Pakistan is a paradise for mountains trekkers, most of the trekking routes lay in the northern mountains of The Karakorum, The Himalayas, Hindukush and Pamir. For most of the treks, The Ministry of Tourism, Government of Pakistan, has defined trekking as walking below 6500 meters. It has designated three Zones for trekking; open, restricted and closed. Foreigners may trek anywhere in open zone without a permit or services of a licensed mountain guide. For trekking in restricted zone, foreigners must pay the prescribed fee per person per trek to obtain a trekking permit from the Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of Pakistan. Its also requires a hire a licensed mountain guide; buy a personal accident insurance policy for the guide and the porters and to attend mandatory briefing and de-briefing at the Ministry of Tourism, and the beginning and the end of the trekking trip. The tourist season is from April to October in the mountains areas.
Pakistan offer a trekking blessed with some of the worlds nearly all rugged and splendid Himalayan scenery. Four of the world’s greatest mountain ranges, there almost 37 of the world’s 100 highest peaks, including K-2 (8611 second in the world), are located in these mountains. Five of these peaks are over 8000 meters and about 100 over 7000 meters. Trekking in the Gligit Baltsitan, in no other part of the world can be found such a complex of Himalayan ranges glaciers, lush valleys and mountain folk. Each range is daunting in itself and worthy of exploration. Together, they stand for the most interesting and exciting mountain destinations to be found anywhere in the world! The high mountain regions of Gligit Baltsitan are very different in spirit to the neighboring Himalayas.
Pakistan attracts thousands of tourists every year and most of them come only to visit the Gligit Baltsitan. This region is supposed to be one of the most rugged, isolated places on earth. This sole blend within this mountainous landscape makes Gligit Baltsitan is a paradise for Mountaineers, Trekkers, and adventure lovers. Here most of the mountains are simply huge monoliths of granite which raise abruptly and vertically for thousands of meters out of many a valley floor; creating awe-inspiring and inimitable mountain vistas. There is little arable land left for the tiny population that inhabits this barren but beautiful wilderness therefore, wherever possible. Every inch of arable land is carefully terraced and tended. Hunza Adventure Tours Pakistan ensures that for trekker’s mountaineers for adventure package trip in Pakistan with wonderful life time experience. Hunza Adventure Tours Pakistan promises and offers you all the help to make your journey to Pakistan an exciting and memorable affair, we have wild trekking variety.
Due to ongoing concerns about terrorists targeting U.S. citizens and interests, the Department of state dissuades non-essential travel for U.S. citizens to Pakistan. The U.S. embassy and the consulates in Karachi, Lahore, and Peshawar currently operate with a reduced staff. Family members of U.S. officials assigned to the embassy and consulates were ordered to leave the country in March 2002; they have not been allowed to return.
Al Qa’ida (aQ) and Taliban cells operate inside Pakistan, particularly along the afghanistan border. Their presence, and that of indigenous sectarian and militant groups, poses a danger to U.S. citizens. continuing tensions in the Middle east also increase the possibility of violence against Westerners in Pakistan.
As security has tightened at official U.S. facilities, terrorists have attacked more vulnerable targets, including places where Westerners are known to congregate or visit. Such targets include hotels, clubs and restaurants, places of worship, schools, and outdoor recreation events.
Non-Pakistanis are restricted from many areas of Pakistan, such as the federally administered tribal areas (fata) along the Afghanistan border and the area adjacent to the Line of control in Kashmir. Journey to any restricted region requires official permission from Pakistan. Failure to obtain permission can result in arrest and detention by Pakistani authorities.
Credit Cards and Banking Pakistan’s central bank is the state Bank of Pakistan. Domestic commercial banks include allied Bank, Habib Bank, national Bank of Pakistan, United Bank, and cooperative Banks. there are also 15 principal foreign banks in Pakistan, including Anz Grindlays, Abn Amro, emirates Bank international, American express, and city Bank. Banks are open from 09:00 to 17:00 except for a 1-hour break on Monday through Thursday and a 2-hour break on Friday. They are open from 09:00 to 13:30 on Saturday and closed on Sunday. ATMs are found in large population centers—Islamabad, Lahore, Quetta, and Karachi—and increasingly at smaller centers. Traveler’s checks and major credit cards such as American express, Visa, and Master card are widely accepted and can be used for most transactions. Currency can be exchanged at all international airports and banks. The U.S. dollar is the most widely accepted currency; it is followed by the UK pound and the euro.
Bodies of Water
Pakistan has a 1,046-km (650-mile) coastline along the Arabian sea. The country claims, in accordance with the 1982 Un convention on the Law of the sea, a 200-nm exclusive economic zone, a 12-nm territorial sea, and a 4-nm contiguous zone for security, customs, immigration, and other matters Pakistan’s main river, the Indus, originates in Tibet’s Himalayan Mountains. It flows west, through the Kashmir region, before taking a southwest course along Pakistan (2,749 km/1,708 miles) to the Arabian sea. the upper Indus River is too turbulent for navigation. The lower Indus, while navigable by small boats, is rarely used because Pakistan’s railroad system is more efficient. The Indus River is chiefly used for Indus Valley crop irrigation and generating hydroelectric power.
In eastern Pakistan, the Indus River is fed by five main tributaries, commonly called the “five rivers of the Punjab” in reference to Pakistan’s Punjab Province. these rivers are the Chenab, 729 km (453 miles); Ravi, 679 km (422 miles); Jhelum, 610 km (379 miles); Sutlej, 529 km (329 miles); and Beas, 402 km (250 miles). only small, unconnected portions of these rivers are navigable due to substantial irrigation structures and seasonal changes in water flow.
