The separation in 1947 of British India into the Muslim state of Pakistan (with two sections west and east) and largely Hindu India was never satisfactorily resolved, and India and Pakistan fought two wars – in 1947-48 and 1965 – over the disputed Kashmir territory. A third war between these countries in 1971 – in which India capitalized on Islamabad’s marginalization of Bengalis in Pakistani politics – resulted in East Pakistan becoming the separate nation of Bangladesh. In response to Indian nuclear weapons testing, Pakistan conducted its own tests in 1998. The dispute over the state of Kashmir is ongoing, but discussions and confidence-building measures have led to decreased tensions since 2002.


Geographic coordinates:

30 00 N, 70 00 E


Southern Asia, bordering the Arabian Sea, between India on the east and Iran and Afghanistan on the west and China in the north


Map references: Asia:

Total Area: 803,940 sq km


778,720 sq km


25,220 sq km


Comparative: slightly less than twice the size of California

Land boundaries:

total: 6,774 km border countries: Afghanistan 2,430 km, China 523 km, India 2,912 km, Iran 909 km

Coastline: 1,046 km

Maritime claims:

Territorial sea:

12 nm

Contiguous zone:

24 nm exclusive economic zone:

Continental shelf:

200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin


Mostly hot, dry desert; temperate in northwest; arctic in north


Flat Indus plain in east; mountains in north and northwest; Baluchistan plateau in west Elevation extremes:

Lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m highest point: K2 (Mt. Godwin-Austen) 8,611 m

Natural resources:

Land, extensive natural gas reserves, limited petroleum, poor quality coal, iron ore, copper, salt, limestone

 Land use:

Arable land: 39.9%

Permanent crops:

0.84%, other: 74.72% (2005), Irrigated land: 182,300 sq km (2003)

Natural hazards:

Frequent earthquakes, occasionally severe especially in north and west; flooding along the Indus after heavy rains (July and August)

 Environment – current issues

Water pollution from raw sewage, industrial wastes, and agricultural runoff; limited natural freshwater resources; a majority of the population does not have access to potable water; deforestation; soil erosion; desertification

Indus River

Environment – international agreements:

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands signed, but not ratified: Marine Life Conservation

Geography – note:

Controls Khyber Pass and Bolan Pass, traditional invasion routes between Central Asia and the Indian Subcontinent


Country name:

Conventional long form: Islamic Republic of Pakistan

Conventional short form: Pakistan

Local long form: Jamhuryat Islami Pakistan

Local short form: Pakistan

Former: West Pakistan

Government type:

Federal republic


Islamabad geographic coordinates: 33 42 N, 73 10 E

Time Difference:

UTC+5 (10 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions:

4 provinces, 1 territory, and 1 capital territory; Baluchistan, Federally Administered Tribal Areas, Islamabad Capital Territory, North-West Frontier Province, Punjab, Sindh note: the Pakistani-administered portion of the disputed Jammu and Kashmir region consists of two administrative entities: Azad Kashmir and Northern Areas

Legal system:

based on English common law with provisions to accommodate Pakistan’s status as an Islamic state; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations


18 years of age; universal; joint electorates and reserved parliamentary seats for women and non-Muslims



204,924,861 (July 2017 est.) note: provisional results of Pakistan’s 2017 national census estimate the country’s total population to be 207,774,000

Age structure:

  • 0-14 years: 31.36% (male 33,005,623/female 31,265,463)
  • 15-24 years: 21.14% (male 22,337,897/female 20,980,455)
  • 25-54 years: 37.45% (male 39,846,417/female 36,907,683)
  • 55-64 years: 5.57% (male 5,739,817/female 5,669,495)
  • 65 years and over: 4.48% (male 4,261,917/female 4,910,094) (2017 est.)

Median age:

  • total: 23.8 years
  • male: 23.7 years
  • female: 23.8 years (2017 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.43% (2017 est.)

Birth rate: 21.9 births/1,000 population (2017 est.)

Death rate: 6.3 deaths/1,000 population (2017 est.)

Net migration rate: -1.3 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2017 est.)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.08 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.88 male(s)/female

Total population:

men form 51%, women 48.76%and transgenders 0.24% of the total population of Pakistan. The gap between the male and female ratio among the population is also increasing

Infant mortality rate:

  • Total: 70.45 deaths/1,000 live births
  • Male: 70.84 deaths/1,000 live births
  • Female: 70.04 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

  • Total population: 68.1 years
  • Male: 66.1 years
  • Female: 70.1 years (2017 est.)
  • Total fertility rate: 2.62 children born/woman (2017 est.)


  • noun: Pakistani(s)
  • adjective: Pakistani
  • Ethnic groups: Punjabi, Sindhi, Pashtun (Pathan), Baloch, Muhajir (immigrants from India at the time of partition and their descendants)


Islam is the state religion of Pakistan, and about 95-98% of Pakistanis are Muslim. Pakistan has the second-largest number of Muslims in the world after Indonesia. The majority are Sunni (estimated at 75-95%), with an estimated 5-20% Shia.

other (includes Christian and Hindu) 3%


  • Pakistan’s national language is Urdu, which, along with English, is also the official language

  • Punjabi 48%,

  • Sindhi 12%

  • Siraiki (a Punjabi variant

  • 10%, Pashtu 8%

  • Urdu (official) 8%

  • Balochi 3%

  • Hindko 2%

  • Brahui 1%

  • English (official; lingua franca of Pakistani elite and most government ministries)

  • Burushaski and other 8%



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