About Pakistan

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National Institutions
Ministry of Defence
Ministry of Communications
Ministry of Commerce
Ministry of Culture
Ministry of Economic Affairs and Statistics
Ministry of Education
Ministry of Environment
Ministry of Finance & Revenue
Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Ministry of Health
Ministry of Housing and Works
Ministry of Industries and Production
Ministry of Information and Broadcasting
Ministry of Information Technology
Ministry of Interior
Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and Northern Areas
Ministry of Labour, Manpower and Overseas Pakistanis
Ministry of Minorities
Ministry of Narcotics Control
Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs
Ministry of Population Welfare
Ministry of Privatization and Investment
Ministry of Science and Technology
Ministry of Sports
Ministry of States and Frontier Regions
Ministry of Textile Industry
Ministry of Tourism
Ministry of Women Development
Ministry of Youth Affairs
Planning Commission/Ministry of Planning and Development
Pakistan Army
Bank of Pakistan
Pakistan Institute of Development Economics
Political Parties
Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP)
Pakistan Muslim League (N)
Pakistan Muslim League (Q)
Muttahida Qaumi Movement(MQM)
Awami National Party (ANP)
Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal(MMA)
Pakistan Muslim League (F)
Jamiat Ahle Hadith
Pakistan Peoples Party (Sherpao)
Balochistan National Party
National Workers Party
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf
General Information
The World Factbook
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Political Information
Election Guide
Leaders of Pakistan
World Statemen
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Touristic Information
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Pakistan -- Geography --

Official Name: Islamic Republic of Pakistan
Capital City: Islamabad
Languages: Urdu (official), Punjabi, Sindhi, Balochi, English
Official Currency: Rupee (PKR)
Religions: Islam
Population: 172,800,000 (2008)
Land Area: 130,850 sq km
Landforms and Resources: Pakistan is a mostly dry region characterized by great extremes of altitude and temperature. The Indus River runs between the two main landforms of the country: The Indus Plain, along the eastern side of the river, and the Baluchistan Highlands, which lie to the west. Other landforms are a narrow coastal plain, bordering the Arabian Sea; the Kharan Basin, west of the Baluchistan Highlands; and the Thar Desert, straddling the border with India. Northern areas of Pakistan are blassed with some of the tallest peaks and mountains in the world in the Great Himalayians. The most popular and renowned peak is K-2 as known also Mt Godwin Austin. Its height is about 28,250 ft or 8,611 meters which makes its 2nd highest peak in the world after Mount Everes. Other mountains include well known Nanga Parbat of about 26,660ft./8,126 meters (8th in World) and Gasherbrum about 26,470 ft./8,068 meters (11th in World).