Pakistan’s terrain is divided into three major topographic areas: the northern Highlands, the Indus River Plain in the east, and the Balochistan Plateau in the west. The northern Highlands includes the area north of Islamabad, parts of the Hindu Kush Mountains, the Karakorum Range, and the Himalayas. This area includes such famous peaks as k2, the world’s second highest peak at 8,611 meters (28,251 feet), and Nanga Parbat, the world’s 12th highest peak at 8,126 meters (26,660 feet). More than half of the summits are higher than 4,500 meters (14,764 feet) and more than 50 peaks exceed 6,500 meters (21,325 feet). Traveling to the highlands is treacherous despite government efforts to improve infrastructure to increase tourism. The 8 northern Highlands and the Himalayas make moving from the north into Pakistan difficult.
The Balochistan Plateau is south of the northern Highlands and west of the Indus River. It is generally arid, except in the north – east where the conditions are wetter. The area contains many low mountain ranges. The Safid Koh Range runs along Afghanistan’s border; the Suleiman and the Kirthar ranges, reaching almost to the Pakistan’s southern coast, define the western extent of the Sindh Province. Smaller mountains in the southwestern part of the province form ranges that generally run southwest and then to the west as they approach Iran. The terrain in Balochistan and Sindh restricts eastern migration.
One large pass cuts through the mountains along the Balochistan – Afghanistan border. The Khojak Pass is 80 kilometers (50 miles) northwest of Quetta. With the exception of the Chagai Hills, desert terrain dominates Balochistan’s borders with Afghanistan’s nimruz, Helmand, and southern Kandahar provinces.
Pakistan’s third major geographic area is the Indus River plain, east of the Indus River from Islamabad to the southern coast. Included in this region is the Indus River basin in the Punjab and northern Sindh provinces, which contains fertile soil that has benefited from the presence of the “five rivers of the Punjab.” the region has been inhabited by agricultural civilizations for at least 5,000 years. In eastern Pakistan, the Thar (cholistan) Desert extends from southwest India into parts of the Indus River plain. this area receives less than 10 inches (25 centimeters) of rainfall annually and is characterized by broken rocks, shifting sand dunes, and scrub vegetation. only some parts of the desert along the northern and western edges are, due to irrigation from the nearby Sutlej and Beas rivers, suitable for agriculture.
Cross-country Movement Pakistan’s varying topography can hamper cross-country movement. Mountainous terrain in Pakistan’s federally administered tribal areas (fata), Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province (KPP), and northern areas makes travel difficult and dangerous. The Indus River Plain is mostly flat and crossed with rivers serving as irrigation sources and is much more suited to travel.
In far eastern and southern Pakistan, the Thar (cholistan) Desert, measuring 518,000 square kilometers (200,000 square miles), is the world’s seventh largest desert. This region has varied terrain including large stretches of dunes. area locals still employ camels as one of several means of transportation to facilitate movement in these areas. Balochistan, located in the southwest, is known for its severe terrain and dry, arid climate. It is composed of open desert terrain, with long, narrow valleys bounded by rugged mountains.
Temperatures Pakistan is in a temperate zone and generally has a dry climate with hot summers and cool or cold winters.
Pakistan has four distinct seasons:
Winter: December through February
Spring: March through May
Southwest monsoon period (summer rainy season): June through September
Retreating monsoon period: October through November
The average annual temperature is 27°c (81°f) but climate varies by elevation. Temperatures during the coldest months in the mountainous and northern areas of Kashmir range from -30°c to -10°c (-22°f to 14°f); the warmest months in parts of Punjab, Sindh, and the Balochistan Plateau reach up to 50°c (122°f). Most areas in Punjab have moderately cool winters, often accompanied by rain. The temperature rises mid-February and spring like weather continues until mid-April. June and July are oppressively hot and, although official estimates rarely place the temperature above 46°c (115°f), some newspapers claim it reaches 51°c (124°f). The highest reported temperature was 54°c (129°f), recorded in the city of Multan in June 1993. The heat gives way to the rainy season, referred to as bar sat, which arrives in august. Though bar sat ends the warmest part of the summer, cool weather does not arrive until late October.
The temperature in Karachi is more moderate, ranging from an average daily low of 13°c (55°f) during winter evenings to an average daily high of 34°c (93°f) on summer days; humidity, however, is high.
Precipitation the southwest monsoon period (the rainy season) lasts from late June to early September for most of Pakistan. Although temperatures are slightly lower, the humidity is high. the central and eastern plains receive the full effect of the monsoon. The desert region in the south and southeast receive only a sparse amount of rain and it remains hot and sunny. Karachi receives very little rain but its climate remains humid; it is cooler than inland areas. The northwest mountainous regions receive less precipitation during the southwest monsoon period than they do during the winter season.
Earthquakes are a major concern in Pakistan. The country is subject to frequent disturbances, particularly in the Kashmir region where the Indian and Eurasian tectonic plates collide. The region surrounding Quetta in Balochistan Province is also prone to earthquakes. Severe quakes in 1931 and 1935 almost completely destroyed the city, heavily damaging the adjacent military quarters and killing at least 20,000 people.
