Pakistan,[e] officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan,[f] is a country in South Asia. It is the fifth-most populous country, with a population of over 241.5 million, having the second-largest Muslim population as of 2023.[8] Islamabad is the nation's capital, while Karachi is its largest city and financial centre. Pakistan is the 33rd-largest country by area, 9th largest in Asia and the second-largest in South Asia. Bounded by the Arabian Sea on the south, the Gulf of Oman on the southwest, and the Sir Creek on the southeast, it shares land borders with India to the east; Afghanistan to the west; Iran to the southwest; and China to the northeast. It shares a maritime border with Oman in the Gulf of Oman, and is separated from Tajikistan in the northwest by Afghanistan's narrow Wakhan Corridor.

Islamic Republic of Pakistan
  • اسلامی جمہوریہ پاكستان (Urdu)
  • Islāmī Jumhūriyah Pākistān[1]
Motto: Īmān, Ittihād, Nazam
ایمان، اتحاد، نظم
"Faith, Unity, Discipline"[2]
Anthem: Qaumī Tarānah
قَومی ترانہ
"The National Anthem"
Land controlled by Pakistan shown in dark green; land claimed but not controlled shown in light green
Land controlled by Pakistan shown in dark green; land claimed but not controlled shown in light green
CapitalIslamabad
33°41′30″N 73°03′00″E / 33.69167°N 73.05000°E / 33.69167; 73.05000
Largest cityKarachi
24°51′36″N 67°00′36″E / 24.86000°N 67.01000°E / 24.86000; 67.01000
Official languages
Native languagesOver 77 languages[4]
Ethnic groups
See below
Religion
Demonym(s)Pakistani
GovernmentFederal Islamic parliamentary republic
• President
Asif Ali Zardari
Shehbaz Sharif
Yusuf Raza Gilani
Ayaz Sadiq
Qazi Faez Isa
LegislatureParliament
Senate
National Assembly
Independence 
23 March 1940
14 August 1947
• Republic
23 March 1956
8 December 1958
16 December 1971
14 August 1973
Area
• Total
881,913 km2 (340,509 sq mi)[b][7] (33rd)
• Water (%)
2.86
Population
• 2023 census
241,499,431[c] (5th)
• Density
273.8/km2 (709.1/sq mi) (56th)
GDP (PPP)2023 estimate
• Total
Increase $1.568 trillion[9] (24th)
• Per capita
Increase $6,773[9] (138th)
GDP (nominal)2023 estimate
• Total
Decrease $340.636 billion[9] (46th)
• Per capita
Decrease $1,471[9] (161st)
Gini (2018)Positive decrease 31.6[10]
medium
HDI (2022)Increase 0.540[11]
low (164th)
CurrencyPakistani rupee (₨) (PKR)
Time zoneUTC+05:00 (PKT)
DST is not observed
Date format
Driving sideleft[12]
Calling code+92
ISO 3166 codePK
Internet TLD

Pakistan is the site of several ancient cultures, including the 8,500-year-old Neolithic site of Mehrgarh in Balochistan,[13] the Indus Valley civilisation of the Bronze Age,[14][15] and the ancient Gandhara civilisation.[16] The regions that comprise the modern state of Pakistan were the realm of multiple empires and dynasties, including the Achaemenid, the Maurya, the Kushan, the Gupta;[17] the Umayyad Caliphate in its southern regions, the Samma, the Hindu Shahis, the Shah Miris, the Ghaznavids, the Delhi Sultanate, the Mughals,[18] and most recently, the British Raj from 1858 to 1947.

Spurred by the Pakistan Movement, which sought a homeland for the Muslims of British India, and election victories in 1946 by the All-India Muslim League, Pakistan gained independence in 1947 after the Partition of the British Indian Empire, which awarded separate statehood to its Muslim-majority regions and was accompanied by an unparalleled mass migration and loss of life.[19] Initially a Dominion of the British Commonwealth, Pakistan officially drafted its constitution in 1956, and emerged as a declared Islamic republic. In 1971, the exclave of East Pakistan seceded as the new country of Bangladesh after a nine-month-long civil war. In the following four decades, Pakistan has been ruled by governments whose descriptions, although complex, commonly alternated between civilian and military, democratic and authoritarian, relatively secular and Islamist.[20] Pakistan elected a civilian government in 2008, and in 2010 adopted a parliamentary system with periodic elections.[21]

Pakistan is considered a middle power nation,[22][23][24][25][26][27] with the world's sixth-largest standing armed forces. It is a declared nuclear-weapons state, and is ranked amongst the emerging and growth-leading economies,[28] with a large and rapidly-growing middle class.[29] Pakistan's political history since independence has been characterized by periods of significant economic and military growth as well as those of political and economic instability. It is an ethnically and linguistically diverse country, with similarly diverse geography and wildlife. The country continues to face challenges, including poverty, illiteracy, corruption, and terrorism.[30] Pakistan is a member of the United Nations, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, the Commonwealth of Nations, the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, and the Islamic Military Counter-Terrorism Coalition, and is designated as a major non-NATO ally by the United States.

Etymology

The name Pakistan was coined by Choudhry Rahmat Ali, a Pakistan Movement activist, who in January 1933 first published it (originally as "Pakstan") in a pamphlet Now or Never, using it as an acronym.[31] Rahmat Ali explained: "It is composed of letters taken from the names of all our homelands, Indian and Asian, Panjab, Afghania, Kashmir, Sindh, and Baluchistan." He added, "Pakistan is both a Persian and Urdu word... It means the land of the Paks, the spiritually pure and clean."[32] Etymologists note that پاک pāk, is 'pure' in Persian and Pashto[33] and the Persian suffix ـستان -stan means 'land' or 'place of'.[34][35][36][37]

Rahmat Ali's concept of Pakistan only related to the north-west area of the Indian subcontinent. He also proposed the name "Banglastan" for the Muslim areas of Bengal and "Osmanistan" for Hyderabad State, as well as a political federation between the three.[38][39]

History

Indus Valley Civilization

 
Priest-King from Mohenjo-Daro (c. 2500 BCE)

Some of the earliest ancient human civilizations in South Asia originated from areas encompassing present-day Pakistan.[40] The earliest known inhabitants in the region were Soanian during the Lower Paleolithic, of whom stone tools have been found in the Soan Valley of Punjab.[41] The Indus region, which covers most of the present-day Pakistan, was the site of several successive ancient cultures including the Neolithic (7000–4300 BCE) site of Mehrgarh,[42][43][44] and the 5,000-year history of urban life in South Asia to the various sites of the Indus Valley Civilization, including Mohenjo Daro and Harappa.[45][46]

Vedic Period

 
Cremation urn, Gandhara grave culture, Swat Valley, c. 1200 BCE

Following the decline of the Indus valley civilization, Indo-Aryan tribes moved into the Punjab from Central Asia in several waves of migration in the Vedic Period (1500–500 BCE), bringing with them their distinctive religious traditions and practices which fused with local culture.[47] The Indo-Aryans religious beliefs and practices from the Bactria–Margiana culture and the native Harappan Indus beliefs of the former Indus Valley Civilization eventually gave rise to Vedic culture and tribes.[48][note 1] Most notable among them was Gandhara civilization, which flourished at the crossroads of India, Central Asia, and the Middle East, connecting trade routes and absorbing cultural influences from diverse civilizations.[50] The initial early Vedic culture was a tribal, pastoral society centered in the Indus Valley, of what is today Pakistan. During this period the Vedas, the oldest scriptures of Hinduism, were composed.[note 2]

Classical Period

 
Standing Buddha from Gandhara (1st–2nd century CE)

The western regions of Pakistan became part of Achaemenid Empire around 519 BCE. In 326 BCE, Alexander the Great conquered the region by defeating various local rulers, most notably, the King Porus, at Jhelum.[52] It was followed by the Maurya Empire, founded by Chandragupta Maurya and extended by Ashoka the Great, until 185 BCE. The Indo-Greek Kingdom founded by Demetrius of Bactria (180–165 BCE) included Gandhara and Punjab and reached its greatest extent under Menander (165–150 BCE), prospering the Greco-Buddhist culture in the region.[53][54] Taxila had one of the earliest universities and centres of higher education in the world, which was established during the late Vedic period in the 6th century BCE.[55][56] The school consisted of several monasteries without large dormitories or lecture halls where the religious instruction was provided on an individualistic basis.[56] The ancient university was documented by the invading forces of Alexander the Great and was also recorded by Chinese pilgrims in the 4th or 5th century CE.[57]

At its zenith, the Rai dynasty (489–632 CE) ruled Sindh and the surrounding territories.[58]

Islamic conquest

The Arab conqueror Muhammad ibn Qasim conquered Sindh and some regions of Punjab in 711 CE.[59][60] The Pakistan government's official chronology claims this as the time when the foundation of Pakistan was laid[59][61] but the concept of Pakistan arrived in the 19th century. The Early Medieval period (642–1219 CE) witnessed the spread of Islam in the region. Before the arrival of Islam beginning in the 8th century, the region comprising Pakistan was home to a diverse plethora of faiths, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Zoroastrianism.[62][63] During this period, Sufi missionaries played a pivotal role in converting a majority of the regional population to Islam.[64] Upon the defeat of the Turk and Hindu Shahi dynasties which governed the Kabul Valley, Gandhara (present-day Khyber Pakhtunkwa), and western Punjab in the 7th to 11th centuries CE, several successive Muslim empires ruled over the region, including the Ghaznavid Empire (975–1187 CE), the Ghorid Kingdom, and the Delhi Sultanate (1206–1526 CE). The Lodi dynasty, the last of the Delhi Sultanate, was replaced by the Mughal Empire (1526–1857 CE).

 
Badshahi Mosque, Lahore

The Mughals introduced Persian literature and high culture, establishing the roots of Indo-Persian culture in the region.[65] In the region of modern-day Pakistan, key cities during the Mughal period were Multan, Lahore, Peshawar and Thatta,[66] which were chosen as the site of impressive Mughal buildings.[67] In the early 16th century, the region remained under the Mughal Empire.[68] In the 18th century, the slow disintegration of the Mughal Empire was hastened by the emergence of the rival powers of the Maratha Confederacy and later the Sikh Empire, as well as invasions by Nader Shah from Iran in 1739 and the Durrani Empire of Afghanistan in 1759. The growing political power of the British in Bengal had not yet reached the territories of modern Pakistan.

Colonial period

Sir Syed Ahmad Khan (1817–1898), whose vision formed the basis of Pakistan
Muhammad Ali Jinnah (1876–1948) served as Pakistan's first Governor-General and the leader of the Pakistan Movement.

None of modern Pakistan was under British rule until 1839 when Karachi, a small fishing village governed by Talpurs of Sindh with a mud fort guarding the harbour, was taken, and used as an enclave with a port and military base for the First Afghan War that ensued. The remainder of Sindh was acquired in 1843, and subsequently, through a series of wars and treaties, the East India Company, and later, after the post-Sepoy Mutiny (1857–1858), direct rule by Queen Victoria of the British Empire, acquired most of the region. Key conflicts included those against the Baloch Talpur dynasty, resolved by the Battle of Miani (1843) in Sindh, the Anglo-Sikh Wars (1845–1849), and the Anglo-Afghan Wars (1839–1919). By 1893, all modern Pakistan was part of the British Indian Empire, and remained so until independence in 1947.

Under British rule, modern Pakistan was primarily divided into the Sind Division, Punjab Province, and the Baluchistan Agency. The region also included various princely states, with the largest being Bahawalpur.

The major armed struggle against the British in the region was the rebellion known as the Sepoy Mutiny of Bengal in 1857.[69] Divergence in the relationship between Hinduism and Islam resulted in significant tension in British India, leading to religious violence.[70] The language controversy further exacerbated tensions between Hindus and Muslims.[71] The Hindu renaissance witnessed an intellectual awakening in traditional Hinduism, leading to increased influence in the social and political spheres of British India.[72] A Muslim intellectual movement, led by Sir Syed Ahmed Khan to counter the Hindu renaissance, advocated for the two-nation theory[73] and led to the establishment of the All-India Muslim League in 1906. Unlike the Indian National Congress's anti-British stance, the Muslim League embraced British values, shaping Pakistan's future society.[74] The largely non-violent independence movement, led by the Indian National Congress under Mahatma Gandhi, engaged millions in mass campaigns of civil disobedience in the 1920s and 1930s against the British Empire.[75][76]

 
Clock Tower, Faisalabad, built by the British government in the 19th century

The Muslim League gained momentum in the 1930s due to concerns about British neglect of Indian Muslims in politics. In his December 29, 1930 address, Allama Iqbal advocated for the amalgamation of Muslim-majority states in North-West India, including Punjab, North-West Frontier Province, Sind, and Baluchistan.[77] The perception of Congress-led British provincial governments neglecting Muslim League from 1937 to 1939 prompted Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, to advocate the two-nation theory.[78] This led to the adoption of the Lahore Resolution of 1940, presented by Sher-e-Bangla A.K. Fazlul Haque, also known as the Pakistan Resolution.[73][79] In 1939, the Muslim League together with the Hindu Mahasabha and the other non-Congress parties formed alliance governments in many states after the mass resignations from the Indian National Congress due to their oppositition towards inclusion of India in the World War 2 without prior consultation.[80][81] By 1942, Congress under Gandhi's leadership launched the Quit India Movement to demand immediate independence from the British rule. The movement was opposed by Jinnah.[82] During World War II, Jinnah and other leaders in the Muslim League supported the UK's war efforts, thus advancing the possibility of the creation of a Muslim nation.[83][79]

Pakistan Movement

The 1946 elections saw the Muslim League secure 90 percent of the Muslim seats, supported by the landowners of Sindh and Punjab. This forced the Indian National Congress, initially skeptical of the League's representation of Indian Muslims, to acknowledge its significance.[84][85] Jinnah's emergence as the voice of the Indian Muslims compelled the British to consider his stance, despite their reluctance to partition India. In a final attempt to prevent partition, they proposed the Cabinet Mission Plan.[86]

As the Cabinet Mission failed, the British announced their intention to end rule in 1946–47.[87] Nationalists in British India—including Jawaharlal Nehru and Abul Kalam Azad of Congress, Jinnah of the All-India Muslim League, and Master Tara Singh representing the Sikhs—agreed to the proposed terms of transfer of power and independence in June 1947 with the Viceroy of India, Lord Mountbatten of Burma.[88] As the United Kingdom agreed to the partitioning of India in 1947, the modern state of Pakistan was established on 14 August 1947 (27th of Ramadan in 1366 of the Islamic Calendar), amalgamating the Muslim-majority eastern and northwestern regions of British India.[76] It comprised the provinces of Balochistan, East Bengal, the North-West Frontier Province, West Punjab, and Sindh.[73][88]

In the riots that accompanied the partition in Punjab Province, between 200,000 and 2,000,000[89] people were killed in what some have described as a retributive genocide between the religions.[90] Around 50,000 Muslim women were abducted and raped by Hindu and Sikh men, while 33,000 Hindu and Sikh women experienced the same fate at the hands of Muslims.[91] Around 6.5 million Muslims moved from India to West Pakistan and 4.7 million Hindus and Sikhs moved from West Pakistan to India.[92] It was the largest mass migration in human history.[93] A subsequent dispute over the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir eventually sparked the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947–1948.[94]

Independence and modern Pakistan

 
Queen Elizabeth II was the last monarch of independent Pakistan before it became a republic in 1956.

