Pakistan

2008/9 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Asia; Asian Countries

اسلامی جمہوریۂ پاکستان
Islāmī Jumhūrīyah Pākistān
Islamic Republic of Pakistan
Flag of Pakistan State Emblem of Pakistan
Flag State Emblem
Motto: اتحاد، تنظيم، يقين محکم
Ittehad, Tanzim, Yaqeen-e-Muhkam  (Urdu)
"Unity, Discipline and Faith"
Anthem: " Qaumi Tarana"
Location of Pakistan
Capital Islamabad
Largest city Karachi
Official languages Urdu (national), English (official)
Recognised regional languages Balochi, Pashto, Punjabi, Siraiki, Sindhi
Demonym Pakistani
Government Islamic Republic
 -  President Pervez Musharraf
 -  Prime Minister Muhammad Mian Soomro
Formation
 -  Independence from the United Kingdom 
 -  Declared 14 August 1947 
 -  Islamic republic 23 March 1956 
Area
 -  Total 880,940 km² ( 36th)
340,403  sq mi 
 -  Water (%) 3.1
Population
 -  2007 estimate 162,423,000 ( 6th)
 -  Density 206/km² ( 53rd)
534/sq mi
GDP ( PPP) 2008 estimate
 -  Total US$504.3 billion  ( 26th)
 -  Per capita US$3320.12 ( 128th)
Gini (2002) 30.6 (medium
HDI (2007) 0.551 (medium) ( 136th)
Currency Rupee (Rs.) ( PKR)
Time zone PST ( UTC+5)
 -  Summer ( DST) not observed ( UTC+6)
Internet TLD .pk
Calling code +92

The Islamic Republic of Pakistan (Urdu: اسلامی جمہوریۂ پاکستان), or Pakistan , is a country in South Asia, marking the region where South Asia converges with Central Asia and the Middle East. It has a 1,046 kilometer (650 mile) coastline along the Arabian Sea in the south, and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast.

Pakistan is the sixth most populous country in the world and has one of the largest Muslim populations in the world. Its territory was a part of the pre-partitioned British India and has a long history of settlement and civilisation including the Indus Valley Civilisation. The region has been invaded by the Greeks, Persians, Arabs, Afghans, Turks, and Mongols. The territory was incorporated into British India in the nineteenth century. Since its independence, the country has been characterized by periods of military and economic growth interspersed with political instability.

The nation was founded officially as the Dominion of Pakistan in 1947, under the leadership of Mohammad Ali Jinnah and the Muslim League, and was renamed the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in 1956. Pakistan was a founding member of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), Developing 8 Countries (D8) and Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO). It is also a member of the United Nations (UN), World Trade Organization (WTO), G33 developing countries, Group of 77 developing nations (G77) and is a nuclear power.

Etymology

The name "Pakistan" (IPA [paːkɪst̪aːn]) means " Land of (the) Pure" in Urdu, and Persian. It was coined in 1934 as "Pakstan" by Choudhary Rahmat Ali, who published it in his pamphlet Now or Never. The name represented the "thirty million Muslims of PAKSTAN, who live in the five Northern Units of (British) India— Punjab, Afghania (North-West Frontier Province), Kashmir, Sindh, and BaluchisTAN."

History

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 including Harappan, Indo-Aryan, Persian, Grecian, Saka, Parthian, Kushan, White Hun, Afghan, Arab, Turkics, and Mughal settled in the region throughout the centuries, influencing the locals and being absorbed among them. However, while the eastern provinces of Punjab and Sind became aligned with Indo-Islamic civilization, the western areas became culturally allied with the Iranic civilization of Afghanistan and Iran. The modern state of Pakistan was established on 14 August 1947. The region is a crossroads of historic trade routes, including the Silk Road. The Indus Valley Civilization collapsed in the middle of the second millennium BCE and was followed by the Vedic Civilization, which extended over much of the Indo-Gangetic plains. Successive empires and kingdoms ruled the region from the Achaemenid Persian empire around 543 BCE, to Alexander the Great in 326 BCE and the Mauryan empire. 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.

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 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 invasion. This would set the stage for several successive Muslim empires in the Indian subcontinent, 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.

