OFFICIAL NAME: Islamic Republic of Pakistan
CAPITAL: Islamabad
SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT: Federal Multiparty Islamic Republic
AREA: 803,943 Sq Km (310,404 Sq Mi)
ESTIMATED 2000 POPULATION: 153,594,000


Direct Link to Political MapDirect Link to Physical MapLOCATION & GEOGRAPHY: Pakistan is located in South Asia. It is bound by India to the east, Afghanistan and Iran to the west, China to the north and the Arabian Sea to the south. The country is divided into three main geographical regions. (1.) the northern highlands which include the Hindu Kush Mountain Ranges, including the K2 peak while south of the Khyber Pass they include the Safed Koh, Toba Kakar and Ras Koh Ranges. (2.) The Indus River Plain which contains fertile agricultural land and to the west the Thal and Thar Deserts. (3.) The Baluchistan Plateau which is an arid tablelands with a number of small mountain ranges such as the Central Brahui, Kirthar, Makran and Sulaiman Ranges. The principal river is the Indus with its major tributaries, the Kabul, Gumal and Panjnad Rivers. Major Cities (pop. est.); Karachi 5,208,100, Lahore 2,953,000, Faisalabad 1,104,000, Rawalpindi 795,000, Islamabad 204,500 (1981). Land Use; forested 4%, pastures 7%, agricultural-cultivated 28%, other 61% (1993).


CLIMATE: Pakistan has a subtropical climate characterized by four seasons. (1.) A dry cool winter season from December to February, (2.) a dry hot summer season from March to May, (3.) a SW Monsoon season from June to September and a (4.) NE Monsoon season from October to November. Average annual precipitation varies from 1,520 mm (60 inches) to 127 mm (5 inches) depending on the region. The prevailing summer wind is a dry wind called the Loo. Average temperature ranges in Karachi are from 13 to 25 degrees Celsius (55 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit) in January to 28 to 34 degrees Celsius (82 to 93 degrees Fahrenheit) in June.


PEOPLE: The principal ethnic majority are the Punjabis who account for 48% of the population. Other ethnic minorities include the Sindhi, Pushtuns, Baluchis, Makranis, Mujahirs, Khos and Kafirs.


DEMOGRAPHIC/VITAL STATISTICS: Density; 144 persons per sq km (372 persons per sq mi) (1991). Urban-Rural; 32.0% urban, 68.0% rural (1993). Sex Distribution; 52.5% male, 47.5% female (1990). Life Expectancy at Birth; 59.3 years male, 60.7 years female (1990). Age Breakdown; 46% under 15, 25% 15 to 29, 14% 30 to 44, 9% 45 to 59, 5% 60 to 74, 1% 75 and over (1988). Birth Rate; 43.3 per 1,000 (1990). Death Rate; 10.5 per 1,000 (1990). Increase Rate; 32.8 per 1,000 (1990). Infant Mortality Rate; 113.0 per 1,000 live births (1990).


RELIGIONS: The official religion is Islam which is followed by 97% of the population, of which Sunni Muslims account for 77% of the population while 20% are Shiite Muslims. The remainder are Christians.


LANGUAGES: The official language is Urdu, which is spoken by 8% of the population while English is spoken by only 2%. Over 30 distinct languages are more widely spoken with Punjabi spoken by an estimated 65% of the population.


EDUCATION: Aged 25 or over and having attained: no formal schooling 78.9%, incomplete primary 8.7%, incomplete secondary 10.5%, higher 1.9% (1981). Literacy; literate population aged 15 or over 11,938,790 or 25.6% (1981).


