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Islamic Republic of Pakistan

Islami Jamhooria Pakistan

CAPITAL: Islāmābād

FLAG: The national flag is dark green, with a white vertical stripe at the hoist and a white crescent and five-pointed star in the center.

ANTHEM: The opening lines of the national anthem, sung in Urdu, are "Blessed be the sacred land, Happy be the bounteous realm, Symbol of high resolve, land of Pakistan, Blessed be thou citadel of faith."

MONETARY UNIT: The rupee (r) is a paper currency of 100 paisa. There are coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, 25, and 50 paisa and of 1 rupee, and notes of 1, 2, 5, 10, 50, 100, 500, and 1,000 rupees. r1 = $0.01678 (or $1 = r59.6) as of 2005.

WEIGHTS AND MEASURES: The metric system was introduced in 1966 and made mandatory as of 1 January 1979.

HOLIDAYS: Pakistan Day, 23 March; May Day, 1 May; Independence Day, 14 August; Defense of Pakistan Day, 6 September; Anniversary of Death of the Quaid-e-Azam, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, 11 September; Christmas and Birthday of the Quaid-e-Azam, 25 December. Religious holidays include 'Id al-Fitr, Id al-'Adha', 1st of Muharram, and Milad an-Nabi.

TIME: 5 pm = noon GMT.


Situated in southern Asia, Pakistan has an area of 803,940 sq km (310,403 sq mi), extending 1,875 km (1,165 mi) nesw from the ranges of the Hindu Kush and the Himalaya to the Arabian Sea and 1,006 km (625 mi) senw. Comparatively, the area occupied by Pakistan is slightly less than twice the size of the state of California. The enclave of Junagadh, claimed by Pakistan, and Jammu and Kashmir, divided between Pakistan and India by the 1971 "line of control," are not included in the area. Pakistan is bordered on the ne by China, on the e by Jammu and Kashmir to the Karakoram Pass, on the e and se by India, on the s by the Arabian Sea, on the sw by Iran, and on the w and nw by Afghanistan. The total land boundary length is 6,774 km (4,209 mi). The coastline is 1,046 km (650 mi). Pakistan's capital city, Islāmābād, is located in the northern part of the country.


More than two-thirds of Pakistan is arid or semiarid. The west is dominated by the Baluchistan plateau, consisting of arid plains and ridges. Rivers, streams, and lakes exist only seasonally. The arid south ends at the rugged Makran coast and rises to the east into a series of rock-strewn ranges, the Kirthar, and to the north, the Sulaiman, which extends to the Indus plains. A semiwatered plateau surrounds Rāwalpindi, bounded to the south by the salt range. Southward, the extensive Punjab plains support about 60% of the country's population.

In the northern areas of Pakistan, the forest-clad hills give way to lofty ranges, including 60 peaks over 6,700 m (22,000 ft) high. K-2 (Godwin Austen), at 8,611 m (28,250 ft), is the second-highest mountain in the world.

The principal ranges, trending nwse, include several Himalayan rangesnotably the Pir Panjal and Zaskarleading into the Karakoram Mountains. The Indus is the principal river of Pakistan. Its major tributaries are the Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, and Sutlej.

On 8 October 2005, an earthquake measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale struck the Kashmir region. There were more than 140 aftershocks recorded; many measured 5.0 in magnitude. Landslides damaged homes, killed livestock, and blocked rivers, causing severe flooding. More than 69,000 were injured and there were more than 73,000 deaths. It was estimated that about 3 million people were displaced or left homeless.


Pakistan's climate is dry and hot near the coast, becoming progressively cooler toward the northeastern uplands. The winter season is generally cold and dry. The hot season begins in March, and by the end of June the temperature may reach 49°c (120°f). Between June and September, the monsoon provides an average rainfall of about 38 cm (15 in) in the river basins and up to about 150 cm (60 in) in the northern areas. Rainfall can vary radically from year to year, and successive patterns of flooding and drought are not uncommon.


The mangrove forests of the coastal region give way to the mulberry, acacia, and date palms of the sparsely vegetated south; the foothills support phulai, kao, chinar, and wild olive, and the northern forests have stands of oak, chestnut, walnut, pine, ash, spruce, yew, and fir. Above 3,000 m (10,000 ft), birch, dwarf willow, and juniper are also found.

Pakistan's wide range of animal life includes the Siberian ibex, wild sheep, buffalo, bear, wolf, jackal, fox, wildcat, musk cat, hyena, porcupine, gazelle, peacock, python, and boar. As of 2002, there were at least 188 species of mammals, 237 species of birds, and over 4,950 species of plants throughout the country.


Relatively high population growth contributed to the depletion of forestland from 9.8% of Pakistan's total area in 1947 to 4.5% by 1986, despite the forest conservation measures mandated by the Forest Act of 1927. Pakistan lost 14.5% of its remaining forest and woodland between 1983 and 1993. In 2000, only about 3.1% of the total land area was forested. Deforestation has also contributed to increased soil erosion, declining soil fertility, and severe flooding.

Primary responsibility for environmental matters belongs to the Environmental and Urban Affairs Division of the Ministry for Housing and Works. Laws to set air and water quality standards and regulate coastal zones to prevent pollution were under consideration in the 1980s. In the mid-1990s, Pakistan was among the 50 nations with the world's highest levels of industrial carbon dioxide emissions, which totaled 71.9 million metric tons per year, a per capita level of 0.59 metric tons per year. In 2000, the total of carbon dioxide emissions was at 104.8 million metric tons. The nation's water supply is at risk due to untreated sewage along with agricultural and industrial pollutants. It is estimated that about 80% of the nation's diseases are related to impure water.

According to a 2006 report issued by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), threatened species included 17 types of mammals, 30 species of birds, 9 types of reptiles, 14 species of fish, and 2 species of plants. Endangered species included the Indus dolphin, Baluchistan bear, tiger, Pakistan sand cat, snow leopard, Indian wild ass, green sea turtle, olive ridley turtle, gavial, Central Asian cobra, Kabul markhor, chi pheasant, western tragopan, great Indian bustard, and Siberian white crane. Hunting or capturing wild animals was banned in 1981. In 2003, about 4.9% of the total land area was protected.


The population of Pakistan in 2005 was estimated by the United Nations (UN) at 162,420,000, which placed it at number 6 in population among the 193 nations of the world. In 2005, approximately 4% of the population was over 65 years of age, with another 42% of the population under 15 years of age. There were 106 males for every 100 females in the country. According to the UN, the annual population rate of change for 200510 was expected to be 2.4%, a rate the government viewed as too high. In 2002, the government initiated the Population Policy of Pakistan, which aimed to stabilize population growth by 2020 by lowering both the fertility rates and mortality rates. The projected population for the year 2025 was 228,822,000. The population density was 204 per sq km (528 per sq mi).

The UN estimated that 34% of the population lived in urban areas in 2005, and that urban areas were growing at an annual rate of 3.60%. The capital city, Islāmābād, had a population of 698,000 in that year. Karāchi, the largest city, had a population in excess of 12 million. Other cities with populations in excess of one million include Lahore, Faisalābad, and Rāwalpindi, Gujrānwāla, Mutlān, Hyderābād, and Peshāwar.


Some 6,000,000 Muslims migrated to Pakistan from India at the time of independence in 1947, and Muslims have continued to arrive from India in much fewer numbers since then. The Soviet military intervention in Afghanistan in December 1979 led to an influx of Afghan refugees.

After the Taliban captured Kabul on 27 September 1996, there was a new outflow of Afghan refugees to Pakistan. By March 1997, around 50,000 new Afghan refugees entered the country. As of 1999, there were still around 1.2 million Afghan refugees living in refugee villages in Pakistan. An unknown number of unregistered Afghans were living in the main Pakistani cities of Rāwalpindi, Lahore, and Karāchi. Pakistan also hosts non-Afghan refugees, including Iraqis, Iranians, and Somalis. The total number of migrants living in Pakistan was 4,243,000 in 2000. In 2004, the total persons of concern to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was 968,774. Refugees numbered 960,617; of these 960,041 were from Afghanistan. In that same year, 9,662 Pakistanis sought refuge in Canada, and 8,656 in Germany. In 2004, there were 8,157 asylum seekers in Pakistan, mainly from Afghanistan (7,164), and Nigeria. In that same year, Pakistanis sought asylum in 18 countries, mainly in Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and the United States. In 2004, Pakistan dropped from being the main country of asylum at the beginning of the year to the rank of second by the end of the year.

In 2003 worker remittances were $3.9 billion. In 2005, the net migration rate was -1.67 migrants per 1,000 population. The government views the migration levels as satisfactory.


The majority of the population is Punjabi (an estimated two-thirds). Other major ethnic groups include the Sindhi, Pathan, Baloch, and Muhajirs (immigrants from India and their descendants). The Rajputs and the Jats are the most numerous of the Punjabi castes. In the area of the delta and the lower course of the Indus River are Sindhi peasant tribesmen. In the north and northwest are the hardy, warlike nomadic and seminomadic Pathans. The Balochi live in the vast western section of Pakistan and are divided into 12 major tribes, some of them purportedly of Dravidian origin. Native speakers of Urdu, the Muhajirs are refugees, or descendants of refugees, from pre-partition India. They are well represented in the cities.


Punjabi is spoken by about 48% of the population; Sindhi by 12%; Siraiki (a Punjabi variant) by 10%; Pashtu by 8%; Urdu by 8%; Balochi by 3%; Hindko by 2%; Brahui by 1%; English, Burushaski, and other by 8%. During the Mughal (or Mogul) period, a fusion of local dialects and Persian produced Urdu, a "language of the camp" (zaban-i-urdu ). Although regional languages and dialects persist, Urdu is the official language of Pakistan; while it is spoken by only a minority, it is understood everywhere except in the rural or mountainous areas on the western frontier. English also claims official status and is the lingua franca of Pakistani elite and most government ministries.


The country of Pakistan was essentially created as a Muslim homeland. According to a 1998 census, some 96% of the population was Muslim, giving Pakistan one of the largest Islamic communities in the world. While most Muslims are of the Sunni and Shia sects, there are a few members of the Ismaili sect concentrated at Karāchi. Ahmadis consider themselves Muslims but they do not accept Muhammad as the last prophet; as such, they are not accepted as orthodox by other Muslim groups and were officially declared non-Muslims by the government in 1974. Zikris form another branch of people who consider themselves Muslim but are rejected by Sunni leaders because they practice ceremonies that are not common to all of Islam.

In the 1998 census, about 2% of the population were Christians with the largest group belonging to the Church of Pakistan, an umbrella Protestant organization. Roman Catholics were the next largest group of Christians. About 2% of the population were Hindus with about 2,000 temples and shrines, mostly in Sindh and Baluchistan. Buddhists, Parsis, Sikhs, and Baha'is were also represented.

Though the constitution provides for religious freedom, the government has placed restrictions on a number of religious groups. Islam is the state religion and actions or speech contrary or derogatory to Islam are illegal. There have been many cases of trials, imprisonment, and even death sentences based on the violation of these "blasphemy laws." Religious minorities face a great deal of harassment and discrimination and have been the object of physical violence. The Ahmadis, as an unrecognized offshoot of Islam, face a particular level of discrimination. They are prohibited by law from referring to themselves as Muslims or posing as Muslims in anyway. They are also not allowed to hold public assemblies or conferences. The constitution states that the president and the prime minister must be Muslim and all other government officials swear an oath to uphold the Islamic ideology of the state.


Railways are a major carrier of passenger and freight traffic. In 2004, Pakistan Railways operated 8,163 km (5,072 mi) of broad and narrow gauge track. Of that total, broad gauge lines predominate, with 7,718 km (4,801 mi), of which 293 km (182 mi) are electrified.

In 2002, Pakistan's road system totaled 247,811 km (153,989 mi) of roads, of which 141,252 km (87,858 mi) were paved, including 339 km (211 mi) of expressways. Road traffic drives on the left. The 800 km (500 mi) Karakoram highway, built jointly by Pakistan and China to connect Islāmābād with western China, was opened in 1979. In November, 1997, the Lahore-Islāmābād motorway was opened for traffic. There were 390,480 passenger cars and 396,225 commercial vehicles in use in 2003. The road network carries 85% of all goods and passengers moving within the country. The harbor of Karāchi, which provides Pakistan with its major port, covers an area of 6.5 sq km (2.5 sq mi) and handles over 10.5 million tons annually. Port Qasim, 22 km (14 mi) south of Karāchi, was developed during the 1970s to help handle the increased shipping traffic. As of 2005, Pakistan's merchant marine operated 13 oceangoing vessels of 1,000 GRT or more, totaling 329,486 GRT.

Pakistan had an estimated 131 airports in 2004. As of 2005, a total of 91 had paved runways, and there were also 18 heliports. Karāchi Airport is the main international terminus. As of July 2001, along with the government-run Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), two private carriers, Aero Asia and Shehann Air International (SAI), were operating on domestic as well as flights to Europe, the United States, and the Far East. In 2003, about 4.477 million passengers were carried in scheduled domestic and international flights.


The ruins of ancient civilizations at Mohenjodaro and at Harappa in the southern Indus Valley testify to the existence of an advanced urban civilization that flourished in what is now Pakistan in the second half of the third millennium bc during the same period as the major riverain civilizations in Mesopotamia and Persia. Although overwhelmed from 1500 bc onward by large migrations of nomadic Indo-European-speaking Aryans from the Caucasus region, vestiges of this civilization continue to exist not only in present-day Pakistan but also in the Indic culture that evolved from interaction of the Aryans and others in the years following. Among the latter were Persians in 500 bc, Greeks under Alexander the Great in 326 bc, andafter ad 800Arabs, Afghans, Turks, Persians, Mongols (Mughals), and Europeans, the last of whom first arrived by sea beginning in ad 1601.

Islam, now the dominant cultural influence in Pakistan, arrived with Arab traders in the 8th century ad. Successive overland waves of Muslims followed, culminating in the ascendancy of the Mughals in most of the subcontinent. Led initially by Babur, a grandson of Genghis Khan, the Mughal empire flourished in the 16th and 17th centuries and remained in nominal control until well after the British East India Company came to dominate the region in the early 18th century. Effective British governance of the areas that now make up Pakistan was not consolidated until well into the second half of the 19th century.

Nationalism and the Rise of the Muslim League

In 1909 and 1919, while the British began to take steps to expand local self-rule, mass movements challenging colonial authority began to rise. The largest of these movements was spearheaded by the Indian National Congress, founded in 1885 as an Anglophile society. Congress began to attract wide support after 1920 with one of its key leaders, Mohandas K. Gandhi, nonviolent struggle. Its leadership included Muslims but was in many ways Hindu dominant. As a result, Muslims worried that their needs would be forgotten and formed an All-India Muslim League to look after their interests. National and provincial elections held under the Government of India Act of 1935 confirmed many Muslims in this view by showing the power the majority Hindu population could wield at the ballot box.

Sentiment among Muslims began to coalesce around the "two-nation" theory propounded by the poet Iqbal, which declared that Muslims and Hindus were separate nations and that Muslims required creation of an independent Islamic state for their protection and fulfillment. A Bombay (now Mumbai) attorney, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who came to be known "Quaid-i-Azam" (Great Leader), led the fight for a separate Muslim state to be known as Pakistan. The Muslim League endorsed the project at Lahore in 1940.

Jinnah's quest succeeded on 14 August 1947 when British India was divided into the two self-governing dominions of India and Pakistan, the latter created by combining contiguous, Muslim-majority districts in British India, the former consisting of the remainder. Partition occasioned a mass movement of Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs who found themselves on the "wrong" side of new international boundaries; more than 20 million people moved, and up to three million of these were killed.

The new Pakistan was a state divided into two wings, East Pakistan (with 42 million people crowded mainly into what had been the eastern half of Bengal province) and West Pakistan (with 34 million in a much larger territory that included the provinces of Baluchistan, Sind, the Northwest Frontier, and western Punjab). In between, the wings were separated by 1600 km (1000 miles) of an independent, mainly Hindu, India professing secularism for its large Muslim, Christian, and Sikh minorities.

From the capital in Karāchi, in West Pakistan, the leaders of the new state labored mightily to overcome the economic dislocations of Partition, which cut across all previous former economic linkages, while attempting to establish a viable parliamentary government with broad acceptance in both wings. Jinnah's death in 1948 and the assassination in 1951 of Liaquat Ali Khan, its first prime minister, were major setbacks, and political stability proved elusive, with frequent recourse to proclamations of martial law and states of emergency in the years following 1954.

Complicating their task were the security concerns that Pakistan's new leaders had regarding India in the aftermath of the bitterness of partition and a still-unresolved dispute over the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir. In the early 1950s, Pakistan sought security in relationships external to the subcontinent, with the Islamic world and with the United States. It joined such American-sponsored alliances as the Baghdād Pact (laterwithout Baghdādthe Central Treaty Organization or CENTO) and the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO).

EastWest Divide

Pakistan also faced the daunting challenging of trying to bridge a profound political and ethnic gap that existed between its west and east wings. The Bengali east wing was economically more important, but political power rested in the Sindhi and Punjabi factions of the west wing. The eastern areas chafed under national policies laid down in the west, and seeking greater autonomy, voted the Muslim League (ML) out of office as early as 1954, resulting in a period of direct rule from Karāchi.

In 1958, the Army chief, Gen. Muhammad Ayub Khan, seized control of Pakistan, imposing martial law and banning all political activity for several years. Ayub later dissolved provincial boundaries in the west wing, converting it to "one unit," to balance East Pakistan. Each "unit" had a single provincial government and equal strength in an indirectly elected national legislature; the effect was to deny East Pakistan its population advantage, as well as its ability, as the largest province, to play provincial politics in the west wing.

Ayub's efforts failed to establish stability or satisfy the demands for restoration of parliamentary democracy. Weakened by his abortive military adventure against India in September 1965 and amid rising political strife in both wings in 1968, Ayub was eventually forced from office. General Muhammad Yayha Khan, also opposed to greater autonomy for the east wing, assumed the presidency in 1969. Again martial law was imposed and political activity suspended.

Yahya's attempt to restore popular government in the general elections of 1970 failed when the popular verdict supported those calling for greater autonomy for East Pakistan. Civil unrest in the east wing flared into civil war. India, with more than a million refugees pouring into its West Bengal state, joined the conflict in November 1971, supporting East Pakistan. When the brutal war ended in early 1972, the eastern wing was formally severed from Pakistan and became the nation of Bangladesh (land of Bengalis).

Authoritarian Politics

The loss of east Pakistan led to the resignation on 20 December 1971 of Yahya Khan and brought to the presidency Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, whose populist Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) had won a majority of seats in the west wing. A longtime minister under Ayub Khan, Bhutto quickly charted an independent course for West Pakistan, which became the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. He distanced Pakistan from former close ties with the United States and the west, seeking security from India by a much more active role in the Third World and especially in the growing international Islamic movement fueled by petrodollars. Bhutto launched limited land reform, nationalized banks and industries, and obtained support among all parties for a new constitution promulgated in 1973, restoring a strong prime ministership, which position he then stepped down to fill. In the years following, Bhutto grew more powerful, more capricious, and autocratic. His regime became increasingly dependent on harassment and imprisonment of foes and his popular support seriously eroded by the time he called for elections in March 1977. His PPP had lost many of its supporters, and he came to rely increasingly on discredited former PML members for support.

At the polls, the PPP was opposed by the Pakistan National Alliance (PNA), a nine-party coalition of all other major parties including the Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) on the Islamic right, the National Democratic Party on the secular left, the Pakistan Muslim League (PML/Pagaro) in the center, Asghar Khan's Tehrik Istiqlal (TI) on the secular right, and others. Although the results gave the PPP a two-thirds majority in parliament, allegations of widespread fraud and rigging undercut its credibility. PNA leaders demanded new elections, and Bhutto's exercise of emergency powers to arrest them led to widespread civil strife. On 5 July 1977, the army intervened and ousted Bhutto. Army chief General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq partially suspended the 1973 constitution, imposed martial law, and assumed the post of Chief Martial Law Administrator (CMLA). As calm returned to Pakistan, Zia promised elections for October 1977, but for the first of many times to come, he reversed himself before the event, arguing that he needed more time to set matters aright. And as the months passed, he began to assume more of the trappings of power, creating a cabinet-like Council of Advisers of made up of serving military officers and senior civil servants, chief among whom was longtime Defense Secretary, Ghulam Ishaq Khan, who became Finance Advisor and Zia's strong right arm.

In mid-1978, Zia brought Bhutto to trial for conspiracy to murder a political rival in which the rival's father was killed. He also expanded his "cabinet" with the addition of several PNA leaders as advisors, and, when the incumbent resigned, he assumed the added responsibilities (and title) of president. He allowed a return of limited political activity but put off elections scheduled for fall when he was unable to get agreement among the PNA parties on ground rules that would keep the PPP from returning to power.

Bhutto's conspiracy conviction was upheld by the Supreme Court in March 1979, and he was hanged on 4 April. In the fall, and with the PNA now in disarray, Zia again scheduled, then postponed elections and restricted political activity. But he did hold "nonparty" polling for district and municipal councils, only to find at year's end confirmation of his concerns about PPP strength when PPP members, identifying themselves as "Friends of the People," showed continuing appeal among the electorate.

Opposition to martial law began slowly to coalesce in 1980 when most of the PNA leadership joined with PPP leaders Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi and Nusrat Bhutto, Zulfikar's widow, to form the Movement for the Restoration of Democracy (MRD) and to demand Zia's resignation and the restoration of the 1973 constitution. But Zia proceeded to expand the role of Islamic values and institutions in society.

Meanwhile, neighboring Afghanistan experienced a communist coup in 1978 and Soviet invasion in 1979. Zia jumped into the political arena, taking a strong anticommunist leadership role that drew support from the Islamic world, the UN and the United States. In the 1980s, the United States and Pakistan signed economic and security assistance agreements worth us$3.2 and us$4.02 billion. Zia also sought improved relations with India but anxiety about the much more powerful India remained high, at least partially because the status of Jammu and Kashmir remained unresolved.

In Pakistan in 1984, President Zia held a referendum on his Islamization policies in December and promised that he would serve a specified term of five years as president if the voters endorsed his policies. The MRD opposed him but did not prevent what Zia claimed was a 63% turnout, with 90% in his favor. On the strength of this disputed showing, Zia announced national and provincial elections, on a nonparty basis, for February 1985. The MRD again boycotted, but the JI and part of the Pakistan Muslim League (PML) supported Zia. Deemed reasonably fair by most observers, the elections gave him a majority in the reconstituted National Assembly and left the opposition in further disarray.

Ten months later, on 30 December 1985, Zia ended martial law, as well as the state of emergency he had inherited from Zulfikar Bhutto, turning over day-to-day administration to the PML's Mohammad Khan Junejo, whom he had appointed prime minister in March. He also restored the 1973 constitution but not before amending it to strengthen presidential powers vis-a-vis the prime minister. As the Eighth Amendment to the constitution, these changes were approved by the National Assembly in October 1985. They remain a contentious issue today, having subsequently played a key role in institutional tension between incumbents of the presidency and the prime ministership. In the first such instance, frictions developed slowly through 1987, but on 29 May 1988, Zia suddenly fired Junejo, alleging corruption and a lack of support for his policies on Islamization and on Afghanistan. He called for new elections in November, and in June he proclaimed the Shariah (Islamic law) supreme in Pakistan.

However, Zia was among 18 officials (including the American Ambassador) killed in the crash of a Pakistan Air Force plane. Two months later, Chairman of the Senate, Ghulam Ishaq Khan, set elections for November. Benazir Bhutto, Zulfikar Bhutto's daughter, won a thin majority, and with her support Pakistan's electoral college chose Ghulam Ishaq President of Pakistan in his own right on 12 December 1988.

But the alliance was brief. Ghulam Ishaq on 20 August 1990 used his powers as president to remove Bhutto from leadership. He declared yet another a state of emergency, dissolved the National Assembly, named Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi (then leader of the opposition) prime minister, and called for new elections on 24 October. The Punjab high court upheld the constitutionality of his actions, and on 24 October, the voters gave a near-majority to the Islamic Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI), a multiparty coalition resting mainly on a partnership of the PML and the JI. Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, PML leader and former chief minister of Punjab, became prime minister on 6 November and quickly ended the state of emergency.

During late 1992 and early 1993, the president and the new prime minister moved toward a new confrontation over the exercise of their respective powers. Challenged by Nawaz Sharif on the president's choice of a new army chief, Ghulam Ishaq again used his eighth amendment powers to dismiss the government and dissolve the assembly on 18 April, alleging mismanagement and corruption. But public reaction to the president's actions was strong, and on 26 May, a supreme court ruling restored Nawaz Sharif to power, creating a period of constitutional gridlock until 18 July when the army chief brokered a deal in which both Ghulam Ishaq and Nawaz Sharif left office. Sharif resigned and was replaced by Ishaq Khan as interim prime minister by Moeen Qureshi, a former World Bank vice president; the president was then replaced by Wasim Sajjad, chairman of the senate.

Under Qureshi, Pakistan entered a period of fast-paced nonpartisan rule and reform in which widespread corruption was exposed, corrupt officials dismissed, and political reforms undertaken. In his actions, Qureshi was strengthened by public support and his disavowal of interest in remaining in power. He held elections as promised on 19 October, and the PPP, leading a coalition called the People's Democratic Alliance (PDA), was returned to power, with Benazir Bhutto again prime minister. On 13 November, with her support, longtime PPP stalwart Farooq Leghari was elected president. Three years later in 1996, Leghari dismissed Bhutto and her cabinet and dissolved the National Assembly. Bhutto challenged her dismissal and the dissolution of the National Assembly in the Supreme Court. In a 61 ruling, the Court upheld the president's actions and found her ousted government corrupt.

Nawaz Sharif won the general election held in February 1997 with one of the largest democratic mandates in Pakistan's history. He immediately set about consolidating his hold on power by repealing major elements of the 1985 Eighth Constitutional Amendment. This transferred sweeping executive powers from the president to the prime minister. Within the next few months Nawaz Sharif dismissed his Chief of Naval Staff, arrested and imprisoned Benazir Bhutto's husband for ordering the killing of a political opponent, and froze the Bhutto family's assets. In March 1998, a warrant was issued for the arrest of Benazir Bhutto on charges of misuse of power during her tenure as prime minister.

Nawaz Sharif gained a popularity boost when Pakistan successfully tested five nuclear devices on 28 May and 30 May 1998. This was in response to India's nuclear tests earlier in the month and raised international concerns over a potential nuclear confrontation between Pakistan and India. Tensions eased when Nawaz Sharif and India's prime minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, signed the historic "Lahore Declaration" on 21 February 1999, committing their countries to a peaceful solution of their problems.

In May 1999, however, several hundred Pakistani troops and Islamic militants infiltrated the Indian-held Kargil region of Kashmir. Two months of intense fighting brought Pakistan and India to the brink of all-out war. Under intense diplomatic pressure from the United States, but against the wishes of Pakistan's military, Nawaz Sharif ordered a withdrawal from Kargil in July 1999. This unpopular decision contributed to the prime minister's eventual downfall.

The Musharraf Years

Distrustful of his army chief of staff, General Pervez Musharraf, Nawaz Sharif dismissed Musharraf on 12 October 1999 while he was in the air returning from a visit to Sri Lanka. However, when the general's plane was denied permission to land at Karāchi Airport, army troops loyal to Musharraf seized the airport, arrested Sharif, and returned Pakistan to military rule for the fourth time in the country's history.

General Musharraf declared yet another state of emergency, suspended the constitution and assumed power as chief executive. Many Pakistanis welcomed the military takeover as a change from the corruption and abuses of Nawaz Sharif's rule. Musharraf introduced modest economic reforms (mostly in the area of revenue collection), restricted the activities of Islamic extremists, and instituted policies to curb lawlessness and sectarian violence. On 23 March 2000, Musharraf announced local elections to be held over a period of seven months between December 2000July 2001. Significantly, however, no mention was made of national elections or a return to civilian rule. Moreover, the independence of the judiciary was seriously compromised in January 2000, when Musharraf required all judges to take an oath of loyalty to his regime. Nawaz Sharif was tried and found guilty of hijacking and terrorism for trying to prevent Musharraf's plane, a commercial flight with civilians on board, from landing at Karāchi in October 1999. Sharif was sentenced on 16 April 2000 to life in prison. In December he went into exile in Saudi Arabia after being pardoned by military authorities.

On 20 June 2001 General Musharraf named himself president of Pakistan while remaining head of the army.

After 11 September 2001, Musharraf supported the US-led bombing campaign in Afghanistan and ties between the two countries were greatly strengthened. The United States removed some sanctions imposed on Pakistan after its 1998 nuclear tests and after the Taliban were removed from power in Afghanistan in late 2001, the United States moved to strengthen counterterrorism operations in Pakistan.

On 13 December 2001, the Indian Parliament was attacked by five suicide fighters, and India blamed the attack on two Pakistan-based Islamic organizations, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Muhammad, accusing Pakistan of supporting the groups and giving their leaders sanctuary. Tensions between the two countries flared, and they began to amass hundreds of thousands of troops along their shared border. Pakistan banned Jaish-e-Muhammad and Lashkar-e-Taiba, although it claimed India had not provided evidence of the groups' involvement in the attack. The standoff between India and Pakistan continued for 10 months, and through 2003, the two countries continued to test-fire ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons.

Pakistan's ties to the United States and proximity to Afghanistan made it home in 2002 and 2003 to series of violent acts against Westerners or Christians. Nevertheless, in April 2002, Pakistan's military regime held a referendum on General Musharraf's presidency; 98% of the votes cast were in favor of Musharraf, giving him another 5-year term as president. In August, he unilaterally implemented 29 amendments to the constitution to grant himself the power to dissolve parliament and to remove the prime minister. He also gave the military a formal role in governing the country for the first time by setting up a National Security Council that would oversee the performance of parliament, the prime minister, and his or her government. Parliamentary elections were held on 10 October, with Quaid-e-Azam, a political faction of the Muslim League supportive of Musharraf, taking the most seats.

India and Pakistan declared a formal cease-fire in Kashmir in November 2003, and relations between the two countries were slowly improving. A bus link between the India- and Pakistan-controlled portions was established in April 2005, and both countries cooperated to some degree with the distribution of humanitarian aid following a deadly earthquake that struck the region on 8 October 2005.


Pakistan came into being as a self-governing dominion in the British Commonwealth in 1947 and declared itself a republic in 1956. Under a constitution framed by Zulfikar Bhutto and effective as of 14 August 1973, it is federal in nature, and Westminster-style cabinet systems operate at the federal and provincial levels. All powers not otherwise specified are reserved for the federal government, which is armed also with extensive emergency powers in the event of a breakdown in constitutional government.

Pakistan is governed under the constitution of 12 August 1973 (as amended) which declared Islam the state religion and provided for a president as a nominal head of state and a prime minister as executive head of government. The president and prime minister were chosen by members of parliament, and the prime minister was responsible to that body, which was elected under universal suffrage at 18 years of age (the voting age was subsequently raised to 21, but then lowered once again to 18 in the October 2002 elections). In 1973, the parliament consisted of a national assembly of 200 elected members plus 10 seats reserved (until 1982) for women and 6 for tribal areas, these reserved seats filled by vote of the elected members. A senate of 63 members included 14 legislators from each of the four provincial legislatures, plus 5 seats reserved for tribal areas and 2 for the federal capital area.

Despite the presence of a constitution, much of Pakistan's governance has been under military rule. The constitution was suspended 5 July 1977, and restored with amendments on 30 December 1981. It was suspended again on 15 October 1999 by General Pervez Musharraf and restored 31 December 2002. Musharraf imposed a series on amendments on 31 December 2003.

The first suspension and subsequent restoration of the constitution is tied to the rule of army chief. General Zia-ul Haq. Zia revived much of the 1973 constitution, although its Fundamental Principles and its electoral provisions remained suspended until martial law was lifted in 1985. The CMLA was initially assisted by an appointive council of advisors, then by an advisory Federal Council of 277 appointed members that was formed in 1982 to assist and advise the martial law government.

Amendments that, following the lifting of martial law in December 1985, redressed the balance of powers between the positions of prime minister and president, who also remained commander-in-chief of the armed forces. It established term limits of five years for the incumbents, and provided that their successors in 1990 would be elected, the president by an electoral college composed of members of the national assembly, the senate, and the provincial assemblies, and the prime minister, by the national assembly.

After a 12 October 1999 military coup staged by the army chief, General Pervez Musharraf, the constitution was suspended again. On 21 August 2002, Musharraf announced 29 amendments that established a National Security Council and granted new powers to the president, including the right to dissolve the national assembly at his or her discretion, to appoint governors and to dissolve provincial assemblies in consultation with them, and to appoint the joint chiefs of staff and the three service chiefs in consultation with the prime minister.

Under the constitution, the president is to be elected by Parliament every five years. Musharraf's term was extended in 2002 and the next election was scheduled for 2007. One of the branches of Parliamentthe National Assemblyis responsible for choosing the prime minister. Shaukut Aziz was chosen in 2004 for a five-year term.

The parliament, also known as Majlis-i-Shura, has two chambers. The first chamber, the Senate, as of January 2006 consisted of 100 members who were elected indirectly by provincial assemblies to serve four-year terms. The second chamber, the National Assembly, consists of 342 members who are elected by popular vote to four-year terms. New elections were to take place in October 2006. Of the 342 National Assembly seats, 60 are reserved for women and 10 for minorities.


Political parties have existed in Pakistan during all of its turbulent political history, but the dominant force in Pakistani politics remains the military. Parties have been frequently banned or restricted by the government, which in many cases has rendered them ineffectual. Islamic ulema (or clergy) and traditional landowners also command much authority in Pakistan.

Parties operate at both the national and regional level. A total of 14 parties held seats in Pakistan's Parliament in 2006.


Pakistan is divided into four provinces, each with deep historic roots and both linguistic and cultural associations. Outside the provinces, there are Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) along the border with Afghanistan and the federal capital of Islāmābād, In addition, provincial governments directly administer tribal areas within their territories.

The provinces, in order of population size, are Punjab (with its capital at Lahore), Sindh (Karāchi), Northwest Frontier Province (Peshāwar), and Baluchistan (Quetta), the largest in area. Under the 1973 constitution, provinces have popularly elected provincial assemblies, a governor appointed by the president, and a chief minister in whom executive power is vested. The governor acts on the advice of a chief minister who is elected from the party commanding the support of the assembly.

The senior administrative officer of each province is the chief secretary. Each province is divided administratively into divisions headed by commissioners who, like the chief secretary and the secretaries of provincial ministries, are senior members of the Pakistan Civil Service (CSP). Divisions are further subdivided into districts headed (depending on local usage) by deputy commissioners, district officers, or collectors, also members of the CSP, who manage development funds, collect the revenues, supervise the police, adjudicate disputes, administer justice, and interface with the elected councils at the local level which have limited taxing authority, decide on priorities for local development programs, and try certain local legal cases.

The Pakistan-controlled third of the original state of Jammu and Kashmir is divided into two areas. The southern portion, referred to as Azad Kashmir, is administered from Muzaffarabad by an appointed president and council of ministers. The larger portion to the north is known as the Northern Areas and is administered by a Commissioner and an elected council.

The number of seats in the provincial assemblies was increased in October 2002, and seats were reserved for women and non-Muslims. In the provincial assembly elections held on 10 October, the MMA won a landslide victory in the Northwest Frontier Province. In Punjab, the Quaid-e-Azam faction of the PML took the most seats, with Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party coming in second. The PPP came in first in Sindh, and the MMA came in first in Baluchistan.


Pakistan's judicial system stems directly from the system that was used in British India. The Supreme Court has original, appellate, and advisory jurisdictions. The president of Pakistan appoints the justices. Each province has a high court, the judges of which are also named by the president. Below the high courts are district and session courts, and below these are subordinate courts and village courts on the civil side and magistrates on the criminal side. There are no jury trials in Pakistan.

The British tradition of an independent judiciary has been undermined in Pakistan by developments over the last 50 years. In May 1991, for example, the National Assembly adopted legislation which incorporated the Islamic legal code, the Shariah into Pakistan's legal system. A Federal Shariah Court has the power to nullify any law it finds repugnant to Islam.

The position of the judiciary in Pakistan has also been affected by periods of military rule in the country. When General Zia al-Huq imposed martial law in 1977, military courts were given jurisdiction over trial and punishment of civilians found guilty of violating martial law regulations. The verdicts could not be appealed to a higher civilian court. Moreover, a provision of the 1973 constitution that judges could be removed only by the supreme judicial council, consisting of the chief justice and two ranking judges from the Supreme Court and the high courts, was revoked by the military government in June 1979. Under the 1981 interim constitution, a new oath was imposed on all Supreme Court, high court, and Shariah court judges, and all laws promulgated by the martial law regime were exempted from judicial review. The Supreme Court chief justice and several other judges were replaced after refusing to take the oath. Although the military courts were abolished in December 1985, their decisions still cannot be appealed to civilian courts.

Similarly, in January 2000, Musharraf required all judges to take an oath of loyalty to his regime. The Supreme Court chief justice, Saiduzzaman Siddiqui, and five colleagues refused and were dismissed. This was just a week before the court was due to hear the first of several cases challenging the legality of the new government. Legal experts argue this action did irreparable harm to Pakistan's judiciary; with all sitting judges having accepted the military regime, there is no independent judiciary to protect the constitution.


In 2005, Pakistan's armed forces totaled 619,000 active personnel. The Army comprised the largest portion, accounting for 550,000 active members, followed by the Air Force at 45,000 and the Navy at 24,000 personnel (including an estimated 1,400 Marines). The Army's major weapons systems included more than 2,461 main battle tanks, 1,266 armored personnel carriers, over 4,291 artillery pieces, and 22 attack helicopters. Major naval units included 8 tactical submarines, 7 frigates, 10 patrol/coastal vessels, and 3 mine warfare ships. The Navy's air arm included 9 maritime patrol aircraft and 12 antisubmarine warfare helicopters. The Air Force's primary striking force was made up of 331 combat capable aircraft, which included 143 fighters and over 51 fighter ground attack aircraft. Pakistan's paramilitary forces had an active strength of 302,000 personnel that included the Pakistan Rangers (up to 40,000), the Frontier Corps (up to 65,000), a maritime security agency (estimated at 2,000), a National Guard (185,000) and the Northern Light Infantry (estimated at 12,000). It is suspected that Pakistan's nuclear arsenal consisted of between 24 and 48 weapons, with the capability to produce more. Pakistan was a participant in UN and peacekeeping operations in 10 countries or regions. The defense budget in 2005 was $3.74 billion.


Pakistan became a member of the United Nations on 30 September 1947 and is a member of several specialized agencies, such as ESCAP, the FAO, UNESCO, UNHCR, the World Bank, ILO, UNIDO, and the WHO. As an Islamic state, Pakistan is an active member of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). Pakistan also belongs to the Asian Development Bank, the Colombo Plan, the Commonwealth of Nations, G-24, G-77, and the WTO. In 1960, Pakistan and India signed an Indus water basin treaty opening the way to the peaceful use and development of water resources. Pakistan, Turkey, and Iran established a tripartite arrangement, called Regional Cooperation for Development (RCD), in 1964. In 1985, Pakistan and six other South Asian countries, including India and Bangladesh, formed the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). The country holds observer status in the OAS

Pakistan is part of the Nonaligned Movement. The government has offered support for UN missions and operations in Kosovo (est. 1999), Western Sahara (est. 1991), Liberia (est. 2003), Sierra Leone (est. 1999), East Timor (est. 2002), Georgia (est. 1993), Burundi (est. 2004), and the DROC (est. 1999), among others. The UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) was established in 1949 to observe the cease-fire between the two countries. Nine countries participate in this peacekeeping effort, yet strained relations between Pakistan and India have often lead to acts of violence.

In environmental cooperation, Pakistan is part of the South Asia Cooperative Environment Program (SACEP), the Basel Convention, the Convention on Biological Diversity, Ramsar, CITES, the London Convention, the Kyoto Protocol, the Montréal Protocol, MARPOL, and the UN Conventions on the Law of the Sea, Climate Change, and Desertification.


Despite steady expansion of the industrial sector during the 1990s, Pakistan's economy remains dominated by agriculture. Agriculture and industry made roughly similar contributions to GDP21.6% and 25.1%, respectivelyin 2005, although 42% of the labor force was in agriculture and only 20% in industry. About 70% of export revenues are generated by agriculture or agriculture-based manufactures, with cotton alone accounting for about 60% of the total. Exports of primary agricultural products are concentrated in cotton and rice. One-fourth of the land is farmed or used for grazing, and much of this is planted to food crops for domestic consumption. Pakistan is generally poor in natural resources, although extensive reserves of natural gas and petroleum are being exploited. Iron ore, chromite, and low-quality coal are mined.

This strong performance not withstanding, a growing debt-servicing burden, large government expenditures on public enterprises, low tax revenues, high levels of defense spending, and a rapid rise in imports with burgeoning domestic demand contributed to serious fiscal and current account deficits during the late 1980s. In response, in 1988 the government initiated a major structural reform program with World Bank and IMF support. When the country was created in 1947, there were no industries, and few banks or mercantile firms. Since that time, industrial production has risen significantly. In 1998, industry accounted for about 26% of the GDP, compared with only 7% in 1950. Thanks in part to significant expansion of power facilities, largely in the Indus basin, the pace of economic development was particularly rapid during the 1980s. For most of the decade, the annual GDP growth rate averaged 6.5%, reflecting an expansion of over 4% annually in the agricultural sector and over 7% in value added in the industrial sector.

The government pursued policies aimed at private sector-led development, macro economic stability, and structural reforms. Overall growth indicators remained promising with the reform measures, as GDP increased by 5.5% in 1990/91 and 7.8% in 1991/92, and export growth averaged a robust 14% between 1989 and 1992. These improvements notwithstanding, reform efforts secured less than expected reductions in the country's balance of payment deficits, due in part to deteriorating terms of trade in the wake of rising oil prices during the 1991 Gulf War. Severe floods in the Sindh and Punjab provinces in late 1992 and a contraction in international commodity markets weakened Pakistan's export sector during 1992/93, further exacerbating the country's trade and current account deficits and helping to reduce GDP growth to only 3% in 1993. In March of 1994 the government received IMF approval of a three-year Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility (ESAF) to support reforms. The IMF wanted austerity measures aimed at reducing the government deficit to 4% of GDP, a reduction in the maximum tariff rate from 70% to 45%, increased privatization of large state-owned enterprises, and a tax on agricultural income. However, the government's failure to follow the IMF recommendations and liberalize the economy caused the IMF to suspend the $1.5 billion loan in mid-1995. The suspension of the loan worried investors and damaged Pakistan's debt ratings. The trade deficit grew, foreign exchange reserves dwindled, and inflation remained high.

After the government recommitted itself to reform, the IMF approved a new $600 million standby arrangement in September 1995. Still, by 1996 the economy was in its worst recession in 25 years. Tax receipts were falling well below their targets and export earnings had declined, leaving the government with a deepening foreign-exchange crisis as reserves fell to only $500 million by the end of the year. By mid-1997, the government owed $1.6 billion in interest on $30 billion owed to foreign creditors, putting the country perilously close to default. Growth in GDP was only 1.2% in 1997, down from 6.1% in 1996. Growth rebounded to 4.2% in 1998/99 as per capita income reached $434, up from $400 in 1990. However, Pakistan came under international economic sanctions following its six nuclear bomb tests in May 1998, and then again after the elected government was overthrown in a military coup in 1999. The growth rate declined to 3.9% in 1999/00 and then to 2.5% in 2000/01, as per capita income fell to $397. Net public debt in 2000/01 rose to 103.8% of GDP. In November 2000, the government entered into a 10-month stand-by agreement with the IMF preliminary to the rescheduling of $1.8 billion of sovereign debt with the Paris Club countries in January 2001. After the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, more concessional finance was made available. In December 2001, Pakistan entered into a three-year arrangement with the IMF under its Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF), and under a new Paris Club agreement, over $12 billion of national debt was rescheduled. Net public debt in 2001/02 decreased marginally to 96.2% of GDP. GDP growth rose slightly to 3.6% and inflation eased to 2.7%, down from 4.4% the year before. The most improved economic indicator was foreign reserves, which rose from about $900 million in 1999 to over $10 billion in March 2003.

In October 2005, a devastating earthquake in northern Pakistan and Kashmir killed some 80,000 people and left more than 3 million homeless, mostly in Pakistan, to survive the winter. Foreign donors in November 2005 pledged over $6 billion to support reconstruction in the wake of the earthquake. Despite the earthquake, however, the economy was expected to perform strongly in 2006: real GDP growth was projected to reach 6.6% in 2005/06 and 6% in 2006/07. The annual inflation rate was forecast to average 8.6% in 2006 and 6.7% in 2007. Although substantial progress had been made on macroeconomic reforms, by 2006 progress on more politically-sensitive reforms had slowed. For example, in the 2006 fiscal year budget, the government did not impose taxes on the agriculture or real estate sectors, despite Pakistan's severely-low tax-to-GDP ratio. Despite Pakistan's low level of development, prospects for job creation and poverty reduction were good in the medium term. GDP growth, prodded by double-digit gains in industrial production over 2005, has become less dependent on agriculture, and stood at 8.4% in 2005. Foreign exchange reserves continued to reach new levels in 2005, spurred on by steady workers' remittances. Real GDP growth averaged 5% over the 200105 period, and inflation averaged 5.2% over the same period.


The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reports that in 2005 Pakistan's gross domestic product (GDP) was estimated at $385.2 billion. The CIA defines GDP as the value of all final goods and services produced within a nation in a given year and computed on the basis of purchasing power parity (PPP) rather than value as measured on the basis of the rate of exchange based on current dollars. The per capita GDP was estimated at $2,400. The annual growth rate of GDP was estimated at 8.4%. The average inflation rate in 2005 was 9.2%. It was estimated that agriculture accounted for 21.6% of GDP, industry 25.1%, and services 53.3%.

According to the World Bank, in 2003 remittances from citizens working abroad totaled $3.964 billion or about $27 per capita and accounted for approximately 4.8% of GDP. Foreign aid receipts amounted to $1,068 million or about $7 per capita and accounted for approximately 1.3% of the gross national income (GNI).

The World Bank reports that in 2003 household consumption in Pakistan totaled $60.57 billion or about $409 per capita based on a GDP of $82.3 billion, measured in current dollars rather than PPP. Household consumption includes expenditures of individuals, households, and nongovernmental organizations on goods and services, excluding purchases of dwellings. It was estimated that for the period 1990 to 2003 household consumption grew at an average annual rate of 4.0%. In 2001 it was estimated that approximately 45% of household consumption was spent on food, 19% on fuel, 6% on health care, and 5% on education. It was estimated that in 2001 about 32% of the population had incomes below the poverty line.


In 2005, Pakistan's labor force was estimated at 46.84 million. As of 2004, it was estimated that agriculture accounted for 42% of the total workforce, with services at 38%, and industry at 20%. Unemployment and underemployment are major problems. Although in 2005, unemployment was estimated at 6.6%, underemployment is known to be substantial. In addition, Pakistan's workforce is marked by the widespread export of labor, most of which is to the Middle East, and the use of child labor.

There are sizable numbers of Pakistani workers in the Middle East and European countries, most of them from the poor regions of Pakistan's NWFP. There are also several million refugees from Afghanistan who have become part of the Pakistan labor force in those regions and in Karāchi.

The trade union movement is of recent origin. The principal federations include the National Labor Federation and the All Pakistan National Federation of Trade Unions. Labor-management differences are handled by the central conciliation machinery, established under the provisions of the Industrial Disputes Act of 1947. Benefits such as bonuses, paid holidays, and job security regulations are set forth in the basic West Pakistan Industrial and Commercial Employment Ordinance of 1968. In 2002, approximately 10% of the industrial labor force was unionized, and 3% of the total workforce. The government curtails union activity. Although collective bargaining is protected by law, government restrictions preclude bargaining by large segments of the labor force.

The practice of child labor is widespread. According to a government survey, three or four million children between the ages of five and 14 worked as of 2002. However, informal estimates have placed this figure as high as 8 to 10 million. There may also be some 20 million bonded laborers in Pakistan. Bonded labor is particularly common among the persecuted Christian minority. Children are often kidnapped to serve as forced labor. The minimum wage for unskilled workers was $30 per month in 2002. There is a maximum workweek of 48 hours, but most employees are unaware of these work restrictions.


Agriculture engaged 47% of the economically active population in 2000. Agricultural production increased by an annual average of 4.4% during 19902000, accounting for 23% of GDP in 2003. The development of a huge irrigation network covering two-thirds of the total cultivated areatogether with massive land reclamation projectshas made possible the farming of vast tracts of previously barren and unusable land. The Indus Valley of Punjab is Pakistan's agricultural heartland. There are two principal growing seasons: the kharif season starts between April and June and ends between October and December, while the rabi season starts between October and December and ends during April or May. Grains constitute the most important food crops, with wheat, rice, corn, and citrus the major products. Cotton, the most important cash crop, generates more foreign trade income than any other export item. Cotton production suffered in the late 1990s from leaf curl virus. In 2004/05, production totaled 11.3 million bales. Rice, sugarcane, tobacco, rapeseed, and mustard are also large export earners. Rice covers 12% of all croplandproduction in 2004/05 totaled 5.02 million tons.

Improved government policies over the past decade have made Pakistan a net exporter of guar products, tobacco, cotton, and rice. Other major agricultural exports include molasses, fruits and vegetables, guar and guar products, and tobacco. Principal crops with 2004 output (in thousands of tons) were wheat, 19,767; sugarcane, 53,419; and corn, 2,775. Production of sunflower seed amounted to 404,000 tons in 2004. Other crops include millet, barley, sesame, flax, groundnuts, mangoes, citrus fruits, and vegetables. Opium poppies are grown in the North-West Frontier Province (on an estimated 2,5003,000 hectares/6,2007,400 acres in 2003), government efforts to stamp out the opium and heroin trade have helped reduce production by over 95% since the mid-1980s.

Farming production remains limited by primitive methods, and mechanization is uncommon. The introduction of improved wheat and rice varieties has met with some success, although the greatest impact on agriculture has derived from the Indus basin irrigation schemes, which by the 1970s had provided Pakistan with the largest irrigated network in the world. The availability of water has made possible increased use of chemical fertilizers, with the most intensive consumption occurring in cotton production. The government has instituted soil conservation, farm mechanization, land reclamation, and plant protection programs.

To increase smallholders' equity and provide further incentives for agricultural improvement, the government decreed in 1959 that the maximum holding for any person should be 200 hectares (500 acres) of irrigated land or 400 hectares (1,000 acres) unirrigated. Land in excess of these amounts was acquired by the government and paid for in interest-bearing 30-year bonds. In March 1972, the maximum permissible size of a holding, measured in terms of production index units, was reduced by two-thirds, with the government empowered to confiscate without payment all excess land for free redistribution to landless peasants and small tenants. To help the new landowners, the government provided loans for purchase of seed, feed, and bullocks. In accordance with a statement of national agricultural policy issued in 1980, the Agricultural Price Commission was established to provide incentives to Pakistani farmers through higher prices for farm products.


Some 30 to 35 million people are engaged in the livestock industry. Camels are used for transport throughout the more barren south and west, and bullocks and donkeys elsewhere. Sheep range widely over the grazing lands of middle and northern Pakistan; the bulk of their wool is exported. Among local breeds of cattle, the Red Sindhi, the Tharparker, the Sahiwal are renowned for milk, and the Bhagnari and Dhanni for draft purposes. The production of powdered milk, cheese, butter, and ice cream is carried out by several large dairy plants. From 1984 to 1990, milk production increased by 41%, and meat production rose 48%. Even so, domestic milk production still falls short of demand. Poultry production has become prominent, especially through scientific research in breeding, feeding, and disease control. With the assistance of the Asian Development Bank, several livestock development projects were underway.

In 2005 there were 26.3 million buffaloes, 24.2 million head of cattle, 56.7 million goats, and 24.9 million sheep. Commercial poultry numbered 166 million in 2004. There were also an additional 3.5 million ducks. Modern poultry production in Pakistan is constrained by high mortality and incidence of disease in chicks and an inefficient marketing system. Production estimates for 2005 included (in tons): beef, 469,000; goat meat, 370,000; mutton, 166,000; poultry, 420,600; wool, 40,000; and milk, 29,474,000 (67% from buffalo). In an effort to increase domestic milk production, the government has initiated a comprehensive livestock development program with $55 million in assistance from the Asian Development Bank. The government has also broadened extension and artificial breeding services, taken measures to improve slaughterhouses, and introduced high-yield fodder varieties. Cattle dung is an important cooking fuel and fertilizer.


With a coastline of 814 km (506 mi), Pakistan is rich in fishery resources that remain to be fully developed. Almost the entire population of the coastal areas of Sindh and Balochistan depends on fisheries for its livelihood. The fish catch in 2003 was 576,804 tons, 70% of it landed off coastal waters. Species include salmon, mullet, pomfret, mackerel, shrimp, and local varieties. About 10% of the annual catch is exported. Export earnings from fish products amounted to $136.9 million in 2003.

To exploit potential fishery resources, the government has undertaken such projects as construction of a modern harbor for fishing vessels at Karāchi, procurement of diesel-powered vessels, establishment of cold storage and marketing facilities, export of frozen shrimp, and encouragement of cooperative fish-marketing societies. An aquaculture project financed by the Asian Development Bank and the EU aimed to increase the annual fish catch and to promote prawn farming.


Of Pakistan's depleted forest resources, amounting to about 3.1% of the total area, only about 1,748,000 hectares (4,319,500 acres) are classified as commercial or productive forests. Privately-owned forests cover some 3,783,000 hectares (9,348,000 acres), located primarily in the North Western Frontier Province (NWFP) and Punjab. Hill forests predominate in the north and northwest temperate and subtropical regions. Fir, spruce, deodar, bluepine, chirpine, Chalghoza, and juniper, as well as broadleaved species like oak, maple, walnut, poplar, and chestnut are found in the hill forests. These forests are the main source for constructional timber and supply great quantities of fuelwood, while providing groundcover to the fragile mountain ecosystems (thereby lessening floods and droughts in the plains). Forests in the foothills consist of broadleaved evergreens, with main species of olive and phulai. Irrigated plantation forests grow such species as sheesham, mulberry, bakain, and semal, mostly for timber, furniture, and sporting goods production.

About 500,000 cu m (17.6 million cu ft) of timber is produced annually by state forests, which are under the authority of the Pakistan Forest Institute. During 19902000, the annual average rate of deforestation was 1.5%. Pakistan has a 25-year forestry master plan outlining the development of the industry through 2018. The total timber cut in 2004 was 28.28 million cu m (998.2 million cu ft), with 91% consumed as fuelwood. Since forest resources are limited, Pakistan must import wood and wood products in increasing volumes to satisfy rising demand. In 2004, forest product imports totaled $137 million.


