The name Pakistan literally means "land of the pure" in Urdu and Persian. It is a play on the word pāk meaning pure in Persian and Pashto while the suffix -stān is a Persian word meaning place of, cognate with the Sanskrit word sthāna (Devanagari: स्थान [st̪ʰaːnə]).
It was coined in 1933 as Pakstan by Choudhry Rahmat Ali, a Pakistan Movement activist, who published it in his pamphlet Now or Never, using it as an acronym ("thirty million Muslim brethren who live in PAKSTAN") referring to the names of the five northern regions of the British Raj: Punjab, Afghania, Kashmir, Sindh, and Baluchistan. The letter i was incorporated to ease pronunciation and form the linguistically correct and meaningful name.
Some of the earliest ancient human civilisations in South Asia originated from areas encompassing present-day Pakistan. The earliest known inhabitants in the region were Soanian during the Lower Paleolithic, of whom stone tools have been found in the Soan Valley of Punjab. The Indus region, which covers most of present day Pakistan, was the site of several successive ancient cultures including the Neolithic Mehrgarh and the Bronze Age Indus Valley Civilisation (2800–1800 BC) at Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro.
The Vedic Civilization (1500–500 BC), characterised by Indo-Aryan culture, laid the foundations of Hinduism, which would become well established in the region. Multan was an important Hindu pilgrimage centre. The Vedic civilisation flourished in the ancient Gandhāran city of Takṣaśilā, now Taxila in Punjab. Successive ancient empires and kingdoms ruled the region: the Persian Achaemenid Empire around 519 BC), Alexander the Great's empire in 326 BC and the Maurya Empire founded by Chandragupta Maurya and extended by Ashoka the Great until 185 BC. The Indo-Greek Kingdom founded by Demetrius of Bactria (180–165 BC) included Gandhara and Punjab and reached its greatest extent under Menander (165–150 BC), prospering the Greco-Buddhist culture in the region. Taxila had one of the earliest universities and centres of higher education in the world.
The Rai Dynasty (489–632 AD) of Sindh, at its zenith, ruled this region and the surrounding territories. The Pala Dynasty was the last Buddhist empire that under Dharampala and Devapala stretched across South Asia from what is now Bangladesh through Northern India to Pakistan.
The Arab conqueror Muhammad bin Qasim conquered Indus valley from Sindh to Multan in southern Punjab in 711 AD. The Pakistan government's official chronology identifies this as the point where the "foundation" of Pakistan was laid. The Early Medieval period (642–1219 AD) witnessed the spread of Islam in the region. During this period, Sufi missionaries played a pivotal role in converting a majority of the regional Buddhist and Hindu population to Islam. These developments set the stage for the rule of several successive Muslim empires in the region, including the Ghaznavid Empire (975–1187 AD), the Ghorid Kingdom and the Delhi Sultanate (1206–1526 AD). The Lodi dynasty, the last of the Delhi Sultanate, was replaced by the Mughal Empire (1526–1857 AD). The Mughals introduced Persian literature and high culture, establishing the roots of Indo-Persian culture in the region. From the region of modern day Pakistan, key cities during the Mughal rule were Lahore and Thatta, both of which were chosen to house immensely beautiful Mughal buildings. In the early 16th century, the region remained under the Mughal Empire ruled by Muslim emperors. By the early 18th century, the increasing European influence slowly disintegrated the empire as the lines between commercial and political dominance were increasingly blurred.
During this time, the English East India Company had established coastal outposts. Control over the seas, greater resources, technology, and military force projection by East India Company of British Empire led it to increasingly flex its military muscle; a factor that was crucial in allowing the Company to gain control over the subcontinent by 1765 and sidelining the European competitors. Expanding access beyond Bengal and the subsequent increased strength and size of its army enabled it to annexe or subdue most of region by the 1820s. To many historians, this marked the starting of region's colonial period. By this time, with its economic power severely curtailed by the British parliament and itself effectively made an arm of British administration, the Company began to more consciously enter non-economic arenas such as education, social reform, and culture. Such reforms included the enforcement of English Education Act in 1835 and the introduction of the Indian Civil Service (ICS). Traditional madrasahs – primary institutions of higher learning for Muslims in the subcontinent – were no longer supported by the English Crown, and nearly all of the madrasahs lost their financial endowment.
The gradual decline of the Mughal Empire in the early 18th century enabled the Sikh Empire's influence to control larger areas until the British East-India Company gained ascendancy over the Indian subcontinent. The rebellion in 1857 (or Sepoy mutiny) was the region's major armed struggle against the British Empire and Queen Victoria. Divergence in the relationship between Hinduism and Islam created a major rift in British India; thus instigating racially motivated religious violence in India. The language controversy further escalated the tensions between Hindus and Muslims. The Hindu renaissance witnessed an awakening of intellectualism in traditional Hinduism and saw the emergence of more assertive influence in the social and political spheres in British India. An intellectual movement to counter the Hindu renaissance was led by Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, who helped to found the All-India Muslim League in 1901 and envisioned as well as advocated for the two-nation theory. In contrast to the Indian Congress's anti-British efforts, the Muslim League was a pro-British whose political program inherited the British values that would shape Pakistan's future civil society. In events during World War I, British Intelligence foiled an anti-English conspiracy involving the nexus of Congress and the German Empire. The largely non-violent independence struggle led by the Indian Congress engaged millions of protesters in mass campaigns of civil disobedience in the 1920s and 1930s against the British Empire.
The Muslim League slowly rose to mass popularity in the 1930s amid fears of under-representation and neglect of Muslims in politics. In his presidential address of 29 December 1930, Allama Iqbal called for "the amalgamation of North-West Muslim-majority Indian states" consisting of Punjab, North-West Frontier Province, Sind and Baluchistan. Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, greatly espoused the two-nation theory and led the Muslim League to adopt the Lahore Resolution of 1940, popularly known as the Pakistan Resolution. In World War II, Jinnah and British educated founding fathers in the Muslim League supported the United Kingdom's war efforts, countering opposition against it whilst working towards Sir Syed's vision.
The 1946 elections had resulted in the Muslim League winning 90 percent of the seats reserved for Muslims. Thus the 1946 election was effectively a plebiscite where the Indian Muslims were to vote on the creation of Pakistan; a plebiscite which the Muslim League won. This victory was assisted by the support given to the Muslim League by the rural peasantry of Bengal as well as the support of the landowners of Sindh and Punjab. The Congress, which initially denied the Muslim League's claim of being the sole representative of Indian Muslims, was now forced to recognise that the Muslim League represented Indian Muslims. The British had no alternative except to take Jinnah's views into account as he had emerged as the sole spokesperson of India's Muslims. However, the British did not desire India to be partitioned and in one last effort to avoid it they arranged the Cabinet Mission plan.
As the cabinet mission failed, the British government announced its intention to end the British Raj in India in 1946–47. Nationalists in British India – including Jawaharlal Nehru and Abul Kalam Azad of Congress, Jinnah of Muslim League, and Master Tara Singh representing the Sikhs—agreed to the proposed terms of transfer of power and independence in June 1947 with the Viceroy of India, Lord Mountbatten of Burma. As the United Kingdom agreed upon partitioning of India in 1947, the modern state of Pakistan was established on 14 August 1947 (27th of Ramadan in 1366 of the Islamic Calendar) in amalgamating the Muslim-majority eastern and northwestern regions of British India. It comprised the provinces of Balochistan, East Bengal, the North-West Frontier Province, West Punjab and Sindh; thus forming Pakistan.
In the riots which accompanied the partition in the Punjab Province, it is believed that between 200,000 and 2,000,000 people were killed in what some have described as a retributive genocide between the religions while 50,000 Musllim women were abducted and raped by Hindu and Sikh men and 33,000 Hindu and Sikh women also experienced the same fate at the hands of Muslims. Around 6.5 million Muslims moved from India to West Pakistan and 4.7 million Hindus and Sikhs moved from West Pakistan to India. It was the largest mass migration in human history. Dispute over Jammu and Kashmir led to the First Kashmir War in 1948.
After independence in 1947, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the President of the Muslim League, became the nation's first Governor-General as well as the first President-Speaker of the Parliament, but he died of tuberculosis on 11 September 1948. Meanwhile, Pakistan's founding fathers agreed upon appointing Liaquat Ali Khan, the secretary-general of the party, the nation's first Prime Minister. With dominion status in the Commonwealth of Nations, independent Pakistan had two British monarchs before it became a republic.
The creation of Pakistan was never emotionally accepted by many British leaders, among them being Lord Mountbatten. Mountbatten clearly expressed his lack of support and faith in the Muslim League's idea of Pakistan. Jinnah refused Mountbatten's offer to serve as Governor-General of Pakistan. When Mountbatten was asked by Collins and Lapierre if he would have sabotaged Pakistan had he known that Jinnah was dying of tuberculosis, he replied 'most probably'.
Maulana Shabbir Ahmad Usmani, a respected Deobandi alim (scholar) who occupied the position of Shaykh al-Islam in Pakistan in 1949, and Maulana Mawdudi of Jamaat-i Islami played a pivotal role in the demand for an Islamic constitution. Mawdudi demanded that the Constituent Assembly make an explicit declaration affirming the "supreme sovereignty of God" and the supremacy of the shariah in Pakistan.
A significant result of the efforts of the Jamaat-i Islami and the ulama was the passage of the Objectives Resolution in March 1949. The Objectives Resolution, which Liaquat Ali Khan called the second most important step in Pakistan's history, declared that "sovereignty over the entire universe belongs to God Almighty alone and the authority which He has delegated to the State of Pakistan through its people for being exercised within the limits prescribed by Him is a sacred trust". The Objectives Resolution has been incorporated as a preamble to the constitutions of 1956, 1962, and 1973.
Democracy was stalled by the martial law enforced by President Iskander Mirza who was replaced by army chief, General Ayub Khan. Adopting a presidential system in 1962, the country experienced exceptional growth until a second war with India in 1965 which led to economic downfall and wide-scale public disapproval in 1967. Consolidating the control from Ayub Khan in 1969, President Yahya Khan had to deal with a devastating cyclone which caused 500,000 deaths in East Pakistan.
In 1970, Pakistan held its first democratic elections since independence, that were meant to mark a transition from military rule to democracy, but after the East Pakistani Awami League won against Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP); Yahya Khan and military establishment refused to hand over power. Operation Searchlight, a military crackdown on the Bengali nationalist movement, led to a declaration of independence and the waging of a war of liberation by the Bengali Mukti Bahini forces in East Pakistan, with support from India. However, in West Pakistan the conflict was described as a civil war as opposed to War of Liberation.
Independent researchers think that between 300,000 and 500,000 civilians died during this period while the Bangladesh government puts the figure of dead at three million, a number which is now universally regarded as excessively inflated. Some academics such as R.J. Rummel and Rounaq Jahan accused both sides of genocide whereas others such as Richard Sisson and Leo E. Rose believe there was no genocide. Preemptive strikes on India by the Pakistan's air force, navy, and marines, in response to India's support for the insurgency in East Pakistan, sparked the conventional war in 1971 which witnessed the Indian victory and East Pakistan gaining independence as Bangladesh.