In October 2005, a magnitude 7.6 earthquake occurred in the KPP and Kashmir. It killed at least 86,000 Pakistanis and injured more than 69,000; some 3.3 million were left without homes.
A primary source of water pollution and waterborne disease in Pakistan is sewage. In Karachi, water and sewer lines were laid side by side through most of the city, which contributes to contamination. Only slightly more than half of urban residents have access to adequate sanitation; consequently, waste is commonly deposited along roadsides and into waterways. Low-lying land is generally used for solid waste disposal without the use of sanitary landfill methods. Concerns have also been raised about industrial toxic waste being dumped—without any record of location, quantity, or toxic composition—in municipal disposal areas.
Pakistan’s heavy reliance on firewood, among other factors, has resulted in the world’s second highest rate of deforestation: 0.4 percent, annually. Deforestation directly contributes to the severity of flooding in watershed regions of the northern Highlands.
Air pollution is a major problem in most cities. Pakistan has no controls on vehicular emissions, which account for 90 percent of pollutants. the average vehicle in Pakistan emits 25 times as much carbon monoxide, 20 times as many hydrocarbons, and more than 3.5 times as much nitrous oxide in grams per kilometer as the average vehicle in the United states. air pollution in some cities, such as Islamabad, Lahore, and Rawalpindi, has exceeded levels deemed safe by the World Health organization.
Roads Pakistan’s transportation system depends on roadways. Road vehicles transport 90 percent of passenger traffic and 95 percent of freight. Pakistan has 259,758 km (160,935 miles) of roads, of which 162,879 km (100,662 miles) are paved, including 711 km (441 miles) of expressways. As of 2003, a total of 5.2 million motor vehicles were registered in Pakistan, including 2.5 million motorcycles, 1.3 million automobiles, and 178,000 trucks. Buses, taxis, auto rickshaws, and horse-drawn togas meet the demand for public transportation, but these vehicles are unregulated and unsafe. In Pakistan, vehicles drive on the left-hand side of the road.
Road construction and traffic increased from 1996 to 2006. in 1991, Pakistan created the national Highway authority (NHA); it is responsible for planning, developing, operating, repairing, and maintaining national highways and strategic roads throughout the country. The NHA has authority more than 8,780 kilometers (5,456 miles) of roads, which account for 3 percent of the entire road network and 75 percent of total commercial road traffic in Pakistan.
More than half of the highway network is in poor condition and at risk for further deterioration. Roads are poorly maintained and littered with potholes, sharp drop-offs, and unmarked barriers. Most roads are also not well lit, and most vehicles do not have proper working lights or dimmers. these hazards prompted the U.s. state Department to warn against driving at night or without local drivers or guides. Pakistan’s road safety record is substandard. Roads are usually crowded; drivers are aggressive, often lacking basic driving skills; and many vehicles, particularly large freight trucks and buses, are not well maintained. Both passenger and freight traffic have outpaced national economic development. in the early 1990s, Pakistan announced plans to shift passenger and freight traffic from roads to rail but, by 2004, Colorful Buses are a Common Sight
The declining quality and quantity of rail service continued to prompt increases in private and commercial use of roads. Rail Pakistan Railways, the state-owned railway company, is administered by the Ministry of Railways. Pakistan Railways is headquartered in Lahore and oversees the country’s 7,791 kilometers (4,841 miles) of railroad routes, 592 locomotives, and 625 railway stations.
Half of Pakistan’s railway revenue derives from passenger travel. Pakistan Railways carries 75.7 million passengers annually and operates 228 mail, express, and passenger trains daily. the freight railway system of more than 200 freight stations travels to all Pakistan provinces as well as the ports of Karachi and Mohammad Bin Qasim.
Pakistan has 50 airports with paved runways. five airports handle both international passenger and cargo: Jinnah international airport (karachi), allama iqbal international (Lahore), Peshawar international, Quetta international, and Islamabad international. Multan and Turbat airports handle only international cargo flights. State-owned Pakistan international airlines (Pia) provides regular flights to 24 domestic destinations and 42 international destinations, including china, Japan, India, Iran, Saudi Arabia, United Arab emirates, Russia, Italy, the United kingdom, Canada, and the United states. Three other airlines: aero Asia international, Airblue, and Shaheen air international, also offer flights to the Middle East.
Port Karachi: Managed by Karachi Port trust, the Port of Karachi handles about 75 percent of Pakistan’s cargo. Karachi is a deep, natural port with an 11-kilometer- (7-mile-) long approach channel for up to 75,000 deadweight tonnage (DWt) tankers, modern container vessels, bulk carriers, and general cargo ships. the port has 30 dry-cargo berths, including two container terminals and three liquid cargo-handling berths. The two container terminals are karachi international container terminal Limited, on Karachi’s west wharf, and Pakistan international container terminal, on the east wharf.
Port Muhammad Bin Qasim: named after General Muhammad Bin Qasim, Port Qasim is Pakistan’s first industrial and multi-purpose deep-sea port. Located in the indus River Delta region 50 kilometers (31 miles) southeast of karachi, the port has a 45-kilometer (28-mile) long navigation channel that accommodates vessels up to 85,000 DWt. the port is also connected to all parts of Pakistan by roads and railroads. Port Qasim has a 14-kilometer (9-mile) railway link to the national Railway network and an access road to the national Highway.