Except for petroleum and natural gas, mineral reserves in Pakistan were meager and of poor quality. Chromite was one of the few valuable minerals available. Production of chromium (by metal content) rose to an estimated 13,000 metric tons in 2003 from an estimated 12,500 metric tons in 2002. Construction materials were a leading industry in the country. In 2003, small quantities were produced of aragonite and marble, barite, bauxite, bentonite, chalk, dolomite, natural emery, feldspar, fire clay, fluorspar, fuller's earth, crude gypsum, kaolin (china clay), limestone and other stone, crude magnesite, nitrogen, ammonia, phosphate rock, natural mineral pigments, rock and marine salt, bajir and common sand, glass sand, caustic soda, soapstone, strontium minerals (celestite), native sulfur, soapstone talc and related materials.

Pakistan's inadequate infrastructure, poorly educated workforce, and pervasive violence have been major obstacles to attracting foreign investment. The Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources invited the Iranian government in 2000 to invest in copper exploration and development, and to manage the mothballed Saindak copper-gold-molybdenum-silver mining and metallurgical complex, in Baluchistan's Chagai Hills. Also interested in acquiring the Saindak project were China, China Metallurgical Construction Corp. built the mine and plant, and BHP of Australia. Mining stopped at Saindak in 1996. BHP and Australia's Mincor Resources formed an alliance to explore and develop large porphyry-style copper deposits in the Chagai Hills. The joint venture initially was to focus on the Reko Diq Complex, possibly one of the world's largest copper deposits with more than 7 million tons of copper and 342,000 kg of gold. The Geological Survey of Pakistan reportedly discovered a total of 400 million tons of commercially viable iron ore in Baluchistan and the North West Frontier (NWF), to be mined by open-cut methods. The NWF government was considering reviving the Swat emerald mine, at Mingora. The discovery of a large low-ash, low-sulfur lignite deposit in the Tharparkar desert may increase the importance of Pakistan's coal.


Pakistan is a net importer of petroleum, but is self-sufficient in natural gas. It has relatively small coal deposits. Its electric power sector relies heavily upon fossil fuels to produce power.

As of 1 January 2004, Pakistan's proven oil reserves were estimated at 288 million barrels. In 2003, oil production averaged an estimated 61,769 barrels per day, of which crude oil production accounted for 60,000 barrels per day. However, Pakistan's demand for oil in 2003 came to an estimated 360,000 barrels per day, making the country a net importer. Imports that year were estimated to average 298,231 barrels per day. As of 1 January 2004, Pakistan's crude oil refining capacity was estimated to average 268,975 barrels per day.

Pakistan's proven natural gas reserves are more robust. As of 1 January 2004, the country's proven natural gas reserves were estimated at 26.8 trillion cu ft. Natural gas output and domestic consumption were each estimated at 0.81 trillion cu ft.

Although coal plays a relatively minor part in Pakistan's overall energy picture, the country does have recoverable coal reserves estimated at 2.5 billion short tons, as of 1 January 2004. In 2002, Pakistan produced an estimated 3.7 million short tons of coal. However, demand outstripped output that year, coming in at 4.7 million short tons, and necessitating the importation of 1.1 million short tons of coal.

Pakistan's electric power generating capacity in 2002 totaled 18.038 million kW, of which 12.537 million kW of capacity was dedicated to conventional thermal generation. Hydroelectric dedicated capacity amounted to 5.039 million kW, while nuclear power accounted for 0.462 million kW of capacity. Electric power output in 2002 totaled 72.443 billion kWh, of which 48.516 billion kWh came from conventional thermal sources and 22.127 billion kWh came from hydroelectric sources. Nuclear power generation provided 1.800 billion kWh. Despite increases in installed generating capacity, Pakistan faces electricity shortages due to rapid demand growth, transmission losses due to outdated infrastructure, power theft, and seasonal reductions in the availability of hydropower. Rotating power outages still needed in some areas and many villages are not yet electrified. As of 2002, less than half of Pakistan's population was connected to the nation's power grid.


During the 1960s and 1970s, light industry expanded rapidlyespecially textiles, sugar refining, fertilizers, and other manufactures derived from local raw materials. Large government investments in the 1970s established the country's first large-scale ship-building and steel milling operations; the production of chemical fertilizers was also given special government support. The Pakistan Industrial Development Corp., established in the early 1980s with IDA credit, developed industrial estates for small- and medium-scale industries, assisting their occupants in obtaining credit, raw materials, technical and managerial assistance, access to production facilities, as well as marketing support. Despite steady overall industrial growth during the 1980s, the sector remains concentrated in cotton processing, textiles, food processing and petroleum refining.

The 1973 nationalization program, which placed 10 basic industries wholly within the public sector, was reversed in 1991 with the enactment of an ambitious privatization program. In 1992, the government began auctioning off majority control in nearly all public sector industrial enterprises, including those manufacturing chemicals, fertilizers, engineering products, petroleum products, cement, automobiles, and other industrial products requiring a high level of capital investment, to private investors. In 1995, however, the speed of privatization began to slow as the sale of some large state-owned units were stalled and postponed. In 2002, the public industrial sector, under the Production Wing of the Ministry of Industries and Production consisted of eight public holding companiesPakistan Steel, the State Cement Corporation (PACO), Federal Chemical and Ceramics Corporation (FCCC), State Petroleum Refining and Petrochemical Corporation (PERAC), State Engineering Corporation (SEC), the Pakistan Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC), the state fertilizer corporation, and Pakistan Automobile Corporation. The majority of the 74 production enterprises controlled by these holding companies have been privatized, and most of those remaining are scheduled to be sold. The public sector continues to dominate in steel, heavy engineering, automobiles, petroleum and defense-related production.

Cotton textile production is the most important of Pakistan's industries, accounting for about 19% of large-scale industrial employment, and 60% of total exports in 2000/01. Pakistan has become self-sufficient in cotton fabrics and exports substantial quantities. Some long and extra-long staple cotton is imported to meet demand for finer cottons. About 80% of the textile industry is based on cotton, but factories also produce synthetic fabrics, worsted yarn, and jute textiles. Jute textile output amounted to 70,100 tons in 1999/00. The textile industry as a whole employs about 38% of the industrial work force, accounts for 8.5% of GDP, 31% of total investment, and 27% of industrial value-added. In January 2005, the WTO lifted textile-import quotas in Europe and the United States, and Pakistan, having invested $4 billion in the four years up to the lifting of the quotas, was well-placed for growth in the textile industry.

Other important industries include food processing, chemicals manufacture, and the iron and steel industries. Food processing is considered Pakistan's largest industry, accounting for slightly more than 27% of value-added production. Pakistan Steel, the country's only integrated steel mill, employs about 14,500 workers and has an annual production capacity of 1.1 million tons. The government plans to expand the mill's annual capacity to 3 million tons. Pakistan Steel produces coke, pig iron, billets, hot and cold rolled coils and sheets, and galvanized sheets. In June 1999, the first tinplating plant began operation, a joint venture with Japan.

As of 2005, Pakistan had 10 fertilizer plants, 4 state-owned and 6 private, with a total annual production capacity of 5.75 million tons. There were 24 cement plants, four state-owned and 20 private, with an annual production capacity of 19.55 million tons. Pakistan's chemical industry produces an number of basic chemicals used in its other industries, including soda ash, caustic soda and sulfuric acid. Industrial output from other major industries also includes refined sugar, vegetable ghee, urea, rubber tubes, electric motors, electrical consumer products (light bulbs, air conditioners, fans, refrigerators, freezers, TV sets, radios, and sewing machines), and pharmaceuticals


Pakistan has made notable advances in nuclear technology since the 1980s, when its Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) developed a nuclear plant for electric power generation and research programs. The AEC's three nuclear centers for agricultural research have employed nuclear techniques to improve crop varieties. Six nuclear medical centers provide diagnosis and treatment of patients with radioisotopes produced from Pakistan's own uranium resources. In May 1998, Pakistan conducted nuclear weapons tests in the desert of the Chagai Hills in response to Indian testing earlier that month. Five nuclear bombs were fired on 28 May and a sixth on 30 May.

The Karāchi Export Processing Zone (EPZ), established in 1980, has attracted foreign capital investment in advanced technologies. Another EPZ has been proposed for Lahore. EPZ now include those for computer assembly and parts manufacture, television assembly, other electrical and electronic products, and engineering.

Scientific learned societies include the Pakistan Academy of Science (founded in 1953 at Islāmābād), the Pakistan Association for the Advancement of Science (founded in 1947 at Lahore), and the Scientific Society of Pakistan (founded in 1954 at Karāchi). The Pakistan Council for Science and Technology is the chief government advisory body. The Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and the Pakistan Medical Research Council (both in Karāchi), and the Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (in Islāmābād) promote research in their respective fields. In 1996, Pakistan had 28 universities and colleges offering courses in basic and applied sciences. In 198797, science and engineering students accounted for 32% of college and university enrollments.

In 2002, research and development (R&D) expenditures totaled $758.491 million, or 1.67% of GDP. In that same year, there were 88 scientists and engineers per million people that were engaged in R&D. High technology exports in 2002 totaled $36 million or 1% of Pakistan's manufactured exports. In 1996, Pakistan had 28 universities and colleges offering courses in basic and applied sciences.


The government supervises the supply and pricing of essential commodities, including fruits, vegetables, livestock, and dairy products, and has established several cooperative marketing and distribution organizations. Foreign goods are brought in by large importing concerns, centered at Karāchi, and distributed to retailers through many intermediaries.

There are several produce exchanges at Karāchi, and the trade organizations are represented by the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry. Large supermarkets and department stores have not yet developed in the nation. Chain stores for clothing have become popular in major cities, with shops carrying locally produced goods. Most retail establishments are small or medium-sized, owned by a family or an individual. Government-owned "Utility Stores" carry food and household items at controlled prices. There are about 200,000 retail outlets throughout the country. Steps have been taken to improve marketing and distribution facilities throughout the country. Advertising remains small in scope, in part because of the high rate of illiteracy. Outlets include television, newspapers, posters, handbills, and color slides shown in the motion-picture houses.

Banks are customarily open from 9 am to 1 pm, Mondays through Thursdays and Saturdays, and from 9 am to 12 pm on Fridays. Private businesses usually operate from 9 am to 5 pm, Mondays through Thursdays and Saturdays, and from 9 am to 12 pm on Fridays. Most businesses are closed on Sunday. During Ramadan, shorter hours are observed. Many international firms are also closed on Saturdays.

Country Exports Imports Balance
World 12,695.1 15,549.4 -2,854.3
United States 2,941.1 1,325.1 1,616.0
United Arab Emirates 991.0 1,704.2 -713.2
United Kingdom 957.9 433.1 524.8
Germany 615.3 610.1 5.2
China, Hong Kong SAR 581.0 145.8 435.2
Afghanistan 491.7 491.7
Italy-San Marino-Holy See 456.7 311.8 144.9
Netherlands 366.3 219.7 146.6
Saudi Arabia 356.2 1,774.1 -1,417.9
France-Monaco 352.8 164.4 188.4
() data not available or not significant.


Pakistan has suffered a weak trade position since the early 1970s, as the cost of oil imports have risen while prices for the country's main exports have declined on the international market. Exports fell 2.5% and imports dropped 20% in 1998, but by 2000 they were back on the upswing, growing at 8.3% and 19%, respectively. Pakistan's commerce ministry estimates that up to $1.5 billion of unregistered trade occurs annually, mostly from smuggled imports. Smuggled goods (tea, soap, domestic appliances, batteries, tires, bicycles, and televisions) enter the country primarily from Afghanistan.

The important commodity exports for Pakistan are cotton, textiles, and clothes. Other major exports include rice and leather. In 2003, Pakistan's major exports were: cotton fabrics (10.8% of all exports); cotton yarn and thread (9.6%); and rice (5.3%). Primary imports were: machinery and transportation equipment (26.7% of all imports); mineral fuels and related (23.8%); and chemicals (16%).

During the 1980s, the United Kingdom, traditionally Pakistan's most important trading partner, slipped behind the United States, Japan, and Germany. In 2004, Pakistan's leading markets were: the United States (21% of all exports); the UAE (10.9%); the United Kingdom (7%); and Germany (5.1%). Leading suppliers were: China (12.2% of all imports); the United States (11.1%); the UAE (10.7%); and Saudi Arabia (10.4%).


Pakistan's payments problems have been chronic since the 1970s, with the cost of oil imports primarily responsible for the trade imbalance. The growth of exports and of remittances from Pakistanis working abroad (mostly in the Middle East) helped Pakistan to keep the payments deficit in check. Remittances from overseas workers peaked at $2.9 billion in 1982/83, then dropped to $1.4 billion by 1997/98 and $1 billion from 1999 to 2001. This trend especially accelerated during the 1991 Gulf War, when nearly 80,000 Pakistanis in Kuwait and Iraq lost their jobs. Only about 25% of these jobs had been regained a year after the end of the conflict. Increased imports and softer demand for Pakistan's textiles and

Current Account 3,597.0
     Balance on goods -100.0
         Imports -11,969.0
         Exports 11,869.0
     Balance on services -311.0
     Balance on income -2,217.0
     Current transfers 6,225.0
Capital Account 1,131.0
Financial Account -1,626.0
     Direct investment abroad -19.0
     Direct investment in Pakistan 534.0
     Portfolio investment assets -2.0
     Portfolio investment liabilities -119.0
     Financial derivatives
     Other investment assets -395.0
     Other investment liabilities -1,625.0
Net Errors and Omissions -108.0
Reserves and Related Items -2,994.0
() data not available or not significant.

apparel in major markets also caused the current account deficit to further increase. The balance of payments position weakened in 1995/96 as imports grew by 16% and exports by only 6%. The rupee was devalued by 11% during 1995 and 1996 to encourage exports. Nevertheless, foreign reserves fell to around $800 million by mid-1997. By 2000, foreign debt equaled 100% of GDP.

The government took steps in the early 2000s to liberalize and deregulate the exchange and payments regime. Pakistan moved to a dual exchange rate system in 2000. An increase in liquid foreign exchange reserves in 2001 was due in part to outright purchases from the kerb market and inflows from international financial institutions. Export growth in 2000/01 was primarily due to higher exports of primary commodities such as rice, raw cotton, and fish, and other manufactures such as leather, carpets, sporting goods, and surgical instruments. Imports increased in 2000/01 primarily due to higher imports of petroleum and petroleum products, and machinery.

In 2004, merchandise exports stood at $13.4 billion and imports at $16.7 billion, resulting in a trade deficit of $3.4 billion. The current-account balance averaged 1.6% of GDP over the 200105 period. The current-account balance was estimated at -$1.43 billion in 2005. The current-account deficit was expected to widen to 3.8% of GDP in 2006 and to 4.3% of GDP in 2007, in line with the rising merchandise trade deficit.


The central banking institution is the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), established in 1948 at Karāchi and with branches in the larger cities. The government holds 51% of the bank's paid-up capital; 49% is held by corporations, societies, and individuals. The State Bank has exclusive responsibility for the issuance of currency; it is the financial agent of the central and provincial governments, and is responsible for the flotation and management of the public debt. As of 2002, there were 44 commercial banks and 36 nonbanking financial institutions (NBFI's) in Pakistan. Of the commercial banks, 25 were domestic (with over 7,000 branches) and 19 were foreign (with 78 branches). Citibank is the largest foreign bank operating in Pakistan. NBFI's included 10 development financial institutions, 16 investment banks, four housing finance companies, two venture capital companies, and four discount houses. Consumer banking in Pakistan is largely undeveloped; commercial banks lend predominantly to corporations. There is a minimum capital level of 8% on all risk assets. The total volume of default loans from all financial institutions in 1998 was $2.8 billion.

The nation's largest commercial banks were nationalized in 1974 and regrouped under five state banking institutions: the National Bank of Pakistan, Habib Bank, United Bank, Muslim Commercial Bank, and Allied Bank of Pakistan. The government-controlled banking system thus comprised all but a few of the nation's banks and accounted for a large share of total bank deposits and outstanding domestic credit. In 1981, in accordance with the Islamic condemnation of usury, virtually all banks opened special accounts for depositors who preferred, in lieu of interest, to share in the profits or losses from investments made with their money. In 1985, all savings accounts stopped yielding interest and converted to sharing in profit and loss. Pakistan instituted banking reforms in 1991. The Muslim Commercial Bank and the Allied Bank of Pakistan Ltd. reverted to private ownership shortly thereafter. In 1991 banking licenses were granted to private commercial banks that wanted to establish foreign bank branches in the country. Major weaknesses persist and are particularly marked in the case of the four remaining government-run commercial banks, which account for the bulk of deposits and advances. The government announced plans to privatize Habib Bank in 1998.

The portfolios of the state-owned development finance institutions, which provide the bulk of long-term lending to industry and agriculture, likewise tend to be of poor quality. Their lending is less diversified and more risky than that of commercial banks, while their costs are higher and margins lower. The state provides credit through the Agricultural Development Bank of Pakistan and the House Building Finance Corp. Industrial loans are made available through the Pakistan Industrial Credit and Investment Corp. (established in 1957), the Industrial Development Bank of Pakistan (1961), and the National Development Finance Corp. (1973). The International Monetary Fund reports that in 2001, currency and demand depositsan aggregate commonly known as M1were equal to $15.6 billion. In that same year, M2an aggregate equal to M1 plus savings deposits, small time deposits, and money market mutual fundswas $26.6 billion. The money market rate, the rate at which financial institutions lend to one another in the short term, was 8.49%. The discount rate, the interest rate at which the central bank lends to financial institutions in the short term, was 10%.

There are stock exchanges at Lahore, Karāchi, and Islāmābād, with Karāchi accounting for a major share of the business. In 2001, there were 747 listings on the Karāchi Stock Exchange, the largest of the country's three bourses, down from a peak of 782 in 1996. Total market capitalization was $4.9 billion, down 25% from the previous year and well below the peak of $12.2 billion in 1994. The KSE 100 Index was also lower than the previous year, by 15.6% at 1,273. As of 2004, a total of 661 companies were listed on the Karāchi Stock Exchange, which had a market capitalization of $29.002 billion, that year. In 2004, the KSE 100 Index rose 39.1% from the previous year to 6,218.4.


Pakistan's life insurance sector, nationalized in 1972, operated under the aegis of the State Life Insurance Corp. and Postal Life Insurance until 1992, when the government opened it to private sector participation. Foreign companies are no longer barred from the life insurance business, but they are restricted to minority ownership. Private companies function in nonlife insurance areas, but the government insurance business is controlled by the National Insurance Corp. One of the state's first steps was to standardize and reduce premium rates and to encourage coverage among a wider segment of the population. In 2003, the value of all direct insurance premiums written totaled $434 million, of which nonlife premiums accounted for $269 million. In 2002 Pakistan's top nonlife insurer was Adamjee, which had gross domestic written nonlife premiums of $75.4 million, while the country's leading life insurer was State Life, which had gross written life insurance premiums of $140.4 million.


The fiscal year extends from 1 July to 30 June. The federal government frames two separate budgets: revenue (current account) and capital. Deficits have appeared since 1971/72, a combined result of the loss of revenues from East Pakistan, stepped-up defense expenditures, lax spending controls, and a low and inelastic tax base. Expenditures (debt service, defense, administration) consume over 70% of the budget, while development needs (education, health, energy, and rural development) receive the remainder. Tax revenues have not kept pace with expenditure growth due to widespread evasion, corruption among tax officials, overreliance on foreign trade taxes, and a tax exemption for agricultural income, which comprises 24% of GDP. The budget deficit was hovering at about 6.2% of GDP in 1995 and 1996 and was projected to

Revenue and Grants 795,466 100.0%
     Tax revenue 580,108 72.9%
     Social contributions
     Grants 34,483 4.3%
     Other revenue 180,875 22.7%
Expenditures 905,549 100.0%
     General public services 601,832 66.5%
     Defense 180,541 19.9%
     Public order and safety 15,391 1.7%
     Economic affairs 76,730 8.5%
     Environmental protection 137 <1.0%
     Housing and community amenities 2,976 0.3%
     Health 7,119 0.8%
     Recreational, culture, and religion 2,297 0.3%
     Education 17,002 1.9%
     Social protection 1,524 0.2%
() data not available or not significant.

reach almost 7% in 1997. Interest payments on the accumulated debt threatened to bankrupt the government by mid-1997. As a condition for a $1.6 billion loan from the IMF and World Bank, the government agreed to reduce the deficit to 4% of GDP. To do so, the government attempted to raise revenues by expanding the tax base beyond the 1% of Pakistanis who then paid income tax. Other proposals included a reduction in government payrolls, improved tax administration, and an end to the tax exemption for agricultural income. The IMF approved an Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility in January 1999, when Pakistan was almost halfway through the three-year Structural Adjustment Program worth $1.6 billion. In April 2000, the IMF discovered that the former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had purposely minimized reports of the government's budget deficit, by about 1%, in order to keep the extra $2 billion in funds.

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) estimated that in 2005 Pakistan's central government took in revenues of approximately $15.4 billion and had expenditures of $18.4 billion. Revenues minus expenditures totaled approximately -$2.9 billion. Public debt in 2005 amounted to 54.3% of GDP. Total external debt was $39.94 billion.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reported that in 2004, the most recent year for which it had data, central government revenues were r795,466,000 and expenditures were r905,549,000. The value of revenues was us$13,654,000 and expenditures us$15,541, based on a market exchange rate for 2004 of us$1 = r58.258, as reported by the IMF. Government outlays by function were as follows: general public services, 66.5%; defense, 19.9%; public order and safety, 1.7%; economic affairs, 8.5%; housing and community amenities, 0.3%; health, 0.8%; recreation, culture, and religion, 0.3%; education, 1.9%; and social protection, 0.2%.


Pakistan lives predominantly by foreign trade, and its import tariffs and export tariffs are essentially revenue-producing. The national government does not levy income tax on agricultural income; only about 1% of the population pays income taxes. Rates are progressive, rising from 5% in the lowest category to 35% in the highest, with a net wealth tax of up to 2.5%.

As of 2005, Pakistan effectively had three corporate tax rates: a 35% rate for public companies; a 39% rate for private companies; and a 41% rate for banking companies. There also a 0.5% tax on turnover. However, the rates for banks and private firms are scheduled for reduction in 2006 and 2007. In 2006, the rate for banks and private firms will be cut to 38% and 37%, respectively, and to 35% for both in 2007. The rate for public companies will not be changed. Generally, capital gains for companies and individuals are taxed as part of income. Capital gains resulting from assets held 12 months or less are taxed at the full corporate rate. Gains resulting from the sale of assets held longer than 12 months are taxed only at 75% of the total capital gains amount. Dividends are subject to a withholding tax of 5% (for those paid to public firms or insurance companies); 7.5% (dividends paid by power companies, certain privatized power projects, and by those firms solely engaged in mining operations, except petroleum); and 10% (for all other dividends). Generally, interest income is subject to a 30% tax rate, while royalties and technical services fees are each subject to a 15% rate.

A sales tax of 15% is levied on the value of goods. However there are exemptions for certain items and for certain classes of people. Exports are zero-rated.

Established proportions of the various taxes levied by the federal government are distributed to the provincial governments. In addition, the provinces collect, for their exclusive use, taxes on land revenue, immovable property, vehicles, professions and services, and mineral rights, as well as excise taxes. Municipalities and other local governments also levy taxes.


Pakistan's customs tariffs bring in the largest single share of national revenue. Most dutiable items are subject to ad valorem duties that range from 030%. There is, in many cases, a 15% sales tax on imported goods (food, raw materials, and capital goods are exempt from this tax). Alcohol is levied at a rate up to 65%, but can be as high as 225%. However, maximum rates average at around 35%.

Tariffs are levied on major items of export, but these rates are subject to change as measures are taken to encourage or discourage the export of raw materials. Exports of certain foods, used copper and brass utensils, and some hides and skins are banned. Trade with Israel, South Africa, and Taiwan is prohibited.


Foreign aid and investment have played a critical role in Pakistan's economic development since the first years of independence. Since 1954, the government has tried to attract foreign investment to maintain economic development, provide specialized technical knowledge, and bring in much-needed foreign exchange. Incentives for private investment include guarantees for the repatriation of capital invested in approved industries, facilities for remittance of profits, and guarantees for equitable compensation in the event of nationalization of an industry. In addition, special tax concessions available to certain local industries are also available to foreign investors. Since the late 1980s, a series of regulatory reforms related to exchange controls, repatriation of profits, credit for foreign-owned firms, issuing of equity shares, foreign currency accounts, and transactions on the stock exchange have significantly reduced the restrictions on general foreign investor activity in the wider Pakistani economy.

Foreign direct investment (FDI) peaked in 1995/96 at $1.1 billion, then dropped to $548 million in 1996/97 in response to a foreign-exchange crisis. Investors were also deterred by Pakistan's listing as the second-most-corrupt nation in the world, after Nigeria. In the tension leading up to the nuclear bomb tests in May 1998, FDI fell to $432.7 million in 1998/99, and then decreased further after the military coup in 1999, to $420 million, in 1999/00. In 2000/01, FDI fell to an annual rate of less than $275 million. After the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, Pakistan received a windfall in foreign assistance, raising foreign reserves from $908 million in 1999/00 to $4.3 billion in 2001/02. In March 2003, on the eve of the US-led invasion of Iraq, foreign reserves stood at more than $10 billion. However, the overall investment climate in terms of security was worsened by Pakistan's role in the US-led war on terrorism.

The United States has traditionally been the largest source of FDI in Pakistan, with total investment of $1.2 billion as of mid-2002. Over the three years 1998/99 to 2000/01, the US-based investment totaled $250 million. The United Kingdom was the second-largest source, with $241 million. The total for 1998/99 was $327 million, including $135 million from US sources, $77 million from the United Kingdom, and $51 million from Japan.

In 2004/05, total FDI inflows amounted to $1.524 billion, with the UAE investing $367.5 million in the country, the United States $326 million, and the United Kingdom $181.5 million. From July to November 2005, Saudi Arabia invested $265.6 million in Pakistan, the United States $170.8 million, the United Kingdom $56.2 million, while the UAE's FDI total was in the negative figures, at - $31.5 million. Such shifts in investment were due in part to foreign countries' reactions to Pakistan's privatization efforts: certain Gulf states, flush with capital, have placed bids on Pakistani contracts only to pull out. This happened in the case of the Pakistan Telecommunications Co. Ltd. (PTCL). In June 2005, the UAE's company Etisalat (Emirates Telecommunications) offered the highest bid of $2.6 billion to acquire 26% shares and management control of PTCL. This bid price offered by Etisalat was 100% higher than market price and reserve price fixed by the government. The second-highest bidder was China Mobile of China, offering a bid of $1.4 billion, followed by Sing Tel of Singapore, with a bid of $1.17 billion for 26% shares. In October 2005, the PTCL privatization transaction failed to materialize when Etisalat failed to make payment of the balance bid amount by the agreed-upon timeline. This was the second major privatization deal that had failed within a year: earlier in 2005, Kanooz-al-Watan of Saudi Arabia, the highest bidder of Karāchi Electric Supply Corp. (KESC), backed out of its offer. However, in January 2006, Etisalat and the Pakistani government came to an agreement over payments for PTCL, so the deal went through.

FDI inflows to Pakistan averaged 0.8% of GDP over the 200105 period.


After the founding of the Pakistani state in 1947, the government's economic policy concentrated attention on developing an economic infrastructure, achieving self-sufficiency in food, and developing export industries. A major new land reform program introduced in March 1972 had resulted by March 1975 in the confiscation (for eventual redistribution) of 45.3% of all privately cultivated farmland. By November 1973, the government had nationalized industries in 10 major categories of production. In a third major step, most of the commercial banks were nationalized on 1 January 1974, resulting in control of more than 90% of all banking business by the State Bank and the five newly created units.

By the late 1970s, however, Pakistan's martial law government, claiming the nationalization program had stifled production and discouraged private investment, moved to restore private sector confidence by fostering economic stability and by redressing the balance-of-payments deficit, which was causing large overseas debt obligations. A new five-year plan (197883), Pakistan's fifth, reserved 48% of industrial investment for the private sector and set goals for an annual economic growth rate of 7.2%, a 4.2% rise in per capita income, and increases of 6% in agricultural output and 10% in industrial production. The plan was allocated a budget of $21 billion, of which 25% was to come from external sources. Indications were that the agricultural sector would meet its target, but that rising oil costs and the burden of providing for the Afghan refugees had impeded progress in other sectors.

The sixth five-year plan (198388), with a proposed outlay of r210 billion, envisioned further investments in water and power development, deregulation to increase private sector activity, and a new emphasis on provision of social services and infrastructural improvements for rural areas. Prime Minister Junejo announced a program for 198690, with an outlay of r70 billion, focusing on rural development, particularly in the areas of education, village electrification, potable water supply, roads, health care, and employment.

By the late 1980s, a number of structural factors resulted in increasingly critical fiscal and balance of payment deficits. With less than 30% of the budget devoted to infrastructural development and other needs in health and education, the prognosis for long-term social and economic development remained poor. In response, a medium-term structural reform program was developed under the government of Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto for implementation in 198991. Aimed at correcting fiscal and external imbalances, the program targeted a reform of the tax collection system, tighter government spending controls and monetary management, the privatization of state-owned industrial enterprises, banks and utilities, the phasing out of state monopolies in the transportation, insurance, telecommunications and energy sectors, and liberalization of investment and foreign exchange regulations. Implementation of the ambitious program proceeded under the government of Nawaz Sharif who assumed the prime minister's office in 1991. Results were somewhat uneven, with little effective improvements scored in the country's tax system or its fiscal and balance of payments deficits. While the rapid change of government in 1993 and ongoing political tensions dampened private investment, officials assured that structural reform and privatization would continue.

Fiscal indecision and post-nuclear test economic sanctions dried up foreign investments while budget and trade deficits soared in 1999. The United States lifted some sanctions, clearing the way for the IMF to negotiate a bailout package of $1.5 billion with Pakistan. Key demands included cuts in government budget deficits, further privatization, and improved tax collections. After suspension of payments under a previous arrangement, Pakistan entered into a 10-month stand-by arrangement as a prerequisite to rescheduling. In December 2001, the government entered into a three-year program under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) in preparation for a second rescheduling of debt by Paris Club members, in this case for over $12 billion.

Since the early 1950s through 1993, Pakistan was estimated to have received about $37 billion in aid disbursements, including both long-term and medium-term loans and grants, making it one of the largest recipients in the developing world. For the Indus Valley project, Pakistan received funding of more than $1.3 billion from the IBRD, IDA, ADB, United States, United Kingdom, and other countries. In addition to US aid, Pakistan has also received aid from Iran and the Arab states. New economic aid from the United States was halted in 1990, under the terms of a Congressional amendment requiring certification of Pakistan's status as a nuclear weapons-free country. These sanctions were alleviated in 1996 by the Brown Amendment, but the nuclear tests of 1998 caused further economic sanctions that were only partially lifted by 2000. Since the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, Pakistan has substantial international financial resources and concessions have been mobilized in exchange for the government's support of the US-led war on terrorism.

By 2006, the government was continuing with economic and institutional reforms initiated by the pre-October 2002 military government, but progress had slowed. The civilian government appeared to be less committed than the military establishment to improving accountability and attacking corruption. The government announced it would pursue a five-year plan to revive the economy and increase foreign investment inflows. In order for the economy to improve, the privatization program must follow an accelerated course, as must the expansion of exports, and the maintenance of inflows of remittances through official channels. Inflation remains a significant threat to the economy: annual inflation was forecast to average 8.6% in 2006 and 6.7% in 2007. The current-account deficit was predicted to widen to 3.8% of GDP in 2006 and 4.3% in 2007, in line with the rising merchandise trade deficit.


The social security plan covers employees of firms with 10 or more workers. Family and self-employed labor is excluded, and there are separate systems for the armed forces, police, and other public employees. Social security coverage includes old age, disability, and survivor benefits, as well as sickness and maternity payments, workers' compensation, and unemployment benefits. This program is funded by contributions from employers and employees and subsidies from the government. The Worker's Compensation Act is supplemented by a Social Insurance Law and provides disability and worker's injury benefits to workers earning 3,000 rupees or less a month. The labor code requires employers with more than 20 employees to pay a severance gratuity in the amount of 30 days wages for each year of employment.

An Islamization program to promote social welfare in accordance with Islamic precepts was introduced in 1977 under martial law. Islamic welfare taxes, the zakat and ushr, were levied to redistribute wealth. The ushr tax on landowners took effect in 1983. Islamic beliefs are inculcated in the public schools and disseminated widely by the mass media. Laws against drinking alcoholic beverages, adultery, and bearing false witness have been strictly enforced.

Women face serious social and legal discrimination. In a court of law, the testimony of women is not permitted in serious cases which may result in harsh corporal punishment (lashing, stoning, amputation). In cases dealing with financial matters, the testimony of two women must be introduced as evidence. Islamic precepts are ingrained into the Penal Code. Women who have been raped are subject to charges of adultery and fornication under these provisions. The incidence of rape is high in Pakistan, and most women are afraid to file charges. Honor killings are on the rise, and domestic violence is prevalent. Between 70 and 90% of women are victims of family violence; women are killed by their husbands for trivial matters. Most women are unaware of their legal rights concerning inheritance, and in following with Muslim custom, widows give up their share of the joint assets. The Supreme Court has ruled that men may divorce their wives without any legal or written notification. In 2004, the practice of buying and selling brides persists.

The use of child labor in Pakistan is widespread. Children not only work in the agricultural sector, but are also engaged in low-paying work in carpet weaving centers. Bonded child labor, in which the employer makes a payment to the child's parent and keeps the child to work off the long-term debt, has been made illegal but still may affect hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of children.

Human rights violations include arbitrary arrest, prolonged detention, and torture. Pakistan's human rights situation is dismal.


Health facilities in Pakistan are inadequate, mainly due to a lack of resources and a high population growth rate. In 1993, 85% of the population had access to health care. Public health care expenditures equaled 1% of GDP, and total health care expenditure was estimated at 4% of GDP.

The country needs food, a proper water supply, and adequate sanitation. However, Pakistan is the first country to nearly completely eradicate dracunculiasis. Pakistan is also working toward universal immunization, disease prevention, health promotion, and curative and rehabilitative services. In the 1990s there were several programs under way to improve health care coverage and control tuberculosis, leprosy, and cancer. One such program was a Child Survival/Primary Health Care program to reduce mortality, malnutrition, and deaths due to diarrheal diseases. Approximately 36% of children under five years old were considered malnourished. The goiter rate was high in 1996; 40 of every 100 school children were affected by goiter. Around 90% of children up to one year of age were immunized against tuberculosis; 74% against diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus; 74% against polio; and 74% against measles.

In 2004, there were an estimated 66 physicians, 47 nurses, and 3 dentists per 100,000 people. Many medical students have been sent abroad under an advanced medical training program. Special attention has been given to the training of nurses, and several training centers are in operation. However, medical personnel ratios, though much improved, remain inadequate. There were 302 health centers with 2,462 beds serving the rural population. Centers for the disabled included 11 physical therapy centers, 12 mental retardation centers, 11 centers for the visually impaired, and 12 centers for the hearing impaired.

Malaria, tuberculosis, intestinal diseases, venereal diseases, and skin diseases remain Pakistan's main public health problems. Common diseases were diarrheal diseases, leprosy, malaria, and tuberculosis. Drug addiction, especially among university students, is an increasing concern, and government detoxification centers have helped many addicts recover.

In 2005, the infant mortality rate was 72.44 per 1,000 live births. Major causes of infant mortality are immunizable diseases, diarrhea, malnutrition, and poor environmental sanitation. It was estimated that 88% of the population had access to safe drinking water and 61% had adequate sanitation. The estimated overall mortality rate was 9 per 1,000 people in 2002. The leading causes of death were diarrhea, pneumonia, tuberculosis, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer. Average life expectancy in 2005 was estimated at 63 years.

The HIV/AIDS prevalence was 0.10 per 100 adults in 2003. As of 2004, there were approximately 74,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in the country. There were an estimated 4,900 deaths from AIDS in 2003.


The rapid increase in urbanization, coupled with the rising population, has added to the housing shortage in urban areas. About 25% of the people in large cities live in katchi abadis (shantytowns). The Public Works Department has built more than 8,000 units in Islāmābād, Lahore, Peshāwar, and Quetta at a cost of r1,588 million. Under the 198690 program, the residents in the katchi abadis were to be given proprietary rights. In 1987, the National Housing Authority was created to coordinate the upgrading of the existing katchi abadis and prevent the growth of new ones.

As of 1991, 171 abadis had been renovated at a cost of r454 million, and 522 more were under development. In 1998, there were 19,211,738 housing units nationwide with an average of 6.8 occupants per unit. About 54.97% of all units had two to four rooms; 38.11% had one room. About 81% of all dwellings were owner occupied. The most common building materials for residential dwellings were baked bricks, blocks or stones for walls (58% of all units) and wood or bamboo for the roofs (57%). Only 32% of all housing units are linked to piped drinking water. About 70% are linked to an electrical network for lighting. Only 32.7% of all housing units had a separate kitchen and 33.29% had a separate bathroom.


The education system is poor, notwithstanding a massive educational reform announced in 1972 and aimed at providing free and universal education through the 10th year of formal schooling for both boys (by 1983) and girls (by 1987). As an initial step, private educational institutions at all levels were nationalized. Additional steps included a reform of the curriculum away from general education and in favor of agricultural and technical subjects, equality of access to formal schooling for low-income groups and females, financial aid programs for poor students, and broad expansion and improvement of higher-level facilities. Curriculum bureaus were set up at federal and provincial levels, and the National Council of Education was established to formulate and evaluate educational development policy.

As of 2004, education is compulsory for five years, which are covered through primary school. This is followed by three years of middle school and two years of basic secondary school. Students may then choose to continue in a two-year higher secondary program or a two-year technical school. Girls attend separate schools at both primary and secondary levels.

In 2001, about 54% of children between the ages of three and four were enrolled in some type of preschool program. Primary school enrollment in 2001 was estimated at about 59% of age-eligible students; 68% for boys and 50% for girls. The student-to-teacher ratio for primary school was at about 40:1 in 2003.

Arts and sciences colleges are affiliated with the universities of the Punjab (at Lahore, established 1882), Sind (at Hyderābād, 1947; at Karāchi, 1951), Peshāwar (1950), Baluchistan (1970), and Multan (1975). An agricultural university was established in 1961 at Lyallpur (now Faisalābad). Two engineering and technological universities have been founded at Lahore (1961) and Islāmābād (1966). Research institutions include the Institute of Islamic Studies at Lahore, the Iqbal Academy at Lahore, and the Pakistan Institute of International Affairs at Karāchi. In 1995, there were a total of 29 universities, seven of which are privately operated. Urdu and English are the languages of instruction. Many adult literacy centers, including women's literacy centers, have been established, the majority in Sind. In addition, the People's Open University was established at Islāmābād (1974) to provide mass adult education via correspondence and the communications media. In 2003, about 3% of the tertiary age population were enrolled in some type of higher education program. The adult literacy rate for 2004 was estimated at about 64.5%, with 74.8% for men and 53.9% for women.

As of 2003, public expenditure on education was estimated at 1.8% of GDP, or 7.8% of total government expenditures.


The National Library of Pakistan in Islāmābād holds 130,000 volumes. The largest university library in Pakistan is that of the Punjab University at Lahore, with a collection of about 398,000 volumes, including some 20,000 manuscripts. Sizable collections are also found at the University of Karāchi (105,000 volumes) and the University of Sindh (244,000 volumes). Other important libraries are the Punjab Public Library in Lahore (259,000 volumes), the Liaquat Memorial Library (147,000 volumes), the Central Secretariat Library (110,000 volumes), and the National Archives (35,000 volumes), all in Karāchi. The International Islamic University in Islāmābād holds 100,000 volumes. There are about 300 public libraries in the country, but only about 30 libraries have a collection of 10,000 or more volumes. The Punjab Public Library in Lahore is the largest with a collection of about 256,000 volumes.

The National Museum of Pakistan (Karāchi) contains prehistoric material from the Indus Valley civilization, Buddhist statues and carvings, and material from the Islamic centuries, including the renowned Mughal period. The Peshāwar Museum has a splendid collection of Buddhist sculpture of the Gandhara style. The Lahore Museum has an outstanding collection of Greco-Buddhist sculpture. Fine mosques, shrines, and mausoleums of the Islamic centuries are scattered throughout the country. Among the best of the surviving gardens of the Mughal period are those at Lahore, including the Shalimar gardens. There is a museum dedicated to the work of Shakir Ali in Lahore and the Pakistan Army Museum is in Rāwalpindi. There are archaeological museums in Harappa, Banbhore, Moenjodaro, and at the universities of Karāchi and Peshāwar.


Postal, telegraph, and telephone services are owned and operated by the state. Automatic telephone service has been installed in most cities and large towns. Radiotelephone and radiotelegraph services are available within the country and to foreign countries. Pakistan's Indian Ocean INTELSAT communications stations began service in 1971 near Karāchi. In 2003, there were an estimated 27 mainline telephones for every 1,000 people; about 190,300 people were on a waiting list for telephone service installation. The same year, there were approximately 18 mobile phones in use for every 1,000 people.

Through Azad Kashmir Radio and the Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation, the government operates 18 shortwave radio stations. Karāchi is the broadcasting center, and there are important transmitters at Hyderābād, Quetta, Lahore, Rāwalpindi, Peshāwar, Multan, Bahawalpur, and Islāmābād. Government-run Pakistan-TV broadcasts at least 10 hours a day through 28 transmitters. In total, as of 1999, there were 26 AM, 3 FM, and 22 television stations in use. In 2003, there were an estimated 105 radios and 150 television sets for every 1,000 people. About 26.7 of every 1,000 people were cable subscribers. Also in 2003, there were 4.2 personal computers for every 1,000 people and 10 of every 1,000 people had access to the Internet. There were 37 secure Internet servers in the country in 2004.

Daily newspapersmost of them with very small circulationsare published in Urdu, English, and a few other languages. English-language newspapers are read by less than 1% of the population but are very influential, especially Dawn (2002 estimated circulation, 80,000), published in Karāchi, and Pakistan Times (50,000), published in Lahore and Rāwalpindi. Leading Urdu-language dailies (with 2002 circulations) are Jang (750,000) and Hurriyet (600,000), both in Karāchi, and Jang Lahore (1,200,000) and Nawa-e-Waqt (560,000), in Lahore.

While freedom of the press has always been provided for constitutionally, censorship was imposed on the press by the martial law governments. Between 1979 and 1982, local censors reviewed items prior to publication, and some books and periodicals were confiscated. Even after the lifting of censorship, the government continued to influence press coverage by controlling the availability of newsprint, which must be imported, and the placement of government advertising, which is a source of newspapers' revenue. There are no longer restrictions on the importation of newsprint. There is a constitutional prohibition on the ridicule of Islam, the armed forces, or the judiciary.


Most major cities contain chambers of commerce and there are numerous employers' associations, such as the All-Pakistan Textile Mills Association, the Pakistan Carpet Manufacturers' and Exporters' Association, and the Pakistan Shipowners' Association. There are also professional associations representing a variety of fields, particularly technical and scientific fields.

The Islamic community is represented by several flourishing organizations, and other religious communities, such as the Zoroastrians, have their own groups. The Pakistan Historical Society, the Scientific and Cultural Society of Pakistan, and the Research Society of Pakistan all serve to promote interest and study in national and Islamic culture.

National youth organizations include the Baloch Student Organization, the Pakistan Progressive Student Alliance, the Adventure Foundation of Pakistan, Junior Chamber, the Pakistan Boy Scouts Association, and the YMCA/YWCA. There are also a number of sports associations for all ages. National women's organizations include the All Pakistan Women's Association, the Pakistan Association for Women's Studies, the Pakistan Federation of University Women, the Women's Resource Center, and the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan.

Ansar Burney Welfare Trust International is a national human rights association. International organizations with national chapters include Amnesty International, Caritas, Habitat for Humanity, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, and the Red Crescent Society.


On 8 October 2005 an earthquake severely damaged Pakistan, which caused the tourism industry to suffer.

Pakistan Tours, a government subsidiary, provides daily tours of Karāchi, Rāwalpindi, and other main cities. Adventure tours are set in northern Pakistan, while the cultural tours showcasing the archaeology are in Taxila, Moenjodaro, and Harrappa. In Karāchi are the National Museum and the Mausoleum of the Quaid-e-Azam. In Lahore, the "city of gardens" and Pakistan's foremost cultural and educational center, remnants of the Mughal Empire are resplendently preserved.

Islāmābād, the wholly planned capital, offers notable examples of architecture in the modern style. Popular recreations include mountain climbing in the Himalayan foothills, sailing, and deep-sea fishing off the Arabian Sea coast. Hockey and cricket are the leading sports, but polo and golf are also popular, with courses in Lahore, Rāwalpindi, Islāmābād and other cities.

Most visitors to Pakistan are required to have a visa and a valid passport. Tourists planning to stay more than 30 days must register with the government. Road permits are available for land crossings into India at Wagah (between Lahore and Amritsar in India). There are no health restrictions on visitors entering Pakistan except in regard to cholera and yellow fever immunizations for those who have been in infected areas.

In 2005, the US Department of State estimated the daily cost of staying in Islāmābād at $263, and in Karāchi, $218.


Several figures of monumental stature are associated with the creation and establishment of Pakistan. The poet and philosopher of a revitalized Islam, Mohammad Iqbal (18731938), who wrote in Urdu, Farsi, and English, first called for the establishment of a Muslim state on the subcontinent in a statement made in 1930. Mohammad Ali Jinnah (18761948), the Quaid-e-Azam, or "Great Leader," rallied the Muslims to this cause and became the first governor-general of the Commonwealth of Pakistan. His "right hand," Liaquat Ali Khan (18961951), was the first prime minister of the nation until his assassination. Chaudhury Mohammad Ali (190580), a former prime minister, played a key role in the organization of the new government in 1947. Field Marshal Mohammad Ayub Khan (190874) served as commander-in-chief of the Pakistani army, as minister of defense in 195455, and as president of Pakistan from October 1958 to March 1969. Sir Mohammad Zafrulla Khan (18931985), a distinguished jurist, was several times minister of foreign affairs and later a member of the World Court at The Hague; in 1962, he served as president of the 17th UN General Assembly. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (192879), who rose to prominence as founder and leader of the socialist-leaning Pakistan People's Party, was prime minister during 197377 and guided the country's political and economic transformation following the loss of East Pakistan. After Bhutto's execution in 1979, his elder daughter, Benazir (b.1953), became titular head of the Pakistan People's Party. She became the first woman to lead a Muslim country when she assumed the post of prime minister in 1988; she was deposed 20 months later but was reelected in 1993 to serve for three years. Gen. Mohammad Zia-ul-Haq (192487) came to power in 1977 and assumed the presidency in 1978. Pervez Musharraf (b.1943) took power in 1999 after a coup d'état and assumed the title of president of Pakistan in 2001. The Pakistani-born scientist Abdus Salam (192696) shared the 1979 Nobel Prize for Physics for his work in electromagnetism and the interaction of elementary particles.

In literature, the paramount position is still held by the great Urdu writers who lived before the establishment of Pakistan. Ghalib (17961869) and Iqbal are recognized as the two greatest Urdu poets. Contemporary writers who have won fame include the Urdu poet Faiz Ahmad Faiz (191184), imbued with a strongly socialist spirit, and the Urdu short story writer Saadat Hasan Manto (191255). Foremost among Pakistan's artists is Abdur Rahman Chughtai (18991975).


Pakistan has no territories or colonies.


Ali, Akhtar. The Political Economy of Pakistan: An Agenda for Reforms. Karāchi, Pakistan: Royal Book Co., 1996.

Burki, Shahid Javed. Historical Dictionary of Pakistan. Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press, 1991.

Chopra, Pran. India, Pakistan, and the Kashmir Tangle. New Delhi: Indus, 1994.

Contemporary Issues in Pakistan Studies. Edited by Saeed Shafqat. Lahore: Gautam Publishers, 1995.

Encyclopaedia Indica: India, Pakistan, Bangladesh. Edited by S. S. Shashi. New Delhi: Anmol Publications, 1996.

Khan, Adeel. Politics of Identity: Ethnic Nationalism and the State in Pakistan. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage, 2005.

Kukreja, Veena and M.P. Singh (eds.) Pakistan: Democracy, Development, and Security Issues. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage, 2005.

Malik, Iftikhar H. State and Civil Society in Pakistan: Politics of Authority, Ideology, and Ethnicity. Houndmills, U.K.: Macmillan, 1997.

Mitra, Subrata K. (ed.). A Political and Economic Dictionary of South Asia. Philadelphia: Routledge/Taylor and Francis, 2006.

Saliba, Therese, Carolyn Allen, and Judith A. Howard (eds.). Gender, Politics, and Islam. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002.

Stern, Robert W. Democracy and Dictatorship in South Asia: Dominant Classes and Political Outcomes in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 2001.

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Islamic Republic of Pakistan

Major Cities:
Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar

Other Cities:
Bahawalpur, Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Hyderabad, Multan, Quetta, Sargodha, Sialkot, Sukkur


This chapter was adapted from the Department of State Post Report 1999 for Pakistan. Supplemental material has been added to increase coverage of minor cities, facts have been updated, and some material has been condensed. Readers are encouraged to visit the Department of State's web site at for the most recent information available on travel to this country.


For 3,000 years, the trade routes that cross the Indus Valley linking the Middle East, India, and the Orient have attracted countless invaders and settlers from as far away as Greece and Mongolia. In one way or another, they all have contributed to the rich cultural diversity of the country that for five decades has been known as Pakistan. In 1947, millions of Muslims from India made their way to a new homeland. Since then, the heritage of Islam has been the cohesive factor enabling this ethnographic amalgam to survive and grow. Pakistan's fascinating culture is complemented by a spectacular and variegated landscape stretching from the second highest peak in the world to the shores of the Arabian Sea. The spectacular mountainous areas are a result of the collision of the Indian subcontinent with Asia.



Islamabad is a new capital, built on a specially selected site near the older cantonment town of Rawalpindi. It consists primarily of government offices, foreign diplomatic missions, and residential areas for senior government servants and employees of foreign missions, and has a population of some 350,000. The busy bazaars and back streets common in other South Asian cities are absent, but the loss of local color is offset by Islamabad's convenient layout. Broad avenues, many lined with trees, divide Islamabad into self-sufficient quarters, each with a central shopping area and a few neighborhood markets. Islamabad is considerably greener, quieter, less crowded, and dusty than most cities in this part of the world.

Rawalpindi, 10 miles away and still the major city in the capital area, is typical of the cantonment towns built by the British in India and Pakistan during the mid-19th century. These towns served as residential and operations centers for the British Army. Rawalpindi, located on the Grand Trunk Road that ran from Kabul to Calcutta, developed as a transportation, communications, and administrative center. The city remains an important military base and is the site of the General Headquarters of the Pakistani Army and Air Force. Rawalpindi has many narrow back streets that wind through bustling bazaars as well as the broad, tree-lined thoroughfares established by the British.

Until recently, Rawalpindi's importance rested on its strategic location for military operations. Aryan-speakers fought over it in 1400 B.C., and Alexander the Great arrived in 326 B.C. It was completely destroyed by the Mongol invasion in the 14th century. The area was part of the Moghul Empire in the 16th and 17th centuries. Later, the Sikhs conquered and controlled the area, establishing the largest Sikh military cantonment at Rawalpindi in the 18th century. The Sikhs laid down their arms in 1849 to the British 53rd Regiment, which then established its northern command headquarters in Rawalpindi. The town became one of the largest cantonment stations of the British Empire. In 1960, Rawalpindi became the interim capital of Pakistan until Islamabad was constructed and government offices moved there.


Since electricity in Pakistan is 220v, 50 cycles, all U.S.-made appliances require transformers. Adapters to convert U.S.-type plugs to fit Pakistani outlets for dual voltage appliances or lamps can be purchased on the local market.

With in-town housing there are frequent power outages, especially in period of "load shedding" during winter and summer months. There are also frequent fluctuations in voltage. Therefore, voltage regulators are recommended for sensitive equipment such as personal computers, stereos, TVs, VCRs, and microwaves. They are available locally.

Pakistan's power requirements for TV sets are also 220v, 50 cycles and 625-line PAI European standard. Quality TV sets (PAI or multi-system) of English, Dutch, and Japanese origin, comparable to those in the U.S. are available for purchase in Islamabad and in Peshawar. Only PAL and multi-system TVs and VCRs can be used with tapes avail able at local video rental shops.

Electric typewriters may need cycle adaptation. It is easier to bring a battery operated clock than to adapt an electric one. Many 220v appliances, can be purchased in Islamabad and Peshawar. The price of items in these stores is less than those found on the open market.

Water in Pakistan is not potable.


Most newcomers miss some American food items but find a fairly large range of quality food available in Islamabad supermarkets. Locally grown fruits and vegetables are of high quality and are cheaper than in the U.S. Many imported goods are available in Islamabad, although sometimes higher in price than similar items found in the Islamabad commissary. Pakistan is a Muslim country and pork and alcoholic products cannot be found in local markets. Wild boar is available locally, if you prefer a "gamey" taste to your pork. There is one local brewery in Pakistan which sells an "export" quality beer for Christian Pakistanis and foreigners.

Many Americans shop in local markets and stores for chicken, beef, veal, lamb, mutton, goat, seafood, eggs, fresh fruits, and vegetables. Some local meats such as beef do have a "gamey" taste and may be slightly tougher than that to which Americans are accustomed. Local chicken is almost always tougher than that found in the U.S. Meats including chicken may be bought locally at prices cheaper than those in the commissary. Bakeries sell a variety of baked goods, croissants, pastries, French bread, sliced wheat or white sandwich breads, and oversized hot dog and hamburger buns. Fresh milk is never available, but long-life (UHT) milk is available locally. Yogurt and tofu are also available on the local market. Locally bottled soft drinks are both cheap and available, but the quality is uneven and the taste is sometimes not good.

Quality and availability of fruits and vegetables vary according to the seasons. Bananas, apples, mangoes, plums, cherries, pomegranates, strawberries, peaches, plums, citrus fruits, lychees, grapes, raisins, prunes, and watermelons are of good quality but seasonal. Lettuce and tomatoes are found seasonally, and when grown locally they are very good. Other local vegetables found in season are carrots, cabbages, eggplants, turnips, cucumbers, cauliflower, artichokes, parsley, green beans, green peas, onions, potatoes, spinach, bean sprouts, mushrooms, scallions, Chinese cabbage, pumpkins, peppers, and mustard and turnip greens. The variety of vegetables tend to diminish during the rainy season.

Produce is inexpensive in season, yet the duration of the season is limited. Some employees and family members have brought canning equipment and supplies and some people freeze freshly squeezed orange juice, which is cheaper in season than the frozen varieties available in the commissary. Kitchen gardens are common here, so vegetable and flower seeds should be brought along with gardening supplies. Local seeds produce well, but U.S. varieties of herbs, lettuces, radishes, peppers, and greens fare even better.

Poor refrigeration and unhygienic handling of meat, seafood, produce, and other food items continue to be of concern in Islamabad. Most seafood is transported by air from Karachi in baskets filled with ice. Oftentimes these baskets are left to sit outdoors, allowing the ice to melt and the seafood to thaw. It is more difficult to guarantee good seafood during the summer months and care should be taken to purchase food items from established shops. All produce should be washed thoroughly and meats should be fully cooked.

