اسلامی جمہوریۂ پاکستان
Islāmī Jumhūrīyah Pākistān

Islamic Republic of Pakistan
Flag of Pakistan State Emblem of Pakistan
Flag State Emblem
Motto: Ittehad, Tanzim, Yaqeen-e-Muhkam (Urdu)
("Unity, Discipline and Faith")
Anthem: Qaumi Tarana
Location of Pakistan
Capital Islamabad
Largest city Karachi
Official language Urdu, English
Government Semi-presidential system
 - President Pervez Musharraf
 - Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz
Independence from the United Kingdom 
 - Abbasid Dynasty 711-962 
 - Ghaznavid Empire 962-1187 
 - Ghorid Kingdom 1187-1206 
 - Delhi Sultanate 1210-1526 
 - Mughal Empire 1526-1707 
 - Durrani Empire 1747-1823 
 - Declared August 14 1947 
 - Republic March 23 1956 
 - Total 803,940 km² (36th)
310,403 sq mi 
 - Water (%) 3.1
 - 2006 estimate 168,803,560[1] (6th)
 - Density 206/km² (53rd)
534/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2006 estimate
 - Total $439.7 billion (26th)
 - Per capita $2,829.5 (125th)
HDI  (2006) 0.539 (medium) (134th)
Currency Rupee (Rs.) (PKR)
Time zone PST (UTC+5:00)
 - Summer (DST) not observed (UTC+6:00)
Internet TLD .pk
Calling code +92

Pakistan, officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan (Urdu: اسلامی جمہوریۂ پاکستان‎), is a country located in South Asia and the Greater Middle East.[2][3], through its Pashto and Baloch dominated provinces. It has a 1046 kilometer coastline along the Arabian Sea in the south, and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and the People's Republic of China in the far northeast.[4]

Pakistan is the sixth most populous country in the world and is the second most populous country with a Muslim majority. Its territory was a part of pre-partitioned British India, and has a long history of settlement and civilisation including the Indus Valley Civilisation. Most of it was conquered in the 1st millennium BC by Persians and Greeks. Later arrivals include the Arabs, Afghans, Turks, Baloch and Mongols. The territory was incorporated into the British Raj in the nineteenth century. Since its independence, the country has experienced both periods of significant military and economic growth, and periods of instability, with the secession of East Pakistan (present-day Bangladesh). Pakistan is a declared nuclear weapons state.




The name "Pakistan" (IPA: [paːkɪst̪aːn]) means "Land of the Pure" in Sindhi, Urdu and Persian. It was coined in 1934 by Choudhary Rahmat Ali, who published it in the pamphlet Now or Never[5]. The name was coined from the names of five territories that were proposed as constituents of a separate country for the Muslims in British India, these territories were previously considered as Afghan or Persian domains from a cultural as well as an ethnic point of view; the territories consisted of P-Punjab, A-Afghania, K-Kashmir, S-Sindh, and Tan/Stan-Balochistan/Tokharistan."meaning of Pakistan"[6] The name also implies that the people of this land are 'pure'. Officially, the nation was founded as the Dominion of Pakistan in 1947, and was renamed as the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in 1956.



The modern day Pakistan consists of four major parts called provinces Punjab, Sind, Balochistan and NWFP. It also governs part of Kashmir which is currently split between Pakistan and India. Modern Pakistan is a country that has Harappan, Indo-Aryan, Persian, Grecian, Saka, Parthian, Kushan, White Hun, Afghan, Arab, Turkic, and Mughal heritage. Waves of conquerors and migrants settled down in Pakistan through out the centuries, influencing the locals and being absorbed among them. Pakistan is home to the oldest Asian civilisation (and one of the oldest in the world after Mesopotamia), Indus Valley Civilization (2500 BC - 1500 BC). The modern state of Pakistan was established on 14 August 1947, but the country has an extensive history that overlaps with the histories of Ancient India, Afghanistan and Iran. The region is a crossroad of historic trade routes, including the Silk Road, and was settled over thousands of years by many groups, including Dravidians, Indo-Aryans, Persians, Macedonians, Greeks, Scythians, Parthians Kushans, White Huns, Afghans, Arabs, Turks, and Mongols. 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 at Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro.[7]

17th Century Badshahi Masjid built by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb in Lahore
17th Century Badshahi Masjid built by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb in Lahore

The Indus Valley civilization collapsed in the middle of the second millennium BCE and was followed by the Vedic Civilisation, which extended over much of northern India and Pakistan. Successive empires and kingdoms ruled the region from the Achaemenid Persian empire[8] around 543 BCE, to Alexander the Great[9] 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.