MODERN HISTORY - WWII TO 1993: On Aug. 14, 1947 Britain's Indian empire was divided into the independent dominions of Pakistan and India, while Pakistan consisted of West Pakistan and East Pakistan (Bangladesh). Fighting between the Hindus and Muslims continued even after the partition of India and in 1948 India and Pakistan went to war because Pakistan claimed Kashmir as most of its inhabitants are Muslims, although in 1949 the UN arranged a ceasefire. In 1956 Pakistan became an Islamic republic. In Oct. 1958 martial law was imposed and Gen. Ayub Khan assumed the presidency as Pres. Iskander Mirza was sent into exile. In 1962 a new constitution introduced a more centralized system of government and in the presidential elections of 1965 Gen. Ayub was narrowly re-elected. In the same year, the dispute over Kashmir led to renewed fighting between India and Pakistan until the UN arranged another cease-fire. In 1967 the completion of the Mangla Dam provided West Pakistan with flood control, irrigation and hydroelectric power. In 1969 after growing unrest, Pres. Ayub resigned and Martial Law was imposed by Gen. Yahya Khan. Presidential elections in Dec. 1970 resulted in a victory for Sheik Mujibur Rahman of the East Pakistan-Sajal Awami League (AL). West Pakistan was reluctant to recognize the AL's victory and a full-scale civil war ensued. On March 26, 1971 East Pakistan declared itself the independent nation of Bangladesh. On Dec. 16, 1971 West Pakistan surrendered after India's intervention on behalf of East Pakistan. In the same month Zulfikar Ali Bhutto of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) became President. In 1973 a new constitution was drafted which allowed for a parliamentary system of government and Bhutto became Prime Minister. In July 1977 Bhutto was deposed by Gen. Zia ul Haq and martial law was again imposed. On Apr. 4, 1979 Bhutto was executed after being convicted of complicity in the murder of a political opponent. In 1981 a presidential advisory federal council known as the Majlis i Shura was established. In Dec. 1985 Martial Law was lifted and in 1986 ethnic riots in Karachi resulted in the deaths of hundreds of civilians. In May 1988 Zia dissolved the assemblies and on August 17, 1988 was killed in a plane crash. After elections in Dec. 1988 Benazir Bhutto, daughter of Zulfikar, became the country's first woman Prime Minister. In Oct. 1989 Pakistan was re-admitted to the Commonwealth and in Aug. 1990 Pres. Ghulam Ishaq Khan dismissed Prime Minister Bhutto on charges of corruption and incompetence. In Oct. 1990 Nawaz Sharif of the People's Democratic Alliance was elected Prime Minister by the National Assembly and during the year, relations with India were strained over Kashmir with India accusing Pakistan of backing a Muslim separatist campaign. In Feb. 1991 a powerful earthquake in the northwest killed some 200 people. In May 1991 the government established the Koran or Qur'an, the Islamic holy book, as the country's supreme law. In June 1991 a passenger train collided with a freight train killing 50 people. In Aug. 1991 the husband of former Prime Minister Bhutto, Asif Ali Zardari was acquitted of charges that he pressured a state-owned bank to grant him a huge loan. In Sept. 1991 Prime Minister Shariff added 11 new ministers and 18 deputy ministers to his Cabinet. Also in Sept. 1991 Princess Diana made her first visit to Pakistan. In Nov. 1991 Pres. Khan's son-in-law, Irfanullah Marwat was accused of organizing the gang rape of one of former Pres. Bhutto's close friends, although he was acquitted of the allegations by the courts mass violent street protests followed. Also during 1991 there was a marked escalation in kidnappings for ransom with foreigners becoming the targets for the first time and the country remained a major source of narcotics with an estimated 30 tons of heroin being illegally exported each year. In 1992 Prime Minister Sharif launched a economic reform program that privatized dozens of state-owned enterprises, including banks and sugar mills. In July 1992 the government ordered a military crackdown on sectarian militants that terrorized southern Sindh province, the base of Bhutto's PPP, for the last decade with some 50,000 troops taking part. In Sept. 1992 a massive flood due to continuous monsoonal rains over three days resulted in some 2,000 deaths, 3 million people being left homeless and US $1 billion in property damage. In Nov. 1992 and in defiance of a government ban Benazir Bhutto led a mass protest march in Islamabad against the government, alleging electoral fraud and other crimes. In Dec. 1992 Muslims attacked Hindu temples across the country following the destruction of the Babri Mosque in India by Hindu extremists. Also in 1992 the government faced difficulties over a court ruling in line with Koranic law that outlawed bank interest and relations with the US were further strained after the government indirectly confirmed that it had been working on nuclear weapons, claiming that if it stopped development or destroyed its atomic components it would leave itself open to attack from India. Relations with India remained tense over Kashmir, which demanded independence from India. On April 18, 1993 Pres. Ghulam Ishaq Khan dismissed Prime Minister Sharif's government and on May 26, 1993 the Supreme Court ruled that Pres. Khan had overstepped his constitutional authority and restored Sharif's government. On July 18, 1993 after serious political conflict both Pres. Khan and Prime Minister Sharif resigned with Khan succeeded by Wasim Sajjad and Sharif by Moeen Qureshi. In Aug. 1993 Prime Minister Quershi announced sweeping economic reforms while the IMF and World Bank pledged US $1.5 billion in new loans. On Aug. 25, 1993 the US imposed trade sanctions on Pakistan over allegations that it had breached an international arms control agreement by accepting M11 surface-to-surface missile technology from China. In Oct. 1993 general elections resulted in the PPP forming a new government with Bhutto as Prime Minister. Also in 1993 the government closed numerous embassies and information centers worldwide due to austerity measures and the government imposed taxes on Pakistan's powerful feudal landlords.


