اسلامی جمہوریۂ پاکستان
Islāmī Jumhūrīyah Pākistān
Islamic Republic of Pakistan
Flag of Pakistan State Emblem of Pakistan
Flag State Emblem
Motto: اتحاد، تنظيم، يقين محکم
Ittehad, Tanzim, Yaqeen-e-Muhkam (Urdu)
"Unity, Discipline and Faith"
Anthem: "Qaumi Tarana"
Location of Pakistan
Capital Islamabad
33°40′N, 73°10′E
Largest city Karachi
Official languages Urdu (national), English (official)[1]
Demonym Pakistani
Government Military junta under Semi-presidential republic
- President Pervez Musharraf
- Prime Minister Muhammad Mian Soomro
- Independence from the United Kingdom
- Declared 14 August 1947
- Islamic republic 23 March 1956
- Total 880,940 km² (36th)
340,403 sq mi
- Water (%) 3.1
- 2007 estimate 161,488,000[2][3] (6th)
- Density 206/km² (53rd)
534/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2007 estimate
- Total $465.4 billion (25th)
- Per capita $2,943 (128th)
Gini? (2002) 30.6 (medium)
HDI (2007) 0.551 (medium) (136th)
Currency Rupee (Rs.) (PKR)
Time zone PST (UTC+5)
- Summer (DST) not observed (UTC+6)
Internet TLD .pk
Calling code +92

The Islamic Republic of Pakistan (Urdu: اسلامی جمہوریۂ پاکستان), or Pakistan , is a country in South Asia, marking the region where South Asia converges with Central Asia and the Middle East.[4][5] It has a 1,046 kilometer (650 mile) coastline along the Arabian Sea in the south, and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast.[6]

Pakistan is the sixth most populous country in the world. It also has the second largest combined Muslim population and the second largest Shi'a Muslim population in the world. Its territory was a part of the pre-partitioned British India and has a long history of settlement and civilisation including the Indus Valley Civilisation. The region has been invaded by the Greeks, Persians, Arabs, Afghans, Turks, and Mongols. The territory was incorporated into British India in the nineteenth century. Since its independence, the country has experienced periods of significant military and economic growth and has also experienced times of significant instability.

The nation was founded officially as the Dominion of Pakistan in 1947, under the leadership of Mohammad Ali Jinnah and the Muslim League, and was renamed the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in 1956. Pakistan was a founding member of the OIC, SAARC, D8 and ECO. It is also a member of the UN, WTO, G33, G77 and is a nuclear power.


1 Etymology
  • 2 History
  • 3 Government and politics
  • 4 Administrative divisions
  • 5 Geography and climate
  • 6 Flora and fauna
  • 7 Economy
  • 8 Demographics
  • 9 Society and culture
  • 10 Tourism
  • 11 Holidays
  • 12 Sports
  • 13 See also
  • 14 References
    • 14.1 Footnotes
    • 14.2 Further reading
  • 15 External links


The name "Pakistan" (IPA: [paːkɪst̪aːn]) means "Land of (the) Pure" in Urdu, and Persian. It was coined in 1934 as "Pakstan" by Choudhary Rahmat Ali, who published it in his pamphlet Now or Never.[7] The name represented the "thirty million Muslims of PAKSTAN, who live in the five Northern Units of (British) India—Punjab, Afghania (North-West Frontier Province), Kashmir, Sindh, and BaluchisTAN."[8]


Main article: History of Pakistan

Modern day Pakistan consists of four major parts called provinces Sindh, Punjab, Balochistan and North-West Frontier Province. It also governs part of Kashmir which is currently split between Pakistan and India. The Indus region was the site of several ancient cultures including Mehrgarh, one of the world's earliest known towns, and the Indus Valley Civilization (2500 BCE - 1500 BCE) at Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro.[9]

Mahmud and Ayaz. The Sultan (in red), with Malik Ayaz (in green) standing behind him. On the Sultan's right is Shah Abbas I, who reigned 600 years later
Mahmud and Ayaz. The Sultan (in red), with Malik Ayaz (in green) standing behind him. On the Sultan's right is Shah Abbas I, who reigned 600 years later

Waves of conquerors and migrants including Harappan, Indo-Aryan, Persian, Grecian, Saka, Parthian, Kushan, White Hun, Afghan, Arab, Turkics, and Mughal settled in the region throughout the centuries, influencing the locals and being absorbed among them. However, while the eastern provinces of Punjab and Sind became aligned with Indo-Islamic civilization, the western areas became culturally allied with the Iranic civilization of Afghanistan and Iran. The modern state of Pakistan was established on 14 August 1947. The region is a crossroads of historic trade routes, including the Silk Road.