With Pakistan surrendering in the war, Yahya Khan was replaced by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto as President; the country worked towards promulgating constitution and putting the country on roads of democracy. Democratic rule resumed from 1972 to 1977– an era of self-consciousness, intellectual leftism, nationalism, and nationwide reconstruction. During this period, Pakistan embarked on ambitiously developing the nuclear deterrence in 1972 in a view to prevent any foreign invasion; the country's first nuclear power plant was inaugurated, also the same year. Accelerated in response to first nuclear test by India in 1974, this crash program was completed in 1979. Democracy ended with a military coup in 1977 against the leftist PPP, which saw General Zia-ul-Haq become the president in 1978. From 1977 to 1988, President Zia's corporatisation and economic Islamisation initiatives led to Pakistan becoming one of the fastest-growing economies in South Asia. While consolidating the nuclear development, increasing Islamization, and the rise of homegrown conservative philosophy, Pakistan helped subsidise and distribute US resources to factions of the mujahideen against the USSR's intervention in communist Afghanistan. Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province became a base for the anti-Soviet Afghan fighters, with the province's influential Deobandi ulama playing a significant role in encouraging and organising the 'jihad'.
President Zia died in a plane crash in 1988, and Benazir Bhutto, daughter of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, was elected as the country's first female Prime Minister. The Pakistan Peoples Party followed by conservative Pakistan Muslim League (N), and over the next decade whose two leaders fought for power, alternating in office while the country's situation worsened; economic indicators fell sharply, in contrast to the 1980s. This period is marked by prolonged stagflation, instability, corruption, nationalism, geopolitical rivalry with India, and the clash of left wing-right wing ideologies. As PML(N) secured a supermajority in elections in 1997, Sharif authorised the nuclear testings (See:Chagai-I and Chagai-II), as a retaliation to second nuclear tests ordered by India, led by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in May 1998.
Military tension between the two countries in the Kargil district led to the Kargil War of 1999, and a turbulence in civic-military relations allowed General Pervez Musharraf took over through a bloodless coup d'état. Musharraf governed Pakistan as chief executive from 1999 to 2001 and as President from 2001 to 2008— a period of enlightenment, social liberalism, extensive economic reforms, and direct involvement in the US-led war on terrorism. When the National Assembly historically completed its first full five-year term on 15 November 2007, the new elections were called by the Election Commission. After the assassination of Benazir Bhutto in 2007, the PPP secured largest votes in the elections of 2008, appointing party member Yousaf Raza Gillani as Prime Minister. Threatened with facing impeachment, President Musharraf resigned on 18 August 2008, and was succeeded by Asif Ali Zardari. Clashes with the judicature prompted Gillani's disqualification from the Parliament and as the Prime Minister in June 2012. By its own financial calculations, Pakistan's involvement in the war on terrorism has cost up to ~$67.93 billion, thousands of casualties and nearly 3 million displaced civilians. The general election held in 2013 saw the PML(N) almost achieve a supermajority, following which Nawaz Sharif became elected as the Prime Minister, returning to the post for the third time after fourteen years, in a democratic transition.
The geography and climate of Pakistan are extremely diverse, and the country is home to a wide variety of wildlife. Pakistan covers an area of 881,913 km2 (340,509 sq mi), approximately equal to the combined land areas of France and the United Kingdom. It is the 33rd largest nation by total area, although this ranking varies depending on how the disputed territory of Kashmir is counted. Pakistan has a 1,046 km (650 mi) coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and land borders of 6,774 km (4,209 mi) in total: 2,430 km (1,510 mi) with Afghanistan, 523 km (325 mi) with China, 2,912 km (1,809 mi) with India and 909 km (565 mi) with Iran. It shares a marine border with Oman, and is separated from Tajikistan by the cold, narrow Wakhan Corridor. Pakistan occupies a geopolitically important location at the crossroads of South Asia, the Middle East and Central Asia.
Geologically, Pakistan is located in the Indus-Tsangpo Suture Zone and overlaps the Indian tectonic plate in its Sindh and Punjab provinces; Balochistan and most of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are within the Eurasian plate, mainly on the Iranian plateau. Gilgit–Baltistan and Azad Kashmir lie along the edge of the Indian plate and hence are prone to violent earthquakes. This region has the highest rates of seismicity and largest earthquakes in the Himalaya region. Ranging from the coastal areas of the south to the glaciated mountains of the north, Pakistan's landscapes vary from plains to deserts, forests, hills and plateaus.
Pakistan is divided into three major geographic areas: the northern highlands, the Indus River plain and the Balochistan Plateau. The northern highlands contain the Karakoram, Hindu Kush and Pamir mountain ranges (see mountains of Pakistan), which contain some of the world's highest peaks, including five of the fourteen eight-thousanders (mountain peaks over 8,000 metres or 26,250 feet), which attract adventurers and mountaineers from all over the world, notably K2 (8,611 m or 28,251 ft) and Nanga Parbat (8,126 m or 26,660 ft). The Balochistan Plateau lies in the west and the Thar Desert in the east. The 1,609 km (1,000 mi) Indus River and its tributaries flow through the country from the Kashmir region to the Arabian Sea. There is an expanse of alluvial plains along it in Punjab and Sindh.
The climate varies from tropical to temperate, with arid conditions in the coastal south. There is a monsoon season with frequent flooding due to heavy rainfall, and a dry season with significantly less rainfall or none at all. There are four distinct seasons: a cool, dry winter from December through February; a hot, dry spring from March through May; the summer rainy season, or southwest monsoon period, from June through September; and the retreating monsoon period of October and November. Rainfall varies greatly from year to year, and patterns of alternate flooding and drought are common.
The diversity of landscapes and climates in Pakistan allows a wide variety of trees and plants to flourish. The forests range from coniferous alpine and subalpine trees such as spruce, pine and deodar cedar in the extreme northern mountains, through deciduous trees in most of the country (for example the mulberry-like shisham found in the Sulaiman Mountains), to palms such as coconut and date in southern Punjab, southern Balochistan and all of Sindh. The western hills are home to juniper, tamarisk, coarse grasses and scrub plants. Mangrove forests form much of the coastal wetlands along the coast in the south.
Coniferous forests are found at altitudes ranging from 1,000 to 4,000 metres (3,300 to 13,100 feet) in most of the northern and northwestern highlands. In the xeric regions of Balochistan, date palm and Ephedra are common. In most of Punjab and Sindh, the Indus plains support tropical and subtropical dry and moist broadleaf forestry as well as tropical and xeric shrublands. These forests are mostly of mulberry, acacia, and eucalyptus. About 2.2% or 1,687,000 hectares (16,870 km2) of Pakistan was forested in 2010.
The fauna of Pakistan reflects its varied climates too. Around 668 bird species are found there: crows, sparrows, mynas, hawks, falcons and eagles commonly occur. Palas, Kohistan, has a significant population of western tragopan. Many birds sighted in Pakistan are migratory, coming from Europe, Central Asia and India.
The southern plains are home to mongooses, civets, hares, the Asiatic jackal, the Indian pangolin, the jungle cat and the desert cat. There are mugger crocodiles in the Indus, and wild boar, deer, porcupines and small rodents are common in the surrounding areas. The sandy scrublands of central Pakistan are home to Asiatic jackals, striped hyenas, wildcats and leopards. The lack of vegetative cover, the severe climate and the impact of grazing on the deserts have left wild animals in a precarious position. The chinkara is the only animal that can still be found in significant numbers in Cholistan. A small number of nilgai are found along the Pakistan-India border and in some parts of Cholistan. A wide variety of animals live in the mountainous north, including the Marco Polo sheep, the urial (a subspecies of wild sheep), markhor and ibex goats, the Asian black bear and the Himalayan brown bear. Among the rare animals found in the area are the snow leopard, and the blind Indus river dolphin, of which there are believed to be about 1,100 remaining, protected at the Indus River Dolphin Reserve in Sindh. In total, 174 mammals, 177 reptiles, 22 amphibians, 198 freshwater fish species and 5,000 species of invertebrates (including insects) have been recorded in Pakistan.
The flora and fauna of Pakistan suffer from a number of problems. Pakistan has the second-highest rate of deforestation in the world. This, along with hunting and pollution, is causing adverse effects on the ecosystem. The government has established a large number of protected areas, wildlife sanctuaries, and game reserves to deal with these issues.
As of present, there are around 157 protected areas in Pakistan that are recognised by IUCN. According to the 'Modern Protected Areas' legislation, a national park is a protected area set aside by the government for the protection and conservation of its outstanding scenery and wildlife in a natural state. The oldest national park is Lal Suhanra in Bahawalpur District, established in 1972. It is one of the only two biosphere reserves of Pakistan. Ziarat Juniper Forest is the second biosphere reserve in Pakistan. It is the largest contiguous natural Juniper forest in Pakistan. It is also the second oldest, trailing behind the one in California. Central Karakoram in Gilgit Baltistan is currently the largest national park in the country, spanning over a total approximate area of 7010139010000000000♠1,390,100 hectares (3,435,011.9 acres). The smallest national park is the Ayub, covering a total approximate area of 7006931000000000000♠931 hectares (2,300.6 acres).
Pakistan's political experience is essentially related to the struggle of Indian Muslims to regain power which they lost to British colonisation. Pakistan is a democratic parliamentary federal republic with Islam as the state religion. The first set was adopted in 1956 but suspended by Ayub Khan in 1958 who replaced it with the second set in 1962. Complete and comprehensive Constitution was adopted in 1973—suspended by Zia-ul-Haq in 1977 but reinstated in 1985—is the country's most important document, laying the foundations of the current government. The Pakistani military establishment has played an influential role in mainstream politics throughout Pakistan's political history. There were military coups which resulted in imposition of martial law and military commanders continued governing as de facto presidents from 1958–1971, 1977–1988, and 1999–2008. As of now, Pakistan has a multi-party parliamentary system with clear division of powers and responsibilities between branches of government. The first successful demonstrative transaction was held in May 2013. Politics in Pakistan is centred and dominated by the homegrown conceive social philosophy, consisting the ideas of socialism, conservatism, and the third way. As of the general elections held in 2013, the three main dominated political parties in the country: the centre-right conservative Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N); the centre-left socialist Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP); and the centrist and third-way Pakistan Movement for Justice (PTI).Head of State: The President who is elected by an Electoral College is the ceremonial head of the state and is the civilian commander-in-chief of the Pakistan Armed Forces (with Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee as its principal military adviser), but military appointments and key confirmations in the armed forces are made by the Prime Minister after reviewing the reports on their merit and performances. Almost all appointed officers in the judicature, military, chairman joint chiefs and joint staff, and legislatures require the executive confirmation from the Prime Minister, whom the President must consult, by law. However, the powers to pardon and grant clemency vest with the President of Pakistan.Legislative: The bicameral legislature comprises a 100-member Senate (upper house) and a 342-member National Assembly (lower house). Members of the National Assembly are elected through the first-past-the-post system under universal adult suffrage, representing electoral districts known as National Assembly constituencies. According to the constitution, the 70 seats reserved for women and religious minorities are allocated to the political parties according to their proportional representation. Senate members are elected by provincial legislators, with all of provinces have equal representation.Executive: The Prime Minister is usually the leader of the majority rule party or a coalition in the National Assembly— the lower house. The Prime Minister serves as the head of government and is designated to exercise as the country's chief executive. The Prime Minister is responsible for appointing a cabinet consisting of ministers and advisers as well as running the government operations, taking and authorising executive decisions, appointments and recommendations that require executive confirmation of the Prime Minister.Provincial governments: Each of the four province has a similar system of government, with a directly elected Provincial Assembly in which the leader of the largest party or coalition is elected Chief Minister. Chief Ministers oversees the provincial governments and head the provincial cabinet, it is common in Pakistan to have different ruling parties or coalitions in each provinces. The provincial assemblies have power to make laws and approve provincial budget which is commonly presented by the provincial finance minister every fiscal year. Provincial governors who play role as the ceremonial head of province are appointed by the President.Judicature: The judiciary of Pakistan is a hierarchical system with two classes of courts: the superior (or higher) judiciary and the subordinate (or lower) judiciary. The Chief Justice of Pakistan is the chief judge who oversees the judicature's court system at all levels of command. The superior judiciary is composed of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, the Federal Shariat Court and five High Courts, with the Supreme Court at the apex. The Constitution of Pakistan entrusts the superior judiciary with the obligation to preserve, protect and defend the constitution. Neither the Supreme Court nor a High Court may exercise jurisdiction in relation to Tribal Areas, except otherwise provided for. The disputed regions of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit–Baltistan have separate court systems.