In 712 CE, the Arab general Muhammad bin Qasim[10] conquered Sindh and Multan in southern Punjab, setting the stage for several successive Muslim empires 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 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[11] gained ascendancy over South Asia.

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

The War of Independence, 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 a separate Muslim state in northwest and eastern South Asia. Muhammad Ali Jinnah espoused the Two Nation Theory and led the Muslim League to adopt the Lahore Resolution[12] of 1940 (popularly known as Pakistan Resolution), which ultimately led to the creation of Pakistan.

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

Pakistan was formed on 14 August 1947 with two Muslim-majority wings in the eastern and northwestern regions of British India, separated from the rest of British India with a Hindu majority, and comprising the provinces of Balochistan, East Bengal, the North-West Frontier Province, West Punjab and Sindh. The partition of British India resulted in communal riots[13] 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, while the majority of the population favored independence, 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[14] in East Pakistan.

Economic and political dissent in East Pakistan led to violent political repression and tensions escalating into civil war[15] (Bangladesh Liberation War) and the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 and ultimately the secession of East Pakistan as the independent state of Bangladesh.[16]

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 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.[17] Military tensions in the Kargil conflict[18] with India in 1999 was followed by a military coup[19] 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 a professional banker Shaukat Aziz, followed by a brief (temporary) stint in the seat by Chaudhy Shuja'at Hussain.


Government and politics

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, with the Pakistan People's Party in West Pakistan, and the Awami League in East Pakistan, which would ultimately lead 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.

Parliament house in Islamabad
Parliament house in Islamabad

The Pakistani military has played an influential role in mainstream politics throughout Pakistan's history, (Politics of Pakistan) 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 answer reporters in the East Room of the White House in late 2006.
US President George W. Bush and President Musharraf answer reporters in the East Room of the White House 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,[20] 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"[21] 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. In January 2004, founder of Pakistani nuclear program A. Q. Khan confessed of nuclear proliferation to Libya, Iran and North Korea. On 5 February 2004, the president Pervez Musharraf, announced that he had pardoned A. Q. Khan. At present, A. Q. Khan is ailing and under house arrest.

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 Bangladeshi Liberation War 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.[22] and became the only Muslim nuclear weapons state. 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.[23]

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.


Administrative divisions

Provinces and territories of Pakistan
Provinces and territories of Pakistan

Pakistan is a federation[24] 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 Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) or Azad Kashmir, for short, and the Federally Administered Northern Areas (FANA)), which are also claimed 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", 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 the Federally Administered Northern Areas (FANA) comprises six districts.


  1. Balochistan
  2. North-West Frontier Province (NWFP)
  3. Punjab
  4. Sindh
  • Balochistan and NWFP also have Provincially Administered Tribal Areas[25] (PATA) which are being developed into regular districts.


  1. Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT)
  2. Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA)

Pakistani-controlled portions of Kashmir:

  1. Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) or Azad Kashmir, for short
  2. Federally Administered Northern Areas (FANA)
    • India does not recognise Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and the Federally Administered Northern Areas (FANA) as parts of Pakistan and refers to the two entities together as Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK)</ref>


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.[26] 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$439.7 billion[27] while its per capita income (PCI) stands at $2,803.[28] 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 percent.[29] 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. [30] [31][32]

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

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.