Paper products bought in the local markets, including toilet paper, disposable diapers, feminine sanitary products, personal care products, and other paper items, are considerably higher in price than those found in the U.S. American tobacco products are available locally and usually at lower prices than in the U.S.


Islamabad's weather is basically of two types: 6 months of hot summer (100°F, half dry and half monsoon rains) and about 4 months of winter (temperatures sometimes near freezing at night and 40°-60°F in the daytime). In between these seasons are about 2 months with warm days (about 80°F) and cool nights (about 40°F). As a result, you need a larger supply of light clothing than warmer winter wear, but both are necessary.

Acceptable dress for the workplace is similar to that in the U.S. For a woman, however, the necessity to wear modest clothing should be considered. During the winter months (mid-December to mid March), most men wear long-sleeved shirts and tie. During the warmer summer months, however, short-sleeved shirts are worn.

The national dress is called a "shalwar kameez" and is a long tunic top worn over a pair of Pajama-type pants. It takes about 5-1/2 yards of material to make a shalwar kameez. Pakistani men, women, and children all wear this outfit. A good number of American women also follow this custom, especially in the hot summer months. Local tailors will make the shalwar kameez for about $5-7.

A good tailor can copy Western clothing even from a photograph, but most tailors cannot sew from a pattern. Lightweight cottons are available in colorful profusion in summer and there is a limited supply of somber-colored light wool, sturdier cotton, and polyester in winter. Not all the local fabrics are colorfast though, and calicos, stretch fabrics, felt, and knits are unavailable. Imported silks are available. Cotton clothing is advisable for summer, as synthetics are often sticky in the hot, humid weather. Light wool and polyester is best for winter.

It is difficult to find shoes to fit American feet or tastes, although some people have been pleased with shoes they've had copied from shoes brought from home. Shoe repair is unpredictable. Bring an adequate supply of all types of shoes. This is especially important if you plan to take part in the many available sports activities. If hiking is a hobby, a good pair of hiking boots is a must.

Clothes that require dry-cleaning are not recommended. Although dry-cleaning facilities in Pakistan are improving, they are still largely unsatisfactory. While some people consider it inadvisable to send clothes made of silk or delicate fabrics to be dry-cleaned in Pakistan, others have had no problems.

Winter jackets and accessories are useful for trips to northern areas. Many Americans in Islamabad make at least one trip to Murree during the winter to play in the snow.

Bring an adequate supply of lingerie, underwear, nylons, socks, washable sweaters for winter, sport clothes (e.g., tennis outfits). Do not forget washable lightweight raincoats, umbrellas, and swimwear (suits, goggles, caps, etc.).

However, one can find in Pakistan a large quantity of export quality ready made cotton clothing available in Islamabad and Lahore stores at prices considerably lower than U.S. department store prices. These include jogging suits, casual shirts, tops for women and children, as well as cotton, gabardine, and denim pants for boys and young men.

Men: In Pakistan men dress conservatively. Men do not wear shorts in public (although some men do while jogging), nor do they appear without a shirt. Even small boys will be embarrassed by the stares and titters they receive if they go shirtless in public.

Women: Women should not bring an abundance of halter tops, sundresses, shorts, etc. Pakistan is a Muslim country and these types of clothing are not acceptable in public. Women must dress modestly in public (including inside your own house if you have male servants). Women do not wear short skirts, shorts, or sleeveless or low-cut blouses. In addition, dress codes vary depending on the city. Islamabad is somewhat liberal in its acceptance of Western dress. When shopping at the bazaars in Rawalpindi, however, women are expected to dress modestly and usually wear the shalwar kameez with the dupatta (the long scarf draped over the shoulders).

Children: Bring plenty of clothing for babies and children, as local Western-type clothing is expensive and not always sturdy. This will, then, allow you time to determine which local suppliers are trustworthy. Children's sleepers are nice for the winter nights. School dress in Pakistan is casual, similar to that worn in the U.S. except that there is a dress code based on Muslim sensibilities. Skirts for girls, and shorts for both boys and girls, must be at least knee length and shoulders must be modestly covered (e.g., no sleeveless tops, but short sleeves are acceptable). This dress code affects only the middle and high school-aged children. However, more mature-looking elementary girls are expected to adopt this dress. Jeans, casual slacks, and sweatsuits are staples in winter, and they are available locally. Girls, however, may wish to purchase these items in the U.S., since the Pakistani varieties do not always fit well. Students at ISI celebrate Halloween by wearing costumes and U.N. Day by wearing their national dress. If there is a style of dress typical of your region of the U.S., bring it with you.

Supplies and Services

Don't replace 110v appliances if you think you want to buy 220v here. Indeed, some people continue to use their American appliances exclusively. Most items can be found locally or can be ordered from the U.S.

Car parts are expensive locally, if they are available at all. Bring common extra parts. Slow delivery time for mail orders makes it important to have enough baby and children's clothes. Shoes are also difficult to find locally.

Children's toys and games sold locally are rudimentary and may be unsafe by American standards. Plastic dolls, balls, simple puzzles, etc., are easy to find. Elaborate games and educational toys are not. Imported toys such as Barbie dolls or Transformers are expensive. A limited selection of children's books are available. Local handicrafts make nice gifts, particularly for women and girls. Embroidered clothes, purses, scarves, jewelry, brass and copper articles, marble and inlaid work are all popular.

Bring useful miscellaneous items: bicycles (available locally but expensive and, except for the Chinese-made, of poor quality), parts and tires for U.S./European bikes.

Since most families have their washing done at home by a "dhobi" (laundryman), there is no need for commercial laundry facilities in Pakistan.

Color film can be developed and printed in Pakistan (usually with 24-hour service for prints and 7-day service for transparencies or enlargements) at prices below those in the U.S. The quality of processing varies but is generally good. It should be noted, however, that slide development in Pakistan is limited to Fujichrome and Ektachrome. Bring Kodachrome mailers from the U.S. Black and white film is available locally but printed on matte-finish paper only. B&W glossy prints are not available.

Domestic Help

Most American households employ at least one domestic employee, with the majority of families employing two or three. The quality of domestic staff in Pakistan varies depending on the length of service and the prior contact the domestic has had with expatriates. Most domestics who have worked with foreigners have a working knowledge of English. Many claim that they are English speakers but experience has proven that they do not always understand instructions. Pakistan's labor force is extremely rigid. A cook will cook, and a dhobi washes and irons. (However, the latter will not sew on a button nor notify the employer when a button has been removed.) Most domestics will do only what they are asked to do and nothing more. Most domestics require instruction and close supervision until they have become familiar with their new employer.

The following types of domestic employees are available: a cook or cook-bearer who does the shopping, cooking, serving, some cleaning, and general supervising of the house; a nanny (ayah) who cares for young children; a bearer, who does most of the housework, helps with serving, and washes dishes; a sweeper who cleans bathrooms, verandas, walks, and driveways (usually part-time, but necessary because most indoor servants will not clean outside areas, floors, or bathrooms, as these are considered low-class chores); a gardener (mali); and a twice-a-week laundryman (dhobi).

Average monthly salaries for domestic employees are: cook-$13 5; bearer-$90; cook-bearer-$110; dhobi-$36; sweeper-$30; mali$40; ayah-$105. (These are U.S. Dollar equivalents, but domestics are paid in rupees.) In addition to their salaries, domestics are usually provided living quarters (at least for the main employee), a bed (charpoy), uniforms, tea, sugar, and milk (or tea money), time off (average 4 days a month), and an annual bonus (sometimes split into two bonuses). Most employers pay for medical examinations and routine medical expenses. Workmen's compensation for domestic staff is available locally at low rates.

Religious Activities

Pakistan is 97% Muslim, but religious minorities are free to practice their faiths. Proselytizing is subject to restrictions. Pakistan has about 1.6 million Christians, many of whom live in the Punjab. A number of Embassy employees also have christian servants, especially cooks. Christian congregations may be a mixture of foreign nationals and Pakistanis. Services are in both Urdu and English.

Islamabad has an Apostolic Nunciature, a Roman Catholic church, and two interdenominational Protestant churches: The Protestant International Church (PIC), and St. Thomas (Church of Pakistan) which has an Episcopalian format. Rawalpindi has a Catholic cathedral and other Protestant congregations. Also in Islamabad is a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormon). Jewish services are held in private homes available in the area. International Bible Study groups also meet in homes.


The International School of Islamabad (ISI) is sponsored by the Department of State. ISI offers an enriched American curriculum to students of all nationalities in grades K-12. The school also has a nursery program for children who are four years of age. The school is fully accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. ISI is divided into elementary (grades K-5), middle school (grades 6-8), and high school (grades 9-12).

Total Americans in the school are 30%, Pakistanis are 18%, and nationals of 44 other countries comprise the remaining 52% of the school's population. The school year is based on a semester system which begins in the third week of August and ends the first week of June. ISI offers Advanced Placement courses but there is no IB program at ISI.

The elementary program includes specialists in art, music, PE, and host nation cultural studies. The secondary program offers instruction in science, math, social studies, foreign language (French or Spanish), English (including English as a Second Language), and electives (art, technical drawing, accounting, computer science, debate, publications, creative writing, choir, band, drama, photography). Advanced placement courses are offered in English, biology, chemistry, American history, mathematics, French and Spanish, and independent study may be arranged. Three computer labs containing approximately 60 Apple Macintosh computers and an excellent library housing almost 22,000 books, magazines, and periodicals form the backbone of the instructional program.

Full-time teachers at ISI number 49. Most of the teaching faculty are educated in the U.S., hold U.S. certificates, and have many years of teaching experience in the U.S. and/or other overseas schools. Of the 14 full-time high school teachers, 12 hold master's degrees. There are 11 Americans on the high school faculty.

The $3 million, 20-acre ISI campus (composed of three red-brick classroom quads, a gymnasium, and auditorium) was completed in 1986 and is located in the educational sector of the city between Islamabad and Rawalpindi, about ten miles from most employee residences in Islamabad. The campus also includes an open-air theater, a physical education center, swimming pool, track, tennis and squash courts, playing fields, music room, science labs, cafeteria, and separate libraries for elementary and secondary school. A full hot lunch program is offered. The school has several buses, and children are bused to and from school.

The ISI American High School diploma is awarded at the end of grade 12 to students who have satisfactorily met the course requirements and total of 23 credits. The following credits must be completed: English (4), math (3), science (3), social studies (4)-including 1 credit each in U.S. and world history, physical education (2), foreign languages (2), electives (5), and students must demonstrate computer literacy. A student is required to have a minimum of six classes per day. The school day is divided into eight periods, with one period for lunch.

Activities are held within the school day and after school. Included are drama, photography, student council, pep club, National Honor Society, National Junior Honor Society, Model U.N., French Club, Key Club, and a yearly trek in the mountains of northern Pakistan. In addition, the ISI supported Satellite Center organizes a variety of after school and weekend activities. Active Scouting programs also attract many ISI students.

Athletic activities include basketball, soccer, field hockey, swimming, track, volleyball, and intramural activities. ISI students participate in four sports conventions or tournaments and one cultural convention with other international schools from Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Nepal.

ISI's music program, including both band and chorus, is open to students in grades nursery to 12. Several musicals and plays are presented annually by the school's music department.

Children who have attained the age of five years by October 1 are eligible for admission to the kindergarten. Children with birth dates between October 1 and December 31 may be admitted if the school determines that the child is ready.

ISI administers the PSAT, NMSQT, SAT, ACT, and Achievement Tests of the College Board. The SAT mean scores for the Class of 1995 were as follows: entire class-verbal 452, math 547; native English-verbal 459, math 478. Some 98% of the Class of 1996 are attending 4-year colleges and universities. Some students of the Classes of 1995,1996 and 1997 are currently attending The Johns Hopkins University, Northwestern University, Cornell University, Hofstra University, Babson College, Michigan State University, University of Texas, Luther College, Queens College, Mary-mount College, Smith College, Richmond College, The George Washington University, California Institute of technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and The College of William and Mary.

The International School of Islamabad's local address is Sector H 9/1, Post Box No. 1124, Islamabad, Pakistan. From the U.S., use this address: Superintendent's Office International School of Islamabad (ISI), Unit 62202, APO AE 09812-2202.

Some American children attend other schools. A nursery school at the British Embassy compound is used by some Americans. There is usually a waiting list.

Some other private nursery schools in Islamabad are used by Americans (including a Montessori nursery). These are less expensive than ISI and closer to residences, but they do not offer transportation, nor can they offer the range of facilities and specialists, such as music and PE teachers, that ISI can offer.

Some Americans also choose the British School for their elementary age children. The school offers education only up to age 10, after which the British usually opt for boarding schools in England. Bear in mind that the school, educational philosophy, and vacation schedules are somewhat different from American schools.

Islamabad also has a small French school and a Japanese school.

Special Educational Opportunities

Few formal educational opportunities for adults are available. However, an Asian Study Group has monthly meetings on such topics as Asian literature, religion, music, dance, carpets, films, etc. In addition, the Asian Study Group sponsors many lectures, films, and cultural programs and frequently organizes trips to points of historical interest. The hiking and photography groups are very active.


The USEA operates the American Club in Islamabad located on the U.S. Embassy compound. For those Americans not employed by the U.S. Government or who are citizens of other nations, membership is available with some limitations and fees.

The American Club has four tennis courts (two clay and two hard) with two full-time tennis instructors, an Olympic-size swimming pool, a children's pool, a Universal equipped exercise/weight room, a volleyball court, a basketball court, a softball diamond, a soccer field, a children's playground, and a circumferential path used as a track. Also, there is a community and youth center which is reserved for various activities. It has a pool table, a foosball table, a ping pong table, VCR, and TV.

The tennis courts are lit for night use and tournaments are held throughout the year, both within the club and in the international community. Bring your own tennis equipment and clothes. The club sells tennis balls and restrings rackets. Rackets and balls are available on the local market, tennis shoes are generally inexpensive but of low quality (unless imported).

In the hot weather the pool is a favorite place to relax and enjoy meals poolside or in the Terrace Cafe. Swimsuits are not available here and sunblock is available only in the Commissary. The pool is open for the warm summer months, usually March to late October.

The American Club sponsors softball leagues for adults and youths which are very popular. A snack bar operates at the ball field during games. Bleachers are covered for spectators. Indoors, the International community has a weekly dart league.

The Islamabad Club offers an 18-hole golf course, tennis and squash courts, and horseback riding. Membership fees are reasonable. Capitol Stables offers horseback riding and lessons (bring a helmet, riding pants and boots-British type).

Touring and Outdoor Activities

Hunting for wild boar is available, while partridge, grouse, pigeon, and duck are scarce in the area.

Fishing is possible at nearby lakes. Trout fishing is enjoyed primarily in the northern locations, such as the Kaghan Valley. The best trout streams seem to be a long drive away over poor roads and require at least a long weekend. However, the scenery is always a reward in itself. Bring your own tackle. Rawalpindi has one tackle shop with a limited supply of equipment.

Pakistan has no developed Alpine ski areas nor is there ice skating or ice hockey. Hiking and bird watching on weekends are popular in the nearby Margalla Hills. Trails abound in these rugged hills at the edge of the city. The Asian Study Group organizes hikes with varying degrees of difficulty. Within the city, international running groups have a weekly "hash" that is both social and athletic.

A number of interesting car trips are possible from Islamabad. The old British hill stations of Murree and Nathiagali have snow in winter and are cool in summer. Murree at 7,500 feet above sea level is a 2 hour drive on a winding road. The altitude offers some relief from the hot summer weather in Islamabad. Accommodations at the few hotels may be hard to obtain during the tourist season, and are far below U.S. and European standards, except for the new five-star Pearl Continental at Bhurban. It takes another hour to reach Nathiagali at 8,200 feet. Fine views of snowcapped mountains are possible from many points.

For the adventurous, the valleys of Swat and Kaghan have mountain streams with good fishing. Hiking and climbing are excellent in all the hill locations. A few hotels and rest houses may be found. Because of the distance from Islamabad, a long weekend is generally needed.

Camping may be prohibited in some areas, but it is often possible to tent on the grounds of a rest house. Get permission to camp wherever you stop. Always bring food and water, as local supplies may not be acceptable. You should not camp alone in any part of the country.

Near Islamabad it is not difficult to drive into the Margalla Hills and to Taxila, one of the subcontinent's most important archeological sites. The ancient city sites, only 25 miles from Islamabad, were inhabited more than 2,000 years ago. The museum at Taxila has fine examples of Gandhara sculpture from the Buddhist period.


The movie theaters in Islamabad usually show Urdu-speaking films.

A limited amount of entertainment is available in Pakistan, since many Pakistani activities center around the family. The Folk Heritage Center has a yearly festival, Lok Mela, that is well worth attending. Occasional meena bazaars and industrial exhibitions may be interesting. There are a number of restaurants in Islamabad and Rawalpindi, serving Continental, Pakistani, Chinese, Afghan, Tex Mex and Persian cuisine.

The Pakistan Arts Council and foreign missions sponsor musical performances and plays. The Rawalpindi Amateur Theatrical Society (RATS), an international group, has one or two productions a year and sponsors periodic play readings. The plays and musical events of the International School are well attended.

The Asian Study Group also conducts trips within Pakistan. This group has evening meetings of cultural interest, covering carpets and textiles, religion, archaeology, and other aspects of life in the subcontinent.

Apart from schools, most children play at other children's homes. There are few external facilities for youth recreation. The aforementioned is also true for teens.

Social Activities

Social life is informal and centers around the home or the American Club. Informal dinners and buffets are the most common entertainment. Parties within the American community are frequent, especially around holiday seasons. Traditional parties at Christmas, New Year, and Independence Day and for special occasions are sponsored by the American Club. Musical groups give performances during the year.

The American Women's Club (AWC) is open to all American women, women who are married to Americans, and women from the British, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand communities. The AWC offers a chance to meet Americans and other women outside the diplomatic community. The AWC sponsors social service projects, and along with other diplomatic groups, supports the Diplex, a small thrift shop.

Many Pakistanis enjoy entertaining Americans and appreciate return invitations. It is not unusual for a husband to attend without his wife, and it should not disturb the host if no advance warning is given. Should you visit a home where women are secluded, it is important for the female guests to pay their respects by visiting the women's area of the house. If you receive an invitation to a wedding celebration, you may want to ask for details as to what you will encounter. A city wedding may be an elaborate affair in a hotel, but a country wedding could mean a long walk on rough paths to a village.


Rawalpindi, 10 miles away from Islamabad and still the major city in the capital area, is typical of the cantonment towns built by the British in India and Pakistan during the mid-19th century. These towns, with a few broad tree-lined streets and sturdy brick buildings, served as residential and operational centers for the British Army along the Grand Trunk Road, that ran from Kabul to Calcutta. Rawalpindi developed as a transportation, communications, and administrative center. The city remains an important military base and is the site of the General Headquarters of the Pakistani Army and Air Force.

Besides the main thoroughfares established by the British, Rawalpindi has many narrow back streets that wind through bustling bazaars. About 928,000 Pakistanis live in Rawalpindi, a large proportion originally from other parts of the country. In the city today are locomotive works, an iron foundry, oil refinery, and textile mills.

Until recently, Rawalpindi's major importance rested on its strategic location for military operations. Aryan-speakers fought over it in 1400 B.C., and Alexander the Great arrived in 326 B.C. The city was completely destroyed by the Mogul (also written Moghul and Mughal) invasion in the 14th century. Later, the Sikhs conquered and controlled the area, only to lay down their arms (1849) to the British 53rd Regiment, which then established its northern command headquarters in what was to become one of the world's largest cantonment stations. Rawalpindi became primarily a civilian city in 1960, when it was chosen as the interim capital of Pakistan. The American Embassy moved here from Karachi in 1966, and remained until quarters were established in Islamabad in 1973.

The majority of American children in the capital area attend the International School of Islamabad, which is supervised by an American and staffed by qualified American, Pakistani, and third-country national teachers. Its curriculum, from nursery through grade 12, parallels that of U.S. schools.


Karachi is Pakistan's largest and most cosmopolitan city. As the center of Pakistan's economic, commercial, and communications activity, it links areas inside the country with the rest of the world through both its port and its busy international airport.

Located northwest of the mouth of the Indus River, Karachi separates the blue waters of the Arabian Sea from the brown sands of the Sindh Desert and is the gateway to the fertile region of the Punjab, the historic Northwest Frontier, and to Afghanistan. A four-lane highway connects Karachi with Hyderabad, located 2 hours northeast on the Indus River, and continues as a narrow road 800 miles north to Lahore (a 2-3 day trip).

Karachi's excellent harbor is the source of both business and pleasure. It serves as the center of Pakistan's seaborne trade, which consists largely of textile goods, and also as a place to boat and fish. Unlike other Pakistani cities, Karachi has a short history. A hundred years ago, it was a small fishing village with a ditch called "Karachi jo-Kun." When the Suez Canal opened for international shipping in 1865, the British needed a nearby seaport. They developed the harbor and built the fishing village into a city of close to 300,000 people. However, up to partition in 1947, Bombay, now in India, served as the major harbor for the eastern region of former British India. Following independence, Karachi, as Pakistan's only major harbor, took on new significance and rapidly expanded to its present population of about 10 million people. Though Karachi has few of the architectural and historical attractions that distinguish Lahore, Peshawar, or other areas, it is the main commercial, financial, and industrial center in Pakistan. Teeming with the undisciplined traffic of a variety of vehicles, Karachi is a vibrant place in which to live and work.


Pakistan's electric power is 220v 50 hertz, but fluctuations between 200v and 250v are common. Voltage spikes and power outages are frequent and irregular. Appliances made for U.S. current will require a step-down transformer, and some appliances with DC motors or requiring specific rpm output, such as some tape recorders, record players, and clocks, will require conversion to 50 cycles. Parts for such conversion are scarce in Karachi. Residential power outlets vary. Common varieties include the British three-prong, grounded or the round, two-prong, ungrounded style. Parts and labor for rewiring plugs are more readily available than adapters. Water supply is frequently inadequate.


Food stores in Karachi sell dry and frozen goods but are not up to Western standards of quality or variety. Imported goods are available in uncertain quantities at higher prices.

Local dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and ice cream have occasionally been found to be contaminated. Many employees use long-life products from the commissary and make home-made yogurt and ice cream.

Fresh meat, including lamb, mutton, goat, beef, and veal, is available in local markets at very reasonable prices. American cuts are not available, however, and quality is below Western standards. Local meat must be cooked thoroughly to prevent parasitic infection. Seafood is readily available. Snapper, king mackerel, promfret (a pan or grill fish), shrimp, and crab are relatively expensive staples.


Local taste and tailoring in men's clothing are similar to that in the U.S. Coats and ties may be worn year round in the office, although they are not required. During the long, hot summer, entertainment is usually casual and either short-sleeved or sport (bush) shirts are worn.

Women's dress is similar to that in the U.S. but more modest. In the office, within the Western community, and at social affairs with Western-educated Pakistanis, anything which would be acceptable in the U.S. would be appropriate. On the street, however, and in the bazaars or in rural areas, women are advised to wear skirts with hem-lines below the knees and to avoid low necked or sleeveless dresses, or tight, revealing pants. Shorts are not appropriate. More suitable bazaar or street wear is pantsuits, slacks, or calf-length skirts; arms and shoulders should be covered. Cocktail dresses or pants outfits are worn for evening entertainment.

Karachi's winter is delightful, but unfortunately, lasts only about 8-10 weeks. From December to late February, temperatures vary from 50°F at night to 80°F in the daytime.

Summer weather is quite hot and humid and usually lasts from the end of February to November. A larger supply of light clothing is needed than in Washington. All cotton and drip-dry fabrics are the most comfortable; synthetic fibers are sticky in the hot, humid weather.

Because the winter is short and not very cold, winter suits, dresses, and coats are rarely worn, but a sweater or evening wrap is useful. Attractive shawls are available locally and are often used to keep the chill off during winter evenings. The most practical winter fabric is washable synthetic knit, but regular wash-and-wear and summer clothing may be worn throughout the year.

Except for locally embroidered things for women and children, local ready-made clothing is not satisfactory. Local dressmakers and tailors can make better clothing to order for women and girls than for men and boys, although men's casual wear or "bush suits" are well made and attractive. Tailoring and dressmaking services are available to make, alter or repair clothing. Quality of work varies, but with a little trial and error you can usually find a good tailor. Some tailors can copy from pictures, but a few have Western-style patterns and most do best by copying an existing piece of clothing. Fabrics available locally include plain wash-and-wear, washable woolen and cotton prints, and silks, all of which must be checked for color fastness.

In any case, bring an adequate supply of lingerie, underwear, hose, socks, washable sweaters, and bathing suits and caps. Bring baby supplies such as rubber pants, diapers or Pampers, underwear, and pajamas. Get as many washable things as possible, and avoid "dryclean only" clothing if possible.

Bring an adequate supply of shoes. Locally made sneakers and sandals are cheap and reasonably good. Other shoes are available, but many find the style, fit or quality unacceptable. Some people have had trouble finding properly fitting children's shoes.

Supplies and Services

See Islamabad.

Domestic Help

The comments on domestic help covered under Islamabad apply to Karachi, except that rates run somewhat higher in Karachi.

Religious Activities

Christian churches in Karachi include: Holy Trinity Church, Brooks Memorial, and St. Andrew's (all Protestant); and St. Patrick's Cathedral, St. Anthony's Church, Christ the King, and Stella Maria Chapel (Catholic). All have Sunday and Friday services and school (Saturday for Seventh Day Adventists). No Jewish services are held in Karachi.


Virtually all American children attend the Karachi American School (KAS), which offers nursery and kindergarten, elementary and junior and senior high school education. The school is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools based on American teaching methods and curriculum. The school has 48 full-time teachers, 31 of them Americans, and uses U.S. materials. The student body of approximately 360 includes roughly equal numbers of Pakistanis, third-country nationals and Americans. Parents of new students to KAS should be aware that the academic program is rigorous and that pupils coming from other school systems have found it challenging. There is no special education program. The Karachi American Society, a parent organization, elects a seven-member Board of Directors who develop school policy. The school year runs from mid August through May.

New students should have a thorough physical examination within six months prior to admission and should bring with them all previous school records.

Address questions (official mail only; must be 16 oz. or less) about the school to: Superintendent, American Consulate General/KAS Unit 62403, APO AE 09814-2403 Tel. (92) (21) 433557 FAX: (92) (21) 437305.

The Convent of Jesus and Mary offers instruction by Roman Catholic nuns for boys and girls in the primary grades and secondary level schooling for girls only. The school year is July-December and January-May, and studies are patterned on the English school system. The British Overseas School offers instruction in the nursery and primary grades. It admits a limited number of non-British students.

Karachi Grammar School, using the British curriculum, is one of the oldest day schools in the subcontinent, and caters to English-speaking students. It has about 1,500 pupils of many nationalities-most Pakistani, but a few Americans, and its three departments (kindergarten, primary, and secondary) cover ages 5-18. The secondary department prepares students for the entrance requirements of English and American universities. Its school year consists of three terms: mid-January through mid-May; mid-June through mid September; and mid-September through mid-December.

The Karachi American School preschool starts at age four, the British Overseas School (BOS) accepts 3-year-olds and the Alliance Francaise (English Program) accepts two-year-olds. The BOS program is 4-1/2 hours long; KAS is three; and the Alliance Francaise is 2-1/2. All are daily morning programs. The BOS and Alliance Francaise are located in Defense and Clifton, respectively. The Goethe Institute runs a German language nursery and the Alliance Francaise also has a French language school. Other local nursery schools exist, including numerous Montessori schools.

Adult education is unavailable at the university level. Foreign language programs are available at the Goethe Institute, Alliance Francaise, and Friendship House.


Saltwater bathing is excellent throughout the year, except during the June-August monsoon, when surf at nearby beaches rises dangerously, undertow is powerful, and poisonous jellyfish abound. Some consider it a bit cold for bathing during the short winter months. Beach huts (less than an hour's drive from town) may be rented on Hawkes Bay or Sandspit beaches by people who have the time and patience to find a suitable but and go through the negotiating process.

Freshwater pools are available on a membership basis at the Sindh Club, Gymkhana Club, the Pearl Continental Hotel, the Avari Hotel, KLM pool at Midway House near the airport, the Marriott, and the Sheraton. The Karachi Recreation Association (pool, tennis courts, squash courts, walking/running course, gymnasium and weight room) operates out of Karachi American School and is open to Americans for membership, whether they have children in the school or not.

Small boat sailing is good most of the year and especially in the summer with the monsoon winds. The Karachi Yacht Club offers excellent small boat sailing opportunities. This private club races primarily fourteen foot Enterprises, but similar size boats partake as well. Because of the club's roughly 40% ex-pat membership, there is usually a boat for sale at any given time. Boat prices run $3,000 and up but can be paid for on monthly installments or simply rented by the day.

A 27-hole course is available at the Karachi Golf Club, although the membership cost is high.


The Pakistan American Cultural Center (PACC) occasionally puts on an English language play. Infrequent music concerts are sponsored by local choral groups and the various cultural centers. Occasionally, the latter import professional artists. Most Americans bring or import tape recorders, record players and accessories, and borrow or dub each other's tapes. VCRs have become a popular source of entertainment. Video rental shops are located throughout the city, but quality varies. A multi-system VCR is suggested, as U.S. tapes are usually VHS format while locally available tapes are UK-PAL format. Those wishing to take advantage of this source of entertainment should ship a VCR and compatible TV in their household effects.

Karachi has a moderate variety of restaurants, concentrated around the major hotels and the boat basin. The American Club caters to the American palate.


Lahore is a city of 5 million people, 800 miles north-northeast of Karachi (1-1/2 hours by jet), and 170 miles south-southeast of Islamabad (35 minutes by jet). Lahore lies 17 miles west of the Indian border, 700 feet above sea level, in the middle of the Great Punjab Alluvial Plain. It is Pakistan's second largest city after Karachi.

Lahore has been the capital of several empires in the subcontinent, with a history going back at least 1,000 years. The old city and its environs have many examples of the art and architecture of the Moghul empire, such as the Lahore Fort, Badshahi Mosque, Emperor Jahangir's Tomb, and the Shalimar Gardens. The city was the capital of the Sikh empire in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. One pleasant legacy of British rule (1849-1947) is Lahore's wide, tree-lined streets. Extensive suburbs have repeated this pattern.

Today, Lahore is the capital of Pakistan's largest and most populous province. The Punjab, heartland of Pakistan, produces 69% of Pakistan's agricultural output. It is a major governmental, political, media, cultural, and economic center. Two of the country's largest engineering firms are located in Lahore, as is the headquarters of the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) and the Pakistani railway system. In addition, hundreds of industrial firms produce textiles, steel products, carpets, processed food, shoes, electric motors, and a wide variety of consumer goods. Lahore has the country's two largest printing plants; newspaper circulation is the largest in the country. Six English dailies and two English weeklies are available.

Lahore has two major universities: the University of the Punjab and the Pakistan University of Engineering and Technology, along with many training institutions. The private Lahore University of Management Sciences is a leading business school. The Lahore Museum, the oldest in the country, has outstanding examples of the nation's heritage.

The city is on the Ravi River, one of the five great rivers from which the Punjab (Persian for "five rivers") takes its name. The climate is delightful from November to April. December and January are dry and almost cold with night temperatures occasionally dropping to near freezing.

Summer starts with dry, very hot days in May and becomes humid from June through August, with daytime temperatures regularly reaching 100°F for weeks and occasionally soaring to 114°E Activities slow down markedly during summer. Monsoon showers give some relief from the hot summer breezes and dust storms, but increase the humidity to uncomfortable levels. Temperate weather returns at the beginning of October. Air quality is noticeably affected by industrial pollution, dust, and pollen in summer and smoke in winter.


Electric power failures and scheduled outages occur frequently in Lahore. In the winter, "load shedding" is scheduled daily. The power may build up to 250-280v, and the usual step-down transformers offer U.S.-made appliances limited protection. Voltage regulators with automatic cutouts should be used for VCRs, stereos, and small appliances. These regulators are available locally in a wide variety of models. Telephone service is erratic; wrong numbers and crossed lines are frequent. Calling the U.S. direct is possible if the telephone has that facility or, if not, by booking a call via the operator.


With the exception of chicken, meat is not sold in shops or restaurants on Tuesday or Wednesday in Lahore. Meat and meat cuts are different from those in the U.S. Meat must be well cooked, since markets often have no refrigeration.

High quality seasonal fruit and vegetables are available, including bananas, oranges, grapes, tangerines, mangoes, pomegranates, apples, peaches, melons, apricots, potatoes, green beans, carrots, onions, tomatoes, green peppers, broccoli, okra, ginger, cucumbers, eggplants, and peas.


Dress in Lahore outside the office is much more conservative than in Islamabad. American women generally wear Western clothes to work. Conservative Western dress is often acceptable outside the office, but many foreign women feel more comfortable in a shalwar kameez (Pakistani national dress) or slacks with a loose, thigh-length, long-sleeved blouse with a high neck. Either western or Pakistani dress is acceptable at evening functions, except that long dresses or skirts are rarely worn. Clothing for social functions, particularly weddings, is sometimes quite dressy. Sandals are popular for daytime and evening wear.

All-cotton clothing, including underwear, is most comfortable in hot weather. Dry cleaning service is unreliable, and clothing wears rapidly due to the need for frequent washing. Women should be well covered all year round. Tight-fitting or low-cut clothing, sleeveless or halter tops are not acceptable in Lahore. Western style ladies wear is not available in local stores, nor is there variety in children's clothes.

If you intend to use local tailors, bring a supply of buttons, interfacing, zippers, thread, and especially elastic. Locally made items of this type are often not satisfactory. Tailoring is cheap but not always of good quality. Tailors usually do not follow patterns, but can copy clothing. A woman's blouse costs about $10 to make, pants $15. Men's pants can be made for $20 and a suit for $70 to $90.

Domestic Help

Help is plentiful, but good servants are scarce and becoming more expensive. Current monthly estimates are: cook $100-120; bearer $80; gardener $60-70; laundryman $20-30; nursemaid $80.

Religious Activities

English-language religious services are readily available at Anglican, Roman Catholic, and Seventh-Day Adventist churches. The International Christian Fellowship, an interdenominational English language congregation that meets in the Chapel of Forman Christian College, also conducts services. Also, there is a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormon). No Jewish services are available in Lahore.


Most American children attend the Lahore American School (LAS) operated by the Lahore American Society. LAS has about 450 students in all grades, divided among American, Pakistani, and third-country students. It is fully accredited and certified by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. It follows a standard American curriculum and calendar (mid August to end of May) for kindergarten through grade 12. A nursery class is also available. The majority of faculty is American. The high school program is college preparatory, with 25 credits required for graduation: 4 credits of English, 3 of science, 2 of foreign language, 3 of social studies, 3 of mathematics, 3 of physical education (including health), and 7 credits in electives. The college placement record of LAS is excellent. For specific information write to: Superintendent, Lahore American School, c/o Principal Officer AmConsul Lahore Unit 62216, APO AE 09812-2216. Tel. 870895/873603.

The French and German Cultural Centers in Lahore offer language instruction.


Facilities for sports include golf, swimming, riding, tennis, squash, hunting, and fishing. Two local clubs offer combinations of golf, tennis, and swimming. Membership fees vary, but membership is not required to play golf. English riding instruction is offered at the Lahore Polo Club, and men's rugby by the Lahore Rugby Football Club. Americans may use the Lahore American School's pool and basketball courts for a nominal charge whenever school sports are not scheduled. Spectator sports include cricket, field hockey, world-class polo, and rugby.

Some sports equipment, when locally available, is reasonable in price, but not always of high quality. Excellent locally made squash racquets may be bought here but bring a supply of golf and tennis balls. Hobby materials are generally unavailable or expensive.


Dinners and parties in private homes are the most common form of entertainment.

Lahore is often said to have the best restaurants in Pakistan, offering Continental, Chinese, and Pakistani cuisine.

Ample opportunities exist to study area history and culture and to acquire folk products and art objects. Shopping, especially for Oriental/Pakistani rugs, is a favorite event.

Local cinemas are rarely attended by Americans. Video cassettes in the PAL mode, of varying quality, are readily available for rent at reasonable prices on the local market. If you decide to bring a VCR, the most suitable is the VHS-type that can show three systems (PAL, SECAM, and NTSC). The American, British, and French Cultural Centers regularly show films.

PTV, the Lahore government-run television station has a 10-minute nightly news program in English. There may also be a rerun of an English or U.S. program. A second, privately owned and operated channel began operation in 1991. STN runs many U.S. and British reruns and several hours of CNN programming around the clock. Pakistani television is on the PAL system which is not compatible with the standard U.S. system. Indian television may also be viewed in Lahore. No local FM radio exists, and English language short-wave reception is only fair. Pre-recorded cassette tapes are readily available. CDs are difficult to obtain.

The American Women's Club is active and provides opportunities for meeting people as does the International Women's Club.

In 1977 the Government of Pakistan passed legislation dramatically restricting the consumption of alcoholic beverages. Some hotels have "bars" where foreigners and non-Muslims with the proper permits can purchase a limited selection of alcoholic beverages, but at exorbitant prices.


Peshawar, an ancient city in the heart of the Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP), lies 15 miles east of the famous Khyber Pass, 35 miles from the Afghanistan border, and close to the Pakhtun tribal agencies. Peshawar is a city of approximately 1,000,000 and is situated on a flat plain surrounded on three sides by mountains. The city is divided into three parts: the Old City, Cantonment area, and University Town. The Old City is a typically crowded central Asian town, with a colorful bazaar teeming with people and every kind of moving vehicle. Houses of mud bricks line the narrow twisting streets. By contrast, the Cantonment has a suburban atmosphere with spacious houses set back from quiet, tree-lined avenues. Much of the Cantonment area is occupied by military installations of the Pakistan Army and Air Force. University Town, to the west of the airport and south of the university campus is the modern section of the city, with development dating from the late 1950s. The NWFP and Peshawar host well over a million Afghan refugees, many of whom have established businesses in the Old City.

Pakhtun Culture

Pakhtuns are the dominant ethnic group of the NWFP. Although cultural mores are slowly changing, particularly in Peshawar, Pakhtun culture is conservative, religious, and largely concerned with the notion of honor. The "Pakhtun Code of Honor" (Pakhtunwali) is usually defined in terms of three basic, and much romanticized, concepts: "melmastia"-hospitality to every guest, not only providing food and shelter but also protection; "badal"-revenge under any circumstances; and "nanawati"-obligation to protect or forgive an offender when he submits himself at the doorstep of the man from whom he is seeking forgiveness. However, Pakhtunwali is a much wider code than these three concepts. Any action taken to protect the honor, as seen by Pakhtuns, is a part of Pakhtunwali. Consequently, Pakhtun men are greatly protective of their women and their women's honor. Although education is slowly preparing Pakhtun women for a more public role, few Pakhtun women work outside of the home or participate actively in public affairs. The Pakhtun Code of Honor is especially strong in the tribal areas, the western third of the province that is not under provincial administration and where traditional rules of tribal justice are applied.

Food, Clothing, Supplies and Services

Fresh meat (no pork products), vegetables, and fruits are available year round. Frozen meat is also available locally, although a greater variety is found in Islamabad. Frozen fish and seafood is also available through local vendors.

Local tailoring shops produce western-style clothes and dresses at reasonable prices. Locally purchased thread is not strong or preshrunk; a supply of good quality thread is recommended for those who plan to sew or have garments made. Quality, durable shoes and hiking boots are not available locally.

The electrical current is 220v, 50 Hz. Computers, stereo components, VCRs, radios, televisions, and other sensitive electronic equipment require voltage regulators (available locally) due to frequent voltage fluctuations.

Laundry, dry-cleaning, film developing, and barber and hair dressing facilities are available in Peshawar. Slide film is not locally available, nor is slide developing reliable. Several book stores sell office supplies, maps, magazines, and a wide variety of hard cover and paperback English books.

Religious Activities

Peshawar has Protestant and Catholic churches but no synagogues. Services are conducted in both English and Urdu. Numerous mosques serve the Sunni, Shia, and Ismaeli communities.


The International School of Peshawar was established in 1987. Offering classes from kindergarten through grade 8, ISP enrollments currently average 60 students a year from the American and European expatriate communities. All classes are taught in English by certified teachers, and standard American textbooks are used for all subjects. The school year begins mid-August and ends the last week of May. Classes are conducted Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., with a 2-1/2-week mid-year break at Christmas. The American school has no boarding facilities nor special education programs.

Other children have commuted to Islamabad to attend the International School of Islamabad (ISI) or the Murree Christian School, located 30 miles northeast of Islamabad. Murree provides boarding facilities for children of all ages and has been used extensively in the past by foreign families in Peshawar. ISI does not have boarding facilities and attendance at this school requires the cooperation of an American family in Islamabad to board the child during the week. Other possibilities include the Woodstock School about 150 miles north of Delhi, in Mussoorie, India, U.S./European boarding schools, or various home study programs as used by a number of families.


Peshawar has three clubs: the Peshawar Golf Club with an excellent 18-hole course; the Peshawar Club with its swimming, squash, and year-round tennis on grass courts; and the Peshawar American Club with two clay tennis courts, a swimming pool, as well as basketball and volleyball courts. The single international class hotel in Peshawar recently has opened a health club and also has a pool. A variety of other sports or exercise activities, including volleyball and aerobics classes, have been organized by volunteers in the expatriate community and are generally available to interested participants. Places for hunting, fishing, and trekking are available in nearby Swat and Chitral. Arrangements can also be made for horseback riding.

Touring and Outdoor Activities

The Khyber Pass, a romantic, historical landmark 15 miles away on the main road to Afghanistan, is the pass through which conquerors of the subcontinent have come and fought over for centuries. Tourists can take advantage of a periodically scheduled steam train safari to the Khyber Pass after obtaining the required permits. The village of Darra Adam Kehl, 25 miles from Peshawar, is the site of "tribal gun factories," where handmade rifles and shotguns are manufactured by and for the Pakhtun tribesmen. Ten miles beyond the factories is the Kohat Pass, less well-known, but more spectacular than Khyber. Currently, visits to these tourist areas are restricted because of armed conflict in nearby Afghanistan and tribal unrest.

Chitral, the northernmost mountain district in the NWFP, is accessible by scheduled air service from Peshawar, and by Jeep for about 6 months a year. Chitral offers dramatic views of 26,000-foot Tirich Mir (the "King of the Hindu Kush"), fine trout fishing, interesting visits to the exotic Kalash mountain valleys, and native polo matches among a friendly, hospitable people. Other scenic areas include the Swat and Kaghan valleys, northeast of Peshawar, where trout fishing is also available.

The Northwest Frontier Province is also home to a number of significant archaeological sites related to the 2,400-year-old Buddhist Gandhara civilization. Most important is the Buddhist monastery at Takht-IBhai, near Mardan, a site still revered by Buddhists. The Peshawar Museum houses what is considered the finest collection of Gandhara civilization statuary, including the famous "Starving Buddha."


Few English films are shown publicly and most foreigners do not frequent local cinemas. The American Club, however, has a large number of NTSC VCR movies for rent. Several local video shops rent PAL videos. VHS VCRs using the PAL, SECAM, and NTSC systems are recommended. Tapes in the Beta format are limited and not available at the Peshawar American Club.

Restaurant selection is limited to one or two good Pakistani restaurants, two Chinese restaurants, several Afghan establishments, and the Pearl Continental and Khan Club Hotel restaurants, which serve continental cuisine. The Peshawar American Club has the most popular restaurant in town among the foreign community and, perhaps, the liveliest members-only bar in Pakistan. In accordance with local law, however, Muslims and Pakistani citizens may not be served alcohol. Recommended hotels in Peshawar are the Pearl Continental and several good guest houses that have recently opened in University Town. Rooms are sometimes available at the American Club for official travelers, and the Golf Club has recently opened a limited number of rooms for guests.

Peshawar is famous to shoppers of the world for its Afghan carpets, tribal jewelry, lapis, and furniture. More than a hundred Afghan carpet stores offer a wide variety of Afghan carpets, kilims, and other woven products. In the Old City Sarafa bazaar, one can find tribal jewelry, old coins, war medals, lapis, and other semi-precious stones, as well as modern Pakistani gold jewelry. Peshawar's furniture makers craft excellent wood furniture to order at relatively inexpensive prices. Several outlet stores are operated by the volunteer agencies marketing handicrafts made by Afghan refugees.

The two main shopping areas in Peshawar are the Saddar Bazaar in the Cantonment and the various bazaars found in the Old City. Although Saddar has several gift shops and carpet stores, most visitors to Peshawar prefer to shop in the colorful, exotic environs of the Old City. Shops usually open between 9:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. and remain open until dark. Except for a few meat and grocery shops, businesses remain closed on Fridays.

Special Information

The people of Peshawar and the NWFP observe conservative social standards. Both men and women should dress modestly. Men should not wear running shorts and T-shirts in public. Women should cover up and, in particular, not wear shorts, tight clothing, sundresses, etc., in public. Women should avoid eye contact with men passing them on the streets. Behavior around mosques, especially during prayer time, should be discreet.

Peshawar and the surrounding tribal areas can be fraught with unexpected dangers to uninitiated newcomers. Visitors should travel only with U.S. Government Agency officials, volunteer agency representatives, or with a reputable travel guide. Personal information and trip schedules should be given only to authorized government and hotel officials. The Government of Pakistan must approve all visits to Afghan refugee camps and tribal areas, including the Khyber Pass. Such visits are normally limited to daylight hours, and special permits are required. Do not leave vehicles unattended while traveling in the NWFP Night travel on NWFP roads can be hazardous and is not recommended. Although the indiscriminate bombings which were a hallmark of terrorist campaigns in Peshawar at the height of the Afghan conflict have largely disappeared, Afghan-related violence in the city continues to be a problem and could threaten the security of expatriate residents and visitors.


Ruled by the Afghans in the early 19th century, BAHAWALPUR joined Pakistan in 1947. It is situated about 225 miles southwest of Lahore, near the Sutlej River. The city trades in soap, cotton, and pottery. The population here is over 400,000.

FAISALABAD (also known as Lyallpur) is located in a cotton and wheat growing area about 175 miles southeast of Islamabad. With a metropolitan population of over 1.9 million, Faisalabad is an important commercial center, particularly for grains and cloth. Manufactures include textiles, textile machinery, bicycles, hosiery, flour, sugar, vegetable oil, soap, and pharmaceuticals. Founded and named for Sir James Lyall in 1892, but now usually called Faisalabad, the city is the site of Punjab Agricultural University (founded in 1961), several colleges affiliated with the University of Punjab, and numerous experimental farms and cattle-breeding stations.

The capital city of Gujranwala District, GUJRANWALA has a population of approximately 1.2 million It is situated 42 miles north of Lahore. The city trades in grain, and manufactures copper and brass utensils. Formerly the capital of Sikh power in its early period, Gujranwala is the birthplace of Ranjit Singh.

HYDERABAD , with a population of more than one millio n, is located in southern Pakistan on the Indus River, near the Indian border. Long known for its silk, gold, and silver embroidery, and its enamelware and pottery, Hyderabad is now an industrial city with chemical engineering, food processing, cotton, cement, cigarette, glass, and match factories. Founded by Ghulam Shah Kalhora in 1768, the city was designed by his son, Sarfaraz Khan in 1782. Hyderabad was the capital of the emirs of Sind and was occupied by the British East India Company when Sind became a British protectorate in 1839. The University of Sind, founded in 1947, is located here; there are also several other colleges in the city. Numerous mosques, palaces, and the arsenal are found in the city's fort. Umarkot, a town in the Thar Desert near Hyderabad, was the birthplace of the Mogul emperor Akbar.

MULTAN , situated on the Chenab River in east central Pakistan, is about 280 miles south of Islamabad. The city is an important road and rail junction, an agricultural center, and a market for textiles, leather goods, and other products. Industries here include metalworking, flour and oil milling, and the manufacture of cotton textiles, shoes, carpets, and glass. Pottery and enamelwork are some of the city's noteworthy handicrafts. Multan is one of the Indian subcontinent's oldest cities, deriving its name from an idol in the temple of the sun god. Multan is thought to have been conquered by Alexander the Great about 325 B.C., and visited by the Chinese Buddhist scholar Hsüan-tsang in 641. The city was taken by the Arabs in the eighth century, captured by Muslim Turkish conqueror Mahamud of Ghazni in 1005, by Tamerlane in 1398, ruled by the emperors of Delhi from 1526 to 1779, and by the Afghans until 1818. In 1818, Multan was seized by Ranjit Singh, leader of the Sikhs. The British held Multan from 1848 until Pakistan achieved independence in 1947. Landmarks include a surrounding wall and fort enclosing the tombs of two Muslim holy men, and an ancient Hindu temple. More than a million people live in Multan.

QUETTA is located in west-central Pakistan, near the Afghanistan border and about 450 miles southwest of Islamabad. The city is situated on a plain enclosed by high mountains at an altitude of 5,500 feet, and has a population of close to 600,000. Quetta's name comes from the Pushtu word for fortkawatah. The city commands the entrance through the strategic Bolan and Khojak Passes into Afghanistan, and is a trade center for Iran, Afghanistan, and much of central Asia. Chief items traded here include fruits, vegetables, hides, and wool. Cottage industries in the city produce textiles, foodstuffs, and carpets. Coal and chromite are also mined nearby. Historically, Quetta was occupied by the British during the First Afghan War, 1839-1842, and following the Second Afghan War in 1876. It became prominent as the seat of British resident Sir Robert Sandeman, and was a strongly fortified British military station. In June 1935, a severe earthquake nearly destroyed Quetta, but the city has since been rebuilt. Quetta has a military staff college, founded in 1907, and a geophysical observatory. It is also known as a summer resort town.

SARGODHA is located in east Pakistan, about 105 miles northwest of Lahore. The metropolitan area has a population of approximately 455,000. A railroad and industrial hub, Sargodha produces soap, flour, textiles, and chemicals. There is a grain market here.

The birthplace of philosopher-poet Muhammad Igbal, SIALKOT is in eastern Pakistan 120 miles from Islamabad. A rail junction and a major trade and processing center, Sialkot has a population of about 420,000. Bicycles, surgical instruments, sporting goods, rubber products, and ceramics are manufactured here. Textile weaving is also an important industry. Landmarks include a fortress built in 1181 by Muhammed of Ghor and the mausoleum of Guru Nanak, founder of the Sikh religion, who died in 1538.

The city of SUKKUR lies in a hot, desert region, about 240 miles northeast of Karachi, near the Indus River. It is a commercial hub, manufacturing leather, cement, cigarettes, and textiles. Barley, rice, wheat, and millet are grown nearby. Major trade is conducted with neighboring Afghanistan. The town was built up by the British in 1843 when they established a garrison. Sukkur's population exceeds 300,000.


Geography and Climate

Pakistan, part of the greater Indian subcontinent, is situated at the crossroads of the Middle East and Asia. The country covers an area about the size of the states of Washington, Oregon, and California combined. It is bordered by Iran and Afghanistan on the west; China on the north; the disputed territory of Jammu and Kashmir on the northeast; India on the east; and the Arabian Sea on the south. Pakistan lies between latitudes 24 and 37 degrees north (e.g., from the southern tip of Florida to the southern border of Virginia).

The major political divisions of the country are the Provinces of Sindh, Balochistan, Punjab, Northwest Frontier, and the federally administered Northern Areas, Tribal Areas, and Azad Kashmir. The provinces roughly correspond with the country's major geographic, ethnic, and linguistic regions.

There are five distinct geographic regions: The Thar Desert and Lower Indu Valley, located in the southernmost province of Sindh, consists largely of arid valleys and rocky hills that extend into neighboring India. Farming is successful only in the irrigated areas nearest to the Indus River.

The Balochistan Plateauis a broad, arid tableland that lies between 1,000 and 3,000 feet above sea level in the western province of Balochistan. The plateau is encircled by rugged mountains and covers nearly one-half of the country's territory.

The Indus Basin features the largest contiguous irrigation system in the world. "Punjab," the name of the province in which much of the basin is located, means "five waters" in Persian, referring to the five major rivers (Indus, Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, and Sutlej) in the basin. The province of Punjab comprises the northeastern quarter of Pakistan.

The Northwest Frontieas a region of barren mountains sheltering rich irrigated valleys. The provincial capital of Peshawar is situated on an ancient trade route that leads through the Khyber Pass and into Afghanistan.

The Far Nortloffers Pakistan's most spectacular scenery with towering snowcapped mountains, deep narrow valleys, and glaciers. The world's second highest mountain, K-2, is located in the Far North, as are a dozen other peaks of more than 25,000 feet elevation, including Nanga Parbat, Gasherbrun, and Rakaposhi.

Seasonal temperatures vary widely in these five regions. With the exception of the Far North, summers are hot throughout the country with temperatures ranging from 90°F to 120°F and little nighttime relief. Trade winds provide some relief during the hot and humid summers in Karachi and a brief cool season comes between December and February. In Lahore, Islamabad, and Peshawar, a distinct winter season brings daytime temperatures of 60°F or less and cold nights. Islamabad and Peshawar may have light frosts. Spring and fall are delightful seasons in these three cities. Altitude governs climate in the Far North, with pleasant summers in the lower regions and perpetual snow in the higher mountains.

The average annual rainfall varies from 6 inches in Karachi, 15 inches in Peshawar, and 18 inches in Lahore, to about 30 inches in Islamabad. Most rain falls during the summer monsoon from July to September, although parts of the Punjab and the Northwest Frontier experience a moderate winter rainy season as well.


Pakistan is a relatively poor country with a rapidly growing population. Annual per capita income is approximately $470. The population is currently estimated at 135 million, making Pakistan the seventh most populous country in the world. Conservatively estimated to be growing at an annual rate of 3.0 percent, one of the highest rates in the world, Pakistan's population could double in 27 years.

One of Pakistan's major problems is illiteracy; only 38% (1994) of the adult population is literate with the rate being significantly lower for women than men. About 47.5% of Pakistan's labor force is engaged in agriculture, while 10.9% works in industry. Pakistani society traditionally assigns a subordinate role to women with the result that 65% of boys ages 6 to 11 and only 33% of girls attend primary school. Women are reported to be only 13.1% of the labor force, but this does not include the large number of women engaged in agricultural and household work. Substantial disparities exist in living conditions between urban areas and the countryside where over two-thirds of Pakistan's people live.

Pakistan's population is unevenly distributed throughout the country. More than 1.5 million Afghan refugees have sought refuge in its borders while employment abroad has taken 2 million Pakistanis away. Population density in parts of Sindh and Punjab is well above the average distribution of 381 persons per square mile. The barren uplands of Balochistan is the least inhabited area of the country.

Internal migration, particularly from rural to urban areas, has begun to alter the ethnic and linguistic character of each of the Provinces, but it is still generally true that Sindh is the home of the Sindhis who speak Sindhi; Balochistan is the traditional home of the Balochi-speaking Baloch; Punjabi is the language of the Punjab, home of Pakistan's largest and most influential ethnic group; and the Northwest Frontier is the tribal homeland of the Pushtu-speaking Pathan. The most notable exception to this pattern is seen in the urban areas of Sindh. Immediately after independence, a significant number of Muslim "muhajirs" or refugees of various ethnic backgrounds poured into these areas from India. More recently, internal migration has brought many job-seeking Pathans to Karachi. In addition, the movement of large numbers of Pathans and some Punjabi farmers into Balochistan over the past decades has made the Baloch a minority in their own Province. The remote valleys of the Far North are inhabited by a few smaller ethnic groups, such as the Gilgitis, Kashmiris, and the people of Hunza.