Gwadar Port: With substantial help from the chinese government, the deep-sea Port of Gwadar opened in 2008. situated on Pakistan’s southern coast in Balochistan Province, the port is a primary source of controversy. ethnic Balochs claim that the Punjabi-dominated government hired foreign and Punjabi workers at the expense of Balochs. numerous terrorist attacks, attributed to Baloch nationalists, occurred against chinese engineers during construction.
Port of Pasni: a smaller port, primarily a fishing marina, which also serves as a one of Pakistan’s navy bases.
Since 1996, Pakistan’s electricity consumption has increased 64 percent. The increase is due to rapid urbanization and a government program intending to bring electricity to all Pakistan villages by 2007. even with the government program, less than half of the population and many rural areas have no electricity; urban areas still have brownouts.
Pakistan has four public-sector organizations responsible for supplying, transmitting, and distributing electricity: the Water and Power Development authority (WAPDA), the Karachi electric supply corporation (kesc), the Karachi nuclear Power Plant, and the Chashma nuclear Power Plant. Some independent power projects (iPPs) also generate power. The total electricity production in 2003 was nearly 80 billion kilowatt-hours and consumption totaled almost 72 billion kilowatt-hours. the electricity was produced from fossil fuels (68.8 percent), hydropower (28.2 percent), and nuclear reaction (3 percent).
WAPDA has two large complexes for generating thermal power: Guddu (1,015 megawatts) and Jamshoro (880 megawatts). A third thermal unit, Kot addu (1,638 megawatts), has been partially privatized. WAPDA, the sole operator of hydropower projects in Pakistan, also has four large hydropower complexes — Tarbela (3,478 megawatts), Chashma (138 megawatts), Mangla (1,000 megawatts), and Warsak (240 megawatts)—and several smaller projects. WAPDA has plans for a large project on the Indus River, and five more hydroelectric power plants are scheduled to go online in the kPP and Kashmir. However, the 2005 earthquake damaged secondary transmission and distribution systems in Kashmir and a number of small hydroelectric power stations and the project remains incomplete.
Kesc supplies electricity to Karachi, its suburbs, and the adjacent parts of Balochistan. its generating power comes primarily from the Bin Qasim Power station (1,756 megawatts). since the company does not produce sufficient electricity to meet its required output, it also purchases power from IPPS, WAPDA, Pakistan steel Mills, and the Karachi nuclear Power Plant. Kesc was recently privatized by investors who hope to improve efficiency and service.
Pakistan has a few nuclear power plants. The Karachi nuclear Power Plant (137 megawatts) was built in the early 1970s. in the Punjab Province, the first unit of the Chashma nuclear Power Plant Project (325 megawatts) was commissioned in 2000. Construction of the second unit at Chashma is under way.
Pakistan wants to increase electricity to residential, commercial, and industrial sectors. Because of favorable hydrographic resources, Pakistan has great potential for generating more hydroelectric power and the government’s Vision-2025 Programme promotes using hydroelectric power. Pakistan also established several projects to develop renewable energy.
Water Most of Pakistan’s population lives in the Indus River basin region, which is fed by two main tributaries, the Kabul and the Panjnad. the Panjnad, in turn, is a confluence of five main rivers, three from the west and two from the east. The Mashkel and Marjen rivers are the main sources of water in the Karan Desert, they run into Hamun-i-Mashkel Lake. The Makran coast along the Arabian sea has four principal rivers. Pakistan depends on the western rivers for water, which are highly erratic. Water usage from the eastern rivers is governed by the Indus Water sharing treaty with India.
With regards to water management, Pakistan has the largest contiguous irrigation network in the world. However, Pakistan’s water storage capacity is only 9 percent of its total water resources; surplus water cannot be sufficiently stored. as a result, when drought hits, Pakistan does not have enough water to get the population through the dry spell. the Pakistan government has stated that its water level will drop to alarmingly low levels by 2010. as such, Pakistan is protective of its water resources, particularly when resources must be shared with India due to one river flowing through both countries. in fact, in recent years, water tensions have brought about renewed acrimony toward India.
The amount of water available for public consumption is inadequate. Although in the past Pakistan has been able to supply ample potable water, between the 1990s and 2000s, high population growth, poor water infrastructure, and a drier climate reduced per capita water availability from 53,000 cubic meters (14 million gallons) to 1,200 cubic meters (317,006 gallons). Most rural and urban areas use groundwater, and over half the villages use hand pumps in private households. irrigation canals provide water to areas where the groundwater is saline. Waterborne diseases continue to be a problem in Pakistan, where an estimated 250,000 children die per year because of diarrhea and disease. High lead levels have been found in the water in Islamabad and Rawalpindi. Water levels in the Indus have diminished due to increased consumption and a drier climate, has inundated the coastal areas with salt water.
Pakistan has only three major sewage treatment plants, two of which operate only occasionally. Much of the untreated sewage goes either into irrigation systems, where the wastewater is reused, or into streams and rivers. Crops grown from such wastewater have serious bacterial contamination. Crop and water contamination cause gastroenteritis, the leading cause of death in Pakistan.
As of 2002, there were an estimated 10.2 million radios in Pakistan. the Pakistan Broadcasting corporation (PBC), which controls 39 stations nationwide, operates state-owned Radio Pakistan. Radio Pakistan is broadcast over 80 percent of Pakistan on 31 AM stations and 8 FM stations using frequency FM 101; it reaches 97 percent of the total population. forty-eight percent of its programming focuses on news and current affairs; 27 percent on religion, education, and socio-economic programming; and 25 percent focuses on entertainment such as music and sports. Radio Pakistan is broadcast in 21 languages throughout Pakistan and transmitted in 15 languages for external broadcasts.
