|STATE STRUCTURE||Presidential republic|
|INTERNAL DIVISION||Pakistan is a federal republic of a mixed type, consisting of 4 provinces: Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (formerly North-West Frontier Province) and Balochistan. In addition to the provinces, Pakistan also includes the federally administered tribal territories and the regions of Gilgit-Baltistan and Free Kashmir (the latter is de jure recognized by Pakistan as an independent state, but is actually part of it), disputed by India.|
|CLIMATE||The climate is dry continental tropical, in the northwest – subtropical, in the mountains in the north of the country – more humid with a pronounced altitudinal zonality.|
|OFFICIAL LANGUAGE||Urdu and English|
|NATIONAL COMPOSITION||The bulk of the country’s population lives in the Indus Valley. The urban population of the country is 36.38%. Ethnic composition of Pakistan: Punjabis 44.7%, Pashtuns 15.4%, Sindhis 14.1%, Saryaks 8.4%, Muhajirs 7.6%, Baluchis 3.6% and others (6.3%).|
|TIMEZONE||UTC +5 / MSK +2|
The flag of Pakistan was adopted after the country’s independence on August 14, 1947. The state symbol is a green cloth with a white stripe near the pole and a white crescent with a star.
The green color symbolizes Muslims, who make up the majority of Pakistan’s population, while the white color symbolizes non-Muslims. The white crescent represents progress, while the white star represents light and knowledge.
The coat of arms of Pakistan was adopted in 1954. It has a green color, which, together with a crescent and a star at the top, symbolizes Islam, which is the religion of the majority of the population of Pakistan.
In the center of the emblem is a shield that symbolizes agriculture, it depicts the country’s four main crops: cotton, jute, tea and wheat.
The floral wreath around the shield symbolizes the history of Pakistan. The inscription on the scroll at the base of the coat of arms contains Pakistan’s national motto in Arabic: ایمان ، اتحاد ، نظم, which translates as “Faith, Unity, Discipline”.
According to Franciscogardening.com, the name of a relatively young state for South Asia – Pakistan – is translated from Urdu as “land of the pure”, that is, “land of Muslims”. Pakistan’s neighbors are Iran, Afghanistan, China and India.
In the north of the country rise the mountain ranges of the Hindu Kush, Karakorum, Hinduraja. It is here that Mount Chogori is located, the second highest on earth – after Chomolungma. Chogori is part of the Karakorum mountain range, its height is 8614 meters above sea level.
In the west, the low Iranian plateau stretches, where, in addition to mountains, there are valleys and deserts. In the east of Pakistan there is a vast plain of the Indus River, in the south the country has access to the Arabian Sea. Here is the former capital of Pakistan and the largest port city of Karachi.
The north-west of the country is included in the humid subtropical climate zone, and the rest of the territory is dominated by the tropical monsoon climate. In winter, on the plains, the temperature reaches +14°C, in summer up to +35. In the foothills, frosts are not uncommon in winter, and it is hot in summer, up to +42. In the highlands, the average annual temperature is -16°C.
The flora of Pakistan is heterogeneous and varies by area. Acacia, Himalayan cedar, oak, chestnut, mangrove forests, thickets of juniper, date palms grow here.
The fauna is represented by leopards, snow leopards, bears, foxes, wild goats, Persian gazelle and many other species of mammals. Among the birds here you can meet eagles, vultures, peacocks and parrots. There are crocodiles in the Indus.
In the 2nd century BC, the Harappan civilization, one of the oldest in the world, developed on the territory of the country. A few decades after the Indian campaigns of Alexander the Great, a powerful Buddhist state, the Kushan kingdom, was formed here. Islam came to these lands in the 8th century. From the 13th century, the local Muslim principalities became part of the Mongol Empire, and after its collapse, the Timurid Empire.
Three centuries later, one of the descendants of the Great Tamerlane, Zahir ad-din Muhammad Babur, founded the Mughal Empire on the lands of modern Pakistan, as well as India, Bangladesh and southeastern Afghanistan. After its collapse in the 18th century, Sikh uprisings broke out in Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan, who created their own state. In the 19th century, the British came to these lands, who included them in British India.
In 1947, Great Britain decided to give its “principal jewel of the crown” independence. Through the efforts of the Muslim League, it was decided to divide the country into two parts: India as such and a separate state for Muslims. It included modern Pakistan and Bangladesh. At the same time, initially the territory of Bangladesh or Bengal, as this region was called, was the eastern part of Pakistan.
Muhammad Ali Jina was the first Governor General of Pakistan. In the country, he is revered as the founding father of the nation state. In 1958, the first military coup took place in Pakistan. In 1965 and 1971, the country waged wars with India over the territory of the Indian state of Kashmir. Also in 1971, Bengal seceded from Pakistan, becoming the independent state of Bangladesh.
In 1977, a second military coup took place in the country. At the same time, the leadership of Pakistan, as opposed to India, which had friendly relations with the USSR, became an active ally of the United States. During this period, training camps for the Mujahideen were organized in Pakistan, who, with the support of the Americans (even before the entry of the Soviet contingent), waged an anti-government war in neighboring Afghanistan. In the 1990s, Pakistan was developing its own nuclear program, which led to the introduction of US sanctions against the country.
