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Wikipedia: Pakistan
Pakistan
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

The Islamic Republic of Pakistan (پاکستان in Urdu) is a nation in south-central Asia bordering Iran, Afghanistan, China, India, and the Arabian Sea. Pakistan is home to around 140 million people, most of whom are Muslim, with Islam being the state religion.

Pakistan is an Urdu term meaning land of the pure. The suffix -stan, common to many countries in the region, means "land of" in Persian (e.g. Afghanistan = Land of Afghans).

'''اسلامی جمہوریت پاکستان
Islami Jamahuriat Pakistan
(In Detail) (In Detail)
National motto: Iman, Aktad, Nizam
(Urdu: "Faith, Unity, Discipline")''
Official languages Urdu, English
Capital Islamabad
Largest City Karachi
President Pervez Musharraf
Prime Minister Zafarullah Khan Jamali
Area
 - Total
 - % water
Ranked 34th
803,940 km²
3.1%
Population
 - Total (2000)
 - Density
Ranked 7th
141,145,344
184/km²
IndependenceAugust 14, 1947 (from the UK)
RepublicMarch 23, 1956
Currency Pakistani Rupees (PKR)
Time zone UTC +5
National anthem Pak sarzamin shad bad
(Blessed Be The Sacred Land)
Internet TLD.PK
Calling Code92

History

Main article: History of Pakistan, History of South Asia

The land that is now Pakistan was originally part of India. The history of modern Pakistan begins during the times of British colonial India, when some Muslims began agitating for a country of their own. Among the first proponents of this idea was the writer Allama Iqbal, who felt that a seperate nation for Muslims was essential in an otherwise Hindu-dominated subcontinent. The cause found a leader in Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who became its champion and eventually led the British to partition India into Muslim-majority Pakistan, and Hindu-majority India.

From 1947 until 1971 the nation consisted of West Pakistan and East Pakistan, separated from one another by India. In 1971 East Pakistan rebelled, and with the help of India became the independent state of Bangladesh. Since independence Pakistan has also been in constant dispute with India over the territory of Kashmir. Almost immediately after indepdence, India and Pakistan went to war over the state, and later wars were fought in 1965, and 1971 over the territory. Despite the numerous battles, the status of the state remain in a state of limbo. The Kashmir dispute has complicated relations between Pakistan and its larger neighbor to the east.

Pakistani history has also been dominated by military control. Although dominion status was ended in 1956 with the formation of a Constitution and a declaration of Pakistan as an Islamic Republic, the military would take control in 1958 and hold it for more than 10 years. Civilian rule would return after the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, but would be ended in the late 70s, with the execution of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.

During the 1980s, Pakistan received substantial aid from the United States and took in millions of Afghan refugees escaping the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. The influx of so many refugees has had a heavy impact on Pakistan. The 1980s also saw an expansion of Islamic law, as well as an influx of weaponary and drugs from Afghanistan during the reign of General Muhammad Zia ul-Haq. The general would die in 1988, and Pakistan returned to an elected government, ushured in with the election of Benazir Bhutto.

For most of the 1990s, Pakistan was ruled by a civilian government. There was some economic growth in the nation during this time, but Pakistan's economy was hurt badly due to sanctions imposed on it after Pakistan tested its first nuclear device in 1998. The Pakistani testing came shortly after India tested a nuclear device and increased fears of a nuclear arms race beginning in South Asia. The next year, the two nations would go to war in Kashmir during the Kargil Conflict, one that would almost spill out into a full-scale war. Military rule would return only months after a conclusion was reached to the Kargil conflict when General Pervez Musharraf overthrew Nawaz Sharif in a coup.

Musharraf has begun steps to return the nation to democracy, but he retains control of Pakistan through his holding of the position of President. Critics of Musharraf feel that he is moving too slowly, and great political opposition has arisen to him. The rule of Musharraf is also threatened by Islamic fundamentalists who have grown in strength since the September 11, 2001 attacks and who are particularly angered by Musharraf's support of the United States. In January 2004 Pakistan hosted top Indian officials in an attempt to rebuild relations between the two nations. Relations between the neighbors reached a low point and almost led to war in 2002 after an attack on the Indian Parliament.

Politics

Main article: Politics of Pakistan

Although officially a federal republic, in October 1999, General Pervez Musharraf overthrew the civilian government and assumed executive authority. He declared himself president in 2001. A new parliament was elected in 2002 and Zafarullah Khan Jamali, a loyal follower of Musharraf, has been appointed Prime Minister. Pakistan has had a long history of military dictatorships from General Ayub Khan in the 1960s to General Zia Ul Haq in the 1980s, and presently General Pervez Musharraf.

