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The Pakistan 

 - Introducing Pakistan
 - Location & Geography
 - Area Details
 - Environment
 - People of Pakistan
 - Culture
 - Religion
 - Activities
 - Economy
 - Major Industries
 - Major Trading Partners
 - Pakistani Food
 - Pakistan Seasons
 - Getting There & Away
 - Getting Around
 - Major Dams
 - Rivers
 - Glaciers
 - Deserts
 - Lakes
 - Mountain Peaks

The separation in 1947 of British India into the Muslim state of Pakistan (with two sections West and East) and largely Hindu India was never satisfactorily resolved. A third war between these countries in 1971 resulted in East Pakistan seceding and becoming the separate nation of Bangladesh. A dispute over the state of Kashmir is ongoing. In response to Indian nuclear weapons testing, Pakistan conducted its own tests in 1998.

Pakistan displays some of Asia’s most magnificent landscapes as it stretches from the Arabian Sea, its southern border, to some of the world’s most spectacular mountain ranges in the north. Pakistan is also home to sites that date back to word’s earliest settlements rivaling those of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia.

  History of Pakistan   

Introducing Pakistan

Pakistan displays some of Asia’s most magnificent landscapes as it stretches from the Arabian Sea, its southern border, to some of the world’s most spectacular mountain ranges in the north. Pakistan is also home to sites that date back to word’s earliest settlements rivaling those of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia.

Full country name Islamic Republic of Pakistan
Area 803,940 sq km (502,462.5 sq miles)
Population 150.6 million
Capital city Islamabad
People Punjabi, Sindhi, Pashtun, Baloch, Muhajir
Language Urdu
Religion 97% Muslim, 3% Christian, Hindu and others
Government Federal Republic
President Gen. Pervez Musharraf
GDP US$ 295.3 billion
GDP per head US$ 2000
Annual growth 5.5%


Location and Geography

Located in South Asia, Pakistan shares an eastern border with India and a northeastern border with China. Iran makes up the country’s southwest border, and Afghanistan runs along its western and northern edge. The Arabian Sea is Pakistan’s southern boundary with 1,064 km of coastline. The country has a total area of 803,940 sq. km with a land area of 796,095 Sq. km and is nearly four times the size of the United Kingdom. From Gwadar Bay in it’s southeastern corner, the country extends more than 1,800 km to the Khunjerab Pass on China’s border.

Geographic coordinates
30 00 N, 70 00 E
total: 803,940 sq km
land: 778,720 sq km
water: 25,220 sq km
Land boundaries
total: 6,774 km
border countries: Afghanistan 2,430 km, China 523 km, India 2,912 km, Iran 909 km
1,046 km
Maritime claims
contiguous zone: 24 NM
territorial sea: 12 NM
continental shelf: 200 NM or to the edge of the continental margin
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
mostly hot, dry desert; temperate in northwest; arctic in north
flat Indus plain in east; mountains in north and northwest; Balochistan plateau in west
Elevation extremes
lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: K2 (Mt. Godwin-Austen) 8,611 m
Natural resources
land, extensive natural gas reserves, limited petroleum, poor quality coal, iron ore, copper, salt, limestone
Land use
arable land: 27.81%
permanent crops: 0.79%
other: 71.4% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land
180,000 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards
frequent earthquakes, occasionally severe especially in north and west; flooding along the Indus after heavy rains (July and August)
Environment - current issues
water pollution from raw sewage, industrial wastes, and agricultural runoff; limited natural fresh water resources; a majority of the population does not have access to potable water; deforestation; soil erosion; desertification
Environment - international agreements
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban
Geography - note
controls Khyber Pass and Bolan Pass, traditional invasion routes between Central Asia and the Indian Subcontinent


Area Details

Average Size
803,940 Sq Km
906 Sq Km
347,190 Sq Km
74,521 Sq Km
205,344 Sq Km
140,914 Sq Km
27,220 Sq Km



Pakistan's neighbours are an eclectic and ornery bunch: Iran to the southwest; Afghanistan to the west and north; China to the northeast; and India stretching down its eastern side. The southern coast abuts the Arabian Sea. The country is composed of towering peaks in the north (including the second-highest mountain in the world, 8611m/28,245 ft K2), dry and scrubby mountains in the west, an inhospitable plateau in the southwest, barren deserts in the southeast and alluvial plains everywhere else. These plains, constituting about a third of the country, are Pakistan's 'heart', where most of its people live and most of its food is grown. Coursing through all this tumult is the Indus River, which falls from Tibet then travels 2500 km (1550 mi) south before emptying through an immense delta into the Arabian Sea. Natural fauna in Pakistan's lowlands is patchy - mostly scattered clumps of grass and stunted woodlands. However, as the landscape rises, there are quite large coniferous forests and carpeted slopes of multicoloured flowers in the northern mountains. Fauna includes bear, snow leopard, deer and jackal. Pakistan's 800 km (500 mi) of coastline teems with shark, shellfish and sea turtle, while the Indus delta is home to the marsh crocodile.



