Islamic Republic of Pakistan اسلامی جمہوریۂ پاکستان

Pakistan

 

Flag

 State Emblem

 Motto: Unity, Discipline, Faith(Urdu: اتحاد، تنظيم، يقين مُحکم)
Ittehad, Tanzeem, Yaqeen-e-Muhkam

Pakistan Officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a 1,046-kilometre (650 mi) coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan lies adjacent to Pakistan but is separated by the narrow Wakhan Corridor. In addition, Oman is also located in maritime vicinity and shares a marine border with Pakistan. Strategically, Pakistan is located in a position between the important regions of South Asia, Central Asia and the greater Middle East.

The region forming modern Pakistan was the site of several ancient cultures including the neolithic Mehrgarh and the bronze era Indus Valley  Civilisation. Subsequently it was the recipient of Hindu, Persian, Indo-Greek, Islamic, Turco-Mongol, Afghan and Sikh cultures through several invasions and/or settlements. As a result the area has remained a part of numerous empires and dynasties including the Indian empires, Persian empires, Arab caliphates, Mongol, Mughal, Durrani Empire (Afghan Empire), Sikh and British Empire. Pakistan gained independence from the British Empire in 1947 after a struggle for independence, led by Mohammad Ali Jinnah, that sought the partition of British colony of India and independence for the Muslim majority populations of the eastern and western regions of British India. With the adoption of its constitution in 1956, Pakistan became an Islamic republic. In 1971, anarmed conflict in East Pakistan resulted in the creation of Bangladesh.

Pakistan is a federal parliamentary republic consisting of four provinces and four federal territories. With a population exceeding 170 million people, it is thesixth most populous country in the world and has the second largest Muslim population after Indonesia. It is an ethnically and linguistically diverse country with a similar variation in its geography and wildlife. With a semi-industrialized economy, it is the 27th largest in the world in terms of purchasing power. Since gaining independence, Pakistan’s history has been characterised by periods of military rule, political instability and conflicts with neighbouring India. The country faces challenging problems including terrorism, poverty, illiteracy and corruption.

Pakistan has the eighth largest standing armed force and is the only Muslim-majority nation to possess nuclear weapons. Pakistan is the first nuclear power country in the Muslim world, and second in the South Asia, while first being India.It is designated as a major non-NATO ally of the United States and a strategic ally of China. It is a founding member of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (now the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation) and a member of the United Nations, Commonwealth of Nations. Next Eleven economies and the G20 developing nations.

Demographics

Population density in Pakistan
Population in Pakistan
Year Million
1971 62.5
1980 82.7
1990 108.0
2000 138.1
2004 152.1
2008 166.0
Source: OECD/World Bank

Population in Pakistan increased from 1990 to 2008 with 58 million and 54 % growth in population. The estimated population of Pakistan in 2010 was over 170 million making it the world’s sixth most-populous country, behind Brazil and ahead of Bangladesh. In 1951 Pakistan had a population of 34 million. The population growth rate now stands at 1.6%. It is expected that by 2030, Pakistan will overtake Indonesia as the largest Muslim country in the world.

The majority of southern Pakistan’s population live along the Indus River. By population size, Karachi is the largest city of Pakistan. In the northern half, most of the population live in an arc formed by the cities of Lahore,Faisalabad, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Gujranwala, Sialkot, Gujrat, Jhelum, Sargodha, Sheikhupura, Nowshera, Mardanand Peshawar. About 20% of the population live below the international poverty line of US$1.25 a day .

Life expectancy at birth is 63 years for females and 62 years for males as of 2006 compared to the healthy life expectancy at birth which was 54 years for males and 52 years for females in 2003. Expenditure on health was at 2% of the GDP in 2006. The mortality below 5 was at 97 per 1,000 live births in 2006. During 1990–2003, Pakistan sustained its historical lead as the most urbanised nation in South Asia, with city dwellers making up 36% of its population. Furthermore, 50% of Pakistanis now reside in towns of 5,000 people or more.

Pakistan is a multilingual country with more than sixty languages being spoken. English is the official language of Pakistan and used in official business, government, and legal contracts and Punjabi has a plurality of native speakers. Urdu is the lingua franca and national language in Pakistan. Punjabi is the provincial language of Punjab. Saraiki is also spoken in the larger area of Punjab province. Pashto is the provincial language of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Sindhi is the provincial language of Sindh and Balochi is the provincial language of Balochistan.

The population comprises several main ethnic groups (2009):

  1. Punjabis (44.15%) 78.7 million
  2. Pashtuns (15.42%) 27.2 million
  3. Sindhis (14.1%) 24.8 million
  4. Seraikis (10.53%) 14.8 million
  5. Muhajirs (7.57%) 13.3 million
  6. Balochs is (3.57%) 6.3 million
  7. Others (4.66%) 11.1 million

Smaller ethnic groups, such as Kashmiris, Hindkowans, Kalash, Burusho, Brahui, Khowar, Ranghar, Meo, Balti, Shina, and Turwalis are mainly found in the northern parts of the country.

