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Last update: November 2011

Pakistan

Country Profile

 


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Full Country Name:

The Islamic Republic of Pakistan

 

History

Pakistan has a long and illustrious history. With roots stretching back to the beginnings of life on the Indian sub-continent, the region of present-day Pakistan served as the fertile ground of some of South Asia's major civilizations, including the Indus Valley Civilization (2500 BC-1500 BC).

It is also a gateway to the Middle East and Central Asia, a crossroads of historic trade routes such as the Silk Road.

Pakistan gained independance in 1947 under Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the Quaid-e-Azam, when the Indian subcontinent was split into two states: India and Pakistan. Pakistan was created to be homeland for the Muslims of British India.

It was originally two different territories - West Pakistan and East Pakistan - 1,000 miles apart and with India sandwhiched between the two. In 1971, however, East Pakistan seceded after a civil war and became the independant state of Bangladesh.

 

Area:

803.940 Sq km - Total
778.720 Sq km - Land
25.220 Sq km - Water
Pakistan is the world's thirty fifth largest country. It comprises 8 states/Union Territories.

 

Population:

Pakistan is the world's sixth most populous country with a population of 173m (Feb 2011).

 

Capital City:

Islamabad

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Languages:

Official language is Urdu, but English is the principal language of Business.

 

Religions:

Muslim 95% (Sunni 75%, Shi'a 20%), Christian 2.5%, Hindu 1.2%, Ahmadiyah and others 1.3%.

 

Currency:

Pakistan Rupees issued in the following denominations:

Notes: (Pr) 5,000; 1,000; 500; 100; 50; 20; 10 and 5.
Coins: (Pr) 5; 2 and 1.

 

Dialling code from UK

00 92

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Weights & Measures

Pakistan has officially adopted the metric system.

 

Government:

Federal Democratic Republic

 

Head of State:

HE Mr Asif Ali Zardari

 

Prime Minister:

Yousaf Raza Gillani

 

Foreign Minister:

Hina Rabbani Khar

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Elections

Pakistan is a Federal Democratic Republic. The President is the Head of State and the Commander of the Armed Forces. He is elected by an electoral college. There is a two-chamber legislature consisting of a 100-member Senate and a 342-member National Assembly. The Prime Minister is usually the leader of the largest party in the National Assembly.

Each province has a similar system of government, with a directly elected provinicial assembly in which the leader of the largest party becomes chief minister. Provincial governors are appointed by the President.

Throughout the country's history, the military has played an influential role in mainstream Pakistani politics, with military presidents running from 1958-1971, 1977-1988 and, with President Pervez Musharraf, from 1999 - 2008.

 

Geography

At just under 900,000 sq km, including Pakistan-administered Kashmir, Pakistan is approximately the size of Britain and France combined.

It is bordered by Iran in the south west, Afghanistan in the west and north, China in the north east and India in the east. It also has a 1,000 km coastline on the Arabian Sea in the south west.

Pakistan's topography is varied, from the sandy beaches, lagoons and mangrove swamps of the southern coast, to lush temperate forests and the icy peaks of the Himalayas, Hindu Kash and Karakoram mountains in the north. Five of the mountains in Pakistan are over 8,000 metres high (26,000 ft), including K2, the world's second highest mountain.

Vast plains cover almost one third of Pakistan's total area. The west of the country is dominated by dry, rocky mountains, while the south west is largely composed of barren, inhospitable plateau and the south east is characterised by desert.

Temperatures vary from an average of 15'C in January to 37'C in May through to July. Summer temperatures can rise as high as 50'C in northern Sindh and eastern Baluchistan, although temperatuers generally range between 32'C to 49'C.

The climate in the hilly areas is cool, with rain in the summer and snow in the winter. Plateau regions have hot summers and cooler winters, with some rain in winter. The valley of the Indus river, which runs through Pakistan on its 2,500 km course from Tibet to the Arabian sea, is hot all year round, with extreme heat and dry winds during the summer.

 

Administrative Divisions

  • 4 provinces (Punjab, Sindh, NWFP, Balochistan)
  • Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT)
  • Federally Administred Tribal Areas (FATA)
  • Disputed Jammu & Kashmir region includes Azad Kashnir and the Northern Areas

World Factbook - Pakistan

Click here for more information

 Last update: November 2011

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Regions

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