The Indus Valley Civilization collapsed in the middle of the second millennium BCE and was followed by the Vedic Civilization, which extended over much of the Indo-Gangetic plains. Successive empires and kingdoms ruled the region from the Achaemenid Persian empire[10] around 543 BCE, to Alexander the Great[11] in 326 BCE and the Mauryan empire. 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.

Muhammad Bin Qasim leading his troops in battle
Muhammad Bin Qasim leading his troops in battle

In 712 CE, the Arab general Muhammad bin Qasim[12] conquered Sindh and Multan in southern Punjab. The Pakistan government's official chronology states that "its foundation was laid" as a result of this invasion.[13] This would set the stage for several successive Muslim empires in the Indian subcontinent, 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. 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[14] gained ascendancy over South Asia.

The 1857 War of Independence
The 1857 War of Independence

The rebellion, also known as the Indian Mutiny, in 1857 was the region's last major armed struggle against the British Raj, and it laid the foundations for the generally unarmed freedom struggle led by the Congress. However, the 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."[15] Muhammad Ali Jinnah espoused the Two Nation Theory and led the Muslim League to adopt the Lahore Resolution[16] of 1940 (popularly known as the Pakistan Resolution), which ultimately led to the formation of an independent Pakistan.

Pakistan was formed on 14 August 1947 with two Muslim-majority wings in the eastern and northwestern regions of the British Indian Empire, separated from the rest of the country with a Hindu majority, and comprising the provinces of Balochistan, East Bengal, the North-West Frontier Province, West Punjab and Sindh. The partition of the British Indian Empire resulted in communal riots[17] across India and Pakistan—millions of Muslims moved to Pakistan and millions of Hindus and Sikhs moved to India. Disputes arose over several princely states including Jammu and Kashmir whose ruler had acceded to India following an invasion by Pashtun warriors, leading to the First Kashmir War (1948) ending with Pakistan occupying roughly one-third of the state. From 1947 to 1956, Pakistan was a Dominion in the Commonwealth of Nations. The republic declared in 1956 was stalled by a coup d'etat by Ayub Khan (1958–69), who was president during a period of internal instability and a second war with India in 1965. His successor, Yahya Khan (1969–71) had to deal with the cyclone which caused 500,000 deaths[18] in East Pakistan.

Governor General Jinnah delivering the opening address on 11 August 1947 to the new state of Pakistan.
delivering the opening address on Governor GeneralJinnah11 August 1947 to the new state of Pakistan.

Economic and political dissent in East Pakistan led to violent political repression and tensions escalating into civil war[19] (Bangladesh War of Independence) (see also Causes of Separation of East Pakistan) and the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 and ultimately the secession of East Pakistan as the independent state of Bangladesh.[20] Estimates of the number of people killed during this episode vary greatly, from ~30,000 to over 2 million depending on the source.

The two wings of Pakistan in 1970; East Pakistan separated from the West wing in 1971 as an independent Bangladesh.
separated from the West wing in 1971 as an independent The two wings of Pakistan in 1970; East PakistanBangladesh.