After independence in 1947, Jinnah, the President of the Muslim League, became Pakistan's first Governor-General and the first President-Speaker of the Parliament, but he succumbed to tuberculosis on 11 September 1948.[95] Meanwhile, Pakistan's founding fathers agreed to appoint Liaquat Ali Khan, the secretary-general of the party, the nation's first Prime Minister. From 1947 to 1956, Pakistan was a monarchy within the Commonwealth of Nations, and had two monarchs before it became a republic.[96]

The creation of Pakistan was never fully accepted by many British leaders including Lord Mountbatten.[97] Mountbatten expressed his lack of support and faith in the Muslim League's idea of Pakistan.[98] Jinnah refused Mountbatten's offer to serve as Governor-General of Pakistan.[99] When Mountbatten was asked by Collins and Lapierre if he would have sabotaged Pakistan had he known that Jinnah was dying of tuberculosis, he replied 'most probably'.[100]

The American CIA film on Pakistan, made in 1950, examines the history and geography of Pakistan.

"You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed – that has nothing to do with the business of the State."

Muhammad Ali Jinnah's first speech to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan[101]

Maulana Shabbir Ahmad Usmani, a respected Deobandi alim (scholar) who held the position of Shaykh al-Islam in Pakistan in 1949, and Maulana Mawdudi of Jamaat-i-Islami played key roles in advocating for an Islamic constitution. Mawdudi insisted that the Constituent Assembly declare the "supreme sovereignty of God" and the supremacy of the shariah in Pakistan.[102]

The efforts of Jamaat-i-Islami and the ulama led to the passage of the Objectives Resolution in March 1949. This resolution, described by Liaquat Ali Khan as the second most significant step in Pakistan's history, affirmed that "sovereignty over the entire universe belongs to God Almighty alone and the authority which He has delegated to the State of Pakistan through its people for being exercised within the limits prescribed by Him is a sacred trust". It was later included as a preamble to the constitutions of 1956, 1962, and 1973.[103]

Democracy faced setbacks due to the martial law imposed by President Iskander Mirza, who was succeeded by General Ayub Khan. After adopting a presidential system in 1962, Pakistan witnessed significant growth until the second war with India in 1965, resulting in an economic downturn and widespread public discontent in 1967.[104][105] In 1969, President Yahya Khan consolidated control, but faced a devastating cyclone in East Pakistan resulting in 500,000 deaths.[106]

In 1970, Pakistan conducted its first democratic elections since independence, intending to transition from military rule to democracy. However, after the East Pakistani Awami League emerged victorious over the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Yahya Khan and the military refused to transfer power.[107][108] This led to Operation Searchlight, a military crackdown, and eventually sparked the war of liberation by Bengali Mukti Bahini forces in East Pakistan,[108][109] described in West Pakistan as a civil war rather than a liberation struggle.[110]

 
Signing of the Tashkent Declaration to end hostilities with India in 1965 in Tashkent, USSR, by President Ayub alongside Bhutto (centre) and Aziz Ahmed (left)

Independent researchers estimate that between 300,000 and 500,000 civilians died during this period while the Bangladesh government puts the number of dead at three million,[111] a figure that is now nearly universally regarded as excessively inflated.[112] Some academics such as Rudolph Rummel and Rounaq Jahan say both sides[113] committed genocide; others such as Richard Sisson and Leo E. Rose believe there was no genocide.[114] In response to India's support for the insurgency in East Pakistan, preemptive strikes on India by Pakistan's air force, navy, and marines sparked a conventional war in 1971 that resulted in an Indian victory and East Pakistan gaining independence as Bangladesh.[108]

With Pakistan surrendering in the war, Yahya Khan was replaced by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto as president; the country worked towards promulgating its constitution and putting the country on the road to democracy. Democratic rule resumed from 1972 to 1977—an era of self-consciousness, intellectual leftism, nationalism, and nationwide reconstruction.[115] In 1972 Pakistan embarked on an ambitious plan to develop its nuclear deterrence capability with the goal of preventing any foreign invasion; the country's first nuclear power plant was inaugurated in that same year.[116][117] Accelerated in response to India's first nuclear test in 1974, this crash program was completed in 1979.[117]

Democracy ended with a military coup in 1977 against the leftist PPP, which saw General Zia-ul-Haq become the president in 1978. From 1977 to 1988, President Zia's corporatisation and economic Islamisation initiatives led to Pakistan becoming one of the fastest-growing economies in South Asia.[118] While building up the country's nuclear program, increasing Islamisation,[119] and the rise of a homegrown conservative philosophy, Pakistan helped subsidise and distribute US resources to factions of the mujahideen against the USSR's intervention in communist Afghanistan.[120] Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province became a base for the anti-Soviet Afghan fighters, with the province's influential Deobandi ulama playing a significant role in encouraging and organising the 'jihad'.[121]

President Zia died in a plane crash in 1988, and Benazir Bhutto, daughter of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, was elected as the country's first female Prime Minister. The PPP was followed by conservative Pakistan Muslim League (N), and over the next decade the leaders of the two parties fought for power, alternating in office. This period is marked by prolonged stagflation, instability, corruption, nationalism, geopolitical rivalry with India, and the clash of left wing-right wing ideologies.[122] As PML (N) secured a supermajority in elections in 1997, Nawaz Sharif authorised nuclear testings, as a retaliation to the second nuclear tests conducted by India in May 1998.[123]

 
President George W. Bush meets with President Musharraf in Islamabad during his 2006 visit to Pakistan.

Military tension between the two countries in the Kargil district led to the Kargil War of 1999, and turmoil in civic-military relations allowed General Pervez Musharraf to take over through a bloodless coup d'état.[124][125] Musharraf governed Pakistan as chief executive from 1999 to 2001 and as President from 2001 to 2008—a period of enlightenment, social liberalism, extensive economic reforms,[126] and direct involvement in the US-led war on terrorism. By its own financial calculations, Pakistan's involvement in the war on terrorism has cost up to $118 billion,[127] sixty thousand casualties and more than 1.8 million displaced civilians.[128]

The National Assembly historically completed its first full five-year term on 15 November 2007.[129] After the assassination of Benazir Bhutto in 2007, the PPP secured the most votes in the elections of 2008, appointing party member Yousaf Raza Gillani as Prime Minister.[130] Threatened with impeachment, President Musharraf resigned on 18 August 2008, and was succeeded by Asif Ali Zardari.[131] Clashes with the judicature prompted Gillani's disqualification from the Parliament and as the Prime Minister in June 2012.[132] The general election held in 2013 saw the PML (N) almost achieve a supermajority, following which Nawaz Sharif was elected as the Prime Minister for the third time.[133] In 2018, PTI won the general election and Imran Khan became the 22nd Prime Minister.[134] In April 2022, Shehbaz Sharif was elected as prime minister, after Imran Khan lost a no-confidence vote.[135] During 2024 general election, PTI-backed independents became the largest bloc,[136] but Shehbaz Sharif was elected prime minister for a second term, as a result of a coalition between PML (N) and PPPP.[137]

Role of Islam

Pakistan, the only country established in the name of Islam,[138] had overwhelming support among Muslims, especially in provinces like the United Provinces, where Muslims were a minority.[139] This idea, articulated by the Muslim League, the Islamic clergy, and Jinnah, envisioned an Islamic state.[140] Jinnah, closely associated with the ulama, was described upon his death by Maulana Shabbir Ahmad Usmani as the greatest Muslim after Aurangzeb, aspiring to unite Muslims worldwide under Islam.[141]

The Objectives Resolution of March 1949 marked the initial step towards this goal, affirming God as the sole sovereign.[142][103] Muslim League leader Chaudhry Khaliquzzaman asserted that Pakistan could only truly become an Islamic state after bringing all believers of Islam into a single political unit.[143] Keith Callard observed that Pakistanis believed in the essential unity of purpose and outlook in the Muslim world, expecting similar views on religion and nationality from Muslims worldwide.[144]

 
Eid Prayers at the Badshahi Mosque in Lahore

Pakistan's desire for a united Islamic bloc, called Islamistan, wasn't supported by other Muslim governments,[145] though figures like the Grand Mufti of Palestine, Al-Haj Amin al-Husseini, and leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood were drawn to the country. Pakistan's desire for an international organization of Muslim countries was fulfilled in the 1970s when the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) was formed.[146] East Pakistan's Bengali Muslims, opposed to an Islamist state, clashed with West Pakistanis who leaned towards Islamic identity.[147][148] The Islamist party Jamaat-e-Islami backed an Islamic state and opposed Bengali nationalism.[149]

After the 1970 general elections, the Parliament crafted the 1973 Constitution.[150] It declared Pakistan an Islamic Republic, with Islam as the state religion, and mandated laws to comply with Islamic teachings laid down in the Quran and Sunnah and that no law repugnant to such injunctions could be enacted.[151] Additionally, it established institutions like the Shariat Court and the Council of Islamic Ideology to interpret and apply Islam.[152]

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto faced opposition under the banner of Nizam-e-Mustafa ("Rule of the Prophet"),[153] advocating an Islamic state. Bhutto conceded to some Islamist demands before being ousted in a coup.[154]

General Zia-ul-Haq, after seizing power, committed to establishing an Islamic state and enforcing sharia law.[154] He instituted Shariat judicial courts[155] and court benches[156] to adjudicate using Islamic doctrine.[157] Zia aligned with Deobandi institutions,[158] exacerbating sectarian tensions with anti-Shia policies.[159]

Most Pakistanis, according to a Pew Research Center (PEW) poll, favor Sharia law as the official law,[160] and identify more with religion than nationality compared to Muslims in other nations such as Egypt, Indonesia and Jordan.[161]

Geography, environment, and climate

 
Köppen climate classification of Pakistan
 
Pakistan is the fifteenth most water stressed country in the world.

Pakistan's diverse geography and climate host a wide array of wildlife.[162] Covering 881,913 km2 (340,509 sq mi), Pakistan's size is comparable to France and the UK combined. It ranks as the 33rd-largest nation by total area, but this varies based on Kashmir's disputed status. Pakistan boasts a 1,046 km (650 mi) coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman,[163] and shares land borders totaling 6,774 km (4,209 mi), including 2,430 km (1,510 mi) with Afghanistan, 523 km (325 mi) with China, 2,912 km (1,809 mi) with India, and 909 km (565 mi) with Iran.[164] It has a maritime border with Oman,[165] and shares a border with Tajikistan via the Wakhan Corridor.[166] Situated at the crossroads of South Asia, the Middle East, and Central Asia,[167] Pakistan's location is geopolitically significant. Geologically, Pakistan straddles the Indus–Tsangpo Suture Zone and the Indian tectonic plate in Sindh and Punjab, while Balochistan and most of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa sit on the Eurasian plate, primarily on the Iranian plateau. Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir, along the Indian plate's edge, are susceptible to powerful earthquakes.[168]

 
A satellite image showing the topography of Pakistan

Pakistan's landscapes vary from coastal plains to glaciated mountains, offering deserts, forests, hills, and plateaus.[169] Pakistan is divided into three major geographic areas: the northern highlands, the Indus River plain, and the Balochistan Plateau.[170] The northern highlands feature the Karakoram, Hindu Kush, and Pamir mountain ranges, hosting some of the world's highest peaks, including five of the fourteen eight-thousanders (mountain peaks over 8,000 metres or 26,250 feet), notably K2 (8,611 m or 28,251 ft) and Nanga Parbat (8,126 m or 26,660 ft).[171] The Balochistan Plateau lies in the west and the Thar Desert in the east. The 1,609 km (1,000 mi) Indus River and its tributaries traverse the nation from Kashmir to the Arabian Sea, sustaining alluvial plains along the Punjab and Sindh regions.[172]

The climate varies from tropical to temperate, with arid conditions in the coastal south. There is a monsoon season with frequent flooding due to heavy rainfall, and a dry season with significantly less rainfall or none at all. Pakistan experiences four distinct 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.[73] Rainfall varies greatly from year to year, with patterns of alternate flooding and drought common.[173]

Flora and fauna

The diverse landscape and climate in Pakistan support a wide range of trees and plants. From coniferous alpine and subalpine trees like spruce, pine, and deodar cedar in the northern mountains to deciduous trees like shisham in the Sulaiman Mountains, and palms such as coconut and date in the southern regions. The western hills boast juniper, tamarisk, coarse grasses, and scrub plants. Mangrove forests dominate the coastal wetlands in the south.[174] Coniferous forests span altitudes from 1,000 to 4,000 metres (3,300 to 13,100 feet) in most northern and northwestern highlands. In Balochistan's xeric regions, date palms and Ephedra are prevalent. In Punjab and Sindh's Indus plains, tropical and subtropical dry and moist broadleaf forests as well as tropical and xeric shrublands thrive.[175] Approximately 2.2% or 1,687,000 hectares (16,870 km2) of Pakistan was forested in 2010.[176]

 
Markhor is the national animal of Pakistan.[177]