CURRENCY: The official currency is the Rupee (PRs) divided into 100 Paisa.


ECONOMY: Gross National Product; USD $54,045,000,000 (1993). Public Debt; USD $20,306,000,000 (1993). Imports; PRs 258,250,100,000 (1994). Exports; PRs 205,499,400,000 (1994). Tourism Receipts; USD $111,000,000 (1993). Balance of Trade; PRs -22,968,000,000 (1994). Economically Active Population; 33,800,000 or 28.0% of total population (1993). Unemployed; 6.3% (1992).


MAIN TRADING PARTNERS: Its main trading partners are Japan, Saudi Arabia, the USA, the UK and Germany.

MAIN PRIMARY PRODUCTS: Antimony, Bauxite, Copper, Cotton, Fruit, Gypsum, Iron Ore, Maize, Natural Gas, Oil, Rice, Sugar Cane, Tobacco, Wheat.

MAJOR INDUSTRIES: Agriculture, Cement, Cotton, Fertilizers, Food Processing, Petroleum Refining, Sports Goods, Sugar Refining, Yarn and Fabric.

MAIN EXPORTS: Cotton and Cotton Textiles, Guns, Hand Crafted Carpets, Leather Goods, Petroleum Products, Rice, Sports Goods.


TRANSPORT: Railroads; route length 8,775 km (5,453 mi) (1990), passenger-km 20,052,000,000 (12,460,000,000 passenger-mi) (1990), cargo ton-km 6,612,000,000 (4,529,000,000 short ton-mi) (1990). Roads; length 140,077 km (87,040 mi) (1990). Vehicles; cars 738,059 (1989), trucks and buses 171,519 (1989). Merchant Marine; vessels 71 (1990), deadweight tonnage 507,684 (1990). Air Transport; passenger-km 9,298,701,000 (5,777,943,000 passenger-mi) (1989), cargo ton-km 427,527,000 (292,813,000 short ton-mi) (1989).


COMMUNICATIONS: Daily Newspapers; total of 274 with a total circulation of 809,000 (1992). Radio; receivers 10,200,000 (1994). Television; receivers 2,080,000 (1994). Telephones; units 1,604,800 (1993).


MILITARY: 587,000 (1995) total active duty personnel with 88.6% army, 3.7% navy and 7.7% air force while military expenditure accounts for 6.4% (1993) of the Gross National Product (GNP).


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