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 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.[33]

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. [34];; Pakistan's annual exports in 2005 amounted to $15 billion (USD)[35], and is poised to cross $18 billion (USD) in 2006 and $20 billion (USD) in 2007.[36] 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 2005-06.[37] 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. [38] The report noted "its economy has been growing quickly in recent periods and corporate direct investors have taken notice". [39] 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".[40] [41]



Major Ethnic Groups in Pakistan and surrounding areas, 1980
Major Ethnic Groups in Pakistan and surrounding areas, 1980

Pakistan has an estimated population of 169,270,617, as of in 2007.[42] Pakistan has the world's sixth largest population, placing it higher than Russia, and lower than Brazil. Because of Pakistan's high growth rate, it is expected to surpass Brazil in population in the year 2020. 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.[43] The population was estimated at 162,400,000[44] 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.[42]

Urdu is the national language and lingua franca of Pakistan despite being a non-native Pakistani language, and was installed and promoted by the British Raj in the mid 1800's to supplant the Persian formerly spoken for some 2000 years and to tie the western former Afghan, Central Asian, Persian or previously autonomous regions( Panjab, Sindh, Balochistan, Kalat, Bahawalpur, Kashmir and NWFP etc.) to the mainland Asian Subcontinent and the British Raj headquartered in Delhi, 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.[45] These major ethnic groups are further broken down into several smaller ethnic groups - 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%). It should be noted that the continued use of Urdu as the national language, though while facilitating interprovincial and inter-regional communication within Pakistan, has caused much resistance amongst Pakistan's several dominant ethnic groups particularly the Pushtuns, Sindhis, Balochis and more recently, amongst educated Panjabis. While the Punjabis have traditionally been supportive of Urdu especially during the early years after independence, they have recently acknowledged its failure and have shown a tendency to identify and empathize themsleves more with Pakistani's speaking one the indigenous languages found in the country(Pushto, Balochi, Sindhi, Kashmiri, Seraiki, Persian), this is most evident in the 'nouveau' educated class of Panjab who are keen on promoting their indigenous language and reverse the early damage done by their overeagerness to acquire Urdu over their maternal tongue. This has often placed indigenous Pakistani's at odds with the minority refugee community known as the Mohajir from India. These groups, point to the fact that despite having residing in the country since independence in 1947 and given significant economic and political advantages particularly in the early formalative years, the Mohajir minority have failed to adopt or acquire any of the local languages in the areas they were settled in, particularly in the province of Sindh but also in urban centers of Quetta, Peshawer, Lahore and Multan. This has fueled the debate that the minority community has failed to adapt to the regional social dynamics of their respective regions further alienating them from the indigenous population and likely to marginalize them further, a classic example of this, was the civil strife observed in Karachi, Sindh in the early 1980's and Hyderabad pitting Sindhis, Panjabi's and Pukhtun's against the non-conformist Mohajir community. Furthermore, many in Pakistan see Urdu as a limited national language, having failed to give the Pakistani nation a strong identifying characteristic, and has failed to bring the nation closer to its traditional ties to the Middle East, Central Asia and particularly, Persia(Iran). They claim, that rather than strenghtening the culture(s) of the country, it has caused considerably damage to the native languages spoken and brought new Pakistani Urdu speakers more linguistic commonality with speakers of Hindi/Urdu in India and the rest of South Asia at the cost of their mother tongue, and at the cost of their affiliation with Afghanistan, Iran/Persia, the Middle East and Central Asia. Also, many blame the imposition of Urdu as a national language, as being a major factor in the marginalization of the Bengali population of former East Pakistan. Furthermore, the biggest supporters of Urdu are the Muhajirs and their decendends, who though share no attachment to the land(rural) of Pakistan and are mostly urbanized represent less than 7% of the countries population. Despite this, Urdu in Pakistan is evolving into a Pakistani variant of the language, recently borrowing words from Panjabi, Pashto, English, modern Arabic and Sindhi amongst others. Currently in Pakistan, Urdu is tied to the Muslim refugees who migrated from India at the time of independance in 1947, and as such, is considered by the indigenous population(>92%) to be an impure language mixing borrowed Persian vocabularly with indigenous Indian languages(Sanskrit) of Delhi, Hyderabad and other former regions in India previously ruled by foreign Muslim conquerors. As a result, many in the country fail to see the importance of the language, preferring to retain only English and promoting regional languages, or the re-instating as the Lingua Franca of Pakistan, the language spoken for several thousand years and still very much held in high esteem, Persian.[46]

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 [47] indicates that 96% of the population are Muslims, of whom nearly 80% are Sunni Muslims and 19% are Shi'a Muslims. The remainder comprises of Christians, Hindus, Jews, Sikhs, Parsis, Ahmadis, Buddhists, and Animists (mainly the Kalasha of Chitral). Pakistan is the second most populous Muslim-majority country[48] and also has the one of the largest Shi'a populations of any country.