As the Muslim world's second most populous nation-state (after Indonesia) and its only nuclear power state, Pakistan has an important role in the international community. With a semi-agricultural and semi-industrialized economy, its foreign policy determines its standard of interactions for its organisations, corporations and individual citizens. Its geostrategic intentions were explained by Jinnah in a broadcast message in 1947, which is featured in a prominent quotation on the homepage of Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs website: "The foundation of our foreign policy is friendship with all nations across the globe."
After Independence, Pakistan vigorously pursued bilateral relations with other Muslim countries and made a wholehearted bid for leadership of the Muslim world, or at least for leadership in achieving its unity. The Ali brothers had sought to project Pakistan as the natural leader of the Islamic world, in large part due to its large manpower and military strength. A top ranking Muslim League leader, Khaliquzzaman, declared that Pakistan would bring together all Muslim countries into Islamistan-a pan-Islamic entity.
Such developments (alongside Pakistan's creation) did not get American approval and British Prime Minister Clement Attlee voiced international opinion at the time by stating that he wished that India and Pakistan would re-unite. Since most of the Arab world was undergoing a nationalist awakening at the time, there was little attraction to Pakistan's Pan-Islamic aspirations. Some of the Arab countries saw the 'Islamistan' project as a Pakistani attempt to dominate other Muslim states.
Pakistan vigorously championed the right of self-determination for Muslims around the world. Pakistan's efforts for the independence movements of Indonesia, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco and Eritrea were significant and initially led to close ties between these countries and Pakistan. However, Pakistan also masterminded an attack on the Afghan city of Jalalabad during the Afghan Civil War to establish an Islamic government there. Pakistan had wished to forment an 'Islamic Revolution' which would transcend national borders covering Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asia.
On the other hand, Pakistan's relations with Iran have been strained at times due to sectarian tensions. Iran and Saudi Arabia used Pakistan as a battleground for their proxy sectarian war and by the 1990s, Pakistan's support for the Sunni Taliban organisation in Afghanistan became a problem for Shia Iran which opposed a Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. Tensions between Iran and Pakistan intensified in 1998, when Iran accused Pakistan of war crimes as Pakistani warplanes had bombarded Afghanistan's last Shia stronghold in support of the Taliban.
Since Independence, Pakistan has attempted to balance its relations with foreign nations. A non-signatory party of the Treaty on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation, Pakistan is an influential member of the IAEA. In recent events, Pakistan has blocked an international treaty to limit fissile material, arguing that the "treaty would target Pakistan specifically." In the 20th century, Pakistan's nuclear deterrence program focused on countering India's nuclear ambitions in the region, and nuclear tests by India eventually led Pakistan to reciprocate the event to maintain geopolitical balance as becoming a nuclear power. Currently, Pakistan maintains a policy of credible minimum deterrence, calling its program vital nuclear deterrence against foreign aggression.
Located in strategic and geopolitical corridor of the world's major maritime oil supply lines, communication fibre optics, Pakistan has proximity to the natural resources of Central Asian countries. Pakistan is an influential and founding member of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and is a major non-NATO ally of the United States in the war against terrorism— a status achieved in 2004. Pakistan's foreign policy and geostrategy mainly focus on economy and security against threats to its national identity and territorial integrity, and on the cultivation of close relations with other Muslim countries. Briefing on country's foreign policy in 2004, the Pakistani senator reportedly explains: "Pakistan highlights sovereign equality of states, bilateralism, mutuality of interests, and non-interference in each other's domestic affairs as the cardinal features of its foreign policy." Pakistan is an active member of the United Nations and has a Permanent Representative to represent Pakistan's policy in international politics. Pakistan has lobbied for the concept of "Enlightened Moderation" in the Muslim world. Pakistan is also a member of Commonwealth of Nations, the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), the Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO) and the G20 developing nations. Pakistan does not have diplomatic relations with Israel; nonetheless some Israeli citizens have visited the country on tourist visas. Based on mutual cooperation, a security exchange has taken place between the two countries using Turkey as a communication conduit. Despite Pakistan being the only country in the world that has not established a diplomatic relations with Armenia, the Armenian community still resides in Pakistan.
Maintaining cultural, political, social, and economic relations with the Arab world and other countries in the Muslim World is a vital factor in Pakistan's foreign policy. Pakistan was the first country to have established diplomatic relations with China and relations continues to be warm since China's war with India in 1962. In the 1960s–1980s, Pakistan greatly helped China in reaching out to the world's major countries and helped facilitate US President Nixon's state visit to China. Despite the change of governments in Pakistan, variations in the regional and global situation, China policy in Pakistan continues to be dominant factor at all time. In return, China is Pakistan's largest trading partner and economic co-operation have reached high points, with substantial Chinese investment in Pakistan's infrastructural expansion including the Pakistani deep-water port at Gwadar. Sino-Pak friendly relations touched new heights as both the countries signed 51 agreements and Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) in 2015 for co-operation in different fields. Both countries have signed the Free Trade Agreement in the 2000s, and Pakistan continues to serve as China's communication bridge in the Muslim World.
Because of difficulties in relations with its geopolitical rival India, Pakistan maintains close political relations with Turkey and Iran. Saudi Arabia also maintains a respected position in Pakistan's foreign policy, and both countries has been a focal point in Pakistan's foreign policy. The Kashmir conflict remains the major point of rift; three of their four wars were over this territory. Due to ideological differences, Pakistan opposed the Soviet Union in the 1950s and during Soviet-Afghan War in the 1980s, Pakistan was one of the closest allies of the United States. Relations with Russia have greatly improved since 1999 and co-operation with various sectors have increased between Russia and Pakistan. Pakistan has had "on-and-off" relations with the United States. A close ally of the United States in the Cold war, Pakistan's relation with the United States relations soured in the 1990s when the US imposed sanctions because of Pakistan's secretive nuclear development. Since 9/11, Pakistan has been a close ally with the United States on the issue of counter-terrorism in the regions of the Middle East and South Asia, with the US supporting the latter with aid money and weapons.
The United States-led war on terrorism led initially to an improvement in the relationship, but it was strained by a divergence of interests and resulting mistrust during the war in Afghanistan and by issues related to terrorism. Since 1948, there has been an ongoing, and at times fluctuating, violent conflict in the southwestern province of Balochistan between various Baloch separatist groups, who seek greater political autonomy, and the central government of Pakistan. Most Baloch want autonomy but do not want independence from Pakistan. In 2016, China announced that it will set up an anti-terrorism alliance with Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan.
A federal parliamentary republic state, Pakistan is a federation that comprises four provinces: Punjab, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh, and Balochistan. and four territories: the Tribal belt, Gilgit–Baltistan, Islamabad Capital Territory, and Kashmir. The Government of Pakistan exercises the de facto jurisdiction over the Frontier Regions and the western parts of the Kashmir Regions, which are organised into the separate political entities Azad Kashmir and Gilgit–Baltistan (formerly Northern Areas). In 2009, the constitutional assignment (the Gilgit–Baltistan Empowerment and Self-Governance Order) awarded the Gilgit–Baltistan a semi-provincial status, giving it self-government. The population of Gilgit-Baltistan wants to be merged into Pakistan as a separate fifth province and opposes integration with Kashmir while the people of Azad Kashmir have also always wanted to be a part of Pakistan, despite Pakistan imposing its will on their region. The population of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan had also wanted to join Pakistan during Independence.
The local government system consists of a three-tier system of districts, tehsils and union councils, with an elected body at each tier. There are about 130 districts altogether, of which Azad Kashmir has ten and Gilgit–Baltistan seven. The Tribal Areas comprise seven tribal agencies and six small frontier regions detached from neighbouring districts.
Law enforcement is carried out by a joint network of the intelligence community with jurisdiction limited to the relevant province or territory. The National Intelligence Directorate coordinates the information intelligence at both federal and provincial level; including the FIA, IB, Motorway Police, and paramilitary forces such as the Pakistan Rangers and the Frontier Corps.
Pakistan's "premier" intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), was formed just within a year after the Independence of Pakistan in 1947. Pakistan's ISI was ranked as the top intelligence agency in the world in 2011 by the International Business Times UK. ABC News Point in 2014 also reported that the ISI was ranked as the top intelligence agency in the world. However, Zee News reported the ISI as the fifth ranking among the world's most powerful intelligence agencies.
The court system is organised as a hierarchy, with the Supreme Court at the apex, below which are High Courts, Federal Shariat Courts (one in each province and one in the federal capital), District Courts (one in each district), Judicial Magistrate Courts (in every town and city), Executive Magistrate Courts and civil courts. The Penal code has limited jurisdiction in the Tribal Areas, where law is largely derived from tribal customs.
The Kashmir—the most northwesterly region of South Asia—is a primary territorial dispute that hindered the relations between India and Pakistan. Two nations have fought at least three large-scale conventional wars in successive years of 1947, 1965, and 1971. The conflict in 1971 witnessed Pakistan's unconditional surrender and a treaty that subsequently led to the independence of Bangladesh. Other serious military engagements and skirmishes included the armed contacts in Siachen Glacier (1984) and Kargil (1999). Approximately 45.1% of the Kashmir region is controlled by India while claiming the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir, including most of Jammu, the Kashmir Valley, Ladakh, and the Siachen. The claim is contested by Pakistan, which approximately controls the 38.2% of the Kashmir region, known as the Azad Kashmir and Gilgit–Baltistan.
India claims the Kashmir on the basis of the Instrument of Accession—a legal agreement with Kashmir's leaders executed by Maharaja Hari Singh who agreed to accede the area to India. Pakistan claims Kashmir on the basis of a Muslim majority and of geography, the same principles that were applied for the creation of the two independent states. India referred the dispute to the United Nations on 1 January 1948. A resolution passed in 1948, the UN's General Assembly asked Pakistan to remove most of its troops as a plebiscite would then be held. However, Pakistan failed to vacate the region and a ceasefire was reached in 1949 with the Line of Control (LoC) was established, dividing Kashmir between the two nations. India, fearful that the Muslim majority populace of Kashmir would secede from India, did not allow a plebiscite to take place in the region. This was confirmed in a statement by India's Defense Minister, Krishna Menon, who said: "Kashmir would vote to join Pakistan and no Indian Government responsible for agreeing to plebiscite would survive.''
Pakistan claims that its position is for the right of the people of Jammu and Kashmir to determine their future through impartial elections as mandated by the United Nations, while India has stated that Kashmir is an integral part of India, referring to the Simla Agreement (1972) and to the fact that elections take place regularly. In recent developments, certain Kashmiri independence groups believe that Kashmir should be independent of both India and Pakistan.
The law enforcement in Pakistan is carried out by joint network of several federal and provincial police agencies. The four provinces and the Islamabad Capital Territory each have a civilian police force with jurisdiction extending only to the relevant province or territory. At the federal level, there are a number of civilian intelligence agencies with nationwide jurisdictions including the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Intelligence Bureau (IB), and the Motorway Patrol, as well as several paramilitary forces such as the National Guards (Northern Areas), the Rangers (Punjab and Sindh), and the Frontier Corps (Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan).