Civilian rule resumed from 1972 to 1977 under Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, until he was deposed and later sentenced to death in what amounted to a judicial murder in 1979 by General Zia-ul-Haq, who became the country's third military president. Pakistan's secular policies were replaced by Zia's introduction of the Islamic Shariah legal code, which increased religious influences on the civil service and the military. With the death of General 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 alternated power with Nawaz Sharif, as the country's political and economic situation worsened. Pakistan sent 5,000 troops to the 1991 Gulf War as part of a US led coalition and specifically for the defence of Saudi Arabia.[21] Military tensions in the Kargil conflict[22] with India were followed by a Pakistani military coup d'état in 1999[23] in which General Pervez Musharraf assumed executive powers. In 2001, Musharraf named himself President after the forced resignation of Rafiq Tarar. After the 2002 parliamentary elections, Musharraf transferred executive powers to newly elected Prime Minister Zafarullah Khan Jamali, who was succeeded in the 2004 Prime-Ministerial election by Shaukat Aziz, followed by a temporary period in office by Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain. On 15th November, 2007 the National Assembly completed its tenure and so a caretaker government was setup. Mian Muhammad Sumro who is the chairman senate was appointed as the caretaker Prim minister.

Government and politics

Main articles: Government of Pakistan and Politics of Pakistan
Parliament house in Islamabad
Parliament house in Islamabad

The Muslim League formed Pakistan's first government under the leadership of Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Liaquat Ali Khan. The Muslim League's leadership of Pakistani politics decreased significantly with the rise of other political parties, including the Pakistan People's Party in West Pakistan, and the Awami League in East Pakistan, which would ultimately led to the creation of Bangladesh. The first Constitution of Pakistan was adopted in 1956, but was suspended in 1958 by Ayub Khan. The Constitution of 1973, suspended in 1977 by Zia-ul-Haq, was re-instated in 1991 and is the country's most important document, laying the foundations of government. Pakistan is a federal democratic republic with Islam as the state religion. The semi-presidential system includes a bicameral legislature consisting of 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.

Prime Minister's Secretariat in Islamabad
Prime Minister's Secretariat in Islamabad

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 onwards. The leftist Pakistan People's Party (PPP), led by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, emerged as a major political player during the 1970s. Under the military rule of Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, Pakistan began a marked shift from the British-era secular politics and policies, to the adoption of Shariat and other laws based on Islam. During the 1980s, the anti-feudal, pro-Muhajir Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) was started by unorthodox and educated urban dwellers of Sindh and particularly Karachi. The 1990s were characterized by coalition politics dominated by the PPP and a rejuvenated Muslim League.

In the October 2002 general elections, the Pakistan Muslim League (Q) (PML-Q) won a plurality of National Assembly seats with the second-largest group being the Pakistan People's Party Parliamentarians (PPPP), a sub-party of the PPP. Zafarullah Khan Jamali of PML-Q emerged as Prime Minister but resigned on 26 June 2004 and was replaced by PML-Q leader Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain as interim Prime Minister. On 28 August 2004 the National Assembly voted 191 to 151 to elect the Finance Minister and former Citibank Vice President Shaukat Aziz as Prime Minister. Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal, a coalition of Islamic religious parties, won elections in North-West Frontier Province, and increased their representation in the National Assembly.

US President George W. Bush and President Musharraf in late 2006.
US President George W. Bush and President Musharraf in late 2006.

Pakistan is an active member of the United Nations (UN) and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the latter of which Pakistan has used as a forum for Enlightened Moderation,[24] a plan to promote a renaissance and enlightenment in the Muslim world. Pakistan is also a member of the major regional organisations of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and the Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO). In the past, Pakistan has had mixed relations with the United States especially in the early 1950s when Pakistan was the United States' "most allied ally in Asia"[25] and a member of both the Central Treaty Organisation (CENTO) and the Southeast Asia Treaty Organisation (SEATO). During the Soviet-Afghan War in the 1980s Pakistan was a crucial US ally, but relations soured in the 1990s, when sanctions were applied by the US over suspicions of Pakistan's nuclear activities. The September 11 attacks and the subsequent War on Terrorism have seen an improvement in US–Pakistan ties, especially after Pakistan ended its support of the Taliban regime in Kabul. This was evidenced by a drastic increase in American military aid, which saw Pakistan take in $4 billion more in three years after the 9/11 attacks than in the three years before.[26]

Supreme Court of Pakistan
Supreme Court of Pakistan

Pakistan has long had troubled relations with neighbouring India. The long-running dispute over Kashmir resulted in full-fledged wars in 1947 and 1965. Civil war in 1971 flared into the simultaneous Bangladesh War of Independence and the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. Pakistan conducted nuclear weapon tests in 1998 to counterbalance India's nuclear explosion (Smiling Buddha) of 1974 and Pokhran-II of 1998 respectively and became the only Muslim nuclear weapons state.[27] The relations with India are steadily improving following peace initiatives in 2002. Pakistan maintains close economic, military and political relationships with the People's Republic of China.