Subdivisions

Main article: Subdivisions of Pakistan

Pakistan has 4 provinces, 2 territories, and also administers parts of Kashmir

Provinces:

Territories:

Pakistani-administered portions of Jammu and Kashmir region:

Geography

Main article:
Geography of Pakistan

A country slightly less than twice the size California, Pakistan is located in Southern Asia. It borders the Arabian Sea to the south, and is positioned between India to the east and Iran and Afghanistan to the West. Its Northern border is shared with China.

The main waterway of Pakistan is the Indus river that begins in India, and runs through most of Punjab, emptying into the Arabian Sea. The northern and western areas of Pakistan are mountainous, and Pakistani held areas of Kashmir contain some of the highest mountains in the world, inclding the second tallest, K-2. The eastern area of Pakistan, especially along the border of India consists of desert, and is flat. The Punjab and Sindh provinces are generally flat plains where agriculture is of great importance.

Economy

Main article: Economy of Pakistan

Pakistan is a poor, heavily populated country, suffering from internal political disputes, lack of foreign investment, and a costly confrontation with neighboring India. Pakistan's economic outlook continues to be marred by its weak foreign exchange position, notably its continued reliance on international creditors for hard currency inflows.

The economy of Pakistan has recovered somewhat from American sanctions imposed in 1998 after nuclear tests due to the Bush administrations decision to pardon some of Pakistans debt and return money Pakistan had paid in order to buy F-16 fighter jets.

Demographics

Main article: Demographics of Pakistan

Pakistan has the worlds seventh largest population, this coupled with a high growth rate means that Pakistan will only move up among nations in population in the near future. The majority of the people of Pakistan are Muslim, with a sizeable minority of Shiite Muslims. A small minority of non-Muslims exist, mostly Christians, Hindus, and smaller groups of Buddhists and animists in the remote Northern Areas.

While Urdu and English are the official languages of Pakistan, the most widely spoken language in Punjabi, and Punajbis compose the largest ethnic group in the nation. Other important ethnic groups include: Sindhis, Pathans, Balochis, and Muhajirs. There are also sizeable numbers of Afghanis, many of them refugees, and a population of Bengalis that are concentrated in Karachi.

Culture

Main article: Culture of Pakistan

Many aspects of culture in Pakistan are similar to North Indian culture. This owing to the fact that what is now Pakistan was tradtionally the northern part of India. There are differences in culture among the different ethnic groups in matters such as dress, and food.

Despite tense relations with India, Indian movies are popular in Pakistan. Ironically, Indian films are officially illegal, but they can easily be found across Pakistan. A smaller indigenous movie industry exists in Pakistan, and is known as Lollywood. Music is also very popular in Pakistan, and ranges from traditional styles to more modern groups that try to fuse traditional Pakistani music with western music.

Increasing globalization has increased the influence of Western culture in Pakistan. Especially among the affluent, who have easy access to Western products, television, media, and even food. Many Western food chains have opened established themselves in Pakistan, and are found in the major cities. At the same time, there is also a reactionary movment within Pakistan that wants to turn away from Western influences, and this has manifested itself in a return to more traditional roots, often empahsized through Islam.

A large Pakistani diaspora exists, especially in the United Kingdom, United States and Canada as well as in the Scandanavian nations. These emigrants and their resulting children have had an effect on Pakistani culture as well, especially when some of the diaspora return to Pakistan.

Perhaps the most popular sport in Pakistan is cricket, and large amounts of Pakistanis gather around TV sets to watch the Pakistani team play in World competitions, especially against Pakistans rival India. Pakistan has also developed one of the top teams in international cricket, one that has won the World Cup in the past. Field Hockey is also an important sport in Pakistan, Pakistan having won the gold medal at the olympics a number of times in the sport. Football or Soccer is played in Pakistan as well, but is not as popular as cricket or field hockey. Polo is believed to have originated in the Northern parts of Pakistan, and continues to be an important sport there with large competitions throughout the year.

Holidays
DateEnglish NameLocal NameRemarks
March 23Pakistan Day-Commemorates Pakistan becoming a republic
May 1Labor Day--
August 14Independece Day--
September 6Defence Day-Commemerates the military's role in defence of Pakistan
September 11Death Anniversary of Muhammad Ali Jinnah--
December 25Christmas and Birthday of Muhammad Ali Jinnah--
date variesEid ul-AdhaBari EidCommemorates Abrahams willingness to sacrifice his son, occurs on the 10th day of the month of hajj
date variesEid ul-FitrChoti EidCommemorates end of Ramadan

Miscellaneous topics

External links


  

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 
Modified by Geona