The Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a country in the western part of South Asia (and the Indian subcontinent), which was created during the partition and independence of British India in 1947. Its capital is Islamabad, and it has a majority Muslim population.
GeographyPakistan borders India to its east, Afghanistan and Iran to the west, and China to the north. Pakistan borders the Arabian Sea to the south.
Pakistan has a land area of about 803,940 square kilometers (310,400 square miles).
Pakistan is a country of extremes. To its southeast it has the Thar Desert, to the east there are fertile plains, and to its northeast it has some of the highest mountain ranges in the world. K2 and Nanga Parbat are in Pakistan's high mountain ranges, and the highest points in the country. K2 is approximately 8,611 meters (28,251 feet) above sea level, and Nanga Parbat is 8,126 meters (26,660 feet) above sea level.
The Indus River also flows through the heart of Pakistan, as do many of its tributaries. This contributes to Pakistan's fertile plains in the Punjab. The tributaries of the Indus--Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, and Sutlej--also flow through the plains of Pakistan's agricultural heartland.
GovernmentPakistan is divided into four provinces:
- Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
- Islamabad Capital Territory
- Azad Jammu and Kashmir
- Federally Administered Tribal Areas
Pakistan's government structure is officially known as a Parliamentary Democracy. However, due to its numerous military coups and dictatorships since independence, Pakistan's true government structure proves difficult to define. Pakistan's state religion is Islam.
Pakistan's federal government has a Senate which includes 100 members, and a National Assembly which includes 342 members. The President is considered to be the Head of State and the Commander of the Armed Forces. The Prime Minister is usually the leader of the party which has the highest number of seats in the National Assembly.
PopulationPakistan has a population of approximately 170,200,500 people. It is the sixth most populous country in the world. It is also the second most populous Muslim country in the world.
The overwhelming majority of Pakistanis are Muslims--about 96% of the population. The majority of the Pakistani population is Sunni; however, about 20 to 30% are Shia, and another 2-3% are Ahmadis. Non-Muslims make up a small minority in Pakistan. About 1.9% of the population is Hindu, 1.6% Christian, and about 0.002% Sikh. There are also very small numbers of Parsis, Buddhists, Jews, and Baha'is.
By population, the largest city is Karachi.
Various regional languages are also spoken. Punjabi is spoken by a large portion of the population, and is the provincial language of Punjab. Sindhi is the provincial language of Sindh, Balochi is the provincial language of Balochistan, and Pashto is the provincial language of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Saraiki is a regional language spoken within Punjab.