|Islamic Republic of Pakistanاسلامی جمہوریۂ پاکستان
Islāmī Jumhūrī-ye Pākistān
|Motto: Faith, Unity, Discipline
(Urdu: ایمان، اتحاد، تنظیم) Iman, Ittehad, Tanzeem
|Area constituting Pakistan in dark green; claimed but uncontrolled territory in light green|
|Recognised regional languages||Balochi, Pashto,Punjabi, Saraiki,Sindhi|
|-||President||Asif Zardari (PPP)|
|-||Prime Minister||Yousaf Gillani (PPP)|
|-||Chief Justice||Iftikhar Chaudhry|
|-||Chair of Senate||Farooq Naek (PPP)|
|-||House Speaker||Fahmida Mirza (PPP)|
|-||Lower house||National Assembly|
|-||Conception of Pakistan||29 December 1930|
|-||Pakistan Declaration||28 January 1933|
|-||Pakistan Resolution||23 March 1940|
|-||Independence||from the United Kingdom|
|-||Declared||14 August 1947|
|-||Islamic Republic||23 March 1956|
|-||Total||796,095 km2 (36th)|
307,374 sq mi
|-||2011 estimate||177,100,000 (6th)|
|GDP (PPP)||2011 estimate|
|GDP (nominal)||2011 estimate|
|Gini (2005)||31.2 (medium)|
|HDI (2011)||0.504 (low) (145th)|
|Currency||Pakistani Rupee (Rs.) (PKR)|
|-||Summer (DST)||PDT (UTC+6)|
|Drives on the||left|
|ISO 3166 code||PK|
Pakistan (i// or i//; Urdu: پاکستان) (Urdu pronunciation: [paːkɪˈst̪aːn] ( listen)), officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan (Urdu: اسلامی جمہوریۂ پاکستان) is a sovereign country in South Asia. Bounded by a 1,046-kilometre (650 mi) coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south, it is bordered by India in the east, Afghanistan in the west and north, Iran in the southwest and China in the far northeast, while Tajikistan is separated by the narrow Wakhan Corridorin the north. In addition, Oman is also located in maritime vicinity and shares a marine border with Pakistan. Strategically, Pakistan is situated at the crossroads of the important regions of South Asia, Central Asia and the 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, Sikh andBritish Empire. In 1947, as a result of the Pakistan Movement led by Muhammad Ali Jinnah and India's struggle for independence, Pakistan was created as an independent nation for Muslims from the Muslim majority, eastern and western, regions of India. Initially a dominion, with the adoption of new constitution in 1956 Pakistan became an Islamic republic. In 1971, a civil war in East Pakistan resulted in the secession of East Pakistan as Bangladesh.
Pakistan is a federal parliamentary republic consisting of four provinces and four federal territories. With a population exceeding 170 million people, it is the sixth 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. Its semi-industrialized economy 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 continues to face challenging problems including terrorism, poverty, illiteracy and corruption.
A regional and middle power, Pakistan has the seventh largest standing armed forces in the world and is a declared nuclear weapons state, being the first and only nation to have that status in the Muslim world, and the second in South Asia. It is designated as a major non-NATO ally of the United States and a strategic ally of China. Pakistan is a founding member of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (now the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation) and is a member of the United Nations, Commonwealth of Nations and the G20 developing nations.
The name Pakistan literally means Land of (the) Pure in Urdu and Persian. It was coined in 1933 as Pakstan by Choudhary Rahmat Ali, a Pakistan Movement activist, who published it in his pamphlet Now or Never. Figuratively, the name is an acronym representing the "thirty million Muslim brethren who live in PAKSTAN" — referring to the names of the five northern regions of the Indian subcontinent, viz.: Punjab, North-West Frontier Province (Afghan Province), Kashmir, Sind, and Baluchistan". The letter 'i' became the defacto addition to ease pronunciation and form the linguistically correct name.
HistoryEditStanding Buddha fromGandhara, Pakistan, 1st century AD
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 the Soanians who settled in the Soan Valley of Punjab. The Indus region, which covers most of Pakistan, was the site of several successive ancient cultures including the Neolithic era's Mehrgarh (7000–3200 BCE) and the bronze eraIndus Valley Civilisation (2800–1800 BCE) at Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro.