The 1857">Indian Rebellion of 1857, also known as the Indian Mutiny, in 1857 was the region's last major armed struggle against the British Raj, and it laid the foundations for the generally unarmed freedom struggle led by the Indian National Congress in the twentieth century. In the 1920s and 1930, a movement led by Mahatma Gandhi, and displaying commitment to ahimsa, or non-violence, millions of protesters engaged in mass campaigns of civil disobedience. In early 1947, Britain announced the end of its rule in India.

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.

Image:PAK1971.JPG
The two wings of Pakistan in 1970; East Pakistan separated from the West wing in 1971 as an independent Bangladesh.

Pakistan was formed on 14 August 1947 with two Muslim-majority wings in the eastern and northwestern regions of the British Indian Empire, separated from the rest of the country with a Hindu majority, and comprising the provinces of Balochistan, East Bengal, the North-West Frontier Province, West Punjab and Sindh. The partition of the British Indian Empire resulted in 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 Jammu and Kashmir whose ruler had acceded to India following an invasion by Pashtun warriors, leading to the First Kashmir War (1948) ending with India occupying roughly two-third of the state. From 1947 to 1956, Pakistan was a Dominion in the Commonwealth of Nations. The republic declared in 1956 was stalled by a coup d'etat by Ayub Khan (1958–69), who was president during a period of internal instability and a second war with India in 1965. His successor, Yahya Khan (1969–71) had to deal with the cyclone which caused 500,000 deaths in East Pakistan.

Economic and political dissent in East Pakistan led to violent political repression and tensions escalating into civil war ( Bangladesh War of Independence) (see also Causes of Separation of East Pakistan) and the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 and ultimately 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.

Civilian rule resumed from 1972 to 1977 under Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, until he was deposed and later sentenced to death in what amounted to 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 General 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 sent 5,000 troops to the 1991 Gulf War as part of a US led coalition and specifically for the defence of Saudi Arabia. Military tensions in the Kargil conflict with India were followed by a Pakistani military coup d'état in 1999 in which General Pervez Musharraf assumed executive powers. In 2001, Musharraf named himself President after the forced 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, followed by a temporary period in office by Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain. On 15th November, 2007 the National Assembly completed its tenure and so 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 underscores the instability of Pakistan's political system.

Government and politics

Image:ParliamentHouse.jpg
Parliament house in Islamabad

The Muslim League formed Pakistan's first government under the leadership of Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Liaquat Ali Khan. The Muslim League's leadership of Pakistani politics decreased significantly with the rise of other political parties, including the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) in West Pakistan, and the Awami League in East Pakistan, which would ultimately led to the creation of Bangladesh. The first Constitution of Pakistan was adopted in 1956, but was suspended in 1958 by Ayub Khan. The Constitution of 1973, suspended in 1977 by Zia-ul-Haq, was re-instated in 1991 and is the country's most important document, laying the foundations of government. Pakistan is a federal democratic republic with Islam as the state religion. The semi-presidential system includes a bicameral legislature consisting of a 100-member Senate and a 342-member National Assembly. The President is the Head of State and the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces and is elected by an electoral college. 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 Provincial Assembly in which the leader of the largest party or alliance becomes Chief Minister. Provincial Governors are appointed by the President.

The Pakistani military has played an influential role in mainstream politics throughout Pakistan's history, with military presidents ruling from 1958–71, 1977–88 and from 1999 onwards. The leftist PPP, led by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, emerged as a major political player during the 1970s. Under the military rule of Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, Pakistan began a marked shift from the British-era secular politics and policies, to the adoption of Shariat and other laws based on Islam. During the 1980s, the anti- feudal, pro- Muhajir Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) was started by unorthodox and educated urban dwellers of Sindh and particularly Karachi. The 1990s were characterized by coalition politics dominated by the PPP and a rejuvenated Muslim League.

In the October 2002 general elections, the Pakistan Muslim League (Q) (PML-Q) won a plurality of National Assembly seats with the second-largest group being the Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians (PPPP), a sub-party of the PPP. Zafarullah Khan Jamali of PML-Q emerged as Prime Minister but resigned on 26 June 2004 and was replaced by PML-Q leader Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain as interim Prime Minister. On 28 August 2004 the National Assembly voted 191 to 151 to elect the Finance Minister and former Citibank Vice President Shaukat Aziz as Prime Minister. Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal, a coalition of Islamic religious parties, won elections in North-West Frontier Province, and increased their representation in the National Assembly.