Pakistan's fauna mirrors its diverse climate. The country boasts around 668 bird species,[178] including crows, sparrows, mynas, hawks, falcons, and eagles. Palas, Kohistan, is home to the western tragopan,[179] with many migratory birds visiting from Europe, Central Asia, and India.[180] The southern plains harbor mongooses, small Indian civet, hares, the Asiatic jackal, the Indian pangolin, the jungle cat, and the desert cat. Indus is home to mugger crocodiles, while surrounding areas host wild boars, deer, porcupines, and small rodents. Central Pakistan's sandy scrublands shelter Asiatic jackals, striped hyenas, wildcats, and leopards.[181][182] The mountainous north hosts a variety of animals like the Marco Polo sheep, urial, markhor goat, ibex goat, Asian black bear, and Himalayan brown bear.[181][183][184]

The lack of vegetative cover, severe climate, and grazing impact on deserts have endangered wild animals. The chinkara is the only animal found in significant numbers in Cholistan, with a few nilgai along the Pakistan–India border and in some parts of Cholistan.[181][185] Rare animals include the snow leopard and the blind Indus river dolphin, of which there are believed to be about 1,100 remaining, protected at the Indus River Dolphin Reserve in Sindh.[183][186] In total, 174 mammals, 177 reptiles, 22 amphibians, 198 freshwater fish species and 5,000 species of invertebrates (including insects) have been recorded in Pakistan.[178] Pakistan faces deforestation, hunting, and pollution, with a 2019 Forest Landscape Integrity Index mean score of 7.42/10, ranking 41st globally out of 172 countries.[187]

Government and politics

 
Parliament House

Pakistan operates as a democratic parliamentary federal republic, with Islam designated as the state religion.[5] Initially adopting a constitution in 1956, Pakistan saw it suspended by Ayub Khan in 1958, replaced by a second constitution in 1962.[76] A comprehensive constitution emerged in 1973, suspended by Zia-ul-Haq in 1977 but reinstated in 1985, shaping the country's governance.[164] The military's influence in mainstream politics has been significant throughout Pakistan's history.[76] The eras of 1958–1971, 1977–1988, and 1999–2008 witnessed military coups, leading to martial law and military leaders governing de facto as presidents.[188] Presently, Pakistan operates a multi-party parliamentary system with distinct checks and balances among government branches. The first successful democratic transition occurred in May 2013. Pakistani politics revolves around a blend of socialism, conservatism, and the third way, with the three main political parties being the conservative Pakistan Muslim League-N, socialist PPP, and centrist PTI. Constitutional amendments in 2010 curtailed presidential powers, enhancing the role of the prime minister.[189]

 
Prime Minister's Office
  • Executive: The Prime Minister, typically the leader of the majority rule party or coalition in the National Assembly (the lower house), serves as the country's chief executive and head of government. Responsibilities include forming a cabinet, making executive decisions, and appointing senior civil servants, subject to executive confirmation.
  • Provincial governments: Each of the four provinces follows a similar governance system, with a directly elected Provincial Assembly choosing the Chief Minister, usually from the largest party or coalition. Chief Ministers lead the provincial cabinet and oversee provincial governance. The Chief Secretary, appointed by the Prime Minister, heads the provincial bureaucracy. Provincial assemblies legislate and approve the provincial budget, typically presented by the provincial finance minister annually. Ceremonial heads of provinces, the Provincial Governors, are appointed by the President.[164]
 
Supreme Court of Pakistan

Foreign relations

Since Independence, Pakistan has aimed to balance its foreign relations.[190] Pakistan's foreign policy and geostrategy focus on the economy, security, national identity, and territorial integrity, as well as building close ties with other Muslim nations.[191] According to Hasan Askari Rizvi, a foreign policy expert, "Pakistan highlights sovereign equality of states, bilateralism, mutuality of interests, and non-interference in each other's domestic affairs as the cardinal features of its foreign policy."[192]

The Kashmir conflict remains a major issue between Pakistan and India, with three of their four wars fought over it.[193] Due partly to strained relations with India, Pakistan has close ties with Turkey and Iran,[194] both focal points in its foreign policy.[194] Saudi Arabia also holds importance in Pakistan's foreign relations.

As a non-signatory of the Treaty on Nuclear Non-Proliferation, Pakistan holds influence in the IAEA.[195] In 2010, Pakistan blocked an international treaty to limit fissile material, arguing it targeted Pakistan specifically.[196] Pakistan's nuclear program in the 20th century aimed to counter India's nuclear ambitions in the region, and reciprocal nuclear tests ensued after India's nuclear tests, solidifying Pakistan as a nuclear power.[197] Pakistan maintains a policy of credible minimum deterrence, considering its nuclear program vital for deterring foreign aggression.[198][199]

 
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan at the 2019 Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit

Located strategically in the world's major maritime oil supply lines and communication fibre optics corridor, Pakistan enjoys proximity to the natural resources of Central Asian countries.[200] Pakistan actively participates in the United Nations with a Permanent Representative representing its positions in international politics.[201] It has advocated for the concept of "enlightened moderation" in the Muslim world.[202] Pakistan is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations,[203] SAARC, ECO,[204] and the G20 developing nations.[205]

 
President of Pakistan Ayub Khan with US President John F. Kennedy in 1961

Pakistan is designated as an "Iron Brother" by China,[206][207] emphasizing the significance of their close and supportive relationship.[208] In the 1950s, Pakistan opposed the Soviet Union for geopolitical reasons. During the Soviet–Afghan War in the 1980s, it was a close ally of the United States.[192][209] Relations with Russia have improved since 1999,[210] but Pakistan's relationship with the United States has been "on-and-off." Initially, Pakistan was a close ally during the Cold War, but relations soured in the 1990s due to US sanctions over its secretive nuclear program.[211] Since 9/11, Pakistan has been a US ally on counterterrorism, but their relationship has been strained due to diverging interests and mistrust during the 20-year war and terrorism issues.[212] Although Pakistan was granted major non-NATO ally status by the US in 2004,[213] its intelligence agency, including ISI, faced accusations of supporting the Taliban insurgents until US troops withdrew from Afghanistan.[214][215][216]

Pakistan does not have formal diplomatic relations with Israel;[217] however, some Israeli citizens have visited Pakistan on tourist visas.[218] Nonetheless, an exchange occurred between the two countries using Turkey as an intermediary.[219] Despite not establishing formal diplomatic relations with Armenia, Pakistan is home to an Armenian community.[220]

Relations with China

 
Pakistan Prime Minister Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy with Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai signing the Treaty of Friendship Between China and Pakistan. Pakistan is host to China's largest embassy.[221]

Pakistan was among the first nations to establish formal diplomatic ties with the People's Republic of China, forging a strong relationship since China's 1962 conflict with India, culminating in a special bond.[222] Throughout the 1960s to 1980s, Pakistan played a crucial role in China's global outreach, facilitating US President Richard Nixon's historic visit to China.[222] Despite changes in Pakistani governance and regional/global dynamics, China's influence in Pakistan remains paramount.[222] In reciprocation, China stands as Pakistan's largest trading partner, with substantial investment in Pakistani infrastructure, notably the Gwadar port. In 2015 alone, they inked 51 agreements and Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) for cooperative efforts.[223] Both nations signed a Free Trade Agreement in the 2000s, with China making its largest investment in Pakistan's history through CPEC.[224] Pakistan acts as China's liaison to the Muslim world, and both nations support each other on sensitive issues like Kashmir, Taiwan, Xinjiang, and more.[225]

Emphasis on relations with the Muslim world

After Independence, Pakistan vigorously pursued bilateral relations with other Muslim countries[226] and made an active bid for leadership of the Muslim world, or at least for leadership in efforts to achieve unity.[227] The Ali brothers had sought to project Pakistan as the natural leader of the Islamic world, in part due to its large manpower and military strength.[228] A top-ranking Muslim League leader, Khaliquzzaman, declared that Pakistan would bring together all Muslim countries into Islamistan – a pan-Islamic entity.[229]

Such developments (along with Pakistan's creation) did not get American approval, and British Prime Minister Clement Attlee voiced international opinion at the time by stating that he wished that India and Pakistan would re-unite.[230] Since most of the Arab world was undergoing a nationalist awakening at the time, there was little attraction to Pakistan's Pan-Islamic aspirations.[231] Some of the Arab countries saw the 'Islamistan' project as a Pakistani attempt to dominate other Muslim states.[232]

Pakistan vigorously championed the right of self-determination for Muslims around the world. Pakistan's efforts for the independence movements of Indonesia, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, and Eritrea were significant and initially led to close ties between these countries and Pakistan.[233] Although relations between Pakistan and Bangladesh were initially tense due to the secession war, bilateral cooperation has deepened in recent years.[234]

On the other hand, Pakistan's relations with Iran have been strained at times due to sectarian tensions.[235] Iran and Saudi Arabia used Pakistan as a battleground for their proxy sectarian war, and by the 1990s Pakistan's support for the Sunni Taliban organisation in Afghanistan became a problem for Shia-led Iran, which opposed a Taliban-controlled Afghanistan at the time.[236] Tensions between Iran and Pakistan intensified in 1998 when Iran accused Pakistan of war crimes after Pakistani warplanes had bombarded Afghanistan's last Shia stronghold in support of the Taliban.[237] As the Taliban returns to power in the 2020s, Pakistan cooperates with neighbors such as Iran and argues that Afghanistan should not be used for geopolitical rivalry.[238]

Pakistan is an influential and founding member of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). Maintaining cultural, political, social, and economic relations with the Arab world and other countries in the Muslim world is a vital factor in Pakistan's foreign policy.[239]

Leadership in World governance initiatives

Pakistan has been one of the signatories of the agreement to convene a convention for drafting a world constitution.[240][241] As a result, in 1968, for the first time in human history, a World Constituent Assembly convened to draft and adopt the Constitution for the Federation of Earth.[242] Muhammad Ayub Khan, then president of Pakistan signed the agreement to convene a World Constituent Assembly[243][244] and member of Parliament and adviser to the Prime Minister, Ahmed Ebrahim Haroon Jaffer, attended the World Constituent Assembly at Interlaken, Switzerland in August, 1968.[245]

The first ever Provisional World Parliament (PWP) met in Brighton, U.K. at the Royal Pavilion in 1982 was presided over by Pakistani jurist and diplomat Sir Chaudhry Mohammad Zafrullah Khan.[246][247]

Administrative divisions

Administrative division Capital Population
  Balochistan Quetta 12,344,408
  Punjab Lahore 110,126,285
  Sindh Karachi 47,886,051
  Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Peshawar 40,525,047
  Gilgit-Baltistan Gilgit 1,800,000
  Azad Kashmir Muzaffarabad 4,567,982
Islamabad Capital Territory Islamabad 2,851,868

A federal parliamentary republic state, Pakistan is a federation that comprises four provinces: Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh and Balochistan,[248] and three territories: Islamabad Capital Territory, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir. The Government of Pakistan exercises the de facto jurisdiction over the Frontier Regions and the western parts of the Kashmir Regions, which are organised into the separate political entities Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan (formerly Northern Areas). In 2009, the constitutional assignment (the Gilgit–Baltistan Empowerment and Self-Governance Order) awarded the Gilgit-Baltistan a semi-provincial status, giving it self-government.[249]

The local government system consists of a three-tier system of districts, tehsils, and union councils, with an elected body at each tier.[250] There are about 130 districts altogether, of which Azad Kashmir has ten[251] and Gilgit-Baltistan seven.[252]

Clickable map of the four provinces and three federal territories of Pakistan.
 Balochistan (Pakistan)Punjab (Pakistan)SindhIslamabad Capital TerritoryKhyber PakhtunkhwaKhyber PakhtunkhwaAzad KashmirGilgit-Baltistan
A clickable map of Pakistan exhibiting its administrative units.


Law enforcement is carried out by a joint network of the intelligence community with jurisdiction limited to the relevant province or territory. The National Intelligence Directorate coordinates the information intelligence at both federal and provincial levels; including the FIA, IB, Motorway Police, and Civil Armed Forces such as the Pakistan Rangers and the Frontier Corps.[253]

Pakistan's "premier" intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), was formed just within a year after the Independence of Pakistan in 1947.[254] ABC News Point in 2014 reported that the ISI was ranked as the top intelligence agency in the world.[255]

The court system is organised as a hierarchy, with the Supreme Court at the apex, below which are high courts, Federal Shariat Courts (one in each province and one in the federal capital), district courts (one in each district), Judicial Magistrate Courts (in every town and city), Executive Magistrate Courts, and civil courts. The Penal code has limited jurisdiction in the Tribal Areas, where law is largely derived from tribal customs.[253][256]

Kashmir conflict

 
The areas shown in green are the Pakistani-controlled areas.

Kashmir, a Himalayan region situated at the northernmost point of the Indian subcontinent, was governed as an autonomous princely state known as Jammu and Kashmir in the British Raj prior to the Partition of India in August 1947. Following the independence of India and Pakistan post-partition, the region became the subject of a major territorial dispute that has hindered their bilateral relations. The two states have engaged each other in two large-scale wars over the region in 1947–1948 and 1965. India and Pakistan have also fought smaller-scale protracted conflicts over the region in 1971, 1984 and 1999.[193] Approximately 45.1% of the Kashmir region is controlled by India (administratively split into Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh), which also claims the entire territory of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir that is not under its control.[193] India's control over Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh as well as its claim to the rest of the region has likewise been contested by Pakistan, which controls approximately 38.2% of the region (administratively split into Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit−Baltistan) and claims all of the territory under Indian control.[193][257] Additionally, approximately 20% of the region known as Aksai Chin and the Shaksgam Valley (since Sino-Pakistani Agreement of 1963) has been controlled by China.[258] The Chinese-controlled areas of Kashmir remain subject to an Indian territorial claim, but are not claimed by Pakistan.

 
Neelum Valley in Azad Kashmir is part of Pakistani-controlled Kashmir.