People of Pakistan

150,694,740 (July 2003 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 39.3% (male 30,463,958; female 28,726,776)
15-64 years: 56.5% (male 43,571,093; female 41,651,872)
65 years and over: 4.2% (male 3,051,674; female 3,229,367) (2003 est.)
Median age:
total: 19.8 years
male: 19.7 years
female: 20 years (2002)
Population growth rate:
2.01% (2003 est.)
Birth rate:
29.59 births/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Death rate:
8.79 deaths/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Net migration rate:
-0.75 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.94 male(s)/female
total population: 1.05 male(s)/female (2003 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 76.53 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 76.09 deaths/1,000 live births (2003 est.)
male: 76.95 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 62.2 years
male: 61.3 years
female: 63.14 years (2003 est.)
Total fertility rate:
4.1 children born/woman (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.1% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
78,000 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
4,500 (2001 est.)
noun: Pakistani(s)
adjective: Pakistani
Ethnic groups:
Punjabi, Sindhi, Pashtun (Pathan), Baloch, Muhajir (immigrants from India at the time of partition and their descendants)
Punjabi 48%, Sindhi 12%, Siraiki (a Punjabi variant) 10%, Pashtu 8%, Urdu (official) 8%, Balochi 3%, Hindko 2%, Brahui 1%, English (official and lingua franca of Pakistani elite and most government ministries), Burushaski, and other 8%
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 45.7%
male: 59.8%
female: 30.6% (2003 est.)




The pleasures of Pakistan are old: Buddhist monuments, Hindu temples, Islamic palaces, tombs and pleasure grounds, and widely spaced Anglo-Mogul Gothic mansions - some in a state of dereliction which makes their grandeur even more emphatic. Sculpture is dominated by Graeco-Buddhist friezes, and crafts by ceramics, jewelry, silk goods and engraved woodwork and metalwork. Even Pakistan's flotillas of vintage Bedford buses and trucks, mirror-buffed and chrome-sequinned, are dazzling works of art. Traditional dances are vigorous; music is either classical, folk or devotional; and the most patronized literature is a mix of the scholastic and poetic. Cricket is Pakistan's greatest sports obsession and national players are awarded hero status.





Muslim 97% (Sunni 77%, Shi'a 20%), Christian, Hindu, and other 3%.

Nearly all Pakistanis are Muslim and Islam is the state religion. Reminders of their devotion are many: the muezzin's call to prayer from the mosques; men sprawled in prayer in fields, shops and airports; and veiled women in the streets. Christians are the largest minority, followed by Hindus and Parsees, descendants of Persian Zoroastrians.




With some of the most magnificent mountain terrain in the world, Pakistan is naturally enough a trekkers rave. There are all types of trekking available, from those organized by overseas companies to Pakistan-based outfits. You can also make your own arrangements, which will be cheaper but also more demanding. Popular trekking routes that can stretch from a day to a month are found mostly in Gilgit, Nanga Parbat, Balistan (from where treks leave to K2) and Hunza, all in the country's north. For something a little less demanding there are good one-day hikes in the Ziarat Valley, near Quetta. Other activities include cycling along the Karakoram Highway (from Rawalpindi to the Khunjerab Pass), Potwar Plateau (Islamabad to Peshawar) and the Margalla and Murree Hills (north of Islamabad), mountain biking from Gilgit to Chitral, and white-water rafting along the Hunza, Gilgit and Indus rivers.




purchasing power parity - $295.3 billion (2002 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
5.5% (FY01/03 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $2,000 (FY01/02 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 24%
industry: 25%
services: 51% (FY01/02 est.)
Population below poverty line:
35% (2001 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 4.1%
highest 10%: 27.6% (1996-97)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
 41 (FY98/99)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
3.9% (2002 est.)
Labor force:
40.4 million
note: extensive export of labor, mostly to the Middle East, and use of child labor (2000)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture 44%, industry 17%, services 39% (1999 est.)
Unemployment rate:
7.8% plus substantial underemployment (2002 est.)
revenues: $12.6 billion
expenditures: $14.8 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (FY02/03 est.)
textiles, and apparel, food processing, beverages, construction materials, paper products, fertilizer, shrimp
Industrial production growth rate:
2.4% (FY01/02 est.)
Electricity - production:
66.96 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 68.8%
hydro: 28.2%
other: 0% (2001)
nuclear: 3%
Electricity - consumption:
62.27 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2001)
Oil - production:
62,870 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
365,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
NA (2001)
Oil - imports:
NA (2001)
Oil - proved reserves:
297.1 million bbl (37257)
Natural gas - production:
23.4 billion cu m (2001 est.)