US President George W. Bush and President Musharraf in late 2006
US President George W. Bush and President Musharraf in late 2006

Pakistan is an active member of the United Nations (UN) and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the latter of which Pakistan has used as a forum for Enlightened Moderation, a plan to promote a renaissance and enlightenment in the Muslim world. Pakistan is also a member of the major regional organisations of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and the Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO). In the past, Pakistan has had mixed relations with the United States especially in the early 1950s when Pakistan was the United States' "most allied ally in Asia" and a member of both the Central Treaty Organisation (CENTO) and the Southeast Asia Treaty Organisation (SEATO). During the Soviet-Afghan War in the 1980s Pakistan was a crucial US ally, but relations soured in the 1990s, when sanctions were applied by the US over suspicions of Pakistan's nuclear activities. The September 11, 2001 attacks and the subsequent War on Terrorism have seen an improvement in US–Pakistan ties, especially after Pakistan ended its support of the Taliban regime in Kabul. This was evidenced by a drastic increase in American military aid, which saw Pakistan take in $4 billion more in three years after the 9/11 attacks than in the three years before.

Pakistan has long had troubled relations with neighbouring India. The long-running dispute over Kashmir resulted in full-fledged wars in 1947 and 1965. Civil war in 1971 flared into the simultaneous Bangladesh War of Independence and the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. Pakistan conducted nuclear weapon tests in 1998 to counterbalance India's nuclear explosion ( Smiling Buddha) of 1974 and Pokhran-II of 1998 respectively and became the only Muslim nuclear weapons state. The relations with India are steadily improving following peace initiatives in 2002. Pakistan maintains close economic, military and political relationships with the People's Republic of China.

Pakistan also faces instability in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, where some tribal leaders support the Taliban. Pakistan has had to deploy the army in these regions to suppress the local unrest, in Waziristan. The Waziristan conflict ended with a recently declared peace agreement between the tribal leaders and the Pakistani government that is expected to bring back stability to the region.

Prime Minister's Secretariat, Islamabad
Prime Minister's Secretariat, Islamabad

Additionally, the country has long faced instability in Balochistan, its largest province by size, but smallest by population. The army was deployed to fight a serious insurgency within the province from 1973–76. Social stability resumed after Rahimuddin Khan was appointed martial law administrator beginning in 1977. After relative peace throughout the 1980s and 1990s, some influential Baloch tribal leaders restarted a separatist movement after Pervez Musharraf took over in 1999. In a recent incident Nawab Akbar Bugti, the leader of the Baloch insurgency, was killed in August 2006 by Pakistani military forces.

On November 3, 2007 President Musharraf declared an emergency rule across Pakistan and purported to suspend the Constitution, imposing martial law. In Islamabad, troops apparently entered the Supreme Court and were surrounding the judges' homes and opposition leaders like Benazir Bhutto, Imran Khan were put on house arrest. Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar has been appointed as the new chief justice of Pakistan, due to the refusal of the Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry to endorse the emergency order, declaring it unconstitutional, though he himself took oath under PCO in 1999. In response, Pakistan was suspended from the councils of the Commonwealth of Nations on 22 November 2007.

In recent years, militant Islamists in the Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM) organization, led by radical cleric Maulana Fazlullah have rebelled against the Pakistani government in Swat in the North-West Frontier Province. In 59 villages, the militants had set up a "parallel government" with Islamic courts imposing sharia law. After a four-month truce ended in late September, 2007, fighting resumed. The paramilitary Frontier Constabulary had been deployed to the area to quell the violence, but seemed ineffective. Militants were reported on November 16, 2007 to have captured Alpuri district headquarters in neighboring Shangla. The local police fled without resisting the advancing militant force which, in addition to local militants, also included Uzbek, Tajik and Chechen volunteers. To roll back militantcy and restore order, the Government of Pakistan deployed a force from the regular Pakistani Army which was successful in retaking the lost territory, sending the Islamists into the mountains, but attacks by suicide bombers on the Army continue. It has been reported that the United States Special Operations Command is considering alternatives to render effective aid to Pakistan with respect to this and other Al Qaeda related insurgencies in the tribal areas of Pakistan, but prospects are uncertain.