As of 2006, an estimated 2.5 million refugees — approximately 81.5% being ethnic Pashtuns — remain in Pakistan as a result of the wars in Afghanistan.[49]


Society and culture

King Faisal Mosque in Islamabad, one of the largest in the world
King Faisal Mosque in Islamabad, one of the largest in the world
Shalimar Gardens of Lahore
Shalimar Gardens of Lahore

The national dress of Shalwar Kameez is originally of Central Asian origin derived from Turko-Iranian nomadic invaders and is today worn in all parts of Pakistan. The sari is regional dress that is worn by many women in Sindh and parts of Pakistan. Women wear brightly coloured shalwar qameez, while men often wear solid-coloured ones.

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 renowned Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Other major Ghazal singers include Mehdi Hassan, Ghulam Ali, Farida Khanum, Tahira Syed, Abida Parveen and Iqbal Bano. Hip-Hop is one of the categories in Pakistan that is rising very fast, especially rappers 2Pac, 50 Cent, and The Game are known throughout the whole country by many elementary schoolers and teenagers. 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 such as Geo TV, Indus TV, Hum, ARY, KTN and others. Various American, European, and Asian television channels and movies such as AXN, Star Plus are available to the majority of the Pakistani population via private Television Networks (MTV Pakistan is controlled by Indus Network, etc.), cable, and satellite television. There are also small indigenous movie industries based in Lahore and Peshawar (often referred to as Lollywood and Pollywood). Although Bollywood movies are banned since 1965,[50] Indian film stars are generally popular in Pakistan.

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, Sukkur and Peshawar that wish to move in a more liberal direction,[51] 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.[52] There are an approximated four million Pakistanis living abroad,[53] with close to a half-million expatriates living in the United States[54] and around a million living in Saudi Arabia.[55]As well as nearly one million people of Pakistani descent in the United Kingdom, there are burgeoning cultural connections.[56]

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 7000m, which attracts adventurers and mountaineers from around the world, especially K2[57]. 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". [58]



DHA Marina Club, Karachi
DHA Marina Club, Karachi
Mughal-era Hazuri Bagh in Lahore, an example of Mughal era Islamic architecture.
Mughal-era Hazuri Bagh in Lahore, 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)(holiday), Independence Day (14 August)(holiday), 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(holiday), 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 1 May (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 (holiday)). Shia Muslims mark the Day of Ashurah on the 9th and 10th days of the first month (Muharram (holiday)) 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.



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 squash and cricket are also very 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 is also set to host cricket world-cup jointly with India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in 2011. The team has also won the Australasia Cup thrice (1986, 1990, 1994). Pakistan has produced many famous cricketers, including Javed Miandad, Imran Khan, Zaheer Abbas, Hanif Mohammad, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Sarfraz Nawaz, Waqar Younis and Wasim Akram. On November 30, 2006 Mohammad Yousuf broke one of the longest-standing records in cricket, of the most runs scored in a calendar year.

Pakistan has also produced a number of successful world-class squash players such as Jahangir Khan and Jansher Khan. Muhammad Yousuf, not to be confused with the above cricketer, was world amateur snooker champion in the 1990s.

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 that Pakistan has been most successful at the Olympics, with three gold medals (1960, 1968, 1984). Pakistan has also won the Hockey World Cup a record four times (1971, 1978, 1982, 1994).[59] Pakistan has hosted several international competitions, including the SAF Games in 1989 and 2004.

A1 Grand Prix racing is also becoming popular with the entry of a Pakistani team in the 2005 season. The Tour de Pakistan, modelled on the Tour de France, is an annual cycling competition that covers the length and breadth of Pakistan. Recently, football has grown in popularity across the country, although the national football team is still considered to be very weak and has yet to qualify for a World Cup.


See also

Topics related to Pakistan

Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Quetta, Peshawar, Gwadar, Faisalabad, Multan, Sialkot, Sukker, Hyderabad, Rawalpindi, Thatta, Chitral, Abbottabad, Bahawalpur, Murree, Taxila, Moenjodaro, Nawabshah, Attock, Gilgit.


