Pakistan, otherwise known as the Islamic Republic of Pakistan (Urdu: اِسلامی جمہوریہ پاكِستان) is a country in Southeast Asia. Pakistan is the 36th largest country in the world, covering approximately 307,374 square miles. For such a large country, comes with a large population, hosting more than 243 million people.
Pakistan's current president is Arif Alvi, the current prime minister is Shehbaz Sharif and Pakistan's capital is Islamabad. East Pakistan, which is now an independent country known as Bangladesh, achieved independence from Pakistan in 1971 during the Bangladesh Liberation War (March 1971 – December 16, 1971).
Formation[edit | edit source]
Pakistan separated from India and became an independent country on 14th August 1947. The main person behind this was Mohammed Ali Jinnah. He was initially supportive of the Hindu-Muslim unity in India, but soon demanded a separate country for Muslims. He is regarded as the 'father' of Pakistan.
This separation, termed as the 'partition' between the 2 nations, was a violent process, claiming the lives of many.
Incidentally, Mahatma Gandhi was killed because a Hindu (Nathuram Vinayak Godse) did not like Gandhi's views on Hindu-Muslim unity.
Where is Pakistan?[edit | edit source]
The Durand Line, which is 1,640 miles long, forms the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. It was established in an agreement with Mortimer Durand, a British diplomat and civil servant of British India, and Abdur Rahman Khan, the Afghan Amir ('ruler'), in 1893. The reason this agreement was made was to improve trade and relationships. Even though the British controlled Afghanistan's foreign affairs and diplomatic relationships, the British saw Afghanistan as a sincere independent state.
How many people live in Pakistan?[edit | edit source]
Over 243 million people live in Pakistan and as a result: Pakistan is the 5th most populous place in the world. Pakistan's population increased by 3,428,889 people in 2013. Pakistan has more males, the percentage for males being 51.24%, while the womens' percentage of the total population is 48.50%.
What are the most common languages in Pakistan?[edit | edit source]
The official languages of Pakistan are Urdu and English. There are regional languages, such as Punjabi, Pashto, Sindhi, Balochi, Kashmiri, Brahui, Shina, Balti, Khowar, Dhatki, Marwari, Wakhi and Burushaski.
The script of Urdu is right-to-left (like Arabic), but a Hindi-speaking person can easily converse with a Urdu-speaking person due to its similarities.
What is the most common religion in Pakistan?[edit | edit source]
Islam is the national state religion and about 98% of Pakistani's are Muslims. Islam has two major sects, Sunni and Shia. Shia is practiced by 20% of the Muslims and the rest of the number are Sunni Muslims (so 70% percent are Sunni). Christianity, Hinduism and Sikhism are the other 3% percent. There are several mosques (a place of worship for Muslims). Some famous mosques of Pakistan are the Faisal Mosque, which is located in Islamabad, and Masjid-e-Tooba in Karachi, Pakistan.
Pakistan is not secular - it identifies itself as the 'Islamic Republic of Pakistan'. Even though the law allows for other religions, brutal killings are common. Also, blasphemy (the action or offense of speaking sacrilegiously about God or sacred things) is immediately treated with death lawfully or vengefully.
What is the sport of Pakistan?[edit | edit source]
Field hockey is the national sport of Pakistan; it has won three gold medals in the Olympic Games held in 1960, 1968 and 1984. Pakistan has also won the hockey world cup a record four times, held in 1971, 1978, 1982 and 1994.
Cricket, as of now, is the most popular sport (people in Pakistan start playing cricket from a young age). Pakistan has an official cricket team which plays in the cricket world cup. Pakistan won the cricket world cup in 1992 (in Melbourne, Australia). Under Imran Khan, Pakistan defeated England by 22 runs in the final.
Pakistan plays many other sports as well, such as basketball and baseball.
With the exception of the touring of the Zimbabwe cricket team in 2015, no country had toured Pakistan since 2009. This is because of a terrorist attack that occurred towards several members of Sri Lanka's cricket team, who were injured when 12 gunmen fired at their bus. Pakistan have had to play their 'home' matches in the UAE since then.
What are some important sights?[edit | edit source]
- Kalash Valley is a historical site in the Chitral district of Pakistan, attracting many tourists because of its extensive history and majestic appearance. Kalash is a very old Greek civilization and the inhabitants are known as "the Kelash". This valley hosts various ancient cultures. The inhabitants live in small log villages, placed strategically along the hillsides. Many festivals are celebrated, such as the Uchal Festival, Phoo Festival and Chomos Festival.
- Shah Jahan Mosque is a mosque located in Thatta, known for the attractive architecture, designed by the Mughals. The Mosque, by Shah Jahan's command (a Mughal emperor), was built in 1647 AD. The mosque was decorated with Turkish art work, consisting of beautiful mosaic tiles and floorwork.
- Mohenjodaro is the oldest civilization in the world. It was discovered in 1922 by R. D. Banerji. "Mohenjodaro" means "mound of the dead". Built in 2600 BCE, Mohenjodaro is attracts visitors thanks to its architecture and designs. The ruined civilization showcased the living standards of the people who used to live here. A recent survey showed that Mohenjodaro will crumble in the next 20 years because of it governmental neglect, security issues and a massive loss in tourism. Dr. Asma Ibrahim, a Pakistani archaeologist, has stated that, "there is no department with expertise, no decisions taken for the last two years. The way things are going, it will survive maybe only another 20 years".
- Lahore Fort, also known as Shahi Qila, is a fort located in northern Lahore (hence the name). Lahore Fort is one of the most popular attractions, resembling the architecture of Agra Fort, in India. Thought the fort has gone through several rennovations, the Mughals' influences are still appearant. Lahore Fort contains the Moti Masjid.
- Shalimar Gardens (or Shalamar Gardens) is a garden located nearly 10 kilometers east from Lahore. Built in 1641 AD, the Shalimar Gardens was used by the Mughals from the 16th century to the 19th century. The Gardens here were strongly influenced by the ones in neighboring Kashmir. A canal is used to irrigate Shalimar Garden, known as the Shah Nahar Canal. The Shalimar Garden has five water cascades. Shalimar Gardens was built by the emperor of Mughals, Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. In 1981, Shalimar Gardens was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.