Location: Southern Asia, bordering the Arabian Sea, between India on the east and Iran and Afghanistan on the west and China in the north  

Climate: mostly hot, dry desert; temperate in northwest; arctic in north


total: 803,940 sq km

land: 778,720 sq km

water: 25,220 sq km

Area comparative: slightly less than twice the size of California

Land Boundaries:

total: 6,774 km.

Border countries: Afghanistan 2,430 km, China 523 km, India 2,912 km, Iran 909 km

Terrain: flat Indus plain in east; mountains in north and northwest; Baluchistan plateau in west

Elevation Extremes:

lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m 

highest point: K2 (Mt. Godwin-Austen) 8,611 m

Natural Hazards: frequent earthquakes, occasionally severe especially in north and west; flooding along the Indus after heavy rains (July and August)

Division: 4 Provinces 

-Punjab; located at the northwestern edge of the geologic Indian plate in South Asia. The province is home to six rivers: the Indus, Beas, Sutlej, Chenab, Jhelum, and Ravi.  

-Sindh; Sindh is located on the western corner of South Asia, bordering the Iranian plateau in the west. Sindh is bordered by the Thar Desert to the east, the Kirthar Mountains to the west, and the Arabian Sea in the south. 

-North-West-Frontier-Province; borders Afghanistan to the northwest, the Northern Areas to the northeast, Azad Kashmir to the east, Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) to the west and south, and Pakistani Punjab and Islamabad Capital Territory to the southeast. 

-Baluchistan; located at the eastern edge of the Iranian plateau and in the border region between Southwest, Central, and South Asia. The capital city is Quetta.

Population: 164,741,924

Religions: Muslim 97% (Sunni 77%, Shi'a 20%), other (includes Christian and Hindu) 3%

Languages Official: Urdu (official) 8%


Punjabi 48%

Sindhi 12%

Siraiki (a Punjabi variant) 10%

Pashtu 8%

Balochi 3%

Hindko 2%

Brahui 1%

English (official; lingua franca of Pakistani elite and most government ministries)

Burushaski and other 8%


Official: Solar Calendar

Religious: Lunar calendar (hijri)

Country Name

Conventional long form: Islamic Republic of Pakistan

Conventional short form: Pakistan

Local long form: Jamhuryat Islami Pakistan

Local short form: Pakistan

Former: West Pakistan

Capital:  Islamabad

Flag description: green with a vertical white band (symbolizing the role of religious minorities) on the hoist side; a large white crescent and star are centered in the green field; the crescent, star, and color green are traditional symbols of Islam.


a. Pre-Islamic era; The Indus Valley civilization, one of the oldest in the world and dating back at least 5,000 years, spread over much of what is presently Pakistan. During the second millennium B.C., remnants of this culture fused with the migrating Indo-Aryan people.

b. Islamic era; The area underwent successive invasions in subsequent centuries from the Persians, Greeks, Scythians, Arabs (who brought Islam), Afghans, and Turks. The Mughal (Mongol) Empire flourished in the 16th and 17th centuries

c. British Raj; the British came to dominate the region in the 18th century.

d. Partition-present; The separation in 1947 of British India into the Muslim state of Pakistan (with West and East sections) and largely Hindu India was never satisfactorily resolved, and India and Pakistan fought two wars - -In 1947-48 and 1965 - over the disputed Kashmir territory. -In 1971 - India capitalized on Islamabad's marginalization of Bengalis in Pakistani politics; resulted in East Pakistan becoming the separate nation of Bangladesh. - In 1998 - In response to Indian nuclear weapon tests, Pakistan conducted its own tests. The dispute over the state of Kashmir is ongoing, but discussions and confidence-building measures have led to decreased tensions since 2002.


12 April 1973; suspended 5 July 1977, restored with amendments 30 December 1985; suspended 15 October 1999, restored in stages in 2002; amended 31 December 2003; suspended 3 November 2007; restored with amendments on 15 December 2007 Politics

- In 2006, Pakistan introduced legislation to change the country's harsh Islamic rape laws.

- In March 2007, President Musharraf suspended Chief Justice Iftakar Mohammed Chaudhry, accusing him of abuse of power and nepotism.

- Radical Islamist clerics and students at Islamabad's Red Mosque, who have been using kidnappings and violence in their campaign for the imposition of Shariah, or Islamic law, in Pakistan, exchanged gunfire with government troops in July 2007. After the initial violence, the military laid siege to the mosque.

- In Aug. 2007, the Supreme Court ruled that former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif could return to Pakistan from exile in Saudi Arabia.

- Bhutto revealed that Musharraf had agreed to a power-sharing agreement, in which he would step down as army chief and run for re-election as president. In exchange, Bhutto, who has been living in self-imposed exile for eight years, would be allowed to return to Pakistan and run for prime minister.

- On Oct. 6, Musharraf was easily re-elected to a third term by the country's national and provincial assemblies. The opposition boycotted the vote, and only representatives from the governing party participated in the election.

- On Nov. 3, Musharraf declared a state of emergency, suspended Pakistan's constitution, and fired Chief Justice Iftakar Mohammed Chaudhry and the other judges of the Supreme Court.

- Musharraf said parliamentary elections would take place in January 2008. - On Nov. 28, Musharraf stepped down as military chief, the day before being sworn in as a civilian president. - On Dec. 14, Musharraf ended emergency rule and restored the Constitution.

- On Dec. 27, Bhutto was assassinated in a suicide attack at a campaign rally in Rawalpindi.

- Musharraf postponed parliamentary elections, which had been scheduled for Jan. 8, 2008, until February 18.

- The opposition Pakistan People's Party, which was led by Bhutto until her assassination and is now headed by her widow, Asif Ali Zardari, won 80 of the 242 contested seats. The Pakistan Muslim League-N, led by Sharif, took 66 seats. The Pakistan People's Party and the Pakistan Muslim League-N said they will form a coalition government and exclude Musharraf and members of his government.  


Sikh: old temples and ashrams, stupas and monasteries

Mughal: Mosques were built, forts and palaces were erected, mausoleums and garden cemeteries were created where no such structures existed before.

British Raj: unique hybrids created by fusing the elements of English with the local Islamic architecture. Most of these colonial buildings are still standing and in use in Pakistan.

Post colonial: There has been no new "world class" museum or art gallery built in the last six decades. There are no opera houses and night clubs. Significant theater halls include the Lahore Alhamra that is known for hosting national and international performance events. None of the new bridges over major rivers or canals have any architectural values to them. The country has no "internationally renowned" architects or architectural firms of its own although, almost all of the local architecture is designed by them.

Music: It ranges from traditional styles (such as Qawwali) to more modern forms that try to fuse traditional Pakistani music with Rock bands such as 'Junoon' becoming recognized internationally.

Literature: Tradition of poetry and includes famous poets as Mirza Ghalib, Allama Iqbal and Faiz Ahmad Faiz national Poet of Pakistan.

Festivals: Eid ul-Fitr, Eid ul-Adha, Eid-e-milaad-un-nabi, Muharram (Ashura), Basant (spring festival), Norouz (socio-religious), Independence Day, Defense Day Parade and Kashmir day.