Natural gas - consumption:

23.4 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
695.6 billion cu m (37257)
Agriculture - products:
cotton, wheat, rice, sugarcane, fruits, vegetables; milk, beef, mutton, eggs
$9.8 billion f.o.b. (FY02/03 est.)
Exports - commodities:
textiles (garments, cotton cloth, and yarn), rice, leather, sports goods, and carpets and rugs
Exports - partners:
US 24.5%, UAE 8.5%, UK 7.2%, Germany 4.9%, Hong Kong 4.8% (2002)
$11.1 billion f.o.b. (FY02/03 est.)
Imports - commodities:
petroleum, petroleum products, machinery, chemicals, transportation equipment, edible oils, pulses, iron an steel, tea
Imports - partners:
UAE 11.7%, Saudi Arabia 11.7%, Kuwait 6.7%, US 6.4%, China 6.2%, Japan 6%, Malaysia 4.5%, Germany 4.4% (2002)
Debt - external:
$32.5 billion (2003 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
$2.4 billion (FY01/02)
Pakistani rupee (PKR)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
Pakistani rupees per US dollar - 57.50 (2004), 59.72 (2002), 61.93 (2001), 53.65 (2000), 49.12 (1999), 44.94 (1998)
Fiscal year:
1 July - 30 June


Major Industries


Textiles, food processing, beverages, construction materials, clothing, paper products, shrimp, cotton, wheat, rice, sugarcane, fruits, vegetables, milk, beef, mutton, eggs.



Major Trading Partners

European Countries, United States, South Korea, Hong Kong, Japan, China.



Pakistani Food


Pakistani food is similar to that of northern India, with a dollop of Middle Eastern influence thrown in for good measure. This means menus peppered with baked and deep-fried breads (roti, chapattis, puri, halwa and nan), meat curries, lentil mush (dhal), spicy spinach, cabbage, peas and rice. Street snacks - samosas and tikkas (spiced and barbecued beef, mutton or chicken) - are delicious, while a range of desserts will satisfy any sweet tooth. The most common sweet is barfi (it pays to overlook the name), which is made of dried milk solids and comes in a variety of flavours.


Pakistan Seasons


Pakistan has three seasons. Cool (October through February); hot (March through June); and wet (July through September). There are, however, big regional variations. In the south, the cool season brings dry days and cool nights, while the northern mountains get drizzle and plummeting nighttime temperatures. The hot season means suffocating hot and humid conditions in the south but pleasant temperatures northwards. During the wet season, the tail end of the monsoon dumps steady rain mostly in the narrow belt of the Punjab from Lahore to Islamabad. But further north, the high mountains block all but the most determined clouds, which means relatively little rain falls there (budding trekkers please take note).



Getting There & Away

Most flights from European and Asia arrive in Karachi, though a few also go to Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar, Quetta and Gwadar (Baluchistan). Much more interesting is taking an overland route. A railway links Lahore with the Indian railway system through Amritsar, and another from Quetta crosses briefly into Iran. After the Grand Trunk Road, the most famous road into Pakistan is the Karakoram Highway, over the 4730m (15,514 ft) Khunjerab Pass from Kashgar in China; roads also run from India and Iran. A bus service between Delhi and Lahore, operating four times a week, is now up and running. Sea passage is a possibility, with cargo ships calling at Karachi from either the Middle East or Bombay.



Getting Around

Getting around Pakistan is not always comfortable, but it's incredibly cheap. The state-owned Pakistan International Airlines has regular flights to 35 domestic terminals and daily connections between the major centers. One of the bonuses of flying is that some of the air routes, especially to the northern areas and Chitral, are spectacular. Buses go anywhere, anytime. Vans, wagons, pick-ups and jeeps are also a popular form of road transport. Train travel is slower and easier on the nerves but, unfortunately, there are no routes into the mountains. If you're fit and unafraid of feverish traffic, cycling is a particularly good way to see the country. City transport is dominated by buses, taxis, auto-rickshaws and two-wheeled, horse-drawn tongas.



Major Dams






The Indus
1,800 miles
513 miles
772 miles
560 miles
964 miles
Beas (tributary of Sutlej)
247 miles




75 km
55 km
62 km








Northern Areas
Northern Areas


Mountains Peaks


Mountain Peaks
World Rating
K-2 (Mount Godwin Austin)
28,250 ft./8611 m
Nanga Parbat
26,660 ft./8126 m
26,470 ft./8068 m

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