14 Points of Jinnah, Achaemenid dynasty, Alexander the Great, Anglo-Afghan wars, Anglo-Sikh wars, Ashoka the Great, Babur, Baghdad Pact, Bangladesh Liberation War, Caliph, Delhi Sultanate, Durrani Empire, Ghaznavid Empire, Greco-Bactrian Kingdom, Greco-Buddhism, History of Baluchistan, Independence, Indo-Greek Kingdom, Indo-Pakistani War of 1947, Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, Indus Valley Civilization, Islamic empires in India, Kargil War, Khalji, Kushan Empire, Lahore Resolution, Lodhi, Mahmud Ghaznavi, Mauryan Empire, Menander I, Mughal Empire, Muhammad bin Qasim, Muhammad of Ghor, Muslim League, Nadir Shah, Partition of India, Pashtuns, Qutb-ud-din Aybak, Ranjit Singh, Sayyid, Solanki, Vedic civilization, Waziristan conflict.


Chief Justices, Constitution, Demographics, Districts, Government of Sindh, Government of Balochistan, Elections, Flag, Foreign Relations, Government, Jirga, Line of Succession to President, Political parties, Mayors, National Assembly, Senate, Parliament, President, Prime Minister, Subdivisions, Supreme Court, Terrorism.


Pakistan Hockey Federation, Pakistan Cricket Board, Pakistan cricket team, Pakistan Test Cricket Umpires A1 Grand Prix Pakistani cricket team Pakistan Premier League Pakistan National Football Challenge Cup Gilli-danda Kabaddi Bait Bazi Pakistan Open


Arabian Sea, Baltoro Glacier, Baroghil, Broghol, Clifton beach, Demographics, Dorah Pass, Durand line, Guddu Barrage, Gumal Pass, Hawke's Bay, Himalayas, Indus River, Indian Ocean, Indo-Gangetic plain, Indus River Delta, Indus Water Treaty, K2, Kalabagh Dam, Karakoram, Khyber Pass, Lowarai Pass, Lowari, Cities, Mountains, Mazar-e-Quaid, National Parks, Nanga Parbat, Rann of Kutch, Salt Range, Sandspit Beach, Sarpo Laggo Glacier, Shandur, Siachen Glacier, Sukkur barrage.


Airblue, Airlines of Pakistan, Communications, Islamabad Stock Exchange, Karachi Stock Exchange, Lahore Stock Exchange, Companies, Low cost housing, Pakistan International Airlines, Railways, Pakistani rupee, Port of Karachi, Port Qasim, Tallest buildings, Transport.


A1 Grand Prix, A1 Team Pakistan, Basant, Chand Raat, Cuisine, Hinduism, Holidays, Islam, Kara Film Festival, Languages, Musicians, TV and radio channels, Lollywood, Murree Beer, Music, Nationalism Pakistani black metal, Pakistani cricket team Literature, Religion, Sari, Sherwani, Sikhism, Sports, Sufi rock.


Lahore Museum, Universities. National Library of Pakistan, Literature, Poetry.


2004 in Pakistan, Inter-Services Intelligence, List of Pakistanis, Military, Pakistan Air Force, Pakistan Boy Scouts Association, Related topics.

Categories Archaeological sites, Architecture, Cities, Communications, Conservation, Culture, Economy, Education, Geography, Government, Healthcare, History, Images, Kashmir, Media , Military, Lists, Law, People, Politics, Punjab, Religion, Science and technology, Society, Sports, Subdivisions, Tourism, Transport, Pakistan stubs
International ties of Pakistan
Geographical and geopolitical: Asia | South Asia | Indies
Historical and cultural: Commonwealth of Nations | Organization of the Islamic Conference | Islamic Republic
International organisations & trade: United Nations | World Trade Organisation | Asian Development Bank | SAARC | South Asia Free Trade Agreement | Non-Aligned Movement | ECO | D8 | G20 developing nations | Group of 77 - G24 | WIPO