The most senior officers of all the civilian police forces also form part of the Police Service, which is a component of the civil service of Pakistan. Namely, there are four provincial police service including the Punjab Police, Sindh Police, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Police, and the Balochistan Police; all headed by the appointed senior Inspector-Generals. The Islamabad has its own police component, the Capital Police, to maintain law and order in the capital. The CID bureaus are the crime investigation unit and forms a vital part in each provincial police service.
The law enforcement in Pakistan also has a Motorway Patrol which is responsible for enforcement of traffic and safety laws, security and recovery on Pakistan's inter-provincial motorway network. In each of provincial Police Service, it also maintains a respective Elite Police units led by the NACTA—a counter-terrorism police unit as well as providing VIP escorts. In Punjab and Sindh, the Pakistan Rangers are an internal security force with the prime objective to provide and maintain security in war zones and areas of conflict as well as maintaining law and order which includes providing assistance to the police. The Frontier Corps serves the similar purpose in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, and the Balochistan.
Pakistan had been created in the name of Islam. The idea of Pakistan had received overwhelming popular support among Indian Muslims, especially those in the provinces of British India where Muslims were in a minority such as U.P. The Muslim League leadership, ulama (Islamic clergy) and Jinnah had articulated their vision of Pakistan in terms of an Islamic state. Muhammad Ali Jinnah had developed a close association with the ulama. When Jinnah died, Islamic scholar Maulana Shabbir Ahmad Usmani described Jinnah as the greatest Muslim after the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb and also compared Jinnah's death to the Prophet's passing. Usmani asked Pakistanis to remember Jinnah's message of Unity, Faith and Discipline and work to fulfil his dream:
to create a solid bloc of all Muslim states from Karachi to Ankara, from Pakistan to Morocco. He [Jinnah] wanted to see the Muslims of the world united under the banner of Islam as an effective check against the aggressive designs of their enemies.
The first formal step taken to transform Pakistan into an ideological Islamic state was in March 1949 when the country's first Prime Minister, Liaquat Ali Khan, introduced the Objectives Resolution in the Constituent Assembly. The Objectives Resolution declared that sovereignty over the entire universe belongs to God Almighty. The president of the Muslim League, Chaudhry Khaliquzzaman, announced that Pakistan would bring together all Muslim countries into Islamistan-a pan-Islamic entity. Khaliq believed that Pakistan was only a Muslim state and was not yet an Islamic state, but that it could certainly become an Islamic state after bringing all believers of Islam into a single political unit. Keith Callard, one of the earliest scholars on Pakistani politics, observed that Pakistanis believed in the essential unity of purpose and outlook in the Muslim world:
Pakistan was founded to advance the cause of Muslims. Other Muslims might have been expected to be sympathetic, even enthusiastic. But this assumed that other Muslim states would take the same view of the relation between religion and nationality.
However, Pakistan's pan-Islamist sentiments were not shared by other Muslim governments at the time. Nationalism in other parts of the Muslim world was based on ethnicity, language and culture. Although Muslim governments were unsympathetic with Pakistan's pan-Islamic aspirations, Islamists from all over the world were drawn to Pakistan. Figures such as the Grand Mufti of Palestine, Al-Haj Amin al-Husseini, and leaders of Islamist political movements, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, became frequent visitors to the country. Pakistan's desire for an international organization of Muslim countries was fulfilled in the 1970s when the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) was formed.
The strongest opposition to the Islamist ideological paradigm being imposed on the state came from the Bengali Muslims of East Pakistan. A survey in 1969 found that most educated East Pakistanis preferred a secular identity and placed more emphasis on ethnicity than religion. Most educated West Pakistanis were the reverse of this and preferred an Islamic identity and placed more emphasis on Islam than ethnicity. The Islamist party Jamaat-e-Islami considered Pakistan to be an Islamic state and believed Bengali nationalism to be unacceptable. In the 1971 conflict over East Pakistan the Jamaat-e-Islami fought the Bengali nationalists on the Pakistan Army's side.
After Pakistan's first ever general elections the 1973 Constitution was created by an elected Parliament. The Constitution declared Pakistan an Islamic Republic and Islam as the state religion. It also stated that all laws would have to be brought into accordance with the injunctions of Islam as laid down in the Quran and Sunnah and that no law repugnant to such injunctions could be enacted. The 1973 Constitution also created certain institutions such as the Shariat Court and the Council of Islamic Ideology to channel the interpretation and application of Islam.
In the 1970s, leftist Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto faced vigorous opposition which coalesced into a movement united under the revivalist banner of Nizam-e-Mustafa ("Rule of the prophet"). According to supporters of the movement, establishing an Islamic state based on sharia law would mean a return to the justice and success of the early days of Islam when the Islamic prophet Muhammad ruled the Muslims. In an effort to stem the tide of street Islamisation Bhutto agreed to several demands and banned the drinking and selling of wine by Muslims, nightclubs and horse racing.
On 5 July 1977, General Zia-ul-Haq led a coup d'etat against Bhutto. Zia-ul-Haq committed himself to establishing an Islamic state and enforcing sharia law. Zia established separate Shariat judicial courts and court benches to judge legal cases using Islamic doctrine. New criminal offences (of adultery, fornication, and types of blasphemy), and new punishments (of whipping, amputation, and stoning to death), were added to Pakistani law. Interest payments for bank accounts were replaced by "profit and loss" payments. Zakat charitable donations became a 2.5% annual tax. School textbooks and libraries were overhauled to remove un-Islamic material. Offices, schools, and factories were required to offer praying space. Zia bolstered the influence of the ulama (Islamic clergy) and the Islamic parties, whilst conservative scholars became fixtures on television. 10,000s of activists from the Jamaat-e-Islami party were appointed to government posts to ensure the continuation of his agenda after his passing. Conservative ulama (Islamic scholars) were added to the Council of Islamic Ideology. Separate electorates for Hindus and Christians were established in 1985 even though Christian and Hindu leaders complained that they felt excluded from the county's political process.
Zia's state sponsored Islamization increased sectarian divisions in Pakistan between Sunnis and Shias (due to Zia's anti-Shia policies) and also between Deobandis and Barelvis. A solid majority of Barelvis had supported the creation of Pakistan, and Barelvi ulama had also issued fatwas in support of the Pakistan Movement during the 1946 elections, but ironically Islamic state politics in Pakistan was mostly in favour of Deobandi (and later Ahl-e-Hadith/Salafi) institutions. This was despite the fact that only a few (although influential) Deobandi clerics had supported the Pakistan Movement. Zia-ul-Haq forged a strong alliance between the military and Deobandi institutions.
Possible motivations for the Islamization programme included Zia's personal piety (most accounts agree that he came from a religious family), desire to gain political allies, to "fulfill Pakistan's raison d'être" as a Muslim state, and/or the political need to legitimise what was seen by some Pakistanis as his "repressive, un-representative martial law regime".
According to Shajeel Zaidi a million people attended Zia ul Haq's funeral because he had given them what they wanted: more religion. A PEW opinion poll found that 84% of Pakistanis favoured making Sharia the official law of the land. According to the 2013 Pew Research Center report, the majority of Pakistani Muslims also support the death penalty for those who leave Islam (62%). In contrast, support for the death penalty for those who leave Islam was only 36% in fellow South Asian Muslim country Bangladesh (which shared heritage with Pakistan). A 2010 opinion poll by PEW Research Centre also found that 87% of Pakistanis considered themselves 'Muslims first' rather than a member of their nationality. This was the highest figure amongst all Muslim populations surveyed. In contrast only 67% in Jordan, 59% in Egypt, 51% in Turkey, 36% in Indonesia and 71% in Nigeria considered themselves as 'Muslim first' rather than a member of their own nationality.
The armed forces of Pakistan are the eighth largest in the world in terms of numbers in full-time service, with about 617,000 personnel on active duty and 513,000 reservists, as of tentative estimates in 2010. They came into existence after independence in 1947, and the military establishment has frequently influenced in the national politics ever since. Chain of command of the military is kept under the control of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee; all of the branches joint works, co-ordination, military logistics, and joint missions are under the Joint Staff HQ. The Joint Staff HQ is composed of the Air HQ, Navy HQ, and Army GHQ in the vicinity of the Rawalpindi Military District.
The Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee is the highest principle staff officer in the armed forces, and the chief military adviser to the civilian government though the chairman has no authority over the three branches of armed forces. The Chairman joint chiefs controls the military from the JS HQ and maintains strategic communications between the military and the civilian government. As of 2017, the CJCSC is General Zubair Hayat alongside chief of army staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, chief of naval staff Admiral Muhammad Zaka, and chief of air staff Air Chief Marshal Suhail Aman. The main branches are the Army–Air Force–Navy–Marines, which are supported by the number of paramilitary forces in the country. Control over the strategic arsenals, deployment, employment, development, military computers and command and control is a responsibility vested under the National Command Authority which oversaw the work on the nuclear policy as part of the credible minimum deterrence.
The United States, Turkey, and China maintain close military relations and regularly export military equipment and technology transfer to Pakistan. Joint logistics and major war games are occasionally carried out by the militaries of China and Turkey. Philosophical basis for the military draft is introduced by the Constitution in times of emergency, but it has never been imposed. Since 1947, Pakistan has been involved in four conventional wars, the first war occurred in Kashmir with Pakistan gaining control of Western Kashmir, (Azad Kashmir and Gilgit–Baltistan), and India capturing Eastern Kashmir (Jammu and Kashmir). Territorial problems eventually led to another conventional war in 1965; over the issue of Bengali refugees that led to another war in 1971 which resulted in Pakistan's unconditional surrender of East Pakistan. Tensions in Kargil brought the two countries at the brink of war. Since 1947, the unresolved territorial problems with Afghanistan saw border skirmishes which was kept mostly at the mountainous border. In 1961, the military and intelligence community repelled the Afghan incursion in the Bajaur Agency near the Durand Line border. Rising tensions with neighbouring USSR in their involvement in Afghanistan, Pakistani intelligence community, mostly the ISI, systematically coordinated the US resources to the Afghan mujahideen and foreign fighters against the Soviet Union's presence in the region. Military reports indicated that the PAF was in engagement with the Soviet Air Force, supported by the Afghan Air Force during the course of the conflict; one of which belonged to Alexander Rutskoy. Apart from its own conflicts, Pakistan has been an active participant in United Nations peacekeeping missions. It played a major role in rescuing trapped American soldiers from Mogadishu, Somalia, in 1993 in Operation Gothic Serpent. According to UN reports, the Pakistani military are the third largest troop contributors to UN peacekeeping missions after Ethiopia and India.
Pakistan sent UN Peacekeeping forces to the former Yugoslavia during the Yugoslav wars. During the war, Pakistan supported Bosnia while providing technical and military support. The Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) allegedly ran an active military intelligence program during the Bosnian War which started in 1992 lasting until 1995 under General Javed Nasir. The ISI Bosnian contingent was organised with financial assistance provided by Saudi Arabia, according to the British historian Mark Curtis. Despite the UN arms embargo on Bosnia, Nasir later confessed that the ISI airlifted anti-tank weapons and missiles to Bosnian mujahideen which turned the tide in favour of Bosnian Muslims and forced the Serbs to lift the siege. Under Nasir's leadership the ISI was also involved in supporting Chinese Muslims in Xinjiang Province, rebel Muslim groups in the Philippines, and some religious groups in Central Asia.