Urdu is the official language of Pakistan. Although it is the first language of only 7% of the total population and 25% of the urban population, educated Pakistanis are usually conversant in Urdu. The status of English has declined somewhat as a result of "Urduization" efforts by the government, but it is still used extensively in business and government.

Although geographically, ethnically, linguistically, and socially Pakistan is the picture of diversity, its religious homogeneity is an important unifying factor. Members of the Sunni sect constitute the largest number of the Muslims in Pakistan; most of the rest are Shia Muslims. Several hundred thousand Ismaelis live in Karachi and the northern areas. Religious minorities include Christians (1.6 million, 80% of whom live in Punjab), Hindus (1.6 million, 80% of whom live in Sindh), and Parsis (7,000, most of whom live in Karachi).

Public Institutions

The land that is now Pakistan is the site of one of the world's oldest civilizations. As a western gateway to the Indian subcontinent, this area has seen successive waves of people move down through the passes from central Asia and the Iranian Plateau, bringing new ethnic strains and a wide variety of cultural contributions. Over the past 3,000 years, it has been ruled or invaded by Aryans, Persians, Greeks, Kushans, Mongols, Afghans, Turks, Moghuls, Sikhs, British and others.

Pakistan came into being in August 1947 as a result of the Muslim League's determination, once the British rulers departed, to have its own state in the Indian subcontinent, separate from the Hindu majority. The partitioning of British India led to the migration on a massive scale of Muslims to Pakistan and Hindus to India. In the process, hundreds of thousands died and the legacy of partition remains a source of bitterness between India and Pakistan to this day.

In 1947, Pakistan faced a unique and ultimately unsolvable problem of ethnic and geographic division. The new nation was divided into two parts more than 1,000 miles from each other and on opposite sides of the Indian subcontinent. Slightly less than half the people inhabited West Pakistan (presentday Pakistan) and the rest occupied East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) in the humid delta region of the lower Ganges in East Bengal. The two halves of the country differed greatly in language, customs, and daily life and were held together only by a common religion and mutual distrust of the Hindu majority in India.

In its early years, Pakistan faced frequent political crises. The death in 1948 of its founder and first Governor General, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, and the 1951 assassination of Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan deprived the country of two of its most able leaders. From 1951 to 1958, a succession of unstable governments did little to improve internal conditions. In 1958, the Army Commander-in-Chief, General Mohammed Ayub Khan, overthrew the civilian government and seized power as president. Ayub governed Pakistan for 10 years, first under martial law, and after 1962 under a constitution that provided strong executive powers and limited representative government. Ayub relinquished the presidency in early 1969 to Commander-in-Chief General Mohammed Yahya Khan, who dismissed the government, abrogated the constitution and ruled under martial law. In December 1970. however, he permitted Pakistan's first free nationwide elections to select members for both the National Assembly and provincial legislatures.

The election results profoundly affected the future of Pakistan. In the West. the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto gained a majority. In the East, The Awami League of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman scored an overwhelming victory, one so great that the party gained a majority of all seats in both East Pakistan and in the National Assembly. A period of intense political maneuvering followed, with the main issue being the degree of autonomy to be accorded East Pakistan. This period ended abruptly in March 1971, when the Army arrested Mujibur Rahman in Dhaka and attempted to suppress his followers. Resulting disorders in East Pakistan grew into a widespread insurrection, during which 10 million refugees fled into neighboring India, Growing tension between Pakistan and India over developments in East Pakistan led to the outbreak of war in December 1971. India invaded East Pakistan and after a short campaign, West Pakistan's forces in the East surrendered. Then the former East Pakistan became the independent nation of Bangladesh.

From 1971 to 1977, Bhutto was in power, first as president, and then, following the construction of a new constitution in 1973, as prime minister in a parliamentary system. Following national election, in early 1977, a major confrontation emerged between Bhutto's PPP government and a multi-party coalition called the Pakistan National Alliance (PNA). Subsequently, Prime Minister Bhutto was removed in a bloodless coup led by Chief of Army Staff, General Zia-ul-Haq. Bhutto was eventually convicted of conspiracy to commit murder and hanged.

From 1977-1985, Pakistan remained under martial law with Zia serving both as President and as Chief Martial Law Administrator. Finally, in response to domestic and international pressures, Zia allowed a return to democracy. Non-party elections to the National and Provincial Assemblies were held in 1985. The new government. led by Prime Minister Mohammed Khan Junejo, enjoyed the support of legislators associated with the Pakistan Muslim League (PML) who provided Junejo comfortable majorities in the National and Provincial Assemblies. Groups of independents and opposition forces were also formed. Local elections were held in 1987 under civilian government auspices.

In August 1988, growing tensions between President Zia and PM Junejo led Zia to dismiss Junejo's government and call for new non-party elections. Zia's death in a plane crash, along with U.S. Ambassador Arnold Raphel later that month, however, altered the political environment. Senate Chairman Ghulam Ishaq Khan assumed the presidency and guided the nation through the elections in November of that year. The election was won by the Pakistan People's Party led by Z.A. Bhutto's daughter, Benazir Bhutto, which assumed power in December, 1988.

Although the largest party in Parliament, the PPP lacked a majority. Bhutto's administration struggled for most of its tenure and on August 6, 1990, the President, acting under the constitution, removed the Bhutto government. A caretaker regime held national and provincial elections in October 1990 which brought a coalition to power under the leadership of Nawaz Sharif, who became Prime Minister in November 1990.

Sharif's government was dismissed in April 1993 by President Ghulam Ishaq Khan, but it was later restored by the Supreme Court. The resulting constitutional crisis was resolved by the resignation of both the Prime Minister and the President. In elections held in October 1993, the PPP-led coalition won and Benazir Bhutto became Prime Minister again.

In November 1996, President Farooq Leghari dismissed Bhutto's government on the grounds of corruption and abuse of power. In the February 1997 elections, the PML won a two-thirds majority in the National Assembly and Nawaz Sharif once again became Prime Minister.

In October 1990 U.S. military assistance to Pakistan was halted and new economic aid was suspended after President Bush was unable to certify to Congress that Pakistan did not possess a nuclear explosive device. This prohibition, still in effect, is the result of the Pressler Amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act. One of the results of the suspension is a significant reduction in assistance and U.S. military direct-hire and contract personnel in Pakistan.

Arts, Science, and Education

An Islamic presence in the subcontinent introduced new outside elements of creativity. The period of Moghul rule, particularly, was marked by great achievements in architecture, examples of which are still world famous. In Lahore, the palace-fortress called the Red Fort, begun at the time of Emperor Akbar, and the Badshahi Mosque (one of the largest in the world), erected during the reign of Emperor Aurangzeb, are fine examples of Moghul buildings. Also at Lahore is Shalimar, the Garden of Bliss, a good example of a formal Moghul garden.

Because Islam prohibits pictorial likeness of the human form in art, representational art did not develop substantially among the Muslims in the subcontinent until the Mid-20th century, when declining Moghul influence and increasing Western contact resulted in less restrictive art forms. Abstract paintings and designs more in keeping with Muslim sensitivities have always been prevalent and are still popular today.

Recently, Pakistani artists, usually the young, have begun experimentation in many different media. As a result, art shows in most of the larger cities are becoming more common, and a new interest, especially in painting, is increasing. Most notable artistic expression is found in Pakistani handicrafts. The feeling for form, design, and color is best displayed in pottery, carpets, hand-woven textiles, articles made of marble, inlaid woodwork, and brass, copper, and silverware.

Strong literary traditions exist in Urdu as well as in the regional languages (Sindhi, Punjabi, and Pushtu). The largest share of popular academic and standard literary publications are in Urdu, the national language. Technical subjects and more advanced writings in the social sciences are in English.

A wide variety of music, ranging from folk to classical to Western popular styles, is enjoyed throughout Pakistan. Pakistani folk music, particularly melodies and rhythms of mountain tribes and rural areas, is most appealing to Westerners. Country-Western, jazz and rock, although not encouraged, are also gaining popularity, especially among young people. The Government of Pakistan patronizes and encourages artistic expression, intellectual pursuits, and Islamic culture through radio, television, universities, art councils, art galleries, and academic and professional associations (Pakistan Historical Society, Pakistan Philosophical Congress, Association for the Advancement of Science, Pakistan Writers' Guild, etc.). The government-sponsored National Council of the Arts aims at coordinating all cultural, artistic, literary, and intellectual activities in the country.

The government of Pakistan works continuously to improve the quality of the country's educational system, but reform efforts are hampered by lack of financial resources and qualified personnel, outdated instructional materials and techniques, and a reluctance among some elements of Pakistani society to participate fully in the education of the nation's youth. In general, education is controlled by the provincial governments, with strong inputs from the Federal government.

The Federal and Provincial governments are working together to combat illiteracy, which is one of the most serious obstacles to economic and social development. According to comprehensive 1991 figures, the most recent available, the overall literacy rate was 34.8% (male 47.3% and female 21.1%). It has been estimated that by 2000 the overall literacy rate will have improved to 43.6% (male 56.2% and female 29.8%). Education planners consider this improvement insufficient and are developing new programs to reduce illiteracy. These include model programs in each province and in the Capital district, and another program, called "User of Koranic Literacy for Promotion of Female Literacy," which takes advantage of the ability of many women to read the Koran in Arabic as a tool to learn to read Urdu.

Urdu is the national language and is emphasized in the official curriculum, although regional languages are used in primary school classrooms in some areas. Government authorities have stressed that English should receive prominence as a second language. English is taught at the upper levels and in private schools, and excellent knowledge of English is required for the top levels of government service and the study of science and medicine. Students also study Arabic and regional languages such as Sindhi, Punjabi, Pushtu, and Baloch.

The government is accelerating the universalization of primary education, and encouraging private sector involvement in the educational system. Improvements are also underway in technical and vocational education. In the fields of secondary and higher secondary, greater emphasis has been placed on scientific and technical education. Although expansion is under way at all levels, the educational system is not able to cope with rapid population growth. Enrollment levels are low, compared to other countries at Pakistan's stage of development. Similarly, the proportion of the budget allocated to education is very low. By the year 2002, the government expects to enroll all children in primary education (up from 73% at present) and half the children in secondary education (up from 32%).

Universalization of free primary education is being accelerated, and the private sector's participation in educational development is encouraged. Many Pakistanis who can afford the cost of private schools choose to send their children to these institutions, rather than public schools. In some areas, private institutions are setting a standard of high quality which the public schools have yet to attain. The Government is attempting to make improvements in technical and vocational training facilities. In secondary and higher secondary education, greater emphasis is being placed on science and technical education, and many schools are introducing computers into their instructional programs.

There are 24 universities in Pakistan. Some of the more prominent private universities are the Agha Khan Medical University and Hamdard University in Karachi, and the Lahore University of Management Sciences in Lahore. The prestigious Quaid-i-Azam University in Islamabad conducts all its programs at the graduate level. The Allam Igbal Open University, also in Islamabad, offers courses through radio, television, and correspondence. Universities are monitored and financed by the University Grants Commission. Several universities follow the American semester system. Tuition at the public universities is negligible and meets virtually none of the cost of higher education. The private universities, on the other hand, charge high fees, but also offer financial assistance to deserving students.

It must also be emphasized that during any given year there are approximately 10,000 Pakistani nationals studying abroad at American colleges and universities.

Commerce and Industry

Pakistan's per capita income of U.S. $470 is the highest in the subcontinent, but it is still a poor country by world standards. The relative prosperity of the industrialized regions around Karachi and Lahore contrast sharply with the poverty of semi-arid Balochistan and the mountainous Northwest Frontier Province. The largest sector of the economy is service, which constitutes 49% of the gross domestic product (GDP). The economy also relies heavily on the agricultural sector, which contributes about 24% of the GDP Agriculture employs over half of the work force, and provides, directly or indirectly, over half of the export receipts. Cultivation of the rich alluvial soil of the Indus River Basin has always been the chief economic activity of the country. The major crops are wheat, cotton, rice, and sugarcane. However, despite developments in agriculture Pakistan still must import many major food items including wheat, consumable oil, and sugar.

Growth in the industrial sector, which accounts for about 18% of the GDP, has declined in recent years largely due to inconsistent economic policies of successive governments. However, significant progress has been made in diversification of manufacturing. Major industries include cotton textiles, fertilizer, cement, food processing, vegetable ghee, sugar, and steel. Although significant quantities of natural gas are present in Pakistan, and several major dams on the Indus River system provide a good deal of hydro-electric generating capacity, the country continues to rely on massive levels of imported oil to meet its energy requirements. In recent years, periodic power blackouts known as "load shedding" have been considerably reduced by sizable foreign investment under the Government's Private Power Policy.

Pakistan's balance-of-payments position remains weak. In recent years the dollar value of exports has stagnated at U.S. $8.5 billion level. Substantial inflows from abroad, not only in the form of remittances from Pakistanis working in the Persian Gulf and in Europe, but also foreign assistance, have contributed to easing the imbalance. Chief exports include rice, leather goods, carpets, and cotton yarn and textiles. Major imports are petroleum, machinery, consumable oil, wheat, iron, and steel. Pakistan's principal trading partners are the U.S. and Japan.



Since driving is on the left-hand side of the road, right-hand drive cars are safer, although both left-hand and right-hand drive vehicles are used. Islamabad, with its wide avenues and four lane roads, lends itself to the use of left-hand-drive vehicles. However, in other areas, because of heavy congestion and narrow streets, use of a left-hand drive car can be dangerous. A number of road hazards, both animate and inanimate, place great reliance on sound suspension, horns, and good brakes. Persons whose cars have the new small emergency spare tire should consider investing in a full size rim and spare tire. Flats are frequent and reliable repair facilities are not always close at hand.

Car maintenance is adequate. Except for Japanese vehicles, spare car parts are scarce and expensive. Cars most commonly found in Pakistan are Toyota Corollas, Coronas, Cressidas, and Land Cruisers; Honda Accords and Civics; and Mitsubishi Pajeros (though Pajeros are not recommended for Karachi where they are a favorite target of thieves).

It is possible to order a new car from Japan. These cars are right-hand-drive vehicles, which cannot be imported into the U.S. without costly safety and emissions alterations because they do not meet U.S. standards. The good news is that they cost at least 40% less than an equivalent model that is manufactured for the U.S. market.

To receive a Pakistani driver's license, you must have a valid U.S. driver's license. Temporary licenses are not sufficient. International driver's licenses are not recognized by the Government of Pakistan. Legal driving age in Pakistan is 18 years for any type of vehicle.

Local third-party liability insurance is mandatory. Costs vary depending on the size of the engine: up to 1,000 cc, the premium is about $16 a year; 1,000-2,000 cc, about 21 a year; and over 2,000 cc, about $24 a year. Comprehensive and collision insurance is also recommended, available locally, and less expensive than in the U.S. Bring a certificate from your U.S. insurance company, or from another country, showing a 5-year claim-free record to obtain substantial premium reductions. Some keep their U.S. insurance or, if possible, insure with an overseas specialist (Lloyds or Clements). Arrange for transit insurance, marine and rail policy, to include final destination when shipping your car.

Gasoline and diesel are available throughout the country and the price is fixed by the Pakistani Government. Octane ratings lower than in the U.S. allow low-compression, six-cylinder engines to run better. Regular gasoline averages 80 octane, and super gasoline averages 87 octane. Occasionally, 100-octane gasoline is available. Regular gasoline lacks additives that make U.S. gasoline more efficient in high-compression engines. Presently, the price of "super" gasoline is about 42¢ per liter, and diesel prices are about 21¢ per liter.


Public transportation includes buses, vans, taxis, horse-drawn tongas, and motor scooter rickshaws. Buses are overcrowded, of questionable safety, and are generally not used by Westerners. Taxis are unsafe due to the poor conditions of the vehicles and the unsafe driving practices of the drivers. Motor rickshaws are available in most cities except Islamabad. They are slow, poorly protected from the weather, and dangerous because of erratic driving habits. Most public transportation is not suitable for official Americans.


Pakistan is served by Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and a number of international carriers. However, no U.S. carriers offer service to or from Pakistan although United Airlines recently entered into a "code share" arrangement with several other international carriers. Karachi maintains the nation's largest airport with service to and from a variety of destinations on both PIA and other international airlines. Air service is more limited in Islamabad with flights on only three carriers: PIA, Saudi, and British Airways. British Airways offers thrice weekly direct service from London. Inter-country travel is facilitated by PIA which flies to all major cities in Pakistan. However, these flights are often crowded and overbooked so take care to confirm your flight in advance.

Rail travel is also possible, though not advised. An express train from Karachi to Lahore takes about 20 hours; Rawalpindi is an additional 6 hours. Train travel can be dangerous due to a high accident rate and frequent incidents of crime.

Road transportation between major points is possible, but roads are usually crowded and in poor repair. Travel by car from Karachi to Lahore takes 2 days. However, travel outside of Karachi and into the Sindh interior must have prior approval of the Government of Pakistan due to severe law and order problems. Travel by land is therefore not advised. The drive from Lahore to Islamabad normally takes 4 hours on the modern express Motorway which was inaugurated in December 1997. The drive from Islamabad to Peshawar takes about 3 hours. Again, driving is dangerous on main trunk routes, with few clean rest stops available.


Telephone and Telegraph

Telephone service in Pakistan is adequate. Direct-dial service connects all major cities in the country, and international direct dial service is available from Pakistan to most foreign countries including the United States. Phone bills should be monitored closely to assure that you are billed only for calls placed from your phone.

Station-to-station calls to the U.S. cost Rs. 52 (U.S. $1.26) per minute. International direct-dial may be accomplished from your residence. International calls may also be booked with the local operator, but it takes time and the call is limited. During the rainy season the telephones are sometimes out of order; however, service is normally restored within one day.

E-mail and Internet services are also available at reasonable rates. FAX service to the U.S. costs Rs. 52 per minute.


International airmail service to and from the U.S. is available and many use international aerograms.

Radio and TV

There are two television stations in Pakistan: Pakistan Television (PTV) is countrywide, and Shalimar Television Network (STN) is available in Lahore, Karachi, and Islamabad/Rawalpindi. PTV carries news, musical programs, documentaries, dramas, and sports in Urdu or other local languages. It also carries old American sitcoms and movies from time to time. News in English is broadcast at 7 p.m. daily. PTV is not regarded as an entertainment or recreation source for Americans. STN has started partial productions, airs acquired programs from many sources and carries CNN broadcasts for 8 hours per day. Acquired programs include British and American sit-coms, Urdu and English films, and Public Diplomacy-supplied documentaries on science, art, and wildlife. All programs on PTV and STN are censored to remove anything which might be objectionable.

Satellite dishes have become common here. With a dish, one can pick up CNN, Star (Hong-Kong based system featuring, BBC, MTV, sports and entertainment), and several Chinese and Arabic channels. Dishes and receivers are readily available and reasonably priced (currently from $150 to $500).

All television programming in Pakistan is 625 PAL standard. The American Club in Islamabad maintains a wide variety of movies in NTSC format for rental. Audio tapes are widely available in local stores but are also of uneven quality. CDs are readily available, but selection is still limited and prices are cheaper than in the U.S.

Quality English, Dutch, or Japanese television sets can be bought on the local market, but prices are sometimes higher than in the U.S. The most satisfactory sets are multi-system sets which can handle PAL and NTSC signals. Personnel can purchase multi-system VCRs at reasonable prices in Pakistan, especially in Peshawar. Prices are comparable to those available in the U.S. Converting NTSC systems to PAL is not advisable.

Most Americans bring a VCR and TV from the U.S. A multi-system TV which handles PAL as well as NTSC is advisable. Pakistan has a country-wide radio system. Most of the programming is in Urdu or other local languages. There are three short English language news broadcasts daily. Music aired is Pakistani.

A good short-wave radio can be helpful for wider coverage of world events. VOA, BBC, and other nations' broadcasts have special programs in English for this region. An outside antenna will improve reception, and a radio with pushbutton capability to lock-in a station makes shortwave hunting easier.

Newspapers, Magazines, and Technical Journals

Pakistani newspapers in English are readily available in major cities and may be home delivered. The International Herald Tribune and USA Today are flown in from Hong Kong and cost about $1.75 a copy. Hotel newsstands and bookstores carry international editions of Time and Newsweek. However, while books are government subsidized magazines are not which tends to make them rather expensive. Subscriptions from the local news dealer may be available for home or office delivery. Single copies of American magazines and comic books may also be found at newsstands and bookstores.

Health and Medicine

Medical Facilities

Pakistan has limited but usually adequate hospital facilities. Laboratory and X-ray facilities are available, but service, equipment, and cleanliness are not consistent with U.S. standards.

Bring your own supply of any medications, both prescription and over-the-counter, used on a regular basis, and make arrangements for resupply by mail. Pharmacies throughout Pakistan can fill some prescription needs and have a large variety of non-prescription drugs, some manufactured locally and some imported. Locally purchased drugs may cost less than in the U.S. Some non-prescription items are available at the commissaries. If you have specific questions about what to bring, write to the Regional Medical Officer.

Expectant mothers are advised not to deliver in Pakistan.

Although dental care is available in Pakistan, most employees prefer to have dental evaluation and treatment in the U.S. Orthodontia service is limited.

Standard prescriptions for glasses can be filled inexpensively, but no safety glass is available and standards are uncertain. Americans send eyewear to the U.S. for the filling of prescriptions. Have glasses checked before coming to post and bring a spare pair.

Islamabad: Civilian hospitals in the Islamabad/Rawalpindi area are adequate although not up to American standards. However, emergency surgery and trauma cases can be sent to Shifa International Hospital in Islamabad.

Karachi: Hospital facilities especially the modern and well-equipped Agha Khan Hospital in Karachi are occasionally used for inpatient emergency care and radiologist and laboratory services. Individuals requiring elective surgery, diagnostic tests not available in Karachi, or treatment for serious illnesses may be evacuated to London or Singapore.

Although dental care is available, have dental evaluation and treatment before reporting to post. Orthodontia service is limited. Fluoride tablets are provided for children.

Individuals taking any long-term medications are advised to bring an adequate supply from home.

Lahore: The Shaikh Zayed Hospital is used in emergencies and has a few British or U.S. trained doctors, but is not up to U.S. standards. In-patients often need round-the-clock supervision by family or friends.

Peshawar: There are hospitals in Peshawar, but standards are far below those found in the U.S. Persons living in Peshawar often choose to drive to Islamabad to get their health care.

Community Health

Americans are commonly plagued by diarrhea of multiple causes and upper respiratory infections. Because of its higher standards of sanitation and living conditions, frequent immunizations, and preventive medicines, the American community is fairly well isolated from malaria, tuberculosis, typhoid fever, rabies, and polio. However, they still occur and reasonable precautions are necessary.

Sanitation throughout Pakistan is a constant problem, although overall health conditions where Americans live are generally good. The public water supply is unsafe everywhere and drinking water must be filtered and boiled. Sewage systems are antiquated or inadequate. Refuse collection is erratic. The burning of cow dung, leaves, and garbage often produce irritating dust and smoke. Refrigeration and sanitary packaging of foodstuffs in public markets are rare. To avoid enteric disorders, wash all fresh produce in chlorine solution or cook it thoroughly before eating.

Preventive Measures

Check your immunization record. If you are entering (or reentering after a trip) from South American or African countries, you will need a yellow fever immunization (more easily obtained in the U.S. than in Pakistan). For your own protection, also have typhoid, tetanus, and hepatitis A and B immunizations. Rabies is endemic in Pakistan, and it is recommended that anyone planning to stay in Pakistan should have the preventive rabies immunization series. Malaria prophylaxis is recommended and should be initiated 2 weeks before arrival in Pakistan. Do not neglect your immunizations or booster shots.

It is recommended that you include first-aid supplies in their luggage or airfreight. First-aid supplies should include the following items: first-aid manual, thermometer (for small children include a rectal thermometer), tweezers, scissors, Band-aids, gauze pads, gauze roll, tape, triangle bandage, ace bandage, skin cleanser (alcohol, Betadine, peroxide), aspirin and/or acetaminophen (Tylenol), antacid (Maalox, Gelusil, Mylanta), anti-diarrheal (Pepto Bismol, Kaopectate), antibacterial ointment (Bacitracin, Neosporin), sunscreen, insect repellent (Deet), dry-skin lotion, and calamine lotion.


Passage, Customs & Duties

There are some direct flights to Islamabad, but you should check your itinerary carefully. One PIA direct flight from London stops in Tehran. Anyone flying to Pakistan via the Pacific must have a Chinese visa, if the plane stops in China, even though the traveler is only in transit and does not leave the plane.

Carry with you your valid American driver's license (a temporary one will not do), insurance papers, automobile registration if you are shipping a car, and special medicines.

A passport is required. The visa requirement may be waived for American Citizens not of Indian origin who arrive for a visit of less than 30 days. Please check with the Pakistani embassy or consulate before arrival. Information on entry requirements can be obtained from the Embassy of Pakistan, 2315 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC, 20008, telephone (202)939-6295 or 6261, Internet home page: Travelers may also contact one of the Consulates General of Pakistan located at 12 East 65th St., New York, NY 10021, telephone (212)879-5800, fax (212)517-6987, or 10850 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1100, Los Angeles, CA 90024, telephone (310)441-5114, fax (310)441-9256. If a traveler plans to stay longer than 30 days in Pakistan, he or she must register with the local police station and obtain a residence permit. This permit must be returned to the same office for an exit visa when the traveler is preparing to leave the country. Airlines may require travelers departing the U.S. to present multiple photographs and complete copies of passports and other travel documents. Tourist facilities are available in the principal population centers of the country.

American citizens living in or visiting Pakistan are encouraged to register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in Pakistan and obtain updated information on travel and security within Pakistan. They are located at the following addresses:

The U.S. Embassy in Islamabad is located at Diplomatic Enclave, Ramna 5, telephone (92-51) 2080-0000; consular section telephone (92-51) 2080-2700, fax (92-51) 282-2632,

website or

The U.S. Consulate General in Karachi is located at 8 Abdullah Haroon Road, telephone (92-21) 568-5170 (after hours: 92-21-568-1606), fax (92-21) 568-0496, website or www.hamcn.html.

The U.S. Consulate in Lahore is located on 50-Empress Road near Shimla Road or Sharah-E-Abdul Hamid Bin Badees, (Old Empress Road), telephone (92-42) 636-5530, fax (92-42) 636-5177, website Email address: amcon[email protected]

The U.S. Consulate in Peshawar is located at 11 Hospital Road, Cantonment, Peshawar, telephone (92-91) 279-801 through 803, fax (92-91) 276-712, web site


No regulations restrict importation of household pets (dogs, cats, birds); however, health and vaccination certificates may need to be presented. Certificates should be issued no more than two weeks prior to arrival in Pakistan. Rabies shots must have been given within four weeks preceding arrival. The easiest way to bring a pet into the country is to bring the pet along as accompanying air baggage. Special rules apply to the importation of pet monkeys. Be sure to check with all airlines for their specific requirements.

Rabies is endemic in Pakistan, heartworm is present, and ticks are plentiful, even in the city. Vaccinate your pets as applicable for rabies, distemper, leptospirosis, hepatitis, parvo, and feline leukemia. Bring an ample supply of special medicines for your pet, including heart-worm medicine, deworming medicines, flea/tick and mange/scabies preparations, pet vitamins, rawhide bones, and grooming needs. Ship bird seed and gravel, as the commissary only stocks dog and cat food and kitty litter.

There are a few veterinarians in Pakistan, but services and facilities are below U.S. standards. Fatal anesthesia overdosing during surgery is one risk to pets. There is one kennel of limited quality in Islamabad. There are no kennels in Karachi or Lahore. People with older animals or pets not in excellent health might want to consider leaving them behind. Between the climate and veterinary care, a tour in Pakistan can be hard on a family pet. Animals are not allowed in hotels in Pakistan.

Firearms and Ammunition

Only personnel with diplomatic or consular titles are authorized to import firearms.

Currency, Banking, and Weights and Measures

The currency of Pakistan is the rupee (Rs), which is divided into 100 paisa. The rate of exchange in late 1999 was about 51 rupees to the dollar. Paper money is used in notes from Rs. 1 to Rs. 1,000. Coins are in short supply.

Travelers are restricted in the amount of rupees they can bring into and out of the country. In Pakistan the rupee is the only currency that can be used.

Pakistan uses the metric system but be prepared to figure in miles and yards as well. Gasoline is sold by the liter (1.0567 quarts), cloth by the meter (39 inches), food by the kilogram (2.2 pounds), and distance is measured by the kilometer (0.625 miles).

Special Information

In 1956, Pakistan was proclaimed an Islamic Republic; Islam is, therefore, part of Pakistan's national identity. Some understanding of Islam and the social pattern it encourages is essential for Americans living in Pakistan.

In general, good taste and common sense will tell you how to avoid offending your Muslim acquaintances, but a few specific points may be helpful. For example, men shake hands with men without hesitation, but it is a good idea to wait for a woman to extend her hand first in greeting.

The custom of "purdah," strict seclusion and veiling of women, is gradually disappearing as more educated Pakistani women take their places in public life. Purdah is still observed, especially in small towns and rural areas, where women may still wear the traditional black veil and coat (burkah). Even among the unveiled, a certain reticence persists about socializing outside the home. In many cases, this is reinforced by the husband's attitude. A Pakistani guest may commonly appear at a dinner party without his wife whether or not she observes purdah.

This tradition also accounts for the advice that women should cover-up when in public areas. The crowd in the bazaar, for instance, is unaccustomed to seeing bare arms and short sleeves on a woman, and can lead to unwanted jostling and touching. Staring is culturally common, and while at times discomforting it should not be considered threatening.

Propriety is particularly important when visiting a mosque. Shoes are always removed for visits to mosques and holy places.

The public consumption of alcohol is banned in Pakistan. Foreigners registered in international hotels can get a permit to be served alcoholic beverages. These drinks are expensive. In their own homes, Americans are free to follow their usual customs concerning liquor. One should not offer alcohol to a Muslim Pakistani. It is thoughtful to have an adequate supply of soft drinks and juices for your Pakistani guests.

Devout Muslims will not eat or touch pork; some cannot bear the sight of it. To avoid embarrassment, do not serve pork or foods containing pork when Muslim guests are present. Some Muslim servants object to cooking pork. Dogs are considered unclean by some Muslims. Family pets should be confined when Pakistanis are in your home. It is a good idea to keep your dog away from maintenance workers when they are in your house.

Ramadan is a religious period observed by abstaining from eating, drinking, or smoking from sunrise to sunset for one month. You will want to refrain from daytime entertaining of your Pakistani friends during this month and should be considerate of your servants' physical limitations.

Photographs should be taken with discretion to avoid giving offense. Always obtain permission before photographing people, particularly women. For security reasons, it is also forbidden to photograph military installations, airports, and bridges.


Mar. 23Pakistan Day

May 1Labor Day

Aug. 14Independence Day

Sept. 6 Depfense Day

Nov. 9Allama Muhammad Iqbal Day

Dec. 25 Christmas Day

Dec. 25 Quaid-e-Azam Birthday



Id al Adha*


Id al-Fitr*

Mawlid an Nabi*



These titles are provided as a general indication of the material available on this country.

Blood, Peter R., ed. Pakistan: A Country Study. 6th ed. Federal Research Division, Library of Congress: Washington, 1995.

Burke, S. M. and Lawrence Ziring. Pakistan's Foreign Policy: An Historical Analysis. Oxford University Press: Karachi, 1990.

Burki, Shahid Javed and Robert LaPorte, Jr., eds. Pakistan's Development Priorities: Choices for the Future. Oxford University Press: Karachi, 1984.

Collins, Larry and Dominique LaPierre. Freedom at Midnight. Simon & Schuster: New York, 1975.

Cohen, Stephen P. The Pakistan Army. 2nd ed. Oxford University Press: Karachi, 1992.

Durrani, Tehmina. My Feudal Lord. Vanguard Press: Lahore, 1991.

Hasan, Aitzaz. The Indus Saga and the Making of Pakistan. Oxford University Press: Karachi, 1996.

Jalal, Ayesha. Democracy and Authoritarianism in South Asia: A Comparative and Historical Perspective. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 1995.

Kipling, Rudyard. Plain Tales From the Hills. Macmillan: New York, 1888.

Lamb, Alastair. Kashmir: A Disputed Legacy. Roxford Books: Hertfordshire [England], 1991.

Mittmann, Karin and Zafar Ihsan. Culture Shock! Pakistan. Graphic Arts Center: Portland, 1991.

Mumtaz, Khawar and Farida Shaheed. Women of Pakistan. Vanguard Press: Lahore, 1987.

Mustafa, Sayyid Ghulam. General Zia, His Winged Death and the Aftermath. Shah Abdul Latif Cultural Society: Karachi, 1994.

Naipaul, V S. Among the Believers. Penguin Books: New York, 1981.

Newberg, Paula R. Judging the State: Courts and Constitutional Politics in Pakistan. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 1995.

Rafat, Taufiq. Arrival of the Monsoon: Collected Poems. Vanguard Books: Lahore, 1985.

Russell, Ralph. Hidden in the Lute: An Anthology of Two Centuries of Urdu Literature. Carcanet: Manchester, 1995.

Santiago, Jose Roleo. Pakistan-A Travel Survival Kit. Lonely Planet Publications, 1987.

Shaw, Isobel. Pakistan Handbook. The Guidebook Company Limited, 1989.

Shafgat, Sayeed. Contemporary Issues in Pakistan Studies. Gautam Publishers: Lahore, 1995.

Sidhwa, Bapsi. The Crow Eaters: A Novel. 2nd ed. Milkweed Editions: Minneapolis, 1992.

Sidhwa, Bapsi. The Pakistani Bride. Penguin Books, 1990.

Sisson, Richard. War and Secession: Pakistan, India, and the Creation of Bangladesh. University of California Press: Berkeley, 1990.

Syed, Muhammed Aslam, ed. Islam and Democracy in Pakistan. National Institute of Historical and Cultural Research: Islamabad, 1995.

Wolpert, Stanley. Jinnah of Pakistan. Oxford University Press: New York, 1984.

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Islamic Republic of Pakistan

Islami Jamhooria Pakistan



Pakistan is a country located in South Asia that covers an area of 796,095 square kilometers (310,410 square miles), almost twice the size of California. In the south, it borders the Arabian Sea, with a coastline of 1,046 kilometers (650 miles) and stretches north to the great Hindukush and Karakoram mountain ranges, with peaks as high as the Nanga Parbat (8,126 meters, 26,660 feet) and the K2 (8,611 meters, 28,251 feet). Pakistan is edged between India, with whom it shares a 2,192-kilometer (1,362-mile) borderline to the east, and Afghanistan and Iran, with whom it has 2,430 kilometers (1,510 miles) and 909 kilometers (565 miles), respectively, of common border. It also shares a 523-kilometer (325-mile) border with China in the north.

The country's temperatures are amongst the most extreme on earth, ranging from 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit) or more at the height of summer in the deserts of Sindh to-50 degrees Celsius (-58 degrees Fahrenheit) and below in the depths of winter on the northern mountain ranges. Until 1947, Pakistan was part of British India, which was then divided into the largely Hindu India and the Muslim state of Pakistan. Until 1971, this state consisted of a large territory to the west of the newly established Republic of India and a smaller territory in the northeastern part of historic British India, separated from each other by 1,600 kilometers (995 miles). East Pakistan succeeded in that year to become independent Bangladesh.


The government of Pakistan estimated that Pakistan's population was 137.5 million in June 2000, excluding about 1.5 million refugees from Afghanistan. Pakistan's Afghani refugee population increased significantly in the fall of 2001 after a U.S. bombing campaign against Afghanistan's ruling Taliban regime caused thousands to flee to Pakistan. A large majority of Pakistanis are very young, owing to the high rate of population growth in recent decades. About 41 percent of the population is under the age of 14 years, and 55 percent is between the ages of 15 and 64 years. Population growth is still quite high at around 2.2 percent in 2000. Pakistan has a very high infant mortality rate, with 88 deaths per 1,000 live births, but, on average, every woman in the country gives birth to more than 4 children. According to government figures, only about a third of the population lives in towns (33 percent in 2000), while two-thirds (67 percent) are rural. The population density was 175 people per square kilometer in 1999, according to World Bank figures, which makes Pakistan a heavily populated country despite its size. The largest towns are Karachi with 9.3 million inhabitants, Lahore (5.1 million), and Faisalabad (2 million).

Pakistan has 4 major provinces: the Punjab, Sindh, Baluchistan, and the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP), as well as some federally administered tribal areas. In 1998, 55.6 percent of the population lived in Punjab, 23.0 percent in Sindh, 13.4 percent in the NWFP, 5 percent in Baluchistan, 2.4 percent in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), and 0.6 percent in the northern areas and the federal capital of Islamabad. The provinces are, by and large, based on the 5 major ethnic groups prevalent in Pakistan. Punjabis live mainly in the fertile and most populous region, Punjab, in the center and east of the country. Sindhis live in the south; the Pashtuns share a common ethnic heritage with most Afghanis and live in the west. Baluchis live in the mountainous areas in the southwestern part of the country. Finally, the immigrants from India at the time of the partition and their descendants are called Muhajir (Muhajireen), after the Arabic term for immigrant.

Urdu is the national language of the state, and English is the official language, most widely used among the elite and in government ministries, since only 10 percent of the population speak Urdu as their native tongue. Punjabi is spoken by 48 percent of the population, while Sindhi is used by 12 percent; Siraiki, a Punjabi variant, is spoken by 10 percent, and Pashtu by 8 percent of the population. Only 40 percent of Pakistanis are able to read and write, compared to an average of 49 percent in South Asia and 53 percent in low-income countries worldwide. The literacy rate for women is even lower than for men, showing gender disparities in education.

Islam is the state religion of Pakistan, which was designed to be the homeland for Muslims living in British India. At the time of the census in 1998, 96.7 percent of Pakistanis were Muslims. The remaining 3.3 percent consist of non-Muslim minorities, such as Christians (1.6 percent of total population), Hindus (1.5 percent), and others. The majority of Muslims are adherents to the Sunni branch of Islam, but a minority, variously estimated at 15 to 25 percent, are Shia Muslims. An offshoot Shia sect, the Ismailis, led by Prince Karim Aga Khan, are prominent in some northern areas. Shia-Sunni tensions have increased in recent years and there have been occasional clashes.


Pakistan is a poor, heavily populated country on which internal political instability, phases of military dictatorship, and inefficient, corrupt governmental rule have taken a toll as much as the costly confrontation with neighboring India ever since partition in 1947. The economy is dominated by services, but agriculture still plays an important role. Pakistan's most important industry is textiles, which alone represents about 60 percent of the country's exports. After growing at an average rate of over 6 percent per year from 1980 to 1991, real gross domestic product (GDP) growth slowed during the 1990s and dropped to 1.3 percent in 1996-97 due to a poor cotton crop and related setbacks in the textile industry. In 1997-98, growth hit 4.3 percent against a governmental target of 6 percent. Real GDP grew only by 3.1 percent in 1998-99 but went up to 4.5 percent during 1999-2000. Pakistan's GDP per capita was US$450 in 1999, which puts it slightly above the South-Asian average of US$440 per capita.

Since the late 1980s, Pakistan has pursued a program of market-oriented economic adjustment, reform, and development. With the support of international financial institutionsmainly the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and bilateral donorsthis program has aimed at enhancing macroeconomic stability, promoting the private sector and export-led industrial development, and reversing past neglect of key social sectors such as health, education, and population planning. Specifically, the government has sought to reduce monetary and external imbalances, reduce trade barriers, modernize the financial sector, privatize state-owned industries, and offer specific incentives to attract foreign investment. Unfortunately, the implementation of this program has mostly lagged behind expectations.

Despite the availability of cheap labor, a large domestic market, and access to regional markets, foreign investors have shied away from investing their money in Pakistan because of its widespread corruption, lack of skilled labor, law and order problems (especially in Karachi, the industrial hub), and an outdated infrastructure . Domestic investment has also slowed in recent years. According to official figures, total investment has declined from an average of 17.1 percent of GDP a year between 1984 and 1994 to 7.9 percent between 1994 and 2000. One reason is that manufacturers, who are traditionally served by the domestic banking system (particularly yarn spinners and sugar refiners), have often failed to honor their debts, contributing to a banking crisis.

Underlying most of the economic problems faced by Pakistan is the "crisis of governance," as the World Bank calls it. This phrase refers to the poor performance of the public institutions in terms of accountability, efficient management, corruption, and tax collection. Among these, corruption is one of the most pressing problems. Transparency International, an international non-governmental organization monitoring governments, ranked Pakistan 2nd, 5th, and 11th, in its annual reports on the most corrupt countries in the world between 1996 and 1998. Corruption hurts the economy by raising transaction costs. Even if these payoffs are considered part of the cost of doing business, there is an economic loss as these payments are neither available for expansion and improvement in the quality of public services, nor for private sector investment. A 1994 survey conducted by the World Bank among 200 business firms in Pakistan revealed that a significant amount of time and money was wasted in numerous unpredictable interactions with petty and higher-level bureaucrats seeking bribes. Entrepreneurs reported spending about 12 percent of their time dealing with tax and regulatory requirements. Also, corruption depresses economic growth by lowering public investment. Only a part of the amount appearing in budget documents as expenditure on public projects may actually get spent on these projects; the rest is siphoned off by government functionaries and contractors. One study estimated that the value for money obtained in government construction of school buildings may be only 50 to 60 percent.

Another major problem is Pakistan's huge external debt and its continued dependence on financial aid. Foreign loans and grants provide approximately 25 percent of government revenue, and debt service obligations total nearly 50 percent of government expenditure, which means that as much as half of all government expenditures are used to repay loans. Defense and debt service together absorb more than two-thirds of total federal expenditure, or almost all revenues from federal taxes. Improving tax collection in the medium-to long-term is crucial if Pakistan is to maintain repayments on its combined foreign and domestic debt of about US$62 billion, almost equivalent to Pakistan's annual GDP. It is estimated that the country needs at least US$21 billion of aid up to 2004 just for debt repayment, a large figure for a nation with annual exports of less than US$9 billion and very little foreign exchange reserves . In the case of the provinces, the bulk of expenditure is taken up by establishment costs (civil servants' salaries, benefits, and pensions), interest payments, and subsidies . The government under General Pervez Musharraf, which overthrew the government under Nawaz Sharif in 1999, faced US$32 billion in external debt. General Musharraf's ambitious economic agenda includes measures to widen the tax net, privatize public sector assets, and improve its balance of trade position. Commitment to these reforms, however, has to withstand strong opposition from interest groups such as employees of state-owned corporations, private traders, landlords, and government bureaucrats. It is unclear how the U.S. war against the Taliban regime in neighboring Afghanistan, begun in 2001, will impact Pakistan's economy.


Democracy has not yet taken root in Pakistan. The military has intervened several times in Pakistan's history and has always remained an important political player even when not in power. A military intervention occurred as recently as 12 October 1999, when elected institutions were suspended. Under the suspended constitution, the parliament consists of 2 houses: a National Assembly elected directly through universal suffrage (voter eligibility begins at 21 years of age), and a Senate elected by the provincial legislatures. The prime minister is the head of government and is elected by and from the National Assembly. The president is the head of state and is chosen by an electoral college consisting of the National Assembly, the Senate, and the provincial assemblies. The constitution requires that the president be a Muslim and provides for a 5-year term. For all practical purposes, the prime minister has to be a Muslim as well.

Each of Pakistan's 4 provinces had its own directly elected provincial assembly, a government headed by a chief minister, and a governor appointed by the president upon recommendation by the prime minister. After 12 October 1999, however, provinces had only governors, with no assemblies or chief ministers. The 217-member National Assembly is elected for a 5-year term and the 87-member Senate for a 6-year term. The National Assembly seats are currently divided, with 8 going to the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), 1 to the federal capital of Islamabad, and 10 additional seats reserved for religious minorities. Each of the 4 provinces has 19 senators; there are 8 senators from the FATA and 3 from the federal capital area. Indirect elections for half the members of the Senate are held at 3-year intervals.

The constitution guarantees an independent judiciary. The supreme court is the highest court in the country; high courts in the provincial capitals of Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar, and Quetta stand at the head of the provincial judicial systems. In principle, Pakistan's press publishes freely. However, self-censorship is widely practiced by journalists, and advertising and other tactics are used by the government to influence media content. About 90 percent of Pakistan's paper-reading public reads papers and magazines in the Urdu language which are not noted for their objectivity, fairness, or accuracy. The electronic media are strictly controlled by the state and are notorious for their propaganda against domestic political opposition and India.

Pakistan came into existence in August 1947 with the partition of British India and has had a turbulent political history ever since. The country was designed to be the homeland for Muslims living in British India. The creation of a separate Muslim nation was accomplished largely through the efforts of Mohammed Ali Jinnah, Pakistan's first governor general, who is also remembered as "Quaid-e-Azam" (The Great Leader). Between 1947 and 1948, Pakistan and India fought the first of 3 wars over the Muslim-majority territory of Kashmir, claimed by both states. The conflict ended in a stalemate. Kashmir continues to be a disputed territory and the principal subject of discussion within the Pakistani establishment and media.

Initially, Pakistan consisted of 2 parts: East Pakistan and West Pakistan, separated by 1,610 kilometers (nearly 1,000 miles) of Indian territory. In 1970 general elections resulted in the Awami League sweeping the East Pakistan seats to gain a majority in Pakistan as a whole. The Pakistan People's Party (PPP), founded by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, won a majority of the seats in West Pakistan. The outcome was a country completely divided, with neither major party having support in the other area. Negotiations to form a coalition government broke down, and a civil war ensued. In 1971, the eastern section declared itself the independent nation of Bangladesh. Leadership of the western part of Pakistan was handed over to Bhutto, who became prime minister and the first civilian chief martial law administrator.

In July 1977, Bhutto was deposed by the chief of army staff, General Zia-ul-Haq, who became president in 1978. (Bhutto was executed in 1979.) Under Zia, the government of Pakistan became increasingly Islamized and benefited from supporting mujahideen (holy warriors) efforts to counter the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. General elections were held in November 1988 after General Zia died in a plane crash, and the PPP, headed by Benazir Bhutto, daughter of the late prime minister, won a majority of seats in parliament and formed a coalition government. In August 1990, President Ghulam Ishaq Khan exercised his right under the constitution to dissolve the National Assembly, dismiss the prime minister, and call for new elections. In the general election held in October 1990, the Islamic Democratic Alliance won the largest number of seats, and Mian Nawaz Sharif, leader of its largest component party, the Pakistan Muslim League (PML), became prime minister. Nawaz Sharif, the first industrialist to lead Pakistan, continued a trend toward liberalization of the economy and promotion of private sector growth, though largely unsuccessfully.

In 1997, Nawaz Sharif was re-elected prime minister with a substantial majority, but on 12 October 1999 his government was removed in a bloodless military coup. The chief of army staff, General Pervez Musharraf, took over as "chief executive," suspended the constitution, established a military-dominated National Security Council as the country's supreme decision-making body, and named a mostly civilian cabinet. Many western countries, led by the United StatesPakistan's Cold War ally and partner in the jihad (holy war) of the 1980s that expelled the Soviets from neighboring Afghanistantolerated the coup, even though it seemed a throwback to a pre-Cold War era. After the nuclear standoff with India over the Kashmir dispute, it seemed favorable to have the army in command rather than have Islamists take over the country from a run-down civilian government.

Upon assuming power, General Musharraf set an ambitious reform agenda, which included fighting corruption, devolving power to the local level, and fighting sectarianism. In May 2000, the supreme court validated the coup, but gave General Musharraf 3 years from 12 October to return to a civilian government. Musharraf agreed to this time frame. Tensions with India, religious sectarianism, corruption, and political uncertainty are among the many challenges his government faces.

Plans have been put forward to implement well-designed and comprehensive civil service reforms. These reforms, as favored by the World Bank, could foster economic growth and sustained poverty reduction by reducing the obstacles to private sector development that the poorly performing public sector now creates. They are also designed to expand access of the poor to good-quality basic social services, and address serious problems of governance, such as corruption. The country's civil service is largely unchanged since the days of British colonial rule and is characterized by rigid, often irrelevant, and unevenly enforced rules and mismanagement. The erosion of real wages even of high-level officials (which is the consequence of high rates of inflation without attendant pay raises in the civil service) add to the factors that have eroded accountability and transparency, and led to widespread corruption. At the same time, the government is burdened by wage costs and rising pension costs, which are making important non-wage expenditures impossible.

An economic team, headed by the finance minister, has identified tax reform as the single most urgent measure needed to hold Pakistan together. Without a rise in tax revenues the state will simply not have the money to tackle any of the major problems facing the country. Economists warn that Pakistan must eventually raise its annual tax collection to 20 percent of GDP, up from a range of 10.7 to 15.5 percent in the past decade, to begin balancing its budget. At the moment, annual tax revenues just about pay for debt servicing and national defense, leaving other crucial areas to be financed through more loans. Only about 1 percent of the country's population of nearly 140 million pay income tax .


Pakistan's infrastructure is poor and suffers from decades of neglect. Roads and railways are insufficient and in poor condition. Both the telephone system and the provision of electricity are hampered by corrupt and inefficient governmental service providers, which increasingly face competition from private entrepreneurs.


Pakistan has a total of 247,811 kilometers (153,990 miles) of roads, of which 141,252

Country Telephones a Telephones, Mobile/Cellular a Radio Stations a Radios a TV Stations a Televisions a Internet Service Providers c Internet Users c
Pakistan 2.861 M (1999) 158,000 (1998) AM 27; FM 1; shortwave 21 13.5 M 22 3.1 M 30 1.2 M
United States 194 M 69.209 M (1998) AM 4,762; FM 5,542; shortwave 18 575 M 1,500 219 M 7,800 148 M
India 27.7 M (October 2000) 2.93 M (2000) AM 153; FM 91; shortwave 68 116 M 562 63 M 43 4.5 M
Afghanistan 29,000 (1996) N/A AM 7; FM 1; shortwave 1 (1999) 167,000 (1999) 10 100,000 (1999) 1 N/A
aData is for 1997 unless otherwise noted.
bData is for 1998 unless otherwise noted.
cData is for 2000 unless otherwise noted.
SOURCE: CIA World Factbook 2001 [Online].

kilometers (87,774 miles) are paved. There are only 339 kilometers (211 miles) of expressway. Almost 90 percent of Pakistan's freight and passenger traffic travels by road. The major north-south and east-west link is Lahore and Rawalpindi to Peshawar and carries over half of Pakistan's goods and passenger traffic. The World Bank reports that Pakistan's road network is notable for its poor condition. Over two-thirds of paved arterial roads are not wide enough for 2 lanes. At both federal and provincial levels, Pakistan provides insufficient funding for road maintenance. According to the World Bank, these poorly maintained roads can result in 30 to 40 percent higher transportation costs.

Trains, the classic means of public transportation in British India, diminished in importance during the last decade of the 20th century. There are 8,163 kilometers (5,072 miles) of railway tracks. Pakistan Railways, an autonomous agency under the Ministry of Railways, operates the railroad system. Over the past 15 years, there has been a marked shift in freight traffic from rail to highways, a trend that the government hopes to stabilize and reverse. Railways carry about 15 percent of freight traffic and road vehicles 85 percent. The rail system comprises 781 stations. Rolling stock includes about 550 locomotives, 4,250 passenger coaches, and 32,000 freight cars. Pakistan Railways plans to improve railroad's share of long-haul freight traffic, upgrade track to permit trains to operate at higher speeds, and rehabilitate infrastructure to make better use of capacity.

Pakistan's major ports are Karachi and Port Muhammad bin Qasim, where Pakistan's merchant fleet of 20 ships is based; the country also has 2 proposed sites for future facilities at Gwadar and Pasni, both on Baluchistan's Makran Coast. Karachi is the main port, handling the majority of all dry and liquid cargo. During 1999 and 2000, Karachi Port handled 18 million tons of cargo, an increase of 2.4 percent from the preceding year. Port Qasim during the same period handled 9.5 million tons of cargo, showing an impressive increase of 19 percent over the corresponding period. To facilitate this expansion, the Pakistani government has allowed 2 shipping companies to construct and operate specialized integrated container terminals at Port Qasim and on Karachi's West and East Wharves.

The government-owned national air carrier, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), has a fleet of 48 planes and serves 35 domestic and 37 international destinations. Karachi's Quaid-i-Azam International Airport, whose Jinnah Terminal opened in August 1992, is the principal international gateway to Pakistan, although Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar, Faisalabad, and Quetta also have a number of international flights. In line with plans to continue modernizing and upgrading its civil aviation facilities, a new international airport is being constructed at Lahore. New airports and improvements in runways are also planned for Islamabad and other cities. The government recently opened the domestic aviation market to private sector competition. As of July 2000, 3 private airlinesAero Asia, Shaheen Air, and Bhoja Airare operating on local and international routes, while a fourth private sector airline, Safe Air, is operating on domestic routes only.


The combined generating capacity of the 2 public energy producers and distributorsthe Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) and the Karachi Electricity Supply Corporation (KESC)reached 11,701 megawatts (MW) in 1999-2000. Private producers contributed an extra 4,674 MW, bringing the total installed capacity to 16,375 MW. Pakistan's energy supply comes from a combination of oil (42.8 percent), natural gas (38.6 percent), water (12.8 percent), coal (5.2 percent), liquid petroleum gas (0.4 percent), and nuclear production (0.2 percent). Pakistan has faced chronic energy shortages, and domestic energy demand has outstripped supply. The development of the energy sector remains a high priority. From July 1998 to June 1999, the largest electricity consumption was by the industrial and transport sectors (34.4 percent each), followed by domestic (22.1 percent), commercial (3.2 percent), agriculture (3.0 percent), and other government sectors (2.9 percent). Pakistan's commercial energy demand is estimated to double over the next 10 years and, despite recent gas discoveries, the energy shortfall is expected to increase.

Even after recent rationalization of power tariffs , industrial and commercial tariffs are quite high in Pakistan. Nevertheless, the state-run WAPDA remains close to bankruptcy due to numerous unpaid bills. Unpaid bills (many in dispute) mounted from R15 billion at the end of June 1998 to R28 billion by the end of February 1999. KESC, which is supposed to be privatized, owes WAPDA R8 billion. The government reacted by using armed forces personnel to collect overdue electricity bills from private consumers and to check for theft of electricity. The successful drive against illegal connections led to a fall in sales demand as illegal connections were removed by WAPDA as well as by the consumers themselves. Although bill collection from private consumers is greatly improved, collection from government agencies is still a serious problem.


Pakistan has a mediocre but improving domestic telephone system. Service is adequate for government and business use, in part because major businesses have established their own private systems. Since 1988, the government has promoted investment in the national telecommunications system on a priority basis, significantly increasing network capacity. However, despite improvements in urban systems, telecommunication services are still not readily available to the majority of the rural population. There were 2.861 million fixed lines in 1999 and another 400,000 applications are being processed, yet Pakistan's Telecommunication Corporation (PTC) is meeting less than half of this demand each year. One reason is that much of the demand is from customers in rural areas where two-thirds of the population lives and where the payback takes much longer and is less lucrative.