Military

Approximately 620,000 personnel are on active duty in the military which is the world's 7th largest armed force as of 2007. Combined with the 302,000 strong Paramilitary forces and the Coast Guard, the Military of Pakistan has a total size of nearly 1,000,000 personnel.

Pakistan's Military is led by an officer corps that is not restricted by social class or nobility and are appointed from a variety of sources such as service academies and direct appointment from both civilian status and the enlisted ranks.

The armed forces are highly respected in civil society and the social ranks as an institution. September 6 known as Defence Day commemorates the military’s role in defence of the nation.

The Pakistani Military is a completely volunteer force and has been involved in many conflicts with India. Combined with this extensive combat experience, the Military is also actively involved in contributing to United Nations peacekeeping efforts. Other foreign deployments have consisted of Pakistani Military personnel as advisers in many African, South Asian and Arab countries. The Pakistani Military maintained Division and brigade strength presences in some of the Arab countries during the past Arab-Israeli Wars, and the first Gulf War to help the Coalition.

Administrative divisions

Provinces and territories of Pakistan
Provinces and territories of Pakistan
Disputed Region of Kashmir
Disputed Region of Kashmir

Pakistan is a federation of four provinces, a capital territory and federally administered tribal areas. Pakistan exercises de facto jurisdiction over the western parts of the Kashmir region, organised as two separate political entities ( Azad Kashmir and Northern Areas), which are also claimed by India. Pakistan also claims Jammu and Kashmir, which is a portion of Kashmir that is administered by India.

In 2001 the federal government abolished the administrative entities called " Divisions", which used to be the third tier of government. The entities called " districts" (zillas), which used to be the fourth tier, became the new third tier. The provinces and the capital territory are subdivided into a total of 107 districts which contain numerous tehsils and local governments. The tribal areas comprise seven tribal agencies and six small frontier regions detached from neighbouring districts whilst Azad Kashmir comprises seven districts and Northern Areas comprises six districts.

Provinces:

  1. Balochistan
  2. North-West Frontier Province (NWFP)
  3. Punjab
  4. Sindh
  • Balochistan and NWFP also have Provincially Administered Tribal Areas (PATA) which are being developed into regular districts.

Territories:

  1. Islamabad Capital Territory
  2. Federally Administered Tribal Areas

Pakistani-administered portions of Kashmir:

  1. Azad Kashmir
  2. Northern Areas

Geography and climate

K2, at 8,611 metres (28,251 ft), is the second highest peak in the world.
K2, at 8,611 metres (28,251 ft), is the second highest peak in the world.

Pakistan covers 340,403 square miles (881,640 km²), approximately the combined land areas of France and the United Kingdom, with its eastern regions located on the Indian tectonic plate and the western and northern regions on the Iranian plateau and Eurasian landplate. Apart from the 1,046 kilometre (650 mi) Arabian Sea coastline, Pakistan's land borders total 6,774 kilometres—2,430 kilometres (1,509 mi) with Afghanistan to the northwest, 523 kilometres (325 mi) with China to the northeast, 2,912 kilometres (1,809 mi) with India to the east and 909 kilometres (565 mi) with Iran to the southwest.

The different types of natural features range from the sandy beaches, lagoons, and mangrove swamps of the southern coast to preserved beautiful moist temperate forests and the icy peaks of the Himalaya, Karakoram and Hindu Kush mountains in the north. There are an estimated 108 peaks above 7,000 metres (23,000 ft) high that are covered in snow and glaciers. Five of the mountains in Pakistan (including Nanga Parbat) are over 8,000 metres (26,000 ft). Indian-controlled Kashmir to the Northern Areas of Pakistan and running the length of the country is the Indus River with its many tributaries. The northern parts of Pakistan attract a large number of foreign tourists. To the west of the Indus are the dry, hilly deserts of Balochistan; to the east are the rolling sand dunes of the Thar Desert. The Tharparkar desert in the southern province of Sindh, is the only fertile desert in the world. Most areas of Punjab and parts of Sindh are fertile plains where agriculture is of great importance.