India claims the entire Kashmir region on the basis of the Instrument of Accession—a legal agreement with the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir that was executed by Hari Singh, the maharaja of the state, who agreed to cede the entire area to newly-independent India.[259] Pakistan claims most of Kashmir on the basis of its Muslim-majority population and of its geography, the same principles that were applied for the creation of the two independent states.[260] India referred the dispute to the United Nations on 1 January 1948.[261] In a resolution passed in 1948, the UN's General Assembly asked Pakistan to remove most of its military troops to set the conditions for the holding of a plebiscite. However, Pakistan failed to vacate the region and a ceasefire was reached in 1949 establishing a ceasefire line known as the Line of Control (LoC) that divided Kashmir between the two states as a de facto border.[262] India, fearful that the Muslim-majority populace of Kashmir would vote to secede from India, did not allow a plebiscite to take place in the region. This was confirmed in a statement by India's Defense Minister, Krishna Menon, who stated: "Kashmir would vote to join Pakistan and no Indian Government responsible for agreeing to plebiscite would survive."[263]

Pakistan claims that its position is for the right of the Kashmiri people to determine their future through impartial elections as mandated by the United Nations,[264] while India has stated that Kashmir is an "integral part" of India, referring to the 1972 Simla Agreement and to the fact that regional elections take place regularly.[265] In recent developments, certain Kashmiri independence groups believe that Kashmir should be independent of both India and Pakistan.[193]

Law enforcement

The law enforcement in Pakistan is carried out by joint network of several federal and provincial police agencies. The four provinces and the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) each have a civilian police force with jurisdiction extending only to the relevant province or territory.[164] At the federal level, there are a number of civilian intelligence agencies with nationwide jurisdictions including the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and the Intelligence Bureau (IB), as well as National Guard and the Civil Armed Forces such as the Gilgit-Baltistan Scouts, the Punjab Rangers, and the Frontier Corps Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (North).

The most senior officers of all the civilian police forces also form part of the Police Service, which is a component of the civil service of Pakistan. Namely, there is four provincial police service including the Punjab Police, Sindh Police, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Police, and the Balochistan Police; all headed by the appointed senior Inspector-Generals. The ICT has its own police component, the Capital Police, to maintain law and order in the capital. The CID bureaus are the crime investigation unit and form a vital part in each provincial police service.

The law enforcement in Pakistan also has a Motorway Patrol which is responsible for enforcement of traffic and safety laws, security and recovery on Pakistan's inter-provincial motorway network. In each of provincial Police Service, it also maintains a respective Elite Police units led by the NACTA—a counter-terrorism police unit as well as providing VIP escorts. In the Punjab and Sindh, the Pakistan Rangers are an internal security force with the prime objective to provide and maintain security in war zones and areas of conflict as well as maintaining law and order which includes providing assistance to the police.[266] The Frontier Corps serves the similar purpose in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, and the Balochistan.[266]

Human rights

Male homosexuality is illegal in Pakistan and punishable with up to life in prison.[267] In its 2018 Press Freedom Index, Reporters Without Borders ranked Pakistan number 139 out of 180 countries based on freedom of the press.[268] Television stations and newspapers are routinely shut down for publishing any reports critical of the government or the military.[269]

Military

 
Pakistan Air Force's JF-17 Thunder flying in front of the 8,130-metre-high (26,660-foot) Nanga Parbat

The armed forces of Pakistan are the sixth largest in the world in terms of numbers in full-time service, with about 651,800 personnel on active duty and 291,000 paramilitary personnel, as of tentative estimates in 2021.[270] They came into existence after independence in 1947, and the military establishment has frequently influenced the national politics ever since.[188] Chain of command of the military is kept under the control of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee; all of the branches joint works, co-ordination, military logistics, and joint missions are under the Joint Staff HQ.[271] The Joint Staff HQ is composed of the Air HQ, Navy HQ, and Army GHQ in the vicinity of the Rawalpindi Military District.[272]

The Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee is the highest principle staff officer in the armed forces, and the chief military adviser to the civilian government though the chairman has no authority over the three branches of armed forces.[271] The Chairman joint chiefs controls the military from the JS HQ and maintains strategic communications between the military and the civilian government.[271] As of 2021, the CJCSC is General Nadeem Raza[273] alongside chief of army staff General Asim Munir,[274][275] chief of naval staff Admiral Muhammad Amjad Khan Niazi,[276] and chief of air staff Air Chief Marshal Zaheer Ahmad Babar.[277] The main branches are the Army, the Air Force and the Navy, which are supported by a large number of paramilitaries in the country.[278] Control over the strategic arsenals, deployment, employment, development, military computers and command and control is a responsibility vested under the National Command Authority which oversaw the work on the nuclear policy as part of the credible minimum deterrence.[123]

The United States, Turkey, and China maintain close military relations and regularly export military equipment and technology transfer to Pakistan.[279] Joint logistics and major war games are occasionally carried out by the militaries of China and Turkey.[278][280] Philosophical basis for the military draft is introduced by the Constitution in times of emergency, but it has never been imposed.[281]

Military history

Since 1947, Pakistan has been involved in four conventional wars with India. The first Indo-Pak war of 1947 occurred in Kashmir with Pakistan gaining control of Western Kashmir, (Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan), and India retaining Eastern Kashmir (Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh). Territorial problems eventually led to another conventional war in 1965. The 1971 war resulted in Pakistan's unconditional surrender of East Pakistan.[282] Tensions in Kargil brought the two countries at another brink of war.[124] Since 1947 the unresolved territorial problems with Afghanistan saw border skirmishes which were kept mostly at the mountainous border. In 1961, the military and intelligence community repelled the Afghan incursion in the Bajaur Agency near the Durand Line border.[283]

Rising tensions with neighbouring USSR in their involvement in Afghanistan, Pakistani intelligence community, mostly the ISI, systematically coordinated the US resources to the Afghan mujahideen and foreign fighters against the Soviet Union's presence in the region. Military reports indicated that the PAF was in engagement with the Soviet Air Force, supported by the Afghan Air Force during the course of the conflict; one of which belonged to Alexander Rutskoy.[284] Apart from its own conflicts, Pakistan has been an active participant in United Nations peacekeeping missions. It played a major role in rescuing trapped American soldiers from Mogadishu, Somalia, in 1993 in Operation Gothic Serpent.[285][286] According to UN reports, the Pakistani military is the third largest troop contributor to UN peacekeeping missions after Ethiopia and India.[287]

Pakistan has deployed its military in some Arab countries, providing defence, training, and playing advisory roles.[288] The PAF and Navy's fighter pilots have voluntarily served in Arab nations' militaries against Israel in the Six-Day War (1967) and in the Yom Kippur War (1973). Pakistan's fighter pilots shot down ten Israeli planes in the Six-Day War.[285] In the 1973 war, one of the PAF pilots, Flt. Lt. Sattar Alvi (flying a MiG-21), shot down an Israeli Air Force Mirage and was honoured by the Syrian government.[289] Requested by the Saudi monarchy in 1979, Pakistan's special forces units, operatives, and commandos were rushed to assist Saudi forces in Mecca to lead the operation of the Grand Mosque. For almost two weeks Saudi Special Forces and Pakistani commandos fought the insurgents who had occupied the Grand Mosque's compound.[290] In 1991, Pakistan became involved with the Gulf War and sent 5,000 troops as part of a US-led coalition, specifically for the defence of Saudi Arabia.[291]

Despite the UN arms embargo on Bosnia, General Javed Nasir of the ISI airlifted anti-tank weapons and missiles to Bosnian mujahideen which turned the tide in favour of Bosnian Muslims and forced the Serbs to lift the siege. Under Nasir's leadership the ISI was also involved in supporting Chinese Muslims in Xinjiang Province, rebel Muslim groups in the Philippines, and some religious groups in Central Asia.[292]

Since 2004, the military has been engaged in an insurgency in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, mainly against the Tehrik-i-Taliban factions.[293] Major operations undertaken by the army include Operation Black Thunderstorm, Operation Rah-e-Nijat and Operation Zarb-e-Azb.[294]

According to SIPRI, Pakistan was the 9th-largest recipient and importer of arms between 2012 and 2016.[295]

Economy

Economic indicators
GDP (PPP) $1.254 trillion (2019) [296]
GDP (nominal) $284.2 billion (2019) [297]
Real GDP growth 3.29% (2019) [298]
CPI inflation 10.3% (2019) [299]
Unemployment 5.7% (2018) [300]
Labor force participation rate 48.9% (2018) [301]
Total public debt $106 billion (2019)
National wealth $465 billion (2019) [302]

The economy of Pakistan is the 23rd-largest in the world in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP), and 42nd-largest in terms of nominal gross domestic product. Economists estimate that Pakistan was part of the wealthiest region of the world throughout the first millennium CE, with the largest economy by GDP. This advantage was lost in the 18th century as other regions such as China and Western Europe edged forward.[303] Pakistan is considered a developing country[304] and is one of the Next Eleven, a group of eleven countries that, along with the BRICS, have a high potential to become the world's largest economies in the 21st century.[305] In recent years, after decades of social instability, as of 2013, serious deficiencies in macromanagement and unbalanced macroeconomics in basic services such as rail transportation and electrical energy generation have developed.[306] The economy is considered to be semi-industrialized, with centres of growth along the Indus River.[307][308][309] The diversified economies of Karachi and Punjab's urban centres coexist with less-developed areas in other parts of the country, particularly in Balochistan.[308] According to the Economic complexity index, Pakistan is the 67th-largest export economy in the world and the 106th-most complex economy.[310] During the fiscal year 2015–16, Pakistan's exports stood at US$20.81 billion and imports at US$44.76 billion, resulting in a negative trade balance of US$23.96 billion.[311]

 
Statue of a bull outside the Pakistan Stock Exchange, Islamabad, Pakistan

As of 2022, Pakistan's estimated nominal GDP is US$376.493 billion.[312] The GDP by PPP is US$1.512 trillion. The estimated nominal per capita GDP is US$1,658, the GDP (PPP)/capita is US$6,662 (international dollars),[296] According to the World Bank, Pakistan has important strategic endowments and development potential. The increasing proportion of Pakistan's youth provides the country with both a potential demographic dividend and a challenge to provide adequate services and employment.[313] 21.04% of the population live below the international poverty line of US$1.25 a day. The unemployment rate among the aged 15 and over population is 5.5%.[314] Pakistan has an estimated 40 million middle class citizens, projected to increase to 100 million by 2050.[315] A 2015 report published by the World Bank ranked Pakistan's economy at 24th-largest[316] in the world by purchasing power and 41st-largest[317] in absolute terms. It is South Asia's second-largest economy, representing about 15.0% of regional GDP.[318]

Fiscal Year GDP growth[319] Inflation rate[320]
2013–14  4.05%  8.6%
2014–15  4.06%  4.5%
2015–16  4.56%  2.9%
2016–17  5.37%  4.2%
2017–18  5.79%  3.8%

Pakistan's economic growth since its inception has been varied. It has been slow during periods of democratic transition, but robust during the three periods of martial law, although the foundation for sustainable and equitable growth was not formed.[105] The early to middle 2000s was a period of rapid economic reforms; the government raised development spending, which reduced poverty levels by 10% and increased GDP by 3%.[164][321] The economy cooled again from 2007.[164] Inflation reached 25.0% in 2008,[322] and Pakistan had to depend on a fiscal policy backed by the International Monetary Fund to avoid possible bankruptcy.[323] A year later, the Asian Development Bank reported that Pakistan's economic crisis was easing.[324] The inflation rate for the fiscal year 2010–11 was 14.1%.[325] Since 2013, as part of an International Monetary Fund program, Pakistan's economic growth has picked up. In 2014 Goldman Sachs predicted that Pakistan's economy would grow 15 times in the next 35 years to become the 18th-largest economy in the world by 2050.[326] In his 2016 book, The Rise and Fall of Nations, Ruchir Sharma termed Pakistan's economy as at a 'take-off' stage and the future outlook until 2020 has been termed 'Very Good'. Sharma termed it possible to transform Pakistan from a "low-income to a middle-income country during the next five years".[327]

Share of world GDP (PPP)[328]
Year Share
1980 0.54%
1990 0.72%
2000 0.74%
2010 0.79%
2017 0.83%

Pakistan is one of the largest producers of natural commodities, and its labour market is the 10th-largest in the world. The 7-million–strong Pakistani diaspora contributed US$19.9 billion to the economy in 2015–16.[329][330][331] The major source countries of remittances to Pakistan are: the UAE; the United States; Saudi Arabia; the Gulf states (Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, and Oman); Australia; Canada; Japan; the United Kingdom; Norway; and Switzerland.[332][333] According to the World Trade Organization, Pakistan's share of overall world exports is declining; it contributed only 0.13% in 2007.[334]

Agriculture and primary sector

 
Surface mining in Sindh. Pakistan has been termed the 'Saudi Arabia of Coal' by Forbes.[335]

The structure of the Pakistani economy has changed from a mainly agricultural to a strong service base. Agriculture as of 2015 accounts for only 20.9% of the GDP.[336] Even so, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, Pakistan produced 21,591,400 metric tons of wheat in 2005, more than all of Africa (20,304,585 metric tons) and nearly as much as all of South America (24,557,784 metric tons).[337] Majority of the population, directly or indirectly, is dependent on this sector. It accounts for 43.5% of employed labour force and is the largest source of foreign exchange earnings.[336][338]

A large portion of the country's manufactured exports is dependent on raw materials such as cotton and hides that are part of the agriculture sector, while supply shortages and market disruptions in farm products do push up inflationary pressures. The country is also the fifth-largest producer of cotton, with cotton production of 14 million bales from a modest beginning of 1.7 million bales in the early 1950s; is self-sufficient in sugarcane; and is the fourth-largest producer of milk in the world. Land and water resources have not risen proportionately, but the increases have taken place mainly due to gains in labour and agriculture productivity. The major breakthrough in crop production took place in the late 1960s and 1970s due to the Green Revolution that made a significant contribution to land and yield increases of wheat and rice. Private tube wells led to a 50 percent increase in the cropping intensity which was augmented by tractor cultivation. While the tube wells raised crop yields by 50 percent, the High Yielding Varieties (HYVs) of wheat and rice led to a 50–60 percent higher yield.[339] Meat industry accounts for 1.4 percent of overall GDP.[340]

Industry

 
Television assembly factory in Lahore. Pakistan's industrial sector accounts for about 20.3% of the GDP, and is dominated by small and medium-sized enterprises.[341]

Industry is the second-largest sector of the economy, accounting for 19.74% of gross domestic product (GDP), and 24 percent of total employment. Large-scale manufacturing (LSM), at 12.2% of GDP, dominates the overall sector, accounting for 66% of the sectoral share, followed by small-scale manufacturing, which accounts for 4.9% of total GDP. Pakistan's cement industry is also fast growing mainly because of demand from Afghanistan and from the domestic real estate sector. In 2013 Pakistan exported 7,708,557 metric tons of cement.[342] Pakistan has an installed capacity of 44,768,250 metric tons of cement and 42,636,428 metric tons of clinker. In 2012 and 2013, the cement industry in Pakistan became the most profitable sector of the economy.[343]