In December 1990, the Pakistan Telephone and Telegraph (PTT) Department, which was directly controlled by the Ministry of Communications, was converted into the Pakistan Telecommunications Corporation (PTC), which still is the only provider of basic telephone services. PTC today employs 60,000 civil servants and is the country's most lucrative state-owned franchise. PTC earned net profits of about R18 billion on sales of R60 billion in the first half of 2001. Nevertheless, the government is eager to privatize PTC by first selling 26 percent ownership to a "strategic investor," and then selling further parts after the firm is on a solid footing. This new urgency to sell parts of PTC stems from a desire to lay a telecom infrastructure that supports a wider ambition. Pakistan, with an eye on India's IT success, wants to develop a software sector, but IT companies will invest only if they have access to affordable bandwidth capacity. Since private-sector inflows are necessary to achieve this goal, the sector is being deregulated in rapid fashion.

At present there are 3 cellular mobile phone operators. Cellular phones are a small market, with a penetration of only 0.24 percent, but it is growing quickly as deregulation lowers tariffs and as the cost of handsets falls. In 1998, there was only 1 operator, which had 158,000 subscribers. The current 350,000 cellular phone subscribers is forecast to swell to 1 million by 2003. There were 49 radio stations in 1998, broadcasting to about 13.5 million radios. In 1997, the country had 22 television broadcast stations, and Pakistanis owned 3.1 million televisions. In 1999, there were 26 different Internet service providers (ISPs); by 2000, this number had increased above 30 ISPs. Internet bandwidth usage grew heavily as access expanded from 29 cities in August 2000 to 350 population centers in a 4-month crash program. The number of Internet accounts is about 150,000, sharpening a market struggle between several Internet service providers.

Pakistan's IT policy focuses on education, and the budget reflects the emphasis: the allocation to science and technology went from R120 million in 2000 to R5 billion in 2001. The aim is to equip and upgrade universities; train teachers and public servants; improve economic rewards for PhDs; draw women into the IT net by training them for, say, medical transcription services; and teach the computer language Java on a mass scale, especially to the large number of jobless young people. At the same time, 15-year tax breaks are being offered to create the right business environment for foreign investment.


Services dominate the Pakistani economy. In 1998, they contributed 48.2 percent to GDP, while agriculture and industry each accounted for about a quarter of gross domestic production (25.2 percent and 26.6 percent, respectively). After the crisis following the nuclear standoff with India and the subsequent international sanctions against Pakistan in May 1998, value-added large-scale manufacturing was projected to grow by only 2.4 percent in 1998-99, sharply down from 6.2 percent in 1997-98. Growth of the agricultural sector, too, was expected to be only about half the level of the previous year. The manufacturing sector has seen dramatic fluctuations, averaging 9 percent per year during the first 2 decades of independence, but dropping to less than 3 percent in the 1970s, when large-scale nationalization significantly reduced investment levels. The rate recovered in the 1980s, averaging 7.6 percent, but fell back to 3.9 percent in the 5 years prior to 1999-2000.

A common feature in developing countries is the informal sector , often making up a good deal of the services sector. The popular view of informal sector activities is that they are primarily those of petty traders, smugglers, drug traffickers, street hawkers , shoeshine boys, and other groups underemployed on the streets of the big towns. Evidence suggests that the bulk of employment in the informal sector, far from being only marginally productive, is economically efficient and profit-making, though mostly small in scale and limited by simple technologies and little capital. The informal sector employs a variety of tradesmen offering virtually the full range of basic skills needed to provide goods and services for a large though often poor section of the population. Persons employed in this sector are not documented, meaning they do not have access to public services and do not pay income tax. The informal sector also includes the heroin manufacturers flourishing in the North-West Frontier Province and Baluchistan, who compensate for the bareness of their soil and the neglect of successive central governments by resorting to the " black market " economy, notably the processing of opium, grown in neighboring Afghanistan, into heroin. Smuggling across the porous border with Afghanistan is also a large constituent of the economy. However, the opium smuggling trade with Afghanistan will no doubt be undercut by the U.S. bombing campaign in Afghanistan, which targeted Afghani poppy fields as well as Taliban military operations. Acting in cooperation with the United States, Pakistan officially closed its border with Afghanistan, which could also stem the flow of drugs into Pakistan.


Agriculture is a vital sector of Pakistan's economy and accounted for 25.9 percent of GDP in 1999-2000, according to government estimates. The sector directly supports three-quarters of the country's population, employs half the labor force , and contributes a large share of foreign exchange earnings. The main agricultural products are cotton, wheat, rice, sugarcane, fruits, and vegetables, in addition to milk, beef, mutton, and eggs. Pakistan depends on one of the world's largest irrigation systems to support production. There are 2 principal seasons. Cotton, rice, and sugarcane are produced during the kharif season, which lasts from May to November. Wheat is the major rabi crop, which extends from November to April. The key to a much-needed improvement of productivity lies in a more efficient use of resources, principally land and water. However, change is dependent on the large landowners who own 40 percent of the arable land and control most of the irrigation system, which makes widespread reform difficult. Assessments by independent agencies, including the World Bank, show these large landholdings to be very unproductive. Pakistan is a net importer of agricultural commodities. Annual imports total about US$2 billion and include wheat, edible oils, pulses, and consumer foods.

Pakistan is one of the world's largest producers of raw cotton. The size of the annual cotton cropthe bulk of it grown in Punjab provinceis a crucial barometer of the health of the overall economy, as it determines the availability and cost of the main raw material for the yarn-spinning industry, much of which is concentrated around the southern port city of Karachi. Official estimates put the 1999-2000 harvest at some 11.2 million 170-kilogram bales, compared with the 1998-99 outturn of 8.8 million bales and the record 12.8 million bales achieved in 1991-92. The government recently actively intervened in the market to boost prices and to encourage production. A major problem is that the cotton crop is highly susceptible to adverse weather and pest damage, which is reflected in crop figures. After peaking at 2.18 million tons in 1991-92, the lint harvest has since fluctuated considerably, ranging from a low of 1.37 million tons in 1993-94 to a high of 1.9 million tons in 1999-2000.

The 2000-01 wheat crop was forecast at a record 19.3 million tons, compared to 17.8 million tons produced during the previous year. This increase is due largely to favorable weather and a 25-percent increase in the procurement price to about US$135 per ton. About 85 percent of the crop is irrigated. Despite the record production, Pakistan will continue to be a major wheat importer. The government has imported an average of US$2.4 million annually over the past 5 years. The United States and Australia are the major suppliers. Demand for wheat is increasing from Pakistan's rapidly growing population as well as from cross-border trade with Afghanistan.

Pakistan is a major rice exporter and annually exports about 2 million tons, or about 10 percent of world trade. About 25 percent of exports is Pakistan's famous fragrant Basmati rice. Rice is Pakistan's second leading source of export earnings. Private traders handle all exports. Pakistan's main competitors in rice trade are Thailand, Vietnam, and India.

Tobacco is grown mainly in the North-West Frontier Province and Punjab and is an important cash crop . Yields in Pakistan are about twice those for neighboring countries largely due to the extension services provided by the industry. Quality, however, is improving only slowly due to problems related to climate and soil. Farmers have started inter-cropping tobacco with vegetables and sugarcane to increase returns. About half of the total production is used for cigarette manufacturing and the remainder used in traditional ways of smoking (in hand-rolled cigarettes called birris, in water pipes, and as snuff). The share of imported tobacco is increasing gradually in response to an increased demand for high-quality cigarettes.

Minor crops account for only 5 percent of total cultivated area; these include oilseeds (sunflower, soybean), chilies, potatoes, and onions. Domestic oilseed production accounts only for about 25 percent of Pakistan total edible oil needs. As a result, Pakistan spends more than US$1 billion annually in scarce foreign exchange to import edible oils, while its oilseed processing industry operates at less than 25 percent of capacity due to an inadequate supply of oilseeds. For 2000-01 total oilseed production was forecast to decrease 10 percent to 3.6 million tons. The government has highlighted development of the oilseed sector as a priority.

Pakistan's fishing industry is relatively modest, but has shown strong growth in recent years. The domestic market is quite small, with per capita annual consumption of approximately 2 kilograms. About 80 percent of production comes from marine fisheries from 2 main areas, the Sindh coast east from Karachi to the Indian border, and the Makran coast of Baluchistan. Ninety percent of the total marine catch is fish; the shrimp which constitute the remainder are prized because of their greater relative value and demand in foreign markets. During 1999-00, total fish production was 620,000 tons, of which 440,000 tons consisted of sea fish and the remainder were fresh-water species. About one-third of the catch is consumed fresh, 9 percent is frozen, 8 percent canned, and about 43 percent used as fish meal for animal food.

Livestock accounts for 40 percent of the agricultural sector and 9 percent of the total GDP. Principal products are milk, beef, mutton, poultry, and wool. During 1999, the livestock population increased to 120 million head. That same year Pakistan generated 970,000 tons of beef, 640,000 tons of mutton, and 190,000 tons of poultry. In an effort to enhance milk and meat production, the government recently launched a comprehensive livestock development project with Asian Development Bank assistance. Poultry production provides an increasingly popular low-cost source of protein. Modern poultry production is constrained by high mortality, high incidence of disease, poor quality chicks, and poor quality feed, combined with an inadequate marketing system. Frozen poultry have only recently been introduced.

Forests cover an area of 4.2 million hectares or about 5 percent of the total area of Pakistan. The principal forest products are timber, principally for house construction, furniture, and firewood. Many of the country's wooded areas are severely depleted as a result of over-exploitation. The government has restricted cutting to protect remaining resourcesthough corruption often jeopardizes environmental effortsand has lowered duties to encourage imports. Forestry production has since declined from 1.07 million cubic meters in 1990-91 to 475,000 cubic meters in 1998-99. Pakistan imports an estimated US$150 million of wood products annually to meet the requirements of a growing population and rising demand by a wealthy elite.


Pakistan, which had almost no large industrial units at the time of partition in 1947, now has a fairly broad industrial base, and manufacturing accounts for about 17 percent of GDP. Cotton textile production is the single most important industry, accounting for about 19 percent of large-scale industrial employment. Cotton yarn, cotton cloth, made-up textiles, ready-made garments, and knitwear collectively accounted for nearly 60 percent of Pakistan's exports in 1999-2000. Other important industries are cement, vegetable oil, fertilizer, sugar, steel, machinery, tobacco, paper and paperboard, chemicals, and food processing. The government is attempting to diversify the country's industrial base and to increase the emphasis on export industries. Small-scale and cottage industries are numerically significant but account for a relatively small proportion of the GDP at about 6 percent. Small-scale industry includes facilities, which employ fewer than 50 workers, and cottage industries (industrial units in which the owner works and is aided by family members but employs no hired labor). In 1999, industrial production grew by 3.8 percent.

Privatization of many state-owned enterprises is a key element of Pakistan's reform program. In 1991, the government identified a group of 118 state-owned industrial units for privatization. Of these, 97 units have been sold off. Industrial unitsincluding factories producing cement, chemicals, automobiles, food products, etc.have mainly attracted domestic private investors. The government plans to spend 90 percent of privatization proceeds for debt repayment and 10 percent for poverty alleviation. The government has laid out a time frame for privatization of various organizations in the financial, oil and gas, power, industrial, and telecommunication sectors, and the privatization process is to be completed by 30 June 2002. In most cases, the government aims to find "strategic investors" to buy up a certain stake of these firms and gain management control. The privatization process is a very complex undertaking, since new regulations of private sector entities in these sectors are still being established.


Unless there are major new discoveries, crude oil productionwhich satisfies under 18 percent of the country's requirements, compared with 35 percent in 1991-92will ultimately run out. Recoverable reserves were estimated at 225 million barrels. Crude oil and related product imports cost R100.4 billion (US$1.7 billion) during the first 9 months of 1999-2000, accounting for 25.9 percent of all imports.

There have been promising gas discoveries in recent years. Natural gas production averaged 2.22 billion cubic feet per day in 1999-2000, about 10 percent above the previous year, while known recoverable reserves were estimated at over 19.5 trillion cubic feet at the end of March 2000. The government faced the prospect of buying this gas at international oil prices, since it had earlier promised to do so. However, it can hardly afford the price, which caused problems with the gas exploration companies.

There is an extensive range of non-fuel minerals. Deposits of limestone, marble, china clay, dolomite, gypsum, silica, ochre, sulfur, barytes, bauxite, iron ore, and emeralds are being exploited, but all on a very low scale. International exploration and development companies would, if they could, flock to Baluchistan, which is believed to possess massive reserves, particularly of natural gas. The problem is that the province's tribal chiefs, over whom the central government exerts little control, have been demanding too high a price for permission to drill. Most of the foreign companies initially awarded concessions were not able to make use of them when faced with obstruction from Baluchi tribesmen. An exception is the country's biggest development project in the remote Chagai district of Baluchistan, where the Metallurgical Construction Corporation of China is mining blister copper. It is also hoping to exploit some of the area's gold and silver reserves.


Before 1947 there was little manufacturing in the area that makes up present-day Pakistan. Its primary role was as a supplier of raw materials, including cotton, to industrial hubs across British India, such as Bombay. In general, manufacturing still works with relatively basic technologies, generates few value-added products, and has a narrow production base, i.e., it does not diversify into many different product groups. Textiles are Pakistan's primary industry, and in 1999 accounted for 8.5 percent of the gross domestic product, 31 percent of total investment, 38 percent of industrial employment, and almost 60 percent of total exports. Pakistan is Asia's eighth-biggest textiles exporter, with export revenues of US$5.7 billion in the first half of 2000. Export growth has been declining since a recent peak of 6.1 percent in 1996. The trend is reversing, encouraged by large cotton crops in the past 2 years which have lifted output to about 11 million bales (each bale weighing 170 kilograms), the bulk of which is consumed at home, and large-scale capital investment to modernize plants. However, progress is still expected to fall short of targets, notably to be among Asia's top 5 exporters with sales of US$14 billion by 2005.

As a rule, large textile firms concentrate on spinning and weaving, leaving garment manufacturing to highly fragmented small to medium-scale producers. The industry, particularly its spinning and weaving sectors, has been under pressure since the mid-1990s, owing to increased competition in the international market, financial mismanagement within the industry, and rising global demand for value-added textiles, as well as the increase in production capacity in other developing countries. Pakistan's textile sector must move to higher value-added production to meet challenges and opportunities beyond 2005, when quotas are removed and tariff barriers lowered, as mandated by the World Trade Organization (WTO). This will expose Pakistan's mills to intense competition from China, Asia's largest textile exporter.

Food processing is a large industry, generating an estimated 27 percent of value-added production and making up 16 percent of the total employment in the manufacturing sector. Major sub-sectors of Pakistan's food industry are cooking oils and hydrogenated vegetable oils, sugar, flour, tea, dairy products, beverages, and canned foods. The fish, meat, and fruit and vegetable sectors remain underdeveloped, partly for lack of adequate infrastructure, including storage and transportation facilities. A small quantity of processed foods is imported to feed a few supermarkets catering to the country's elite. The vast agricultural resources and the country's geographic location make Pakistan an ideal country for investment in the food sector. Several foreign firms have entered the market and established their own presence as manufacturers, or established joint ventures with local partners. The fastest growing sectors are beveragesincluding carbonated soft drinks and juice and juice-flavored drinkspoultry, and edible oils.

Pakistan Steel, with an annual capacity of 1.1 million tons, is Pakistan's only integrated steel plant. It is located near Port Bin Qasim, 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) east of Karachi. The steel mill was constructed with technical assistance from the former Soviet Union, and currently employs about 20,000 workers. Iron ore, manganese, and cocking coal for the plant are all imported.

Leather is one of the major foreign exchange earners for Pakistan. The leather and leather products industry is labor-intensive (directly employing more than 200,000 workers), and there are over 500 tanneries in Pakistan. The recent growth of the industry is due in large part to its successful progression from the export of raw hides and skins and semi-processed leather towards high value-added finished leathers and leather products (including leather jackets, gloves, footwear, and sporting goods). The tanning sector is concentrated in Punjab, where manufacturing units process primarily buffalo and cow hides; tanneries in Sindh process primarily goat and sheep skins. The local market for leather is limited, and about 80 percent of production is exported. More sophisticated machinery and productivity increases can be expected to further boost exports. Pollution, especially through tannic acid and dyes, is a serious problem for this industry.


In 2000, services contributed about 49 percent to GDP. Wholesale and retail trade alone accounted for 14.9 percent of GDP, while transport, storage, and communications contributed 10.1 percent, public administration and defense 6.3 percent, ownership of dwellings another 6 percent, and finance and insurance 2.5 percent. Other services contributed 9.3 percent to GDP.


A ruling by the Pakistani supreme court in December 1999 obliged the government under General Pervez Musharraf to finalize arrangements for an Islamic banking system by the end of the 2001 financial year. The issue of converting to an Islamic banking system, under which fixed interest is abolished in favor of a regime where profits and losses are shared between depositors and borrowers, has never been as central in the country's history as it is now. Some of the existing instruments, such as leasing, are considered compatible with Islam and could be offered on a wider variety of products to respond to demand. Bankers assert that once the issue of Islamic banking is resolved Pakistan will launch the privatization of 1 or 2 of its 3 large public sector banks: Habib Bank, United Bank, and National Bank.

Financial reforms introduced in 1990 have liberalized Pakistan's banking sector, which had long been dominated by state-owned banks, and private banks are gradually playing a more significant role. In December 1990, the government announced plans to privatize state-owned banks and to allow the establishment of private domestic banks. As of 2001 the government had privatized 2 formerly nationalized banks: Allied Bank Limited (ABL) and Muslim Commercial Bank. There are 44 banks operating in the country, of which 25 are domestic, while 19 are foreign banks. The 25 Pakistani commercial banks have over 8,000 branches nationwide. Commercial banks are engaged predominantly in corporate lending. Consumer banking in Pakistan is largely undeveloped. There is no tradition of lending to small individual consumers, and purchases of automobiles, housing, and consumer goods are generally made on a cash basis. High interest rates combine with high start-up costs to discourage initiatives in the consumer sector.

In 1996, the banking system was on the verge of collapse due to the breakdown of governance and loss of financial discipline. Over the years there had been widespread political interference in both lending and loan recovery by banks, and borrowers had come to expect not to repay loans they took, especially from the state-owned banks. As a result, the stock of non-performing loans (NPLs) grew by almost 600 percent between the end of June 1989 and the end of June 1998, when the total amount of NPLs stood at R146 billion. Since December 1997 a reform program has been implemented, with support from the World Bank. Corporate governance has been improved through changes in management of the state-owned banks and protection given to the new management from political interference. The legal and judicial processes for recovery of loans have been strengthened. Operating losses have been reduced through staff separations and closures of non-viable bank branches. Much remains to be done to further strengthen banking regulation and supervision, and develop a well-functioning legal and judicial system. At the same time, privatization needs to be accelerated while ensuring that banks are sold to sponsors that bring in internationally recognized good corporate governance.


Commercial activities such as wholesale and retail trade have the largest share of business in the service sector at around 30 percent.

In 2000, General Pervez Musharraf, the military ruler, ordered his troops to accompany teams of tax inspectors to visit neighborhoods to collect information on the expenditures of individual Pakistanis. The move sparked resistance from traders in parts of the country, eventually forcing the government to make some concessions. Many of the tax board's employees are poorly paid and have wide-ranging powers, a combination that breeds corruption. Businessmen complain of being harassed by tax officials and subjected to complicated bureaucratic procedures as penalties for not paying bribes. Concessions made to traders included the abolition of a newly introduced general sales tax at retail level. This measure did not meet International Monetary Fund (IMF) conditionality, and the organization subsequently stalled the payment of a sizeable adjustment loan.


The number of foreign tourist arrivals in the South Asia region was 5 million in 1998; Pakistan's share of tourist arrivals in this region was 7.6 percent. More than half of foreign tourists in 1999 traveled to Pakistan to visit friends and relatives, followed by business travelers (18.3 percent), holidays and recreational travelers (13.4 percent), and religious tourists (2.5 percent). Most of the total tourists from overseas visited main cities like Karachi, Rawalpindi/Islamabad, and Lahore. Of the 420,000 tourists visiting in 1999, the largest share of around 125,000 came from the United Kingdom, mostly native Pakistanis working and living in Great Britain.


The external sector was seriously affected by the economic sanctions imposed on Pakistan after it conducted nuclear tests in May 1998. The lack of foreign investor confidence following the freeze on foreign currency deposits led to a decline in foreign private capital inflows and a sharp decline in money sent home from citizens working abroad, or so called "workers' remittances ." The level of foreign direct investment declined by 32.1 percent per year to a low of US$296 million in 1998-99, according to official data. Remittances from Pakistanis abroad, most of them in the Gulf, the United Kingdom, and North America, peaked at US$2.89 billion in 1982-83, but fell to under US$1.5 billion in 1998-99. These adverse developments, along with suspension of new economic assistance by major donors, pushed Pakistan's foreign exchange reserves down from US$1,533 million at the end of April 1998 to US$415 million (the lowest level reached during the crisis) by 12 November 1998, hardly sufficient to finance 2-3 weeks worth of imports.

Disappointing foreign sales performances have given Pakistan a trade deficit every year since 1972-73. This is partly due to the narrow range of export products. Five categories of goodscotton yarn, garments, cotton cloth, raw cotton, and ricestill account for over 60 percent of export earnings. A second major reason is the vulnerability of key products, notably cotton, to droughts, floods, and pestilence. However, there are other reasons for the poor performance, including the small proportion of high value-added goods in the sales mix, low product quality, and poor marketing.

Trade (expressed in billions of US$): Pakistan
Exports Imports
1975 1.054 2.161
1980 2.623 5.359
1985 2.744 5.900
1990 5.598 7.388
1995 8.005 11.480
1998 8.501 9.315
SOURCE: International Monetary Fund. International Financial Statistics Yearbook 1999.

The United States has long been Pakistan's largest export market, absorbing over 21 percent of total sales in 1999-2000. The United Kingdom, Hong Kong, and Germany have also been major outlets. In recent years, Japan and the United States have alternated as Pakistan's top supplier, although Gulf countries took a bigger share in 1999-2000, reflecting the sharp increase in the cost of oil imports. In 1999, Pakistan exported goods worth US$8.4 billion; it imported goods in the value of US$9.8 billion, creating a trade deficit of US$1.4 billion. Pakistan's main exports are cotton, fabrics, yarn, rice, and other agricultural products, most of which go to the United States (21 percent), Hong Kong (7 percent), the United Kingdom (7 percent), Germany (7 percent), and the United Arab Emirates (5 percent). Imports are mainly machinery, oil and oil-related products, chemicals, transportation equipment, grains, pulses, and flour. They come mainly from the United States (8 percent), Japan (8 percent), Malaysia (7 percent), Saudi Arabia (7 percent), and the United Arab Emirates (7 percent). Exports of goods and services represent roughly 15 to 16 percent of GDP, and imports equal around 18 percent of GDP.

Pakistan is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Though not a member of any regional free trade arrangement, the country is party to 2 arrangements which are progressing toward regional trade liberalization. The Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), whose founding members are Pakistan, Turkey, and Iran, grants a 10 percent tariff preference on several goods. ECO membership was expanded to 10 in 1993, when Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, and the 5 former Soviet Muslim republics of central Asia were admitted. The second arrangement, the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), is comprised of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, and the Maldives. Because of competition in key export sectors such as textiles among the larger member states, this association is not expected to stimulate regional trade flows. Pakistan's leading regional trading partners are Bangladesh (its former eastern part), India, and Sri Lanka. Pakistan is also a member (along with India and Nepal) of the Asian Clearing Union, which was founded in 1976 and aims to facilitate multilateral payments through the use of currencies of participating countries in regional transactions in order to expand intra-regional trade and save convertible foreign exchange.


In June 2001, 1 U.S. dollar equaled 63 Pakistani rupees. The rupee's average value against the dollar had been R12.7 for US$1 in 1982-83. This shows that inflation has been running high since that time. For the decade from 1980 to 1990, the inflation rate averaged 7 percent per year, and from 1990 to 1995, it reached an average

Exchange rates: Pakistan
Pakistani rupees per US$1
Jan 2001 59.152
2000 52.814
1999 49.118
1998 44.943
1997 40.918
1996 35.909
SOURCE: CIA World Factbook 2001 [ONLINE].

of more than 11 percent annually. After the economic crisis that came as a consequence of the nuclear standoff with India and international sanctions against Pakistan in 1998, it went down to about 7 percent again. There are 3 stock exchanges in Pakistan: Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad. In 2001 the Karachi stock exchange had about 780 listed companies with trading volume increasing from 1.1 million shares a day in 1990 to about 95 million in 2001. Lahore and Islamabad stock exchanges are substantially smaller than Karachi.

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), the central bank, controls the money supply and credit, supervises the operations of banks, administers the country's international reserves, and acts as banker to the federal and provincial governments. The government of Pakistan has followed a liberal monetary policy from 1999 to 2000 in order to provide cheap credit to the industrial sector. The demand for credit, however, has not come forth from the private sector. Although domestic credit expansion was higher this year due to large borrowing by the government sector, conversion of non-resident foreign currency accounts into rupees, and an increase in liquid reserves, actual growth in money supply has remained stagnant due to low credit demand from the private sector. The government and the SBP are attempting structural reforms in an effort to move toward more indirect, market-based methods of monetary control along with greater autonomy for the SBP. The central bank's autonomy was considerably strengthened with the passage of new banking laws in the State Bank Act in May 1997.

Pakistan's external debt increased significantly during the 1990s, mainly due to growth of private debt. Total external debt, including private sector debt, increased from US$27.5 billion in 1993-94 to US$32.6 billion in 1997-98, equivalent to 50.6 percent of GNP.


A third of the population of Pakistan lives below the poverty line (34 percent in 1991). While the lowest 10 percent of the population has a share of only 4.1 percent

GDP per Capita (US$)
Country 1975 1980 1985 1990 1998
Pakistan 274 318 385 448 511
United States 19,364 21,529 23,200 25,363 29,683
China 138 168 261 349 727
India 222 231 270 331 444
SOURCE: United Nations. Human Development Report 2000; Trends in human development and per capita income.

in the overall household income and consumption, the richest 10 percent of the population has a share of 27.6 percent. The slowdown of economic growth in recent years has resulted in an increase in the incidence of poverty in the 1990s. Thus, there is a compelling need for a clear strategy focusing on reviving and sustaining high economic growth in a stable macroeconomic environment (i.e. low fiscal and external deficits with single digit inflation). It includes the provision of quality basic social servicesparticularly education, health, and drinking waterand an efficient and responsive social safety net program for the very poor. Low inflation in the prices of food and other mass consumption goods are also very important for the welfare of the poor.

Pakistan's human development indicators, especially those for women, fall significantly below those of countries with comparable levels of per-capita income. Only 40 percent of the population is literate (28 percent of women), compared with 49 percent in South Asia and 53 percent in low-income countries. About two-fifths of the population has no access to safe drinking water, and more than half has no access to sanitation. The infant mortality rate of 88 per 1,000 live births is higher than the average of 73 in South Asian countries and 83 for low-income countries. Pakistan's population growth rate of 2.6 percent remains among the highest in the world and frustrates efforts to increase the coverage of social services.

Distribution of Income or Consumption by Percentage Share: Pakistan
Lowest 10% 4.1
Lowest 20% 9.5
Second 20% 12.9
Third 20% 16.0
Fourth 20% 20.5
Highest 20% 41.1
Highest 10% 27.6
Survey year: 1996-97
Note: This information refers to expenditure shares by percentiles of the population and is ranked by per capita expenditure.
SOURCE: 2000 World Development Indicators [CD-ROM].
Household Consumption in PPP Terms
Country All food Clothing and footwear Fuel and power a Health care b Education b Transport & Communications Other
Pakistan 45 7 19 6 5 7 11
United States 13 9 9 4 6 8 51
India N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Afghanistan N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Data represent percentage of consumption in PPP terms.
aExcludes energy used for transport.
bIncludes government and private expenditures.
SOURCE: World Bank. World Development Indicators 2000.

To address these problems, the government initiated a Social Action Plan (SAP) in 1993. Increasingly, the design and implementation of social service programs involve active participation from communities and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). To make further progress in the social sectors, the second phase of the SAP was initiated in 1997-98. A key part of the poverty reduction strategy is the provision of adequate basic social servicesparticularly elementary education and basic health servicesto a much higher proportion of the poor. Only through better education and improved health can the life-long earning capacity of the poor be enhanced.

Pakistan is a major transit and consumer country for opiates (opium, heroin, morphine) from neighboring Afghanistan, the world's largest producer of opium. In 2000, Afghanistan cultivated 82,000 hectares of opium poppies, yielding 3,275 metric tons of fresh opium. As a result of the high levels of opium production in the region over the past 2 decades, Pakistan now has one the highest addiction rates in the world. Drug addiction is a common reason for the incidence of poverty for individuals and families. A recent shift to injecting heroin instead of smoking or sniffing it has heightened fears of an HIV/AIDS epidemic.


The workforce comprises of 38.6 million people, growing at an annual average rate of 2.7 percent in 1992-99. There is an extensive export of labor, mostly to the rich Middle Eastern states in the Gulf region, where Pakistanis, alongside Sri Lankis, Indians, and Filipinos find work as cleaners and domestic servants, but also in industry, commerce, and governmental services. The convenience of affordable travel to the oil-rich Arabian Gulf states and the expectation of work opportunities makes those countries attractive destinations for Pakistanis seeking jobs.

Officially, about 7 percent of the workforce is currently unemployed, a crude measure in most countries, but even more so in a country with a massive undocumented labor force. Pakistan's employment statistics are incomplete, omitting a range of wage earners and self-employed persons, male as well as female, in what is termed "the informal sector." According to unofficial estimates, unemployment may reach about 15 percent, and represents a growing problem for the government. With a majority of the population poised to enter a job market with few employment prospects, the provision of jobs, especially in rural areas, is of increasing importance. Due to the low quality or absence of educational services, again particularly in rural areas, there is a lack of skilled labor.

Several attempts have been made to eradicate bonded labor over the past decade in Pakistan, but the system remains partially in place. The bonded labor system is a lending structure in which the debtor/worker is bound to the creditor/employer as long as all or part of the debt remains outstanding. In case of sickness or death, the family of the individual is responsible for the debt, which often passes down from generation to generation. The problem of child bonded labor is especially serious: bonded money is paid to a parent or guardian, who then provides the child to work off the debt. The most severe conditions have been detected among the haris (landless tenant farmers) in the Sindh region, as documented by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. Some 1,000 laborers surveyed revealed that three-quarters had been subject to physical restraint, such as private jails, and that some 90 percent of the children had been compelled to work. To alleviate this problem the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has purchased land and set up temporary camps in order for families to take refuge, and the government has allowed haris to settle on government land.

A related but distinct problem is that of child labor. Although most Pakistani children work in the agricultural sector, a large number of children work in urban centers weaving carpets, manufacturing surgical instruments, and producing sporting goods for export. A 1992 UNICEF/Government of Pakistan study reported that 90 percent of the 1 million workers in the carpet industry are children, many of whom began working in the industry before 10 years of age. Just as the data on Pakistan's labor force is unreliable, figures on child labor remain somewhat unclear. Nevertheless, there is little doubt that child labor has assumed massive proportions in Pakistan. The actual total number of working children in Pakistan is probably somewhere between 8 and 10 million.


1930. The idea of establishing a separate state for all Muslims of South Asia is conceived by the poet-philosopher Allama Muhammad Iqbal.

1947. On 14 August, the British divide the crown colony of India into 2 territories: the Republic of India and the future Islamic Republic of Pakistan, essentially establishing separate Hindu and Muslim states. Several millions of Muslims and Hindus are killed in sporadic fighting between the 2 groups as people migrate across the border into the country aligned with their religious affiliation.

1948. On 30 July, Pakistan signs the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), an agreement aimed at regulating international trade.

1950s-60s. Pakistan uses military and economic aid from its Cold-War alliances to create an artificial prosperity.

1970-71. Zulfikar Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party (PPP) wins elections in West Pakistan, while the Awami League wins the overall majority due to its clear victory in East Pakistan. After the ensuing civil war, East Pakistan declares its independence as the People's Republic of Bangladesh. Bhutto becomes prime minister of the remaining Pakistan.

1970s. The 1970s oil boom in the nearby manpower-starved Persian Gulf enables Pakistan to export manpower in large numbers. Money from Gulf workers transferred home to Pakistan in large amounts helps to sustain the economy in the 1970s.

1977-79. The chief of army staff, General Zia-ul-Haq, overthrows Bhutto in a military coup on 5 July 1977 and becomes president in 1978. Bhutto is executed in April 1979.

1980s. Pakistan's opposition to the Soviet invasion of neighboring Afghanistan in late 1979 helps it procure heavy doses of financial aid from Western nations also opposed to the Soviet action. However, when the aid dries up with the end of the Cold War towards the close of the decade, Pakistan's economy becomes saddled with huge amounts of foreign debt .

1988. Pakistan returns to democratic rule after Zia-ul Haq dies in an airplane crash. The country once again comes under the rule of the Pakistan People's Party, now led by Bhutto's daughter, Benazir. The constitution is restored with some amendments on 30 December.

1996-97. The Bhutto government is dismissed by the president due to charges of corruption, mismanagement, and involvement in extra-judicial killings. Elections in February 1997 result in an overwhelming victory for the Pakistan Muslim League and Nawaz Sharif, who becomes prime minister.

1998. In May, India and Pakistan both conduct nuclear tests, demonstrating their strength and bringing the region to the verge of nuclear war over the disputed Kashmir province. The ensuing international economic sanctions and the related drying up of most capital inflows lead to severe financial difficulties.

1999. The government of Sharif is overthrown by the chief of army staff, General Pervez Musharraf, who jails Sharif and declares himself chief executive of the state. The supreme court validates the military coup against Sharif but restricts the rule of the chief executive to a period of 3 years.


Pakistan's prospects for the immediate future are bleak. There is uncertainty as to the political future of the country; the supreme court legitimized General Musharraf's military coup of 12 October 1999 in the course of 2000, but also restricted the rule of the chief executive to 3 years. Nobody knows whether the country will return to democratic rule or whether this new phase of democracy will be equally dominated by the large landowners and characterized by widespread corruption as it was in the past. Observers warn that Pakistan's economic outlook and the extent to which its communities outside Punjab feel that they live in an unjust system could be the key determinant of the country's political future rather than the system of government it follows. The pending return of Benazir Bhutto, the former prime minister convicted of bribery and corruption, to Pakistan and possibly into politics further complicates the picture. The ongoing dispute with India over the province of Kashmir, where frequent ambushes have led to casualties and brought the 2 countries to the verge of nuclear confrontation, is unlikely to be resolved in the near future.

While Pakistan's military regime earns credit from Western economists for having a deeper commitment to reforms than previous rulers, many add that the pace of change is not fast enough. With a short-term mechanism in place to service the debt, the long-term challenge is to seek a significant increase in annual export income and large inputs of foreign inward investment. Another challenge to face is the public sector's poor performance. Public sector companies alone run a combined annual deficit equivalent to about 2 percent of GDP. The government promised to begin privatizing some large companies in 2001 and eventually sell some loss-making ones in an attempt to improve the risky state of public finances. It is vital for the country that it keeps the support of the IMF and other donors as it struggles to maintain payments. Improving tax collection in the medium-to long-term is crucial if Pakistan is to maintain repayments on its combined foreign and domestic debt of about US$62 billion, almost equivalent to Pakistan's annual GDP. It is estimated that the country needs at least US$21 billion of aid up to 2004 just for debt repayment, a large figure for a nation with annual exports of less than US$9 billion and reserves of below US$1 billionsufficient to pay for about 5 weeks of imports.

Pakistan, it seems, has plans for reforms, but the success of its program will ultimately depend on how quickly and comprehensively it can deal with low social indicators, attract investors, and convince lenders that the future management of the economy will be different from the past.


Pakistan has no territories or colonies.


Government of Pakistan, Ministry of Finance. <>. Accessed August 2001.

Harrison, Selig S. India and Pakistan: The First Fifty Years. Cambridge: Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 1999.

Naipaul, V. S. Among the Believers. Harmondsworth: Penguin,1982.

Noman, Omar. Pakistan: Political and Economic History Since 1947. London: Kegan Paul, 1990.

U.S. Department of State. FY 2001 Country Commercial Guide: Pakistan. <>. Accessed August 2001.

Zaidi, S. Akbar. Issues in Pakistan's Economy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999.

Markus R. Bouillon

Ralph Stobwasser




Pakistani rupee (R). 1 Pakistani rupee equals 100 paisa. Currency notes of 1, 2, 5, 10, 50, 100, 500, and 1,000 rupees are in use.


Cotton, fabrics and yarn, rice, other agricultural products.


Machinery, petroleum, petroleum products, chemicals, transportation equipment, edible oils, grains, pulses, flour.


US$282 billion (purchasing power parity, 1999 est.).


Exports: US$8.4 billion (f.o.b., 1999). Imports: US$9.8 billion (f.o.b., 1999).

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Basic Data
Official Country Name: Islamic Republic of Pakistan
Region: East & South Asia
Population: 141,553,775
Language(s): Punjabi, Sindhi, Siraiki, Pashtu, Urdu, Balochi, Hindko, Brahui, English, Burushaski
Literacy Rate: 37.8%
Compulsory Schooling: 6 years
Public Expenditure on Education: 2.7%
Libraries: 10
Educational Enrollment: Primary: 15,532,000
  Secondary: 5,022,416

History & Background

There are two systems of education in Pakistan: traditional and modern. The traditional system, which focuses on Islam, has experienced an exponential growth since the 1970s, influenced by the wave of Islamic fundamentalism from Iran. In the late 1990s, the traditional Islamic schools, called madrassahs, came increasingly under the influence of the anti-West Taliban movement in Afghanistan. The traditional schools have multiplied tenfold, for the large part training mujahideens whom the government of General Parvez Musharraf, who assumed authority in October, 1999, has lauded as freedom fighters, ready to wage a jihad (religious war) through terrorist activities against nonbelievers. While only 4,350 madrassahs are registered with the government, the actual number has been estimated at between 40,000 to 50,000. A revealing article by U.S. anti-terrorist expert Jessica Stern in Foreign Affairs (November-December 2000) has warned the world about the kind of "education" imparted by these "Schools of Hate" and their role in creating a "mindset" for jihad.

A critical examination of the modern formal education system extending from primary to the university levels by experts ranging from the World Bank to those in research institutes in Pakistan has found the colleges in the country "sub-standard, bureaucratic, government-controlled, poor and inefficient," to quote Tariq Rahman of the National Institute of Pakistan Studies of the Quaid-I-Azam University. Such criticism fails to explain how the several hundred thousand Pakistani graduates who have migrated to the West, notably to Great Britain, the United States, and Canada, mostly as professionalswhether as doctors, engineers, pharmacists or educatorshave with only marginal additional training been able to compete with the very best in those advanced countries.

Pakistan came into being when colonial British rule on the Indian subcontinent ended in August 1947 and the two sovereign states of India and Pakistan were created. Of these, Pakistan constituted two wingsWest and Eastseparated by more than one thousand miles of Indian territory. The new state was the result of a demand for a separate homeland for India's Muslims as articulated by the Muslim League political party and its sole spokesman, Mohammed Ali Jinnah (1876-1948). The Lahore Resolution, adopted by the Muslim League in 1940, however, had called for independent states in the northeast and northwest. That was changed by Muslim League legislators in 1946, who called for a single Muslim state, Pakistan. The new state's capital was Karachi. Partition still left one-third of the subcontinent's Muslims in India; after the separation of East Pakistan and the birth of Bangladesh in 1971, Pakistan was left with 45 percent of its original population, the number of its Muslim citizens being less than those in India.

For the first 24 years of its history, Pakistan had two constituent parts: West Pakistan, comprising the four provinces of the Punjab (western half of the old Punjab), Sind, the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP), and Baluchistan; and East Pakistan, comprising East Bengal, which seceded after a bitter political struggle and military conflict from Pakistan in December 1971 to become the new state of Bangladesh with 55 percent of the population. Pakistan is bounded to the west by Iran, by India to the east, China to the northeast and Afghanistan in the north. There are federally ruled territories, including the capital of Islamabad, and the country controls a part of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Pakistan traces its history of education to the advent of Islam and Islamic/Arabic culture to the Indian subcontinent with the invasion of Muhammad bin Qasim in Sind in 712 A.D.. By that time, the Arabs had already distinguished themselves not only as conquerors and administrators over vast territories in the Middle East and North Africa but even more significantly as creators of a culture replete with literature, art, architecture, and religious studies. With the establishment of Muslim rule at Delhi in 1208 A.D., the Islamic culture made extensive inroads on the subcontinent, converting a quarter of its population to Islam over the next five centuries.

The traditional school system had been the mainstay of education among Muslims of the subcontinent from the thirteenth to the eighteenth centuries until the rise of the British power beginning in 1757. Increasingly, some leaders of the Muslim community, notably Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan (1817-1898), urged the Muslim youth to join the modern educational system initiated by the British. With the adoption of English as a medium of instruction after Thomas Babington Macaulay's infamous minute in 1835, and the rapid increase in the number of educational institutions following Sir Charles Wood's Education Despatch of July 1854, learning in Sanskrit, Arabic, and Persian receded, making way for English and for the adoption of Western education. In 1857 three universities were established in the "presidency" cities of Calcutta, Bombay, and Madras, producing not only the subordinate bureaucrats as intended but also hundreds of university graduates wanting to take up higher education in the social sciences, humanities, and natural sciences.

Hindus took more readily to the new education than did the Muslims. Muslim leaders such as Sir Sayyid saw the danger that their co-religionists would fall behind the Hindus and be kept out of the bureaucracy if they did not prefer the modern educational system over the traditional. Under Sir Sayyid's leadership, the Anglo-Oriental College (later upgraded to Aligarh Muslim University) was founded in 1875. It did not eliminate the traditional system of education, but there is no doubt that it seriously undermined its standing and standards. The Anglo-Oriental College provided higher education on the British pattern (more particularly that of Cambridge University) and produced a remarkable leadership for the Muslims of the subcontinent, particularly in present-day Uttar Pradesh, for educational, social, and legal reform and promoted the Muslim nationalist movement, which eventually led to the partition of the subcontinent and the birth of Pakistan. It also produced brilliant graduates, who went to England for higher education, some of them serving in the Indian Civil Service, which prided itself in being the iron framework of the British imperial edifice in India.

Roughly 67 percent or two-thirds of Pakistan's population of 129,871,000 (1995 estimate) lives in rural areas, leaving about 43 million in urban areas. Nationwide, children between ages 5 and 9, the primary school age, numbered about 16.8 million, while those between 10 and 17, at which point they would reach the 12th grade, numbered about 21.7 million. In general, the population is young, with persons below 30 numbering about 65 million, accounting for 50 percent of the total.

The population comprises five ethnic groups: the Punjabis, constituting the majority at 63 percent of the total; the Sindhis, at 12 percent; the Pathans, at 16 percent; Baluchis, at 5 percent; and mohajirs (literally, immigrants), who were primarily the result of a massive migration in 1947 mainly from India's state of Bihar. Corresponding to these categories are the linguistic groups, though they do not necessarily match the administrative boundaries. The languages claimed by the people in the census as mother tongue include: Punjabi, Sindhi, Pashto, Baluchi and Brahui, the last two being used in Baluchistan.

Although Urdu is claimed by a small percentage (eight percent) as their mother tongue, it enjoys the status of the national language largely because of its historical importance during the movement for the Muslim homeland. Urdu, the language of the educated Muslim elite from Northern India who provided critical leadership to the nationalist movement for the creation of Pakistan, draws substantially on Persian and Arabic for its vocabulary and uses a modified version of the Persian script, which is written from right to left. Since the birth of Pakistan, Urdu is taught in all schools; in Punjab, it is taught as first language and its script is used by those writing in Punjabi.

English was used from the beginning as a national language for official purposes. And though the 1956 constitution limited its use for 20 years, the 1973 constitution stipulated a 15-year period during which Urdu would completely replace English for official purposes. This has not happened.

Almost all the people97 percentare Muslims, two-thirds of whom are Sunnis professing the orthodox Hanafi school of jurisprudence. Nearly one-third are Shi'ites, who are subdivided into Ismailis (followers of the Agha Khan), the Twelvers (Ithna Asharis), and Bohras. Besides these, there is a very small though influential sect of the Ahmadiyahs, or Qadianis, who do not accept Muhammad as the final prophet, which constitutes the first of the five basic tenets of Islam. In 1974, a constitutional amendment categorized the Ahmadiyahs as non-Muslims; they were grossly persecuted during the decade-long Zia regime (1977-88). Hindus and Christians account for 1.5 percent each, and there are small numbers of Parsis or Zoroastrians, with a very high percentage of graduates and professionals.

At the time of the country's birth in 1947, large-scale human migrations took place: an estimated 4.7 million left Pakistan for India while 6.5 million came to Pakistan with a net gain in population of 1.8 million. The largest demographic changes occurred in the Punjab, which gained 5.2 million and lost 3.6 million. The second largest to suffer demographic changes was Sind, which lost most of its Hindu population, which had controlled more than 90 percent of its economy and held important positions in bureaucracy, education, and the professions. Most immigrants flocked to the cities; in 1951, nearly one-half of the population in the major cities were immigrants, including a very large group from India's Bihar state. The Biharis and their descendants are pejoratively called mohajirs (immigrants), a term that should have applied to everybody who came from outside and should, in all fairness, have a terminal date, after which time they should be considered regular inhabitants of the land. The Biharis, who concentrated in Karachi, remain unintegrated into the Pakistani society even a half-century after their initial migration. During the very unsettling conditions in Afghanistan in the late 1970s and early 1980s, an estimated 3.7 million refugees moved into Northwest Pakistan, placing an economic burden on all the facilities, including the educational system.

Constitutional & Legal Foundations

Pakistan has had three constitutions and has been for periods of time totaling over three decades ruled by its armed forces. Regardless of the nature and composition of the governments, however, education has been given a high priority throughout the country's history, as a vehicle essential to the needs and demands of a modern, independent sovereign state. Such motivation has unfortunately not been matched by adequate allocations of funds, not at least until the 1990s. At the time of its independence from British rule in 1947, Pakistan had 1 university, 20 professional colleges and 83 colleges of arts and science with a total enrollment of 37,102 students. In 2000, there were 35 universities. As for primary and secondary education, in 1947, the country (including the eastern half) had 11,057 schools with an enrollment of 1,053,000. By 1991, the number of primary schools had risen dramatically to 87,545 primary schools with an enrollment of more than 7.7 million students. There were 11,978 secondary schools with nearly 3 million students. The phenomenal expansion in education measured in the context of population rising from 42 million in the areas of the western half in 1947 to 129 million in 1995, is impressive but not adequate because it leaves illiteracy at 75 percent and female literacy at only 10 percent nationally and much lower in the rural areas of provinces such as Baluchistan, where only 2 percent of women are literate.

Importantly for education, there were several commissions periodically appointed by the government to review and recommend measures for improvement. They have all invariably been critical of the government's performance. The first All Pakistan Educational Conference was held within months of the country's birth in 1947.

Several commissions followed with their reports, often making contradictory recommendations. The Report of the Commission on National Education in 1959 constituted a landmark in the educational history of the country. It was arguably the most articulate and comprehensive statement on Pakistan's needs and plans for educational reform. Its elaborate recommendations formed the basis of the provisions for education in the Second Five Year Plan (1960-65), which by itself was noted for setting a vision for the country's development for nearly a decade and a half.

The educational goals of the Commission of 1959 and the Second Five Year Plan were universal literacy and universal primary education; qualitative improvement in education at all levels, with particular emphasis on science and technology; reduction of inequalities in educational opportunities; and, significantly for a Muslim nation established on a religious basis, an emphasis on Islamic ideology, observances, and character-building.

In 1972 Pakistan lost its eastern wing, which became the new nation of Bangladesh. In the following year, the new prime minister of Pakistan, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, criticized the post-colonial education system and urged major changes:

Hyderabad, University of Sind Press, 1972, p. 2">

Ever since we gained independence, education has remained the most neglected sector in the body politic of our country. For a long time, the obsolete idea of producing an educated class from amongst the privileged few to constitute the elite in the country remained the cornerstone of our educational system. This was a heritage of colonialism (quoted in N. A. Baloch, ed., The educational Policy 1972: Implications and Implementation, Hyderabad, University of Sind Press, 1972, p. 2).

The new policy of education Bhutto announced was designed to broaden the base of education through increased access to it by people from all strata of the society. The aim of education would be to create an equitable society based on socialism and the egalitarian values of Islam. Admission to higher education would be based on merit. Special efforts would be made to remove regional economic disparities. The government's policies would be directed toward enabling people of all provinces an opportunity through education and training to participate in the country's agricultural and industrial development and in higher levels of employment, including government. Academic freedom, limited only by considerations of national security, would be fully guaranteed to institutions of higher learning. The system would create respect for manual labor, would be more science-oriented and conscious of environmental needs, and would make the youth of the country aware of their duty to participate in social improvement programs.

Prime Minister Bhutto regretted that 50 percent of the population of the country as a whole was illiterate, with the female population being worse off, with 75 percent illiteracy. His plan introduced a number of adult literacy programs all over the country and aimed at universal primary education up to the fifth grade for boys by 1979 and for girls by 1984. The plan also aimed at redressing the imbalance in higher education, which had thus far stressed arts and humanities with an enrollment of 61 percent and grossly neglected science and technical education. In order to promote the industrial development of the country, the Bhutto administration aimed at raising the enrollment in technical education to 42 percent and in science to 30 percent.

Between 1972 and 1974 several new universities were opened and some institutions of higher education upgraded to a university status. In 1973 the University Grants Commission was established to fund all universities in the country and to help them, particularly with planning new programs. Some universities were identified as Centers of Excellence; new Area Studies Centers were established at some leading universities. Among the most notable initiatives was the establishment of the People's Open University (later named Allama Iqbal Open University) in 1974, which has blossomed into a dynamic agency for adult education open to all across the country regardless of age, gender, class, or ethnic origin. The education offered by this remarkably successful university has not only raised the level of literacy but has produced large numbers of highly qualified persons who have earned higher degrees, including the doctorate, in several fields.

Bhutto's government was toppled by General Zia-ul-Haq. Bhutto was assassinated in 1977, and along with him, his several policy initiatives, including those in the field of education, were laid to rest. Zia instituted a number of measures to win over important segments of the society, notably, the mullahs (Islamic clerics) and the large numbers of masses whom they controlled. In the late 1970s Zia ordered nationalization of private schools with the intent of providing broader access to the middle and lower classes, thereby making major dents in the elitist policies dating from the British colonial rule that had favored the middle and higher classes. Among his populist measures was making the study of Urdu compulsory at the primary and secondary levels and increasing the content of Pakistani and Islamic studies in the curriculum. Regarding these as anti-elite measures, a large number of affluent families sent their children abroad not only for university education but even for high school diplomas.

Consistent with the Zia regime's policies of Islamization of the country's polity and society, a series of educational conferences was held during 1988-89. In 1991 the government appointed the Commission on Islamization of Education to emphasize Islamic values, learning and character-building.

Educational SystemOverview

The academic year extends roughly from April to September/October and November to March, varying from province to province. The weekly holiday is on Friday, the day of prayers in the Muslim world.

Basically, there are two systems of education prevalent in Pakistan: the traditional religion-based education system and the modern formal education system begun under British colonial rule and continued after the country's independence. Both systems are financed by the ministry of education, although the scrutiny by the government of standards in the modern education sector is far stricter than for the madrassahs. Since the late 1970s, with the increasing Islamization of Pakistan's polity and society, the management of the traditional institutions has been streamlined both at the provincial and the federal levels by the mullahs. This was partly helped by the fact that the madrassahs were financed out of the zakat, the Islamic tithe collected by the government.

The Traditional Schools: Above the primary level are the maktab schools, attached to the mosques, where children are initiated in religious instruction emphasizing memorization of the verses in the holy Quran. Those who complete elementary education are awarded certificates depending on their proficiency in Nazira (Reading of Holy Quran), Hifz (Memorization of Holy Quran), and Tajweed-o-Qiraat (Techniques for the Recitation of Holy Quran). Those who complete the equivalent of secondary level education are awarded the Tahmani certificate. The examination leading to it includes Arabic language and literature, Islamic law and jurisprudence, and translation of some chapters of the Quran. The higher level of Islamic learning is imparted at the madrassahs, whose graduates, called fazils, are qualified to be religious teachers in secondary schools as well for teaching religious subjects in the modern education system. They may be awarded Mauqoof Alaih, equivalent to a bachelor's degree, for their advanced knowledge of Arabic language and literature, history, logic, and the ability to translate passages from the Quran. Still more advanced education is given at dav-ul-uluma, which are university-level postgraduate institutions that award Daurai Hadeethregarded as being the equivalent of a master's degreeindicating the candidate's specialization in the meaning and interpretation of the sayings of Prophet Muhammad.

At all levels of the traditional system of education, secular subjects such as math and science, essential for the functioning of modern societies, are not taken seriously, making the students, in the words of Maududi in his First Principles of the Islamic State (1960), "incapable of giving any lead to the people regarding modern political problems." Until the 1980s enrollment in these schools was limited because of the justified general perception that such an education did not help future employment prospects or pursuit of a profession. Therefore, there was an increasing trend until that point of time in favor of introducing "regular" subjects in the curriculum of the traditional schools.

In the 1980s President Zia-ul-Haq promoted the madrassahs, partly out of his personal conviction that instruction in such schools would help the people to behave as genuine followers of the Islamic faith and partly because such institutions helped him to mobilize support of the religious hierarchy and religion-based political parties for his rule. Their support was also valuable to him in the recruitment of soldiers for the anti-Soviet war in Afghanistan. The number of madrassahs in the country grew rapidly, financed by the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Iran as well as by affluent Pakistan industrialists and businessmen both at home and abroad. Part of the estimated $3.5 billion given by the United States and Saudi Arabia to Pakistan for assistance in the anti-Soviet war in Afghanistan was diverted to Islamic education on the assumption that it would fuel the spirit of jihad against the Soviet Union. During that period, the efforts of the government to broaden the curriculum of the madrassahs failed because the religious heads refused to accept any suggestions for change on grounds that the government had no right to interfere in an education system fashioned twelve centuries ago by the Caliphate in Baghdad.

During the U.S.-supported war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, Pakistan played a crucial role not only as a conduit for U.S. arms to the Afghans but also in the military training Pakistan provided to the Afghans. In the 128 camps established for that purpose in Pakistan, mostly in the northwest, Zia's pro-Islamic government evoked the defense of Islam against the atheistic Soviets. Each camp had a large madrassah, where a heady mixture of the teachings of Islam and militancy was provided to the youth as the spirit of jihad. This led to the rise of the Taliban (literally, student) movement in Afghanistan. After the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989, the Taliban and their trainers in Pakistan were elated by what they interpreted as a victory of Islam over a superpower. The Taliban was not disbanded; instead, it established itself over the years as the government of most of Afghanistan. It developed itself as the center of a global jihad for the propagation of alleged Islamic values, including denying women an education and role outside the home. It also became the focal point of opposition to "decadent" Westernmore particularly, Americaninfluence, and offered the Saudi terrorist millionaire Osama bin Laden refuge and assistance in establishing his headquarters in Afghanistan.