Pakistan has deployed its military in some Arab countries, providing defence, training, and playing advisory roles. The PAF and Navy's fighter pilots have voluntarily served in Arab nations' militaries against Israel in the Six-Day War (1967) and in the Yom Kippur War (1973). Pakistan's fighter pilots shot down ten Israeli planes in the Six-Day War. In the 1973 war one of the PAF pilots, Flt. Lt. Sattar Alvi (flying a MiG-21), shot down an Israeli Air Force Mirage and was honoured by the Syrian government. Requested by the Saudi monarchy in 1979, Pakistan's special forces units, operatives, and commandos were rushed to assist Saudi forces in Mecca to lead the operation of the Grand Mosque. For almost two weeks Saudi Special Forces and Pakistani commandos fought the insurgents who had occupied the Grand Mosque's compound. In 1991 Pakistan got involved with the Gulf War and sent 5,000 troops as part of a US-led coalition, specifically for the defence of Saudi Arabia.
Since 2004, the military has been engaged in a war in North-West Pakistan, mainly against the homegrown Taliban factions. Major operations undertaken by the army include Operation Black Thunderstorm, Operation Rah-e-Nijat and Operation Zarb-e-Azb.
Economists estimate that Pakistan has been part of the wealthiest region of the world throughout the first millennium CE having the largest economy by GDP. This advantage was lost in the 18th century as other regions edged forward such as China and Western Europe. Pakistan is considered as a developing country and is one of the Next Eleven, the eleven countries that, along with the BRICs, have a high potential to become the world's largest economies in the 21st century. However, after decades of social instability, as of 2013, serious deficiencies in macromanagement and unbalanced macroeconomics in basic services such as train transportation and electrical energy generation had developed. The economy is considered to be semi-industrialized, with centres of growth along the Indus River. The diversified economies of Karachi and Punjab's urban centres coexist with less developed areas in other parts of the country particularly in Balochistan. According to the Economic complexity index, Pakistan is the 67th largest export economy in the world and the 106th most complex economy. During the fiscal year 2015–16, Pakistan's exports stood at US$20.81 billion and imports at US$44.76 billion, resulting in a negative trade balance of US$23.96 billion.
As of 2016, Pakistan's estimated nominal GDP is US$271 billion. The GDP by PPP is US$946,667 million. The estimated nominal per capita GDP is US$1,561, GDP (PPP)/capita is US$5,010 (international dollars), and debt-to-GDP ratio is 66.50%. According to the World Bank, Pakistan has important strategic endowments and development potential. The increasing proportion of Pakistan's youth provides the country with a potential demographic dividend and a challenge to provide adequate services and employment. 21.04% of the population live below the international poverty line of US$1.25 a day. Unemployment rate among aged 15 and over population is 5.5%. Pakistan has an estimated of 40 million middle class citizens which are projected to increase to 100 million people by 2050. A 2015 report published by the World Bank positioned Pakistan's economy at 24th largest in the world by purchasing power and 41th largest in absolute terms. It is South Asia's second largest economy, representing about 15.0% of regional GDP.
Pakistan's economic growth since its inception has been varied. It has been slow during periods of democratic transition, but excellent during the three periods of martial law, although the foundation for sustainable and equitable growth was not formed. The early to middle 2000s was a period of rapid economic reforms; the government raised development spending, which reduced poverty levels by 10% and increased GDP by 3%. The economy cooled again from 2007. Inflation reached 25.0% in 2008 and Pakistan had to depend on a fiscal policy backed by the International Monetary Fund to avoid possible bankruptcy. A year later, the Asian Development Bank reported that Pakistan's economic crisis was easing. The inflation rate for the fiscal year 2010–11 was 14.1%. Since 2013, as part of an International Monetary Fund program Pakistan's economic growth has picked up. Goldman Sachs predicted, in 2014, that Pakistan's economy would grow 15 times in the next 35 years to become 18th largest economy in the world by 2050. In his 2016 book, The Rise and Fall of Nations, Ruchir Sharma termed Pakistan's economy as on a 'take-off' stage and the future outlook till 2020 has been termed 'Very Good'. Sharma termed it possible to transform Pakistan from a "low-income to a middle-income country during the next five years."
Pakistan is one of the largest producers of natural commodities, and its labour market is the 10th largest in the world. The 7-million–strong Pakistani diaspora contributed US$19.9 billion to the economy in 2015–16. The major source countries of remittances to Pakistan are: the UAE; United States; Saudi Arabia; the Gulf states (Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, and Oman); Australia; Canada; Japan; United Kingdom; Norway; and Switzerland. According to the World Trade Organization, Pakistan's share of overall world exports is declining; it contributed only 0.128% in 2007.
The structure of the Pakistani economy has changed from a mainly agricultural to a strong service base. Agriculture as of 2010 accounts for only 21.2% of the GDP. Even so, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, Pakistan produced 21,591,400 metric tons of wheat in 2005, more than all of Africa (20,304,585 metric tons) and nearly as much as all of South America (24,557,784 metric tons). Majority of the population, directly or indirectly, is dependent on this sector. It accounts for half of employed labour force and is the largest source of foreign exchange earnings.
A large portion of the country's manufactured exports are dependent on raw materials such as cotton and hides that are part of the agriculture sector, while supply shortages and market disruptions in farm products do push up inflationary pressures. The country is also the fifth largest producer of cotton, with cotton production of 14 million bales from a modest beginning of 1.7 million bales in the early 1950s; is self sufficient in sugarcane; and is the fourth largest producer in the world of milk. Land and water resources have not risen proportionately, but the increases have taken place mainly due to gains in labour and agriculture productivity. The major breakthrough in crop production took place in the late 1960s and 1970s due to the Green Revolution that made a significant contribution to land and yield increases of wheat and rice. Private tube wells led to a 50 percent increase in the cropping intensity which was augmented by tractor cultivation. While the tube wells raised crop yields by 50 percent, the High Yielding Varieties (HYVs) of wheat and rice led to a 50–60 percent higher yield. Meat industry accounts for 1.4 percent of overall GDP.
Manufacturing is the third largest sector of the economy, accounting for 18.5% of gross domestic product (GDP), and 13 percent of total employment. Large-scale manufacturing (LSM), at 12.2% of GDP, dominates the overall sector, accounting for 66% of the sectoral share, followed by small-scale manufacturing, which accounts for 4.9% of total GDP. Pakistan's cement industry is also fast growing mainly because of demand from Afghanistan and from the domestic real estate sector. In 2013 Pakistan exported 7,708,557 metric tons of cement. Pakistan has an installed capacity of 44,768,250 metric tons of cement and 42,636,428 metric tons of clinker. In 2012 and 2013, the cement industry in Pakistan became the most profitable sector of the economy.
The textile industry has a pivotal position in the manufacturing sector of Pakistan. In Asia, Pakistan is the eighth-largest exporter of textile products, contributing 9.5% to the GDP and providing employment to around 15 million people (some 30% of the 49 million people in the workforce). Pakistan is the fourth-largest producer of cotton with the third largest spinning capacity in Asia after China and India, contributing 5% to the global spinning capacity. China is the second largest buyer of Pakistani textiles, importing US$1.527 billion of textiles last fiscal. Unlike the US, where mostly value-added textiles are imported, China buys only cotton yarn and cotton fabric from Pakistan. In 2012, Pakistani textile products accounted for 3.3% or US$1.07bn of all UK textile imports, 12.4% or $4.61bn of total Chinese textile imports, 2.98% or $2.98b of all US textile imports, 1.6% or $0.88bn of total German textile imports and 0.7% or $0.888bn of total Indian textile imports.
Services sector has 57.7 percent share in GDP and has emerged as the main driver of economic growth. Pakistani society like other developing countries is a consumption oriented society, having a high marginal propensity to consume. The growth rate of services sector is higher than the growth rate of agriculture and industrial sector. Services sector accounts for 54 percent of GDP in 2014 and little over one-third of total employment. Services sector has strong linkages with other sectors of economy; it provides essential inputs to agriculture sector and manufacturing sector. Pakistan's I.T sector is regarded as among the fastest growing sector's in Pakistan. The World Economic Forum, assessing the development of Information and Communication Technology in the country ranked Pakistan 110th among 139 countries on the 'Networked Readiness Index 2016'.
As of 2016, Pakistan has over 35 million internet users and is ranked as one of the top countries that have registered a high growth rate in internet penetration. Overall, it has the 20th largest population of internet users in the world. The current growth rate and employment trend indicate that Pakistan's Information Communication Technology (ICT) industry will exceed the $10-billion mark by 2020. The sector employees 12,000 and count's among top 5 freelancing nations. The country has also improved its export performance in telecom, computer and information services, as the share of their exports surged from 8.2pc in 2005–06 to 12.6pc in 2012–13. This growth is much better than that of China, whose share in services exports was 3pc and 7.7pc for the same period respectively.
By the end of 2016, energy from the nuclear power sources was provided by four licensed-commercial nuclear power plants. The Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC), the scientific and nuclear governmental authority, is solely responsible for operating these power plants, while the Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority regulates safe usage of the nuclear energy. The electricity generated by commercial nuclear power plants constitutes roughly ~5.8% of electricity generated in Pakistan, compared to ~62% from fossil fuel (petroleum), ~29.9% from hydroelectric power and ~0.3% from coal. Pakistan is one of the four nuclear armed states (along with India, Israel, and North Korea) that is not a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty but is a member in good standing of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
For the commercial usage of the nuclear power, China has provided an avid support for commercialising the nuclear power sources in Pakistan from early on, first providing the Chashma-I reactor. The Karachi-I, a Candu-type, was provided by Canada in 1971—the country's first commercial nuclear power plant. In subsequent years, China sold the nuclear power plant for energy and industrial growth of the country. In 2005, both countries reached out towards working on joint energy security plan, calling for a huge increase in generating capacity to more than 160,000 MWe by 2030. Original admissions by Pakistan, the government plans for lifting nuclear capacity to 8800 MWe, 900 MWe of it by 2015 and a further 1500 MWe by 2020.
In June 2008, the nuclear commercial complex was expanded with the ground work of installing and operationalising the Chashma-III and Chashma–IV reactors at Chashma, Punjab Province, each with 325–340 MWe and costing ₨. 129 billion,; from which the ₨. 80 billion of this from international sources, principally China. A further agreement for China's help with the project was signed in October 2008, and given prominence as a counter to the US–India agreement shortly preceding it. Cost quoted then was US$1.7 billion, with a foreign loan component of $1.07 billion. In 2013, the second nuclear commercial complex in Karachi was marginalised and expanded to additional reactors, based on the Chashma complex. The electrical energy is generated by various energy corporations and evenly distributed by the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) among the four provinces. However, the Karachi-based K-Electric and the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) generates much of the electrical energy as well as gathering revenue nationwide. Capacity to generate ~22,797MWt electricity has been installed in 2014, with the initiation of several energy projects in 2014.
Pakistan, with its diverse cultures, people and landscapes attracted 1.1 million foreign tourists annually in 2011 and 2012 contributing US$351 million and US$369 million to the country's economy respectively. A significant decline since the 1970s when the country received unprecedented amounts of foreign tourists due to the popular Hippie trail. The trail attracted thousands of Europeans and American's in the 1960s and 1970s who travelled via land through Turkey, Iran into India through Pakistan. The main destinations of choice for these tourists were the Khyber Pass, Peshawar, Karachi, Lahore, Swat and Rawalpindi. However, the trail declined after the Iranian Revolution and the Soviet–Afghan War.
The country however continues to attract an estimated half a million foreign tourists. Pakistan's tourist attractions range from the mangroves in the south, to the Himalayan hill stations. The country's tourist destinations range from the Buddhist ruins of Takht-i-Bahi and Taxila, to the 5,000-year-old cities of the Indus Valley Civilization like Mohenjo-daro and Harappa. Pakistan is home to several mountain peaks over 7,000 metres (23,000 feet). The north part of Pakistan has many old fortresses, ancient architecture and the Hunza and Chitral valley, home to small pre-Islamic Animist Kalasha community claiming descent from Alexander the Great. Pakistan's cultural capital, Lahore, contains many examples of Mughal architecture such as Badshahi Masjid, Shalimar Gardens, Tomb of Jahangir and the Lahore Fort.