The textile industry has a pivotal position in the manufacturing sector of Pakistan. In Asia, Pakistan is the eighth-largest exporter of textile products, contributing 9.5% to the GDP and providing employment to around 15 million people (some 30% of the 49 million people in the workforce). Pakistan is the fourth-largest producer of cotton with the third-largest spinning capacity in Asia after China and India, contributing 5% to the global spinning capacity.[344] China is the second largest buyer of Pakistani textiles, importing US$1.527 billion of textiles last fiscal. Unlike the US, where mostly value-added textiles are imported, China buys only cotton yarn and cotton fabric from Pakistan. In 2012, Pakistani textile products accounted for 3.3% or US$1.07bn of all UK textile imports, 12.4% or $4.61bn of total Chinese textile imports, 3.0% of all US textile imports ($2,980 million), 1.6% of total German textile imports ($880 million) and 0.7% of total Indian textile imports ($888 million).[345]

Services

 
Rising skyline of Karachi, with several under construction skyscrapers

As of 2014–15, the services sector makes up 58.8% of GDP[336] and has emerged as the main driver of economic growth.[346] Pakistani society like other developing countries is a consumption oriented society, having a high marginal propensity to consume. The growth rate of services sector is higher than the growth rate of agriculture and industrial sector. Services sector accounts for 54 percent of GDP in 2014 and little over one-third of total employment. Services sector has strong linkages with other sectors of economy; it provides essential inputs to agriculture sector and manufacturing sector.[347] Pakistan's I.T sector is regarded as among the fastest growing sector's in Pakistan. The World Economic Forum, assessing the development of Information and Communication Technology in the country ranked Pakistan 110th among 139 countries on the 'Networked Readiness Index 2016'.[348]

As of May 2020, Pakistan has about 82 million internet users, making it the 9th-largest population of Internet users in the world.[349][350] The current growth rate and employment trend indicate that Pakistan's Information Communication Technology (ICT) industry will exceed the $10-billion mark by 2020.[351] The sector employees 12,000 and count's among top five freelancing nations.[352] The country has also improved its export performance in telecom, computer and information services, as the share of their exports surged from 8.2pc in 2005–06 to 12.6pc in 2012–13. This growth is much better than that of China, whose share in services exports was 3pc and 7.7pc for the same period, respectively.[353]

Tourism

 
Lake Saiful Muluk, located at the northern end of the Kaghan Valley, near the town of Naran, in the Saiful Muluk National Park
 
The 7,788-metre-tall (25,551 ft) Rakaposhi mountain towers over Hunza Valley

With its diverse cultures, people, and landscapes, Pakistan attracted around 6.6 million foreign tourists in 2018,[354] which represented a significant decline since the 1970s when the country received unprecedented numbers of foreign tourists due to the popular Hippie trail. The trail attracted thousands of Europeans and Americans in the 1960s and 1970s who travelled via land through Turkey and Iran into India through Pakistan.[355] Northern Pakistan is well-known for its scenic beauty and several highest peaks of the world. The main destinations of choice for these tourists were the Khyber Pass, Peshawar, Karachi, Lahore, Swat and Rawalpindi.[356] The numbers following the trail declined after the Iranian Revolution and the Soviet–Afghan War.[357]

Pakistan's tourist attractions range from the mangroves in the south to the Himalayan hill stations in the north-east. The country's tourist destinations range from the Buddhist ruins of Takht-i-Bahi and Taxila, to the 5,000-year-old cities of the Indus Valley civilization such as Mohenjo-daro and Harappa.[358] Pakistan is home to several mountain peaks over 7,000 metres (23,000 feet).[359] The northern part of Pakistan has many old fortresses, examples of ancient architecture, and the Hunza and Chitral valleys, home to the small pre-Islamic Kalasha community claiming descent from Alexander the Great.[360] Pakistan's cultural capital, Lahore, contains many examples of Mughal architecture such as the Badshahi Masjid, the Shalimar Gardens, the Tomb of Jahangir, and the Lahore Fort.

In October 2006, just one year after the 2005 Kashmir earthquake, The Guardian released what it described as "The top five tourist sites in Pakistan" in order to help the country's tourism industry.[361] The five sites included Taxila, Lahore, the Karakoram Highway, Karimabad, and Lake Saiful Muluk. To promote Pakistan's unique cultural heritage, the government organises various festivals throughout the year.[362] In 2015, the World Economic Forum's Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report ranked Pakistan 125 out of 141 countries.[363]

Infrastructure

Pakistan was recognised as the best country for infrastructure development in South Asia during the IWF and World Bank annual meetings in 2016.[364]

Nuclear power and energy

 
Tarbela Dam, the largest earth filled dam in the world, was constructed in 1968.

As of May 2021, nuclear power is provided by six licensed commercial nuclear power plants.[365] The Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) is solely responsible for operating these power plants, while the Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority regulates safe usage of the nuclear energy.[366] The electricity generated by commercial nuclear power plants constitutes roughly 5.8% of Pakistan's electrical energy, compared to 64.2% from fossil fuels (crude oil and natural gas), 29.9% from hydroelectric power, and 0.1% from coal.[367][368] Pakistan is one of the four nuclear armed states (along with India, Israel, and North Korea) that is not a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, but it is a member in good standing of the International Atomic Energy Agency.[369]

The KANUPP-I, a Candu-type nuclear reactor, was supplied by Canada in 1971—the country's first commercial nuclear power plant. The Sino-Pakistani nuclear cooperation began in the early 1980s. After a Sino-Pakistani nuclear cooperation agreement in 1986,[370] China provided Pakistan with a nuclear reactor dubbed CHASNUPP-I for energy and the industrial growth of the country. In 2005 both countries proposed working on a joint energy security plan, calling for a huge increase in generation capacity to more than 160,000 MWe by 2030. Under its Nuclear Energy Vision 2050, the Pakistani government plans to increase nuclear power generation capacity to 40,000 MWe,[371] 8,900 MWe of it by 2030.[372]

 
Pakistan produced 1,135 megawatts of renewable energy for the month of October 2016. Pakistan expects to produce 10,000 megawatts of renewable energy by 2025.[373]

In June 2008 the nuclear commercial complex was expanded with the ground work of installing and operationalising the Chashma-III and Chashma–IV reactors at Chashma, Punjab Province, each with 325–340 MWe and costing 129 billion; from which the 80 billion came from international sources, principally China. A further agreement for China's help with the project was signed in October 2008, and given prominence as a counter to the US–India agreement that shortly preceded it. The cost quoted then was US$1.7 billion, with a foreign loan component of US$1.07 billion. In 2013 Pakistan established a second commercial nuclear complex in Karachi with plans of additional reactors, similar to the one in Chashma.[374] The electrical energy is generated by various energy corporations and evenly distributed by the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) among the four provinces. However, the Karachi-based K-Electric and the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) generates much of the electrical energy used in Pakistan in addition to gathering revenue nationwide.[375] In 2014, Pakistan had an installed electricity generation capacity of ~22,797MWt.[367]

Transport

The transport industry accounts for ~10.5% of the nation's GDP.[376]

Motorways

 
The motorway passes through the Salt Range mountains.

Motorways of Pakistan are a network of multiple-lane, high-speed, controlled-access highways in Pakistan, which are owned, maintained, and operated federally by Pakistan's National Highway Authority. As of 20 February 2020, 1882 km of motorways are operational, while an additional 1854 km are under construction or planned. All motorways in Pakistan are pre-fixed with the letter 'M' (for "Motorway") followed by the unique numerical designation of the specific highway (with a hyphen in the middle), e.g. "M-1".[377]

Pakistan's motorways are an important part of Pakistan's "National Trade Corridor Project",[378] which aims to link Pakistan's three Arabian Sea ports (Karachi Port, Port Bin Qasim and Gwadar Port) to the rest of the country through its national highways and motorways network and further north with Afghanistan, Central Asia and China. The project was planned in 1990. The China Pakistan Economic Corridor project aims to link Gwadar Port and Kashgar (China) using Pakistani motorways, national highways, and expressways.

Highways

Highways form the backbone of Pakistan's transport system; a total road length of 263,942 kilometres (164,006 miles) accounts for 92% of passengers and 96% of inland freight traffic. Road transport services are largely in the hands of the private sector. The National Highway Authority is responsible for the maintenance of national highways and motorways. The highway and motorway system depends mainly on north–south links connecting the southern ports to the populous provinces of Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. Although this network only accounts for 4.6% of total road length,[336] it carries 85% of the country's traffic.[379][380]

Railways

 
Karachi Cantonment railway station

The Pakistan Railways, under the Ministry of Railways (MoR), operates the railroad system. From 1947 until the 1970s the train system was the primary means of transport until the nationwide constructions of the national highways and the economic boom of the automotive industry. Beginning in the 1990s there was a marked shift in traffic from rail to highways; dependence grew on roads after the introduction of vehicles in the country. Now the railway's share of inland traffic is below 8% for passengers and 4% for freight traffic.[336] As personal transportation began to be dominated by the automobile, total rail track decreased from 8,775 kilometres (5,453 miles) in 1990–91 to 7,791 kilometres (4,841 miles) in 2011.[379][381] Pakistan expects to use the rail service to boost foreign trade with China, Iran, and Turkey.[382]

Airports

 
Boeing 737 owned and operated by Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) at Skardu International Airport

There are an estimated 151 airports and airfields in Pakistan as of 2013—including both the military and the mostly publicly owned civilian airports.[383] Although Jinnah International Airport is the principal international gateway to Pakistan, the international airports in Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar, Quetta, Faisalabad, Sialkot, and Multan also handle significant amounts of traffic.

The civil aviation industry is mixed with public and private sectors, which was deregulated in 1993. While the state-owned Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) is the major and dominant air carrier that carries about 73% of domestic passengers and all domestic freight, the private airlines such as airBlue and Air Indus, also provide similar services at a low cost.

Seaports

 
Port of Karachi is one of South Asia's largest and busiest deep-water seaports, handling about 60% of the nation's cargo (25 million tons per annum).

Major seaports are in Karachi, Sindh (the Karachi port, Port Qasim).[379][381] Since the 1990s some seaport operations have been moved to Balochistan with the construction of Gwadar Port, Port of Pasni and Gadani Port.[379][381] Gwadar Port is the deepest sea port of the world.[384] According to the WEF's Global Competitiveness Report, quality ratings of Pakistan's port infrastructure increased from 3.7 to 4.1 between 2007 and 2016.[385]

Metro

Metro Train
 
Track of Islamabad-Rawalpindi Metrobus with adjoining station
  • The Orange Line Metro Train is an automated rapid transit system in Lahore.[386] The Orange line is the first of the three proposed rail lines part for the Lahore Metro. The line spans 27.1 km (16.8 mi) with 25.4 km (15.8 mi) elevated and 1.72 km (1.1 mi) underground and has a cost of 251.06 billion Rupees ($1.6 billion).[387] The line consists of 26 subway stations and is designed to carry over 250,000 passengers daily. The line became operational on 25 October 2020.[388]
Metro Bus and BRTs
Other Systems
  • Karachi Circular Railway is a partially active regional public transit system in Karachi, which serves the Karachi metropolitan area. KCR was fully operational between 1969 and 1999. Since 2001, restoration of the railway and restarting the system had been sought.[398] In November 2020, the KCR partially revived operations.[399]
  • A tramway service was started in 1884 in Karachi but was closed in 1975 due to various factors.[400] The Sindh Government is planning to restart the tramway services in the city, collaborating with Austrian experts.[401]
  • In October 2019, a project for the construction of tramway service in Lahore has also been signed by the Punjab Government. This project will be launched under public-private partnership in a joint venture of European and Chinese companies along with the Punjab transport department.[402]

Flyovers and underpasses

 
Nagan Chowrangi Flyover, Karachi

Many flyovers and underpasses are located in major urban areas of the country to segregate the flow of traffic. The highest number of flyovers and under passes are located in Karachi, followed by Lahore.[403] Other cities having flyovers and underpasses for the regulation of flow of traffic includes Islamabad-Rawalpindi, Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Multan, Peshawar, Hyderabad, Quetta, Sargodha, Bahawalpur, Sukkur, Larkana, Rahim Yar Khan and Sahiwal etc.[404]

Beijing Underpass, Lahore is the longest underpass of Pakistan with a length of about 1.3 km (0.81 mi).[405] Muslim Town Flyover, Lahore is the longest flyover of the country with a length of about 2.6 km (1.6 mi).[406]

Science and technology

Abdus Salam won the 1979 Nobel Prize in Physics for his contribution to electroweak interaction. He was the first Muslim to win a Nobel prize in science.
Atta-ur-Rahman won the UNESCO Science Prize for pioneering contributions in chemistry in 1999, the first Muslim to win it.

Developments in science and technology have played an important role in Pakistan's infrastructure and helped the country connect to the rest of the world.[407] Every year, scientists from around the world are invited by the Pakistan Academy of Sciences and the Pakistan Government to participate in the International Nathiagali Summer College on Physics.[408] Pakistan hosted an international seminar on "Physics in Developing Countries" for the International Year of Physics 2005.[409] The Pakistani theoretical physicist Abdus Salam won a Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on the electroweak interaction.[410] Influential publications and critical scientific work in the advancement of mathematics, biology, economics, computer science, and genetics have been produced by Pakistani scientists at both the domestic and international levels.[411]

In chemistry, Salimuzzaman Siddiqui was the first Pakistani scientist to bring the therapeutic constituents of the neem tree to the attention of natural products chemists.[412] Pakistani neurosurgeon Ayub Ommaya invented the Ommaya reservoir, a system for treatment of brain tumours and other brain conditions.[413] Scientific research and development play a pivotal role in Pakistani universities, government- sponsored national laboratories, science parks, and the industry.[414] Abdul Qadeer Khan, regarded as the founder of the HEU-based gas-centrifuge uranium enrichment program for Pakistan's integrated atomic bomb project.[415] He founded and established the Kahuta Research Laboratories (KRL) in 1976, serving as both its senior scientist and the Director-General until his retirement in 2001, and he was an early and vital figure in other science projects. Apart from participating in Pakistan's atomic bomb project, he made major contributions in molecular morphology, physical martensite, and its integrated applications in condensed and material physics.[416]

In 2010 Pakistan was ranked 43rd in the world in terms of published scientific papers.[417] The Pakistan Academy of Sciences, a strong scientific community, plays an influential and vital role in formulating recommendations regarding science policies for the government.[418] Pakistan was ranked 88th in the Global Innovation Index in 2023, up from 107th in 2020.[419][420][421]

The 1960s saw the emergence of an active space program led by SUPARCO that produced advances in domestic rocketry, electronics, and aeronomy. The space program recorded a few notable feats and achievements. The successful launch of its first rocket into space made Pakistan the first South Asian country to have achieved such a task.[422] Successfully producing and launching the nation's first space satellite in 1990, Pakistan became the first Muslim country and second South Asian country to put a satellite into space.[423]

Pakistan witnessed a fourfold increase in its scientific productivity in the past decade surging from approximately 2,000 articles per year in 2006 to more than 9,000 articles in 2015. Making Pakistan's cited article's higher than the BRIC countries put together.

