaning land of the pure. The suffix -stan, common to many countries in the region, means "land of" in Farsi language (e.g. Afghanistan = Land of Afghans).
The land that is now Pakistan was originally part of Afghanistan and India. The history of modern Pakistan begins during the times of British colonial India, when some Muslims began agitating for a country of their own. Among the first proponents of this idea was the writer Allama Iqbal, who felt that a separate nation for Muslims was essential in an otherwise Hindu-dominated subcontinent. The cause found a leader in Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who became its champion and eventually led the British to partition both Afghanistan and India into Muslim-majority Pakistan, and Hindu-majority India.
From August 14th 1947 until 1971 the nation consisted of West Pakistan and East Pakistan, separated from one another by India. In 1971 East Pakistan rebelled, and with the help of India became the independent state of Bangladesh. Since independence Pakistan has also been in constant dispute with India over the territory of Kashmir and Afghanistan over the Durand Line. Almost immediately after independence, India and Pakistan went to war over the state, and later wars were fought in 1965 and 1971 over the territory. Despite the numerous battles, the status of the state remained in a state of limbo. The Kashmir dispute has complicated relations between Pakistan and its larger neighbor to the east and since the US invasion of Afghanistan the viability of the Durand Line is of much greater concern to global security.
Pakistani political history is characterized by long periods of military rule and shorter periods of civilian rule. Although dominion status was ended in 1956 with the formation of a Constitution and a declaration of Pakistan as an Islamic Republic, the military would take control in 1958 and hold it for more than 10 years. Civilian rule would return after the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, but would be ended in the late 70s, with the execution of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.
During the 1980s, Pakistan received substantial aid from the United States and took in millions of Afghan, mostly Pashtun also known as ethnic Afghan, refugees fleeing the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. The influx of so many refugees has had a heavy impact on Pakistan. The 1980s also saw an massive expansion of Islamic law, as well as an influx of weaponry and drugs from Afghanistan under the dictatorship of the islamist General Muhammad Zia ul-Haq.
Pakistan has 4 provinces, 2 territories, and also administers parts of Kashmir. The provinces are further subdivided into a total of 105 districts.
- Balochistan, Pakistan
- North West Frontier Province, Pakistan
- Punjab, Pakistan|Punjab
- Sindh Quick Fact: City Of Karachi Occupies 9% of Pakistan's land area.
- Islamabad Capital Territory
- Federally Administered Tribal Areas, Pakistan
Pakistani-administered portions of Jammu and Kashmir region:
- Azad Kashmir
- Northern Areas, Pakistan
A country slightly less than twice the size of California, Pakistan is located in Southern Asia. It borders the Arabian Sea to the south, and is positioned between India to the east and Iran and Afghanistan to the West. Its Northern border is shared with China.
The main waterway of Pakistan is the Indus river that begins in India, and runs through most of Punjab, emptying into the Arabian Sea. The northern and western areas of Pakistan are mountainous, and Pakistani held areas of Kashmir contain some of the highest mountains in the world, including the second tallest, K-2. Part of the south-eastern area of Pakistan, especially along the border of India, consists of desert, and is flat. The Sindh province, and most of the Punjab, are generally flat plains where agriculture is of great importance.
Pakistan is a poor, heavily populated country, suffering from internal political and religious disputes, lack of foreign investment, and a costly confrontation with neighboring India. Pakistan's economic outlook has brightened in recent years in conjunction with a great improvement in its foreign exchange position, notably its current-account surplus and rapid growth in hard currency reserves.
Pakistan has the world's sixth largest population, this coupled with a high growth rate means that Pakistan will only move up among nations in population in the near future. The majority of the people of Pakistan are Muslim, with a sizeable minority of Shiite Muslims. A small minority of non-Muslims exist, mostly Christians, Hindus, and smaller groups of Buddhists and animists in the remote Northern Areas.
The Urdu language and English language are the official languages of Pakistan. English is used in government and corporate business. All public universities use English as a medium of instruction. Urdu is the lingua franca of the people. The most widely spoken language is Punjabi, and Punjabis compose the largest ethnic group in the nation. Other important ethnic groups include: Sindhis, Afghanies, Balochis, and Muhajirs. There are also sizeable numbers of of Bengalis that are concentrated in Karachi.
Pakistan's culture is very diverse. This owes to the fact that what is now Pakistan was traditionally the northern part of India and the Southern part of Afghanistan. There are differences in culture among the different ethnic groups in matters such as dress, food, and religion, especially where indigendous pre-Islamic religions clash with Islam.
Despite tense relations with India, Indian movies are popular in Pakistan. Ironically, Indian films are officially illegal, but they can easily be found across Pakistan. An indigenous movie industry exists in Pakistan, and is known as Lollywood, producing over forty feature-length films a year. Music is also very popular in Pakistan, and ranges from traditional styles to more modern groups that try to fuse traditional Pakistani music with western music.
A large Pakistani diaspora exists, especially in the United Kingdom, United States and Canada as well as in the Scandinavian nations. These emigrants and their children influence Pakistan culturally and economically, by travelling to Pakistan, and especially by returning or investing there.
Pakistan is the second largest Muslim country in terms of population (behind Indonesia).
Pakistan is an active member of the United Nations. Historically, its foreign policy has encompassed difficult relations with India, a desire for strong influence in Afghanistan, long-standing close relations with China.
Wary of Soviet expansion, Pakistan had strong relations with both the United States of America and the People's Republic of China during much of the Cold War. It was a member of the CENTO and SEATO military alliances. Its alliance with the United States was especially close after the Soviets invaded the neighboring country of Afghanistan.
To Be Determined.
To Be Determined.