Pakistan’s census does not include the registered 1.7 million Afghan refugees from neighbouring Afghanistan, who are mainly found in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) areas, with small numbers in the cities of Karachi and Quetta. Around 2 million refugees from Bangladesh, Iran, Africa, and other places are also found in Pakistan.

Largest cities of Pakistan 2010 estimate

Rank

City Name

Province

Population

1

Karachi

Sindh

13,205,339

2

Lahore

Punjab

7,129,609

3

Faisalabad

Punjab

2,880,675

4

Rawalpindi

Punjab

1,991,656

5

Multan

Punjab

1,606,481

6

Hyderabad

Sindh

1,578,367

7

Gujranwala

Punjab

1,569,090

8

Peshawar

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

1,439,205

9

Quetta

Balochistan

896,090

10

Islamabad

Capital Territory

689,249

11

Sargodha

Punjab

600,501

12

Bahawalpur

Punjab

543,929

13

Sialkot

Punjab

510,863

14

Sukkur

Sindh

493,438

15

Larkana

Sindh

456,544

16

Sheikhupura

Punjab

426,980

17

Jhang

Punjab

372,645

18

Rahim Yar Khan

Punjab

353,112

19

Mardan

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

352,135

20

Gujrat

Punjab

336,727

Pakistan is the second-most populous Muslim-majority country and also has the second-largest Shi’a population in the world. About 97% of the Pakistanis are Muslim. The majority areSunni, with an estimated 5–20% Shi’a. 2.3% are Ahmadis, who are officially considered non-Muslims since a 1974 “anti-Ahmadi” constitutional amendment. There are also several Sufi and Quraniyoon communities. Although the groups of Muslims usually coexist peacefully, sectarian violence occurs sporadically. The religious breakdown of the country is as follows:Religion

  • Islam 173,000,000 (97%) (the majority are Sunni Muslims, 5–20% are Shi’a and 2.3% are Ahmadis).
  • Hinduism 2,800,000 (1.6%)
  • Christianity 2,800,000 (1.6%)
  • Sikhs Around 20,000 (0.001%)
  • The remaining are Parsis, Buddhists, Jews, Bahá’ís and Animists (mainly the Kalasha of Chitral).

Education

image of a south Asian style building, the National Academy of Performing Arts.

National Academy of Performing Arts,Karachi.

International Islamic University Islamabad.

According to the constitution of Pakistan, it is the state’s responsibility to provide free primary education. At the time of independence Pakistan had only one university, the University of the Punjab, founded in 1882 in Lahore. Pakistan now has more than 132 universities of which 73 are public universities and 59 are private universities.

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

Literacy rate – Pakistan

Pakistan also has a parallel secondary school education system in private schools, which is based upon the curriculum set and administered by the Cambridge International Examinations, in place of government exams. Some students choose to take the O level and A level exams through the British Council.

There are currently 730 technical & vocational institutions in Pakistan. The minimum qualifications to enter male vocational institutions, is the completion of grade 8, and for female is grade 5.

English medium education is to be extended, on a phased basis, to all schools across the country. Through various educational reforms, by the year 2015, the ministry of education expects to attain 100% enrolment levels amongst primary school aged children, and a literacy rate of 86% amongst people aged over 10.

Pakistan also has madrassahs that provide free Islamic education and also offer free boarding and lodging to students who come mainly from the poorer strata of society. After criticism over terrorists using them for recruiting purposes, efforts have been made to regulate them.

In 2004 only 46.6 percent of adult Pakistanis were literate. Male literacy was 60.6 percent, while female literacy was 31.5 percent. Literacy rates also vary regionally, and particularly by sex; for instance, in tribal areas female literacy is 3%. The government launched a nationwide initiative in 1998 with the aim of eradicating illiteracy and providing a basic education to all children.

Culture

A sitar workshop in Islamabad, Pakistan.

Rubab, a traditional instrument from Pakistan

Pakistani society is largely hierarchical, with high regard for traditional Islamic values, although urban families have grown into a nuclear family system because of the socio-economic constraints imposed by the traditional joint family system. Recent decades have seen the emergence of a middle class in cities like Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Hyderabad, Faisalabad, Multan and Peshawar (now numbering at 30 million, with an average annual income of US$10,000, with another 17 million belonging to the upper and upper-middle classes that wish to move in a more centrist direction, as opposed to the northwestern regions bordering Afghanistan that remain highly conservative and dominated by centuries-old regional tribal customs. Increasing globalisation has resulted in ranking 46th on the A.T. Kearney/FP Globalization Index.

picture taken in evening, having a bazaar with people walking around, and food shops.

View of Food Street in Lahore

The variety of Pakistani music ranges from diverse provincial folk music and traditional styles such as Qawwali and Ghazal Gayaki to modern forms fusing traditional and western music, such as the synchronisation of Qawwali and western music by the world renowned Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. In addition Pakistan is home to many famous folk singers such as the late Alam Lohar, who is also well known in Indian Punjab. However, majority of Pakistanis listen to Indian music produced by Bollywood and other Indian film industries. The arrival of Afghan refugees in the western provinces has rekindled Pashto and Persianmusic and established Peshawar as a hub for Afghan musicians and a distribution center for Afghan music abroad.

