|Islamic Republic of
Pakistan Isl¨¡m¨© Ǧumh¨±riya-i P¨¡kist¨¡n (Urdu)
||Urdu (national language), English
|Form of government
||UTC + 5
|Telephone area code
The Islamic Republic of Pakistan is located in South
Asia and, with an area of 796,095 km², is more than
twice the size of Germany. The country borders India to
the east, the Arabian Sea to the south, Iran to the
southwest, Afghanistan to the west and China to the
The northern part of Pakistan is characterized by
high mountains. The mountain ranges of the Himalayas,
Karakoram and Hindu Kush meet here. The highest
elevation is the K 2 (also called Mount Godwin-Austen)
in the Karakorum, which at 8,610 m is the second highest
mountain in the world after Mount Everest. The summit is
in the Kashmir region (Jammu and Kashmir), which is
claimed by Pakistan as well as by India and China.
In the west and south-west of the country lies the
highlands of Baluchistan, which is characterized by
deserts and steppes and is dominated by several mountain
ranges (Tobakar, Siahan, Sulaiman, Kirthar Mountains).
Here heights of almost 3,600 m are reached. To the east
is the Indus lowland, which is crossed by the river of
the same name and in the northern part by its four
tributaries Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi and Sutlej. With an
area of around 518,000 km², the Indus lowlands occupy
more than half of the country's area. With a total
length of about 3,200 km, the Indus is the longest river
in the Indian subcontinent; on Pakistani soil, its
length is about 2,200 km. The Indus flows into the
Arabian Sea in southern Pakistan in a wide delta. In the
southeast, the country shares in the Tharr Desert (Great
The capital Islamabad (since 1959, previously
Karachi) is in the northern part of Pakistan.
In general, the climate in Pakistan is continental,
due to the size of the country and the different
altitudes, temperatures and rainfall vary considerably
in the different regions. In the mountains in the north
and west of the country, winter temperatures drop below
freezing, while in most of the lowlands the average
values are around 13 ¡ã C. In the capital, Islamabad,
in northern Pakistan, values of 9 ¡ã C are measured in
January and 32 ¡ã C in July. In Karachi on the coast to
the Arabian Sea, the January average is almost 20 ¡ã C,
the July values around 31 ¡ã C.
The whole country is characterized by drought. The
greatest rainfall (900 to 1 200 mm) is measured in the
southern Himalayas. In the Indus lowlands fall between
300 mm and 500 mm annually, in the coastal region it is
100 to 200 mm. Extreme arid areas are, for example, the
Tharr Desert in the southeast and parts of the highlands
of Baluchistan in southwest Pakistan.
Flora and fauna
Almost 4% of the country's area is occupied by
forests, which are mainly found in the northern
mountains. Spruces, pines, cedars and oaks grow up to a
height of around 3,500 m. Alpine mats can be found above
the tree line. Thorny shrubs, acacias and hard grasses
grow in the steppe areas. The extreme dry areas are
almost without vegetation. The Indus lowlands are
largely used for agriculture. There are mangrove stocks
in the Indus Delta.
The sparsely populated areas in the northern
mountains offer a suitable habitat for animal species
such as snow leopard, brown bear, ibex and screw goat.
Bezoar goats, hyenas, jackals, caracals, monitor lizards
and various lizard species live in steppe areas. Typical
animal species for the Indus lowlands and delta are, for
example, crocodiles (including the up to 6 m long
gaviale), water snakes, the Ganges dolphin and numerous
water birds such as pelicans and herons.
About 162.42 million people live in the Islamic
Republic of Pakistan, about 33% of them in cities. The
largest city is Karachi with an estimated 12.4 million
residents. Other cities with over a million residents
are Lahore (5.54 million), Faisalabad (1.99 million) and
Rawalpindi (1.41 million). According to COUNTRYAAH, 800,000 people live in
the young capital of Islamabad. The average population
density is around 204 residents per square kilometer,
with more than 80% of the population living in less than
a third of the country's area, especially in the
northern and central part of the Indus lowlands.