Thomson Reuters's Another BRIC in the Wall 2016 report[424]

As an aftermath of the 1971 war with India, the clandestine crash program developed atomic weapons partly motivated by fear and to prevent any foreign intervention, while ushering in the atomic age in the post cold war era.[198] Competition with India and tensions eventually led to Pakistan's decision to conduct underground nuclear tests in 1998, thus becoming the seventh country in the world to successfully develop nuclear weapons.[425]

Pakistan is the first and only Muslim country that maintains an active research presence in Antarctica.[426] Since 1991 Pakistan has maintained two summer research stations and one weather observatory on the continent and plans to open another full-fledged permanent base in Antarctica.[427]

Energy consumption by computers and usage has grown since the 1990s when PCs were introduced; Pakistan has about 82 million Internet users and is ranked as one of the top countries that have registered a high growth rate in Internet penetration as of 2020.[349] Key publications have been produced by Pakistan, and domestic software development has gained considerable international praise.[428]

As of May 2020, Pakistan has about 82 million internet users, making it the 9th-largest population of Internet users in the world.[349][350] Since the 2000s Pakistan has made a significant amount of progress in supercomputing, and various institutions offer research opportunities in parallel computing. The Pakistan government reportedly spends 4.6 billion on information technology projects, with emphasis on e-government, human resources, and infrastructure development.[429]

Education

The constitution of Pakistan requires the state to provide free primary and secondary education.[430]

 
NUST in Islamabad is a top ranked Engineering University.

At the time of the establishment of Pakistan as a state, the country had only one university, Punjab University in Lahore.[citation needed] Very soon the Pakistan government established public universities in each of the four provinces, including Sindh University (1949), Peshawar University (1950), Karachi University (1953), and Balochistan University (1970). Pakistan has a large network of both public and private universities, which includes collaboration between the universities aimed at providing research and higher education opportunities in the country, although there is concern about the low quality of teaching in many of the newer schools.[431] It is estimated that there are 3,193 technical and vocational institutions in Pakistan,[432] and there are also madrassahs that provide free Islamic education and offer free board and lodging to students, who come mainly from the poorer strata of society.[433] Strong public pressure and popular criticism over extremists' usage of madrassahs for recruitment, the Pakistan government has made repeated efforts to regulate and monitor the quality of education in the madrassahs.[434]

 
Literacy rate in Pakistan 1951–2018

Education in Pakistan is divided into six main levels: nursery (preparatory classes); primary (grades one through five); middle (grades six through eight); matriculation (grades nine and ten, leading to the secondary certificate); intermediate (grades eleven and twelve, leading to a higher secondary certificate); and university programmes leading to graduate and postgraduate degrees.[432] There is a network of private schools that constitutes a parallel secondary education system based on a curriculum set and administered by the Cambridge International Examinations of the United Kingdom. Some students choose to take the O-level and A level exams conducted by the British Council.[435] According to the International Schools Consultancy, Pakistan has 439 international schools.[436]

 
Malala Yousafzai at the Women of the World Festival in 2014

As a result of initiatives taken in 2007, the English medium education has been made compulsory in all schools across the country.[437] In 2012, Malala Yousafzai, a campaigner for female education, was shot by a Taliban gunman in retaliation for her activism.[438] Yousafzai went on to become the youngest ever Nobel laureate for her global education-related advocacy.[439] Additional reforms enacted in 2013 required all educational institutions in Sindh to begin offering Chinese language courses, reflecting China's growing role as a superpower and its increasing influence in Pakistan.[440] The literacy rate of the population is 62.3% as of 2018. The rate of male literacy is 72.5% while the rate of female literacy is 51.8%.[441] Literacy rates vary by region and particularly by sex; as one example, in tribal areas female literacy is 9.5%,[442] while Azad Jammu & Kashmir has a literacy rate of 74%.[443] With the advent of computer literacy in 1995, the government launched a nationwide initiative in 1998 with the aim of eradicating illiteracy and providing a basic education to all children.[444] Through various educational reforms, by 2015 the Ministry of Education expected to attain 100% enrollment levels among children of primary school age and a literacy rate of ~86% among people aged over 10.[445] Pakistan is currently spending 2.3 percent of its GDP on education;[446] which according to the Institute of Social and Policy Sciences is one of the lowest in South Asia.[447]

Demographics

Population Density per square kilometre of each Pakistani District as of the 2017 Pakistan Census
Population of each Pakistani District as of the 2017 Pakistan Census

Pakistan had a population of 241,492,197 according to the final results of the 2023 Census.[448][449][450] This figure includes Pakistan's four provinces e.g. Punjab, Sindh, KPK, Balochistan and Islamabad Capital Territory. AJK and Gilgit-Baltistan's census data is yet to be approved by CCI Council of Pakistan. Pakistan is the world's fifth most populous country.[451]

Between 1951 and 2017, Pakistan's population expanded over sixfold, going from 33.7 million to 207.7 million. The country has a relatively high, although declining, growth rate supported by high birth rates and low death rates. Between 1998 and 2017, the average annual population growth rate stood at +2.40%.

Dramatic social changes have led to urbanization and the emergence of two megacities: Karachi and Lahore. The country's urban population more than tripled between 1981 and 2017 (from 23.8 million to 75.7 million), as Pakistan's urbanisation rate rose from 28.2% to 36.4%. Even with this, the nation's urbanisation rate remains one of the lowest in the world, and in 2017, over 130 million Pakistanis (making up nearly 65% of the population) lived in rural areas.

Due to a high fertility rate, which was estimated at 3.5 in 2022, Pakistan has one of the world's youngest populations. The 2017 census recorded that 40.3% of the country's population was under the age of 15, while only 3.7% of Pakistanis were aged 65 or more.[452] The median age of the country was 19,[452] while its sex ratio was recorded to be 105 males per 100 females.[448]

The demographic history of Pakistan from the ancient Indus Valley civilization to the modern era includes the arrival and settlement of many cultures and ethnic groups in the modern region of Pakistan from Eurasia and the nearby Middle East. Because of this, Pakistan has a multicultural, multilinguistic, and multiethnic society. Despite Urdu being Pakistan's lingua franca, estimates on how many languages are spoken in the country range from 75 to 85,[453][454] and in 2017, the country's three largest ethnolinguistic groups were the Punjabis (making up 38.8% of the total population), the Pashtuns (18.2%), and the Sindhis (14.6%).[455] Pakistan is also thought to have the world's fourth-largest refugee population, estimated at 1.4 million in mid-2021 by the UNHCR.[456]

Ethnicity and languages

 
Dominant language in each Pakistani District as of the 2017 Pakistan Census[457]

Pakistan is a multicultural, multi-linguistic, and multiethnic society; estimates on how many languages are spoken in the country range from 75 to 85.[458][459] Urdu and English are the official languages of Pakistan. Urdu—a symbol of Muslim identity and national unity—is the lingua franca and understood by over 75% of Pakistanis. It is the main medium of communication in the country, but the primary language of only 7% of the population.[460][461] English is primarily used in official business and government, and in legal contracts;[164] the local variety is known as Pakistani English. The enforcement of Urdu to the exclusion of other majority languages has been criticised.[462]

According to the 2017 national census of Pakistan, on the basis of languages, the country's largest ethnolinguistic groups were the Punjabis (making up 38.8% of the total population), the Pashtuns (18.2%), Sindhis (14.6%), Saraikis (12.19%), Muhajirs (7.08%), and the Balochs (3.02%).[457][463] The remaining population consist of a number of ethnic minorities such as the Brahuis,[464][465] the Hindkowans, the various peoples of Gilgit-Baltistan, the Kashmiris, the Sheedis (who are of African descent),[466] and the Hazaras.[467] There are also scattered speakers of Gujarati in Karachi.[468]

There is also a large Pakistani diaspora worldwide, numbering over seven million,[469] which has been recorded as the sixth largest diaspora in the world.[470]

Immigration

 
Pakistan hosts the second largest refugee population globally after Turkey.[471] An Afghan refugee girl near Tarbela Dam.

Even after partition in 1947, Indian Muslims continued to migrate to Pakistan throughout the 1950s and 1960s, and these migrants settled mainly in Karachi and other towns of Sindh province.[472] The wars in neighboring Afghanistan during the 1980s and 1990s also forced millions of Afghan refugees into Pakistan. The Pakistan census excludes the 1.41 million registered refugees from Afghanistan,[473] who are found mainly in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and tribal belt, with small numbers residing in Karachi and Quetta. Pakistan is home to one of the world's largest refugee populations.[474] In addition to Afghans, around 2 million Bangladeshis and half a million other undocumented people live in Pakistan. They are claimed to be from other areas such as Myanmar, Iran, Iraq, and Africa.[475] In October 2023, the Pakistani government ordered the expulsion of Afghans from Pakistan.[476]

Experts say that the migration of both Bengalis and Burmese (Rohingya) to Pakistan started in the 1980s and continued until 1998. Shaikh Muhammad Feroze, the chairman of the Pakistani Bengali Action Committee, claims that there are 200 settlements of Bengali-speaking people in Pakistan, of which 132 are in Karachi. They are also found in various other areas of Pakistan such as Thatta, Badin, Hyderabad, Tando Adam, and Lahore.[477] Large-scale Rohingya migration to Karachi made that city one of the largest population centres of Rohingyas in the world after Myanmar.[478] The Burmese community of Karachi is spread out over 60 of the city's slums such as the Burmi Colony in Korangi, Arakanabad, Machchar colony, Bilal colony, Ziaul Haq Colony, and Godhra Camp.[479]

Thousands of Uyghur Muslims have also migrated to the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan, fleeing religious and cultural persecution in Xinjiang, China.[480] Since 1989 thousands of Kashmiri Muslim refugees have sought refuge in Pakistan, complaining that many of the refugee women had been raped by Indian soldiers and that they were forced out of their homes by the soldiers.[481]

Urbanisation

 
Kalma Underpass, Lahore

Since achieving independence as a result of the partition of India, the urbanisation has increased exponentially, with several different causes. The majority of the population in the south resides along the Indus River, with Karachi the most populous commercial city.[482] In the east, west, and north, most of the population lives in an arc formed by the cities of Lahore, Faisalabad, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Sargodha, Gujranwala, Sialkot, Gujrat, Jhelum, Sheikhupura, Nowshera, Mardan, and Peshawar. During the period 1990–2008, city dwellers made up 36% of Pakistan's population, making it the most urbanised nation in South Asia. Furthermore, more than 50% of Pakistanis live in towns of 5,000 people or more.[483] Immigration, from both within and outside the country, is regarded as one of the main factors contributing to urbanisation in Pakistan. One analysis of the 1998 national census highlighted the significance of the partition of India in the 1940s as it relates to urban change in Pakistan.[484] During and after the independence period, Urdu speaking Muslims from India migrated in large numbers to Pakistan, especially to the port city of Karachi, which is today the largest metropolis in Pakistan. Migration from other countries, mainly from those nearby, has further accelerated the process of urbanisation in Pakistani cities. Inevitably, the rapid urbanisation caused by these large population movements has also created new political and socio-economic challenges. In addition to immigration, economic trends such as the green revolution and political developments, among a host of other factors, are also important causes of urbanisation.[484]

 
Largest cities or towns in Pakistan
According to the 2017 Census[485]
Rank Name Province Pop. Rank Name Province Pop.
 
Karachi
 
Lahore
1 Karachi Sindh 14,916,456 11 Bahawalpur Punjab 762,111  
Faisalabad
 
Rawalpindi
2 Lahore Punjab 11,126,285 12 Sargodha Punjab 659,862
3 Faisalabad Punjab 3,204,726 13 Sialkot Punjab 655,852
4 Rawalpindi Punjab 2,098,231 14 Sukkur Sindh 499,900
5 Gujranwala Punjab 2,027,001 15 Larkana Sindh 490,508
6 Peshawar Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 1,970,042 16 Sheikhupura Punjab 473,129
7 Multan Punjab 1,871,843 17 Rahim Yar Khan Punjab 420,419
8 Hyderabad Sindh 1,734,309 18 Jhang Punjab 414,131
9 Islamabad Capital Territory 1,009,832 19 Dera Ghazi Khan Punjab 399,064
10 Quetta Balochistan 1,001,205 20 Gujrat Punjab 390,533

Religion

Religions in Pakistan (2017 Census)[460][486][487][488][489]
Religions Percent
Islam
96.47%
Hinduism
2.14%
Christianity
1.27%
others/non-religious
0.11%

Islam is the state religion of Pakistan.[490] Freedom of religion is guaranteed by the constitution, which provides all its citizens the right to profess, practice and propagate their religion subject to law, public order, and morality.[491]

The majority of Pakistanis are Muslims (96.47%) followed by Hindus (2.14%) and Christians (1.27%). There are also smaller minorities who adhere to Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism and Zoroastrianism (Parsi). The Kalash people maintain a unique identity and religion within Pakistan, practicing a form of animism and ancestor worship.[492]

Hinduism is mostly associated with Sindhis, and Pakistan hosts major events such as the Hinglaj Yatra pilgrimage. Hindu temples may be found throughout Sindh, where the dharma features prominently. Many Hindus in Pakistan complain about the prospect of religious violence against them and being treated like second-class citizens, and many have emigrated to India or further abroad.[493]

In addition, some Pakistanis also do not profess any faith (such as atheists and agnostics) in Pakistan. According to the 1998 census, people who did not state their religion accounted for 0.5% of the population.