Pakistan also faces instability in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, where some tribal leaders support the Taliban. Pakistan has had to deploy the army in these regions to suppress the local unrest, in Waziristan. The Waziristan conflict ended with a recently declared peace agreement between the tribal leaders and the Pakistani government that is expected to bring back stability to the region.[28]

Additionally, the country has long faced instability in its largest province, Balochistan. The army was deployed to fight a serious insurgency within the province from 1973–76. Social stability resumed after Rahimuddin Khan was appointed martial law administrator beginning in 1977. After relative peace throughout the 1980s and 1990s, some influential Baloch tribal leaders restarted a separatist movement after Pervez Musharraf took over in 1999. In a recent incident Nawab Akbar Bugti, the leader of the Baloch insurgency, was killed in August 2006 by Pakistani military forces.

On November 3, 2007 President Musharraf declared an emergency rule across Pakistan and purported to suspend the Constitution, imposing martial law. In Islamabad, troops apparently entered the Supreme Court and were surrounding the judges' homes and opposition leaders like Benazir Bhutto, Imran Khan were put on house arrest. Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar has been appointed as the new chief justice of Pakistan, due to the refusal of the Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry to endorse the emergency order, declaring it unconstitutional, though he himself took oath under PCO in 1999.[29] In response, Pakistan was suspended from the councils of the Commonwealth of Nations on 22 November 2007.[30]

In recent years, militant Islamists in the Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM) organization, led by radical cleric Maulana Fazlullah have rebelled against the Pakistani government in Swat in the North-West Frontier Province. In 59 villages, the militants set up a "parallel government" with Islamic courts imposing sharia law. After a four-month truce ended in late September, 2007, fighting resumed.[31] The Pakistan Army has been deployed to the area, but seemed ineffective, indeed, cowed. Militants were reported on November 16, 2007 to have captured Alpuri district headquarters in neighboring Shangla. The local police fled without resisting the advancing militant force which, in addition to local militants, also included Uzbek, Tajik and Chechen volunteers.[32] A massive counter-offensive by the Pakistani Army was successful in retaking Alpuri, but attacks by suicide bombers on the Army continue.[33]. It has been reported that the United States Special Operations Command is considering alternatives to render effective aid to Pakistan with respect to this and other Al Qaeda related insurgencies in the tribal areas of Pakistan, but prospects are uncertain.[34]

Administrative divisions

Main articles: Subdivisions of Pakistan and Districts of Pakistan
Provinces and territories of Pakistan
Provinces and territories of Pakistan

Pakistan is a federation[35] of four provinces, a capital territory and federally administered tribal areas. Pakistan exercises de facto jurisdiction over the western parts of the Kashmir region, organised as two separate political entities (Azad Kashmir and Northern Areas), which are also claimed by India. Pakistan also claims Jammu and Kashmir, which is a portion of Kashmir that is administered by India.

In 2001 the federal government abolished the administrative entities called "Divisions", which used to be the third tier of government. The entities called "districts" (zillas), which used to be the fourth tier, became the new third tier. The provinces and the capital territory are subdivided into a total of 107 districts which contain numerous tehsils and local governments. The tribal areas comprise seven tribal agencies and six small frontier regions detached from neighbouring districts whilst Azad Kashmir comprises seven districts and Northern Areas comprises six districts.

Disputed Region of Kashmir
Disputed Region of Kashmir


  1. Balochistan
  2. North-West Frontier Province (NWFP)
  3. Punjab
  4. Sindh
  • Balochistan and NWFP also have Provincially Administered Tribal Areas[36] (PATA) which are being developed into regular districts.


