Pakistan in brief
(Islamic Republic of Pakistan)
Pakistan's flag is based largely upon the flag of the All-Indian Muslim League, which led the country's independence movement. The crescent, star, and green background represent the country's Islamic majority. Shortly before independence in 1947, a white stripe was added to symbolize tolerance of other faiths.
796,095 sq km
(307,374 sq mi)
(also called Mount Godwin-Austen)
8611 m (28,250 ft) above sea level
January 9°C 49°F
July 31°C 87°F
January 19°C 66°F
July 30°C 86°F
Average Annual Precipitation
Islamabad 960mm (40in)
Karachi 200mm (8in)
170 persons/sq km
(439 persons/sq mi)
Largest Metropolitan Areas
including Baluchi and Afghans
Punjabi, Pashto, Sindhi, Saraiki, Baluchi
3% Other including Christianity, Hinduism, and Buddhism
Gross Domestic Product
$52 billion (1994 estimate)
Chief Economic Products
Cotton, wheat, rice, maize, sugarcane
Sardines, shrimp, sharks, anchovies, other fish
Petroleum, limestone, rock salt, gypsum, silica sand, natural gas, coal
Textiles, food products, petroleum products, consumer goods
54% Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing
Textile goods, cotton yarn and thread, cotton fabrics, raw cotton, rice, carpets and rugs, leather products, sports goods, medical instruments
Machinery, electrical goods, petroleum products, transportation equipment, iron and steel and iron and steel manufactures
Major Trading Partners
China, Iran, Japan, Germany, Great Britain, Saudi Arabia, France, United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, Korea, Turkey, United States, former Soviet States
40.12 rupees = U.S.$1 (1997)
Form of Government
Head of State
Elected by the legislature to a five-year term
Head of Government
Appointed by the president
Universal suffrage for all citizens age 21 and older
Army, Navy, Air Force
575,000 troops; voluntary service
4 provinces, 6 federally administered tribal areas, and the Federal Capital Territory (Islamabad)
Major Universities and Colleges
University of Karachi, Karachi
University of the Punjab, lahore
University of Peshawar, Peshawar
University of Agriculture, Faisalabad
University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore
N.E.D. University of Engineering and Technology, Karachi
Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad
Agha Khan Medical University , Karachi
- About 3500 BC
- Civilization developed in the Indus River valley.
- 530 BC
- The Persian emperor Cyrus the Great conquered part of the Punjab.
- 332 BC
- Alexander the Great conquered most of what is now Pakistan before his own troops forced him to turn back.
- AD 100s
- Peshawar became an important trading center of the Kushan Empire.
- Arab Muslims crossed the Arabian Sea and invaded Sind, introducing Islam to Pakistan.
- Lahore became an important center of Islamic culture after Turkish Muslims from Persia conquered the Indus River valley.
- Much of Pakistan became part of the Delhi Sultanate.
- Pakistan became part of the Mughal Empire. The Mughals introduced Sikhism and the Urdu language to Pakistan.
- The Mughal Empire began to decline. Its power and influence were gradually assumed by the British East India Company.
- Sikh kingdoms gained power in the Punjab. They were eventually conquered by the British during the 1840s.
- The British government assumed direct control of India and much of Pakistan. By 1900 the territory had been expanded to include all of modern Pakistan.
- The All-Indian Muslim League was founded to campaign for greater self-rule for India's Muslims.
- Fearing Hindu dominance of India, the Muslim League demanded the partition of India into Hindu and Muslim nations. The name Pakistan, meaning land of the pure in Urdu, was introduced to refer to the Muslim nation.
- Pakistan gained its independence. The eastern and western parts of the country were separated by more than 1600 km (1000 mi) of Indian territory.
- Pakistan and India fought a war over control of the Kashmir region.
- Pakistan became a republic.
- India and Pakistan again went to war over Kashmir.
- East Pakistan proclaimed its independence from Pakistan as the state of Bangladesh. More than 1 million people died in the ensuing civil war, which ended when India and Bangladesh defeated Pakistani forces.
- The military, led by General Muhammad Zia Ul-Haq, took control of the government.
- Zia died in a plane crash. Benazir Bhutto was elected prime minister, becoming the first woman to lead an Islamic nation.
- President Ghulman Ishaq Khan removed Bhutto from office, citing her government with corruption.
- The military intervened to resolve a dispute between the president and the prime minister. New elections were held, and Bhutto was returned to office.
- Tensions over Kashmir soared again. Prime Minister Bhutto announced plans to continue Pakistan's nuclear weapons development program.
- United States lifted some military and economic sanctions against Pakistan.
- With the introduction of 13th Amendment in the constitution, President is abstained from dissolving Parliament.
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