The climate varies as much as the scenery, with cold winters and hot summers in the north and a mild climate in the south, moderated by the influence of the ocean. The central parts have extremely hot summers with temperatures rising to 45 °C (113 °F), followed by very cold winters, often falling below freezing. Officially the highest temperature recorded in Pakistan is 50.55  °C (122.99  °F) at Pad Idan. There is very little rainfall ranging from less than 250 millimetres to more than 1,250 millimetres (9.8–49.2 in), mostly brought by the unreliable south-westerly monsoon winds during the late summer. The construction of dams on the rivers and the drilling of water wells in many drier areas have temporarily eased water shortages at the expense of downgradient populations.

Flora and fauna

The Markhor is the national animal of Pakistan
The Markhor is the national animal of Pakistan

The wide variety of landscapes and climates in Pakistan allows for a wide variety of wild animals and birds. The forests range from coniferous alpine and subalpine trees such as spruce, pine, and deodar cedar in the northern mountains to deciduous trees such as the mulberry-type Shisham in the Sulaiman range in the south. The western hills have juniper and tamarisk as well as coarse grasses and scrub plants. Along the coast are mangrove forests which form much of the coastal wetlands.

In the south, there are crocodiles in the murky waters at the mouth of the Indus River whilst on the banks of the river, there are boars, deer, porcupines, and small rodents. In the sandy scrublands of central Pakistan are found jackals, hyenas, wild cats, panthers, and leopards while the clear blue skies abound with hawks, falcons, and eagles. In the southwestern deserts are rare Asiatic cheetahs. In the northern mountains are a variety of endangered animals including Marco Polo sheep, Urial sheep, Markhor and Ibex goats, black and brown Himalayan bears, and the rare Snow Leopard. During August 2006, Pakistan donated an orphaned snow leopard cub called Leo to USA. Another rare species is the blind Indus River Dolphin of which there are believed to be about 1,000 remaining, protected in two major sanctuaries. In recent years the number of wild animals being killed for fur and leather trading led to a new law banning the hunting of wild animals and birds and the establishment of several wildlife sanctuaries and game reserves.

Economy

Image:Kpt.jpg
Karachi Port Trust office building

Pakistan is a rapidly developing country which has faced a number of challenges on both political and economic fronts. 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 $2,976. Despite clear progress, reports by the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank and the UN Development Program place the poverty rate in Pakistan between 23% – 28%. The CIA factbook places the poverty rate at 24% in 2006, and notes that levels have fallen by ten percent since 2001. 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, according to some analysts.

Karachi port and harbour aerial view
Karachi port and harbour aerial view

The growth of non-agricultural sectors has changed the structure of the economy, and agriculture now only accounts for roughly 20% of the GDP. The service sector accounts for 53% of the country's GDP with wholesale and retail trade forming 30% of this sector. In recent times, the Karachi Stock Exchange has soared, along with most of the world's emerging markets. Large amounts of foreign investments have been made into several industries. The top industries in Pakistan are telecom, software, automotives, textiles, cement, fertilizer, steel, ship building, and more recently, Aerospace.

Pakistan has accomplished many engineering feats such as construction of the world's largest earth filled dam Tarbela, the world's twelfth largest dam Mangla, as well as, with collaboration with China, the world's highest international road: the Karakoram Highway. There are also half a dozen additional dams planned such as Kalabagh Dam, Diamer-Bhasha Dam, Munda, Akhori and Skardu Katzara.

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 annual exports in 2005 amounted to $15 billion (USD), and is poised to cross $18 billion (USD) in 2006 and $20 billion (USD) in 2007. Pakistan is also home to a thriving arms industry which exports $200 million (USD) annually, mostly defence equipment and arms to countries in the Middle East and South Asia, and its defence officials are hopeful that these exports will surpass $500 million (USD) a year within the next five years.

In keeping with its rapid economic development in recent years, Pakistan registered an economic growth rate of 7 percent in the financial year 2006–07, the fourth consecutive year of seven percent growth. In its June 2006 Economic Survey global finance giant Morgan Stanley listed Pakistan on its list of major emerging markets in the world economy, placing it on a list of 25 countries displaying continued moderate to strong growth over a sustained period of time. The report noted "its economy has been growing quickly in recent periods and corporate direct investors have taken notice". A similar report by State Street Corporation, states that "economic growth (in 2007) has been strong and the stock market has been helped by privatizations as well as foreign investment". Concurrently, highlighting the strides made on the economic front in recent times, Moody's Investors Service in December 2006 upgraded Pakistan's credit rating from B2 to B1, noting a "positive outlook".