In October 2006, just one year after the 2005 Kashmir earthquake, The Guardian released what it described as "The top five tourist sites in Pakistan" in order to help the country's tourism industry. The five sites included Taxila, Lahore, The Karakoram Highway, Karimabad and Lake Saiful Muluk. To promote Pakistan's unique cultural heritage the government organizes various festivals throughout the year. In 2015, the World Economic Forum's Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report ranked Pakistan 125 out of 141 countries.
The transport industry accounts for ~10.5% of the nation's GDP. Pakistan's motorway infrastructure is better than those of India, Bangladesh, and Indonesia, but the train system lags behind those of India and China, and aviation infrastructure also needs improvement. There is scarcely any inland water transportation system, and coastal shipping only meets minor local requirements.
Highways form the backbone of Pakistan's transport system; a total road length of 259,618 kilometres (161,319 miles) accounts for 91% of passenger and 96% of freight traffic. Road transport services are largely in the hands of the private sector, which handles around 95% of freight traffic. The National Highway Authority is responsible for the maintenance of national highways and motorways. The highway and motorway system depends mainly on north–south links, connecting the southern ports to the populous provinces of Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. Although this network only accounts for 4.2% of total road length, it carries 85% of the country's traffic.
The Pakistan Railways, under the Ministry of Railways (MoR), operates the railroad system. From 1947 until the 1970s, the train system was the primary means of transport until the nationwide constructions of the national highways and the economic boom of the automotive industry. Since the 1990s, there was a marked shift in traffic from rail to highways; dependence grew on roads after the introduction of vehicles in the country. Now the railway's share of inland traffic is only 10% for passengers and 4% for freight traffic. Personal transportation dominated by the automobiles, the total rail track decreased from 8,775 kilometres (5,453 miles) in 1990–91 to 7,791 kilometres (4,841 miles) in 2011. Pakistan expects to use the rail service to boost foreign trade with China, Iran and Turkey.
Rough estimates accounts for 139 airports in Pakistan – both military and civilian airports which are mostly publicly owned. Though the Jinnah International Airport is the principal international gateway to Pakistan, the international airports in Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar, Quetta, Faisalabad, Sialkot and Multan also handle significant amounts of traffic. The civil aviation industry is mixed with public and private sectors, which has been deregulated in 1993. While the state-owned Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) is the major and dominated air carrier that carries about 73% of domestic passengers and all domestic freight, the private airlines such as airBlue, Shaheen Air International, and Air Indus, also provide the similar services with low cost expenses. Major seaports are in Karachi, Sindh (the Karachi port and Port Qasim). Since the 1990s, some seaport operations have been moved to Balochistan with the construction of Gwadar Port and Gadani Port. According to Mundi Index, quality ratings of Pakistan's seaports increased from 3.6 to 4 between 2006 and 2009.
Development on science and technology plays an influential role in Pakistan's infrastructure and helped the country to reach out to the world. Every year, scientists from around the world are invited by the Pakistan Academy of Sciences and the Pakistan Government to participate in the International Nathiagali Summer College on Physics. Pakistan hosted an international seminar on Physics in Developing Countries for International Year of Physics 2005. Pakistani theoretical physicist Abdus Salam won a Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on the electroweak interaction. Influential publications and the critical scientific works in the advancement of mathematics, biology, economics, computer science, and genetics have been produced by the Pakistani scientists at the domestic and international standings.
In chemistry, Salimuzzaman Siddiqui was the first Pakistani scientist to bring the therapeutic constituents of the neem tree to the attention of natural products chemists. Pakistani neurosurgeon Ayub Ommaya invented the Ommaya reservoir, a system for treatment of brain tumours and other brain conditions. Scientific research and development plays a pivotal role in Pakistani universities, collaboration with the government sponsored national laboratories, science parks, and co-operation with the industry. Abdul Qadeer Khan regarded as the founder of HEU-based Gas-centrifuge uranium enrichment program for Pakistan's integrated atomic bomb project. He founded and established the Kahuta Research Laboratories (KRL) in 1976, being both its senior scientist and the Director-General until his retirement in 2001, and he was an early and vital figure in other science projects. Apart from participating in Pakistan's atomic bomb project, he made major contributions in molecular morphology, physical martensite, and its integrated applications in condensed and material physics.
In 2010, Pakistan was ranked 43rd in the world in terms of published scientific papers. The Pakistan Academy of Sciences, a strong scientific community, plays an influential and vital role in formulating the science policies recommendation to the government.
The 1960s era saw the emergence of the active space program led by the SUPARCO that produced advances in domestic rocketry, electronics, and aeronomy. The space program recorded a few notable feats and achievements. The successful launch of its first rocket into space made Pakistan the first South Asian country to have achieved such a task. Successfully producing and launching the nation's first space satellite in 1990, Pakistan became the first Muslim country and second South Asian country to put a satellite into space.
As an aftermath of the 1971 war with India, the clandestine crash program developed atomic weapons in a fear and to prevent any foreign intervention, while ushering in the atomic age in the post cold war era. Competition with India and tensions eventually led Pakistan's decision of conducting underground nuclear tests in 1998; thus becoming the seventh country in the world to successfully develop nuclear weapons.
Pakistan is the only Muslim country that maintains a research station in Antarctica and it has maintained a presence there since 1991. After establishing an Antarctic program, Pakistan is one of the small number of countries that have an active research presence in Antarctica. Pakistan is maintaining two summer research stations and one weather observatory on the continent and plans to open another full fledged permanent base in Antarctica.
Energy consumption by computers and usage has grown since the 1990s when the PCs were introduced; Pakistan has over 20 million internet users and is ranked as one of the top countries that have registered a high growth rate in internet penetration, as of 2011. Key publications has been produced by Pakistan, and domestic software development has gained a lot international praise.
Overall, it has the 27th largest population of internet users in the world. Since the 2000s, Pakistan has made significant amount of progress in supercomputing, and various institutions offers research in parallel computing. Pakistan government reportedly spends ₨. 4.6 billion on information technology projects, with emphasis on e-government, human resource and infrastructure development.
The constitution of Pakistan requires the state to provide free primary and secondary education.
At the time of establishment of Pakistan as state, the country had only one university, the Punjab University in Lahore. On immediate basis, the Pakistan government established public universities in each four provinices including the Sindh University (1949), Peshawar University (1950), Karachi University (1953), and Balochistan University (1970). Pakistan has a large network of both public and private universities; a collaboration of public-private universities to provide research and higher education in the country, although there is concern about the low quality of teaching in many of the newer schools. It is estimated that there are 3193 technical and vocational institutions in Pakistan, and there are also madrassahs that provide free Islamic education and offer free board and lodging to students, who come mainly from the poorer strata of society. Strongly instigated public pressure and popular criticism over the extremists usage of madrassahs for recruitment, the Pakistan government has made repeated efforts to regulate and monitor the quality of education in the madrassahs.
Education in Pakistan is divided into six main levels: nursery (preparatory classes); primary (grades one through five); middle (grades six through eight); matriculation (grades nine and ten, leading to the secondary certificate); intermediate (grades eleven and twelve, leading to a higher secondary certificate); and university programmes leading to graduate and postgraduate programs. Network of Pakistani private schools also operate a parallel secondary education system based on the curriculum set and administered by the Cambridge International Examinations of the United Kingdom. Some students choose to take the O-level and A level exams conducted by the British Council. According to the International Schools Consultancy, Pakistan has 439 international schools.
Initiatives taken in 2007, the English medium education has been made compulsory to all schools across the country. Additional reforms taken in 2013, all educational institutions in Sindh began instructions in Chinese language courses, reflecting China's growing role as a superpower and increasing influence in Pakistan. The literacy rate of the population is ~58 %. Male literacy is ~70.2% while female literacy rate is 46.3%. Literacy rates vary by region and particularly by sex; for instance, female literacy in tribal areas is 3.0%. With the launch of the computer literacy in 1995, the government launched a nationwide initiative in 1998 with the aim of eradicating illiteracy and providing a basic education to all children. Through various educational reforms, by 2015 the MoEd expects to attain 100.00% enrolment levels among children of primary school age and a literacy rate of ~86% among people aged over 10. Pakistan is currently spending 2.2 percent of its GDP on education; which according to Institute of Social and Policy Sciences is one of the lowest in South Asia.
After earning their HSC, students may study in a professional college or the university for bachelorate program courses such as science and engineering (BEng, BS/BSc, BTech) surgery and medicine (MBBS, MD), dentistry (BDS), veterinary medicine (DVM), criminal justice and law (LLB, LLM, JD), architecture (BArch), pharmacy (Pharm D.) and nursing (BNurs). Students can also attend a university for a bachelorate degree for business administration, literature, and management including the BA, BCom, BBA, and MBA programs. The higher education mainly supervises by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) that sets out the policies and issues rankings of the nationwide universities. In October 2014, education activist Malala Yousafzai became by far the youngest ever person in the world to receive the Nobel peace prize.
Despite high population growth the country has increased the share of the population with access to an improved water source from 85% in 1990 to 92% in 2010, although this does not necessarily mean that the water from these sources is safe to drink. The share with access to improved sanitation increased from 27% to 48% during the same period, according to the Joint Monitoring Program for Water Supply and Sanitation. There has also been considerable innovation at the grass-root level, in particular concerning sanitation. The Orangi Pilot Project in Karachi and community-led total sanitation in rural areas are two examples of such innovation.
However, the sector still faces major challenges. The quality of the services is poor, as evidenced by intermittent water supply in urban areas and limited wastewater treatment. Poor drinking water quality and sanitation lead to major outbreaks of waterborne diseases. major outbreaks of waterborne diseases swept the cities of Faisalabad, Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar in 2006. Estimates indicate that each year, more than three million Pakistanis become infected with waterborne diseases. In addition, many service providers do not even cover the costs of and maintenance due to low tariffs and poor efficiency. Consequently, the service providers strongly depend on government subsidies and external funding. A National Sanitation Policy and a National Drinking Water Policy have been approved in 2006 and 2009 respectively with the objective to improve water and sanitation coverage and quality. However, the level of annual investment (US$4/capita) still remains much below what would be necessary to achieve a significant increase in access and service quality.
Pakistan is conducting a national census starting in March 2017. According to an estimate by the United States Census Bureau, Pakistan's population is around 199,085,847 (199.1 million) as of 2015, which is equivalent to 2.57% of the world population. Noted as the sixth most populated country in the world, its growth rate in 2016 was reported to be 1.45%, which is the highest of the SAARC nations, though this growth rate has been decreasing in recent years. The population is projected to reach 210.13 million by 2020.
At the time of the partition in 1947, Pakistan had a population of 32.5 million, but the population increased by ~57.2% between the years 1990 and 2009. By 2030, it is expected to surpass Indonesia as the largest Muslim-majority country in the world. Pakistan is classified as a "young nation" with a median age of 23.4 in 2016; about 104 million people were under the age of 30 in 2010. In 2016 Pakistan's fertility rate was estimated to be 2.68, higher than its neighbour India (2.45). Around 35% of the people are under 15. Vast majority residing in Southern Pakistan lives along the Indus River, with Karachi being its most populous commercial city. In the eastern, western, and Northern Pakistan, most of the population lives in an arc formed by the cities of Lahore, Faisalabad, Rawalpindi, Sargodha, Islamabad, Gujranwala, Sialkot, Gujrat, Jhelum, Sheikhupura, Nowshera, Mardan and Peshawar. During 1990–2008, the city dwellers made up 36% of Pakistan's population, making it the most urbanised nation in South Asia which further increased to 38% by 2013. Furthermore, 50% of Pakistanis live in towns of 5,000 people or more.
