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Pakistan - Country facts

Map

Small map of Pakistan
Click for a larger map

Flag

Country flag: Pakistan

Capital

Islamabad

Currency

Pakistani rupee (PKR)

Internet Code

.pk

Location

Southern Asia, bordering the Arabian Sea, between India on the east and Iran and Afghanistan on the west and China in the north

Background

The separation in 1947 of British India into the Muslim state of Pakistan (with two sections West and East) and largely Hindu India was never satisfactorily resolved, and India and Pakistan have fought two wars - in 1947-48 and 1965 - 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 1998. The dispute over the state of Kashmir is ongoing, but recent discussions and confidence-building measures may be a start toward lessened tensions.

Climate

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

Terrain

flat Indus plain in east; mountains in north and northwest; Balochistan plateau in west

Population

162,419,946 (July 2005 est.)

Ethnic Groups

Punjabi, Sindhi, Pashtun (Pathan), Baloch, Muhajir (immigrants from India at the time of partition and their descendants)

Religions

Muslim 97% (Sunni 77%, Shi'a 20%), Christian, Hindu, and other 3%

Languages

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

Map of Pakistan

Large map of Pakistan
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