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Pakistan

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Facts & Figures

President: Mamnoon Hussain (2013)

Prime minister: Nawaz Sharif (2013)

Land area: 300,664 sq mi (778,720 sq km); total area: 310,401 sq mi (803,940 sq km)1

Population (2013 est.): 193,238,868 (growth rate: 1.5%); birth rate: 25.0/1000; infant mortality rate: 65.3/1000; life expectancy: 65.3; density per sq mi: 215

Capital (2009 est.): Islamabad, 832,000

Largest cities: Karachi 13,125,000; Lahore 7,132,000; Faisalabad 2,849,000; Rawalpindi 2,026,000

Monetary unit: Pakistan rupee

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Flag of Pakistan
Index
  1. Pakistan Main Page
  2. The New Republic
  3. A Shaky Government
  4. President Musharraf Extends Power
  5. A Relationship with the Taliban
  6. Musharraf's Political Troubles
  7. The Return of Benazir Bhutto
  8. Bhutto's Assassination and Successor
  9. A New Government
  10. Fighting Breaks Out
  11. A New President and U.S. Involvement
  12. A Resurgence of Attacks
  13. Government Assaults on Taliban Meet Strong Resistance
  14. Floods Ravage the Country
  15. Osama bin Laden Is Killed
  16. Ties with U.S. Strained
  17. Pakistan Faces Internal Strife
  18. Nawaz Sharif Returns to Post as Prime Minister in Historic Election
  19. Historic Christian Church Destroyed by Taliban
  20. Taliban Leader Killed in a Drone Strike

Geography

Pakistan is situated in the western part of the Indian subcontinent, with Afghanistan and Iran on the west, India on the east, and the Arabian Sea on the south. The name Pakistan is derived from the Urdu words Pak (meaning pure) and stan (meaning country). It is nearly twice the size of California.

The northern and western highlands of Pakistan contain the towering Karakoram and Pamir mountain ranges, which include some of the world's highest peaks: K2 (28,250 ft; 8,611 m) and Nanga Parbat (26,660 ft; 8,126 m). The Baluchistan Plateau lies to the west, and the Thar Desert and an expanse of alluvial plains, the Punjab and Sind, lie to the east. The 1,000-mile-long (1,609 km) Indus River and its tributaries flow through the country from the Kashmir region to the Arabian Sea.

Government

Military rule was instituted in Oct. 1999; a nominal democracy was declared in June 2001 by the ruling military leader, Pervez Musharraf.

History

Pakistan was one of the two original successor states to British India, which was partitioned along religious lines in 1947. For almost 25 years following independence, it consisted of two separate regions, East and West Pakistan, but now it is made up only of the western sector. Both India and Pakistan have laid claim to the Kashmir region; this territorial dispute led to war in 1949, 1965, 1971, 1999, and remains unresolved today.

What is now Pakistan was in prehistoric times the Indus Valley civilization (c. 2500–1700 BC ). A series of invaders—Aryans, Persians, Greeks, Arabs, Turks, and others—controlled the region for the next several thousand years. Islam, the principal religion, was introduced in 711. In 1526, the land became part of the Mogul Empire, which ruled most of the Indian subcontinent from the 16th to the mid-18th century. By 1857, the British became the dominant power in the region. With Hindus holding most of the economic, social, and political advantages, the Muslim minority's dissatisfaction grew, leading to the formation of the nationalist Muslim League in 1906 by Mohammed Ali Jinnah (1876–1949). The league supported Britain in the Second World War while the Hindu nationalist leaders, Nehru and Gandhi, refused. In return for the league's support of Britain, Jinnah expected British backing for Muslim autonomy. Britain agreed to the formation of Pakistan as a separate dominion within the Commonwealth in Aug. 1947, a bitter disappointment to India's dream of a unified subcontinent. Jinnah became governor-general. The partition of Pakistan and India along religious lines resulted in the largest migration in human history, with 17 million people fleeing across the borders in both directions to escape the accompanying sectarian violence.

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