Expenditure spend on healthcare was ~2.8% of GDP in 2013. Life expectancy at birth was 67 years for females and 65 years for males in 2013. The private sector accounts for about 80% of outpatient visits. Approximately 19% of the population and 30% of children under five are malnourished. Mortality of the under-fives was 86 per 1,000 live births in 2012.
More than sixty languages are spoken in Pakistan, including a number of provincial languages. Urdu—the lingua franca, a symbol of Muslim identity, and national unity—is the national language which is understood by over 75% of Pakistanis and the main source of nationwide communication but is only the primary language of 8% of Pakistan's population. Urdu and English are the official languages of Pakistan, however English is primarily used in official business, government, and legal contracts; the local variety is known as Pakistani English. The Punjabi language is the most common in Pakistan and the first language of 44% of Pakistan's population, mostly spoken in Punjab. Saraiki is mainly spoken in South Punjab and Hindko is predominant in the Hazara region of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Pashto is the provincial language of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and is well understood in Sindh and Balochistan. The Sindhi language is commonly spoken in Sindh while the Balochi language is dominant in Balochistan. Brahui, a Dravidian language, is spoken by the Brahui people who live in Balochistan. Gujarati community leaders in Pakistan also claim that there are 3 million Gujarati speakers in Karachi. Marwari, a Rajasthani language, is also spoken in parts of Sindh. Various languages such as Shina, Balti and Burushaski are spoken in Gilgit-Baltistan, whilst languages such as Pahari, Gojri and Kashmiri are frequently spoken in Azad Kashmir.
Indian Muslims continued to migrate to Pakistan throughout the 1950s and 1960s and these migrants settled mainly in Karachi and other towns of Sindh province. The wars in neighboring Afghanistan during the 1980s and 90s also forced millions of Afghan refugees into Pakistan. The Pakistan Census precludes the 1.3 million registered refugees from Afghanistan, who are found mainly in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and tribal belt with small numbers residing in Karachi and Quetta. Pakistan hosts more refugees than any other country in the world. In addition to Afghans, around 2 million Bangladeshis and half a million other undocumented people live in Pakistan. They are claimed to be from other areas such as Myanmar, Iran, Iraq and Africa.
Experts say that the migration of both Bengalis and Burmese (Rohingya) to Pakistan started in the 1980s and continued till 1998. Shaikh Muhammad Feroze, the chairman of the Pakistani Bengali Action Committee, claimed that there were 200 settlements of Bengali-speaking people in Pakistan, of which 132 are in Karachi. They are also found in various other areas of Pakistan such as Thatta, Badin, Hyderabad, Tando Adam and Lahore. Large scale Rohingya migration to Karachi made Karachi one of the largest population centres of Rohingyas in the world after Myanmar. The Burmese community of Karachi is spread out over 60 slums in Karachi such as the Burmi Colony in Korangi, Arakanabad, Machchar colony, Bilal colony, Ziaul Haq Colony and Godhra Camp.
Thousands of Uyghur Muslims have also migrated to the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan, fleeing religious and cultural persecution in Xinjiang, China. Since 1989, thousands of Kashmiri Muslim refugees have sought refuge in Pakistan, complaining that many of the refugee women had been raped by Indian soldiers and that they were forced out of their homes by the soldiers.
The population is dominated by four main ethnic groups: Punjabis, Pashtuns (Pathans), Sindhis, and Balochs. Rough accounts from 2009 indicate that the Punjabis dominate with 78.7 million (~45%) while the Pashtuns are the second dominating group with ~29.3 million (15.42%). The Sindhis are estimated at 24.8 million (14.1%) with Seraikis (a sub-group of Punjabis) being approximated at a further 14.8 million (8.4%). The Urdu-speaking Muhajirs (the Indian emigrants) stand at ~13.3 million (7.57%) while Balochs are accounted at 6.3 million (3.57%)—the smallest group in population terms. The remaining 11.1 million (4.66%) belong to various ethnic minorities such as Brahuis, Hindkowans, the various peoples of Gilgit-Baltistan, Kashmiris, Sheedis (who are of African descent) and Hazaras. There is also a large Pakistani diaspora worldwide, numbering over seven million, which has been recorded as the sixth largest diaspora in the world.
Since achieving independence as a result of the partition of India, the urbanisation has exponentially increased and has several different causes for it. Majority of southern side population resides along the Indus River, with Karachi being its most populous commercial city. On the east, west, and northern skirts, the most of the population lives in an arc formed by the cities of Lahore, Faisalabad, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Sargodha, Gujranwala, Sialkot, Gujrat, Jhelum, Sheikhupura, Nowshera, Mardan and Peshawar. During 1990–2008, the city dwellers made up 36.0% of Pakistan's population, making it the most urbanised nation in South Asia. Furthermore, more than 50% of Pakistanis live in towns of 5,000 people or more. Immigration, both from within and outside the country, is regarded as one of the main factors that has contributed to urbanisation in Pakistan. One analysis of the national census held in 1998 highlighted the significance of the Partition of India in the 1940s in the context of understanding urban change in Pakistan.
During and after the independence period, Muslim Muhajirs from India migrated in large numbers and shifted their domicile to Pakistan, especially to the port city of Karachi, which is today the largest metropolis in Pakistan. Migration from other countries, mainly those in the neighbourhood, has further catalysed the process of urbanisation in Pakistani cities. Inevitably, the rapid urbanisation caused by these large population movements has also brought new political and socio-economic complexities. In addition to immigration, economic events such as the green revolution and political developments, among a host of other factors, are also important causes of urbanisation.
About 97.0% of Pakistanis are Muslims. Pakistan has the second largest number of Muslims in the world after Indonesia. The majority of them are Sunni (estimated between 75 and 95%) while Shias represent between 5–20%. Pakistan, like India, is said to have at least 16 million Shias. A PEW survey in 2012 found that only 6% of Pakistani Muslims were Shia.
Pakistan's founder, Jinnah, had been born in a Shia family but other sources maintain that Jinnah became a firm Sunni Muslim later on in life. Shias allege discrimination by the Pakistani government since 1948, claiming that Sunnis are given preference in business, official positions and administration of justice. Attacks on Shias increased under the presidency of Zia-ul-Haq, with the first major sectarian riots in Pakistan breaking out in 1983 in Karachi and later spreading to Lahore and Balochistan. Sectarian violence became a recurring feature of the Muharram month every year, with sectarian violence between Sunnis and Shias taking place in 1986 in Parachinar. In one notorious incident, the 1988 Gilgit Massacre, Osama bin Laden-led Sunni tribals assaulted, massacred and raped Shia civilians in Gilgit after being inducted by the Pakistan Army to quell a Shia uprising in Gilgit. After the 9/11 attacks in the United States, sectarian violence among Muslim denominations had increased with systematic targeted killings of both sects, Sunnis and Shias. In 2013, there were country-wide protests by both Shias and Sunnis calling for an end to sectarian violence in the country.
The Ahmadis, a small minority representing 0.22–2% of Pakistan's population, are officially considered non-Muslims by virtue of the constitutional amendment. The Ahmadis are particularly persecuted, especially since 1974 when they were banned from calling themselves Muslims. In 1984, Ahmadiyya places of worship were banned from being called "mosques". As of 2012, 12% of Pakistani Muslims self-identify as non-denominational Muslims. There are also several Quraniyoon communities.
Islam has to some extent syncretised with pre-Islamic influences, resulting in a religion with some traditions distinct from those of the Arab world. Sufism, a mystical Islamic tradition, has a long history and a large popular following in Pakistan. Popular Sufi culture is centred on Thursday night gatherings at shrines and annual festivals which feature Sufi music and dance. Two Sufis whose shrines receive much national attention are Ali Hajweri in Lahore (c. 12th century) and Shahbaz Qalander in Sehwan, Sindh (c. 12th century).
There are two levels of Sufism in Pakistan. The first is the 'populist' Sufism of the rural population. This level of Sufism involves belief in intercession through saints, veneration of their shrines and forming bonds with a pir (saint). Many rural Pakistani Muslims associate with pirs and seek their intercession. The second level of Sufism in Pakistan is 'intellectual Sufism' which is growing among the urban and educated population.They are influenced by the writings of Sufis such as the medieval theologian al-Ghazali, the Sufi reformer Shaykh Aḥmad Sirhindi and Shah Wali Allah. Contemporary Islamic fundamentalists criticise Sufism's popular character, which in their view, does not accurately reflect the teachings and practice of the Prophet and his companions.
Hinduism is the second largest religion in Pakistan after Islam, according to the 1998 Census. As of 2010, Pakistan had the fifth largest Hindu population in the world and PEW predicts that by 2050 Pakistan will have the fourth largest Hindu population in the world. In the 1998 Census the Hindu (jati) population was found to be 2,111,271 while the Hindu (scheduled castes) numbered an additional 332,343. Hindus are found in all provinces of Pakistan but are mostly concentrated in Sindh. They speak a variety of languages such as Sindhi, Seraiki, Aer, Dhatki, Gera, Goaria, Gurgula, Jandavra, Kabutra, Koli, Loarki, Marwari, Sansi, Vaghri and Gujarati.
At the time of Pakistan's creation the 'hostage theory' had been espoused. According to this theory the Hindu minority in Pakistan was to be given a fair deal in Pakistan in order to ensure the protection of the Muslim minority in India. However, Khawaja Nazimuddin, the second Prime Minister of Pakistan, stated:
I do not agree that religion is a private affair of the individual nor do I agree that in an Islamic state every citizen has identical rights, no matter what his caste, creed or faith be.
Some Hindus in Pakistan feel that they are treated as second-class citizens and many have continued to migrate to India. Pakistani Hindus faced riots after the Babri Masjid demolition, have faced a massacre (in 2005) by security forces in Balochistan, and have also faced several attacks, forced conversions and abductions.
Christians formed the next largest religious minority, after Hindus, with a population of 2,092,902, as per the 1998 Census. They were followed by the Bahá'í Faith, which had a following of 30,000, then Sikhism, Buddhism and Zoroastrianism, each back then claiming 20,000 adherents, and a very small community of Jains. There is a Roman Catholic community in Karachi which was established by Goan and Tamil migrants when Karachi's infrastructure was being developed by the British during colonial administration between World War I and World War II. Influence of atheism is very little with 1.0% of the population aligned as atheist in 2005. However, the figure rose to 2.0% in 2012 according to Gallup.
Civil society in Pakistan is largely hierarchical, emphasising local cultural etiquettes and traditional Islamic values that govern personal and political life. The basic family unit is the extended family, although there has been a growing trend towards nuclear families for socio-economic reasons. The traditional dress for both men and women is the Shalwar Kameez; trousers, Jeans, and shirts are also popular among men. The middle class has increased to around 35 million and the upper and upper-middle classes to around 17 million in recent decades, and power is shifting from rural landowners to the urbanised elites. Pakistani festivals such as Eid-ul-Fitr, Eid-ul-Azha, Ramazan, Christmas, Easter, Holi, and Diwali are mostly religious in origin. Increasing globalisation has resulted in Pakistan ranking 56th on the A.T. Kearney/FP Globalization Index.
The Shalwar Kameez is the national dress of Pakistan and is worn by both men and women in all four provinces: Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan, and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa as well as in FATA and Azad Kashmir. Each province has its own style of wearing the Shalwar Kameez. Pakistanis wear clothes range from exquisite colours and designs to the type of fabric (silk, chiffon, cotton, etc). Besides the national dress, the domestically tailored suits and neckties are often and usually worn by men in the country, and it is customary in offices, schools, and other necessary places and popular gatherings.
