PAKISTAN FACT SHEET
(taken from www.penniesforpeace.org)
Pakistan gained independence in 1947 by a partition from India. It was formed as a nation with the idea it would represent the Muslim homeland. Mohammad Ali Jinnah, known as Father of the Nation, was instrumental in establishing Pakistan as an independent nation. Pakistan has the distinct reputation of housing the largest number of refugees in the world.
From 1947-1956 was a semi-autonomous state under the Commonwealth of Nations. It became a republic in 1956.
1956-1971 was a period of internal instability within Pakistan.
The first democratic constitution was drafted in 1971, under the rule of the first elected President Zufilqar Ali Bhutto, and is still considered by most the governing document of the country. Zufilqar Ali Bhutto was president from 1972 to 1977.
A coup by chief of army Mohammad Ziaul Haq (called Zia) resulted in Bhutto’s hanging and the implementation of martial law. The military government of Zia increased Islamization of the economy, resulting in ethnic violence, religious intolerance, and the deterioration of the status of women. Zia was president from 1977 to 1988.
Following Ziaul Haq’s death and an interim "caretaker" government, Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto (daughter of Zufilqar Ali Bhutto) both served two terms interrupted by accusations of corruption from 1988 to 1998.
In May of 1998, the US enforced political sanctions in response to nuclear testing under the leadership of Sharif. General Pervez Musharraf became the country’s chief executive following the coup d’etat removing Sharif from office.
Musharraf formally became president of Pakistan in 2001. He curtailed corruption, worked at developing relations between Muslims and the West, and worked to boost the economy.
In August 2008 Musharraf was impeached and resigned his position as president, and on September 6th, 2008 Asif Ali Zardari was elected president of Pakistan.
The population of Pakistan was estimated at 172,800,048 in July 2008 ( www.cia.gov). The population increases about 3.6 million each year.
Five main ethnic groups make up the Pakistan population: Pathans, Sindhis, Baluchis, Punjabis, and Muhajirs (refugees from India), plus the tribes of high mountain valleys who are Kalash, Kohistanis, and Hunzakut. With the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, 3.5 million refugees poured into Pakistan.
95% of Pakistan people are Muslim, with 75% being Sunni and 20% Shiite Muslim. 5% of the population are Hindus, Christians and other. (www.cia.gov)
Pakistanis speak Urdu, and most speak at least one other language. Punjabi, Sindhi, Pushto, Saraiki, Baluchi, and Hindko are some of the other dialects of Pakistan. English is also widely spoken in government and business circles.
One area of concern in Pakistan is in education. Approximately 50% of the total population is literate (those over the age of 15 that can read or write). Of that number approximately 63% of males and 36% of females are literate (2005 est., www.cia.gov).
Pakistan is divided into four provinces: Balochistan, North Western Frontier Province (NWFP), Punjab and Sindh. One-fourth of NWFP is designated as Federally Administrated Tribal Areas (FATA), wherein the jirga -the tribal chiefs- handle most governmental affairs.
The majority of the population lives in rural areas. The people of the mountains are mainly farmers, herders and traders. The main crops of Pakistan are wheat, rice, corn, barley, mustard, nuts and fruits.
Pakistan controls northern and western parts of former Jammu and Kashmir. The border dividing Kashmir between Pakistan and India, called the Line of Control (LOC). The LOC is an area of extreme tension to this day, with three wars having been fought over the territory.
Pakistan is slightly smaller than the US states of Texas and Kansas combined. It is bordered by Iran on the southwest, Afghanistan on the west and north, China on the northeast, India on the east and southeast, and the Arabian Sea on the south. The topography of Pakistan ranges from sea level to K2, the 2nd highest peak on earth.
Prehistoric Pakistan was occupied since the Stone Age, as tools discovered in northern Punjab indicate. The Indus Valley civilization called Harappan, stretched from the Himalayan foothills to near the Arabian Sea.
The Indus Valley Civilization existed around 2500 BCEand flourished for over 1,000 years. Indus Valley cities maintained water supplies, drainage systems, sewages, canals for irrigation, public baths, larger homes even had indoor plumbing and drainage. They built meeting halls, two-story homes and shops, and centralized granaries.
The Indus developed a written language, centralized administration, organized government, and commerce and trade with Egypt and Sumer.
The Indus were the first to grow, spin, weave, and dye cotton. Copper, tin and bronze were used to make knives, axes, and utensils.