Pakistan -- History --

From the earliest period of pre-history and recorded history of the region, modern Pakistan formed the heart-land of a larger territory, extending beyond its present eastern and western borders and receiving momentous and mighty impacts from both the directions.
The Indus region, which covers much of Pakistan, was the site of several ancient cultures including the Neolithic era Mehrgarh and the Bronze era Indus Valley Civilization (2500 BCE 1500 BCE) at Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro. Waves of conquerors and migrants from the west including Harappan, Indo-Aryan, Persian, Greek, Saka, Parthian, Kushan, Hephthalite, Afghan, Arab, Turkics, and Mughal settled in the region through out the centuries, influencing the locals and being absorbed among them. Great ancient empires of the east such as Nandas, Mauryas, and Guptas ruled these territories at different times. However, in the medieval period, while the eastern provinces of Punjab and Sindh became aligned with Indo-Islamic civilisation, the western areas became culturally allied with the Iranic civilisation of Afghanistan and Iran. The region served as crossroads of historic trade routes, including the Silk Road, and as a maritime entreport, for the coastal trade between Mesopotamia and beyond up to Rome in the west and Malabar and beyond up to China in the east.
The Indus Valley Civilization collapsed in the middle of the second millennium BCE and was followed by the Vedic Civilization, which also extended over much of the Indo-Gangetic plains. Successive ancient empires and kingdoms ruled the region: the Achaemenid Persian empire around 543 BCE, Greek empire founded by Alexander the Great in 326 BCE and the Mauryan empire there after. The Indo-Greek Kingdom founded by Demetrius of Bactria included Gandhara and Punjab from 184 BCE, and reached its greatest extent under Menander, establishing the Greco-Buddhist period with advances in trade and culture. The city of Taxila (Takshashila) became a major centre of learning in ancient times the remains of the city, located to the west of Islamabad, are one of the country's major archaeological sites. The Rai Dynasty (c.489632) of Sindh, at its zenith, ruled this region and the surrounding territories.
In 712 CE, the Arab general Muhammad bin Qasim conquered Sindh and Multan in southern Punjab. The Pakistan government's official chronology states that "its foundation was laid" as a result of this conquest. This Arab and Islamic victory would set the stage for several successive Muslim empires in South Asia, including the Ghaznavid Empire, the Ghorid Kingdom, the Delhi Sultanate and the Mughal Empire. During this period, Sufi missionaries played a pivotal role in converting a majority of the regional Buddhist and Hindu population to Islam. The gradual decline of the Mughal Empire in the early eighteenth century provided opportunities for the Afghans, Balochis and Sikhs to exercise control over large areas until the British East India Company gained ascendancy over South Asia. An engraving titled "Sepoy Indian troops dividing the spoils after their mutiny against British rule" gives a contemporary view of events from the British perspective. An engraving titled "Sepoy Indian troops dividing the spoils after their mutiny against British rule" gives a contemporary view of events from the British perspective.
The War of Independence 1857, also known as the Sepoy Mutiny, was the region's last major armed struggle against the foreign British Raj and it laid the foundations for the generally unarmed freedom struggle, led by the Hindu dominated Indian National Congress, in the twentieth century. The All India Muslim League rose to popularity in the late 1930s amid fears of under-representation and neglect of Muslims in politics. On 29 December 1930, Allama Iqbal's presidential address called for an autonomous "state in northwestern India for Indian Muslims, within the body politic of India."Muhammad Ali Jinnah espoused the Two Nation Theory and led the Muslim League to adopt the Lahore Resolution of 1940 (popularly known as the Pakistan Resolution), which ultimately led to the formation of an independent Pakistan. The Indian independence movement, led by Mahatma Gandhi, demanded freedom from British rule. In early 1947, Britain, coming under strong pressure from other Western nations to end its violent suppression of the freedom movement, decided to end its rule of India. Governor General Jinnah delivering the opening address on 11 August 1947 to the new state of Pakistan. Governor General Jinnah delivering the opening address on 11 August 1947 to the new state of Pakistan.
In June 1947, the nationalist leaders of British India including Nehru and Abul Kalam Azad on behalf of the Congress, Jinnah representing the Muslim League, B. R. Ambedkar representing the Untouchable community, and Master Tara Singh representing the Sikhs agreed to the proposed terms of transfer of power and independence. The modern state of Pakistan was established on 14 August 1947 (27 Ramadan 1366 in the Islamic Calendar), carved out of the two Muslim-majority wings in the eastern and northwestern regions of British India and comprising the provinces of Balochistan, East Bengal, the North-West Frontier Province, West Punjab and Sindh. The controversial division of the provinces of Punjab and Bengal set the stage for communal riots across India and Pakistan millions of Muslims moved to Pakistan and millions of Hindus and Sikhs moved to India. Disputes arose over several princely states including Muslim-majority Kashmir and Jammu, whose ruler had acceded to India following an invasion by Pashtun warriors, leading to the First Kashmir War in 1948. From 1947 to 1956, Pakistan was a Dominion in the Commonwealth of Nations. It became a Republic in 1956, but the civilian rule was stalled by a coup d?tat by General Ayub Khan, who was president during 195869, a period of internal instability and a second war with India in 1965. His successor, Yahya Khan (196971) had to deal with a devastating cyclone which caused 500,000 deaths in East Pakistan and also face a civil war in 1971. Economic grievances and political dissent in East Pakistan led to violent political tension and military repression that escalated into a civil war, which invited covert and later overt Indian intervention that escalated into the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, and ultimately to the secession of East Pakistan as the independent state of Bangladesh. Estimates of the number of people killed during this episode vary greatly, from ~30,000 to over 2 million, depending on the source. The two wings of Pakistan in 1970; East Pakistan separated from the West wing in 1971 as an independent Bangladesh. The two wings of Pakistan in 1970; East Pakistan separated from the West wing in 1971 as an independent Bangladesh.
Civilian rule resumed in Pakistan from 1972 to 1977, under Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, until he was deposed and later sentenced to death, (in what his followers claimed was a judicial murder), in 1979 by General Zia-ul-Haq, who became the country's third military president. Pakistan's secular policies were replaced by Zia's introduction of the Islamic Shariah legal code, which increased religious influences on the civil service and the military. With the death of President Zia in a plane crash in 1988, Benazir Bhutto, daughter of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, was elected as the first female Prime Minister of Pakistan. Over the next decade, she alternated power with Nawaz Sharif, as the country's political and economic situation worsened. Pakistan got involved in the 1991 Gulf War and sent 5,000 troops as part of a US led coalition, specifically for the defence of Saudi Arabia. Military tensions in the Kargil conflict with India were followed by a Pakistani military coup d'?tat in 1999 in which General Pervez Musharraf assumed executive powers. In 2001, Musharraf became President after the controversial resignation of Rafiq Tarar. After the 2002 parliamentary elections, Musharraf transferred executive powers to newly elected Prime Minister Zafarullah Khan Jamali, who was succeeded in the 2004 Prime-Ministerial election by Shaukat Aziz and was followed, for a temporary period in office, by Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain. On 15 November 2007 the National Assembly completed its tenure and so, pending elections, a caretaker government was appointed with the former Chairman of the Senate, Muhammad Mian Soomro as caretaker Prime Minister. However, the December 2007 assassination of Benazir Bhutto during election campaign led to postponement of elections and also underscored the then prevailing instability of Pakistan's political system. After the parliamentary elections held in march, Yousaf Raza Gillani was sworn in as Prime Minister.