Forty-six percent of Pakistani households have a television. State run Pakistan television corporation Limited (PTV) operates fiveSatellite-broadcast channels: PTV 1, PTV national, PTV Global, PTV Bolan, and PTV World. There are also approximately 50 private TV channels available in Pakistan. Many Pakistanis watch international programs from satellite broadcasts.
Telecommunication infrastructure in Pakistan has undergone continued, marked improvement in recent years due, in part, to foreign investments in landline and mobile networks. the number of cell-phone users increased dramatically from 300,000 in 2000 to 88 million in 2008. Pakistan’s deregulation of the telecom sector began in 2003 and attributed to this growth.
Several companies provide general telecommunication services including Pakistan telecommunications company Limited (PTCL), national telecommunication corporation, and special communications organization. PTCL is the largest telecom company in Pakistan and is 88 percent state-owned. it provides basic telephone services including local, long-distance, international, and leased line services through the use of domestic access lines, nationwide fiber-optics, submarine cable, and satellite links. Pakistan Telecommunication Statistics Total landline telephone subscribers 18 million (2008 estimate) Landline telephone subscribers per 100 inhabitants 11.7 Main telephone lines 4.5 million Main telephone lines per 100 inhabitants 3.4 Mobile users 88 million
Newspapers and Magazines
The number of daily, monthly, and other print publications in Pakistan increased from 3,242 in 1994 to 4,455 in 1997; it dropped to 945 by 2003 with the Punjab Province accounting for most of the decline. although the total number of publications declined, the circulation of print publications increased from 1994 to 2003. The largest circulation increase was in daily publications, rising from 3 million to 6.2 million.
Print media is published in 11 languages, including English; most publications are in Urdu and Sindhi. The Pakistan constitution guarantees freedom of speech and press while also allowing for government restrictions in various cases, including offenses against islam, public morality, and national security. The government can fine and imprison those who broadcast material considered inconsistent with “national and social values.” the press generally publishes content without interference from outside censorship laws. This lack of intrusion is partially explained by the fact that journalists self-censor in order to avoid arrests and government intimidation. Even with this restriction, the press has been active in attempting to influence national elections. While most print media in Pakistan is privately owned, the government controls the national Press trust and the associated Press of Pakistan, one of two major news agencies. the other major news agency in Pakistan is the privately-owned Pakistan Press international.
Pakistan Post, the national postal service, has more than 13,000 post offices, delivers more than 500 million articles and parcels annually, and serves 7 million customers daily. Domestic mail rates begin at 4 rupees (US$ 0.07) for a letter not exceeding 20 grams (0.7 ounces) and 20 rupees (US$ 0.33) for a package weighing up to 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds). The maximum weight limit for domestic parcels is 50 kilograms (110 pounds).
International mail rates begin at 33 rupees (US$ 0.58) for a letter not exceeding 20 grams (0.7 ounces). Rates vary by delivery method and by destination. Pakistan Post offers three shipping options for international parcel. Delivery times vary according to the type of service.
Pakistan Post also offers express mail services to domestic and international destinations. the international speed Post provides quick mail delivery all over the world. shipping rates vary by destination country. a computerized parcel tracking system is being implemented in 11 cities; there are plans to expand to 204 cities.
Pakistan has three Intelsat communication satellite earth stations: one in the Atlantic ocean and two in the Indian ocean. The country also has three international gateway exchanges: one based at Karachi and two at Islamabad.
Pakistan has more than 70 internet service providers and an estimated 5 million users in more than 1,400 cities and towns. Internet access remains inexpensive. Cyber cafes are popular because they allow inexpensive internet access; some offer rates as low as 20 rupees (US$ 0.33) per hour.
Early History civilization began in approximately 2600 B.C. in the Indus River Valley this civilization likely maintained agricultural production through river irrigation until 1750 B.C., when Aryan nomadic tribes from central Asia conquered most of the Indus Valley.
By the year 326 B.C., Candra Gupta Maurya established the first empire in south Asia; his grandson, Asoka, led the Mauryan empire to political prominence around 200 B.C. in the following centuries, various powers exercised control in the subcontinent. Most of them, however, only temporarily dominated particular regions. Arab general Muhammad bin Qasim introduced Islam into the Sindh region in approximately 711 A.D.; a Turkish sultan, Mahmud of Ghazna, continued to spread Islam in the 10th century. By the 13th century, a succession of Turkic rulers known as the Mughals ruled most of the Indian subcontinent but they struggled with control. The Sikh rulers took control of the Punjab capital, Lahore, in 1761. By 1818, the Sikh ruler Ranjit singh controlled large areas of Punjab and, the next year, Kashmir. His death in 1840 led to infighting among Sikh leaders and broke up their holdings into small principalities. The British took advantage of the division and ended Sikh rule in 1849.
Beginning in the early 1800s, the British were a political and economic power over much of India. The British east India Company managed most of the area until the 1857 Indian Mutiny (Sepoy Mutiny) challenged British occupation. Afterward, the British government exercised more direct control over India. The British believed that Muslim leaders led the rebellion in order to regain political and economic advantages. in response, the British placed Hindus in many positions previously occupied by Muslims. They also replaced the official languages (Urdu and Persian) with English, which left many Muslims illiterate and unemployable.