In late March 2007, the Asian Development Bank "Outlook 2007" report predicted that strong growth would continue in 2007 and 2008 with growth rates of 6.5 to 7 percent, with manufacturing, exports and consumer expenditure leading the way. Further progress was highlighted by news that the foreign direct investment (FDI ) for FY 2006/7 would touch $7 billion, eclipsing the targeted $4 billion. Telecoms, real estate and energy are major industries for FDI.

Demographics

Major Ethnic Groups in Pakistan
Major Ethnic Groups in Pakistan

Pakistan has an estimated population of 164,742,000 as of 2007. Pakistan has the world's sixth largest population, placing it higher than Russia, and lower than Brazil. Pakistan is expected to surpass Brazil in population by the year 2020 because of the high growth rate. Population projections for Pakistan are relatively difficult because of the apparent differences in the accuracy of each census and the inconsistencies between various surveys related to the fertility rate, but it is likely that the rate of growth peaked in the 1980s and has since declined significantly. The population was estimated at 162,400,000 on July 1, 2005, with a fertility rate of 34 per thousand, a death rate of 10 per thousand, and the rate of natural increase at 2.4%. Pakistan also has a high infant mortality rate of 70 per thousand births.

The major ethnic groups are - Punjabis (44.68% of the population), Pashtuns (15.42%), Sindhis (14.1%), Seraikis (10.53%), Muhajirs (7.57%), Balochis (3.57%) and others (4.66%). As of November 2007, about 2 million registered Afghan refugees remain in Pakistan as a result of the ongoing war and instability in Afghanistan.

Primary mother tongue language usage largely corresponds to ethnic groups. Despite being a native language of a relatively small minority, Urdu is the national language and lingua franca of Pakistan, while English is the official language, used in the Constitution and widely used by corporate businesses, the educated urban elite, and most universities. Punjabi is spoken by over 60 million people, but has no official recognition in the country.

The demographics of religion in Pakistan were significantly influenced in 1947 by the movement of Muslims to Pakistan, and Hindus and Sikhs to India. Census data indicates that 96% of the population are Muslims, (nearly 77% are Sunni Muslims and 20% are Shi'a Muslims according to CIA estimates). Minority religions include Hinduism (1.85%), Christianity (1.6%), as well as much smaller numbers of Sikhs (Around 0.04%), Parsis, Ahmadis, Buddhists, Jews, and Animists (mainly the Kalasha of Chitral). Pakistan is the second most populous Muslim-majority country and also has the second largest Shi'a population in the world.

Education

University of the Punjab
University of the Punjab

Education in Pakistan is divided into five levels: primary (grades one through five); middle (grades six through eight); high (grades nine and ten, leading to the Secondary School Certificate); intermediate (grades eleven and twelve, leading to a Higher Secondary School Certificate); and university programs leading to graduate and advanced degrees.

All academic education institutions are the responsibility of the provincial governments. The federal government mostly assists in curriculum development, accreditation and some financing of research.

The Government has decided to introduce 'English Medium Education' on a phased basis and to substantially end the right to 'Mother Tongue Education'. This new policy which is termed 'Education Sector Reforms (Policy decisions)', states that "English language has been made compulsory from Class-1 onwards." and the "Introduction of English as medium of instruction for Science, Mathematics, Computer Science and other selected subjects like Economics and Geography in all schools in a graduated manner."

Caretaker Minister for Education Mr. Shujaat Ali Beg declared Jan 25, 2008 that eighteen colleges of the city of Karachi would be made "Model English Medium Colleges,"

Society and culture

Mirza Asadullah Baig Khan, a famous ghazal writer
Mirza Asadullah Baig Khan, a famous ghazal writer

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.

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.

Until the 1990s, the 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 movies are available to the majority of the Pakistani population via private Television Networks, cable, and satellite television. There are also small indigenous movie industries based in Lahore and Peshawar (often referred to as Lollywood). Although Bollywood movies are banned from being displayed in public cinemas since 1965, Indian film stars are still generally popular in Pakistan due to the fact that Pakistanis are easily able to buy Bollywood movies from local shops for private home viewing.

Pakistani society is largely multilingual and predominantly 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 Pakistanis living abroad, with close to a half-million expatriates living in the United States and around a million living in Saudi Arabia. As well as nearly one million people of Pakistani descent in the United Kingdom, there are burgeoning cultural connections.

