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|Islamic Republic of Pakistan
اسلامی جمہوریۂ پاکستان
Islāmī Jumhūrī-ye Pākistān
|Motto: Unity, Discipline, Faith
(Urdu: اتحاد، تنظيم، يقين مُحکم)
Ittehad, Tanzeem, Yaqeen-e-Muhkam
|Anthem: Qaumī Tarāna|
Area controlled by Pakistan in dark red; claimed and disputed but uncontrolled territory marked in light red
|Official languages||Urdu (National)
|Recognised regional languages||Balochi, Pashto, Punjabi, Saraiki, Sindhi|
|Government||Federal Parliamentary republic|
|-||President||Mamnoon Hussain (PML N)|
|-||Prime Minister||Mian Muhammad Nuwaz Sharif (PML N)|
|-||Chief Justice||Nasir ul Mulk|
|-||Chair of Senate||Farooq Naek (PPP)|
|-||House Speaker||Ayaz Sadiq (PML-N)|
|-||Lower house||National Assembly|
|-||Pakistan Declaration||28 January 1933|
|-||Pakistan Resolution||23 March 1940|
|-||Independence||from the United Kingdom|
|-||Declared||14 August 1947|
|-||Islamic Republic||23 March 1956|
|-||Total||796,095 km2 (36th)
307,374 sq mi
|-||September 2011 estimate||177,163,231 (6th)|
|GDP (PPP)||2011 estimate|
|GDP (nominal)||2011 estimate|
|HDI (2011)|| 0.504
low · 145th
|Currency||Pakistani Rupee (Rs.) (
|Time zone||PST (UTC+5)|
|-||Summer (DST)||PDT (UTC+6)|
|Drives on the||left|
Pakistan is a country in southern Asia. It is next to the India, Iran, Afghanistan, and China. It is officially called the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. It has a long coastline along the Arabian Sea in the south. Pakistan has the sixth largest population in the world. Pakistan has a total land area of 880,940 km2 (340,130 sq mi) (including the Pakistani-administered territories of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan). This makes Pakistan the 34th largest country in the world. Pakistan has the seventh largest army in the world.
The name Pākistān means Land of the Pure in Persian and Urdu.
The name Pakistan (English pronunciation: i// or i//; Urdu: پاکستان [paːkɪˈst̪aːn]) means Land of (the) Pure in Urdu and Persian. It was coined in 1933 as Pakstan by Choudhary Rahmat Ali, a Pakistan movement activist, who published it in his paper Now or Never. The name is an acronym that stands for the "thirty million Muslim brethren who live in PAKSTAN—by which we mean the five Northern units of India viz: Punjab, (Afghan Province), Kashmir, Sind, and Baluchistan". The letter 'i' was later added to ease pronunciation.
Government and politics
Pakistan has a federal parliamentary system. The head of state is an indirectly-elected President. The president is also the Commander in Chief of the Joint Armed Forces. The head of government is the Prime Minister, who is also indirectly elected.
The President's appointment and term are constitutionally independent of the Prime Minister’s term. The Electoral college of the country, (composed of the Senate, the National Assembly, and the four Provincial Assemblies) chooses a leadership reprsenting the President of Pakistan for a five-year term. The Prime Minister is usually the leader of the largest party in the National Assembly and is assisted by a cabinet of ministers drawn from both chambers of the federal legislature. The current Prime Minister is Yousaf Raza Gillani of the Pakistan Peoples Party, who took office on March 25, 2008.
Pakistan is officially a federal republic, but during a long period in its history it changed to a democratic state and a military dictatorship. Military dictators include Ayub Khan in the 1960s, General Zia-ul-Haq in the 1980s.
Pakistan's two largest political parties are the Pakistan Peoples Party and the government party Muslim League (Pakistan)(Q) (which have military support). The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf has also gained prominence in the past years.
Pakistan is made up of four provinces, two territories and two special areas. Both special areas are in Kashmir. The provinces and territories were divided into 26 divisions with now 147 districts directly divided from the provinces. Each district is divided into several tehsils and each tehsil is divided into several union councils. There are around 596 tehsils and over 6,000 union councils of Pakistan.
Among the four provinces, Punjab has the most people but Balochistan is the largest province by area. (Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa also have Provincially Administered Tribal Areas (PATA) which are going to be regular districts.)
Administrative Areas (Pakistan-administered Kashmir)
India, Pakistan and China separately control parts of the Kashmir region. India and Pakistan's parts are divided by a Line of Control. The Pakistan–China border is internationally known. Trade is common between the 2 countries.
Pakistan has a semi-industrialized economy. The growth poles of the Pakistani economy are situated along the Indus River. Diversified economies of Karachi and Punjab's urban centres, coexist with lesser developed areas in other parts of the country. Despite being a very poor country in 1947, Pakistan's economic growth rate has been better than the global average during the subsequent four decades, but imprudent policies led to a slowdown in the late 1990s.