The fashion industry has flourished well in the changing environment of the fashion world. Since Pakistan came into being, its fashion has historically evolved from different phases and made its unique identity apart from Indian fashion and culture. At this time, Pakistani fashion is a combination of traditional and modern dresses and it has become the cultural identification of Pakistan. Despite all modern trends, the regional and traditional dresses have developed their own significance as a symbol of native tradition. This regional fashion is not static but evolving into more modern and pure forms. The Pakistan Fashion Design Council based in Lahore organizes PFDC Fashion Week and Fashion Pakistan Council based in Karachi organizes Fashion Pakistan Week. Pakistan's first fashion week was held in November 2009.
The social status of women in Pakistan varies and considerably depends on the social class, upbringings, and regional divide due to uneven socioeconomic development and the impact of social formations on women's lives in the country. Pakistan has had a long history of feminist activism since its birth. Since 1947, the APWA and Aurat Foundation – the influential feminist organisations – have played strong roles in inculcating awareness about women's rights in the country. Personalities such as Begum Rana'a, Benazir Bhutto, Malala Yousafzai and Kalsoom Nawaz have been influential in Pakistan's feminist culture. The status of women, overall, has improved due to enhanced religious and educational knowledge. However, with regard to the global average, the situation is quite alarming. In 2014, the World Economic Forum ranked Pakistan as the second worst country in the world in gender equality.
The relationship of women with the opposite gender is culturally that of gender subordination. There are certain assumed and assigned roles of women that are related to domestic chores compared with men who are the breadwinners and professionals of the family. Contrastingly, in urban areas of the country, more and more women are assuming professional roles and are contributing to family economics but the ratio of these women compared with those in traditional roles is way less. Most favoured occupations for females accepted by society are that of Teaching and Tutoring. Due to heightened awareness among people, educational opportunities for Pakistani women have increased over the years. On 24 February 2016, the elected assembly of Pakistan's Punjab province passed a new law called "Punjab Protection of Women Against Violence Bill 2015 " which provides women with protection against a multitude of crimes including: cyber crime, domestic violence, emotional, economic and psychological abuse.
The private print media, state-owned Pakistan Television Corporation (PTV) and Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation (PBC) for radio were the dominant media outlets until the 21st century. Pakistan now has a large network of domestic private 24-hour news media and television channels. According to a 2016 report by the Reporters Without Borders ranked Pakistan in 147th on the Press Freedom Index, while terming the Pakistani media "among the freest in Asia when it comes to covering the squabbling among politicians." BBC term's Pakistani media as "among the most outspoken in South Asia."
The Lollywood, Kariwood, Punjabi and Pashto film industry is based in Karachi, Lahore, and Peshawar. While Bollywood films were banned from public cinemas from 1965 until 2008, they have remained important in popular culture. Contrary to the ailing film industry, the Urdu televised dramas and theatrical performances are popular, as many entertainment media air the series regularly. Urdu dramas dominate the TV entertainment industry, and have debuted critically acclaimed miniseries, and have featured popular actors and actresses since the 1990s. In the 1960s–1970s, pop music and disco (1970s) dominated the country's music industry. In the 1980s–1990s, British influenced rock music appeared and jolted the country's entertainment industry. In the 2000s, heavy metal music gained popular and critical acclaim.
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. Pakistan has many famous folk singers. The arrival of Afghan refugees in the western provinces has stimulated interest in Pashto music, although there has been intolerance of it in some places. Pakistani media has also played a vital role in exposing corruption.
According to the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Pakistan has the sixth largest diaspora in the world. Statistics approximated by the Pakistani government show that there are around 7 million Pakistanis residing abroad with the vast majority living in the Middle East, Europe and North America. Pakistan ranks 10th in the world for remittances sent home. The largest inflow of remittances, as of 2016, is from Saudi Arabia amounting to $5.9 billion. The term Overseas Pakistani is officially recognised by the Government of Pakistan; the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis was established in 2008 to exclusively deal with all the matters and affairs of the overseas Pakistanis such as attending to their needs and problems, intending schemes and projects for their welfare and working for resolution of their problems and issues. Overseas Pakistanis are the second largest source of foreign exchange remittances to Pakistan after exports. Over the last several years, home remittances have maintained a steady rising trend, with a more than 100% increase from US$8.9 billion in 2009–10 to US$19.9 billion in 2015–16.
The Overseas Pakistani Division (OPD) was created in September 2004 within the Ministry of Labour (MoL), and has since recognised the importance of overseas Pakistanis and their contribution to the nation's economy. Together with Community Welfare Attaches (CWAs) and the Overseas Pakistanis Foundation (OPF), the OPD is improving the welfare of Pakistanis who reside abroad. The division aims to provide better services through improved facilities at airports, and suitable schemes for housing, education and health care. It also facilitates in the rehabilitation of returning overseas Pakistanis. Notable Pakistani diaspora's includes London Mayor Sadiq Khan, UK Cabinet Member Sajid Javid, former UK Conservative Party Chair Baroness Warsi, singer's Zayn Malik and Nadia Ali, MIT Physics Professor Dr. Nergis Mavalvala, actor's Riz Ahmed and Kumail Nanjiani, businessmen's Shahid Khan and Sir Anwar Pervez, Boston University professors Adil Najam and Hamid Nawab, Texas A&M Professor Muhammad Suhail Zubairy, Yale Professor Sara Suleri, UC San Diego Professor Farooq Azam and historian Ayesha Jalal
Pakistan has literature in Urdu, Sindhi, Punjabi, Pashto, Baluchi, Persian, English and many other languages. The Pakistan Academy of Letters is a large literary community that promotes literature and poetry in Pakistan and abroad. The National Library publishes and promotes literature in the country. Before the 19th century, literature consisted mainly of lyric and religious poetry, mystical and folkloric works. During the colonial age, the native literary figures were influenced by western literary realism and took up increasingly varied topics and narrative forms. Prose fiction is now very popular.
The national poet of Pakistan, Muhammad Iqbal, wrote poetry in Urdu and Persian. He was a strong proponent of the political and spiritual revival of Islamic civilisation and encouraged Muslims binding all over the world to bring about successful revolution. Well-known representatives of contemporary Pakistani Urdu literature include Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Saadat Hasan Manto. Sadequain and Gulgee are known for their calligraphy and paintings. Sufi poets Shah Abdul Latif, Bulleh Shah, Mian Muhammad Bakhsh and Khawaja Farid are very popular in Pakistan. Mirza Kalich Beg has been termed the father of modern Sindhi prose. Historically, philosophical development in the country was dominated by Muhammad Iqbal, Sir Syed, Muhammad Asad, Maududi, and Ali Johar.
Ideas from British and American philosophy greatly shaped philosophical development in Pakistan. Analysts such as M.M. Sharif and Zafar Hassan established the first major Pakistani philosophical movement in 1947. After the 1971 war, philosophers such as Jalaludin Abdur Rahim, Gianchandani, and Malik Khalid incorporated Marxism into Pakistan's philosophical development. Influential work by Manzoor Ahmad, Jon Elia, Hasan Askari Rizvi, and Abdul Khaliq brought mainstream social, political, and analytical philosophy to the fore of Pakistani philosophical academia. Global works by Noam Chomsky have influenced philosophical ideas in various fields of social and political philosophy.
Pakistani architecture has four recognised periods: pre-Islamic, Islamic, colonial, and post-colonial. With the beginning of the Indus civilisation around the middle of the 3rd millennium BC, an advanced urban culture developed for the first time in the region, with large buildings, some of which survive to this day. Mohenjo Daro, Harappa and Kot Diji are among the pre-Islamic settlements that are now tourist attractions. The rise of Buddhism and the Greek influence led to the development of the Greco-Buddhist style, starting from the 1st century AD. The high point of this era was reached at the peak of the Gandhara style. An example of Buddhist architecture is the ruins of the Buddhist monastery Takht-i-Bahi in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The arrival of Islam in today's Pakistan meant a sudden end of Buddhist architecture in the area and a smooth transition to the predominantly pictureless Islamic architecture. The most important Indo-Islamic-style building still standing is the tomb of the Shah Rukn-i-Alam in Multan. During the Mughal era, design elements of Persian-Islamic architecture were fused with and often produced playful forms of Hindustani art. Lahore, occasional residence of Mughal rulers, exhibits many important buildings from the empire. Most prominent among them are the Badshahi mosque, the fortress of Lahore with the famous Alamgiri Gate, the colourful, the Mughal-style Wazir Khan Mosque, the Shalimar Gardens in Lahore and the Shahjahan Mosque in Thatta. 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. Several of the architectural infrastructure has been influenced from the British design, and such architectural designs can be found in Lahore, Peshawar, and Karachi.
Pakistani cuisine is similar to cuisine from other regions of South Asia, since much of it originated from the royal kitchens of sixteenth-century Mughal emperors. Pakistan has a greater variety of meat dishes compared to the rest of the sub-continent. Most of those dishes have their roots in British, Central Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine. Unlike Middle Eastern cuisine, Pakistani cooking uses large quantities of spices, herbs and seasoning. Garlic, ginger, turmeric, red chilli and garam masala are used in most dishes, and home cooking regularly includes curry. Chapati, a thin flat bread made from wheat, is a staple food, served with curry, meat, vegetables and lentils. Rice is also common; it is served plain, fried with spices, and in sweet dishes.
Lassi is a traditional drink in the Punjab region. Black tea with milk and sugar is popular throughout Pakistan and is taken daily by most of the population. Sohan Halwa is a popular sweet dish from the southern region of Punjab province and is enjoyed all over Pakistan.
The majority of the sports played in Pakistan originated and were substantially developed by the United Kingdom who introduced them during the British Raj. Field hockey is the national sport of Pakistan; it has won three gold medals in the Olympic Games held in 1960, 1968, and 1984. Pakistan has also won the Hockey World Cup a record four times, held in 1971, 1978, 1982, and in 1994.
Cricket, however, is the most popular game across the country. The cricket team (popular as Shaheen) has won the Cricket World Cup held in 1992; it had been runners-up once, in 1999. Pakistan were runners-up in the inaugural World Twenty20 (2007) in South Africa and won the World Twenty20 in England in 2009. In March 2009, militants attacked the touring Sri Lanka's cricket team, after which no international cricket was played in Pakistan until May 2015, when the Zimbabwean team agreed to a tour.
In athletics, the country has a proud history with 14 gold medals at the Asian Games. Abdul Khaliq won the 100 metres gold medals in the 1954 and 1958 Asian Games. In squash, world-class players such as Jahangir Khan and Jansher Khan have won the World Open Squash Championship a combined 14-times during their careers. Jahangir Khan also won the British Open a record ten times. In mountaineering, Nazir Sabir, Hassan Sadpara and Samina Baig are the only Pakistanis to have climbed the Mount Everest. Pakistan has competed many times at the Olympic Games in field hockey, boxing, athletics, swimming, and shooting. Pakistan's Olympics medal tally stands at 10 of which 8 were earned in field hockey. As of 2016, Pakistan's Commonwealth Games and Asian Games medal tallies stand at 69 and 165 respectively. At national level, polo is popular, with regular national events in different parts of the country. Boxing, billiards, snooker, rowing, canoeing, kayaking, caving, tennis, golf and volleyball are also actively pursued, and Pakistan has produced regional and international champions in these sports. Basketball enjoys regional popularity especially in Lahore and Karachi.
Pakistan has hosted or co-hosted several international sporting events: the 1989 and 2004 South Asian Games; the 1984, 1993, 1996 and 2003 World Squash Championships; the 1987 and 1996 Cricket World Cup; and the 1990 Hockey World Cup.