Islam

 
Faisal Mosque, built in 1986 by Turkish architect Vedat Dalokay on behalf of King Faisal bin Abdul-Aziz of Saudi Arabia

Islam is the dominant religion.[494] About 96.47% of Pakistanis are Muslim, according to the 2017 Census.[460] Pakistan has the second-largest number of Muslims in the world after Indonesia.[495] and home for (10.5%) of the world's Muslim population.[496] The majority of them are Sunni and mostly follow Sufism (estimated between 75 and 95%)[497][498] while Shias represent between 5–25%.[497][164][499] In 2019, the Shia population in Pakistan was estimated to be 42 million out of total population of 210 million.[500] Pakistan also has the largest Muslim city in the world (Karachi).[501]

The Ahmadis, a small minority representing 0.22–2% of Pakistan's population,[502] are officially considered non-Muslims by virtue of the constitutional amendment.[503] The Ahmadis are particularly persecuted, especially since 1974 when they were banned from calling themselves Muslims. In 1984, Ahmadiyya places of worship were banned from being called "mosques".[504] As of 2012, 12% of Pakistani Muslims self-identify as non-denominational Muslims.[505] There are also several Quraniyoon communities.[506] They are mainly concentratd in the Lalian Tehsil, Chiniot District, where approximately 13% of the population.[507]

 
Ahmadiyya proportion of each Pakistani District in 2017 according to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics

Sufism, a mystical Islamic tradition, has a long history and a large following among the Sunni Muslims in Pakistan, at both the academic and popular levels. Popular Sufi culture is centered around gatherings and celebrations at the shrines of saints and annual festivals that feature Sufi music and dance. Two Sufis whose shrines receive much national attention are Ali Hajweri in Lahore (c. 12th century)[508] and Shahbaz Qalander in Sehwan, Sindh (c. 12th century).[509]

There are two levels of Sufism in Pakistan. The first is the 'populist' Sufism of the rural population. This level of Sufism involves belief in intercession through saints, veneration of their shrines, and forming bonds (Mureed) with a pir (saint). Many rural Pakistani Muslims associate with pirs and seek their intercession.[510] The second level of Sufism in Pakistan is 'intellectual Sufism', which is growing among the urban and educated population. They are influenced by the writings of Sufis such as the medieval theologian al-Ghazali, the Sufi reformer Shaykh Aḥmad Sirhindi, and Shah Wali Allah.[511] Contemporary Islamic fundamentalists criticise Sufism's popular character, which in their view does not accurately reflect the teachings and practice of Muhammad and his companions.[512]

Hinduism

 
Hindu proportion of each Pakistani District in 2017 according to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics

Hinduism is the second-largest religion in Pakistan after Islam and is followed by 2.14% of the population according to the 2017 census.[513][514] According to the 2010 Pew report, Pakistan had the fifth-largest Hindu population in the world.[515] In the 2017 census, the Hindu population was found to be 4,444,437.[516] Hindus are found in all provinces of Pakistan but are mostly concentrated in Sindh, where they account for 8.73% of the population.[513] Umerkot district (52.15%) is the only Hindu majority district in Pakistan. Tharparkar district has the highest population of Hindus in terms of absolute terms. Four districts in Sindh – Umerkot, Tharparkar, Mirpurkhas and Sanghar hosts more than half of the Hindu population in Pakistan.[507]

At the time of Pakistan's creation, the 'hostage theory' gained currency. According to this theory, the Hindu minority in Pakistan was to be given a fair deal in Pakistan in order to ensure the protection of the Muslim minority in India.[517] However, Khawaja Nazimuddin, the second Prime Minister of Pakistan, stated:

I do not agree that religion is a private affair of the individual nor do I agree that in an Islamic state every citizen has identical rights, no matter what his caste, creed or faith be.[518]

Some Hindus in Pakistan feel that they are treated as second-class citizens and many have continued to migrate to India.[493] Pakistani Hindus faced riots after the Babri Masjid demolition[519] and have experienced other attacks, forced conversions, and abductions.[520]

Christianity and other religions

 
Christian proportion of each Pakistani District in 2017 according to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics

Christians formed the next largest religious minority after Hindus, with 1.27% of the population following it.[460] The highest concentration of Christians in Pakistan is in Lahore District (5%) in Punjab province and in Islamabad Capital Territory (over 4% Christian). There is a Roman Catholic community in Karachi that was established by Goan and Tamil migrants when Karachi's infrastructure was being developed by the British during the colonial administration between World War I and World War II.[507]

After Christianity, the largest religion is the Bahá'í Faith, which had a following of 30,000 in 2008, followed by Sikhism, Buddhism, and Zoroastrianism, each claiming roughly 20,000 adherents in 2008,[521] and a very small community of Jains.

One of percent of the population identified as atheist in 2005. However, the figure rose to 2.0% in 2012 according to Gallup.[522]

Culture and society

 
A decorated truck running on the Karakorum Highway. Truck art is a distinctive feature of Pakistani culture.

Civil society in Pakistan is largely hierarchical, emphasising local cultural etiquette and traditional Islamic values that govern personal and political life. The basic family unit is the extended family,[523] although for socio-economic reasons there has been a growing trend towards nuclear families.[524] The traditional dress for both men and women is the Shalwar Kameez; trousers, jeans, and shirts are also popular among men.[525] In recent decades, the middle class has increased to around 35 million and the upper and upper-middle classes to around 17 million, and power is shifting from rural landowners to the urbanised elites.[526] Pakistani festivals, including Eid-ul-Fitr, Eid-ul-Azha, Ramazan, Christmas, Easter, Holi, and Diwali, are mostly religious in origin.[523] Increasing globalisation has resulted in Pakistan ranking 56th on the A.T. Kearney/FP Globalization Index.[527]

Clothing, arts, and fashion

 
People in traditional clothing in the Neelum District in Azad Kashmir

The Shalwar Kameez is the national dress of Pakistan and is worn by both men and women in all four provinces: Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan, and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, and Azad Kashmir. Each province has its own style of Shalwar Kameez. Pakistanis wear clothes in a range of exquisite colours and designs and in type of fabric (silk, chiffon, cotton, etc.). Besides the national dress, domestically tailored suits and neckties are often worn by men, and are customary in offices, schools, and social gatherings.[528]

The fashion industry has flourished in the changing environment of the fashion world. Since Pakistan came into being, its fashion has evolved in different phases and developed a unique identity. Today, Pakistani fashion is a combination of traditional and modern dress and has become a mark of Pakistani culture. Despite modern trends, regional and traditional forms of dress have developed their own significance as a symbol of native tradition. This regional fashion continues to evolve into both more modern and purer forms. The Pakistan Fashion Design Council based in Lahore organizes PFDC Fashion Week and the Fashion Pakistan Council based in Karachi organizes Fashion Pakistan Week. Pakistan's first fashion week was held in November 2009.[529]

Media and entertainment

The private print media, state-owned Pakistan Television Corporation (PTV), and Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation (PBC) for radio were the dominant media outlets until the beginning of the 21st century. Pakistan now has a large network of domestic, privately owned 24-hour news media and television channels.[530] A 2021 report by the Reporters Without Borders ranked Pakistan 157th among 180 nations on the Press Freedom Index, it is reported multiple times that Pakistani reporters remains in pressure and threat if reported against army, government.[531] The BBC terms the Pakistani media "among the most outspoken in South Asia".[532] Pakistani media has also played a vital role in exposing corruption.[533]

The Lollywood, Punjabi and Pashto film industry is based in Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar. While Bollywood films were banned from public cinemas from 1965 until 2008, they had remained an important part of popular culture.[534] In 2019, the screening of Bollywood movies was again faced with an indefinite ban.[535] In contrast to the ailing Pakistani film industry, Urdu televised dramas and theatrical performances continue to be popular, as many entertainment media outlets air them regularly.[536] Urdu dramas dominate the television entertainment industry, which has launched critically acclaimed miniseries and featured popular actors and actresses since the 1990s.[537] In the 1960s–1970s, pop music and disco (1970s) dominated the country's music industry. In the 1980s–1990s, British influenced rock music appeared and jolted the country's entertainment industry.[538] In the 2000s, heavy metal music gained popular and critical acclaim.[539]

Pakistani music ranges from diverse forms of provincial folk music and traditional styles such as Qawwali and Ghazal Gayaki to modern musical forms that fuse traditional and western music.[540] Pakistan has many famous folk singers. The arrival of Afghan refugees in the western provinces has stimulated interest in Pashto music, although there has been intolerance of it in some places.[541]

Diaspora

According to the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Pakistan has the sixth-largest diaspora in the world.[470] Statistics gathered by the Pakistani government show that there are around 7 million Pakistanis residing abroad, with the vast majority living in the Middle East, Europe, and North America.[542] Pakistan ranks 10th in the world for remittances sent home.[330][543] The largest inflow of remittances, as of 2016, is from Saudi Arabia, amounting to $5.9 billion.[544] The term Overseas Pakistani is officially recognised by the Government of Pakistan. The Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis was established in 2008 to deal exclusively with all matters of overseas Pakistanis such as attending to their needs and problems, developing projects for their welfare, and working for resolution of their problems and issues. Overseas Pakistanis are the second-largest source of foreign exchange remittances to Pakistan after exports. Over the last several years, home remittances have maintained a steadily rising trend, with a more than 100% increase from US$8.9 billion in 2009–10 to US$19.9 billion in 2015–16.[329][543]

The Overseas Pakistani Division (OPD) was created in September 2004 within the Ministry of Labour (MoL). It has since recognised the importance of overseas Pakistanis and their contribution to the nation's economy. Together with Community Welfare Attaches (CWAs) and the Overseas Pakistanis Foundation (OPF), the OPD is making efforts to improve the welfare of Pakistanis who reside abroad. The division aims to provide better services through improved facilities at airports, and suitable schemes for housing, education, and health care. It also facilitates the reintegration into society of returning overseas Pakistanis. Notable members of the Pakistani diaspora include the London Mayor Sadiq Khan, the UK cabinet member Sajid Javid, the former UK Conservative Party chair Baroness Warsi, the singers Zayn Malik and Nadia Ali, MIT physics Professor Nergis Mavalvala, the actors Riz Ahmed and Kumail Nanjiani, the businessmen Shahid Khan and Sir Anwar Pervez, Boston University professors Adil Najam and Hamid Nawab, Texas A&M professor Muhammad Suhail Zubairy, Yale professor Sara Suleri, UC San Diego professor Farooq Azam and the historian Ayesha Jalal.

Literature and philosophy

 
Muhammad Iqbal, Pakistan's national poet who conceived the idea of Pakistan

Pakistan has literature in Urdu, Sindhi, Punjabi, Pashto, Baluchi, Persian, English, and many other languages.[545] The Pakistan Academy of Letters is a large literary community that promotes literature and poetry in Pakistan and abroad.[546] The National Library publishes and promotes literature in the country. Before the 19th century, Pakistani literature consisted mainly of lyric and religious poetry and mystical and folkloric works. During the colonial period, native literary figures were influenced by western literary realism and took up increasingly varied topics and narrative forms. Prose fiction is now very popular.[547][548]

The national poet of Pakistan, Muhammad Iqbal, wrote poetry in Urdu and Persian. He was a strong proponent of the political and spiritual revival of Islamic civilisation and encouraged Muslims all over the world to bring about a successful revolution.[clarification needed][549] Well-known figures in contemporary Pakistani Urdu literature include Josh Malihabadi Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Saadat Hasan Manto. Sadequain and Gulgee are known for their calligraphy and paintings.[548] The Sufi poets Shah Abdul Latif, Bulleh Shah, Mian Muhammad Bakhsh, and Khawaja Farid enjoy considerable popularity in Pakistan.[550] Mirza Kalich Beg has been termed the father of modern Sindhi prose.[551] Historically, philosophical development in the country was dominated by Muhammad Iqbal, Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, Muhammad Asad, Maududi, and Mohammad Ali Johar.[552]

Ideas from British and American philosophy greatly shaped philosophical development in Pakistan. Analysts such as M. M. Sharif and Zafar Hassan established the first major Pakistani philosophical movement in 1947.[clarification needed][553] After the 1971 war, philosophers such as Jalaludin Abdur Rahim, Gianchandani, and Malik Khalid incorporated Marxism into Pakistan's philosophical thinking. Influential work by Manzoor Ahmad, Jon Elia, Hasan Askari Rizvi, and Abdul Khaliq brought mainstream social, political, and analytical philosophy to the fore in academia.[554] Works by Noam Chomsky have influenced philosophical ideas in various fields of social and political philosophy.[555]

Architecture

 
The Tomb of Shah Rukn-e-Alam is part of Pakistan's Sufi heritage.[556]

Four periods are recognised in Pakistani architecture: pre-Islamic, Islamic, colonial, and post-colonial. With the beginning of the Indus civilization around the middle of the 3rd millennium BCE,[557] an advanced urban culture developed for the first time in the region, with large buildings, some of which survive to this day.[558] Mohenjo Daro, Harappa, and Kot Diji are among the pre-Islamic settlements that are now tourist attractions.[171] The rise of Buddhism and the influence of Greek civilisation led to the development of a Greco-Buddhist style,[559] starting from the 1st century CE. The high point of this era was the Gandhara style. An example of Buddhist architecture is the ruins of the Buddhist monastery Takht-i-Bahi in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.[560]

 
Minar-e-Pakistan is a national monument marking Pakistan's independence movement.