  1. Estimate from CIA World Factbook
  2. Greater Middle East Partnership
  3. Middle East Institute: Countries and Organizations
  4. The Kashmir region is claimed by India and Pakistan. Both countries and China separately administer parts of the region with the Indian and Pakistani held areas defined by the Line of Control. The Pakistan–China border is not recognized by India.It is a beautiful country with beautiful countryside and worthseeing villages like sooianwala
  5. Text of the Now or Never pamphlet, issued on January 28, 1933
  6. [1]
  7. Minnesota State University page on Mohenjo-Daro
  8. on the extent of the Achaemenid Empire
  9. Plutarch's Life of Alexander
  10. Infinity Foundation's translation of the Chach-Nama
  11. Library of Congress study of Pakistan
  12. page on the Lahore Resolution
  13. Estimates for the 1947 death toll
  14. "Community participation in disaster management can reduce the losses"
  15. 1971 war summary by BBC website
  16. US Country Studies article on the Bangladesh War
  17. The 1991 Gulf war
  18. Kargil conflict timeline on the BBC website
  19. Daily Telegraph (UK) article on the 1999 coup
  20. President Musharraf on Enlightened Moderation
  21. Pakistan: The Most Allied Ally in Asia
  22. The Canadian Encyclopedia Historica, India's Nuclear Test Maclean's Magazine, William Lowther, Nomi Morris, and Sankarshan Thakur, 25 May 1998
  23. 'Taliban' gain sway in tribal region. Daily Times. 31 December 2005.
  24. The Constitutional basis of the Federation of Pakistan
  25. Constitutional article 246(b) on the Provincially Administered Tribal Areas
  26. Pakistan Studies; Economy (HTML). American Institute of Pakistan Studies. Retrieved on 2006-11-20.
  27. Report for Selected Countries and Subjects (PPP) (HTML). International Monetary Fund. Retrieved on 2006-11-20.
  28. Report for Selected Countries and Subjects (PCI) (HTML). International Monetary Fund. Retrieved on 2006-11-20.
  29. World Bank, UNDP question poverty estimates in Pakistan (HTML). OneWorld South Asia. Retrieved on 2006-11-20.
  30. Concluding Remarks at the Pakistan Development Forum 2006 by John Wall, World Bank Country Director for Pakistan (html). World Bank. Retrieved on 2006-12-20.
  31. Country-by-Country Growth and Forecasts (HTML). Asian Development Bank. Retrieved on 2006-11-20.
  32. VIEW: Is GDP growth sustainable? — Akmal Hussain (HTML). Daily Times Newspaper. Retrieved on 2006-11-20.
  33. Water Strategy - 2020 URL Accessed 20 Nov 2006
  34. Experts: Enhance economic links
  35. CIA Factbook
  36. Pakistan hopes to achieve $18 bln exports this year
  37. 7% growth achieved in FY 05-06
  42. 42.0 42.1 International Data Base U.S. Census Bureau. URL accessed on 5 May 2006.
  43. Feeney and Alam, 2003
  44. Population Reference Bureau's 2005 World Data Sheet
  45. Ethnologue Western Punjabi
  46. [2]
  47. Census results for languages of Pakistan
  48. Robert Ayres, Turning Point: The End of the Growth Paradigm, James & James/Earthscan, 1998, pp. 63. ISBN 1853834394
  49. AFGHANISTAN-PAKISTAN: Registration of Afghan refugees to start - UNHCR...Link
  50. Pakistan to show Bollywood film Pakistan banned Indian movies following the 1965 war
  51. Beinart, Peter. "Understate". The New Republic Online. July 01, 2002.
  52. Kearney Foreign Policy Globalization Index
  53. Aslam, S.M., Expatriates to Build Better Pakistan, Pakistan & Gulf Economist, 11-17 December 2000, URL accessed March 17, 2006
  54. Ahmed, Fasih. "U.S. Rules Give Pakistan a Windfall". Wall Street Journal. New York, New York. October 22, 2003. Page A18.
  55. Hussain, Shaiq. Musharraf to focus on Palestine in Saudia visit from today. The Nation. June 25, 2005. URL accessed March 17, 2006
  56. Howells, Kim. Kim Howells arrives in Pakistan. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (National). September 6, 2006. URL accessed October 22, 2006
  57. PTDC page on mountaineering
  58. Events taking place during 2007, Press released by Tourism of Pakistan
  59. Bharatiya Hockey

Additional references


External links

Informative Sites

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Official sites

General information
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