In the 1990s the madrassahs in Pakistan changed drastically in their purpose and curriculum content. The experience of training the Taliban militants had influenced the clerics and teachers in the madrassahs, whose numbers touched 8,000 by the year 2000. Robin Wright wrote in December 2000, "Most of the madrassahs are a byproduct of a crumbling state. More than a million youths are now enrolled in madrassahs because of Pakistan's deteriorating education system and the growing appeal of Islam." The impact of all this on terrorism in the region supported by Osama bin Laden led the U.S. government to ask Pakistan in 1999 and 2000 to clamp down on the terrorist groups and close a number of militant madrassahs.

The Modern Educational System: The modern educational system comprises the following five stages: The primary stage lasting five years, applicable to children from 5- to 9-years-old; a middle stage of three years for children 10- to 12-years-old, covering grades six through eight; a two-year secondary, or "matriculation" stage (grades nine and ten), for children 13- and 14-years-old; a two-year higher secondary, or "intermediate college," leading to an F.A. diploma in arts or F.S. in science; and a fifth stage covering college and university programs leading to baccalaureate, professional, and master's and doctorate degrees. The preprimary or preparatory classes, called kachi (literally, unripe) or nursery, were formally integrated into the education system in 1988.

The two major stages in the pre-university period are marked by primary and secondary schooling for 10 years leading up to the Secondary School Certificate Examination (SSCE), and an additional two years in higher secondary school or college leading to the Higher Secondary Certificate Examination (HSCE). The SSC and the HSC examinations are conducted by the Boards of Intermediate and Secondary Education. It is the stage at which most of the brightest students take up medicine, engineering, pharmacy, dentistry, or architecture. There is a special public examination at the end of grade eight for those wishing to apply for government scholarships. The participation rate falls from 58 percent at the primary stage to 36 percent at the middle three-year stage, to 22.5 percent at the SSCE level, and to a precipitately low of 7.3 percent at the HSCE stage.

Those who prefer technical education enroll after SSCE into one of the "intermediate" colleges offering technical and vocational education, or they enroll in one of the numerous technical institutes run by provincial departments of education. A separate board examines students of technology and awards certificates to those who pass the examination.

While most students take the three-year course in college leading to the bachelor's degree, students aiming at a professional degree in medicine, engineering, architecture, or pharmacy join the appropriate professional colleges after the HSCE. The duration of study leading to the professional degrees varies. While the bachelor's degree in medicine (MBBS or Bachelor in Medicine and Bachelor in Surgery), requires five and one-half years including one year of internship, a degree in engineering, architecture, pharmacy, or veterinary medicine requires four years. The participating rate in the bachelor's degree or professional degree courses is a meager 2.8 percent.

Graduate education, known as "postgraduate" education, is available at the universities and some institutions of higher learning "deemed" to be universities. A master's degree would require two years, while the Ph.D., taken in almost all cases after the master's (theoretically an option exists to take it after the bachelor's), takes two to three years of additional work involving a thesis or doctoral dissertation.

Female Education: A major problem in education in Pakistan has been the low rate of female participation and the substantial disparity between males and females in educational achievement. In 1992, among all persons above 15 years of age, only 22 percent of females were literate as against 49 percent of males. United Nations sources show that in 1990 only 30 percent of primary school age girls were in school; only 13 percent were in secondary schools; and only 1.5 percent were in grades 9 and 10. The percentage was and is even lower in rural areas, where 67 percent of the population lives. It varies from province to province from 26 percent in Punjab to a deplorable low of only 2 percent in Baluchistan. Among the entire population of over 25, in 1992, females averaged a mere 0.7 year of schooling compared to an average of 2.9 years for males.

In order to understand the low numbers in education and employment for women, one must understand that gender status in Pakistan, as in some other Muslim societies, is based on two assumptions: that women are subordinate to men and that a family's honor depends on the activities of female members of the family. Therefore, such societies believe that women's mobility should be severely restricted by encouraging them not to go outside the home. Even for those who manage to obtain higher education, the colleges and universities are segregated by gender. In general, people consider a womanand her familyto be "shameless" if no restrictions are placed on her mobility.

The movement for education among Muslim women on the subcontinent went hand in hand with the social and legal reform movement as well as the anticolonial nationalist movement against British rule. A number of prominent Muslim reformers of the nineteenth century tried their best to encourage female education, to enable greater freedom of movement among women, to eradicate or limit polygamy, and to guarantee women's rights under Islamic rule. Many of the graduates of the Anglo-Oriental College (later Aligarh Muslim University), founded by Sir Sayyid Ahmad, strove to improve the social status of women. Unfortunately, but for a few exceptions, their liberalism did not extend beyond advocating "cooking and sewing classes conducted in a religious framework to advance women's knowledge and skills and to reinforce Islamic values." It is no wonder that there was little progress in women's education before 1920.

As the nationalist movement progressed in the 1920s and 1930s, the issue of empowerment of women was linked to the independence of the subcontinent. A striking result of this was the enactment of the Muslim Personal Law in 1937, which improved the condition of women, particularly in regard to inheritance of property.

Since the birth of Pakistan, the changing status of women has been linked with the discourse about the role of Islam in a modern state, the extent to which civil rights are appropriate in an Islamic society, and how they could be reconciled with Islamic family values. Thanks to some elite women and liberal-minded men of the middle and upper classes in the new country, the Muslim Personal Law of Sharia was passed in 1948, giving women rights to inherit all forms of property. And although the women's movement failed to get the Charter of Women's Rights included in the 1956 constitution, it succeeded in getting the Muslim Family Laws Ordinance promulgated five years later. This confirmed women's rights to inheritance and improved their position in regard to marriage and divorce. During the first decade and a half following the independence of Pakistan, women's prospects looked fairly promising, including in the field of education.

Of significance to women's status in Pakistan were two significant movements in its neighborhood propelling the Pakistani society into two diametrically opposite directions. First was India, where the high status of women, on a level of equality with men, was guaranteed under the country's constitution of 1950 and implemented in politics and law ever since. The other was the rising tide of fundamentalism in post-Shah Iran and in Talibandominated Afghanistan, which has adversely affected the status of women and of female education in many countries of the Muslim world, including in Pakistan.

Major setbacks came during the decade-long conservative regime of President Zia-ul-Haq and his Islamization program, beginning in 1979. Several laws and ordinances were aimed at prejudicing women's position under the Muslim family law and the enjoyment of democratic rights. In 1986 a revision in Pakistan's Penal Code provided that "whoever by words, spoken or written, or by visible representation or by any imputation, innuendo, or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiles the sacred name of the Prophet Muhammad shall be punished with death or imprisoned for life and shall be liable to fine." The law was used indiscriminately against anyone but more particularly against women and minorities.

Improvements in education, including female education, occurred during the brief first administration of Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto (December 1988-August 1990). The momentum continued during the next three administrations, indicating the people's rejection of Zia's Islamization program. Such steps were partly also the result of long-term pressures from international donors. In March 1990, the World Conference on Education for All met in Jomtien, Thailand. Prior to the conference, UNICEF, the UNDP, the World Bank, and UNESCO, the sponsors of the meeting, had declared "Education for All" as their top priority. They had impressed on Pakistan's bureaucrats and businessmen that their country would not make progress without a healthy, well-educated population. The developing countries meeting in Jomtien pledged to concentrate on providing universal education, including that of females. Thanks again to the continuing efforts of the world agencies and some of the participating countries at the conference, the heads of state and governments of nine large countriesBangladesh, Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria and Pakistanmet in New Delhi in November 1993. Representing three-quarters of the world's illiterate population and huge numbers of the world's outof-school children, they pledged to institute urgent and appropriate policies to promote education for all. Accordingly, in 1994 the Social Action Program, an expensive joint effort of the government and the donor agencies involving $8 billion to be spent over 5 years, was inaugurated in Pakistan.

The reason for the low rate of education among females is primarily attributed to religious and social conservatism, which inhibits the movement of girls outside the home. Research conducted by Pakistan's Ministry of Women's Development and by international agencies in the 1980s and early 1990s showed that "danger to women's honor" was the parents' most crucial concern. Moreover, except in major urban centers, women are not expected to work outside the home, and more often than not it is prohibited. Even in the cities, those who do not go on to higher education (and such numbers are very high) have few employment options. Increasingly, however, because of economic pressures and rising numbers of nuclear family units who do not have the benefit of the social insurance provided by traditional extended families, many more young women have taken up employment outside their homes, and their husbands have "acquiesced." In 1981 the census reported only 5.6 percent female employment; only 4 percent of all urban women held salaried jobs. By 1988 that figure had increased to 10.2 percent. In 2000, it was estimated that the female employment had risen to 13 percent.

The governments in Pakistan have generally been less than enthusiastic in augmenting employment options for women or in providing legal support for women's participation in the labor force. Therefore, a majority of women end up doing domestic chores or making or marketing handicrafts or embroidery products, figures for which are not entered into the labor statistics of the country. Officially, therefore, only 13 percent of women were shown as a part of the labor force. In fact, false notions of "propriety" induce families to conceal the extent of employment or work among women. All these factorssocial and religious conservatism, restriction on the mobility of women, fear of "losing honor," perceived loss of dignity and statushave contributed to the widely held perception among parents in conservative urban families and generally in rural areas that the academic curriculum in schools is irrelevant to women's future roles as homemakers.

Preprimary & Primary Education

Preschool education up to the age of five mostly takes place in nurseries and kindergarten schools run by the private sector, some of them by Christian missionaries. The traditional practice of training a child at home while in the preprimary stage is increasingly giving way to preprimary schools, necessitated in urban areas in homes where both the parents are working or because the parents see the value of children learning social skills in situations away from the sheltered conditions of home. In 1988 the Seventh Five Year Plan integrated the preprimary classes into the formal system of education.

Despite the government's aim of making primary education universal among children aged five to nine, the participation rate has only a little more than one-third in that age group. In 1991 there were 87,545 primary schools, with an enrollment of 7.768 million students and a teacher-student ratio of 1:41. In the same year, there were 11,978 secondary schools, with an enrollment of 2,995,000 students and a teacher-student ratio of 1:19. Significant in this respect are the primary school dropout rates, which remained consistently high in the 1970s and 1980s at over 50 percent for boys and 60 percent for girls. Experts indicate that the middle school dropout rate, which had been relatively equal for both boys and girls at 14 percent in 1975, altered noticeably after President Zia's policy of Islamization affecting the boys (25 percent) more than the girls (16 percent). After Zia's death, there was a dramatic reversal: the dropout rate for boys plummeted to 7 percent while the rate for girls remained steady at 15 percent.

The generally low rate of student enrollment in primary schools is attributed to a variety of factors: a high rate of increase in population (over three percent) and, therefore, burgeoning numbers in the five to nine age group; lack of access to primary schools in rural areas, where one has sometimes to walk two or three miles to school, often in inclement weather; poor finances; unsafe school buildings; a high dropout rate due to poverty; and habitual teacher absenteeism. The reasons for the low rate of education among females is primarily attributed to religious and social conservatism, which inhibits the movement of girls away from home, and the generally perceived irrelevance of the curriculum to their future role as housewives.

Secondary Education

Following the primary education from ages 5 to 9 is the 3-year Middle School (sixth to eighth grades for children ages 10 to 12), a 2-year secondary school (ninth and tenth grades culminating in "matriculation") and higher secondary or "intermediate"eleventh and twelfth grades). Some accounts, including official reports, include the post-primary Middle School as part of the "secondary" stage. On the other hand, some include the "Intermediate" or "Junior College" as part of the "secondary" distinguishing it as "higher secondary."

In 1991, there were 11,978 secondary schools with an enrollment of 2.995 million students and 154,802 teachers with a student-teacher ratio of 19:l. Because of the relatively low enrollment at the primary education level and high dropout rates at the Middle School (see the section on Preprimary & Primary Education), the Seventh and Eighth Five Year Plans substantially augmented allocations at the primary and Middle School levels. The government also sought to decentralize and democratize the design and implementation of the education strategy by giving the parents a greater voice in running school. It also took measures to transfer control of primary and secondary schools to nongovernmental Organizations (NGOs).

There is a major qualitative difference between government-run schools and "public" schools (public in the British usage, which means real exclusive, elite schools). These charge very high fees affordable only by the economically topmost level of the society, probably no more than five percent of the families, some of whom prefer to send their children to even more exclusive schools in the Western world, notably, Great Britain. Such "public" schools are mostly located in major cities and in the "hill stations" and attract children from the wealthy and the powerful including the higher levels of bureaucracy and the military. They generally prepare students for the Cambridge Examination, maintain excellent facilities including laboratories and computers and highly-trained teachers. Thanks to economic growth of the country including foreign trade, employment in multinationals and according to some, higher levels of corruption, the number of families which can afford the high fees of the "public" schools has been increasing since the 1960s. It is also considered a mark of high status to have one's children admitted to such schools because of the possibility that it may result in developing contacts which may be useful in their future careers. There are, therefore, tremendous pressures on such schools for admission. There were also "socialistic" pressures. In 1972, following the rise of Zulfikar Bhutto to power, some of these "public" schools were compelled to reserve one-fifth of their places for students on academic merit basis, thus helping the less affluent to get into such schools.

The bulk of the secondary schools come under the aegis of the Ministry of Education. They follow a common curriculum, imparting a general education in languages (English and Urdu ), Pakistan Studies, Islamiyat and one of the following groups: Science, "General" or Vocational. The Science group includes Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Biology; the "General" group includes Mathematics or Household Accounts or Home Economics, General Science and two general education courses out of some 40 options. The Vocational group provides choices from a list of commercial, agricultural, industrial or home economics courses. There are also "non-examination" courses such as Physical Exercise of 15-20 minutes daily and Training in Civil Defense, First Aid and Nursing for a minimum of 72 hours during grades 9 and 10.

The Secondary School Certificate Examination (SSCE) taken at the end of the tenth grade is administered by the government's Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education. Admission to the "intermediate" colleges and Vocational schools is based on score obtained at the SSCE. The grading system is by "divisions" one to three. In order to be placed in the First Division, a student must score a minimum of 60 percent of the total of 1000 "marks;" those obtaining 45 to 59 percent are placed in the Second Division ; and those getting between 264 and 499 out of 1000 are placed in the Third Division, while below 264 are declared failed. For those accustomed to U.S. grading, these norms would appear low. Those in the First Division would compare favorably with A students in American schools.

Higher Education

At the time of its independence in 1947, the nascent nation of Pakistan had only one university, the University of Punjab. By 1997, the number of universities had risen to 35, of which 3 were federally administered and 22 were under the provincial governments, with a combined enrollment of 71,819 students. There were also 10 private universities. The universities are responsible for graduate (postgraduate) education leading to master's and doctoral degrees in a variety of fields. Most universities have their own faculty in the various departments but many use senior faculty from the colleges to participate in the teaching program at the master's level as well as for supervising students at the doctoral level. The trend is, however, to concentrate all postgraduate work in the university departments in order to maximize the benefits of teacher-student interaction on a daily basis. This has tended to limit the college faculty exclusively to undergraduate education, which serves as a disincentive for them to conduct higher-level research or writing.

Of the 10 private universities, eight were established after 1987. Some of them may be called "vanity" universities; they lack serious standards and were established to please major donors. Before long, they were able to exert pressure on the government, resulting in the government giving financial assistance to the private universities as well.

The universities play a crucial role in undergraduate and professional education, although the actual teaching is imparted by colleges. Colleges are affiliated to the universities, which, through the Boards of Studies in the various disciplines, prescribe the curriculum, conduct the final examinations, and award the baccalaureate degrees. Minimum qualifications for the recruitment and promotion of the college faculty as well as standards for the physical facilities such as classrooms, laboratories, and libraries are established by universities, which periodically send visitation teams to colleges. In 1997 there were 789 colleges with an enrollment of 830,000 preparing students for baccalaureate degrees in arts, sciences, and commerce in addition to 161 professional colleges with a total enrollment of 150,969 students in medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, engineering, architecture, and law.

The quality of education in colleges and most of the universities has come under much criticism. Undergraduate education rewards memorization and prompts students to apply their minds only to the study of "expected questions" that are sold or circulated by "experts," who speculate on the basis of questions in examinations of the previous three to five years. Students tend to rely more on examination-oriented textbooks and cheap "guides." The percentage of "marks" required to pass at most university-held examinations is 35 percent, requiring only 60 percent to be placed in the First Division. Since the paper-setters and examiners are anonymously appointed by the university, there is a lack of direct relevance to what is taught in the classroom, which accounts for large-scale student absenteeism and lack of respect for teachers.

Professional Education: The education in the professional colleges is decidedly superior. Only the very best students, often scoring more than 80 or 85 percent at the Higher Secondary Examination (twelfth grade or HSCE), are able to gain admission. It is these institutions that produce the doctors and engineers who migrate in droves to the Western world and perform so remarkably well in a competitive environment. Sometimes the percentage of professional graduates successfully moving to better pastures overseas, causing the so-called brain drain, is as high as 80 or 90, which accounts for the charge that countries like Pakistan basically end up training professionals for Western countries for a fraction of the cost and, therefore, deserve to be compensated or reimbursed for their expenses on professional education.

In the fields of engineering and technology, Pakistan has 7 universities/colleges of engineering. There are 9 colleges of technology and 26 polytechnics (of which 19 are for males and 7 for females). Their curriculum, faculty, and physical facilities do not compare favorably with those in engineering colleges/universities. Most of them give short-term courses leading to diplomas instead of degrees.

As for the universities, critics allege that they are not able to attract the best minds to join their faculty. The lure of high-level government service, lucrative employment in multinational corporations in Pakistan, or jobs overseas leaves a much smaller pool of genuine talent for the universities, which, moreover, lack the facilities and ambience for quality research. Due to such a multiplicity of adverse factors, the universities are often unable to fill all their faculty positions. As Tariq Rahman of the National Institute of Pakistan Studies, lamented in 1998:

The Quaid-I-Azam University of Islamabad, meant to be a premier institution when established in 1967, does not have many subjects thought essential to a universitylinguistics, sociology, philosophy, political science, astronomy, cognitive sciences, archaeology, literature, and so on. The libraries are substandard, with very few journalseven such basic facilities as fax, e-mail, photocopying machines, computers, and microfiche readers are either missing or are in short supply. Thus, to begin with, universities do not get the best human material. In addition, no incentives are offered for improvement. For all practical purposes, once one is hired one is not removedat least for academic incompetence.

In 1979, following the publication of the National Education Policy in Pakistan, universities followed the U.S. example and adopted the semester system. The semester system continues in the Quaid-I-Azam University and a few departments of some other universities, but by and large it has been abandoned. Students tended to take what are termed in the U.S. as "mickey mouse" courses in order to obtain better grades with very little effort. The semester system involved frequent tests and hard work, and one's grade depended very much on the instructor, who gave a certain percentage of marks for classroom participation and performance on the periodic tests. Faced with growing social and political pressure to give better grades, the system collapsed.

Administration, Finance, & Educational Research

Throughout the history of Pakistan, at least until the 1990s, relatively limited resources were allocated to education. In 1960, the public expenditure on education was only 1.1 percent of GNP; by 1990, the figure had risen to 3.4 percent, though it compared quite unfavorably with expenditures on defense, which stood at 33.9 percent of GNP in 1993. In 1990 Pakistan was tied for fourth place in the world in the ratio of military expenditure to health and education expenditures.

Education at all levels falls primarily under the jurisdiction of the provincial governments. However, the federal government has, throughout the history of Pakistan, taken a leadership role in devising a national policy of education and research. Moreover, all universities, centers of excellence, and area study centers are funded by the federal government through the University Grants Commission. The educational institutions of all levels located in the "federal territory" are administered by the federal government.

The federal Ministry of Education is headed by the minister of education, assisted by the education secretary, who is a senior member of the bureaucracy. The provincial education departments are likewise headed by the education ministers assisted by education secretaries in charge of separate divisions such as primary, secondary, vocational, and higher education. The provinces are divided into regions and districts for administrative purposes. Primary education at the district level is administered by a district education officer, while secondary education is headed in each region by a regional director. The colleges in each province are under the administrative control of a Directorate of Education located in the provincial capital.

The three federal public universities are headed ex-officio by the President of Pakistan, while the provincial universities, following the colonial precedent, have the provincial governor as ex-officio chancellor of all universities in the province. The day-to-day administration is headed by the vice chancellor, appointed by the chancellor from a short list approved by the University's Syndicate or Executive Council and the minister of education of the province. In practice, the bureaucrats in the Education Department wield considerable influence, both through manipulation of the names submitted to the chancellor as well as through an official from the ministry appointed to "advise" the Chancellor on the various matters referred to him by the vice chancellors of the universities in the province.

Each university has an Academic Senate, whose membership, unlike that of Western universities, which limit it only to faculty, is drawn from principals of colleges, heads of professional colleges, elected heads of faculties, elected representatives of alumni graduates, heads of university departments (ex-officio), and representatives of the Ministry of Education, Chamber of Commerce, trade unions etc. Purely academic matters such as appointment of search committees for recruitment of faculty and of Ph.D. "guides" and endorsement of changes in curriculum and of suggested names of paper-setters and examiners for the university-held examinations after their prior approval by Boards of Studies are the charge of the Academic Council. It consists of deans, department heads, and representatives of teaching staff. Both the Senate and the Academic Council meetings are chaired by the vice chancellor. A Board of Studies for each discipline consists of an elected chairperson and members drawn from the heads of the corresponding department in the affiliated colleges. Changes in syllabus in a particular discipline are first discussed and approved by the respective Board of Studies, which also draws up a list of paper-setters and examiners and submits it to the dean of the faculty concerned for presentation to the Academic Council. Presiding over the university bureaucracy is the registrar, who works closely with the vice chancellor.

The regular or "current" expenditure on faculty and staff salaries, laboratories, and libraries in provincial universities is met through tuition fees (which often cover less than five to seven percent of the total expenditure) and government grants from the provincial and federal governments on an almost fifty-fifty basis. Since 1974, federal grants are funneled through the University Grants Commission (UGC), which often funds capital expenditures on physical plant such as buildings, major additions to laboratories or libraries, research and travel grants to faculty, and innovative additions to the curriculum. The dependence of the university administrations on three bureaucraciesstate, federal, and UGChave stultified creativity and bred a measure of irresponsibility. To quote from a World Bank Report of 1990:

This divorce of administrative from financial responsibility means that neither federal nor provincial, nor university authorities can be held to account for the overall management of the university system. Especially in an environment where tough decisions are required, nothing significant can be accomplished to improve the universities until this duality of management control is ended.

There has been no change in the system since publication of the World Bank Report.

Nonformal Education

The foremost institution for reduction of adult illiteracy and opportunity for those who cannot afford to join regular academic institutions has been the People's Open University, founded in 1974 and renamed Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) in 1977. It provides nonformal learning and distance education ranging from minimum literacy all the way to the award of baccalaureate, master's, M.Phil., and Ph.D. degrees. A student enrolled in AIOU is taught "with the help of printed course books, media programs and tutorials," completes the assignments according to the schedule laid down by the Open University, and takes a final examination administered by it.

In 1998-99 the AIOU offered 204 different courses, mainly in the humanities, social sciences, Arabic, Pakistan studies, Islamic studies, women's education, home economics, teacher education, technical education, and business management to 907,834 students who could not leave their homes or jobs but had a desire to learn and improve their lives. The AIOU ran programs in 30 cities, and through the use of "appropriate media mix and latest electronic communication techniques," its experts105 regular faculty and 2,500 part-time tutorsreached out to students scattered all over the country. AIOU operates on the semester system, April to September and October to March.

In late 2000 the AIOU took a major initiative in the field of computer education. It signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the U.S.-based Oracle Corporation of the U.S. whereby the AIOU will offer low-cost training in Oracle software through its existing facilities in 30 cities all over Pakistan. The AIOU already runs BCS, BCS Honours, MCD, and PGD programs. The addition of Oracle will help it to boost its computer training nationwide.

There were 285 vocational institutions with an enrollment of 12,113 in 1988-89. They were administered by the federal Ministry of Labor, Manpower, and Overseas Pakistanis as well as by the departments of labor of the provincial governments. Part of the economic rationale for these institutions, which produced skilled workers such as plumbers, carpenters, welders, machinists, masons, electricians, etc., was the growing demand for such labor from the Gulf States and Saudi Arabia. There are separate vocational training institutions for females in shorthand and typing, sewing and cutting, embroidery, knitting, handicrafts, leatherwork and woodwork, and food preservation, only some of which were related to labor demand from the Gulf states. Additionally, there are other government agencies such as the Directorate of Social Welfare, the Small Industries Corporation, the Directorate of Agriculture, the Directorate of Mineral Development, and NGOs such as The Overseas Pakistanis Foundation, which also funded and/or operated vocational training institutions. In 1988-89 these numbered 2,924 with an enrollment of 92,737, far larger than those under the Labor Departments or the Ministry of Labor.

Teaching Profession

The teaching profession, by and large, does not attract the best talent in Pakistan. Those considered bright either join the professions such as medicine and engineering and try to migrate to the West or are attracted by higher-level civil service positions, which open avenues for enormous graft and corruption. A few exceptions would be some highly respected university faculty and those scientists working at the highest levels of the country's research establishment, especially those involved in missile and nuclear technology.

Among the reasons for the reluctance to join the teaching profession at the primary and secondary levels are relatively low salaries, unattractive working conditions, and the high teacher-student ratio, which is around 1:40 at the primary and 1:36 at the secondary level. In the early 1990s there were 87 elementary teacher-training institutions offering a one-year program leading to the Primary Teaching Certificate (PTC) for teachers in grades one to five or the Certificate of Teaching (CT) for teachers in grades six to eight. While the PTC course needs 10 years of education for admission to it, the CT course requires 12 years and an FA/FSC certificate. The Allama Iqbal Open University also offers distance education courses for its PTC and CT programs.

There are three types of programs for training of teachers in Pakistan. The first is the one-year primary school teacher-training program in basic subjects and methods of teaching, including child psychology. The secondary school teachers are required to join one of the numerous teachers' training colleges or a university department of education either for a one-year program leading to the Bachelor of Education diploma or a three-year program leading to a Bachelor of Education degree. The admission to either program requires a bachelor's or master's degree in any discipline from any university. The higher-level work leading to degrees in education at the master's or the doctorate level is done in the departments of education in the universities, which produce specialists as well as academic administrators. There are also several in-service training programs for "untrained" teachers or for upgrading the curriculum. Teachers sent to such programs are nominated by the school principals and approved by the district officer and generally receive full salary during the in-service training.

Science and technical teaching has been given special emphasis by the federal government. Thus, Islamabad's Institute for the Promotion of Science Education and Training (IPSET) and National Technical Teachers Training College (NTTTC) have been doing excellent work in upgrading the knowledge base of secondary school and junior college science teachers as well as instructors in technology colleges and polytechnics. For educational administrators there is the Academy of Educational Planning and Management (AEPAM) at Islamabad, providing courses and in-service training for school and college principals, district education officers, and regional directors.

There are few facilities in Pakistan for special education. The first to start courses leading to a master's degree in special education were the University of Karachi, the National Institute for the Handicapped at the University of Islamabad (NIHUS), and the Allama Iqbal Open University. With the establishment of the office of Director-General of Special Education within the Ministry of Health, Social Welfare, and Special Education in 1985, special education attracted a national focus. In 1989 NIHUS received a major boost with the opening of 45 centers for special education with a combined enrollment of 3,500. Additionally, a National Training Center for the Disabled and a national Mobility and Independence Training Center for producing teachers in special education were established in Islamabad. Most of these projects were made possible with funds, overseas training, and technical guidance from WHO, UNICEF, UNESCO, and UNDP. Programs were instituted for training fellowships abroad as well as for visits by experts from Europe and the United States.


At the dawn of the new millennium, Pakistan's educational establishment had reason to be proud of its academic architecture, which in a span of a little over a half century since the country's birth had grown exponentially in the number of universities, colleges, and schools and in student enrollment. Its weak points are the less than adequate opportunities to women for education and employment. Pakistan has been infected by Islamic fundamentalism since the late 1970s, and it has adversely affected the role of women in its society. It stands contrary to the wishes of its erudite founder, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, who said to his Muslim brethren in 1940: "No nation can rise to the height of glory unless your women are side by side with you; we are victims of evil customs. It is a crime against humanity that our women are shut up within the four walls of the houses as prisoners. There is no sanction anywhere for the deplorable condition in which our women have to live."

The other threat that portends to be deadly for education arises out of overemphasis on religion and may lead to the collapse of the edifice of education so assiduously constructed in Pakistan. Militant Islam has appealed to the youth of Pakistan in the same manner as in neighboring Afghanistan. The values of the Taliban have dictated the curriculum in Pakistan's madrassahs since the 1990s. Hopefully, this is a passing phase that will not hinder the march of the country to a glorious intellectual and material future for its menand its women.


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Hoodbhoy, Pervez, ed. Education and the State: Fifty Years of Pakistan. Karachi: Oxford University Press, 1998.

Khan, Sadiq Ali. Educational Institutions and Library Development in Pakistan. Karachi: Khurshid Nishan, 1994.

Laumann, Lisa Carol. "Teaching Gender: Pakistani Nongovernmental Organizations and their Gender Pedagogies." Ph.D. diss., University of California, 2000.

Mufti, A. G. Human Resource Development through Education in Pakistan. Islamabad: Pakistan Manpower Institute, 1980.

Rahman, Tariq. "Transforming the Colonial Legacy: The Future of the Pakistani University," Futures 30, 7 (September 1998), pp. 669-680.

. Language, Education and Culture. Islamabad: Sustainable Development Policy Institute; Karachi: Oxford University Press, 1999.

Shabab, M. H. Documentation of Educational Research in Pakistan, 1947-1995: An Annotated Bibliography. Islamabad: Ministry of Education, c. 1995.

Stern, Jessica. "Pakistan's Jihad Culture." Foreign Affairs (November-December, 2000).

Warwick, Donald P. and Fernando Reimers. Hope or Despair? Learning in Pakistan's Primary Schools. Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 1995.

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D. R. SarDesai

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Basic Data

Official Country Name: Islamic Republic of Pakistan
Region (Map name): East & South Asia
Population: 144,616,639
Language(s): Punjabi, Sindhi, Siraki,Pashtu, Urdu (official),Balochi, Hindko, Brahui, English
Literacy rate: 42.7%
Area: 803,940 sq km
GDP: 61,638 (US$ millions)
Total Newspaper Ad Receipts: 1,492 (Rupees millions)
As % of All Ad Expenditures: 22.60
Number of Television Stations: 22
Number of Television Sets: 3,100,000
Television Sets per 1,000: 21.4
Number of Radio Stations: 55
Number of Radio Receivers: 13,500,000
Radio Receivers per 1,000: 93.4
Number of Individuals with Computers: 590,000
Computers per 1,000: 4.1
Number of Individuals with Internet Access: 133,875
Internet Access per 1,000: 0.9

Background & General Characteristics

General Description

The Islamic Republic of Pakistan celebrated 50 years of independence in 1997. Those years have often been turbulent ones, given that military rulers have remained heads of state for 28 of those 50 years. This fact has affected the press and laws governing the press in Pakistan.

In 1947 when the British agreed to partition British India into the two self-governing countries of India and Pakistan, only four major Muslim-owned newspapers existed in the area now called Pakistan: Pakistan Times, Zamindar, Nawa-i-Waqt, and Civil and Military Gazette, all located in Lahore. However, a number of Muslim papers moved to Pakistan, including Dawn, which began publishing daily in Karachi in 1947. Other publications moving to Pakistan included the Morning News and the Urdu-language dailies Jang and Anjam.

By the early 2000s, 1,500 newspapers and journals exist in Pakistan, including those published in English, Urdu, and in regional languages; and the press remains strong and central to public life in spite of government efforts to control it.

Nature of the Audience

As of July 2001, Pakistan's estimated population stood at 144,616,639, with men slightly outnumbering women. Ethnic groups within the population include Punjabi, Sindhi, Pashtun (Pathan), Baloch, and Muhajir (immigrants from India at the time of partition and their descendants). Although Urdu is the official language of Pakistan, only about 8 percent of the people speak it. Forty-eight percent speak Punjabi and 8 percent speak English, which is considered the lingua franca of Pakistani elite and most government ministries. Other languages include Sindhi (12 percent), Siraiki (a Punjab variant; 10 percent), Pashtu (8 percent), Balochi (3 percent), Hindko (2 percent), Brahui (1 percent), and Burushaski and others (8 percent).

Pakistan's press reflects this language diversity. Newspapers that publish in Urdu, the national language of Pakistan, have a broader reach than the English-language papers. According to London's Financial Times, the combined circulation of Pakistan's entire English-language press is no more than 150,000 in a population one hundred times that size.

In terms of distribution, the English-language papers seem to be skewed toward the more liberal elite whereas the Urdu press appeals to the masses and includes scandal sheets as well as respected journals, religious papers, and party organs. Literacy seems to play a part in this distribution pattern. Only 42.7 percent of the Pakistani population (age 15 and over) can read and write. However, many adult literacy centers have been established in recent years; in addition, the People's Open University was opened at Islamabad to provide mass adult education through correspondence and the communications media.

Quality of Journalism: General Comments

The press in Pakistan holds significant power and has suffered much under various political leaders, only to emerge resilient and more committed to freedom of speech. The press's existence is remarkable given the often harsh means used by government officials and military dictators to control it.

The press is, in fact, central to public life in Pakistan because it provides a forum for debating issues of national importance. As the national English-language daily The News notes, "[The press] has in fact replaced what think tanks and political parties in other countries would do. Columnists engage in major debates and discussions on issues ranging from national security to the social sector."

The competitive nature of politics helps to ensure press freedom, because the media often serve as a forum for political parties, commercial, religious, and other interests, as well as influential individuals, to compete with and criticize each other publicly. Islamic beliefs, which are taught in the public schools, are widely reflected by the mass media. Although the press does not criticize Islam as such, leaders of religious parties and movements are not exempt from public scrutiny and criticism. The press traditionally has not criticized the military; the Office of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) closely controls and coordinates the release of military news.

In general, the quality of journalism is high. English language newspapers tend to present more foreign news than Pakistani papers in other languages.

Physical Characteristics of Newspapers

The typical Pakistani newspaper is of regular rather than tabloid size, averaging about 20 pages per issue. Most newspapers have a weekend, midweek, and magazine section. All the leading newspapers, including Jang, Nawa-e-Waqt, Dawn, The NationThe News International, and Business Recorder, have online editions.

Circulation Information

The All-Pakistan Newspaper Society (APNS) estimated that the total combined circulation figure for daily newspapers and other periodicals was 3.5 million in 1997. Print media included 424 dailies, 718 weeklies, 107 fortnightlies, and 553 monthlies. Deficient literacy rates, urban orientation of the press, and the high price of newspapers are considered primary factors contributing to low circulation rates.

Jang is the top daily newspaper with a circulation of 850,000. Nawa-e-Waqt holds second place with 500,000, followed by Pakistan (279,000), Khabrain (232,000),The News (120,000), Dawn (109,000), and Business Recorder (22,000).

The three most influential newspapers in Pakistan are the daily Dawn in English, the daily Jang in Urdu, and the daily Business Recorder in the area of business and finance. The average price of a newspaper varies from Rs 5 to Rs 15. For example, Business Recorder costs Rs 7 per issue.

Economic Framework

Overview of the Economic Climate & Its Influence on Media

Pakistan is a poor, heavily populated country, and the welfare of its people is severely affected by internal political disputes, lack of foreign investment, and ongoing problems with neighboring India. The majority of Pakistan's citizens are heavily dependent on agriculture for employment. Despite steady expansion of industry during the 1990s, Pakistan's economy remains dominated by agriculture. In 1998, agriculture engaged 47 percent of the labor force and accounted for 24 percent of the gross domestic product as well as close to 70 percent of export revenues.

Despite strong performances in the industrial and agricultural sectors, a growing debt-servicing burden, large government expenditures on public enterprises, low tax revenues, and high levels of defense spending contributed to serious financial deficits. Besides a select few major groups, Pakistani media organizations face chronic financial problems.

Newspapers are heavily dependent on advertising revenue as income. Revenues from display advertising for all media amounted to US $120 million in 1998. Television held the largest share of media advertising revenues at 40 percent, followed by newspapers at 32 percent, magazines at 10 percent, and radio at 3 percent. Government agencies are the largest advertiser, accounting for 30 percent of all advertising in national newspapers.

The government has considerable leverage over the press through its substantial budget for advertising and public interest campaigns, its control over newsprint, and its ability to enforce regulations. For example, the country's leading Urdu daily, Jang, and the English-language daily News, both owned by Shakil Ur-Rehman, were cut off for a time from critical government advertising revenue after publishing articles unflattering to the government. The Jang Group was also served with approximately US $13 million in tax notices, harassed by government inspectors, and pressured not to publish articles. Jang also reportedly had difficulty obtaining sufficient newsprint to publish.

Due to pressures from national and international organizations, the trend is toward greater press freedom and democracy. Although the government is the press's largest advertiser, privatization of major industries and banks is causing the government to lose its control over the press and is attempting to counter this trend by enforcing new restrictions.

Newspapers in the Massedia Milieu: Print vs. Electronic

Digicom, a private e-mail provider, brought Internet access to Karachi in 1995. Nationwide local access was established within one year, and by 1999 was available to 600,000 computers, 60,000 users by 3,102 Internet hosts. Internet capabilities provided news media with a means for reaching overseas Pakistanis. All leading newspapers, including Jang, Nawa-e-WaqtDawnThe Nation,The News International, and Business Recorder, have online editions. In addition, Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation and Pakistan Television Corporation both have web sites accessible to the public.

Types of Ownership

Three main groups dominate Pakistan: the Jang Group, the Herald Group, and the Nawae-Waqt Group. Jang Publications is the largest media group and holds a virtual monopoly of Urdu readership in Sindh, Rawalpindi-Islamabad federal territory, and major shares in Lahore and Quetta. Jang also publishes the largest circulating weekly magazine in Urdu, Akhbare-Jehan, and two evening papers, the Daily News andAwam. The News, the first Pakistani newspaper to use computers in all steps of production, is also a publication of the Jang Group.

Pakistan Herald Publications Ltd. publishes Dawn, which has had a dominant hold over Karachi readership. The Herald Group also publishes the Star (an English evening paper) and The Herald (an influential English monthly). The group also began a monthly that focuses on the Internet, entitled Spider. Publications under the Herald Group target the upper class and the better-educated segment of Pakistani society and consequently practice a liberal editorial policy.

The Nawa-e-Waqt Group publishes Nawa-e-Waqt and also started The Nation, an English daily. This group also publishes Family, an Urdu weekly.

Several other significant groups and independent publications also exist. The notable daily newspaper chains that have started during the late 1990s and early 2000s include Khabrain, PakistanAusaf, and Din. The Frontier Post, Business Recorder, and Amn are also other important dailies.

Political parties own two major newspapers: the Jasarat, controlled by the conservative Jannat-e-Islami, and Mussawat, controlled by the Pakistan People's Party.

From 1964 into the early 1990s, the National Press Trust acted as the government's front to control the press. The state, however, no longer publishes daily newspapers; the former Press Trust sold or liquidated its newspapers and magazines in the early 1990s.

Distribution Networks

The majority of Pakistan's newspapers and magazines strive for national readership. Such major successful dailies are published simultaneously from a number of cities and are produced in different languages to facilitate distribution throughout the country's various regions. Distribution is through a network of newspaper hawkers; in smaller towns, hawkers also serve as stringers for newspapers. Buses are used for nearby distribution and airfreights are utilized for faraway cities when schedules permit.

Newsprint Availability

Pakistan's various governments have used newsprint availability as a means to control the Press. In the recent past, import of newsprint by the print media was subject to issuance of permits by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. This practice allowed the government to patronize sections of the press.

In April 1989, Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's government decided to end this manipulative practice. By replacing the permit system with a free and open import of newsprint at market prices, the government removed its interventionist dimension in controlling an essential raw material for the press and also ended the corruption that had grown up around the issuance and receipt of the newsprint import permits.

In 1991, however, the first government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif restored the system of issuing permits. The Audit Bureau of Circulation, which functions under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, was responsible for assessing the circulation and print orders of newspapers and magazines and issuing certificates legitimizing these figures. The bureau certificates became the basis on which journals were able to import proportionate quantities of newsprint and secure government-controlled advertising through the clearance given by the Press Information Department. Corrupt practices have been associated with the ABC operation.

The current government of General Musharraf has considerable leverage over the press through its control over newsprint, its substantial budget for advertising and public interest campaigns, and its ability to enforce regulations.

Influences on Editorial Policies

Privately owned newspapers freely discuss public policy and criticize the government. They report remarks made by opposition politicians, and their editorials reflect a wide range of views. The effort to ensure that newspapers carry their statements or press releases sometimes leads to undue pressure by local police, political parties, ethnic, sectarian, and religious groups, militant student organizations, and occasionally commercial interests. Such pressure is a common feature of journalism and can include physical violence, sacking of offices, intimidation and beating of journalists, and interference with distribution of newspapers. Journalists working in small provincial towns and villages encounter more difficulties from arbitrary local authorities and influential individuals than their big-city counterparts do. Violence against and intimidation of journalists, however, is a nationwide problem.

Government leaks, although not uncommon, are managed carefully; it is common knowledge that journalists, who are routinely underpaid, are on the unofficial payrolls of many competing interests, and the military (or elements within it) is presumed to be no exception. For example, according to the All Pakistan Newspaper Society, favorable press coverage of the Prime Minister's family compound south of Lahore was widely understood to have been obtained for a price. Rumors of intimidation, heavy-handed surveillance, and even legal action to quiet the unduly curious or nondeferential reporter are common.

Special-interest lobbies are not in existence in Pakistan as in the United States and elsewhere, but political pressure groups and leaders include the military, ulema (clergy), landowners, industrialists, and some small merchants.

Industrial Relations and Labor Unions

Several unions represent Pakistani newspapers and their respective journalists. Editors and other management-level employees belong to the All Pakistan Newspaper Society and/or the Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors. Other employees, including reporters, belong to the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) and/or the All-Pakistan Newspaper Employees' Confederation (APNEC).

These groups have been actively involved in reviewing the government's draft of the Press Council of Pakistan Ordinance 2002 and the draft of Press, Newspaper Agencies Registration Ordinance 2002. APNEC and PFUJ and all their affiliated unions and units rejected the proposed setting up of a press council and press regulatory laws that the government decided to introduce to regulate the press. Journalists objected to the inclusion of government representatives and the exclusion of working journalists from what was supposed to be a self-regulating rather than government-directed body. Previous legislation created under Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto included a new wage board under the Newspaper Employees (Conditions of Service) Act 1973. Several years had lapsed since the previous award had been announced. Inflation as well as the preference of certain newspaper publishers to engage staff only on a contract basis meant that wages were no longer reflective of the cost-of-living realities. One media scholar estimated that well over 50 percent of newspaper employees are deliberately employed on a contract basis to avoid the enforcement of relevant industrial relations laws and awards by wage boards. In fact, at a 2002 World Press Freedom Day seminar in Karachi, journalist Sajjad Mir stated that very few newspapers in the country had implemented the Wage Board Award for journalists and employees.

Printing Methods

Newspapers in Pakistan are mostly printed on offset. Printing and editing technologies have improved newspaper production over the years; however, the impact on circulation has not been significant.

Press Laws

Constitutional Provisions & Guarantees

The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan provides for its citizens' fundamental rights, one of which pertains specifically to the Press, Article 19, Freedom of Speech:

Every citizen shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression, and there shall be freedom of the press, subject to any reasonable restrictions imposed by law in the interest of the glory of Islam or the integrity, security or defense of Pakistan or any part thereof, friendly relations with foreign states, public order, decency or morality, or in relation to contempt of court, commission of or incitement to an offense.

The Constitution of Pakistan, then, guarantees the freedom of expression and freedom of the press, subject to "reasonable restrictions" that may be imposed by law. It is the responsibility of the judiciary to determine the scope and parameters of the permissible freedoms and the extent of restrictions placed on their enjoyment. The judiciary can play a full and effective role only if it is free and independent of any and every kind or form of control or influence. Although the judiciary has generally been supportive of the freedom of expression and information, and sought to strengthen the mass media, the courts are subject to pressure from the executive branch because the president controls the appointment, transfer, and tenure of judges. The position of the judiciary has been affected by periods of military rule, and a blow was dealt to the judiciary in January 2000 when Musharraf required all judges to take an oath of loyalty to his regime. The Supreme Court Justice and five colleagues refused and were dismissed. This was just one week before the Court was to hear cases challenging the legality of Musharraf's government.

The constitution also outlines the power of the president to promulgate ordinances and to suspend fundamental rights during an emergency period. Thus, following Musharraf's military takeover on October 12, 1999, he suspended Pakistan's constitution and assumed the additional title of Chief Executive. He appointed an eight-member National Security Council to function as the supreme governing body of Pakistan. He dissolved both the Senate and the National Assembly.

New legislation has been drafted for the formation of Press Council, Access to Information Ordinance and Press, Newspapers and Books Registration Act. On May 16, 2002, the Minister of Information, along with the Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors and the All Pakistan Newspaper Society, released drafts for the legislation for comment and debate. Newspaper editors also urged that the Freedom of Information Act and the amended Registration of Printing Press and Publication Ordinance be promulgated by the government, along with the Press Council Ordinance. The International Press Institute (IPI) identified major concerns including the desire to create a quasi-judicial body without proper procedures in place to provide fairness and equity. The IPI also expressed reservations about the proposed composition, its financing, and the terminology used in describing the ethical code, and made a number of recommendations for improving the draft ordinance.

The PFUJ and the APNEC reacted in similar ways to the proposed legislation. In a joint statement issued on the eve of World Press Freedom Day, leaders of the two organizations said they regretted that the Press and Publication Ordinance against which the journalists' community had striven for almost two decades had once again been revived and newspapers were being closed down under the same black law. The statement said fresh attempts in the shape of the Press Council were being framed by Musharraf's government to silence the voice of the print media in the country. They said the PFUJ and APNEC had already rejected the idea of setting up the council and that news people were still being subjected to different pressure tactics, including threats to their lives. They demanded that the government repeal more than 16 black laws, including the Press and Publication Ordinance, and to insure implementation of the labor laws by ending exploitation of the working journalists and newspaper workers. They also called for enforcing the Freedom of Information Act to ensure easy access to information.

The only other press laws in effect while the current proposed press laws are under review are general ones prohibiting publication of obscene material, inciting religious, parochial, or ethnic provocations, and anti-defamation provisions.

Registration and Licensing of Newspapers & Journalists

A Print, Press and Publications Ordinance, requiring the registration of printing presses and newspapers, was allowed to lapse in 1997 after several years of waning application. In practice, registering a new publication is a simple administrative act and is not subjected to political or government scrutiny. There are no registration or licensing processes for journalists. New newspapers and presses are required to register themselves with the local administration.


Censorship pervades journalism history in Pakistan; certainly, the blackest censorship period came during General Zia's 10-year military regime. Almost all journalists mention the press advice system as one of the most insidious means of censorship. It specified that whoever "contravenes any provision of this regulation shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment which may extend to ten years, and shall be liable to fine or stripes [lashes] not to exceed twenty-five." Sharif used additional means to ensure press compliance. He used intelligence operatives to infiltrate newsrooms and press unions. With so many spies doubling as reporters, and journalists moonlighting as government agents, trust became difficult for all.

Monitoring of the Press

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting monitors the press. It also controls and manages the country's primary wire service, the Associated Press of Pakistan (APP). APP is both the Govern-ment's own news agency and the official carrier of international wire service stories to the local media.

Foreign books must pass government censors before being reprinted. Books and magazines may be imported freely, but are likewise subject to censorship for objectionable sexual or religious content. English language publications have not been affected by the direct proscription of books and magazines promulgated by the Chief Commissioner in Islamabad, who banned five Sindhi-language publications in the second half of 1997 for "objectionable material against Pakistan" (i.e., expressions of Sindhi nationalism).

State-Press Relations

The press has traditionally experienced the often harsh effects of Pakistan's political instability. When partition resulted in the establishment of Pakistan as an independent homeland for the Muslims, the Muslim League as a political party struggled with the tasks of leading the new country into stable statehood. Factionalism, however, quickly contributed to instability, internal strife, incompetence, and corruption. The press at this point was largely a remnant of the Moslem press present during the struggle for independence, and it was seen as aggravating the problems being faced by keeping these issues out in front of the people. Thus, the government began its long history of attempting to control the press through arrests, the banning of certain publications, and other punitive measures.

Between 1948 and 1956, political turbulence intensified with the assassination of the country's first prime minister, Quaid-i-Millat Liaquat Ali Khan, in 1951 and the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly in 1954. However, by 1956, the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan was enforced; it contained an article specifically devoted to freedom of speech. The 1956 Constitution lasted less than three years when it was abrogated by the imposition of martial law in October 1958. A new enforcement of the constitution in 1962 occurred with the removal of martial law by President Ayub Khan. Although this constitution continued the recognition of an initial concept of freedom of expression, in reality, a military ruler imposed the constitution, and it contained no separate chapter on fundamental rights. The press and the public commented on the implications of living under a constitution devoid of mention of such basic rights, which resulted in Constitutional Amendment No. 1 to the 1962 Constitution.

However, in 1963, just one year after the adoption of the new constitution, the Press and Publications Ordinance (PPO) came into being. This ordinance contained the harshest of laws curtailing freedom of expression and the progressive development of the media and leading to the March 1969 relinquishing of power by President Ayub Khan to General Yahya Khan who imposed martial law. General Khan relied heavily on one of the measures of this ordinance, the system of "press advice" given out by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in order to avoid publication of news and reports deemed unsuitable for public consumption. It was also during this period that newspapers and magazines known for their independent and progressive views were first taken over by the government. Eventually the National Press Trust, created in 1964, took over these journals and acted as a front to control a section of the press.

In 1960, the Western Pakistan Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance was promulgated. On the outside, the aim was to consolidate into one law different provisions for "preventive detention of persons" and "control of persons and publications for reasons connected with the maintenance of public order." The real aim was to refine and reinforce the mechanism of repression. With amendments in 1963 and 1964, this law empowered the government to ban the printing of publications, to enter and search premises, and to prohibit import of newspapers, among other measures. These powers have been used by succeeding governments right up until the government of Musharraf.

In 1961, the government also took over the principal news agency of the country, the APP, arguing that "administrative and financial breakdown" justified such a move. Instead of allowing private enterprise to improve the quality of the news agency, the government saw this as an opportunity to control what news would be supplied to the print media, to radio, and to the outside world.

In spite of such repressive times, the press took a bold stand in providing alternative sources of news through an independent press. It was also during this time that the Press and Publications Ordinance collected under one law a number of excessive regulatory measures and punitive concepts that had previously existed in different laws and were now applied heavily to control the press. This press law (PPO) endured for 25 years before being repealed in September 1988.

In December 1971, when the break-up of Pakistan and the birth of Bangladesh occurred, General Yahya Khan handed over power to Zulfikar Ali Bhutto as President and Pakistan's first civilian Chief Martial Law Administrator who continued to use martial law up to April 1972 when an interim constitution was adopted, prior to the enactment of a new constitution by the National Assembly in August 1973. Bhutto, however, reacting to criticism by various members of the press, imprisoned editors and publishers on the pretext of national security.

The next five years, from 1972 to 1977, represented the beginnings of democracy; however, they were marred by repressive actions toward the press. The new constitution, although formulated on the principles of democracy, human rights, and freedom of speech, did not deliver on these promises. The PPO remained, as did the National Press Trust. Furthermore, through coercion and manipulation, the government insured that the only other news agency in the country (aside from the government-owned APP), the Pakistan Press International (PPI), was brought under its authority.

In 1977, General Zia ul Haq ousted Bhutto from the prime minister position and once again imposed martial law under which abuse of journalists became public rather than covert. Journalists were flogged in public at Zia's whim. Although martial law usually ends with a Supreme Court-imposed deadline by which elections must be held, Zia was given no such deadline, and his time in office up to August 1988 had a deleterious effect on the mass media. Not one single law or regulation of any progressive character was created during Zia's rule. The only positive outcome of Zia's rule was the restoration of the news agency PPI to its original shareholders. Since then PPI provides a valuable alternative news source to the government-controlled APP.

In 1985, Prime Minister Mohammad Khan Junejo was elected to the National Assembly, based on nonparty elections, and lifted martial law in December 1985. Even though Junejo was a more democratic political figure, the PPO remained in place under him, and he relied on the old media laws. However, in May 1988 President General Zia ul Haq dissolved the National Assembly and dismissed the Government of Prime Minister Junejo, replacing them with a cabinet of his own and no prime minister. This arrangement only lasted 11 weeks as Haq was killed in a suspicious plane crash in August 1988.

This incident resulted in the Chairman of the Senate, Mr. Ghulam Ishaq Khan, succeeding to the office of President as per the constitution. A caretaker government provided transition to a full-fledged democracy, which included repealing the press law that had coerced the media for so long.

A new law, known as the Registration of Printing Presses and Publications Ordinance came into effect in 1988. A key change in this law made it mandatory for the District Magistrate to issue a receipt to an applicant for the issuance of a declaration for the keeping of a printing press or the publication of a journal to provide the applicant with proof that would help avoid government interference.

The most significant change made in the press law of 1988 was the removal of power from the government and the right of an applicant to be heard in person by the authority before any punitive action was taken, like the closure of a press. Appeals were also now allowed. In addition, newspapers were no longer obligated to publish in full the press notes issued by the government.

For a variety of reasons, the press law of 1988 continued to be re-promulgated as an ordinance through 1997, even though the Supreme Court ruled such re-promulgation unconstitutional. One key reason for this was the recurring demands by representative bodies of the press to revise the 1988 law even further to remove any executive power to control the press.

The November 1988 elections saw Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, the first Muslim woman prime minister of the world, assume office. She brought with her a new phase of liberalism toward the mass media laws and regulations. For example, Bhutto's government allowed government-controlled radio and television to provide daily and well-balanced coverage of the speeches and statements of its opposition in news bulletins and current affairs programs. Because the print media reaches such a small percentage of the population, this change had a significant impact on the pubic, but was returned to the old, one-sided coverage after only four months because of pressure on Bhutto by her party, the Pakistan People's Party.

The independent press grew stronger during this phase; the Urdu press and the English press, as well as the regional language press, such as Sindh language newspapers, showed a new energy in reporting the news and in analyzing the issues of the day. In addition, new technology and use of computers and desktop publishing allowed a more timely and in-depth reporting of the news. Bhutto also ended the manipulative government practice of using newsprint as a means of controlling the press. Specifically, the Ministry of Information no longer required issuance of permits to import newsprint and allowed a free and open system of importing newsprint at market prices.

In 1990, President Ishaq Khan dismissed Bhutto's government, charging them with misconduct, and declared a state of emergency. Bhutto and her party lost the October elections, and the new prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, took over. For reasons not apparent to the public, Sharif restored the issuance of permits system for news-print import.