Holidays

Saint Patrick's Cathedral in Karachi. Christmas is a holiday in Pakistan, as it coincides with the birthdate of Jinnah
Saint Patrick's Cathedral in Karachi. Christmas is a holiday in Pakistan, as it coincides with the birthdate of Jinnah

There are many festivals celebrated annually in Pakistan which may or may not observe as holidays e.g. Pakistan Day ( 23 March), Independence Day ( 14 August), Defence of Pakistan Day ( 6 September), Pakistan Air Force Day ( 7 September), the anniversaries of the birth ( 25 December)(holiday) and death ( 11 September) of Quaid-e-Azam, (Allama Iqbal ( 9 November) and the birth ( 30 July) and death ( 8 July) of Madar-e-Millat. Labour Day (also known as May Day) is also observed in Pakistan on May 1 (holiday).

Several important festivals are celebrated by Pakistani Muslims during the year, dependent on the Islamic calendar. Ramadan, the ninth month of the calendar, is characterised by daytime fasting for 29 or 30 days and is followed by the festival of Eid ul-Fitr. In a second festival, Eid ul-Adha, an animal is sacrificed in remembrance of the actions of Prophet Abraham (Arabic: Ibrahim) and the meat is shared with friends, family, and the less fortunate. Both Eid festivals are public holidays, serving as opportunities for people to visit family and friends, and for children to receive new clothes, presents, and sweets. Muslims celebrate Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi, the birthday of the prophet Muhammad, in the third month of the calendar ( Rabi' al-Awwal. Muslims mark the Day of Ashurah on the 9th and 10th days of the first month ( Muharram to commemorate the martyrdom of Husayn bin Ali, (the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad).

Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, and Christians in Pakistan also celebrate their own festivals and holidays. Sikhs come from across the world to visit several holy sites in Punjab, including the shrine of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, at Hassan Abdal in the Attock District, and his birthplace, at Nankana Sahib. There are also several regional and local festivals, such as the Punjabi festival of Basant, which marks the start of spring and is celebrated by kite flying.

Sports

Cricket is the most popular sport in Pakistan
Cricket is the most popular sport in Pakistan

The official and national sport of Pakistan is field hockey, although cricket is more popular. The national cricket team has won the Cricket World Cup once (in 1992), were runners-up once (in 1999), and co-hosted the games twice (in 1987 and 1996). Pakistan were runners-up in the inaugural 2007 ICC World Twenty20 held in South Africa. Pakistan was chosen to host the 2008 ICC Champions Trophy cricket tournament and co-host the 2011 Cricket World Cup, with Sri Lanka, India, and Bangladesh. Other popular sports in Pakistan include football, and squash. Squash is another sport that Pakistanis have excelled in, with successful world-class squash players such as Jahangir Khan and Jansher Khan winning the World Open several times during their careers.

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A1 Grand Prix Team Pakistan

At an international level, Pakistan has competed many times at the Summer Olympics in field hockey, boxing, athletics, swimming, and shooting. Pakistan's medal tally remains at 10 medals (3 gold, 3 silver and 4 bronze) while at the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games it stands at 61 medals and 182 medals respectively. Hockey is the sport in which Pakistan has been most successful at the Olympics, with three gold medals in ( 1960, 1968, and 1984). Pakistan has also won the Hockey World Cup a record four times (1971, 1978, 1982, 1994). Pakistan has also hosted several international competitions, including the SAF Games in 1989 and 2004.

The Motorsport Association of Pakistan is a member of the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile. The Freedom Rally is a yearly off-road race which takes place during the Independence celebrations.