The Vedic Civilization (1500–500 BCE) characterized by Indo-Aryan culture laid the foundations of Hinduism, which would become well established in the region. Multan was considered an important Hindu pilgrimage centre. The Vedic civilization flourished in the ancient Gandhāran city of Takṣaśilā, now Taxila in Punjab. Successive ancient empires and kingdoms ruled the region: the AchaemenidPersian empire around 519 BCE, the Greek empire founded by Alexander the Great in 327 BCE and the Mauryan empire founded byChandragupta Maurya and extended by Ashoka the Great, until 185 BCE. The Indo-Greek Kingdom founded by Demetrius of Bactria in 184 BCE included Gandhara and Punjab and reached its greatest extent under Menander, establishing the Greco-Buddhist period with advances in trade and culture. The city of Taxila became a major centre of learning in ancient times—the remains of the city, located to the west of Islamabad, are one of the country's major archaeological sites. Taxila is considered to be amongst the earliest universities and centers of higher education in the world.Mughal emperor Aurangzeb seated on a golden throne in the Durbar
The Medieval period (642–1219 CE) is defined by 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. The Rai Dynasty (489–632 CE) of Sindh, at its zenith, ruled this region and the surrounding territories.
In 711 CE, the Arab general Muhammad bin Qasim conquered Sindh and Multan in southern Punjab. This Arab and Islamic victory would set the stage for the rule of several successive Muslim empires in the region, including the Ghaznavid Empire (975 -1187 CE), the Ghorid Kingdom and the Delhi Sultanate (1206–1526 CE). The last of Delhi Sultanate, Lodi dynasty was replaced by the Mughal Empire (1526–1857 CE). The Mughals transferred Persian literature and high culture, establishing the roots of Indo-Persian culture in the region.
The Pakistan government's official chronology has stated Muhammad bin Qasim's conquest of the region as the point where the "foundation" of Pakistan was laid.
Colonial periodEditMain articles: Pakistan Movement, Partition of India, and British RajThe Working Committee of the Muslim League in Lahore (1940)
The gradual decline of the Mughal Empire in the early eighteenth century provided opportunities for the Afghans, Balochis and Sikhs to exercise control over large areas until the British East India Company gained ascendancy over South Asia. The Indian Rebellion of 1857, also known as the Sepoy Mutiny, was the region's last major armed struggle against the British Raj, and it laid the foundations for the largely non-violent freedom struggle led by the Indian National Congress in the twentieth century. In the 1920s and 1930s, a movement led by Congress leader Mahatma Gandhi engaged millions of protesters in mass campaigns of civil disobedience.Founder of Pakistan and the first Governor General,Muhammad Ali Jinnah, delivering the opening address to the new state of Pakistan
The All India Muslim League rose to popularity in the late 1930s amid fears of under-representation and neglect of Muslims in politics. On 29 December 1930, Allama Iqbal's presidential address called for an autonomous "state in northwestern India for Indian Muslims, within the body politic of India." Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, espoused the Two Nation Theory and led the Muslim League to adopt the Lahore Resolution of 1940, popularly known as the Pakistan Resolution. In early 1947, Britain announced the decision to end its rule in India. In June 1947, the nationalist leaders ofBritish India—including Jawaharlal Nehru and Abul Kalam Azad on behalf of the Congress, Jinnah representing the Muslim League, andMaster Tara Singh representing the Sikhs—agreed to the proposed terms of transfer of power and independence.
The modern state of Pakistan was established on 14 August 1947 (27 Ramadan 1366 in the Islamic Calendar), carved out of the two Muslim-majority wings in the eastern and northwestern regions of British India and comprising the provinces of Balochistan, East Bengal, the North-West Frontier Province, West Punjab and Sindh. Partition of the Punjab and Bengal provinces caused communal riots across India and Pakistan—millions of Muslims moved to Pakistan and millions of Hindus and Sikhs moved to India. Dispute over the princely state,Jammu and Kashmir, lead to the First Kashmir War in 1948.
Pakistan has had two monarchs in its modern history. From 1947 to 1956, Pakistan was a dominion in the Commonwealth of Nations. In 1947, King George VI relinquished the title of Emperor of India, and became King of Pakistan. He remained King of Pakistan until his death on 6 February 1952. Upon his death, Queen Elizabeth II became Queen of Pakistan until Pakistan declared itself a republic on 23 March 1956.
RepublicEditMinar-e-Pakistan, a symbol of Pakistan's independence
It became an Islamic and Parliamentary republic in 1956, but the civilian rule was stalled by a coup d’état by then-Army Commander-in-Chief General Ayub Khan, who was the first Chief Martial Law Administrator and also the President during 1958–69. The country experienced exceptional growth until a second war with India in 1965, which led to economic downfall and internal instability. Ayub Khan's successor, General Yahya Khan (1969–71), also an Army Commander, had to deal with a devastating cyclone which caused 500,000 deaths in East Pakistan.
In 1970, Pakistan held its first ever democratic elections since independence. The elections were meant to mark a transition from military rule to democracy, however, after the East Pakistan Awami League won the elections, Yahya Khan and the ruling elite in West Pakistan refused to hand over power. Following civil unrest in the East, Pakistan launched a military operation on 25th March 1971 aimed at restoring control over the province. The targeting of civilians and other atrocities during this operation led to a declaration of independence and to the waging of a war of liberation by East Pakistan Bengali Mukti Bahini forces with support from India.Attacks on Indian military bases by the Pakistani air forces in December 1971 lead to the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 which ended with the formal secession of East Pakistan as the independent state of Bangladesh.