The charges against Bhutto were resolved, and after a bitter campaign, the PPP was returned to power in October 1993, and Bhutto was again named prime minister. She was ousted again in 1996 amid charges of corruption, a caretaker government was installed, and Sharif defeated Bhutto in the February 1997 elections.

In Sharif's two and one-half years in power, he used many heavy-handed methods to deal with journalists who dared to criticize his government. He put tremendous pressure on independent journalists, using both covert and overt means of retribution. His Pakistan Muslim League party (PML) achieved a landslide electoral victory in the National Assembly, which made Sharif believe he had been given a "heavy mandate" to rule the country as he saw fit. He was able to cast aside all democratic checks on his power, except for the press. In the end, the press survived whereas Sharif did not. The press, in fact, through its wide reporting of Sharif's abuse of power, prepared the Pakistani people for General Pervez Musharraf's military coup on October 12, 1999.

In May 2000 Musharraf's regime was strengthened by a unanimous decision by the Supreme Court to validate the October 1999 coup as having been necessary; at the same time the Court announced that the Chief Executive should name a date not later than 90 days before the expiry of the three-year period from October 12, 1999 for the holding of elections to the National Assembly, the provincial assemblies, and the Senate.

In Pakistan today a cooperative effort appears to be underway between Musharraf's government and the journalism community. In general, Musharraf's administration seems to follow a more liberal policy towards the press with fewer restrictions and much less manipulation. However, reports vary widely. Whereas the Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF) reported continued harassment of and dangers to journalists, some journalists currently working for Pakistani newspapers offer another version of the situation. A. R. Khaliq, assistant editor for Business Recorder, reported that "the press, by and large, is not faced with any coercion or abuse under Musharraf."

Attitude toward Foreign Media

Foreign Correspondents

The official Press and Information Departments under the Ministry of Informationhandle accreditation procedures for foreign correspondents. Special visas are required if long stays are intended. Pakistan rarely grants visas to Indian journalists or journalists of Indian origin.

The presence of foreign journalists in Pakistan has intensified with the United States' search for Osama bin Laden after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Pakistan's proximity to Afghanistan provides the media with a base from which to operate as they report the news to the world. The killing of American journalist Daniel Pearl by extremists in Pakistan brought much unwanted attention to Musharraf's government, and the United States has urged Pakistan's government to place a ban on the publications of as many as 22 magazines that serve as propaganda machines of the different religious and Jihadi organizations, which appear from Karachi, Lahore and Muzaffarabad. The ban is the extension of measures set by the United Nations Security Council Sanction Committee and the United States government against the terrorist individuals and entities.

Foreign Ownership of Domestic Media

Previous press laws included provisions restricting foreign ownership in the press. The law specified that a non-citizen of Pakistan could hold shares in any newspaper only with the previous approval of the government and only if such participation in ownership did not exceed 25 percent of the entire proprietary interest. Information on foreign ownership provisions in the proposed new press laws is unavailable.

Domestic Contacts with International Press Organizations

International press organizations are very active in Pakistan, especially in terms of monitoring the freedom of the press. The Pakistan Press Foundation, for example, is a nonprofit media research, documentation and training center committed to promoting freedom of the press in Pakistan and internationally. The foundation produces PPF NewsFlash, a service designed to highlight threats to press freedom in Pakistan.

The International Press Institute, a global network of editors, media executives, and leading journalists dedicated to the freedom of the press and improving the standards and practices of journalism, not only sponsors the annual World Press Freedom Day but also provides a World Press Freedom Review on journalism in Pakistan and the other 110 member countries. This organization was instrumental in sponsoring various seminars on World Press Freedom Day that allowed national debate and focus on the proposed new Press Council and press laws.

A third organization, Committee to Protect Journalists, is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to the global defense of press freedom. This organization publishes special reports such as its 2000 publication of "Pakistan: The Press for Change." They also maintain a web site with regional homepages covering each country.

News Agencies

The Ministry of Information controls and manages the country's primary wire service, the APP. APP is both the government's own news agency and the official carrier of international wire service stories to the local media. The launching of a Web site by APP enables readers to browse and download the latest news. The news service is now directly fed into the computers of the subscribers simultaneously throughout Pakistan and overseas. Besides publishing in the English language, APP also issues news items in Urdu.

The other primary news agency in Pakistan is the PPI, a private independent news agency. Several other news agencies have also emerged in recent years, some funded by political groups. The few small privately owned wire services are circumspect in their coverage of sensitive domestic news and tend to follow a government line.

Foreign news bureaus include Agence France-Presse (France), Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata (Italy), Associated Press (United States), Deutsche Presse-Agentur (Germany), Inter Press Service (Italy), Reuters (United Kingdom), United Press International (United States), and Xinhua News Agency (People's Republic of China). All are located in the capital of Islamabad.

Broadcast Media

State Policies Relating to Radio & TV News

The broadcast media are government monopolies. The government owns and operates the bulk of radio and television stations through its two official broadcast bureaucracies, the Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation and Pakistan Television. Domestic news coverage and public affairs programming on these broadcast media are closely controlled by the government and traditionally have reflected strongly the views of the party in power. Television reaches 86 percent of the population covering only 37.5 percent of the territory.

The privately owned Shalimar Television Network broadcasts foreign programs including CNN and BBC. However, the network censors segments that can be considered socially and sexually offensive by Pakistani standards, and the government censors morally objectionable advertising. All stations must use news bulletins produced by Pakistan Television. The greatest impact on broadcasting so far has been the introduction and popularity of satellite dishes. Satellite enables access to STAR TV, BBC, CNN, as well as other channels providing important news and entertainment.

Radio reaches almost 100 percent of the population. Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation broadcasts its external service to 70 countries in 15 languages. Each station broadcasts local news and interests. The majority of the programs pertain to music (48 percent), religion (12.5 percent), and news and current affairs (11 percent).

In 1995-96, government grants, advertisements (11 percent), and licensing fees (2.3 percent) funded 85 percent of Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation. The decreasing trend in advertising created an increased dependence on the government for funds. The government is also a major shareholder in the private station, Shalimar Recording.

Education & Training

The Pakistan Press Foundation is actively involved in training of journalists. The foundation regularly organizes workshops and seminars on important issues facing Pakistani media. Along with imparting basic training to rural journalists, the training program aims to raise awareness of rural journalists about their rights and responsibilities. Pakistan Press Foundation's training activities also include the Rural Journalists Skills Development Program that focuses sessions on press freedom, rights of journalists and journalistic ethics.

Plans are underway in the 2000s to create training courses to improve the efficiency of information officers and later to open those courses to the media community. In addition, reference libraries are planned for Karachi and, later, research cells at all information centers in the provinces so that news people would have easy access to background materials in their areas of operation. In addition, accreditation cards would be issued to working journalists to help them perform their duties; these would be issued according to accreditation laws and the opinion of accreditation committees.


Pakistan's turbulent history, coupled with its ongoing political and economic crises, places the press in the position of informing the citizenry while also providing a check on the powers in office. Since its founding in 1947, Pakistan has suffered three periods of martial law and two military dictatorships, yet the press endures. The freedoms that insure the existence of the press are contained in Pakistan's constitution, which remained suspended in 2002, and yet the press endures and continues to safeguard those freedoms. Over the years members of the press have been arrested and jailed, have had their offices raided and ransacked, have been publicly flogged, and severely censored. Yet the press endures and has a stronger voice today than ever before, and yet as recently as 1999, Pakistan's largest and most influential newspaper, Jang, was raided because it was too critical of the government. Watch groups around the world characterize Pakistan as a "partly free" nation, and efforts appear to be moving in a positive and democratic direction.

Members of the Pakistan press must work diligently to have their voices heard in the government's attempt to create a Press Council and new press laws. As of mid-2002, no date had been set for the mandated elections that are to occur at the end of Musharraf's three-year rule, but former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto is expected to return to Pakistan to participate in the elections. She has asked a number of international news organizations to accompany her back to Pakistan, which will keep Pakistan in the headlines in the future.

Problems facing the Pakistan press are not new, nor are there any quick fixes to them. Recent arrests of respected Pakistani journalists have spurred concern. Pakistan is dependent upon foreign aid, however, and is thus vulnerable to international pressures, which should help the plight of journalists being abused. In addition, a new generation of female editors who are sensitive to the abuses otherwise ignored by their male counterparts will undoubtedly help journalists and human rights victims.

Significant Dates

  • 1997: Nawaz Sharif defeats Benazir Bhutto in the elections and begins a two-and-a half year reign of terror against the press.
  • 1999: General Pervez Musharraf overthrows Sharif, suspends the constitution, and declares martial law; government agents raid the country's most influential newspaper, Jang, because it was too critical of the government.
  • 2001: Government introduces legislation to create a Press Council and new press laws.
  • 2002: Journalists support the reintroduction of the Freedom of Information Ordinance Act allowing access to public records and details of decisions made by superior courts, armed forces, financial institutions, and intelligence agencies.


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Bonnie W. pstein

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Pakistan (păk´Ĭstăn´, päkĬstän´), officially Islamic Republic of Pakistan, republic (2005 est. pop. 162,420,000), 310,403 sq mi (803,944 sq km), S Asia. Pakistan is bordered by India on the east, the Arabian Sea on the south, Iran on the southwest, and Afghanistan on the west and north; in the northeast is the disputed territory (with India) of Kashmir, of which the part occupied by Pakistan borders also on China. Islamabad is the capital and Karachi is the largest city. Pakistan is composed of four provinces—Baluchistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (formerly North-West Frontier Province), Punjab, and Sind, all of which closely coincide with the historic regions—and two federal territories, one the site of the capital and the other a federally administered grouping known as the Tribal Areas along the central Afghanistan border. The Tribal Areas are essentially autonomous, with little government presence, and are governed largely by tribal traditions and councils. Pakistani-controlled Kashmir is divided into the Gilgit-Baltisan (formerly the Northern Areas) and Azad Kashmir. Pakistan formerly consisted of two regions—West Pakistan and East Pakistan—located in the northwestern and northeastern corners of the Indian subcontinent and separated from each other by more than 1,000 mi (1,610 km) of India; East Pakistan became the independent state of Bangladesh following the 1971 civil war.


The country has a generally hot and dry climate, with desert conditions prevailing throughout much of the area. Along the western border and in a section of the north are semiarid steppelands and deserts; a subtropical climate with marked summer rainfall is found in a small section of the northeast along the Himalayan foothills; and a mountain climate that varies with altitude is found in the north.

The Indus is the chief river of Pakistan and is the nation's lifeline. It flows the length of the country and is fed by the combined waters of three of the five rivers of Punjab—the Chenab, Jhelum, and Ravi. The waters of the other two rivers, the Beas and the Sutlej, are largely withdrawn for irrigation in India. Along the Indus and its tributaries are found most of Pakistan's population, its chief agricultural areas, and its major hydroelectric power stations.

Pakistan may be divided into four geographic regions—the plateau of W Pakistan, the plains of the Indus and Punjab rivers, the hills of NW Pakistan, and the mountains of N Pakistan. The plateau region of W Pakistan, which is roughly coextensive with Baluchistan prov., is an arid region with relatively wetter conditions in its northern sections. Numerous low mountain ranges rise from the plateau, and the Hingol and Dasht rivers are among the largest streams. Large portions of the region are unfit for agriculture, and although some cotton is raised, nomadic sheep grazing is the principal activity. Coal, chromite, and natural gas are found in this area, and fishing and salt trading are carried on along the rugged Makran coast. Quetta, the chief city, is an important railroad center on the line between Afghanistan and the Indus valley.

East of the plateau region are extensive alluvial plains, through which flow the Indus and its tributaries. The region, closely coinciding with Sind and Punjab provinces, is hot and dry and is occupied in its eastern borders by the Thar Desert. Extensive irrigation facilities, fed by the waters of the Indus system, make the Indus basin the agricultural heartland of Pakistan. A variety of crops (especially wheat, rice, and cotton) are raised there. Advances in agricultural engineering have countered the salinity problems involved in farming the Indus delta. The irrigated portions of the plain are densely populated, being the site of many of Pakistan's principal cities, including Lahore, Faisalabad (formerly Lyallpur), Hyderabad, and Multan. Karachi, the nation's chief port, is located west of the irrigated land at a site accessible to oceangoing vessels. The higher parts of the plain, in the north, as in the vicinity of Lahore, have a more humid subtropical climate.

In NW Pakistan, occupying about two thirds of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, is a region of low hills and plateaus interspersed with fertile valleys. The elevation of the region tempers the arid climate. It is a predominantly agricultural area, with wheat the chief crop; fruit trees and livestock are also raised. Peshawar and Rawalpindi, the largest cities of this area, are the only major manufacturing centers. In the northern section of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and in the Pakistani-occupied sector of Kashmir are the rugged ranges and the high, snowcapped peaks of the Hindu Kush, Himalaya, and Karakorum mountains; Tirich Mir (25,236 ft/7,692 m) is the highest point in the country outside Kashmir


Pakistan has one of the world's most rapidly growing populations. Its people are a mixture of many ethnic groups, a result of the occupation of the region by groups passing through on their way to India. The Pathans (Pashtuns) of the northwest are a large, indigenous group that has long resisted advances by invaders and that has at times sought to establish an autonomous state within Pakistan. Baluchis, who live mainly in the southwest, have also pressed for the creation of a state that would incorporate parts of Afghanistan and Iran. Punjabis reside mainly in the northeast, and Sindhis in the southeast. Pakistan is an overwhelmingly (about 97%) Muslim country; about three fourths of the Muslims are Sunnis (largely Sufis) and the rest Shiites. Urdu is the official language, but Punjabi, Sindhi, Pashto, Baluchi, Hindko, and Brahui are also spoken; English is common among the upper classes and in the government.


Agriculture is the mainstay of Pakistan's economy, employing more than 40% of the population. Cotton, wheat, rice, sugarcane, fruits, vegetables, and tobacco are the chief crops, and cattle, sheep, and poultry are raised. There is also a fishing industry. Most of Pakistan's agricultural output comes from the Indus basin. The country is now self-sufficient in food, as vast irrigation schemes have extended farming into arid areas, and fertilizers and new varieties of crops have increased yields.

Pakistan's industrial base is able to supply many of the country's needs in consumer goods and other products. The country major manufactures textiles (the biggest earner of foreign exchange), processed foods, pharmaceuticals, construction materials, paper products, and fertilizer. Remittances from Pakistanis working abroad constitute the second largest source of foreign exchange. Since the mid-1950s electric power output has greatly increased, mainly because of the development of hydroelectric power potential and the use of thermal power plants.

The annual cost of Pakistan's imports usually exceeds its earnings from exports. The chief imports are petroleum, machinery, plastics, transportation equipment, edible oils, paper, iron and steel, and tea. Exports include textiles and clothing, rice, leather and sporting goods, chemicals, and carpets. The chief trading partners are the United States, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and China.


Pakistan is governed under the constitution of 1973 as amended, which provides for a federal parliamentary form of government. The president, who is head of state, is elected to a five-year term by an electoral college drawn from the national parliament and provincial assemblies. The government is headed by the prime minister, who is selected by the National Assembly. There is a bicameral legislature. The National Assembly has 342 members, 272 of them elected by popular vote, with 60 seats reserved for women and 10 for non-Muslims; all serve five-year terms. The 100 members of the Senate are indirectly elected by provincial assemblies and the territories' representatives in the National Assembly; they serve six-year terms. Each province has its own legislative assembly whose members are elected by direct popular vote, a provincial governor appointed by the president, and a chief minister elected by the legislative assembly. There is an independent judicial branch of government. Administratively, the country is divided into four provinces and two territories.


Early History

The northwest of the Indian subcontinent, which now constitutes Pakistan, lies athwart the historic invasion routes through the Khyber, Gumal, and Bolan passes from central Asia to the heartland of India, and for thousands of years invaders and adventurers swept down upon the settlements there. The Indus valley civilization, which flourished until c.1500 BC, was one of the region's earliest civilizations. The Aryans, who surpassed the Indus, were followed by the Persians of the Achaemenid empire, who by c.500 BC reached the Indus River. Alexander the Great, conqueror of the Persian empire, invaded the Punjab in 326 BC The Seleucid empire, heir to Alexander's Indian conquest, was checked by the Mauryas, who by 305 BC occupied the Indus plain and much of Afghanistan.

After the fall of the Mauryas (2d cent. BC) the Indo-Greek Bactrian kingdom rose to power, but was in turn overrun (c.97 BC) by Scythian nomads called Saka and then by the Parthians (c.AD 7). The Parthians, of Persian stock, were replaced by the Kushans; the Kushan Kanishka ruled (2d cent. AD) all of what is now Pakistan from his capital at Peshawar. In 712, the Muslim Arabs appeared in force and conquered Sind, and by 900 they controlled most of NW India. They were followed by the Ghaznavid and Ghorid Turks. The first Turki invaders reached Bengal c.1200 and an important Muslim center was established there, principally through conversion of the Hindus. Although the northeast of the Indian subcontinent (now Bangladesh) remained, with interruptions, part of a united Mughal empire in India from the early 16th cent. to 1857, the northwest changed hands many times before it became (1857) part of imperial British India. It was overrun by Persians in the late 1730s; by the Afghans, who held Sind and the Punjab during the latter half of the 18th cent.; and by the Sikhs, who rose to power in the Punjab under Ranjit Singh (1780–1839).

British Control and the Muslim League

The British attempted to subdue the anarchic northwest during the First Afghan War (1839–42) and succeeded in conquering Sind in 1843 and the Punjab in 1849. The turbulence of the region was intensified by the fierce forays of Baluchi and Pathan tribespeople from the mountainous hinterlands. The British occupied Quetta in 1876 and again attempted to conquer the tribespeople in the Second Afghan War (1878–80) but were still unsuccessful. With the creation of the North-West Frontier Province (now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) in 1901, the British shifted from a policy of conquest to one of containment.

Unlike previous settlers in India, the Muslim immigrants were not absorbed into Hindu society. Their ranks were augmented by the millions of Hindus who had been converted to Islam. There was cultural interchange between Hindu and Muslim, but no homogeneity emerged. After the Indian Mutiny (1857), a rising Hindu middle class began to assume dominant positions in industry, education, the professions, and the civil service. Although, in these early decades of the Indian National Congress, vigorous efforts were made to include Muslims in the nationalist movement, concern for Muslim political rights led to the formation of the Muslim League in 1906; in the ensuing years Hindu-Muslim conflict became increasingly acute.

The idea of a Muslim nation, distinct from Hindu India, was introduced in 1930 by the poet Muhammad Iqbal and was ardently supported by a group of Indian Muslim students in England, who were the first to use the name Pakistan [land of the pure, from the Urdu pak,=pure and stan,=land]. It gained wide support in 1940 when the Muslim League, led by Muhammad Ali Jinnah, demanded the establishment of a Muslim state in the areas of India where Muslims were in the majority. The League won most of the Muslim constituencies in the 1946 elections, and Britain and the Congress party reluctantly agreed to the formation of Pakistan as a separate dominion under the provisions of the Indian Independence Act, which went into effect on Aug. 15, 1947.

Partition and Conflict

Jinnah became the governor-general of the new nation and Liaquat Ali Khan the first prime minister. While India inherited most of the British administrative machinery, Pakistan had to start with practically nothing; records and Muslim administrators were transferred from New Delhi to a chaotic, makeshift capital at Karachi. Moreover, an autumn of violence and slaughter among Hindus and Muslims came between independence and the task of developing the new nation. Disturbances in Delhi were only a prelude to the slaughter in the Punjab, where the Gurdaspur district had been partitioned to give India access to Kashmir. Although there was some violence in Calcutta (now Kolkata), the efforts of Mohandas K. Gandhi prevented widespread killing in partitioned Bengal. The communal strife took more than 500,000 lives; 7.5 million Muslim refugees fled to both parts of Pakistan from India, and 10 million Hindus left Pakistan for India.

Disputes between India and Pakistan arose also over the princely states of Junagadh, Hyderabad, and Kashmir. In the first two, Muslim rulers held sway over a Hindu majority but India forcibly joined both states to the Union, dismissing the wishes of the rulers and basing its claims instead on the wishes of the people and the facts of geography. In Kashmir the situation was precisely the opposite; a Hindu ruler held sway over a Muslim majority in a country that was geographically and economically tied to West Pakistan. The ruler signed over Kashmir to India in Oct., 1947, but Pakistan refused to accept the move. Fighting broke out (see India-Pakistan Wars) and continued until Jan., 1948, when India and Pakistan both appealed to the United Nations, each accusing the other of aggression. A cease-fire was agreed upon and a temporary demarcation line partitioned (1949) the disputed state.

In the meantime, Pakistan faced serious internal problems. A liberal statement of constitutional principles was promulgated in 1949, but parts of the proposed constitution ran into orthodox Muslim opposition. On Oct. 16, 1951, Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan was assassinated by an Afghan fanatic. His death left a leadership void that prime ministers Khwaja Nazimuddin (1951–53) and Muhammad Ali (1953–55) and governor-general Ghulam Muhammad (1951–55) failed to fill. In East Bengal, which had more than half of the nation's population, there was increasing dissatisfaction with the federal government in West Pakistan. In 1954, faced with growing crises, the government dissolved the constituent assembly and declared a state of emergency. In 1955, the existing provinces and princely states of West Pakistan were merged into a single province made up of 12 divisions, and the name of East Bengal was changed to East Pakistan, thus giving it at least the appearance of parity with West Pakistan.

In Feb., 1956, a new constitution was finally adopted, and Pakistan formally became a republic within the Commonwealth of Nations; Gen. Iskander Mirza became the first president. Economic conditions remained precarious, even though large shipments of grain from the United States after 1953 had helped to relieve famine. In foreign relations, Pakistan's conflict with India over Kashmir remained unresolved, and Afghanistan continued its agitation for the formation of an autonomous Pushtunistan nation made up of the Pathan tribespeople along the northwest frontier. Pakistan joined the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization in 1954 and the Central Treaty Organization in 1955. After 1956 the threat to the stability of the Pakistan government gradually increased, stemming from continuing economic difficulties, frequent cabinet crises, and widespread political corruption.

The Ayub Khan Regime

Finally, in Oct., 1958, President Mirza abrogated the constitution and granted power to the army under Gen. Muhammad Ayub Khan. Ayub subsequently assumed presidential powers (in 1960 he was elected to a five-year term), abolishing the office of prime minister and ruling by decree. Under the dictatorship, a vigorous land reform and economic development program was begun, and a new constitution, which provided for a federal Islamic republic with two provinces (East and West Pakistan) and two official languages (Bengali and Urdu), went into effect in 1962. The new city of Islamabad, N of Rawalpindi (which had been interim capital since 1959), became the national capital, and Dhaka, in East Pakistan, became the legislative capital.

In 1965, Ayub was reelected and a national assembly of 156 members—with East and West Pakistan each allocated 75 seats, and six seats reserved for women, who had previously been denied the vote under Islamic strictures—was elected. A treaty with India governing the use of the waters of the Indus basin was signed (1961). Communal strife was constantly present in the subcontinent—in Jan., 1961, several thousand Muslims were massacred in Madhya Pradesh state in India, and there were reprisals in Pakistan; in 1962 there was further communal conflict in Bengal. Diplomatic relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan were severed (1961–63) after some border clashes and continued Afghan agitation, supported by the USSR, for an independent Pushtunistan.

A series of conferences on Kashmir was held (Dec., 1962–Feb., 1963) between India and Pakistan following the Chinese assault (Oct., 1962) on India; both nations offered important concessions and solution of the long-standing dispute seemed imminent. However, Pakistan then signed a bilateral border agreement with China that involved the boundaries of the disputed state, and relations with India again became strained. Pakistan's continuing conflict with India over Kashmir erupted in fighting (Apr.–June, 1965) in the Rann of Kachchh region of NW India and SE West Pakistan and in an outbreak of warfare (August–September) in Kashmir. Some improvement in relations between the two countries came in 1966, when President Ayub Khan and Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri of India reached an accord in the Declaration of Tashkent at a meeting sponsored by the USSR. Despite the accord, however, the basic dispute over Kashmir remained unsettled.

In an effort to gain support in the conflict with India, Pakistan somewhat modified its pro-Western policy after 1963 by establishing closer relations with Communist countries, especially with China, by taking a neutral position on some international issues, and by joining the Regional Co-operation for Development Program of SW Asian nations. East Pakistan's long-standing discontent with the federal government was expressed in 1966 by a movement for increased autonomy, supported by a general strike. Following disastrous riots in late 1968 and early 1969, Ayub resigned and handed the government over to Gen. Agha Muhammad Yahya Khan, the head of the army, who then declared martial law. The first direct universal voting since independence was held in Dec., 1970, to elect a National Assembly that would draft a new constitution and restore federal parliamentary government.

Bangladesh and Bhutto

The Awami League, under Sheik Mujibur Rahman, in a campaign for full autonomy in East Pakistan, won an overwhelming majority in the National Assembly by taking 153 of the 163 seats allotted to East Pakistan. The opening session of the National Assembly, scheduled to meet in Dhaka in Mar., 1971, was twice postponed by Yahya Khan, who then canceled the election results, banned the Awami League, and imprisoned Sheik Mujib in West Pakistan on charges of treason. East Pakistan declared its independence as Bangladesh on Mar. 26, 1971, but was then placed under martial law and occupied by the Pakistani army, which was composed entirely of troops from West Pakistan. In the ensuing civil war, some 10 million refugees fled to India and hundreds of thousands of civilians were killed. India supported Bangladesh and on Dec. 3, 1971, sent troops into East Pakistan. Following a two-week war between Pakistan and India, in which fighting also broke out along the India-West Pakistan border, Pakistani troops in East Pakistan surrendered (Dec. 16) and a cease-fire was declared on all fronts.

Following Pakistan's defeat, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the deputy prime minister and foreign minister, came to power in West Pakistan. Sheik Mujib was released from prison and eventually allowed to return to Bangladesh. Relations with India remained strained over the issue of the more than 90,000 Pakistani soldiers who had surrendered after the civil war and become prisoners of war, over Pakistan's refusal to recognize Bangladesh, and over Bangladesh's declared intention to bring to trial some Pakistani soldiers on war-crimes charges. A summit meeting held in Shimla, India, in July, 1972, resulted in an easing of tensions and an agreement to settle differences between the two nations peacefully.

Demarcation of the truce line in Kashmir was finally completed in Dec., 1972. In Aug., 1973, India and Pakistan reached an agreement on the release of Pakistani prisoners-of-war and the exchange of hostage populations in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh—especially of the Bengalis in Pakistan and the Biharis in Bangladesh. Bhutto recognized Bangladesh in Feb., 1974, prior to the start of a world Islamic summit conference in Lahore. In the mid-1970s Bhutto's government faced increasing regional tensions among Pakistan's various ethnic groups. After Bhutto's 1977 election victory was challenged by the opposition, widespread riots ensued.

Recent History

Failure to reach a reconciliation prompted the army chief of staff, Gen. Mohammed Zia ul-Haq, to depose Bhutto in a military coup in July and declare martial law. Zia was declared president in September, and Bhutto, convicted of ordering the murder of political opponents, was hanged in Apr., 1979. In the 1980s Pakistan was dominated by events occurring in neighboring Afghanistan, where the Soviet invasion resulted in the flight of over 3 million people to Pakistan. Pakistan served as the primary conduit for U.S. aid to the Afghan resistance, resulting in large amounts of U.S. aid to Pakistan as well. The relationship prompted Zia to return the government to civilian hands, and in 1985 he announced the end of martial law, but only after amending the constitution so as to greatly strengthen his power as president.

In 1986, Benazir Bhutto, daughter of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and his heir as head of the Pakistan People's party (PPP), returned to the country. In May, 1988, Zia dismissed parliament, charging it with widespread corruption, and announced general elections for November. In August, Zia died in a mysterious plane crash. The PPP won the November elections, and Bhutto became prime minister. Despite a strong power base, Bhutto encountered numerous problems in office, including regional ethnic clashes, the difficulties of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, and long-term tensions caused by Pakistan's poverty and its uneasy relationship with India. In Aug., 1990, President Ghulam Ishaq Khan dismissed Bhutto and her cabinet, accusing them of misconduct and abuse of power.

November elections brought to power a coalition government headed by Nawaz Sharif, whose administration instituted economic reform policies of privatization and deregulation in an effort to stimulate growth. In 1991 the parliament passed legislation incorporating Islamic law (sharia) into the legal code. When Sharif moved to reduce presidential power, he was dismissed (1993) by President Ishaq Khan; the ensuing crisis was resolved with the resignations of both men. Bhutto's party won the most seats in new elections later in 1993, and she once again became prime minister, heading a coalition government; Farooq Leghari, a Bhutto ally, was elected president. In 1995 some three dozen military officers were arrested, reportedly for plotting an Islamic revolution in Pakistan. In 1996 Bhutto was again dismissed on charges of corruption, by President Leghari. In 1997, Leghari established a Council for Defense and National Security, which gave a key role in political decision-making to the heads of the armed forces.

Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) won a huge majority in the 1997 elections and he once again became prime minister. Sharif soon moved to enact legislation curbing the president's power to dismiss elected governments and to appoint armed forces chiefs; the supreme court blocked these moves and reinstated a corruption inquiry against Sharif. In an apparent victory for Sharif, President Leghari resigned in Dec., 1997, and the chief justice of the supreme court was dismissed. Mohammad Rafiq Tarar became president in 1998. Following the detonation of underground nuclear devices by India in May, 1998, Pakistan carried out its own series of nuclear tests; the United States imposed economic sanctions against both countries. In the summer of 1999, conflict with India over Kashmir erupted again, with Pakistani-backed troops withdrawing from Indian-held territory after several weeks of fighting.

In Oct., 1999, a bloodless military coup led by Gen. Pervez Musharraf ousted Sharif, suspended the constitution, and declared martial law. Sharif was charged with treason, and in Apr., 2000, he was convicted of hijacking an airliner (as a result of issuing orders to deny permission to land to the plane that Musharraf had been on prior to the 1999 coup) and was sentenced to life in prison. Sharif subsequently was also convicted on corruption charges, and later exiled (Dec., 2000) to Saudi Arabia.

In June, 2001, Musharraf appointed himself president. A summit in July with Prime Minister Vajpayee of India proved unfruitful and ended on a bitter note. Following the September terrorist attacks on the United States that were linked to Osama bin Laden, the United States ended its sanctions on Pakistan and sought its help in securing bin Laden from the Taliban government of Afghanistan, but Pakistan proved unable to influence the Taliban, who had received support from Pakistan since the mid-1990s. Pakistan permitted U.S. planes to cross its airspace and U.S. forces to be based there during the subsequent military action against Afghanistan. These moves provoked sometimes violent anti-U.S. demonstrations erupted in Pakistani cities, particularly in border areas where many Afghan refugees and Pathans live. In response, the government cracked down on the more militant Islamic fundamentalist groups.

After terror attacks by Pakistani-based guerrillas on Indian government buildings in late 2001, India threatened to go to war with Pakistan unless all guerrilla attacks were ended. As Pakistan moved haltingly to suppress such groups the crisis escalated, but in Jan., 2002, Musharraf attacked religious extremism and its affect on Pakistani society, and stated that no group engaging in terrorism would be tolerated. A crackdown on such groups was complicated by strong popular Pakistani support for guerrillas fighting Indian rule in Kashmir, but many Pakistanis also objected to the Islamic fundamentalism espoused by many of the guerrillas and their supporters. In mid-2002 Pakistan's army established garrisons in a number of tribal areas for the first time since independence.

Also in January, Musharraf announced plans for national and provincial legislative elections in Oct., 2002, while indicating that he intended to remain in office. In April, he called for a referendum on extending his rule for five more years. Most national political parties called for a boycott of the referendum, and turnout appeared low in many locations; Musharraf claimed a 50% turnout, with a 98% yes vote. In August he imposed 29 constitutional amendments designed to make his rule impervious to political opposition in parliament.

Meanwhile, tensions with India again reached the brink of war in May, as a result of escalating attacks by Muslim militants in India. Concern that a conflict might evolve into nuclear warfare prompted international mediation, and the crisis eased after Pakistan stopped state-sponsored guerrilla infilitration across the line of control in Kashmir. The fighting in Afghanistan, violence and political turmoil in Pakistan, and tension with India hurt the Pakistani economy, particularly the export textile and apparel industries.

Parliamentary elections in Oct., 2002, resulted in a setback for Musharraf, as the Pakistan Muslim League–Quaid (PML-Q; renamed the Pakistan Muslim League [PML] in 2004), which supported him, placed second in terms of the seats it won. Bhutto's PPP placed first, and a generally anti-American Islamic fundamentalist coalition was a strong third and also won control of the North-West Frontier Province (now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), where the legislature subsequently approved (June, 2003) the establishment of Islamic law. Zafarullah Khan Jamali, the PML-Q leader, was narrowly elected Pakistan's prime minister. Tensions with India further eased in 2003, and midway through the year diplomatic relations were restored.

In Dec., 2003, two attempts were made to assassinate Musharraf, but both failed. That same month he sealed an agreement with the Islamic parties to pass a modified version of the constitutional amendments he had imposed in Aug., 2002. He accepted some limitations on his powers, and he agreed to give up his post as chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. Other opposition parties denounced the deal.

Following revelations in the news media concerning the transfer of Pakistani nuclear technology to Iran, Libya, and North Korea, Abdul Qadeer Khan in Feb., 2004, admitted that he overseen such transfers from the late 1980s until 2000. The Pakistani government said that Khan, who had led its nuclear weapons program for a quarter century, had sold the technology for personal gain, but missiles parts were transferred at the same time from North Korea to Pakistan, leading international arms experts and others to believe that the government was at the very least aware of the transfers. Khan, revered by many Pakistanis as the "father of the Islamic bomb," was pardoned by President Musharraf.

In Mar., 2004, Pakistan's military began operations against foreign Islamic militants in South Waziristan, but local militants who regarded the attacks as a breach of local autonomy joined in fighting against government forces. The fighting continued into 2005, when operations were also begun in North Waziristan. Agreements with tribal leaders in both regions ended military operations in Waziristan in late 2006. Fighting also occurred in Baluchistan, where local tribes demanding a greater share in the provinces mineral wealth and an end of the stationing of military forces there mounted a series of attacks that continued into 2006. Meanwhile, in Apr., 2004, a bill was passed creating a national security council, consisting of military and civilian leaders, to advise the government on matters of national interest. Creation of the council gave the military an institutionalized voice in national affairs.

Prime Minister Jamali resigned and the cabinet was dissolved in June, after Jamali lost the support of the president. Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, a close political ally of Musharraf, became interim prime minister until Shaukat Aziz, the finance minister in the outgoing cabinet and Musharraf's choice to succeed Jamali, was elected to the national assembly and took office (Aug., 2004). In Oct., 2004, the governing coalition passed legislation permitting Musharraf to remain chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, despite the president's earlier pledge to resign from the post, and at the end of the year Musharraf announced he would not resign.

In Apr., 2005, Musharraf visited India, and the two nations agreed to increase cross-border transport links, including in Kashmir, and to work to improve trade between them. Passage (July, 2005) by the North-West Frontier Province (now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) government of a law calling for Islamic moral policing was challenged by the national government, and the supreme court declared the legislation unconstitutional. A similar but somewhat weaker bill was passed in 2006 and again challenged. An earthquake in Oct., 2005, caused widespread devastation in N Pakistan, particularly in Kashmir, killed more than 73,000 and injured nearly as many, and left an estimated 3 million homeless. Many victims in remote areas were slow to receive aid when those areas became practically inaccessible as a result of damage to roads combined with inadequate alternative transportation.

In 2006 relations with Afghanistan became increasingly strained as Afghan officials accused Pakistan of allowing the Taliban and Al Qaeda to use bordering areas of Pakistan, particularly Baluchistan around Quetta, as safe havens and to send forces and weapons across border into Afghanistan. After a series of bomb attacks (July, 2006) in Mumbai, India, that India asserted were linked to Pakistani security forces, peace talks were suspended between the two nations, but they resumed in late 2006 and an agreement designed to prevent an accidental nuclear war between India and Pakistan was signed in Feb., 2007.

In Mar., 2007, Musharraf suspended Pakistan's chief justice for misuse of authority; the justice had conducted investigations into human rights abuses by Pakistan's security forces and was regarded as independent of the government. While the chief justice challenged the move in the courts, Pakistani lawyers and judges denounced the move as unconstitutional, and they and opposition parties mounted demonstrations in support fo the chief justice, believing that the president was attempting to remove him as a prelude to extending his presidency beyond the end of 2007. A planned rally in Karachi in support of the chief justice led to two days of violence in May in which those who died were largely opposition activists; the violence provoked additional opposition demonstrations and strikes. In July, the supreme court ruled that the chief justice's suspension was illegal and that he should be reinstated. In June, 2007, there was devastating flooding in Baluchistan after a cyclone struck the coast; some 2 million were affected by the floodwaters.

In July, Pakistani security forces stormed an Islamabad mosque that had become a focus for Islamic militants; more than 70 persons died. Militants responded with a series of bombings and other attacks in the following weeks, and fighting again broke out in Waziristan. In September, bin Laden called for jihad against the Musharraf government, and the following month the government sent troops against militants in the Swat valley in the North-West Frontier Province (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa). Despite the government's actions in Swat, the Pakistani Pashtun militants, who became loosely allied as the Taliban Movement of Pakistan in late 2007, became more powerful beginning in 2008.

Meanwhile, with parliamentary elections due by Jan., 2008, former prime ministers Sharif and Bhutto made plans to return from exile. Sharif, who returned in September, was immediately deported, but after an October court ruling he was allowed to return in November. Following negotiations with the government, Bhutto returned in October, surviving an attempted assassination the day of her return that killed more than 130 persons. Musharraf was reelected president the same month, but the official declaration of the result was postponed until after the supreme court ruled on whether he was permitted to run while remaining army chief. Before the court could issue its ruling, Musharraf declared emergency rule, suspended the constitution, and dismissed the members of the court who seemed likely to rule against him. The challenges against his reelection were then dismissed, and later in the month Musharraf resigned as army chief.

In December, emergency rule was ended; late in the month Bhutto was assassinated, possibly by Islamists, after a campaign rally. (A UN report released in 2010 said that security had been inadequate and that the investigation into her murder had been bungled by the police and hindered by Pakistan's secret intelligence agencies.) Several days of unrest followed her death, and the government postponed the January elections to Feb., 2008.

Bhutto's PPP and Sharif's PML-N won the largest blocs of seats in the election, and agreed to form a coalition; Yousaf Raza Gilani, of the PPP, became prime minister in March. The election was a striking setback for Musharraf, and also for the Islamist parties. In May, however, the PML-N withdrew from the government over a disagreement concerning the restoration of powers to the judiciary; the PPP wanted some limitations imposed while the PML-N supported fully restoring judicial powers. (The PML-N briefly returned to the government in August.) Relations were further strained with Afghanistan in July, 2008, when Afghanistan's President Karzai accused Pakistani agents of being behind a bomb attack against the Indian embassy in Kabul.

In Aug., 2008, the governing coalition announced that it planned to begin impeachment proceedings against Mushurraf; the move was seen as driven especially by Sharif's PML-N. As preparations for the impeachment proceedings advanced, Musharraf announced his resignation as president. The following month Bhutto's husband, Asif Ali Zardari, was elected president. The new government was faced with increased militant Islamist threats—including festering conflicts with militants (fighting resumed in Swat in July, intensified in Bajaur, in the Tribal Areas, in August, and by November had spread to Mohmand, also in the Tribal Areas), an assassination attempt against the prime minister, and a suicide bomb attack on an Islamabad hotel (Sept., 2008) that resulted in many casualties—and a financial meltdown that left the country close to defaulting on its considerable debt.

September also saw increased tensions between Pakistani forces and U.S. forces in Afghanistan after U.S. and Afghan forces conducted a ground raid against Islamists in Pakistan, and Pakistan protested against ongoing U.S. missile strikes against militant targets in Pakistan's Tribal Areas. The Nov., 2008, terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India, by Islamists of Pakistani origin, led to Indian demands that Pakistan take action against those that India said were linked to the terrorism and to increased Indo-Pakistani tensions. Pakistan later (Feb., 2009) acknowledged that the attack had been launched from Pakistan, and said it had arrested a number of persons connected to the attack. In 2010, however, India accused Pakistan's intelligence agency of having assisted in the planning of the attacks. Also in Nov., 2008, the International Monetary Fund approved a $7.6 billion loan package to Pakistan, enabling the country to avoid defaulting on its bond payments.

In Feb., 2009, the government agreed to the establishment of Islamic law in Swat in exchange for a permanent cease-fire. Militants refused, however, to lay down their weapons, and some moved in subsequent weeks into neighboring districts in North West Frontier Prov, where they were opposed by government forces. The Swat-based militants also denounced the Pakistani legal system as un-Islamic. Islamic militants also mounted bombings in a number of major Pakistani cities in early 2009.

In Mar., 2009, growing demonstrations led Zardari to agree to restore the chief justice to office; the government also subsequently announced it would appeal the banning of Sharif and his brother from politics. The supreme court overturned the ban in May, and in July it ruled that Musharraf's emergency rule had been unconstitutional and illegal. In April, the government received pledges of $5.2 billion in foreign aid (over two years) to help finance social programs.

As government forces moved to restore control over areas near Swat, the situation in Swat deteriorated, and in May the military mounted a major offensive against the militants there. In subsequent weeks Islamic militants in response mounted a number of suicide bomb attacks in Pakistani cities, and fighting also intensified in Waziristan and other areas. Some 2 million people were displaced by the fighting. The fighting in Swat was declared largely over by late July and by September four fifths of the residents had returned to Swat. Militant attacks continued in Pakistani cities, however, and in Oct., 2009, the military launched a major offensive against militants based in South Waziristan; after some two weeks of fighting militants largely pulled back, ceding most of their main bases to the military by mid-November. In Mar., 2010, an offensive was launched in Orakzai agency in the Tribal Areas, against militants believed to have fled there from South Waziristan; some 200,000 people were displaced by the fighting. Fighting continued also in Bajaur and other parts of the Tribal Areas.

In Dec., 2009, the supreme court ruled illegal a 2007 Musharraf decree that had declared an amnesty on corruption cases. Benazir Bhutto and the PPP had sought the amnesty in order to end prosecutions begun under Prime Minister Sharif that they asserted were politically motivated, but some 8,000 government officials, politicians, and others were ultimately absolved by the decree. The court also called for any case that was derailed by the decree to be reopened. Pakistan and India resumed talks in Feb., 2010; it was the first meeting since the 2008 Mumbai attacks, and agreed a year later to restart formal peace talks. In Apr., 2010, Pakistan adopted constitutional changes that reduced the powers of the president and increased those of the prime minister and parliament, making the president a largely ceremonial head of state; the powers of the provinces were also increased, and the North-West Frontier Province was renamed Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Beginning in late July, the monsoon season resulted in devastating floods of unprecedented proportions along the Indus and its tributaries that impacted, to a greater or lesser degree, all of the country's provinces and submerged roughly one fifth of its land area. Some 20 million people, the vast majority of them farmers, were affected by the floods, which continued in some areas through September. Some 1,800 died, and the damage was estimated at $9.7 billion. Zadari, who left the country during the crisis, was increasingly unpopular as a result, and the scale of the disaster overwhelmed the government's ability to respond.

Pakistan's government, which was in financial difficulties before the floods, was faced with estimated rebuilding and recovery costs of $30 billion. By December the financial difficulties threatened the government when the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) withdrew from the governing coalition over an impending fuel price increase. Prime Minister Gilani was forced to roll back the increase in early January in order to regain MQM's support, and a sales tax overhaul—a condition imposed by the IMF for the release of additional loans—was postponed. The first week of January also saw the assassination of the governor of Punjab because of his support for reforms to Pakistan's blasphemy laws; in March the minorities minister was similarly killed.

In May, 2011, Osama bin Laden, who was in hiding in Abbottabad, Pakistan, was killed there by U.S. commandos, leading to tense relations between Pakistan and the United States; in July the U.S. government announced significant cuts in U.S. aid to Pakistan. In Sept., 2011, severe monsoon flooding again hit the country, mainly in Sind. Relations with the United States were further strained in November after U.S. forces, under unclear circumstances during nighttime operations, launched deadly air attacks on Pakistani forces by the Afghanistan border.

In early 2012 the Pakistani supreme court sought to force the prime minister to ask Swiss officials to reopen a corruption case against President Zadari; the case was among those affected by the 2007 amnesty that the court overturned in 2009. Prime Minister Gilani refused, arguing that the president had immunity, leading the court to convict Gilani of contempt in Apr., 2012. The court then disqualified Gilani as a member of parliament and prime minister in June. Raja Pervez Ashraf, the minister for water and power and a PPP member, subsequently succeeded Gilani as prime minister; Ashraf subsequently also refused to ask the Swiss to reopen the Zadari corruption case. Ashraf's arrest, on corruption charges relating to his previous post, was ordered by the supreme court in Jan., 2013, but anticorruption officials called the charges questionable and refused to arrest him.

Early 2013 was marked by deadly bombings by Sunni extremists that targeted Shiites in Quetta. In Mar., 2013, parliament was dissolved in anticipation of the May elections; it was the first time that the Pakistani legislature had completed a full term. Mir Hazar Khan Khoso, a retired senior judge, became interim prime minister. Also in March, Musharraf returned to the country from his self-imposed exile abroad with the intention of running for a parliamentary seat. He was disqualified from running, however, and arrested on charges related to the assassination of Benazir Bhutto; he later was charged with other crimes, including treason. The PML-N won a sizable plurality in the May elections, and with the support of some independent members of parliament Nawaz Sharif became prime minister (for the third time) in June. In July, Mamnoon Hussain, a political ally of Sharif, was elected to succeed Zardari as president.

In May, 2014, the government attacked militants in North Waziristan, and launched a larger offensive in June that continued into late 2014; about a million people (and many militants) were reported to have fled in advance of government forces. The Pakistan Taliban, which had ended a truce several weeks prior to the May attack and split into factions favoring and opposed to a peace agreement with the government, launched its own attacks, most notably against Karachi's airport in June and against a Peshawar school (in which more than 130 children were killed) in December. Beginning in August supporters of opposition politician Imran Khan and cleric Tahirul Qadri mounted a series of protests against Sharif's government that at times involved tens of thousands; the protests continued into October but failed to force the prime minister's resignation.


See K. B. Sayeed, Pakistan: The Formative Phase, 1857–1948 (2d ed. 1968); W. N. Brown, The United States and India, Pakistan, Bangladesh (3d ed. 1972); S. M. Burke, Pakistan's Foreign Policy: An Historical Analysis (1973); I. Ahmed, The Concept of an Islamic State (1987); O. Noman, The Political Economy of Pakistan, 1947–85 (1988); B. Bhutto, Daughter of the East (1988); S. F. A. Mahmud, A Concise History of Indo-Pakistan (1989); A. Kapur, Pakistan in Crisis (1991); O. B. Jones, Pakistan (2002); M. A. Weaver, Pakistan (2002); Y. Khan, The Great Partition (2007); F. Shaikh, Making Sense of Pakistan (2009); S. Wolpert, India and Pakistan (2010); R. Gunaratna and K. Iqbal, Pakistan: Terrorism Ground Zero (2011); A. Lieven, Pakistan: A Hard Country (2011); S. P. Cohen, Shooting for a Century: The India-Pakistan Conundrum (2013).

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Shahi Tukra................................................................. 84
Dhal (Lentil Stew) ....................................................... 85
Aaloo Bukhary Ki Chutney (Plum Chutney) ................. 86
Chicken Karaii ............................................................. 86
Raita (Yogurt and Vegetable Salad) ............................. 87
Lassi (Yogurt Drink)..................................................... 88
Kheer (Rice Pudding)................................................... 88


Pakistan lies northwest of India and west of China. The country's name comes from the Urdu language (Pakistan's official language), meaning "Land of the Pure." It is approximately the size of Texas and its southern coast borders the Arabian Sea. The Hindu Kush and Himalayan mountain ranges of northern Pakistan have some of the most rugged land found anywhere in the world. Nearly all of the land in these mountains lies above 7,800 feet. The Indus plains are in the central region of the country. The climate there is hot and dry. The region usually receives only about eight inches of rain a year and temperatures may hover around 104°F for months at a time. Despite these conditions, the Indus plains support the largest part of Pakistan's population.

Urdu is Pakistan's official language, although only 10 percent of Pakistanis speak it. Sixty percent of the population speak Punjabi. Other languages include Sindhi (13 percent); Pushto or Pashtu, spoken by the Pathans (8 percent); and Kashmiri, 2 percent. With this diversity, and because of the role of language in cultural identity, Urdu has been adopted as Pakistan's national language.


The spreading of the Islam religion, starting in the a.d. 700s, forms the basis of Pakistani cuisine. Because Muslims (those who practice the Islam religion) are forbidden to eat pork or consume alcohol, they concentrated on other areas of food such as beef, chicken, fish, and vegetables.

The Moghul Empire (from India) began its ruling in present-day Pakistan around 1526. Its style of cooking, called Mughal, typically includes such ingredients as herbs and spices, almonds, and raisins. Mughal cooking remains an important part of Pakistani cuisine. Foods such as shahi tukra, a dessert made with sliced bread, milk, cream, sugar, and saffron (a type of spice), and chicken tandoori are still enjoyed in the twenty-first century. Chicken tandoori is chicken that is cooked at a low temperature in special large clay ovens called tandoors.

Shahi Tukra


  • 5 slices bread
  • 2 Tablespoons oil
  • 4 Tablespoons sugar
  • 4 cups milk
  • Saffron powder, to taste (optional)
  • Raisins or prunes (dried plums)


  1. Remove the crusts from the bread with a knife. Cut the bread into four triangular pieces.
  2. Heat the oil in a frying pan (over medium heat) and fry the bread pieces one at a time on both sides until golden brown.
  3. In a saucepan, add the milk and sugar and bring to a boil, making a slightly thick sauce.
  4. Add the saffron to the sauce (optional). Reduce heat to low.
  5. Soak the bread slices in the milk sauce and garnish with the raisins or prunes (dried plums). Serve immediately.

Serves 5 to 10.

Pakistan was part of India until 1947. Although Pakistani cuisine has obvious Indian roots (found in its heavy use of spices, for example), its foods reflect Irani, Afghani, Persian, and Western influences to give it its own distinct character. These cultures brought different uses of herbs, flavorings, and sauces to Pakistan, transferring ordinary staple foods into unique dishes.


Pakistan is divided into four provinces, each with different cultures and regional specialties. For example, machli (fish) and other seafood are delicacies in the coastal Sind province. In Baluchistan, (the largest province) located in western Pakistan, cooks use the sajji method of barbecuing whole lambs in a deep pit. The people living in Punjab (eastern Pakistan) are known for their roti (bread) and elaborate cooking preparations. The Pathens, who occupy the Northwest Frontier province, eat a lot of lamb. Their cooking, however, is considered more bland than the other regions. Oven-baked bread eaten with cubes of meat, called nan-kebab, is a favorite Pathen dish.

As a whole, milk, lentils, seasonal sabzi (vegetables), and flour and wheat products are the most abundant foods, forming the basis of Pakistani cuisine. Chapatis is a flat bread made from wheat and is a staple at most meals. It is used to scoop up food in place of eating utensils. Vegetables such as alu (potatoes), gobhi (cabbage), bhindi (okra), channa (chickpeas), and matar (peas) are eaten according to the season. Dhal (or dal ) is a stew made with lentils, one of the most commonly eaten vegetables.

Dhal (Lentil Stew)


  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric (a common spice found in supermarkets)
  • 1½ teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup dried lentils
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  1. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large frying pan or saucepan.
  2. Sauté the onion, garlic, and spices.
  3. Add the water and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until lentils are tender, about 45 minutes.
  5. 5. Remove the cover and simmer over low heat, stirring frequently, about 20 more minutes (until lentils are mushy and thick).
  6. 6. Serve with rice.

Serves 4.

Pakistan offers many fresh fruits that are most plentiful in the summer and autumn months. Mangoes, papayas, bananas, watermelon, apricots, and apples are some examples. Chiku have the taste of a date and the texture of a kiwi fruit. Many Pakistanis eat their fruit (especially watermelon) with a light dusting of salt to offset the sweetness or tartness.

While these dietary staples may seem bland, Pakistani cuisine is rich with sauces and condiments to spice up their dishes. A variety of spices (an Indian influence), such as chili powder, curry, ginger, garlic, coriander, paprika, and cinnamon, are at the heart of Pakistani cuisine. A wide range of chutneys (a relish usually made of fruits, spices, and herbs), pickles, and preserves that accompany meats and vegetables give Pakistani cuisine its distinct flavor.

Aaloo Bukhary Ki Chutney (Plum Chutney)


  • 1 cup prunes (dried plums)
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup vinegar
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • Cayenne pepper, to taste
  • Red chili powder, to taste


  1. In a saucepan, add the water, salt, peppers, and chili powder to dried plums.
  2. Bring to a boil and cook until plums are tender, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add sugar.
  3. Stir, and cook until the sugar melts and the mixture thickens, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add the vinegar and bring the mixture to a boil, about 2 minutes.
  5. Serve warm or at room temperature as a condiment with roti (bread), meat, or vegetables.

Those who can afford it eat meats such as sheep, poultry, and sometimes gayka gosht (beef). There are a number of ways meat is prepared in Pakistan. Karai is a method where the meat is cooked with vegetables and served in its own pan. Jalfrezi is meat stir-fried with tomatoes, egg, and chilies. Tikka and bhoti kebab both refer to meat grilled on a spit (a slender rod or skewer) over an open fire.

Chicken Karaii


  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 cup tomatoes, chopped
  • ¼ cup green chilies, finely chopped
  • 4 teaspoons fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon allspice powder
  • ½ cup vegetable oil


  1. In a saucepan, boil the chicken in the water for 5 minutes. Remove the chicken and set aside.
  2. In a frying pan, heat oil over medium heat and add the tomatoes.
  3. Stir and cook the tomatoes until they form a thick paste.
  4. Add the ginger, salt, allspice, black pepper and chicken.
  5. Cook on low heat until the chicken is tender.
  6. Add the green chilies and cook for 2 minutes.

Serves 4 to 6.

In rural areas, meat is saved for a special occasion. Eating pork is forbidden for Muslims, who make up about 97 percent of Pakistan's population. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, mutton (sheep) and beef are not supposed to be sold or served in public places in Pakistan (although the reason for this is considered economic, not religious). Seafood and machli (fish) are commonly eaten in Karachi, located on the coast of the Arabian Sea.

There are a number of foods to cool off the spicy flavors of a Pakistani meal. Dãi (yogurt) can be eaten plain or used in lassi. Lassi is a drink made with yogurt, ice, and sugar for breakfast, or salt for lunch or dinner. Raita is a yogurt curd with cumin and vegetables. Baked yams and sita (boiled or roasted corn on the cob) may also accompany a spicy dish.

Raita (Yogurt and Vegetable Salad)


  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 3 to 4 cups mixed vegetables, such as raw spinach and cucumber, cooked potatoes or eggplant
  • ½ cup onion, chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh mint, minced
  • ½ teaspoon each cumin, salt, and black pepper


  1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Mix well.

Serves 6 to 8.