Architecture

An example of the fusion of Greek and Indian Buddhist styles in the Gandhara style: Representation of Buddha with Herakles
An example of the fusion of Greek and Indian Buddhist styles in the Gandhara style: Representation of Buddha with Herakles
Mughal architecture: Naulakha pavilion (1633) in the fortress of Lahore
Mughal architecture: Naulakha pavilion (1633) in the fortress of Lahore

With the beginning of the Indus civilization around the middle of the 3rd millenium B.C., for the first time in the area which encompasses today's Pakistan an advanced urban culture developed with large structural facilities, some of which survive to this day. Archaeologists excavated numerous ancient cities, among them Mohenjo Daro, Harappa and Kot Diji, which have a uniform, appropriate structure with broad roads as well as well thought out sanitary and drainage facilities. The majority of the discovered brick constructions are public buildings such as bath houses and workshops. Wood and loam served as construction materials. Large scale temples, such as those found in other ancient cities are missing. With the expiration of the Indus culture the architecture also suffered considerable damage. With the rise of Buddhism outstanding architectural monuments were again developed, which have lasted into the present. In addition, the Persian and Greek influence led to the development of the Greco-Buddhist style, starting from the 1st century A.D.. The high point of this era was reached with the culmination of the Gandhara style. Important remnants of Buddhist construction are stupas and other buildings with clearly recognizable Greek statues and style elements like support columns which, beside ruins from other epochs, are found in the Gandhara capital Taxila in the extreme north of the Punjab. A particularly beautiful 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 - first in Sindh - during 8th century A.D. meant a sudden end of Buddhist architecture. However, a smooth transition to predominantly pictureless Islamic architecture occured. The way early mosques were built with decorations oriented them strongly to the Arab style. The earliest example of a mosque from the days of infancy of Islam in South Asia is the Mihrablose mosque of Banbhore, from the year 727, the first Muslim place of worship on the Indian Subcontinent. Under the Delhi Sultan the Persian-centralasiatic style ascended over Arab influences. Most important characteristic of this style is the Iwan, walled on three sides, with one end entirely open. Further characteristics are wide prayer halls, round domes with mosaics and geometrical samples and the use of painted tiles. The most important of the few completely discovered buildings of Persian style is the tomb of the Shah Rukn-i-Alam (built 1320 to 1324) in Multan. At the start of the 16th century, the Indo-Islamic architecture was at the height of the its boom. 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 (built 1673- 1674), the fortress of Lahore (16th century and 17th century) with the famous Alamgiri Gate, the colourful, still strongly Persian seeming Wazir Khan Mosque ( 1634- 1635) as well as numerous other mosques and mausoleums. Also the Shahjahan Mosque of Thatta in Sindh originates from the epoch of the Mughals. However, it exhibits partially different stylistic characteristics. Singularly, the innumerable tombs of the Chaukhandi are of eastern influence. Although constructed between 16th and 18th centuries, they do not possess any similarity to Mughal architecture. The stone mason works show rather typical Sindhi workmanship, probably from before Islamic times. The building activity of the Mughals came close to succumbing by the late 18th Century. Afterwards hardly any special native architectural projects were undertaken. In the British colonial age predominantly representative buildings of the Indo-European style developed, from a mixture of European and Indian-Islamic components. After independence Pakistan strove to express its new found national identity through architecture. This reflects itself particularly in modern structures like the Faisal Mosque in the capital built during the 1960s. In addition, buildings of monumental importance such as the Minar-e-Pakistan in Lahore or the mausoleum established with white marble known as Mazar-e-Quaid for the founder of the state expressed the self-confidence of the nascent state.

Tourism

The Lahore Fort, was rebuilt by the Mughal emperor Akbar in 1566.
The Lahore Fort, was rebuilt by the Mughal emperor Akbar in 1566.

Tourism is a growing industry in Pakistan, based on its diverse cultures, peoples and landscapes. The variety of attractions range from the ruins of ancient civilizations such as Mohenjo-daro, Harappa and Taxila, to the Himalayan hill stations, which attract those interested in field and winter sports. Pakistan is home to several mountain peaks over 7,000 metres (22,970 ft), which attracts adventurers and mountaineers from around the world, especially K2. The people of northern areas depend on tourism also. From April to September tourist of domestic and international type visited these areas which became the earn of living for local people. The northern parts of Pakistan have many old fortresses, towers and other architecture as well as the Hunza and Chitral valleys, the latter being home to the small pre-Islamic Animist Kalasha community who claim descent from the army of Alexander the Great. In the Punjab is the site of Alexander's battle on the Jhelum River and the historic city Lahore, Pakistan's cultural capital with many examples of Mughal architecture such as the Badshahi Masjid, Shalimar Gardens, Tomb of Jahangir and the Lahore Fort. To promote Pakistan's unique and various cultural heritage, the prime minister launched "Visit Pakistan 2007".

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