State-owned Pakistan Television Corporation (PTV) and Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation were the dominant media outlets, but there are now numerous private television channels. Various American, European, and Asian television channels and films are available to the majority of the Pakistani population via private television networks, cable, and satellite television (43 million Pakistanis have satellite television). There are also small indigenous film industries based in Lahore and Peshawar (often referred to as Lollywood). And while Bollywood films have been banned from being played in public cinemas since 1965 they have remained in popular culture.

Literature

A black and white picture of a man with mustaches.

Sir Muhammad Iqbal was a key leader in the Pakistan Movement. He is also a national poet of Pakistan.

The literature of Pakistan covers the literatures of languages spread throughout the country, namely Urdu, Sindhi, Punjabi, Pushto, Baluchi as well as English[190] andPersian as well. Prior to the 19th century, the literature mainly consisted of lyric poetry and religious, mystical and popular materials. During the colonial age the native literary figures, under the influence of the western literature of realism, took up increasingly different topics and telling forms. Today, short stories enjoy a special popularity.

The national poet of Pakistan, Allama Muhammad Iqbal, suggested the creation of a separate homeland for the Muslims of India. However, Iqbal had also wrote theTarana-e-Hind which stated the belief of a strong united India. His book The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam is a major work of modern Islamic philosophy. The most well-known representative of the contemporary Urdu literature of Pakistan is Faiz Ahmed Faiz. Sufi poets Shah Abdul Latif, Bulleh Shah, Mian Muhammad Bakhsh and Khawaja Farid are also very popular in Pakistan. Mirza Kalich Beg has been termed the father of modern Sindhi prose.

Architecture

The Pakistani architecture of the areas now constituting Pakistan can be designated to four distinct periods—pre-Islamic, Islamic, colonial and post-colonial. With the beginning of the Indus civilisation around the middle of the 3rd millennium B.C., an advanced urban culture developed for the first time in the region, with large structural facilities, some of which survive to this day. Mohenjo Daro, Harappa and Kot Diji belong to the pre-Islamic era settlements. The rise of Buddhism and thePersian and Greek influence led to the development of the Greco-Buddhist style, starting from the 1st century CE. The high point of this era was reached with the culmination of the Gandhara style.

An example of Buddhist architecture is the ruins of the Buddhist monastery Takht-i-Bahi in the northwest province.

The arrival of Islam in today’s Pakistan meant a sudden end of Buddhist architecture. However, a smooth transition to predominantly pictureless Islamic architecture occurred. The most important of the few completely discovered buildings of Persian style is the tomb of the Shah Rukn-i-Alam in Multan. During theMughal era design elements of Islamic-Persian architecture were fused with and often produced playful forms of the Hindustani art. Lahore, occasional residence of Mughal rulers, exhibits a multiplicity of important buildings from the empire, among them the Badshahi mosque, the fortress of Lahore with the famous Alamgiri Gate, the colourful, still strongly Persian seeming Wazir Khan Mosque as well as numerous other mosques and mausoleums. Also the Shahjahan Mosque of Thatta in Sindh originates from the epoch of the Mughals. 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.

Cuisine

Beef Sekh Kebabs on skewers

Known for its richness and flavour, Pakistani cuisine is a blend of cooking traditions from regions of the subcontinent. Although there are great variations from one area to another, dishes from Sindh province, and the Punjab region are identical to north Indian cuisine due to the strong similarity of culture and ethnicity. These can be highly seasoned and very spicy.

Sports

The national sport of Pakistan is field hockey, although cricket is the most popular game across the country. The national cricket team has won theCricket World Cup once (in 1992), were runners-up once (in 1999), and co-hosted the games twice (in 1987 and 1996). Pakistan were runners-up in the inaugural 2007 ICC World Twenty20 held in South Africa and were the champions at the 2009 ICC World Twenty20 held in England. Lately however, Pakistani cricket has suffered heavily due to teams refusing to tour Pakistan because of terrorism fears. No teams have toured Pakistan since March 2009, when militants attacked the touring Sri Lankan cricket players.

Field Hockey, the National sport of Pakistan.
Jahangir Khan, six times winner of the Squash World Open.

Squash is another sport that Pakistanis have excelled in. Successful world-class squash players such as Jahangir Khanand Jansher Khan have won the World Open several times during their careers. Other international players are Kiran Khanin Swimming and Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi in Tennis.

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

Among others, Association football and Polo are the more prominent sports with regular national events held in different parts of the country. Boxing, Billiards, Snooker, Rowing, Kayaking, Caving, Tennis, Contract Bridge, Golf and Volley Ballare also actively participated and Pakistan has produced notable champions in these sports at regional and international levels. In Tennis doubles, Pakistan’s Aisam-ul-haq Qureshi and India’s Rohan Bopanna play together in many International tournaments portraying Indo-Pak friendship.

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