Welcome to Pakistan

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  PAKISTAN - Islamic Republic of Pakistan                                                       Home

Capital: Islamabad
Large Cities: Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar
Languages: Urdu (Official) Punjabi, Sindhi, Pushtu, Baluchi, Brahvi & English
Religion: Islam
Currency: Rupees

Location: The Islamic Republic of Pakistan is bordered in the north-west by Afghanistan, north by the former USSR and China, east by India and south by Arabian Sea.

History: The Muslim state that emerged from partition of British India on 14 August 1947 included an eastern wing comprising mainly the eastern half of Bengal province and parts of Assam. (The name Pakistan is a coinage representing 'Punjab, the Afghan border states, Kashmir, Sind and Baluchistan').

For nine years Pakistan remained a dominion. It was proclaimed an Islamic republic on 23 March 1956. A federal parliamentary system functioned until Field-Marshal Muhammad Ayub Khan seized power in a coup in October 1958. Ayub proclaimed a presidential system in the constitution of 1962 and ruled until March 1969, when he was deposed by Gen. Yahya Khan.

In the first free elections in December 1970, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party dominated the west, while Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's Awami League swept the board in the east, winning 160 of 162 seats.

East Pakistan proclaimed sovereignty and formed the People's Republic of Bangladesh on 26 March 1971. Civil War followed after Yahya, supported by Bhutto, ordered troops to arrest Mujib and put down the Bengali uprising. The east-west war ended in December 1971. Yahya handed over power to Bhutto, who ruled until July 1977, before being overthrown after an opposition campaign against alleged rigging in general elections. Gen. Ziaul-Haq took over- initially to hold elections and transfer power to a civilian regime. But elections were twice postponed and Bhutto was tried for the murder of a political opponent and executed.

Gen. Zia was killed in a plane crash on August 17, 1988 and Senate Chairman Ghulam Ishaq Khan took over as Acting President. The country was placed under emergency rule. In the general election held on November 16, 1988 the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) led by Benazir Bhutto won the largest number of seats (92). Benazir assumed office as the PM on December 9. Ghulam Ishaq Khan was elected President on December 12.

Benazir was dismissed in August 1990 and Nawaz Sharif of Islami Jamhoori Ittehed took over as Pakistan's 11th Prime Minister on November 5. Sharif was dismissed in 1993. The Supreme Court annulled the dismissal leading to a constitutional impasse. Moeen Qureshi took over as caretaker Prime Minister in July. PPP returned to power in October 93, and Ms. Bhutto took over as PM once again. In April 96, Imran Khan launched a new party 'Movement for Social Justice'. In November, Ms. Bhutto was dismissed as PM, the National Assembly dissolved, and M.M. Khalid appointed caretaker PM. On February 17, 1997, Nawas Sharif wa sworn in as Pakistan's 13th PM.

Tensions between the military and PM Sharif ended in a coup by army chief Gen. Parves Musharraf on October 12, 1999. Nawaz Sharif was later exiled to Saudi Arabia. He was convicted and sentenced to 25-year-long life sentence on charges of hijacking and terrorism. Pakistan was suspended (October 18, 1999) from the Commonwealth.

A milestone in Indo-Pak relations was the Lahore bus ride by Indian PM Vajpayee in February 1999.

Ethnic and communal conflict that has been raging in Karachi intensified in 1995. The Urdu-speaking Muhajirs are demanding equal rights and autonomy. In January -August, 97, over 150 persons were killed in Shia-Sunni violence, and an government enacted a new law to combat the growing sectarianism and terrorism.


Pakistan controls the northern and western portions of Kashmir, an area of about 84,160 sq. km with a population of about 2.8 m in 1985. The Pak-occupied Kashmir has its own Assembly, its own Council, High Court and Supreme Court. There is a Parliamentary form of Government with a Prime Minister as the executive head and the President as the constitutional head. The seat of government is Muzaffarabad. The Pakistan Government is directly responsible for Gilgit and Baltistan (the north). On May 28, 1998, Pakistan tested five nuclear devices and this was followed by a sixth one on May 30. On June 20, 2001, Gen. Musharraf declared himself President of the country. Efforts to find a peace formula on issues between India and Pakistan received a boost in the Agra summit in July 2000 between Gen. Parvez Musharraf and PM Vajpayee of India. It ended without a joint declaration but was start of further engagements.

Economy: Agriculture (including forestry and fishing) is the mainstay of Pakistan's economy, employing about 50% of the working population and providing about 26% of the country's gross domestic product (GDP). The entire area in the north and west covered by great mountain ranges. The rest of the country consists of a fertile plain watered by five big rivers and their tributaries.

Agriculture: Agriculture is dependent almost entirely on the irrigation system based on these rivers. The main crops are wheat, cotton, maize, sugarcane and rice, while the Quetta and Kalat divisions (Baluchistan) are known for their fruits and dates. Pakistan is self-sufficient in wheat, rice and sugar.

Industry: Industry employs about 10% of the population. Manufacturing (refined sugar, vegetable products, jute, textiles, soda ash, sulphuric acid, caustic soda, chip board and paper board, bicycles, cotton cloth, cotton yarn, cement and steel) contributes about 20% to GNP. Main exports are cotton cloth, cotton yarns, rice, leather, carpets and tapestries. There are international airports at Karachi, Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar and Quetta.

Mission in India:
High Commission of Pakistan
2/50 G, Shantipath, Chanakyapuri
New Delhi - 110 021, India
Tel: 91 - 11 - 2467 8467, 24100905
Tele Fax: 91 - 11 - 2687 2339
Email: pakhc@nda.vsnl.net.in

Indian Mission in Pakistan:
High Commission of India
G-5, Diplomatic Enclave,
Islamabad, Pakistan
Tel: 00 - 92 - 51 - 2206950 to 54, 2828376
Fax: 00 - 92 - 51 - 2823102, 2823386
Email: hicomind@isb.compol.com

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