Where is it?: :
East of Afghanistan and Iran, west of India and south of China, with a southern border on the Arabian Sea. Pakistan is slightly less than two times the size of California.
Islamabad, which was built in the 1960s specifically as Pakistan's capital. The government moved from Karachi to Rawalpindi before landing in Islamabad, which is in the northeast part of the country.
The green-and-white flag with the Islamic crescent and star was designed by Pakistan founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah. The white stripe on the side is intended to give representation to religious minorities. The national anthem is "Qaumi Tarana," and was adopted several years after independence. The national emblem incorporates Islamic and agricultural symbols, and the national flower is jasmine.
Even though only about eight percent of Pakistan consists of native Urdu speakers, this is the official national language; English is the other official language and used often in government. The most common native language is Punjabi.
More than 172 million, with a life expectancy of about 64 years. Most Pakistanis are Punjabi, with Pashtuns and Sindhis coming in next. Pakistan is the sixth-most populous nation in the world. The country is 97 percent Muslim, with most of those being Sunni.
Civilization in what is now Pakistan, cut down the middle by the Indus River, dates back about 5,000 years. The 1947 split of British India into a Hindu state and a Muslim one resulted in the creation of the modern state of Pakistan, but the territory of Kashmir has been in bloody dispute every since. Since its creation, power transitions have not gone well and have volleyed between military and civilian rule, from the 1950s coup d’état by General Ayub Khan to the deposition of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in the 1970s, and the 1999 coup by General Pervez Musharraf.
Internal political struggles, problems with extremism, and ongoing disputes with neighbor India have all contributed toward scaring away foreign investment and keeping Pakistan in an impoverished state. The poor security situation in many parts of the country also scares away potential millions in tourism revenue. About 42 percent of the population is employed in agriculture, with cotton, wheat, and rice being main crops. At the end of 2008, Pakistan's inflation had eased from a 30-year-high to nearly 25 percent. This after the country was forced to turn to the International Monetary Fund for a $7.6 billion bailout.
Pakistanis can join the military at age 16, but can't go into combat until 18. About 4 million Pakistanis reach military age annually, ensuring that about 64 million were ready for service in the army, navy or air force in 2008. This all-volunteer force is the seventh-largest in the world, and provides the most peacekeepers to the United Nations.
Type of government::
The Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a federal republic, with a legal system based on English common law but altered to allow Islamic law. The voting age is 18 and some parliamentary seats are reserved for women and religious minorities. The president, who serves a five-year term after being elected by the Senate, National Assembly, and the provincial assemblies, must be Muslim and at least 45 years old.