Islamic Republic of Pakistan                                   

                                                               اسلامی جمہوریۂ پاکستان

                                                         Islāmī Jamhūriya-i-Pākistān


The Islamic Republic of Pakistan (Urdu: اسلامی جمہوریۂ پاکستان, islāmī jamhūriya i pākistān), or Pakistan (Urdu: پاکستان,pākistān) is a country located in South Asia that overlaps onto the Greater Middle East and Central Asia. The country borders India, Afghanistan, Iran (Persia), China and the Arabian Sea. The name of the country "Pakistan" in Urdu and Persian means Land of the Pure. With around 163 million inhabitants, it is the sixth most populous country with the second largest Muslim population. It is a member of the UN, Commonwealth of Nations, SAARC and the OIC.

Motto: Yaqeen-e-muhkam, ittihād, nazm  (Urdu: Faith (self confidence), Unity, Discipline)

Anthem: Pak Sarzamin Shad Bad (Blessed Be The Sacred Land)

Capital:  Islamabad

Largest City:  Karachi (also financial capital), Lahore

Official Language:  Urdu, English

Government:  Federal Republic

Independence:  From the United Kingdom

                           - Declared  August 14, 1947

                           - Republic  March 23, 1956

Area:  Total 803,940 km² ( 34th Country of the World)  Water 3.1 %

Population:   2005 estimate: 162 Million (6th in the world) Density: 188/km² (38th in the world)

GDP (PPP):  (2004 estimate)  Total: $360.8 billion (26th in the world)

Per Capita $2,567 (135th in the world)

HDI (2003): .057 (135th) - medium

Currency:  Rupees (Rs.) (PKR: Pak Rupees)

Time Zone:  PST (UTC +5:00)

Internet TLD:  .pk

Calling Code:  +92

History of Pakistan  (Including prehistoric, civilizations of the region, and modern events to date)

Pakistan is the birthplace of some of the most ancient civilizations and a strategic center of historic trade routes, including the Silk Road. It exists in a region whose history has overlapped that of many empires (e.g. Mughals) and also of countries including India, Afghanistan and Persia (Iran). As one of the cradles of human civilization, the Pakistani region has long been at the crossroads of history. Pakistan was the site of the Indus Valley civilization and was subsequently conquered by many groups, including Aryans, Persians, Greeks, Greco-Bactrians, Kushans, White Huns, and Scythians. This period saw the country advance in trade and culture to a level where the Gandhara region and the great city of Taxila (Takshashila) became a great center of learning and development.

Ruins of Mohenjo-Daro, 80 km southwest of Sukkur, was center of Indus Valley Civilization, 2600 BCE – 1800 BCE

Ruins of Mohenjo-Daro, 80 km southwest of Sukkur, was center of Indus Valley Civilization, 2600 BCE – 1800 BCE


Ancient History

Nearly all of ancient Pakistan was ruled by the Persian Achaemenid dynasty for over two hundred years beginning in 540 BCE. In 326 BCE, Alexander the Great defeated the Punjabi king Porus (Paurava) at the Hydaspes near Jhelum. After Alexander's death and brief Seleucid control, Chandragupta Maurya gained control of the territory. His grandson Ashoka is known as to have been one of the greatest benefactors and major proselytizers of Buddhism which spread throughout the region. After the last ruler of the Mauryan dynasty was overthrown in 185 BCE,

Demetrius (205-171 BCE), founder of the Indo-Greek kingdom

Demetrius (205-171 BCE), founder of the Indo-Greek kingdom

Demetrius of Bactria conquered Gandhara and Punjab in 184 BCE, establishing an Indo-Greek kingdom that lasted nearly two centuries, until around 10 BCE. To the south, this kingdom captured Sindh and extended to the coast of the Arabian Sea. One of the prominent Greco-Bactrian kings was Menander, who ruled from 155 to 130 BCE and is believed to have been a convert to Buddhism. His territories covered the eastern dominions of the divided Greek empire of Bactria (from the areas of the  Panjshir and Kapisa, now in Afghanistan) and extended to the Pakistani province of Punjab with diffuse tributaries to the south and east, possibly even as far as Mathura in modern India. Sagala (modern Sialkot) became his capital and prospered greatly under Menander's rule. The last Greek king to rule independently was probably Strato II, whose reign ended about 10 CE. Various Greek kings ruled into the beginning of the 1st century CE, as petty rulers (such as Theodamas) and as administrators, after the area was conquered by various Central Asian groups, most notably the Tocharian Kushans.