  1. Islamabad Capital Territory
  2. Federally Administered Tribal Areas

Pakistani-administered portions of Kashmir:

  1. Azad Kashmir[6]
  2. Northern Areas[6]

Geography and climate

Main article: Geography of Pakistan
K2, at 8,611 metres (28,251 ft), is the second highest peak in the world.
K2, at 8,611 metres (28,251 ft), is the second highest peak in the world.

Pakistan covers 340,403 square miles (881,640 km²)[37], approximately the combined land areas of France and the United Kingdom, with its eastern regions located on the Indian tectonic plate and the western and northern regions on the Iranian plateau and Eurasian landplate. Apart from the 1,046 kilometre (650 mi) Arabian Sea coastline, Pakistan's land borders total 6,774 kilometres—2,430 kilometres (1,509 mi) with Afghanistan to the northwest, 523 kilometres (325 mi) with China to the northeast, 2,912 kilometres (1,809 mi) with India to the east and 909 kilometres (565 mi) with Iran to the southwest.[38]

The different types of natural features range from the sandy beaches, lagoons, and mangrove swamps of the southern coast to preserved beautiful moist temperate forests and the icy peaks of the Himalaya, Karakoram and Hindu Kush mountains in the north. There are an estimated 108 peaks above 7,000 metres (23,000 ft) high that are covered in snow and glaciers. Five of the mountains in Pakistan (including Nanga Parbat) are over 8,000 metres (26,000 ft). Indian-controlled Kashmir to the Northern Areas of Pakistan and running the length of the country is the Indus River with its many tributaries. The northern parts of Pakistan attract a large number of foreign tourists. To the west of the Indus are the dry, hilly deserts of Balochistan; to the east are the rolling sand dunes of the Thar Desert. The Tharparkar desert in the southern province of Sindh, is the only fertile desert in the world. Most areas of Punjab and parts of Sindh are fertile plains where agriculture is of great importance.

The climate varies as much as the scenery, with cold winters and hot summers in the north and a mild climate in the south, moderated by the influence of the ocean. The central parts have extremely hot summers with temperatures rising to 45 °C (113 °F), followed by very cold winters, often falling below freezing. Officially the highest temperature recorded in Pakistan is 52.8 °C at Jacobabad. There is very little rainfall ranging from less than 250 millimetres to more than 1,250 millimetres (9.8–49.2 in), mostly brought by the unreliable south-westerly monsoon winds during the late summer. The construction of dams on the rivers and the drilling of water wells in many drier areas have temporarily eased water shortages at the expense of downgradient populations.

Flora and fauna

The Hunza valley in northern Pakistan. — Agricultural and scenic
The Hunza valley in northern Pakistan. — Agricultural and scenic

The wide variety of landscapes and climates in Pakistan allows for a wide variety of wild animals and birds. The forests range from coniferous alpine and subalpine trees such as spruce, pine, and deodar cedar in the northern mountains to deciduous trees such as the mulberry-type Shisham in the Sulaiman range in the south. The western hills have juniper and tamarisk as well as coarse grasses and scrub plants. Along the coast are mangrove forests which form much of the coastal wetlands.

In the south, there are crocodiles in the murky waters at the mouth of the Indus River whilst on the banks of the river, there are boars, deer, porcupines, and small rodents. In the sandy scrublands of central Pakistan are found jackals, hyenas, wild cats, panthers, and leopards while the clear blue skies abound with hawks, falcons, and eagles. In the southwestern deserts are rare Asiatic cheetahs. In the northern mountains are a variety of endangered animals including Marco Polo sheep, Urial sheep, Markhor and Ibex goats, black and brown Himalayan bears, and the rare Snow Leopard. During August 2006, Pakistan donated an orphaned snow leopard cub called Leo to USA.[39] Another rare species is the blind Indus River Dolphin of which there are believed to be about 1,000 remaining, protected in two major sanctuaries. 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 and the establishment of several wildlife sanctuaries and game reserves.[40]


Main article: Economy of Pakistan
Karachi - the financial capital and the largest city of Pakistan
Karachi - the financial capital and the largest city of Pakistan