Several ethnic groups live in Pakistan. The largest
group is that of the Punjabi (Punjabi, approx. 50%), who
mainly live in the Pundjab and the neighboring regions.
The next largest population groups are Pashtuns and
Sindhi, each with about 15%. The Sindhi live mainly in
the south of the Indus lowlands (Sindh province). Like
the language of Punjabi, the language of Sindh belongs
to the Indo-Aryan languages, while the Pashtu of the
Pashtuns (also called pathans) is one of the Iranian
languages. Other minorities with about 5% of the
population are the Baluchi, which belong to the Iranian
peoples, the Balti and the Brahui. An estimated two
million Afghan refugees live in Pakistan.
The official official language Urdu is spoken as a
mother tongue by just under 10% of the population. This
Indo-Aryan language largely corresponds to the Hindi
used in India. Punjabi is widespread, and Sindhi,
Pashtu, Baluchi and other languages are spoken.
English is particularly important in more educated
More than 96% of the population profess Islam, which
is the state religion. In turn, over 80% of Muslims are
Sunnis. Christians, Hindus, Parses and Sikhs form
The standard of living in Pakistan is low. The
medical care of the population is inadequate, especially
in rural areas. The mean life expectancy is 63 years,
the infant mortality rate is 7.3%. The population grows
by an average of 2%. Not even half of Pakistani (only
30% of women) can read and write.
Pakistan is an Islamic republic under the 1973
constitution. The head of state is the president
(Mamnoon Hussain, since September 2013). According to
the constitution, he is elected by an electoral college
every five years. The prime minister is elected by
parliament (Nawaz Sharif, since June 2013).
The Parliament consists of two chambers: the Senate
with 100 members elected indirectly for six years and
the National Assembly (Majlis-e-Shura) with 342 members
elected for four years. 60 of the seats in the National
Assembly are reserved for women, ten for minorities.
The Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a federal state
consisting of four provinces, a capital district and the
areas occupied by Pakistan in the former principality of
Jammu and Kashmir, which are also claimed by India.
Problems are the enormous inflation rate, a high
deficit in the balance of payments, the high
underemployment, the deficient (energy) infrastructure,
the strong dependence on agriculture and oil imports and
the rapidly growing population. This leads to low
incomes despite relatively stable growth rates, almost a
quarter of the population lives below the poverty line.
Around a third of Pakistan's area is agricultural
land. A fifth of GDP is generated in agriculture, and
almost every second employee is employed here. Large
parts of the acreage must be artificially irrigated. The
main crops are cotton, wheat, rice, corn and sugar cane.
Cattle and sheep breeding is partly carried out by
Pakistan has deposits of petroleum, natural gas,
coal, rock salt, limestone, ores and chromium. A large
part of the mineral resources is used only little. The
industry focuses on processing cotton into textiles and
clothing, as well as food processing. Other sectors are
fertilizer, steel, cement and chemical industries.
Around 20% of the workforce is employed in this area.
Regionally produced handicrafts such as carpets and
pottery are exported. The country's energy requirements
are mainly covered by thermal and hydropower plants.
There are two nuclear power plants.
The most important trading partners for exports
(especially textiles, clothing, food, cotton) are the
USA, the United Arab Emirates and China. Above all, oil,
machinery and transport, chemicals and mineral oil
products are imported. The main supplier countries are
the United Arab Emirates, China, Saudi Arabia and
The service sector now accounts for 54% of gross
domestic product (GDP). Important areas here are
primarily banking, insurance, transportation and the
communications sector, but also the bloated public
Around 260,000 km of roads (almost 160,000 km of
asphalt) are available in Pakistan. The railway network
covers approximately 7,800 km. Karachi is the largest
seaport on the Arabian Sea. The main international
airports are in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad.
The currency is the Pakistani rupee.