With Pakistan's defeat in the war, General Yahya Khan was replaced by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto as the Chief Martial Law Administrator. Civilian rule resumed in Pakistan from 1972 to 1977. During this period Pakistan began the process of building nuclear weapons. In 1972, the country's first atomic power plant was inaugurated. In 1977, civilian rule ended with a military coup and, in 1979, General Zia-ul-Haq became the third military president. Military government lasted until 1988, during which Pakistan's economy became one of the fastest growing economies in South Asia. Zia further consolidated nuclear development and was responsible for increasingIslamization of the state. During this period, Pakistan helped the subsidizing and distribution of US resources to factions of the Mujahideen movement against the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
With the death of Zia in a plane crash in 1988, Benazir Bhutto, daughter of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, was elected as the first female Prime Minister of Pakistan. She was followed by Nawaz Sharif and over the next decade the two leaders fought for power and alternated as the country's situation worsened; the economic indicators fell sharply in contrast to the 80s. This period is marked with political instability, misgovernance and corruption. During Sharif's government in May 1998, India testedfive nuclear weapons and tension with India heightened to an extreme, resulting in Pakistan's detonation of six nuclear weapons of its own (see Chagai-I and Chagai-II) half a month later. Military tension in the Kargil with India was followed by the Kargil War, after which General Pervez Musharraf took over through a Bloodless coup d'état and assumed vast executive powers.
General Musharraf ruled Pakistan as head of state from 1999–2001 and as President from 2001-08, a period marked by extensive economic reforms and Pakistan's involvement in the US led war on terrorism. On 15 November 2007, Pakistan's National Assembly completed tenure for the first time in its history and new elections were called. In the 2008 elections, Bhutto's Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) won the largest number of seats and its member Yousaf Raza Gillani was sworn in as Prime Minister. Musharraf resigned from the presidency when threatened with impeachment on 18 August 2008, and was succeeded by current president; Asif Ali Zardari. Pakistan's involvement in the war against terrorism has, according to its own estimates, cost up to $67.93 billion, thousands of casualties and nearly 3 million displaced civilians.
PoliticsEditMain articles: Government of Pakistan, Politics of Pakistan, and Foreign relations of PakistanPrime Minister of Pakistan,Yousaf Raza Gillani
Pakistan is a democratic parliamentary federal republic with Islam as the state religion. The first Constitution of Pakistan was adopted in 1956, but was suspended in 1958 by General Ayub Khan. The Constitution of 1973 – suspended in 1977, by Zia-ul-Haq, but re-instated in 1985 – is the country's most important document, laying the foundations of the current government.
The bicameral legislature comprises a 100-member Senate and a 342-member National Assembly. The President is the Head of state and the Commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces and is elected by an electoral college. The prime minister is usually the leader of the largest party in the National Assembly. Each province has a similar system of government with a directly elected Provincial Assembly in which the leader of the largest party or alliance becomes Chief Minister. Provincial governors are appointed by the President. The Pakistani military establishment has played an influential role in mainstream politics throughout Pakistan's political history, with military presidents ruling from 1958–1971, 1977–1988 and 1999–2008.Benazir Bhutto (late) was the first female Prime Minister of Pakistan, serving two terms in office.
The focus of Pakistan foreign policy is security against threats to national identity, territorial integrity and cultivation of close relations with Muslim countries. Pakistan highlights sovereign equality of states, mutuality of interest and non interference in each others domestic affairs as main features of its foreign policy. The country is an active member of the United Nations. It is one of the founder of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), and has used it as a forum for Enlightened Moderation. Pakistan is also a member of Commonwealth of Nations,South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO), and G20 developing nations.The need for strategic balance in interest of security lead to Pakistan establishing itself as a nuclear power in the wake of India's nuclear tests. Despite pressure from the world, Pakistan maintains an independent stance to further nuclear development and purchase military weapons.
Pakistan maintains good relations with all the Arab and most other Muslim countries. After Sino-Indian War in 1962, Pakistan's closest strategic, military and economic ally has been China. The relationship has sustained through changes of governments and the ups and downs in the regional and global situation. Pakistan and India continue to share a rivalry. The Kashmir conflict remains the major point of rift; three of the four wars the two nations fought were over this territory. Pakistan has had mixed relations with the United States. As an anti-Soviet power in the 1950s and during the 1980s Soviet-Afghan War, Pakistan was one of the U.S.'s closest allies, although relations soured in the 1990s, when sanctions were imposed by the U.S. over Pakistan's refusal to abandon its nuclear activities. The U.S. war on terrorism initially led to an improvement in ties between the two countries, however, the relationship was strained by a divergence of interests and resulting mistrust in the war in Afghanistan and on terrorism related issues.