The Islamic Republic of (Urdu: اسلامی جمہوریۂ پاکستان), or Pakistan (help·info), is a country in South Asia, marking the region where South Asia converges with Central Asia and the Middle East. It has a 1,046 kilometer (650 mile) coastline along the Arabian Sea in the south, and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast.b
Pakistan is the sixth most populous country in the world and is the second most populous country with a Muslim majority. Its territory was a part of the pre-partitioned British India and has a long history of settlement and civilisation including the Indus Valley Civilisation. The region has been invaded by the Greeks, Persians, Arabs, Afghans, Turks, and Mongols. The territory was incorporated into British India in the nineteenth century. Since its independence, the country has experienced periods of significant military and economic growth and has also experienced times of significant instability.
Modern day Pakistan consists of four major parts called provinces Sindh, Punjab, Balochistan and North-West Frontier Province. It also governs part of Kashmir which is currently split between Pakistan and India. The Indus region was the site of several ancient cultures including Mehrgarh, one of the world's earliest known towns, and the Indus Valley Civilization (2500 BCE - 1500 BCE) at Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro.
Mahmud and Ayaz. The Sultan (in red), with Malik Ayaz (in green) standing behind him. On the Sultan's right is Shah Abbas I, who reigned 600 years laterWaves of conquerors and migrants including Harappan, Indo-Aryan, Persian, Grecian, Saka, Parthian, Kushan, White Hun, Afghan, Arab, Turkics, and Mughal settled in the region throughout the centuries, influencing the locals and being absorbed among them. However, while the eastern provinces of Punjab and Sind became aligned with Indo-Islamic civilization, the western areas became culturally allied with the Iranic civilization of Afghanistan and Iran. The modern state of Pakistan was established on 14 August 1947. The region is a crossroads of historic trade routes, including the Silk Road.
The Indus Valley Civilization collapsed in the middle of the second millennium BCE and was followed by the Vedic Civilization, which extended over much of the Indo-Gangetic plains. Successive empires and kingdoms ruled the region from the Achaemenid Persian empire around 543 BCE, to Alexander the Great in 326 BCE and the Mauryan empire. The Indo-Greek Kingdom founded by Demetrius of Bactria included Gandhara and Punjab from 184 BCE, and reached its greatest extent under Menander, establishing the Greco-Buddhist period with advances in trade and culture. The city of Taxila (Takshashila) became a major centre of learning in ancient times - the remains of the city, located to the west of Islamabad, are one of the country's major archaeological sites.
Muhammad Bin Qasim leading his troops in battleIn 712 CE, the Arab general Muhammad bin Qasim conquered Sindh and Multan in southern Punjab. The Pakistan government's official chronology states that "its foundation was laid" as a result of this invasionThis would set the stage for several successive Muslim empires in the Indian subcontinent, including the Ghaznavid Empire, the Ghorid Kingdom, the Delhi Sultanate and the Mughal Empire. During this period, Sufi missionaries played a pivotal role in converting a majority of the regional Buddhist and Hindu population to Islam. The gradual decline of the Mughal Empire in the early eighteenth century provided opportunities for the Afghans, Balochis and Sikhs to exercise control over large areas until the British East India Company gained ascendancy over South Asia.
The 1857 War of IndependenceThe rebellion, also known as the Indian Mutiny, in 1857 was the region's last major armed struggle against the British Raj, and it laid the foundations for the generally unarmed freedom struggle led by the Congress. However, the Muslim League rose to popularity in the late 1930s amid fears of under-representation and neglect of Muslims in politics. On 29 December 1930, Allama Iqbal's presidential address called for an autonomous "state in northwestern India for Indian Muslims, within the body politic of India." Muhammad Ali Jinnah espoused the Two Nation Theory and led the Muslim League to adopt the Lahore Resolution of 1940 (popularly known as the Pakistan Resolution), which ultimately led to the formation of an independent Pakistan.
Pakistan was formed on 14 August 1947 with two Muslim-majority wings in the eastern and northwestern regions of the British Indian Empire, separated from the rest of the country with a Hindu majority, and comprising the provinces of Balochistan, East Bengal, the North-West Frontier Province, West Punjab and Sindh. The partition of the British Indian Empire resulted in communal riotsacross India and Pakistan—millions of Muslims moved to Pakistan and millions of Hindus and Sikhs moved to India. Disputes arose over several princely states including Jammu and Kashmir whose ruler had acceded to India following an invasion by Pashtun warriors, leading to the First Kashmir War (1948) ending with Pakistan occupying roughly one-third of the state. From 1947 to 1956, Pakistan was a Dominion in the Commonwealth of Nations. The republic declared in 1956 was stalled by a coup d'etat by Ayub Khan (1958–69), who was president during a period of internal instability and a second war with India in 1965. His successor, Yahya Khan (1969–71) had to deal with the cyclone which caused 500,000 deathsin East Pakistan Governor General Jinnah delivering the opening address on 11 August 1947 to the new state of Pakistan.Economic and political dissent in East Pakistan led to violent political repression and tensions escalating into civil war (Bangladesh War of Independence) (see also Causes of Separation of East Pakistan) and the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 and ultimately the secession of East Pakistan as the independent state of Bangladesh.
Estimates of the number of people killed during this episode vary greatly, from ~30,000 to over 2 million depending on the source. The two wings of Pakistan in 1970; East Pakistan separated from the West wing in 1971 as an independent Bangladesh.Civilian rule resumed from 1972 to 1977 under Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, until he was deposed and later sentenced to death in what amounted to a judicial murder in 1979 by General Zia-ul-Haq, who became the country's third military president. Pakistan's secular policies were replaced by Zia's introduction of the Islamic Shariah legal code, which increased religious influences on the civil service and the military. With the death of General Zia in a plane crash in 1988, Benazir Bhutto, daughter of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, was elected as the first female Prime Minister of Pakistan. Over the next decade, she alternated power with Nawaz Sharif, as the country's political and economic situation worsened. Pakistan sent 5,000 troops to the 1991 Gulf War as part of a US led coalition and specifically for the defence of Saudi Arabia. Military tensions in the Kargil conflict with India were followed by a Pakistani military coup d'état in 1999 in which General Pervez Musharraf assumed executive powers. In 2001, Musharraf named himself President after the forced resignation of Rafiq Tarar. After the 2002 parliamentary elections, Musharraf transferred executive powers to newly elected Prime Minister Zafarullah Khan Jamali, who was succeeded in the 2004 Prime-Ministerial election by Shaukat Aziz, followed by a temporary period in office by Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain. On 15th November, 2007 the National Assembly completed its tenure and so a caretaker government was setup. Mian Muhammad Sumro who is the chairman senate was appointed as the caretaker Prim minister.