The arrival of Islam in what is today Pakistan meant the sudden end of Buddhist architecture in the area and a smooth transition to the predominantly pictureless Islamic architecture. The most important Indo-Islamic-style building still standing is the tomb of the Shah Rukn-i-Alam in Multan. During the Mughal era, design elements of Persian-Islamic architecture were fused with and often produced playful forms of Hindustani art. Lahore, as the occasional residence of Mughal rulers, contains many important buildings from the empire. Most prominent among them are the Badshahi Mosque, the fortress of Lahore with the famous Alamgiri Gate, the colourful, Mughal-style Wazir Khan Mosque,[561] the Shalimar Gardens in Lahore, and the Shahjahan Mosque in Thatta. In the British colonial period, predominantly functional buildings of the Indo-European representative style developed from a mixture of European and Indian-Islamic components. Post-colonial national identity is expressed in modern structures such as the Faisal Mosque, the Minar-e-Pakistan, and the Mazar-e-Quaid. Several examples of architectural infrastructure demonstrating the influence of British design can be found in Lahore, Peshawar, and Karachi.[562]

Food and drink

 
Located on the bank of Arabian Sea in Karachi, Port Grand is one of the largest food streets of Asia.[563]

Traditional food

Pakistani cuisine is similar to that of other regions of South Asia, with some of it being originated from the royal kitchens of 16th-century Mughal emperors.[564] Most of those dishes have their roots in British, Indian, Central Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine.[565] Unlike Middle Eastern cuisine, Pakistani cooking uses large quantities of spices, herbs, and seasoning. Garlic, ginger, turmeric, red chili, and garam masala are used in most dishes, and home cooking regularly includes curry, roti, a thin flatbread made from wheat, is a staple food, usually served with curry, meat, vegetables, and lentils. Rice is also common; it is served plain, fried with spices, and in sweet dishes.[167][566]

Lassi is a traditional drink in the Punjab region. Black tea with milk and sugar is popular throughout Pakistan and is consumed daily by most of the population.[525][567] Sohan halwa is a popular sweet dish from the southern region of Punjab province and is enjoyed all over Pakistan.[568]

Sports

 
Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore, is the 3rd largest cricket stadium in Pakistan, with a seating capacity of 27,000 spectators.

Cricket is the most popular sport in Pakistan.[569] Football has also gained popularity in recent years, and is the second most popular sport in the country.[570][571] Field hockey is the national sport, and was popular for several decades, with some of Pakistan's greatest sporting accomplishments having taken place in this sport, along with squash.[569] Polo and traditional sports like kabaddi and other well-known games are also played.[569]

In cricket, the country has had an array of success in the sport over the years, and has the distinct achievement of having won each of the major ICC international cricket tournaments: ICC Cricket World Cup, ICC World Twenty20, and ICC Champions Trophy;[572] as well as the ICC Test Championship.[573] Pakistan Super League is one of the largest cricket leagues of the world with a brand value of about Rs. 32.26 billion (US$110 million).[574]

Football in Pakistan is as old as the country itself. Shortly after the creation of Pakistan in 1947, the Pakistan Football Federation was created, and Muhammad Ali Jinnah became its first Patron-in-Chief.[575] Pakistan is known as one of the best manufactures of the official FIFA World Cup ball.[576][577]

In field hockey, Pakistan is one of the most successful national teams with a record four Hockey World Cup wins, eight Asian Games gold medals, three gold medals in the Olympic Games, and the only Asian team to have won the prestigious Champions Trophy, with three championships.[578][579]

Squash player Jahangir Khan is widely regarded as the greatest squash player of all time, followed by Jansher Khan.[580][581] From 1981 to 1986, Jahangir was unbeaten and during that time won 555 consecutive matches – the longest winning streak by any athlete in top-level professional sport as recorded by Guinness World Records.[582]

The annual Shandur Polo Festival in Northern Pakistan attracts international participants and is held at the world's highest polo ground.[569]

Pakistan has hosted or co-hosted several international sporting events: the 1989 and 2004 South Asian Games; the 1984, 1993, 1996 and 2003 World Squash Championships;[583] the 1987 and 1996 Cricket World Cup;[584][585] and the 1990 Hockey World Cup.[586] Pakistan is set to host the 2023 South Asian Games,[587] the 2023 Asia Cup,[588] and the 2025 ICC Champions Trophy.[589]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Article 251 of the Constitution of Pakistan[3]
  2. ^ "Includes data for Pakistani territories of Kashmir; Azad Kashmir (13,297 km2 or 5,134 sq mi) and Gilgit–Baltistan (72,520 km2 or 28,000 sq mi).[6] Excluding these territories would produce an area figure of 796,095 km2 (307,374 sq mi)."
  3. ^ "This figure does not include data for Pakistan-administered areas of Kashmir; Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan."[8]
  4. ^ See Date and time notation in Pakistan.
  5. ^ Urdu: پَاکِسْتَان, Urdu pronunciation: [ˈpɑːkɪst̪ɑːn] ; Pronounced variably in English as /ˈpækɪstæn/ , /ˈpɑːkɪstɑːn/ , /ˌpækɪˈstæn/, and /ˌpɑːkɪˈstɑːn/.
  6. ^ ISO: اِسْلامی جُمْہُورِیَہ پَاکِسْتَان, Islāmi Jumhūriyāh Pākistān

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    - Isaacs, Harold Robert (1975). Idols of the Tribe: Group Identity and Political Change. Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-44315-0. 2,000,000 killed in the Hindu-Muslim holocaust during the partition of British-India and the creation of India and Pakistan
    - D'Costa, Bina (2011). Nationbuilding, Gender and War Crimes in South Asia. Routledge. p. 53. ISBN 978-0-415-56566-0. Estimates of the dead vary from 200,000 (the contemporary British figure) to 2 million (a subsequent Indian speculation). Today, however, it is widely accepted that nearly a million people died during Partition (Butalia, 1997).
    - Butalia, Urvashi (2000). The Other Side of Silence: Voices From the Partition of British India. Duke University Press.
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    - Singh, Amritjit; Iyer, Nalini; Gairola, Rahul K. (2016). Revisiting India's Partition: New Essays on Memory, Culture, and Politics. Lexington Books. p. 14. ISBN 978-1-4985-3105-4. The horrific statistics that surround women refugees-between 75,000–100,000 Hindu, Muslim and Sikh women who were abducted by men of the other communities, subjected to multiple rapes, mutilations, and, for some, forced marriages and conversions-is matched by the treatment of the abducted women in the hands of the nation-state. In the Constituent Assembly in 1949 it was recorded that of the 50,000 Muslim women abducted in India, 8,000 of then were recovered, and of the 33,000 Hindu and Sikh women abducted, 12,000 were recovered.<- br>Abraham, Taisha (2002). Women and the Politics of Violence. Har-Anand Publications. p. 131. ISBN 978-81-241-0847-5. In addition thousands of women on both sides of the newly formed borders (estimated range from 29,000 to 50,000 Muslim women and 15,000 to 35,000 Hindu and Sikh women) were abducted, raped, forced to convert, forced into marriage, forced back into what the two States defined as 'their proper homes', torn apart from their families once during partition by those who abducted them, and again, after partition, by the State which tried to 'recover' and 'rehabilitate' them.
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  96. ^ Kumarasingham, Harshan (2013), THE 'TROPICAL DOMINIONS': THE APPEAL OF DOMINION STATUS IN THE DECOLONISATION OF INDIA, PAKISTAN AND CEYLON, vol. 23, Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, p. 223, JSTOR 23726109, Few today, including those who work on the subcontinent, recollect that India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka did not become republics the day British rule ended. Even distinguished scholars of Empire like Perry Anderson and A. G. Hopkins have made the common assumption that India naturally became a republic upon independence on 15 August 1947. Instead, all three of these South Asian states began their independent life as Realms within the British Commonwealth and mirrored the style and institutions of the Dominions of Canada, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand. Though their sovereignty was in no way impaired by this seemingly ambiguous position they all held the British sovereign as their head of state who was represented in each capital by a governor- general appointed on the advice of the local prime minister. India, Pakistan and Ceylon were Realms from 1947 to 1950, 1947 to 1956 and 1948 to 1972 respectively.
  97. ^ McGrath, Allen (1996). The Destruction of Pakistan's Democracy. Oxford University Press. p. 38. ISBN 978-0-19-577583-9. Undivided India, their magnificent imperial trophy, was besmirched by the creation of Pakistan, and the division of India was never emotionally accepted by many British leaders, Mountbatten among them.
  98. ^ Ahmed, Akbar S. (1997). Jinnah, Pakistan and Islamic Identity: The Search for Saladin. Psychology Press. p. 136. ISBN 978-0-415-14966-2. Mountbatten's partiality was apparent in his own statements. He tilted openly and heavily towards Congress. While doing so he clearly expressed his lack of support and faith in the Muslim League and its Pakistan idea.
  99. ^ Wolpert, Stanley (2009). Shameful Flight: The Last Years of the British Empire in India. Oxford University Press. p. 163. ISBN 978-0-19-974504-3. Mountbatten tried to convince Jinnah of the value of accepting him, Mountbatten, as Pakistan's first governor-general, but Jinnah refused to be moved from his determination to take that job himself.
  100. ^ Ahmed, Akbar (2005). Jinnah, Pakistan and Islamic Identity: The Search for Saladin. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-134-75022-1. When Mountbatten was asked by Collins and Lapierre if he would have sabotaged Pakistan if he had known that Jinnah was dying of tuberculosis, his answer was instructive. There was no doubt in his mind about the legality or morality of his position on Pakistan. 'Most probably,' he said (1982:39).
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    - Talbot, Ian (2 February 1984). "Jinnah and the Making of Pakistan". History Today. As British rule there drew to an end, many Muslims demanded, in the name of Islam, the creation of a separate Pakistan state.
  139. ^ Dhulipala, Venkat (2015). Creating a New Medina: State Power, Islam, and the Quest for Pakistan in Late Colonial North India. Cambridge University Press. p. 496. ISBN 978-1-316-25838-5. The idea of Pakistan may have had its share of ambiguities, but its dismissal as a vague emotive symbol hardly illuminates the reasons as to why it received such overwhelmingly popular support among Indian Muslims, especially those in the 'minority provinces' of British India such as U.P.
  140. ^ Dhulipala, Venkat (2015). Creating a New Medina: State Power, Islam, and the Quest for Pakistan in Late Colonial North India. Cambridge University Press. p. 497. ISBN 978-1-316-25838-5. As the book has demonstrated, local ML functionaries, (U.P.) ML leadership, Muslim modernists at Aligarh, the ulama and even Jinnah at times articulated their vision of Pakistan in terms of an Islamic state.
  141. ^ Dhulipala, Venkat (2015). Creating a New Medina: State Power, Islam, and the Quest for Pakistan in Late Colonial North India. Cambridge University Press. p. 489. ISBN 978-1-316-25838-5. But what is undeniable is the close association he developed with the ulama, for when he died a little over a year after Pakistan was born, Maulana Shabbir Ahmad Usmani, in his funeral oration, described Jinnah as the greatest Muslim after the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb.
    - Dhulipala, Venkat (2015). Creating a New Medina: State Power, Islam, and the Quest for Pakistan in Late Colonial North India. Cambridge University Press. p. 489. ISBN 978-1-316-25838-5. Similarly, Usmani asked Pakistanis to remember the Qaid's ceaseless message of Unity, Faith and Discipline and work to fulfil his dream to create a solid bloc of all Muslim states from Karachi to Ankara, from Pakistan to Morocco. He [Jinnah] wanted to see the Muslims of the world united under the banner of Islam as an effective check against the aggressive designs of their enemies
  142. ^ Haqqani, Hussain (2010). Pakistan: Between Mosque and Military. Carnegie Endowment. p. 16. ISBN 978-0-87003-285-1. The first formal step toward transforming Pakistan into an Islamic ideological state was taken in March 1949 when the country's first prime minister, Liaquat Ali Khan, presented the Objectives Resolution in the constituent assembly.
  143. ^ Dhulipala, Venkat (2015). Creating a New Medina: State Power, Islam, and the Quest for Pakistan in Late Colonial North India. Cambridge University Press. p. 491. ISBN 978-1-316-25838-5. Khaliq drew a sharp distinction between this Islamic state and a Muslim state. He claimed that as of now Pakistan was only a Muslim state in view of the majority of its population being Muslim, and indeed could never be an Islamic state by itself. It could certainly fulfill its promise and destiny by bringing together all the believers of Islam into one political unit and it is only then that an Islamic state would be achieved.
  144. ^ Haqqani, Hussain (2010). Pakistan: Between Mosque and Military. Carnegie Endowment. p. 18. ISBN 978-0-87003-285-1. One of the earliest Western scholars of Pakistani politics, Keith Callard, observed that Pakistanis seemed to believe in the essential unity of purpose and outlook in the Muslim world: Pakistan was founded to advance the cause of Muslims. Other Muslims might have been expected to be sympathetic, even enthusiastic. But this assumed that other Muslim states would take the same view of the relation between religion and nationality.
  145. ^ Haqqani, Hussain (2010). Pakistan: Between Mosque and Military. Carnegie Endowment. p. 18. ISBN 978-0-87003-285-1. Pakistan's pan-Islamic aspirations, however, were neither shared nor supported by the Muslim governments of the time. Nationalism in other parts of the Muslim world was based on ethnicity, language, or territory.
  146. ^ Haqqqani, Hussain (2010). Pakistan: Between Mosque and Military. Carnegie Endowment. p. 19. ISBN 978-0-87003-285-1. Although Muslim governments were initially unsympathetic to Pakistan's pan-Islamic aspirations, Islamists from the world over were drawn to Pakistan. Controversial figures such as the pro-Nazi former grand mufti of Palestine, Al-Haj Amin al-Husseini, and leaders of Islamist political movements like the Arab Muslim Brotherhood became frequent visitors to the country.
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  148. ^ Cochrane, Iain (2009). The Causes of the Bangladesh War. Lulu.com. ISBN 978-1-4452-4043-5. The social scientist, Nasim Ahmad Jawed has conducted a survey of nationalism in pre-divided Pakistan and identifies the links between religion, politics and nationalism in both wings of Pakistan. His findings are fascinating and go some way to explain the differing attitudes of West and East Pakistan to the relationship between Islam and Pakistani nationalism and how this affected the views of people in both wings, especially the views of the peoples of both wings towards each other. In 1969, Jawed conducted a survey on the type of national identity that was used by educated professional people. He found that just over 60% in the East wing professed to have a secular national identity. However, in the West wing, the same figure professed an Islamic and not a secular identity. Furthermore, the same figure in the East wing described their identity in terms of their ethnicity and not in terms of Islam. He found that the opposite was the case in the West wing where Islam was stated to be more important than ethnicity.
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  152. ^ Diamantides, Marinos; Gearey, Adam (2011). Islam, Law and Identity. Routledge. p. 198. ISBN 978-1-136-67565-2. The 1973 constitution also created certain institutions to channel the application and interpretation of Islam: the Council of Islamic Ideology and the Shariat Court.
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