The Kushan kingdom stretched from modern-day Uzbekistan to northwestern India. The kingdom was founded by King Heraios, and greatly expanded by his successor, Kujula Kadphises. Kadphises' son Vima Takto conquered territory now in India, but lost much of the western parts of the kingdom, including Gandhara, to the Parthian king Gondophares.

Later invaders included the Scythians, and White Huns. While the Punjab remained under the Huns and Scythians, the Sassanian Persian Empire then came to control most of western Pakistan and Sind came under the rule of Hindu rajas.

Arrival of Islam

In the eighth century CE, the arrival of the Arab Muslims to the provinces of Sindh and Punjab set the stage for the geographic boundaries of the modern state of Pakistan and formed the foundation for Islamic rule which quickly spread across much of South Asia. Following the rule of various Islamic empires, including the Ghaznavid Empire, the Ghorid kingdom, and the Delhi Sultanate, the region was controlled by the Mughals from 1526 until 1739. From 1739 until the early 19th century the entire area was ruled briefly by Nadir Shah and then by the Afghans and then later the Baluchis and Sikhs came to control Sind and the Punjab.


British rule

To the east, the British had arrived and formed the British East India Company which would eventually spearhead a colonial dominion over South Asia. The Mughal Empire was then at a decline and the eventual collapse of the anti-British struggle by the Muslim leader Tipu Sultan from 1749 to 1799 left the remnants of the Mughal Empire vulnerable. The British did not gain strong footholds in the Pakistani region until the early 19th century and annexed the entire area during the Great Game rivalry with the Russian empire.


The Indian War of Independence in 1857 was the last South Asian armed struggle against the British, while the Anglo-Afghan wars continued into the 20th century. After crushing the struggle the British dubbed the event the "Sepoy Mutiny". Even though the War of Independence was a joint Muslim-Hindu struggle to oust the British, the brunt of British retaliation was directed at the Muslim population of the empire employing the infamous "Divide and rule" policy. This suppression and subjugation helped set the stage for the creation of Pakistan - an Islamic state for the Muslims of British India. The greatest proponent of this became Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who later earned the title of Quaid-e-Azam (Urdu: قائد اعظم) meaning "great leader" and founder of Pakistan.


Independence and After Independence

After a 60 year formal and generally unarmed struggle for independence, Pakistan came into existence on 14th August1947 from the British Empire. The British divided up the Indian empire into three parts: the central part, with a Hindu majority, became modern-day India, the western part along with parts of the Punjab became West Pakistan, while East Bengal (the Muslim majority part of Bengal) became East Pakistan. The Partition of India is believed by many to have been mishandled by the British since it resulted in the worst ever recorded communal riots in the region and perhaps one of the worst in modern history. An estimated 1 to 5 million Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus and others in former British India lost their lives as a direct consequence and millions more became refugee migrants to the newly formed Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

Due to a hasty British retreat and mishandling of the independence of its former colonies, various disputes would remain between India and Pakistan involving Kashmir and the Rann of Kutch (Sir Creek) regions. Both nations have fought three all out wars due to these unsettled issues. Other inherited legacies of British rule included the Durand Line debate regarding the border with Afghanistan.

In 1971, economic and political discontent in East Pakistan – geographically separated from West Pakistan by India – and violent political repression escalated into a civil war (Bangladesh Liberation War) in East Pakistan and the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, resulting in the secession of East Pakistan, which formed the independent state of Bangladesh.

The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 created a large influx of refugees fleeing to Pakistan from Afghanistan; the largest in the world. In one of the largest covert operations in history, Pakistan and the United States supported anti-Soviet freedom fighters in Afghanistan, and the Soviets withdrew in the late 1980s.

Politically since its formation, Pakistan has oscillated between democratic and military rule, while making some impressive recent economic strides.