Recently, wide-ranging economic reforms have resulted in a stronger economic outlook and accelerated growth especially in the manufacturing and financial services sectors. Since the 1990s, there has been great improvement in the foreign exchange market position and rapid growth in hard currency reserves.
The 2005 estimate of foreign debt was close to US$40 billion. However, this has decreased in recent years with assistance from the International Monetary Fund and significant debt-relief from the United States. Pakistan's gross domestic product, as measured by purchasing power parity, is estimated to be $475.4 billion while its per capita income stands at $2,942. The poverty rate in Pakistan is estimated to be between 23% and 28%.
Pakistan became independent in 1947 from the Indian empire of British Raj. The first people in ancient Pakistan lived 9000 years ago. These people were the ones who made up the Indus Valley Civilization, which is one of the oldest civilizations on Earth. After that, the Vedic period came. This also included parts of north-western India. Until 1971, Pakistan also included an area in the North-east India region. This is now called Bangladesh. It lost that area after a war with Indian Army and the joint militant group of Indo-Bangladeshi alliance of Mitro Bahini of West Bengal. During recent times Pakistan has been in the centre of world politics. This is firstly because of its support to guerillas in Afghanistan, following Soviet invasion 1979, and later during the 1990s because of its cooperation with and support for the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. However, since 2000 Pakistan has basically supported the West in their war against fundamentalist terrorism, including the removal of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.
Pakistan is a member of the Commonwealth. However, after the war in East Pakistan the country was excluded (between 1972-1989). It was also a member between 1999 and 2004. However, it is currently excluded from the Commonwealth (since November 2007).
Geography and climate
Pakistan covers 880,940 km2 (340,130 sq mi), approximately equalling the combined land areas of France and the United Kingdom. Its eastern regions are located on the Indian plate and the western and northern regions on the Iranian plateau and Eurasian landplate. Apart from the 1,046 km (650 mi) Arabian Sea coastline, Pakistan's land borders total 6,774 km (4,209 mi) — 2,430 km (1,510 mi) with Afghanistan to the northwest, 523 km (325 mi) with China to the northeast, 2,912 km (1,809 mi) with India to the south and east, and 909 km (565 mi) with Iran to the southwest.
The northern and western highlands of Pakistan contain the towering Karakoram and Pamir mountain ranges, which incorporate some of the world's highest peaks, including K2 8,611 m (28,251 ft) and Nanga Parbat 8,126 m (26,660 ft). The Balochistan Plateau lies to the west, and the Thar Desert and an expanse of alluvial plains, the Punjab and Sindh, lie to the east. The 1,609 km (1,000 mi) Indus River and its tributaries flow through the country from the disputed territory of Occupied Kashmir to the Arabian Sea.
Pakistan has four seasons: a cool, dry winter from December through February; a hot, dry spring from March through May; the summer rainy season, or southwest monsoon period, from June through September; and the retreating monsoon period of October and November. The onset and duration of these seasons vary somewhat according to location. Rainfall can vary radically from year to year, and successive patterns of flooding and drought are also not uncommon.
|Religion in Pakistan|
Most (97%) of the people are Muslim. Most of the Muslims in Pakistan are Sunni Muslims (>75%) and Shia Muslims (20%). However a few minority groups exist. Pakistan also has some Christian, Hindu, Sikh, Zoroastrians and animist minority groups in the northern parts of the country.
After the separation from British India, Hinduism had much less importance in the newly created state of Pakistan, but has played an important role in its culture and politics as well as the history of its regions. In fact, Pakistan has the 5th largest population of Hindus, after Sri Lanka.
The word Hindu comes from the Sindhu (Indus River) of Pakistan. The Sindhu is one of the holy rivers of Hinduism. Thus, in many ways, the land which is today's heavily Muslim Pakistan has played an important part in the origin of Hinduism. There are about 3 million Hindus living in Pakistan.
Poverty in Pakistan is a growing concern. Although the middle-class has grown in Pakistan, nearly one-quarter of the population is classified poor as of October 2006.
The national sport of Pakistan is field hockey, although cricket is the most popular game across the country. The national cricket team has won the Cricket World Cup once (in 1992), were runners-up once (in 1999), and co-hosted the games twice (in 1987 and 1996). Pakistan were runners-up in the inaugural 2007 ICC World Twenty20 held in South Africa and were the champions at the 2009 ICC World Twenty20 held in England. Lately however, Pakistani cricket has suffered heavily due to teams refusing to tour Pakistan because of terrorism fears. No teams have toured Pakistan since March 2009, when militants attacked the touring Sri Lankan cricket players.
In addition to sports like field hockey, cricket, squash rackets, soccer and others, Pakistanis are also very keen on equestrianism of various types,and equestrian sports such as Polo and the traditional Tent pegging are played by many. Other traditional rural sports include two types of Wrestling, Kabbadi and a martial art called Gatka.
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- Not to be confused with the Indian state of Punjab. Both together make up the Punjab region.
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