Pakistan Country Facts

pakistan-mapCountry: Islamic Republic of Pakistan

Background/History: The Indus Valley civilization, one of the oldest in the world and dating back at least 5,000 years, spread over much of what is presently Pakistan. During the second millennium B.C., remnants of this culture fused with the migrating Indo-Aryan peoples. The area underwent successive invasions in subsequent centuries from the Persians, Greeks, Scythians, Arabs (who brought Islam), Afghans, and Turks. The Mughal Empire flourished in the 16th and 17th centuries; the British came to dominate the region in the 18th century. The separation in 1947 of British India into the Muslim state of Pakistan (with West and East sections) and largely Hindu India was never satisfactorily resolved, and India and Pakistan fought two wars and a limited conflict – in 1947-48, 1965, and 1999 respectively – over the disputed Kashmir territory. A third war between these countries in 1971 – in which India capitalized on Islamabad’s marginalization of Bengalis in Pakistani politics – resulted in East Pakistan becoming the separate nation of Bangladesh. In response to Indian nuclear weapons testing, Pakistan conducted its own tests in mid-1998. India-Pakistan relations improved in the mid-2000s but have been rocky since the November 2008 Mumbai attacks and have been further strained by attacks in India by militants suspected of being backed by Pakistan. Nawaz SHARIF took office as prime minister in 2013, marking the first time in Pakistani history that a democratically elected government completed a full term and transitioned to a successive democratically elected government. Following a series of bomb and suicide attacks by the Tehrik-e Pakistan Taliban (TTP) begun in 2007, the Pakistan Government and TTP representatives agreed to a cease-fire in early 2014. However, by mid-year 2014 the talks collapsed and the TTP resumed attack plotting against Pakistani targets.

Geography: Southern Asia, bordering the Arabian Sea, between India on the east and Iran and Afghanistan on the west and China in the north. Bordered by Afghanistan, China, India, Iran.

Area: 796,095 sq km. Slightly more than five times the size of Georgia; slightly less than twice the size of California.

Climate: mostly hot, dry desert; temperate in northwest; arctic in north

Population: 201,995,540 (July 2016 est.)

Population Growth Rate: 1.45% (2016 est.)

Fertility Rate:  2.68 children born/woman (2016 est.)

Infant Mortality Rate:  53.9 deaths/1,000 live births

Life Expectancy at Birth:  67.7 years

HIV/AIDS Adult Prevalence Rate: 0.09% (2015 est.)

Literacy: 57.9% (age > 15) (2015 est.)

Language: Punjabi 48%, Sindhi 12%, Saraiki (a Punjabi variant) 10%, Pashto (alternate name, Pashtu) 8%, Urdu (official) 8%, Balochi 3%, Hindko 2%, Brahui 1%, English (official; lingua franca of Pakistani elite and most government ministries), Burushaski, and other 8%

Capital: Islamabad

Government: Federal parliamentary republic

Religion: Muslim (official) 96.4% (Sunni 85-90%, Shia 10-15%), other (includes Christian and Hindu) 3.6% (2010 est.)

Currency: Pakistani rupees (PKR)

GDP-per capita: $5000 (in 2015 US dollars) (2015 est)

Labor Force: agriculture 43.7%; industry 22.4%; services: 33.9% (2013 est.)

Natural Resources: arable land, extensive natural gas reserves, limited petroleum, poor quality coal, iron ore, copper, salt, limestone

Agriculture Products: cotton, wheat, rice, sugarcane, fruits, vegetables; milk, beef, mutton, eggs

Economy: Decades of internal political disputes and low levels of foreign investment have led to slow growth and underdevelopment in Pakistan. Pakistan has a large English-speaking population. Nevertheless, a challenging security environment, electricity shortages, and a burdensome investment climate have deterred investors. Agriculture accounts for more than one-fourth of output and two-fifths of employment. Textiles and apparel account for most of Pakistan’s export earnings, and Pakistan’s failure to diversify its exports has left the country vulnerable to shifts in world demand. Pakistan’s GDP growth has gradually increased since 2012. Official unemployment was 6.5% in 2015, but this fails to capture the true picture, because much of the economy is informal and underemployment remains high. Human development continues to lag behind most of the region.

 

(Information obtained from the World Fact Book 2016 and other sources)