In the 1920s, Allama Mohammad Iqbal envisioned a Muslim homeland called “Pakistan,” which means “Land of the Pure.” Mohammed Ali Jinnah, a lawyer and leader of the Muslim League political party, led the push for Pakistan’s establishment. Jinnah claimed that India consisted of two separate nations—Hindu and Muslim—and that Muslims could not safely live in a Hindu dominated India.
World War its impact and a resistance to British rule in India led to British’s withdrawal from India in July 1947. Pakistan was created on 14 august 1947 but was divided into two non-contiguous areas situated east and west of India and separated by 1,600 kilometers (994 miles). Pakistan soon faced multiple problems: absorbing millions of Muslim refugees from India, overcoming a poverty crisis, and establishing a government and sense of national unity despite having a geographically and ethnically divided country.
Initially, Pakistan was governed by a constituent assembly responsible for drafting a constitution. the draft, however, was delayed due to disagreements over how different regions would be represented and how the state would embody Islamic principles. the delay prompted Governor Gen Ghulam Mohammad to dismiss the constituent assembly in 1954. This started a pattern whereby military and civil bureaucracy, instead of elected officials, governs the country and influence society and the provinces. The first constitution was written in 1956 by a new constituent assembly, which reformed itself as the Legislative assembly. Regional rivalries and ethnic and religious tensions threatened political stability and President Iskander Mirza disbanded the assembly on 7 October 1958. Later that month, Gen Mohammad Ayub khan overthrew Mirza. Ayub khan was a self-proclaimed reformist who tried to bring stability to Pakistan. He established a local government system called “Basic Democracies” that allowed communities to have input into the country’s politics. He quickly became disinterested in popular opinion and turned to the civil bureaucracy for policy advice and formation. a new constitution in 1962 established a weak legislature, known as the national assembly, and a president with substantial legislative, executive, and financial powers. in 1965, Ayub khan led Pakistan in a 17-day war with India due to a dispute over the Kashmir region. Pakistan argued that, under the terms of its creation in 1947, Muslim-dominant areas became part of Pakistan. Pakistan also claimed that when the land was divided, India pressured the Hindu ruler of Kashmir to align with India, despite the wishes of the Muslim population. Ayub khan resigned in 1969. Kashmir is still divided and the dispute remains unresolved. Gen Agha Mohammad Yahya khan became the next president and chief martial law administrator. He attempted to reinstitute parliamentary democracy but tensions between east and West Pakistan over national assembly representation led to civil war in 1971. With india’s support, east Pakistan seceded and became the independent nation of Bangladesh. India and Pakistan fought another 17-day war, mostly in Pakistan; it ended in stalemate. Due to Pakistan’s military losses, yahya resigned in 1971. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was appointed president, becoming the first civilian head of government in nearly 20 years. Disputed Kashmir region.
In august 1973, another constitution went into effect. It addressed the role of islam, the distribution of power between the federal and provincial governments, and the division of responsibilities between the president and prime minister. Bhutto nationalized numerous industries; the government’s heavy involvement had lasting negative economic consequences. While Pakistan finally appeared to be on the road toward democracy, political opposition grew against Bhutto due to his repression of political opponents and alleged voting irregularities. on 5 July 1977, Gen Mohammad Zia-ul-Haq overthrew Bhutto; Zia became chief martial law administrator. Bhutto was sentenced to death for conspiring to murder a political opponent and was executed in 1979.
Zia adapted ayub khan’s basic democracies structure into a new system of local governments and he adopted various measures to create an islamic state. When the soviet Union invaded afghanistan in 1979, Pakistan received many afghan refugees, and large-scale foreign aid was channeled from the United states, china, saudi arabia, and other countries through Gen Zia, significantly increasing his power.
In 1985, Zia became president, terminated martial law, and reinstated the initial constitution. He added the eighth amendment, giving the president two new powers: 1) to appoint and dismiss the prime minister and provincial governors and 2) to dissolve the legislatures, both national and provincial. Zia died in an airplane crash in august 1988. Benazir Bhutto, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s daughter and head of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), became prime minister. With her, Pakistan became the first Muslim country to have a female head of government.
Bhutto’s government experienced severe economic problems, ethnic conflict, and lack of legislative support. Mohammed Nawaz Sharif, the leader of the Pakistan Muslim League who succeeded Bhutto in 1990, faced the same problems. Bhutto’s PPP won the national assembly in 1993 and she returned to office. Her successor, President Farooq Ahmed Leghari, however, dismissed Bhutto 3 years later on charges of corruption and reappointed Nawaz Sharif in 1997.