Pakistan -- Economy --

Pakistan is a rapidly developing country and a major emerging market, with an economic growth rate of 7 percent per annum for four consecutive years up to 2007. Despite being a very poor country in 1947, Pakistan's economic growth rate was better than the global average during the subsequent four decades, but imprudent policies led to a slowdown in the late 1990s. Recently, wide-ranging economic reforms have resulted in a stronger economic outlook and accelerated growth especially in the manufacturing and financial services sectors. There has been great improvement in the foreign exchange position and rapid growth in hard currency reserves in recent years. The 2005 estimate of foreign debt was close to US$40 billion. However, this has decreased in recent years with assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and significant debt-relief from the United States. Pakistan's gross domestic product, as measured by purchasing power parity (PPP), is estimated to be US$475.4 billion while its per capita income (PCI) stands at $2,942.[49] The poverty rate in Pakistan is estimated to be between 23% and 28%.
Pakistan's GDP growth rates have seen a steady increase over the last 5 years. However, inflationary pressures and a low savings rate, among other economic factors, could make it difficult to sustain a high growth rate.
The structure of the Pakistani economy has changed from a mainly agricultural base to a strong service base. Agriculture now only accounts for roughly 20% of the GDP, while the service sector accounts for 53% of the GDP with wholesale and retail trade forming 30% of this sector. In the past few years, the Karachi Stock Exchange has increased in value along with most of the world's emerging markets. Significant foreign investments have been made in several areas including telecommunications, real estate and energy.. Other major industries include software, automotives, textiles, cement, fertilizer, steel, ship building, aerospace and arms manufacturing.
In November of 2006 China and Pakistan signed a Free Trade Agreement hoping to triple bilateral trade from $4.2 billion (USD) to $15 billion (USD) within the next five years. Pakistan's exports in 2007 amounted to $20.58 billion (USD).
For Pakistan to be a Developed Nation it would take 159 years. This is considering Pakistan's annual growth rate was to be calculated at 4.9%.