Pakistan is a rapidly developing country which has faced a number of challenges on both political and economic fronts. Despite being a very poor country in 1947, Pakistan's economic growth rate was better than the global average during the subsequent four decades, but imprudent policies led to a slowdown in the late 1990s.[41] Recently, wide-ranging economic reforms have resulted in a stronger economic outlook and accelerated growth especially in the manufacturing and financial services sectors. There has been great improvement in the foreign exchange position and rapid growth in hard currency reserves in recent years. 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 (IMF) and significant debt-relief from the United States. Pakistan's gross domestic product, as measured by purchasing power parity (PPP), is estimated to be US$475.4 billion [42] while its per capita income (PCI) stands at $2,976.[43] Despite clear progress, reports by the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank and the UN Development Program place the poverty rate in Pakistan between 23% – 28%.[44] The CIA factbook places the poverty rate at 24% in 2006,[45] and notes that levels have fallen by ten percent since 2001. Pakistan's GDP growth rates have seen a steady increase over the last 5 years. However, inflationary pressures and a low savings rate, among other economic factors, could make it difficult to sustain a high growth rate, according to some analysts.[46][47][48]

The growth of non-agricultural sectors has changed the structure of the economy, and agriculture now only accounts for roughly 20% of the GDP. The service sector accounts for 53% of the country's GDP with wholesale and retail trade forming 30% of this sector. In recent times, the Karachi Stock Exchange has soared, along with most of the world's emerging markets. Large amounts of foreign investments have been made into several industries. The top industries in Pakistan are telecom, software, automotives, textiles, cement, fertilizer, steel, ship building, and more recently, aerospace.

Faizabad interchange: Gateway to the capital Islamabad.
Faizabad interchange: Gateway to the capital Islamabad.

Pakistan has accomplished many engineering feats such as construction of the world's largest earth filled dam Tarbela, the world's twelfth largest dam Mangla, as well as, with collaboration with China, the world's highest international road: the Karakoram Highway. There are also half a dozen additional dams planned such as Kalabagh Dam, Diamer-Bhasha Dam, Munda, Akhori and Skardu Katzara.[49]

In November of 2006 China and Pakistan signed a Free Trade Agreement hoping to triple bilateral trade from $4.2 billion (USD) to $15 billion (USD) within the next five years;[50] Pakistan's annual exports in 2005 amounted to $15 billion (USD),[51] and is poised to cross $18 billion (USD) in 2006 and $20 billion (USD) in 2007.[52] Pakistan is also home to a thriving arms industry which exports $200 million (USD) annually, mostly defence equipment and arms to countries in the Middle East and South Asia, and its defence officials are hopeful that these exports will surpass $500 million (USD) a year within the next five years.

In keeping with its rapid economic development in recent years, Pakistan registered an economic growth rate of 7 percent in the financial year 2006–07, the fourth consecutive year of seven percent growth.[53][54] In its June 2006 Economic Survey global finance giant Morgan Stanley listed Pakistan on its list of major emerging markets in the world economy, placing it on a list of 25 countries displaying continued moderate to strong growth over a sustained period of time.[55] The report noted "its economy has been growing quickly in recent periods and corporate direct investors have taken notice". A similar report by State Street Corporation, states that "economic growth (in 2007) has been strong and the stock market has been helped by privatizations as well as foreign investment".[56] Concurrently, highlighting the strides made on the economic front in recent times, Moody's Investors Service in December 2006 upgraded Pakistan's credit rating from B2 to B1, noting a "positive outlook".[57]

In late March 2007, the Asian Development Bank "Outlook 2007" report predicted that strong growth would continue in 2007 and 2008 with growth rates of 6.5 to 7 percent, with manufacturing, exports and consumer expenditure leading the way.[58] Further progress was highlighted by news that the FDI for FY 2006/7 would touch $7 billion, eclipsing the targeted $4 billion. Telecoms, real estate and energy are major industries for FDI.[59][60]


Main article: Demographics of Pakistan
Major Ethnic Groups in Pakistan, 1973
Major Ethnic Groups in Pakistan, 1973