Lassi (Yogurt Drink)

This popular drink can be enjoyed sweet or salty. Pakistanis usually drink lassi sweet for breakfast, or salty for lunch or dinner.


  • 3 cups plain yogurt
  • 3 to 4 ice cubes
  • 1 teaspoon salt or sugar
  • ½ cup water


  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Pour into individual glasses.

Serves 3 or 4.

Pakistanis may enjoy such desserts as kheer (rice puding) or kulfi (pistachio ice cream). Some sweet shops may sell jalebi, which are deep-fried orange "pretzels" made with flour, yogurt, and sugar, and barfi, made from dried milk solids. Offering sweets to one another to celebrate happy events is a popular Pakistani tradition.

Kheer (Rice Pudding)


  • 1 cup rice, uncooked
  • ½ gallon milk
  • ¼ cup almonds or pistachios, crushed
  • 1½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup raisins


  1. Combine the rice and milk in a large saucepan and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat to low and add the sugar and nuts. Stir.
  3. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle with raisins. Serve hot or cold.

Serves 4.


The majority of Pakistanis are Muslims, about 97 percent. The other 3 percent include Hindus, Christians, Buddhists, and Baha'is. Within the Muslim community, the majority are Sunnis, and about 25 percent are Shi'ah. The difference between these two Muslim groups generally lies in a dispute of authority, not beliefs.

The two major religious festivals celebrated by the Muslim Pakistanis are Id al-Fitr (also spelled Eid al-Fitr), which celebrates the end of Ramadan, and Bakr-Id, the feast of sacrifice. Ramadan is the Muslim month of fasting from sunrise to sunset. This means that no food or drinks, including water, may be consumed during that time. Most restaurants and food shops are closed during daylight hours. Breakfast must be finished before the sun rises, and the evening meal is eaten after the sun goes down. Children under the age of 12 are encouraged, but generally not expected, to fast.

During Ramadan, Muslims rise before dawn to eat a meal called suhur (pronounced soo-HER). Foods containing grains and seeds, along with dates and bananas, are commonly eaten because they are considered slow to digest. This helps to ease hunger during the fast. At sunset, the day's fast is broken with iftar, a meal that traditionally starts with eating a date. After that, water, fruit juice, or lassi, and snacks such as samosas (meat or vegetable-filled pastries) are eaten, followed by dinner. Dinner may include tandoori chicken or lamb. If a family can afford it, dinner is shared with those less fortunate.

Id al-Fitr, or the "Feast of Fast Breaking," is celebrated after the month of Ramadan ends. Family and friends visit and eat festive meals throughout the day. Families use their best dishes, and bowls of fruit are set out on the table. Meats such as beef, lamb, and fish (in coastal areas) are eaten along with rice, chapatis, and desserts.

Bakr-Id is an occasion to give and sacrifice. A bakri (goat), sheep, camel, or any other four-legged animal is slaughtered as a sacrificial offering, and the meat is given out to the poor and needy. Muslims who can afford two meals a day are expected to sacrifice an animal.


Nihari derives its name from the Urdu word nihar, which means "morning." A nihari breakfast in Pakistan can be very filling. Nehari (stewed beef), and mango are common breakfast items. Sometimes a dish made of meat cooked with chilies and other spices is cooked overnight to be consumed for breakfast the next morning, when it is eaten with naan, a type of bread, or parata, which is a flat cake fried in oil. Women prepare breakfast and all other meals for their family.

Pakistani lunch and dinner dishes are similar. Roti (bread), chawal (rice), sabzi (vegetables), and gosht (meat) are the main elements of a meal. Chapatis or naan accompanies every meal. Rice is usually boiled or fried. Some rice dishes include kabuli pulau, made with raisins, and biryani, rice cooked in a yogurt and meat sauce. For the main dish, qorma (meat curry in gravy), qofta (lamb meatballs), or nargasi qofta (minced beef and egg) might be served. Water may be offered at the beginning or after a meal to quench thirst, but rarely while eating.

Street vendors offer a variety of drinks and snacks. Chai, or tea, is a very popular drink. It is usually boiled with milk, nutmeg, and sugar. Lassi (a yogurt drink) and sugarcane juice are popular during the summer months. Another refreshing summer drink is nimbu paani, or "fresh lime." It is made of crushed ice, salt, sugar, soda water, and lime juice. Samosas are deep-fried pastries filled with potatoes, chickpeas, or other vegetables and are a popular snack. Other snacks are tikka (spicy barbequed meat) and pakoras (deep-fried vegetables).


The use of child labor in Pakistan is widespread. Children not only work on farms, but in low-paying carpet weaving centers. In the mid 1990s, between 500,000 to 1 million Pakistani children aged 4 to 14 worked as full-time carpet weavers. UNICEF believed that they made up almost 90 percent of the carpet makers' work force. Little has been done to enforce child labor laws. In 1999, the United Nations got involved by setting up 300 schools in eastern Pakistan to encourage education for children in schools, not trade.

Because of overpopulation only about 56 percent of Pakistanis have proper sanitation and access to safe drinking water. About 19 percent of the population of Pakistan are classified as undernourished by the World Bank. This means they do not receive adequate nutrition in their diet. Of children under the age of five, about 40 percent are underweight, and over 50 percent are stunted (short for their age). The Pakistani government has established several programs to improve these conditions, including the Child Survival/Primary Health Care program, to reduce malnutrition and deaths due to diseases.



Amin, Mohamed. We Live In Pakistan. New York: Bookwright Press, 1985.

Pakistan. Melbourne, Australia: Lonely Planet Publications, 1998.

Spectrum Guide to Pakistan. Brooklyn, NY: Interlink Books, 1998.

Weston, Mark. The Land and People of Pakistan. Armonk, NY: HarperCollins, 1992.

Web Sites

Asia Recipes. [Online] Available (accessed April 16, 2001).

Contact Pakistan. [Online] Available (accessed April 16, 2001). [Online] Available (accessed April 16, 2001).

Mississippi State University. [Online] Available (accessed April 16, 2001).

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Official name: Islamic Republic of Pakistan

Area: 803,940 square kilometers (310,403 square miles)

Highest point on mainland: K2 (Mount Godwin-Austen) (8,611 meters/28,251 feet)

Lowest point on land: Sea level

Hemispheres: Northern and Eastern

Time zone: 5 p.m. = noon GMT

Longest distances: 1,875 kilometers (1,165 miles) from northeast to southwest; 1,006 kilometers (625 miles) from southeast to northwest

Land boundaries: 6,774 kilometers (4,209 miles) total boundary length; China 523 kilometers (325 miles); India 2,912 kilometers (1,809 miles); Iran 909 kilometers (565 miles); Afghanistan 2,430 kilometers (1,510 miles)

Coastline: 1,046 kilometers (650 miles)

Territorial sea limits: 22 kilometers (12 nautical miles)


Pakistan is located in South Asia between the Himalaya Mountains and the Arabian Seawest of India, east of Iran and Afghanistan, and south of China. The nation is almost two times the size of California, and is divided up into four provinces and one territory.


Since their creation as independent countries in 1947, India and Pakistan have disputed ownership of the northern region of Jammu and Kashmir. The simmering tension has erupted into fighting between the neighbors in 1948, 1965, and 1971; the dispute continues to be a source of sporadic conflict in the early 2000s.


Pakistan is in the temperate zone and varies greatly in weather conditionsfrom the humid coast to the dry, hot desert interior to the icy mountains in the north. Four seasons are experienced in the country: winter from December through February; a hot, dry spring from March through May; the arrival of the southwest monsoon from June through September; and the northeast monsoon from October through November. In the north and west, the rainy season occurs during the winter

The northern capital, Islamabad, has average temperatures ranging from a low of 2°C (35°F) in January to a high of 40°C (104°F) in June. The southern port of Karachi has average temperatures varying from a low of 13°C (55°F) in winter to a high of 34°C (93°F) in summer.

Arid conditions prevail in most of Pakistan, which misses the full force of the monsoons. Punjab has had major fluctuations in monsoon rainfall, with droughts in some years and floods in others. On Pakistan's plains, the average annual rainfall is a mere 13 centimeters (5 inches), while in the highlands it is 89 centimeters (35 inches). Hailstorms are common, and snow falls in the north in winter. The lofty mountains of the north are permanently cloaked in snow and ice.


Pakistan can be divided into three major geographic areas: the northern highlands, the Indus River plain, and the Baluchistan Plateau. About one-third of the Pakistan-India border is also the cease-fire line in the Jammu and Kashmir region, disputed between the two countries since their independence.

Pakistan lies at the border of three tec-tonic plates: the Arabian, Indian, and Eurasian. The Arabian Plate meets with the Eurasian Plate at the coastline in southeastern Pakistan. On Pakistan's eastern and northeastern border, the Eurasian Plate collides with the Indian Plate; as a result, seismic activity is high along this border. The region surrounding Quetta is also prone to frequent and devastating earthquakes.


Seacoast and Undersea Features

The coastline of Pakistan meets the Arabian Sea of the northern Indian Ocean.

Sea Inlets and Straits

There are no notable sea inlets or straits in Pakistan.

Islands and Archipelagos

Pakistan's only major offshore island is Astola (Haft Talar), about 25 kilometers (15 miles) south of Baluchistan in the Arabian Sea, with an area of 50 square kilometers (19 square miles). Astola is a turtle-nesting area and a bird and reptile habitat.

Coastal Features

Baluchistan's Ormara Turtle Beaches, about 10 kilometers (6 miles) along the western coast, are a habitat for endangered sea turtles; mud volcanoes also sputter along this shore. The central coast is indented by Sonmiani Bay. The coast has few settlements, except for Pakistan's largest city, the port of Karachi. The city's beaches are badly polluted by oil spills, sewage, and industrial toxic waste, all of which pours directly into the ocean.


In Pakistan's southeast is Manchhar Lake, once a large body of fresh water (roughly 259 square kilometers/100 square miles) and a major habitat for birds and fish. Pollution and water diversion have shrunk the lake dramatically, however, and made its waters increasingly saline. Other lakes in the lower Indus region face extinction, including Kerjhar Lake and Hammal Lake. Kinjhar (Kalri) Lake, Haleji Lake, and Drigh Lake are wildlife sanctuaries in this region. Further north are the Khabbaki, Uchali and Jahlar Lakes. The far-northern basin known as Snow Lake is a massive snowbed, comprising the Sim Gang Glacier and a frozen glacial lake with ice more than 15 kilometers (9 miles) thick.


The Indus River is an irrigation lifeline for much of the country. The Indus rises in the Tibetan Himalayas. After crossing the Indian-administered portion of Jammu and Kashmir, it enters Pakistan and flows southwest for 1,609 kilometers (1,000 miles) to the Arabian Sea. At Attock, the Indus receives the waters of the Kabul River from the west. After being joined by the Gumal River, the Indus continues south to Mithanhot, where it is joined by its major tributary, the Panjnad. The short Panjnad River, about 121 kilometers (75 miles) long, is actually the combined input of the "five rivers of the Punjab": the Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas, and Sutlej. The principal river of Baluchistan is the Zhob, running along the southern slopes of the Toba Kakar Range and north into the Gumal River. In southern Baluchistan, several minor rivers flow into the Arabian Sea; these include the Dasht, Mashkai, Nal, and Porali.


Pakistan's Thal Desert is south of the Salt Range, between the Indus and Jhelum Rivers. The Thar Desert (Cholistan Desert) lies south of the Sutlej River along the Pakistan-India border. Both these Pakistani desert regions are extensions of India's Thar Desert.

The Baluchistan Plateau is largely a desert area with erosion, sand dunes, and sandstorms. There is also a dry region in the northern Chilas-Gilgit area. In addition to existing deserts, the environmental change called desertification is occurring across Pakistan, with more than one-third of the country considered at risk. Deforestation, depletion of soil, and water shortages are causing desertification as vegetation is cut and stripped away.


The upper Indus River plain, in Punjab, varies from about 152 to 304 meters (500 to 1,000 feet) in elevation. The lower Indus Plain, generally corresponding to the province of Sind, is lower in altitude. On the Indus plain, grasslands called doabs provide grazing on the strips of land between rivers.

Coniferous and deciduous forests, scrub woods, mangrove forests, and tree plantations grow in Pakistan. Some 40 percent of the forests are conifer or scrub woods, found mainly in mountain watershed areas. Pakistan's forest cover has been reduced to less than four percent of the land area. Deforestation in northern Pakistan has caused severe erosion.

The Margalla Hills, 610 to 914 meters (2,000 to 3,000 feet) high, are foothills of the northern mountains that overlook Islamabad, the capital. The Swat and Chitral Hills in the northwest have heights of 1,524 to 1,829 meters (5,000 to 6,000 feet).


The northern highlands are a convergence of some of the most rugged mountains in the world. The Himalayas stretch from northeast India to the northeast corner of Pakistan, where they merge into the Karakoram and Pamirs mountain ranges. West of the Pamirs are the heights and steep valleys of the Hindu Kush.

In the northern mountains, virtually all elevations are higher than 2,438 meters (8,000 ft) above sea level. More than fifty peaks are above 6,705 meters (22,000 feet). The soaring summits of K2 (Mount Godwin Austen) in the Karakoram Range, the world's second-highest mountain (8,611 meters/28,251 feet), and Nanga Parbat (8,126 meters/26,660 feet) in the Himalayan range, have posed often-deadly challenges to climbing expeditions. Enormous glaciers sprawl across this region, including Baltoro and Pasu, each of which is longer than 50 kilometers (31 miles).

The Safed Koh range south of the northern highlands and west of the Indus River plain reaches 4,761 meters (15,620 feet) in its extension to the Afghanistan border. This area includes the strategic Khyber Pass, which connects the Peshawar Valley to Afghanistan. South of the Safed Koh and near the border are the mountains of Waziristan. Beyond them, the Toba Kakar range, with an average elevation of about 2,743 meters (9,000 feet), extends from northern Baluchistan to the Khojak Pass. The Rās Koh range, west of the city of Quetta, and the Chagai Hills extending further west complete the western highlands.


Northern Pakistan has many narrow, twisting canyons, particularly in Hunza. The Indus River rushes through the steep Attock Gorge near the Khyber Pass.


The Baluchistan Plateau, at an elevation of 914 to 1,219 meters (3,000 to 4,000 feet), is an arid tableland of approximately 350,945 square kilometers (135,000 square miles). The Potwar Plateau, at the foot of the mountains south of Islamabad, is a dry, eroded area where most of Pakistan's oil is located.


Pakistan has two major river dams. In northern Punjab, near Kashmir, the Mangla Dam sits on the Jhelum River. The Tarbela Dam is situated on the Indus near Taxila. Dams on the Indus River, built for hydropower or agricultural water diversion, have been extremely controversial. The provincial governments of Sind and Baluchistan believe that Punjab Province is diverting too much water from the Indus. Intensive irrigation has led to a crisis of water-logging and salinity throughout the farmlands of the Indus Basin. In this geological syndrome, salty water seeps from canals into surrounding soil, which the salt renders useless for farming as the water evaporates.



Britton, Tamara L. Pakistan. Edina, MN: Abdo, 2003.

Deady, Kathleen. Pakistan. Mankato, MN: Bridgestone Books, 2001.

Schofield, Victoria. Kashmir in Conflict: India, Pakistan, and the Unfinished War. New York: I.B. Taurus, 2000.

Web Sites

Islamic Republic of Pakistan. (accessed March 6, 2003).

Pakistan News Service. (accessed March 6, 2003).

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796,100sq km (307,374sq mi)



capital (population):

Islamabad (529,180)


Federal republic

ethnic groups:

Punjabi 60%, Sindhi 12%, Pushtun 13%, Baluch, Muhajir


Urdu (official)


Islam 97%, Christianity, Hinduism


Pakistan rupee = 100 paisa

Republic in s Asia. The Islamic Republic of Pakistan divides into the four provinces of Baluchistan, North-West Frontier Province, Punjab and Sind. The mountains of the Hindu Kush extend along the nw border with Afghanistan. In n Pakistan lies the disputed territory of Kashmir. This mountainous region is occupied by Pakistan but claimed by India. It contains the world's second highest-peak, K2, at 8611m (28,251ft), in the Karakoram range. At the foot of the mountains lies Pakistan's capital, Islamabad, and the city of Rawalpindi. The River Indus and its four main tributaries (Jhelum, Beas, Ravi, and Sutlej) drain the Punjab plains. Lahore lies on the border with India. The alluvial plain continues into Sind, which includes Hyderabad and Karachi. Baluchistan is an arid plateau region.

Climate and Vegetation

Most of Pakistan has hot summers and cool winters. Rainfall is sparse, except in the monsoon season (June–October). Forests grow on mountain slopes, but most of Pakistan is covered by dry grassland.

History and Politics

The Indus Valley civilization developed c.4500 years ago. Waves of invaders later entered the area. The Kushans conquered the entire region in the 2nd century ad. Arabs conquered Sind in 712 and introduced Islam. In 1206, Pakistan became part of the Delhi Sultanate. In 1526, the Mogul Empire supplanted the Sultanate and introduced Urdu. In the late 18th century, Ranjit Singh conquered the Punjab and introduced Sikhism.

The early 19th century saw the emergence of the British East India Company as a dominant force. The British conquered Sind (1843), Punjab (1849), and much of Baluchistan in the 1850s. Pathans in the nw resisted subjection, and the British created a separate province in 1901. The dominance of Hindus in British India led to the formation of the Muslim League (1906). In the 1940s, the League's leader, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, gained popular support for the idea of a separate state of Pakistan (Urdu, ‘land of the pure’) in Muslim-majority areas.

British India achieved independence in 1947, and was partitioned into India and Pakistan. The resulting mass migration and communal violence claimed more than 500,000 lives. In 1947, the long-standing war with India over Kashmir began. Jinnah became Pakistan's first governor general. Muslim Pakistan was divided into two parts: East Bengal and West Pakistan, more than 1600km (1000mi) apart. Pakistan faced huge political and administrative problems. In 1955, East Bengal became East Pakistan, and in 1956 Pakistan became a republic within the Commonwealth of Nations. General Muhammad Ayub Khan led a military coup in 1958, and established presidential rule in 1960. His dictatorship brought constitutional changes, but failed to satisfy East Pakistan's claim for greater autonomy. The pro-independence Awami League won a landslide victory in the 1970 elections in East Pakistan. In 1971, East Pakistan declared independence as Bangladesh. West Pakistani troops invaded. The ensuing civil war killed hundreds of thousands of people, and millions fled to India. India sent troops to support Bangladesh. West Pakistan was forced to surrender and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto assumed control. In 1977 a military coup, led by General Zia-ul-Haq, deposed Bhutto. In 1978, Zia proclaimed himself president and Bhutto was hanged for murder.

During the 1980s, Pakistan received US aid for providing a safe haven for Mujaheddin fighters in the war in Afghanistan. In 1985, Zia ended martial law. In 1988, Zia dismissed Parliament, but died shortly after in a mysterious plane crash. The Pakistan People's Party (PPP) won the ensuing elections and Benazir Bhutto, daughter of Zulfikar, became president. Charged with nepotism and corruption, she was removed from office in 1990. The Islamic Democratic Alliance, led by Nawaz Sharif, won the ensuing elections. In 1991, Islamic law gained precedence over civil law. Sharif also faced charges of corruption, and lost the 1993 elections to Benazir Bhutto. In 1994, inspired by a militant campaign for an autonomous Karachi province, civil disorder flared in Sind. Bhutto was again dismissed on corruption charges in 1996. Nawaz Sharif won a landslide victory in 1997 elections. In 1998, Pakistan became the world's seventh nuclear power. In 1999, a military coup, led by General Pervez Musharraf, ousted Sharif. The Commonwealth suspended Pakistan. Musharraf gave support to the US in the war against al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. There is persistent civil disorder in Sind as insurgents struggle for an autonomous province of Karachi.


Pakistan is a low-income developing country (2000 GDP per capita, US$2000). Pakistan faces a foreign debt of US$21 billion. The economy is based on agriculture, which employs c.47% of the workforce. Pakistan has one of the world's largest irrigation systems. It is the world's third-largest producer of wheat. Other crops include cotton, fruit, rice, and sugar cane. Pakistan produces natural gas and coal, as well as iron ore, chromite, and stone. Major products include clothing and textiles. Small-scale craft industries, such as carpets, are also important.

Political map

Physical map


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PAKISTANI ENGLISH Short forms PakE, PE. The English language as used in Pakistan, a variety of SOUTH ASIAN ENGLISH close to that of northern India. English has had co-official status with URDU since independence in 1947, but the constitution of 1959 and the amendments of 1968, 1972, and 1985 recognize URDU as pre-eminent and restrict the use of English, the aim being its eventual replacement. Both are minority languages. In 1981, the president appointed a study whose report recommended that ‘Urdu should continue to be the only medium of instruction at the school level, with no exception’ (1982), but that English and ARABIC be introduced as additional languages from class six (sixth grade: age 11); a federal agency should ensure that the policy is implemented. English is an important medium in a number of leading educational institutions. It is the main language of technology, international business, and communication among a national élite, and a major element in the media. The constitution and the laws of the land are codified in English, and the Pakistan Academy of Letters recognizes works in English for its literature award. It also has a considerable influence on the vernacular languages; S. Hands notes that in personal interaction, ‘the use of an English word is believed to add a note of refinement and elegance to conversation in the “lower” languages’ (Pakistan: A Country Study, 4th edition, The American University, Washington, DC, 1983).

Pronunciation and grammar

(1) PakE is RHOTIC, tends to be syllable-timed, and shares many features with northern INDIAN ENGLISH. (2) Some pronunciation features are typical of speakers of regional languages: for example, speakers of Punjabi have difficulty with such initial consonant clusters as /sk, sp/ (saying ‘səport’ and ‘səkool’ for sport and school); Urdu speakers also have difficulty with initial consonant clusters (saying ‘isport’ and ‘iskool’ for sport and school); Pashto speakers have no such difficulty, but use /p/ for /f/ (‘pood’ for food). (3) Distinctive grammatical features relate to uses of the verb, article, relative clause, preposition, and adjective and verb complementation, all shared with IndE. Features of the indigenous languages influence use of English and CODE-MIXING AND CODE-SWITCHING are common, including among the highly educated.


(1) BORROWINGS from Urdu and the regional languages: atta flour, tehsil district, ziarat religious place. (2) LOAN TRANSLATIONS from these languages: cousin-brother. (3) Terms shared with Indian English: crore ten million, lakh one hundred thousand, -wallah a word element denoting ‘one who does something as an occupation’, as with policewallah. (4) Hybrids of English and local languages: biradarism favouring one's clan or family, gheraoed surrounded by protesters in an office or similar place and unable to leave, goondaism hooliganism, thuggish behaviour. (5) English words, especially compounds, adapted for local use: age-barred over the age for (particular work), load-shedding intermittently shutting off a supply of electricity.

Media and literature

Pakistan has a strong English-language press. Most major cities have daily and weekly newspapers; in all, there are 20 dailies, 35 weeklies, 33 fortnightlies, 152 monthlies, and 111 quarterlies. They include The Muslim, Daily News, Dawn, Morning News, Star, Pakistan Times, and Khyber Mail. Pakistani literature in English is developing in various genres and several writers have acquired national and international recognition, such as Ahmad Ali, Bapsi Sidhwa, Zulfikar Ghose, A. Hashmi, and Hanif Kureishi. The educated variety used by Pakistan radio and television serves as the model for teaching and learning English throughout the country.

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Pakistan was created, and achieved its independence, on 15 August 1947 as the result of a partition of British India. It consisted of the former provinces of Sindh, Baluchistan, and the North-West Frontier together with the east of Bengal and the west of Punjab. These were all regions with a Muslim-majority population. Although Hindu–Muslim religious conflict had intensified during the 19th cent., it was not until the 1930s that the idea of a separate Muslim-majority state gained any currency. Not until the 1940s did the majority areas themselves, where the Hindu ‘threat’ was limited, show enthusiasm. M. A. Jinnah, the leader of the Muslim League, was the principal advocate of Pakistan. However, it is unclear that the Pakistan that emerged was at all what he demanded. The country, as it came into existence, was bereft of Kashmir, truncated between western and eastern halves, and disruptive of long-standing cultural, economic, and communications linkages with regions still in India. Chaotic conditions at the time of partition also led to at least half a million people being killed in ferocious ‘communal’ violence. The precise form that partition took, and the severity of loss of life, owed most to the precipitate withdrawal of the British under Lord Mountbatten. Since independence Pakistan has enjoyed a chequered history. Tensions with India have remained high and have led to three wars. East Pakistan seceded in 1971, amidst much bloodshed, to form the independent state of Bangladesh. Full general elections were not held until 1970 and democratic institutions have remained at risk from military coups.

David Anthony Washbrook

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Culture Name


Alternative Names

While the official name of the nation is the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, generally the country has been referred to as Pakistan since 1971.


Identification. As part of India's independence from Great Britain in 1947, a partition took part of their land and created Pakistan as a separate Islamic nation. It is estimated that approximately 95 percent of the population are Muslim, but members of several minority religions live there, including some Hindus, Christians, Parsis, Sikhs, and Buddhists. Although the modern nation of Pakistan was but fifty-three years old in 2000, it has territorial areas and tribal populations whose histories date back many centuries; thus Pakistan has both an ancient and a relatively new identity.

Location and Geography. Pakistan is in South Asia and is 339,697 square miles (879,815 square kilometers) in area. It was created from what had been the northwest side of India. All of the country except the southern portion is landlocked, with Afghanistan to the northwest, Jammu and Kashmir to the northeast, India to the east and southeast, and Iran to the west. In the southern portion, along the shores of the city of Karachi, which was the original capital when the nation was formed in l947, is the Arabian Sea. Karachi is well known for its shorelines. Most of the northern section of the country consists of mountains and also the famous Khyber Pass, whose history goes back several thousand years. It is in this northern section where most of the ancient tribes still live and where many ancient tribal cultures and customs still exist.

Pakistan consists of several provinces, including Punjab, Sind, North-West Frontier, Baluchistan, and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).

The city of Islamabad, which is centrally located in the country, was officially named the capital of Pakistan in 1961, and construction began on government buildings in addition to others. Islamabad became the active capital in 1966. In addition to modern government buildings it also features a wide variety of modern hotels, an international airport, and the nearby famous ancient city of Rawalpindi.

In addition to being known for a number of mountains, including K-2, which is the second-highest mountain in world, Pakistan also has several lakes and rivers, including the Indus River, which is 1,800 miles (2,896 kilometers) long. Pakistan also has several deserts, in Punjab and Sind. Pakistan is also home to Taxila, the oldest known university in the world. In the north, leading from China, through Tammu and Kashmir, is a famous ancient silk road.

Pakistan is diverse. There are snowcapped mountains in the north, sunny beaches in the south, and a wide variety of geographically and culturally interesting sites elsewhere.

Demography. The population of Pakistan is estimated to be 135 million. An estimated 40 million live in urban areas, with the balance in rural areas. In addition to the residents of the major cities of Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, and Peshawar, which is the city at the edge of the Kybher Pass gateway, a number of tribal residents live in valleys. These include Chitral Valley, at an elevation of 3,800 feet (1,158 meters), where the majority of the people are Muslims but that also is home to the Kafir-Kalash (wearers of the black robe), a primitive pagan tribe. In Swat Valley, which was once the cradle of Buddhism, Muslim conquerors fought battles and residents claim to be descendants of soldiers of Alexander the Great. In the Hunza Valley, people are noted for longevity, which they claim is because of diet and way of life. The people of Hunza Valley are Muslims and also are believed to be descendants of soldiers of Alexander the Great. In North-West Frontier Province is Kaghan Valley, which is bounded on the west by Swat Valley, on the north by Gilgit, and on the east by Azad Kashmir. The people of Kaghan Valley are Muslim-Pathans as well as Kohistanis and Gujars. Shardu Valley is the capital of the district of Baltistan and is known as "Little Tibet" because the lifestyle there is similar to that in Tibet itself. The people of each of these valley areas are well known for their tribal cultures, handicrafts, and for fascinating clothing, most of which is woven and handmade there and unique to their particular area.

Linguistic Affiliation. The official language of Pakistan is Urdu, but most public officials, people, and others in Pakistan also speak English; English is referred to as the informal official language of Pakistan. Urdu was created by combining the languages of early invaders and settlers, including Arabic, Persian, and Turkish. The spoken form of Urdu is the same as that of Hindi but it is written in a different script than Hindi.

While Urdu and English are prevalent throughout Pakistan, a number of other languages are spoken in different valleys and areas. These include the Punjaki, Sindhi, Pushto, Balochi, Brahvi, Saraiki, and Hindko dialects, among others.

Symbolism. The design of Pakistan's flag was officially adopted by the country's Constituent Assembly in July 1947, it was flown for the first time on their independence day, 14 August l947. The flag was designed by Ali Jinnah, the man acclaimed as the founder of Pakistan. There is a thick white strip on the left side of the flag; the rest of the flag has a dark green background with a white crescent and a five-pointed star centered on it. The white represents peace, and the dark green represents prosperity. The crescent stands for progress, and the star stands for light, guidance, and knowledge. Pakistan also has a national emblem. In the middle of a circled wreath of jasmine flowers is a shield that has four sections, each of which shows a major product of the country from when the country was created. One section shows cotton, another shows wheat, one tea, and one jute. Above the four sections are the crescent and star, as on the national flag. On a scroll beneath the wreath is written in Urdu "Faith, Unity, Discipline."

History and Ethnic Relations

Emergence of the Nation. For many years India sought independence from Great Britain. During most of those years the Muslim League of India was also striving to establish an independent Islamic nation. The Muslim leader was Ali Jinnah from as early as 1916; in 1940 he began advocating and working for a separate Muslim state. When the British finally agreed to India's independence and withdrew in 1947, Pakistan became a Muslim nation, with Ali Jinnah as its first governor-general. Originally it was divided into two parts. The nation now called Pakistan was then called West Pakistan, and on the opposite side of India, some 1,000 miles (1,609 kilometers) away, was another Muslim area, designated East Pakistan. In 1956 Pakistan became a republic. In 1971 East Pakistan waged a successful war of independence from West Pakistan and became the independent nation of Bangladesh.

While the history of Pakistan as an independent nation dates only to 1947, the history of the territory it encompasses dates back many thousands of years, during the period when the territory was a portion of the Indian subcontinent. In addition, the land is home to the famous Khyber Pass, which is the route that many invaders into India used. These include Mogul invaders and Alexander the Great. Many centuries ago a number of Buddhists also used that northern section as a route, so Pakistan today has many interesting Buddhist sites and historical notes as part of its history. Punjab is also a portion of the country; it was the home of the founder of the Sikh religion, and it continues to play a significant role in Pakistan. Lines of demarcation between India and Pakistan in northern border areas are unclear in places or in dispute, and controversy continues to surround these lines.

National Identity. The national identity of Pakistan today is that of an Islamic nation; it was created as such. However, because the territory that is now Pakistan has a history that goes back several thousand years, the area has a history that forms part of the present identity of Pakistan. That is one of the reasons why both residents and visitors find the relatively young nation of Pakistan historically interesting and why the national identity includes many sites and stories that are centuries older than the nation itself.

Ethnic Relations. There are at least five ethnic groups within Pakistan. In general, there are not continuous or frequent problems between the different ethnic groups other than ethnic tensions in Sind, which occur somewhat regularly.

Urbanism, Architecture and the Use of Space

Because of the relative newness (1966) of the capital city of Islamabad, it features modern architecture arrayed under a master plan. In addition to modern capital buildings, Islamabad is also home to the famous Shah Faisal Mosque, which is so large that the prayer hall can accommodate ten thousand persons, while verandas and porticoes can hold more than twenty-four thousand worshipers. It also has a courtyard that has enough space for forty thousand people.

Islamabad also has a sports complex, art galleries, a museum of natural history, and four universities.

Other sites in and near Islamabad include Rawal Lake; the Rose and Jasmine Garden, the Murghzar Mini Zoo and Children's Park; and the Shakarparian Hills, whose terraced garden features views of other hills, Rawal Lake, and the cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad.

The ancient city of Rawalpindi, on the border of Islamabad, has a history that dates back three thousand years. While many new modern buildings have been added to this city, it has retained much of its historical look and is well known for its bazaars that specialize in handicrafts. Rawalpindi is home to Linquat Memorial Hall with a large auditorium and library; Ayub National Park; and the Rawalpindi Golf Course, which was completed in 1926 but is still in regular use.

Another well-known urban area is Lahore, founded four thousand years ago. Lahore was the cultural center of the Mogul Empire, which glorified it with palaces, gardens, and mosques. It is the second-largest city in Pakistan and the capital of Punjab. Some of its historical sites include the Royal Fort, which was built in 1566 by Akbar the Great, and Wazir Khan's mosque, which was built in 1683 and is still considered one of the most beautiful mosques in all of South Asia.

Another ancient but still famous site in Lahore is the Shalimar Gardens, which were originally laid out in 1642 by Mogul emperor Shah-Jehan. The garden is surrounded by high walls and a watchtower at each of the four corners. The garden is used as the site of regular special state receptions. Lahore is also home to several other well-known mosques, museums, and parks.

A more recent historical site in Lahore is the Minar-e-Pakistan, where a resolution was passed in 1940 demanding creation of a separate homeland for the Muslims. The minar is an estimated 197 feet (60 meters) high.

Another equally well-known urban area is the city of Karachi, which was the first capital of Pakistan. Karachi is in the south of the nation and in addition to being a modern city on the shores of the Arabian Sea, it has a number of interesting sites, including the Masjid-e-Tooba which is said to be the largest single-dome mosque, and several art galleries and bazaars. It has a wide variety of water sports and remains the center of commerce and industry.

There are a number of other urban areas throughout Pakistan, but one of the best known is the city of Peshawar, which is the northernmost major city and is home to the gateway to the Khyber Pass. Peshawar is a city of Pathan tribals who are also Muslims. Alexander the Great and parts of his army stayed in this city for forty days in 327 b.c.e. Balahissar Fort is on both the eastern and western approaches to the city, and it is from near here that one can take a train along the mountain routes of the Khyber Pass. While the city is centuries old, the modern Peshawar is well known for its bazaars and for several colleges and a university.

Food and Economy

Food in Daily Life. Because at least 95 percent of the Pakistani population is Muslim, there are two food customs that are followed almost universally. One is that Muslims do not eat pork (therefore beef, chicken, lamb, and fish are the basic foods), and the other is that during the month of Ramadan, fasting is a daily activity.

Spices and curry are an essential part of any Pakistani recipe. The most prevalent spices include chili powder, tumeric, garlic, paprika, black and red pepper, cumin seed, bay leaf, coriander, cardamom, cloves, ginger, cinnamon, saffron, nutmeg, and poppy seeds, among others. Using yogurt to marinate meats is another typical recipe. Because of the use of spices and curry for the main dish, the usual side dish is plain rice. Lentils are another common specialty. The food in the south is more exotic and highly spiced, while that in the north often features plain barbecued meat as the main dish. Usually any meat, fowl, or seafood is curried, and frying is the typical method of cooking. Ghee, which is clarified butter, is another commonly used recipe item and is often used for frying.

Wheat and flour products are considered mainstays of the daily diet, and the use of pickles, chutneys, preserves, and sauces along with curried meats, seafood, vegetables, and lentils and are why Pakistani cuisine has such a unique flavor.

Green tea is the typical drink served at all meals.

Food Customs at Ceremonial Occasions. Fasting is an important part of the Muslim observance of Ramadan, but food does play a role on many other occasions. One such event is the Eid-ul-Azha (Feast of Sacrifice) in the last month of the Muslim calendar, commemorating the occasion when the prophet Abraham was about to sacrifice his son in response to an order from God. Muslims who can afford it are required to sacrifice a sheep, goat, camel, or cow symbolizing Abraham's submission to God. The meat of the sacrificed animal is divided into three equal parts, with the first donated to the poor, the second given to relatives and/or friends, and the third cooked at the home of the person who made the sacrifice. Eating the meat is part of the festival celebration activity.

The important religious festival Shab-I-Barat involves a special type of pudding known as halwa and unleavened bread known as nan being distributed among the poor. The halwa and nan dishes are specially decorated with silver or gold leaves and also are sent to relatives and neighbors.

Food also plays a role in the celebration of the end of the Ramadan fasting period. This starts with a special breakfast of sheer kharma (a sweet dish), which is vermicelli cooked in milk with dried dates, raisins, almonds, and other nuts. In addition, crowds hurry to local bazaars to purchase fruit, meat, and sweets as well as new clothes and jewelry.

Sweets are distributed as part of the celebration of the birth of a new baby in a family, and an animal sacrificial offering is also madeone goat for a girl and two for a boy, with the animal meat distributed among the poor or among friends and relatives. Food also is involved in a ceremony celebrating a child becoming six or seven months old. Sisters and relatives place rice pudding in the infant's mouth using a silver spoon, and a drop of chicken broth is also put in the mouth. After this ceremony the adults then hold an elaborate dinner concluded with a special dessert called kheer.

Basic Economy. Pakistan is a poor country and its economic outlook is bleak. It relies heavily on foreign loans and grants, and debt obligations take nearly 50 percent of the government's expenditures. The average per capita income per person in Pakistan is estimated at $460 (U.S.). A large number of Pakistanis, estimated at 35 percent, live below the poverty line.

Land Tenure and Property. An estimated 54.69 million acres (22.14 million hectares) of land are used for agriculture. The major crops are cotton, wheat, rice, and sugarcane. A large amount of land in Pakistan has archaeological sites, such as Moenjo Daro, Harappa, Taxila, Kot Dijji, and Mehr Garh.

Commercial Activities. A large percentage of the commercial activities include the sale of handicraft items such as the carpets for which Pakistan is well known.

Major Industries. Major industries of Pakistan include textiles, cement, fertilizer, steel, sugar, electric goods, and shipbuilding.

Trade. Pakistan's major exports include cotton, textile goods, rice, leather items, carpets, sports goods, fruit, and handicrafts. Major imports include industrial equipment, vehicles, iron ore, petroleum, and edible oil. Trade partners include the United States, Hong Kong, Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United Arab Emirates.

Division of Labor. Forty-eight percent of workers are in the service sector, 27 percent are in industry, and 25 percent are in agriculture.

Social Stratification

Classes and Castes. There is no caste system in Pakistan. There are high-income, middle-income and a large number of low-income persons throughout the country. Locale makes an important difference in the quality of life; a low-income person in an urban area has more problems than one living in a tribal, mountainous area.

Symbols of Social Stratification. There have been and continue to be a number of social development shortcomings in Pakistan, but in recognition of them, the government in 19921993 initiated the Social Action Program (SAP) to make social development and social services available to all levels of the Pakistanis. Reports show that while some had benefited, the rural people who were meant to benefit mostly did not. Some of the program's expenditures were for elementary education, primary health, welfare, and rural water supply and sanitation. It is believed that many people do not understand the purpose and scope of the SAP and that substantial changes must be made in the program if it is to be successful.

Political Life

Government. The government of Pakistan consists of an elected prime minister, a president, and a Parliament that consists of the Senate (Upper House) and the National Assembly (Lower House). There are 57 members of the Senate and 217 members of the National Assembly. The prime minister is the head of government, and the president, who is elected by the legislature, is the head of state. There are also ministers in charge of government divisions such as education and tourism. These are appointed by the prime minister. They in turn appoint the governors of the different states within the country. Also appointed by the prime minister are the chief justices of the Supreme Court.

Leadership and Political Officials. Each individual state within the country has a governor, and each city has its own mayor. Additionally, most tribal groups have a head chief.

Social Problems and Controls. The greatest social problem in Pakistan is drug use. There are both governmental and non-government programs working toward rehabilitation of drug users and ending drug use.

Military Activity. Branches of the military are the army, navy, air force, civil armed forces, and national guard. The military of Pakistan consists of members from all ethnic groups within the country. Their duties have included participation in United Nations (UN) peacekeeping and nation-building activities in different areas of the world. Soldiers in the Pakistani Army are regular participants in the long-running dispute, sometimes resulting in violence, with India regarding sovereignty over Kashmir.

Military activity in Pakistan has included four military coups. After those in 1955, 1969, 1977, the government was returned to civilian control via popular election. The most recent coup took place in October 1999, and toward the end of 2000 a general was still acting as the head of the government, although he has promised a democratic election for a new prime minister in the near future.

Nongovernmental Organizations and Other Associations

There are a number of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) within Pakistan, including the Aurat and Behood women's organizations, as well as international Lions and Rotary clubs, to which a large number of men belong. The World Bank and its various agencies have been active in Pakistan since 1952.

The Aga Khan Rural Support Program has worked to build up village organizations with separate groups for men and women and then, through their groups, to launch a number of development activities. The Orange Pilot Project, headquartered in Karachi, has been active in urban development, including working to improve one of Karachi's worst slum areas, with the first focus being on sanitation, followed by a range of community development activities.

Gender Roles and Statuses

Division of Labor by Gender. The majority of Pakistani women are homemakers, and men are generally referred to as the breadwinners. The largest percentage of working women in Pakistan are nurses or teachers. Women are represented in government as ministers in Parliament and ambassadors. Benazir Bhutto was the first female prime minister and served from 1988 to 1990.

The Relative Status of Women and Men. The women of Pakistan are regular voters as are the men, and women also are regular attendees at colleges. Islam gives women rights to child custody, to alimony, and to inheritance, and they also have the right to conduct business and enter any profession. Women are engaged in agriculture production and the services sector. Women judges have been appointed to four high courts as well as several lower courts and a 10 percent quota was established for women to become police officers.

There are growing numbers of violent crimes against or involving women and the government has introduced the concept of women police stations, which have been opened in Rawalpindi, Karachi, and Abbottabad in the North West Frontier.

A number of computer training centers have been established for women and the government has opened "women development centers" that specialize in training community development workers in family planning, hygiene, sanitation, adult literacy, community organization, and legal rights.

Marriage, Family and Kinship

Marriage. One form of a Muslim marriage involves a nikah, a formal legal document signed by the bride and groom in front of several witnesses; this establishes that the couple is legally married.

There are other Muslim marriage traditions as well. One includes the mayun or lagan which takes place three or four days before the marriage and starts with the bride retiring to a secluded area of her home. On the day before the marriage there is a menhdi ceremony, when the bride's hands and feet are painted with henna. When the marriage ceremony takes place it is required that at least two witnesses be there, and all the guests offer a short prayer for the success of the marriage. After the ceremony, dried dates are distributed to the guests. Wedding customs vary somewhat among provinces, but the Muslim marriage is seen as uniting both families as well as the couple.

Each tribal group also has certain ceremonies that are an important part of the marriages within that group.

Inheritance. Women have inheritance rights in Pakistan, so that inheritance benefits can go to women and children after the death of the husband and father.

Kin Groups. A Muslim marriage is seen as uniting the families of both the bride and groom, so the kin group is expanded after a marriage. In some tribes there can be neither a cross-cultural marriage nor a dual ethnic one, so therefore the kin groups are and basically remain identical ethnically and culturally.


Infant Care. The addition of a new baby to a Muslim family is seen as a great blessing and there are a wide variety of ceremonies that take place both at the birth and throughout the different stages of infancy. To help families with infant care there are a number of child health centers throughout the country.

Child Rearing and Education. Most Pakistani families consider it the privilege of the grandfather to name the baby. Another tradition is that the first garment for a baby's layette is made from an old shirt that had belonged to the grandfather. The child is usually named within forty days after birth and thus is generally known by a nickname until then. A baby boy's hair is shaved off, with the belief that this will then ensure thick growth throughout life. The shorn hair is weighed and balanced against silver, and that silver is then given to the poor.

In February 1998 the prime minister announced a draft for a new education policy from 1998 to 2010, to increase the number of elementary and secondary schools to meet the projected enrollment of twelve million children, including about six million female children in the primary schools by 2003. The draft also suggested establishment of community-based nonformal schools to fill the school gap and to help minimize the cost of primary schools. The new education policy also proposed training about thirty-six thousand teachers each year from 1998 to 2003 to maintain a pupil-teacher ratio of forty to one, with most new teachers to be females. A reduction in military spending was also proposed so funds could be channeled toward countrywide primary education for all children.

Higher Education. Higher education is seen as having an important role in preparing an individual for a successful career. There are nearly one thousand colleges and universities located throughout almost the entire country.


Religious Beliefs. Pakistan was formed as an Islamic nation, and Islam continues to be the religion of approximately 95 percent of the population. There are also small groups of Buddhists, Christians, Parsis, and Hindus. The Muslim religion was founded by the prophet Muhammad in the seventh century, when, according to Islamic belief, he received messages from God and wrote them down in what became the Qur'an, the Islamic book that instructs Muslims on how to conduct their lives.

Rituals and Holy Places. One of the prevalent rituals for Muslims is the month of Ramadan, during which time they are required to fast from dawn to sunset (this is not required of very young children, the elderly, or pregnant women). Ramadan is also a time when Muslims thank Allah for his blessings during the past year. An additional requirement during Ramadan is that all Muslims must help the less fortunate with both cash and food gifts. The Eid, or day ending Ramadan, starts with an elaborate breakfast; then Muslims go to a mosque or special park for prayer.

An equally important Muslim celebration is Eid-I-Milad-un-Nabi, the birth of the prophet Muhammad, on the twelfth day of Rabi-uh-Awwal, which is the third month of the Muslim calendar. In addition to special gatherings in mosques, where the story of the life and mission of Muhammad is told, large groups of Muslims parade through the streets singing praise to Muhammad. Even private homes are decorated (as are the mosques) in celebration and praise of Muhammad.

Another important Muslim religious festival is Shab-I-Barat, which is held on the fourteenth day of Shaban, the eighth month of the Muslim year. The belief is that on this day the lives and fortunes of mankind are registered in Heaven for the coming year. During Muharram, which is the first month of the Muslim calendar, the martyrdom of Imam Husain, the grandson of Muhammad, is commemorated. For the first nine days of the month the death is recounted, and then on the tenth day, which is the day he was murdered, there are barefoot processions with persons carrying banners relating to the tragedy of his death.

Other religions in Pakistan also have special festivals/rituals and holidays, with Christmas and Easter being the special ones of the 750,000 Pakistani Christians. Christmas coincides with the birthday of the Ali Jinnah, acclaimed as Pakistan's founder, so both Muslims and Christians celebrate on this day.

The main festival of the Buddhist community is Baisakhi Purnima, the day on which Buddha was born; it is the same calendar date when later in his life he is believed to have attained his great wisdom of enlightenment.

Parsi residents of Pakistan celebrate their New Year (Naoroz) on 21 March. Approximately fifty-five hundred Parsis live near Karachi.

Pakistani Hindus also have a number of festivals; the two most special ones are Diwali (Festival of Lights) and Holi (Festival of Colors). The Festival of Lights is held in Lahore at the Shalimar Gardens, which are filled with multicolored lights and where folk music and dances are performed.

A colorful and interesting festival is held in North-West Frontier Province in April, in the Peshawar stadium. Events include the Khattak famous dance of the Pathans and musical concerts; tribal people participate in colorful costumes.

During Eid, tribesmen gather around the shrine of Baba Kharwari in Ziarat Valley, and wrestling and marksmanship contests are held. A large number of people visit it regularly to offer sacrifices in memory of the saint.

The Quaid-I-Azam Residency in Ziarat Valley was Ali Jinnah's residence during his last illness and now houses relics of him and is a highly revered sacred site. It was originally built in l882 by the British and used by the agent to the governor as his summer headquarters.

Takht Bhai is one of the holy places of Buddhism. The Buddhist monastery of Takht Bhai stands 500 feet (152 meters) above the plain on the hill. The Buddhists selected this spot to construct a religious complex where the monks and students could pursue their rituals and studies. The main stupa is surrounded on three sides by chapels in which images of both the Buddha and Buddhisattva were installed.

Makli Hill, near Thatta town is where more than one million graves of kings, queens, saints, scholars, philosophers, and soldiers are located. Gravestones and mausoleums are considered masterpieces in stone carving representing different eras and dynasties.

Death and the Afterlife. Shab-I-Barat is also celebrated as a remembrance day of deceased family and friends. Special illumination of the mosques takes place and food is distributed among the poor. It is also a time when children participate in fireworks. After distribution of the food the Qur'an is read and prayers are said; then most Muslims visit cemeteries and put flowers and lights on the graves of deceased family and friends.

Medicine and Health Care

At a seminar at Aga Khan Medical University in September of 1998, medical experts reported that perinatal mortality rates in Pakistan were alarmingly high, with an estimated 54 deaths per thousand births. A 19901994 national health survey reported that eighty-nine children per thousand under age five died in Pakistan from pneumonia, diarrhea, vaccine prevention diseases, or a combination of them, with most of these deaths occurring in the first week after birth.

A number of programs have been undertaken to attack polio; the World Health Organization and Japan have participated. At the end of the twentieth century, there were one hundred thousand deaths from and at least twenty thousand new cases of paralytic polio each year.

A survey by the Federal Bureau of Statistics in Pakistan indicated that about 50 percent of the basic health units were without doctors and that about 70 percent of government health facilities are without any female staff. Only about 56 percent of the country's people have safe drinking water and just 24 percent have good sanitation.

Programs are underway to expand basic health services for women, develop a women-friendly district health system, and both strengthen and improve human resource capacity to sustain women's health development.

Secular Celebrations

Official national holidays include: Pakistan Day, 23 March; May Day, 1 May; Independence Day, August 14; Defense of Pakistan Day, 6 September; death of Ali Jinnah, 11 September; and birth of Ali Jinnah, 25 December.

The Awami Mela or People's Festival of Lahore held annually each March, is a six-day pageant that features equestrian sports, cattle displays, and enormous crowds of people. Special events include polo, animal dances, large band displays, acrobatics by camels, dancing horses, parades, and folk dances.

Another festival in Lahore is Basant, when the sky is filled with thousands of colored kites in celebration of the coming of spring. The color yellow is associated with the festival, everyone dresses in yellow and mostly yellow foods are cooked.

Often a national holiday is declared when Pakistan's national cricket team wins a major international match.

The Arts and the Humanities

Support for the Arts. The Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) has established the National Gallery, the Sadequinn Gallery, and the National Music and Dance Center. They also regularly hold exhibitions, seminars and theater workshops.

In the early 1970s the National Film Development Corporation was formed to use film to make people aware of social and cultural values. The corporation holds film festivals regularly.

Literature. Faiz Ahmad Faiz is considered to have been Pakistan's greatest poet, and there is a national holiday celebrating his birth. Pakistan has been referred to as a land of poetry, and it is said that nearly every Pakistani has written some poetry.

Graphic Arts. There are a wide variety of graphic art examples, including handpainted clay products, the hand design for batik products, and block printing called Ajrak. Glazed pottery with handpainted designs is common throughout the country, and artistic work in clay goes back thousands of years.

Pakistani handicrafts are as varied as the ethnic backgrounds of the craftsmen and include work in wood, beaten brass and copperware, pottery, and jewelry, a wide variety of fabrics that feature embroidery, and the hand-designed carpets for which Pakistan is internationally recognized.

Performance Arts. There are so many dance and music performance arts in Pakistanmany unique to the ethnic culture of the performerthat they are almost considered common rather than unique. Music and dance are done in the both classical and folk form. Usually the performer wears a costume that features ethnic design.

Just as the costume worn by the performer identifies the tribe or ethnic group, so does the music or performance. For example, while dancing in a circle is the basic formation for Pakistani folk dances, there are also many versions of the Pathans' khattak, but they all begin with dancers in two columns accompanied by pipe and drum music. There is the Jhoomer in Baluchistan, which involves spinning around at top speed, as men do on dark nights by the light of flickering torches. The women of Punjab do the jhoomer in what is referred to as a romantic fashion. Also in Punjab, the juddi starts with girls singing to the beat of a drum; then they join in a circle and start to dance. Still another dance of Punjab is the bhangra which is described as being like rock and roll and which is always done at the beginning of the harvest season. The Ho Jamalo originated in Sind but is popular throughout Pakistan. It is a dance that is performed as part of a victory or celebration.

There are four main families of musical instruments in Pakistan and more than six hundred Pakistani musical instruments; the most well known are the sitar, veena, rabab, sur mandal and tanpura. The most popular of all the instruments is the sitar but a two-piece drum, the tabla is reputedly the most important accompaniment for all Pakistani music and dancing. Nearly all the instruments are used primarily for solo performances; the Western concept of orchestral music is not part of the Pakistani musical heritage. However, Western instruments such as the piano, violin, and accordion are now often included in Pakistani concerts because they are adaptable to Pakistani music.

Several other musical instruments are used, particularly the dhol, a double-sided drum that is usually hung around the neck and played with sticks, while the dholkit is smaller and played by hand. In addition, the flute is often used.

The State of the Physical and Social Sciences

In the social sciences, one of the major concerns is the low rate of literacy in Pakistan. Efforts are being made and outside the educational establishment to address this concern. Another social concern is that frequently young children must workmost often in carpet manufacturing jobsto supplement the family's income and sometimes to provide the sole income in the family. As a result, the children do not have time to attend school. Efforts made to address this problem have often involved trying to find work for the parents.

In the physical sciences one of the largest problems is that because of ever-increasing population growth, natural resources are often misused, with land being lost to desertification, waterlogging, and soil erosion. There is increasing contamination of groundwater and surface water from agricultural chemicals as well as from industrial and municipal wastes. Because of the important role of agriculture in the overall economy of the country, agricultural production is and will continue to be greatly threatened by land degradation unless solutions can be found rapidly.


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Mayhew, Bradley. Lonely Planet Pakistan, 1998.

Mirza, Humayun. From Plassey to Pakistan: The Family History of Iskander Mirza, the First President of Pakistan, 1999.

Mittman, Kevin, and Mittman, Karin. Culture Shock/Pakistan, 1991.

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Connie Howard

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The people of Pakistan are called Pakistanis. About two-thirds of the population are Punjabi, tracing their origin to the Punjab region of northwest India. Other major ethnic groups include the Sindhi (13 percent), Pashtun (8.5 percent), the Baluchi (2.5 percent). For more information on the Sindhi, see the article on India in Volume 4. For more information on the Pashtun, see the article on Afghanistan in Volume 1.

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Pakistan XX. Earlier Pakstan, f. initials of Punjab, Afghan Province, Kashmir, Sind, and Baluchistan.

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PakistanAbadan, Abidjan, Amman, Antoine, Arne, Aswan, Avon, Azerbaijan, Baltistan, Baluchistan, Bantustan, barn, Bhutan, Dagestan, darn, dewan, Farne, guan, Hahn, Hanuman, Hindustan, Huascarán, Iban, Iran, Isfahan, Juan, Kazakhstan, khan, Koran, Kurdistan, Kurgan, Kyrgyzstan, macédoine, Mahon, maidan, Marne, Michoacán, Oman, Pakistan, pan, Pathan, Qumran, Rajasthan, Shan, Siân, Sichuan, skarn, soutane, Sudan, Tai'an, t'ai chi ch'uan, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Taklimakan, tarn, Tatarstan, Tehran, Tenochtitlán, Turkestan, Turkmenistan, tzigane, Uzbekistan, Vientiane, yarn, Yinchuan, yuan, Yucatán •Autobahn • Lindisfarne •Bildungsroman • Nisan • Khoisan •Afghanistan • bhagwan • Karajan

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