Pakistan -- Culture --

Pakistan has a rich and unique culture that has preserved established traditions throughout history. Many cultural practices, foods, monuments, and shrines were inherited from the rule of Muslim Mughal and Afghan emperors. The national dress of shalwar qamiz is originally of Central Asian origin derived from Turko-Iranian nomadic invaders and is today worn in all parts of Pakistan. Women wear brightly coloured shalwar qamiz, while men often wear solid-coloured ones. In cities western dress is also popular among the youth and the business sector.
Pakistani society is largely multilingual and 96% Muslim, with high regard for traditional family values, although urban families have grown into a nuclear family system due to the socio-economic constraints imposed by the traditional joint family system. Recent decades have seen the emergence of a middle class in cities like Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Hyderabad, Faisalabad, and Peshawar that wish to move in a more liberal direction, as opposed to the northwestern regions bordering Afghanistan that remain highly conservative and dominated by centuries-old regional tribal customs. Increasing globalization has increased the influence of "Western culture" with Pakistan ranking 46th on the A.T. Kearney/FP Globalization Index. There are an approximated four million people of Pakistani descent living abroad, with close to a half-million expatriates living in the United States, around a million living in Saudi Arabia and nearly one million in the United Kingdom, all providing burgeoning cultural connections.
The variety of Pakistani music ranges from diverse provincial folk music and traditional styles such as Qawwali and Ghazal Gayaki to modern forms fusing traditional and western music, such as the synchronisation of Qawwali and western music by the world renowned Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. In addition Pakistan is home to many famous folk singers such as the late Alam Lohar, who is also well known in Indian Punjab. The arrival of Afghan refugees in the western provinces has rekindled Pashto and Persian music and established Peshawar as a hub for Afghan musicians and a distribution centre for Afghan music abroad. State-owned Pakistan Television Corporation (PTV) and Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation were the dominant media outlets, but there are now numerous private television channels. Various American, European, and Asian television channels and films are available to the majority of the Pakistani population via private Television Networks, cable, and satellite television. There are also small indigenous film industries based in Lahore and Peshawar (often referred to as Lollywood). Although Bollywood films have been banned from being played in public cinemas since 1965,[84] Indian film stars are still generally popular in Pakistan due to the fact that Pakistanis are easily able to buy Bollywood films from local shops for private home viewing. But recently Pakistan allowed selected Bollywood films to be shown in Pakistani cinemas.
The architecture of the areas now constituting Pakistan can be designated to four distinct periods pre-Islamic, Islamic, colonial and post-colonial. With the beginning of the Indus civilization around the middle of the 3rd millennium B.C., an advanced urban culture developed for the first time in the region, with large structural facilities, some of which survive to this day. Mohenjo Daro, Harappa and Kot Diji belong to the pre-Islamic era settlements. The rise of Buddhism and the Persian and Greek influence led to the development of the Greco-Buddhist style, starting from the 1st century CE. The high point of this era was reached with the culmination of the Gandhara style. An example of Buddhist architecture is the ruins of the Buddhist monastery Takht-i-Bahi in the northwest province. The arrival of Islam in today's Pakistan meant a sudden end of Buddhist architecture. However, a smooth transition to predominantly pictureless Islamic architecture occurred. The most important of the few completely discovered buildings of Persian style is the tomb of the Shah Rukn-i-Alam in Multan. During the Mughal era design elements of Islamic-Persian architecture were fused with and often produced playful forms of the Hindustani art. Lahore, occasional residence of Mughal rulers, exhibits a multiplicity of important buildings from the empire, among them the Badshahi mosque, the fortress of Lahore with the famous Alamgiri Gate, the colourful, still strongly Persian seeming Wazir Khan Mosque as well as numerous other mosques and mausoleums. Also the Shahjahan Mosque of Thatta in Sindh originates from the epoch of the Mughals. 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 like the Faisal Mosque, the Minar-e-Pakistan and the Mazar-e-Quaid.
The literature of Pakistan covers the literatures of languages spread throughout the country, namely Urdu, Sindhi, Punjabi, Pushto, Baluchi as well as English in recent times and in the past often Persian as well. Prior to the 19th century, the literature mainly consisted of lyric poetry and religious, mystical and popular materials. During the colonial age the native literary figures, under the influence of the western literature of realism, took up increasingly different topics and telling forms. Today, short stories enjoy a special popularity. The national poet of Pakistan, Muhammad Iqbal, wrote mainly in the Persian language, and additionally in Urdu. His works are concerned mostly with Islamic philosophy. Iqbal's most well-known work is the Persian poem volume Asrar-i-Khudi ("the secrets of the even"). The most famous works of early Urdu literature originated in the 14th century. The most well-known representative of the contemporary Urdu literature of Pakistan is Faiz Ahmed Faiz. Sufi Shah Abdul Latif is considered one of the most outstanding mystical poets. Mirza Kalich Beg has been termed the father of modern Sindhi prose. In Punjabi, naats and qawaalis are delivered. The Pushto literature tradition is a cultural link between Pakistan and neighbouring Afghanistan. Extensive lyric poetry and epic poems have been published in Pushto. In Baluchi language songs and ballads are popular.