Pakistan has an estimated population of 164,742,000 as of 2007.[61] Pakistan has the world's sixth largest population, placing it higher than Russia, and lower than Brazil. Pakistan is expected to surpass Brazil in population by the year 2020 because of the high growth rate. Population projections for Pakistan are relatively difficult because of the apparent differences in the accuracy of each census and the inconsistencies between various surveys related to the fertility rate, but it is likely that the rate of growth peaked in the 1980s and has since declined significantly.[62] The population was estimated at 162,400,000[63] on July 1, 2005, with a fertility rate of 34 per thousand, a death rate of 10 per thousand, and the rate of natural increase at 2.4%. Pakistan also has a high infant mortality rate of 70 per thousand births.[64]

The major ethnic groups are - Punjabis (44.68% of the population), Pashtuns (15.42%), Sindhis (14.1%), Seraikis (10.53%), Muhajirs (7.57%), Balochis (3.57%) and others (4.66%). As of November 2007, about 2 million registered Afghan refugees remain in Pakistan as a result of the ongoing war and instablity in Afghanistan.[65]

Primary mother tongue language usage largely corresponds to ethnic groups. Despite being a native language of a relatively small minority, Urdu is the national language and lingua franca of Pakistan, while English is the official language, used in the Constitution and widely used by corporate businesses, the educated urban elite, and most universities. Punjabi is spoken by over 60 million people, but has no official recognition in the country.[66]

The demographics of religion in Pakistan were significantly influenced in 1947 by the movement of Muslims to Pakistan, and Hindus and Sikhs to India. Census data[67] indicates that 96% of the population are Muslims, (nearly 77% are Sunni Muslims and 20% are Shi'a Muslims according to CIA estimates[3]). Minority religions include Hinduism (1.85%), Christianity (1.6%), as well as much smaller numbers of Sikhs, Parsis, Ahmadis, Buddhists,Jews, and Animists (mainly the Kalasha of Chitral). Pakistan is the second most populous Muslim-majority country[68] and also has the second largest Shi'a population in the world.

Society and culture

Main article: Culture of Pakistan
Shah Faisal Masjid in Islamabad. Islam has had an extensive impact on the culture of Pakistan.
Shah Faisal Masjid in Islamabad. Islam has had an extensive impact on the culture of Pakistan.

Pakistan has a rich and unique culture that has preserved established traditions throughout history. Many cultural practices, foods, monuments, and shrines were inherited from the rule of Muslim Mughal and Afghan emperors. The national dress of shalwar qamiz is originally of Central Asian origin derived from Turko-Iranian nomadic invaders and is today worn in all parts of Pakistan. Women wear brightly coloured shalwar qamiz, while men often wear solid-coloured ones. In cities western dress is also popular among the youth and the business sector.

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. 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 centre for Afghan music abroad.

Until the 1990s, the 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 movies are available to the majority of the Pakistani population via private Television Networks, cable, and satellite television. There are also small indigenous movie industries based in Lahore and Peshawar (often referred to as Lollywood). Although Bollywood movies are banned from being displayed in public cinemas since 1965,[69] Indian film stars are still generally popular in Pakistan due to the fact that Pakistanis are easily able to buy Bollywood movies from local shops for private home viewing.

Pakistani society is largely multilingual and predominantly Muslim, with high regard for traditional family values, although urban families have grown into a nuclear family system due to the socio-economic constraints imposed by the traditional joint family system. Recent decades have seen the emergence of a middle class in cities like Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Hyderabad, Faisalabad, and Peshawar that wish to move in a more liberal direction,[70] as opposed to the northwestern regions bordering Afghanistan that remain highly conservative and dominated by centuries-old regional tribal customs. Increasing globalization has increased the influence of "Western culture" with Pakistan ranking 46th on the Kearney/FP Globalization Index.[71] There are an approximated four million Pakistanis living abroad,[72] with close to a half-million expatriates living in the United States[73] and around a million living in Saudi Arabia.[74] As well as nearly one million people of Pakistani descent in the United Kingdom, there are burgeoning cultural connections.[75]


Main article: Tourism in Pakistan
The Lahore Fort, was rebuilt by the Mughal emperor Akbar in 1566.
The Lahore Fort, was rebuilt by the Mughal emperor Akbar in 1566.