Recent History India, and subsequently Pakistan, each tested nuclear devices in 1998; many countries responded with condemnation and sanctions. However, Pakistan felt that it finally possessed sufficient force to deter its main rival, India. This boost in morale may have triggered Pakistan to go on the offensive against India. In 1999, India and Pakistan engaged in a limited conflict, the Kargil War; Pakistan was condemned as the instigator for its alleged support of militants who entered India-held Kashmir from Pakistan-held Kashmir. The conflict proved to be embarrassing for Pakistan. Although Gen Pervez Musharraf was the architect of Pakistan’s Kargil strategy and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif initially supported him, Sharif later buckled under international pressure and attempted to fire Musharraf when the general was visiting Sri Lanka. In response, the military’s corps commanders staged a coup, allowing Musharraf to return and assume the head of state position in late October 1999. Pakistan became a key U.S. ally in the War on terrorism after the 11 September 2001 attacks. As a result, Pakistan benefited from an infusion of economic and military aid. Musharraf, serving simultaneously as both president and army chief of staff, used various measures to consolidate his executive power. In an April 2002 national referendum, Musharraf’s tenure as president was extended to 2007. In November 2007, Musharraf suspended Pakistan’s constitution and declared emergency rule although planned elections were not cancelled. One month later, Benazir Bhutto was assassinated while seeking election to what would have been her third position of national leadership. Her widower, Asif Ali Zardari, was elected president in September 2008; Musharraf is no longer officially involved in politics. Chronology of Key Events 1947 the Muslim state of Pakistan (east and west) is created after the British’s rule of India ended. 1948 Pakistan’s first war with India over the Kashmir region. 1956 first constitution is created; it proclaims Pakistan an Islamic Republic. 1958 Martial law is declared and Gen Ayub Khan takes control of the country. 1960 Gen Ayub Khan becomes president. 1965 second Pakistan / India war over Kashmir region. 1969 Gen Ayub Khan resigns and Gen Yahya Khan becomes head of state. 1971 civil war leads to secession of East Pakistan, which becomes Bangladesh. Gen Yahya Khan resigns and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto is appointed president. 1977 Gen Zia-ul-Haq overthrows Bhutto in a military coup. 1979 Bhutto, charged with conspiring to murder a political opponent, is executed. 1988 Gen Zia-ul-Haq dies in an airplane crash. Benazir Bhutto becomes prime minister. 1990 Mohammed Nawaz Sharif becomes prime minister. 1993 Benazir Bhutto becomes prime minister a second time. 1996 President Farooq Ahmed Leghari dismisses Bhutto as prime minister on corruption charges. 1997 Nawaz Sharif becomes prime minister a second time. 1998 Pakistan responds to India’s nuclear tests with its own test.1999 Pakistan-backed forces clash with India over the Kashmir region in the Kargil War. PM Nawaz Sharif attempts to fire army Gen Musharraf, who responds by overthrowing Sharif in a military coup. Sharif and Bhutto are banned from running for political office. 2001 Musharraf names himself president and remains chief of army staff. Pakistan becomes a key U.S. ally in the fight against terrorism. 2002 Musharraf extends his presidential term to 2007 through a national referendum. 2004 Shaukat Aziz is sworn in as prime minister. Musharraf continues dual-role leadership of president and chief of army staff, despite his promise to relinquish his military role. 2007 November: Musharraf declares emergency rule and suspends the country’s constitution. Musharraf comes under domestic and international pressure to step down. December: Benazir Bhutto is assassinated. 2008 Asif Ali Zardari elected president.
Government and politics
Government National Level Executive Branch the executive branch includes a president and a prime minister, but the significance of the two posts shifts with changes in government and amendments to Pakistan’s constitution. since the 1999 coup, the presidency, held by Pervez Musharraf and his successor, Asif Zardari, has been the preeminent office in the executive branch. Between 1999 and 2007, Musharraf was also the army chief of staff; this dual role had been a source of criticism since the constitution forbids the president from holding any other paid position in Pakistan’s government. However, special legislation engineered by Musharraf allowed him to retain the chief of staff position until at least 2007, when he was to retire from the military. Currently, the offices of presidency and army chief of staff are held by different men. Much of the presidential powers enacted by Musharraf are still retained, thus making the presidency the most powerful executive office instead of the prime minister. It remains to be seen if the power will shift back to the prime minister position. According to the constitution, the president must be a Muslim and at least 45 years old. The prime minister serves as the president’s principal deputy for the daily execution of policy. He is nominated by the president and must be both a member of and approved by the national assembly. the prime minister also heads the cabinet of ministers, a group of parliament members selected by the president to run various government ministries. The current cabinet consists of 33 members and has several committees for specific topics, such as defense. Legislative Branch Pakistan’s parliament (Majlis-e-Shoora) officially consists of the president and two houses: the national assembly and the senate. The national assembly has 342 seats, proportionally divided among the provinces according to population. Sixty seats are reserved for women; they, also, are divided by province. Finally, ten seats, elected nationwide, are reserved for non-Muslims. the national assembly serves for 5 years, unless dissolved earlier by the president. The senate consists of 100 members. The four provincial assemblies each elect 14 general senators, 4 female senators, and 4 technocrats (including Muslim scholars, or Ulama). Fata elects eight senators in direct elections, and the federal capital District elects two general senators, one woman, and one technocrat. the senate cannot be dissolved and has no fixed term. Senators serve for 6 years, with half of the members standing for election every 3 years. Regular legislation must pass by a majority in both houses; constitutional amendments require a two-thirds majority. Approved bills or amendments go to the president for approval. if the president rejects a bill, it can be reconsidered by the legislature. if it passes again, the president cannot reject it. Members of the national assembly must be at least 25 and senators at least 30. they must also have a college degree (a stipulation created by Musharraf to exclude most Islamic candidates from running for office), be of good moral character, and (excluding candidates for the reserved non-Muslim seats) conform to the principles of Islam. Judicial Branch Pakistan has a supreme court consisting of a chief justice and 16 judges. this court has final jurisdiction over appeals and primary jurisdiction in some special cases. Judges are appointed by the President, usually from a list provided by the chief justice. Each province has a high court consisting of a chief justice and a number of judges, which varies by province. there are also subsidiary civil and criminal courts, supplemented by specialized courts for various purposes, such as taxation, anti-corruption, customs, and banking. In addition, there is a federal Shariat court with eight judges, including the chief justice, and at least three ulama. This court rules on whether laws are consistent with Islamic principles. Its decisions are appealed to the Shariat appellate bench of the supreme court, which consists of three supreme court justices and two ulama appointed by the president. If these courts find that a particular law violates Islamic principles, the government must repeal or modify the law. Local Level Pakistan is divided into four provinces (Balochistan, the kPP, the Punjab, and sindh), Azad Kashmir, the northern areas, the fata, Pakistan Supreme Court, Islamabad (Photo by Dr. Wasif Iqbal) and the federal capital District. each province has a government similar in structure to the federal government. it is headed by a governor appointed by the president. the local legislature is composed of elected representatives. from the provincial assembly (legislature), the governor appoints members of the cabinet of ministers. the president appoints a chief minister and judges that staff the high court.