Pakistan -- Political system, law and government --

Government type: federal republic
Constitution: 12 April 1973; suspended 5 July 1977, restored 30 December 1985; suspended 15 October 1999, restored in stages in 2002; amended 31 December 2003; suspended 3 November 2007; restored on 15 December 2007
Legal system: based on English common law with provisions to accommodate Pakistan's status as an Islamic state; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations
Political parties and leaders: Awami National Party or ANP [Asfandyar Wali KHAN]; Balochistan National Party-Hayee Group or BNP-H [Dr. Hayee BALOCH]; Balochistan National Party-Awami or BNP-A [Moheem Khan BALOCH]; Balochistan National Party-Mengal or BNP-M [Sardar Ataullah MENGAL]; Jamhoori Watan Party or JWP; Jamiat Ahle Hadith or JAH [Sajid MIR]; Jamaat-i Islami or JI [Qazi Hussain AHMED]; Jamiat Ulema-i Islam Fazlur Rehman or JUI-F [Fazlur REHMAN]; Jamiat Ulema-i Islam Sami-ul HAQ or JUI-S [Sami ul-HAQ]; Jamiat Ulema-i Pakistan or JUP [Shah Faridul HAQ]; Muttahida Majlis-e Amal or MMA [Qazi Hussain AHMED]; Muttahida Qaumi Movement or MQM [Altaf HUSSAIN]; National Alliance or NA [Ghulam Mustapha JATOI] (merged with PML); National Peoples Party or NPP; Pakhtun Khwa Milli Awami Party or PKMAP [Mahmood Khan ACHAKZAI]; Pakistan Awami Tehrik or PAT [Tahir ul QADRI]; Pakistan Muslim League-Functional or PML-F [Pir PAGARO]; Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Sharif or PML-N [Nawaz SHARIF]; Pakistan Muslim League or PML [Chaudhry Shujaat HUSSAIN]; Pakistan Peoples Party-SHERPAO or PPP-S [Aftab Ahmed Khan SHERPAO]; Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians or PPPP [Bilawal Bhutto ZARDARI, chairman; Asif Ali ZARDARI, co-chairman]; Pakistan Tehrik-e Insaaf or PTI [Imran KHAN]; Tehrik-i Islami [Allama Sajid NAQVI] note: political alliances in Pakistan can shift frequently
Political pressure groups and leaders: military (most important political force); ulema (clergy); landowners; industrialists; small merchants International organization participation: other: military (most important political force); ulema (clergy); landowners; industrialists; small merchants
Flag description: green with a vertical white band (symbolizing the role of religious minorities) on the left side; a large white crescent and star are centered in the green field; the crescent, star, and color green are traditional symbols of Islam

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