Tourism is a growing industry in Pakistan, based on its diverse cultures, peoples and landscapes. The variety of attractions range from the ruins of ancient civilizations such as Mohenjo-daro, Harappa and Taxila, to the Himalayan hill stations, which attract those interested in field and winter sports. Pakistan is home to several mountain peaks over 7,000 metres (22,970 ft), which attracts adventurers and mountaineers from around the world, especially K2.[76] The people of northern areas depend on tourism also. From April to September tourist of domestic and international type visited these areas which became the earn of living for local people. The northern parts of Pakistan have many old fortresses, towers and other architecture as well as the Hunza and Chitral valleys, the latter being home to the small pre-Islamic Animist Kalasha community who claim descent from the army of Alexander the Great. In the Punjab is the site of Alexander's battle on the Jhelum River and the historic city Lahore, Pakistan's cultural capital with many examples of Mughal architecture such as the Badshahi Masjid, Shalimar Gardens, Tomb of Jahangir and the Lahore Fort. To promote Pakistan's unique and various cultural heritage, the prime minister launched "Visit Pakistan 2007".[77]


Main article: Holidays in Pakistan
Mughal-era Hazuri Bagh in Lahore, an example of Mughal era Islamic architecture.
in Mughal-era Hazuri BaghLahore, an example of Mughal era Islamic architecture.

There are many festivals celebrated annually in Pakistan which may or may not observe as holidays e.g. Pakistan Day (23 March), Independence Day (14 August), Defence of Pakistan Day (6 September), Pakistan Air Force Day (7 September), the anniversaries of the birth (25 December)(holiday) and death (11 September) of Quaid-e-Azam, (Allama Iqbal (9 November) and the birth (30 July) and death (8 July) of Madar-e-Millat. Labour Day (also known as May Day) is also observed in Pakistan on May 1 (holiday).

Several important festivals are celebrated by Pakistani Muslims during the year, dependent on the Islamic calendar. Ramadan, the ninth month of the calendar, is characterised by daytime fasting for 29 or 30 days and is followed by the festival of Eid ul-Fitr. In a second festival, Eid ul-Adha, an animal is sacrificed in remembrance of the actions of Prophet Abraham (Arabic: Ibrahim) and the meat is shared with friends, family, and the less fortunate. Both Eid festivals are public holidays, serving as opportunities for people to visit family and friends, and for children to receive new clothes, presents, and sweets. Muslims celebrate Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi, the birthday of the prophet Muhammad, in the third month of the calendar (Rabi' al-Awwal. Muslims mark the Day of Ashurah on the 9th and 10th days of the first month (Muharram to commemorate the martyrdom of Husayn bin Ali, (the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad).

Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, and Christians in Pakistan also celebrate their own festivals and holidays. Sikhs come from across the world to visit several holy sites in Punjab, including the shrine of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, at Hassan Abdal in the Attock District, and his birthplace, at Nankana Sahib. There are also several regional and local festivals, such as the Punjabi festival of Basant, which marks the start of spring and is celebrated by kite flying.


Main article: Sports in Pakistan
Gaddafi Stadium, one of the largest cricket stadiums in the world
Gaddafi Stadium, one of the largest cricket stadiums in the world

The official and national sport of Pakistan is field hockey, although cricket is more popular. 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. Pakistan was chosen to host the 2008 ICC Champions Trophy cricket tournament and co-host the 2011 Cricket World Cup, with Sri Lanka, India, and Bangladesh. Other popular sports in Pakistan include football, and squash. Squash is another sport that Pakistanis have excelled in, with successful world-class squash players such as Jahangir Khan and Jansher Khan winning the World Open several times during their tenture.

At an international level, Pakistan has competed many times at the Summer Olympics in field hockey, boxing, athletics, swimming, and shooting. Pakistan's medal tally remains at 10 medals (3 gold, 3 silver and 4 bronze) while at the Commonwealth games and Asian Games it stands at 61 medals and 182 medals 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).[78] Pakistan has also hosted several international competitions, including the SAF Games in 1989 and 2004.