In 1999, a third military coup took place in Pakistan. After September 11, 2001, Pakistan officially ended its support for the Taliban, once again becoming an ally of the United States. On May 2, 2011, Osama bin Laden, leader of the Islamist terrorist organization Al-Qaeda, was killed by US special forces with the assistance of the Pakistani authorities in the suburbs of Abbottabad.
In terms of population, Pakistan is second only to China, India, the United States and Indonesia. About 208 million people live here. More than 44% of the population are Punjabis, 15.4% are Pashtuns, 14.1% are Sidhis, 8.4% are Saryaks, 7.6 are Muhajirs, and 3.6% are Balochs. More than 90% of the country’s population is Muslim.
The country has six sites inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Among them are the Shalimar Gardens in Lahore, with marble palaces, mosaic mosques, waterfalls and decorative ponds, an architectural object created in the 17th century; the ancient city of Thatta near Lake Kinjhar; the Punjabi fortress of the 16th century and the Lahore fortress of the 12th century, the ruins of Takshashila, the capital of the ancient Gandharas, which is mentioned in the ancient Indian epic Ramayana.
In terms of the release of lyrical melodramas, Pakistani cinema Lollywood is considered the second largest player in the South Asian film market after Indian Bollywood. All film production in the country is located in Lahore and Karachi.
According to statistics, about 50% of Pakistanis are illiterate, although there are three types of schools. In the traditional, the main emphasis is on the study of the Koran. In “English”, as a rule, children of wealthy parents study. The third type is called the “School of the Future” – it is a hybrid of the Muslim and European education systems.
Higher educational institutions of the country are represented by private and public universities. Quaid-i-Azam University and the University of Karachi are considered prestigious among them.
Popular sports disciplines in the country are cricket, field hockey and polo. The Pakistan cricket team is on a par with the strongest teams in the world – Great Britain, India and Australia. The country has been participating in the Olympic Games since 1956. During this time, in field hockey, the Pakistanis won three gold medals, three silver and two bronze medals. And in 1960, at the Olympics in Rome, the national team interrupted the winning streak of the Indian team, which had previously taken gold at six Olympics in a row.
Interesting fact: The game of polo originated at the beginning of the VI century in Persia. Every year in June, the largest polo tournament “Shandur” is held in Pakistan.
The level of medical care in the country is not very high both in the public sector and in the private sector. Large hospitals are located in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi. A tourist needs to be prepared for the fact that, if necessary, he can receive even urgent assistance only on a paid basis. Therefore, to visit the country, it is worth stocking up on international health insurance. Vaccinations are recommended to prevent malaria, yellow fever, polio, cholera and typhoid.
The culinary traditions of Pakistan are very similar to those of India. Here you can try various curries and flatbreads roti, chapati, puri. One of the most popular local condiments is masala. No meal is complete without it. Moreover, each housewife can have her own recipe for this seasoning: sharper, sweeter. As in any Muslim country, there are many meat dishes in Pakistan, which mainly use chicken, lamb and beef.
A good souvenir from Pakistan can be a beautiful homespun carpet, a healthy salt lamp or handmade chess. Here they are made of ivory, sandalwood and semi-precious stones – jasper, onyx, opal, agate.
You can move around Pakistan by train or buses. Air traffic is also developed within the country. City public transport is represented by buses, taxis and tuki-tuki motor scooters.
Pakistan cannot yet be called a popular resort center. But gradually, beautiful beaches on the coast of the Arabian Sea with luxurious hotels win the sympathy of tourists.
The cultural capital of Pakistan is Karachi. Here you can see the mausoleum of Qaid-i-Azam-Mazar, the mosque of the National Defense Society, the Honeymoon House, the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, the Zoroastrian Tower of Silence. Many interesting things can be seen in another oldest city in the country – Lahore, which is known for its unique architectural monuments, including the Lahore Fort and the Badshahi Mosque.
Interesting fact: Holy Trinity Cathedral is one of the few Christian religious buildings in Pakistan. This is an Anglican church built in 1855. For a long time, its tower was the only lighthouse in the city harbor.
Fans of archeology will be interested in the excavations of the city of the ancient Harappan civilization – Mohenjo-Daro in the province of Sindh. The city was founded around 2600 BC and existed for 900 years. At the same time, as excavations have shown, life in it ceased instantly. A quarter was found here in which the bricks were melted, which indicates the impact of high temperatures. This fact gave rise to a number of fantastic versions explaining the death of Mohenjo-Daro – from nuclear bombing to the impact of an alien ship.
The country’s capital, Islamabad, is a fairly young city. It was founded in 1960. But even here, an inquisitive tourist can find interesting architectural monuments, among which the Faisal Mosque is one of the largest in the world, it can accommodate 300,000 believers at the same time. The Pakistan Monument is a memorial symbolizing the four provinces and three districts of Pakistan. Fifteen kilometers from Islamabad is the Pharwala Fort built in the 15th century. The fort served to guard against Sikh raids and was erected on the site of a 10th-century fortress.
Interesting fact: When visiting Pakistan, you need to be prepared for the fact that in all cities there are a lot of military men – they guard government agencies and patrol the streets.
In Pakistan, as in all Muslim countries, religious holidays are calculated according to the lunar calendar. Secular holidays are Labor Day on May 1, Independence Day on August 14, and the birthday of Pakistan’s founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah on December 25.