The fata is uniquely governed, only the president has any authority at the national level. according to Pakistan’s constitution, neither parliament nor the courts has jurisdiction over any of the seven agencies that make up the fata. The British established the frontier crimes Regulation (FCR) to appoint a political agent (Pa) who would have full executive, judiciary, and legislative powers for each agency. When Pakistan became a country, representatives of the local tribes signed an Instrument of Accession, which maintained the FCR in modern Pakistan.
Today, the FCR allows the president (through his appointed Pa) final judgment over any criminal cases where a government-sanctioned jirga (meeting of elders) renders their verdict and sentence. the Pa can enforce collective punishment against a family, clan, or tribe. in exchange, the tribes gain financial handouts (through the Pa), are not liable for taxation, nor are they subject to the ‘secular’ court system.
Many Pakistanis view the FCR as an outdated remnant of colonialism, even characterizing it as a human rights violation; there is, however, no widespread support for a specific alternative system. tribes still want to maintain independence from central government rule and the president and his Pas do not want to lose their powers to parliament or the national courts. Musharraf tried to transition the fata into a provincially administered tribal area that would fall under Pakistan’s legislative and judiciary branches. that effort was stalled as a result of post-11 September 2001 militancy, which required federal security forces to be dispatched into the region. Politics Political Parties the 1999 military coup caused major changes in Pakistan’s political party system. opposition party leaders were subject to increased eligibility restrictions and many of their leaders went into exile. Following the establishment of a civilian-led government in 2008, parties returned to their former role—representing a specific ethnic, religious, or socio-economic group.
Parties depend heavily on personal connections and leadership; many parties are named after their founders or leaders. in addition to the major parties, there are many smaller ones that are based on local tribal groups or individual political leaders. Party names and alliances change frequently. The most established political movement in Pakistan is the Pakistan Muslim League (PML). The PML developed from the all-India Muslim League. Under Mohammed Jinnah’s leadership (the father of Pakistan), the all-India Muslim League played a major role in Pakistan’s independence. several parties claim the mantle of the PML; but the two main factions are the PML-Nawaz (PML-n)— established in 1993 by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the PMLQuaid-i-Azam (PML-Q) created by the military. The PML-Q is led by former PML-n members who joined the military-sponsored group after the 1999 coup. PML-Q also appropriated PML-n offices in several major cities. Though the PML factions generally share a center-right, pro-business agenda, they were strongly opposed to each other on the issue of Musharraf’s right to rule.
The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) is a center-left party previously led by the former Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto, until her assassination when her son, Bilawal Bhutto, took over leadership. its social welfare and land reform platform has become more business friendly since the 1990s. The PPP is primarily a sindhi movement. Pakistan’s current president of is a member of the PPP.
Religious parties are a major factor in Pakistan politics. the two main religious parties are the Jamaat-i-islami (Ji) and the Jamiat Ulema-i-islam (JUi); together, they form the main base of the five party Islamic coalition called the Muttahida Majlis-e-amal (MMa). Ji is an Islamic revival party advocating a strong role for shari’a (Islamic law) and religious principles in Pakistan’s government. it has close ties to the military due to their common support for Kashmir insurgents—who are fighting against India’s rule—and Pakistanis fighting for the accession of Kashmir. Ji’s main supporters are city dwellers, including some Western-educated academics.
JUi is a more radical religious party, that adheres strictly to shari’a supports a single pan-Islamic state akin to the 7th century caliphate. it recruits through madrassas and mosques. The JUi consists of two main factions, the JUi-fazlur Rahman (JUi-f) and JUisamiul Haq (JUi-s), both named after their respective leaders. The JUi-f is mostly Pashtun and is the largest party in the MMa coalition. the JUi has been linked with the Afghan Taliban.
Regional parties also play a key role in Pakistan politics. the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) represents Urdu-speaking Muhajirs in urban parts of sindh Province. it is allied with PML-Q in the sindh region. Another party, the Haqiqi or “real” Mohajir Quami Movement (also having the acronym “MQM”) opposes the leadership cult in the ‘other’ MQM.
The national Party and the Balochistan national Party are the major regional parties in Balochistan. Both are left-leaning and opposed to the province’s current government, led by the PML-Q and the MMa/JUi-f coalition. the Jamhoori Watan Party (JWP) is a more centrist opposition party led by a former Balochistan governor. The Pakhtun-khwa Milli Awami Party (PKMAP) and the Awami national Party (ANP) are moderate Pashtun parties advocating local autonomy. They lost support to the more radical religious parties after U.S. military operations were staged along Afghanistan’s border.
The major parties cooperate with smaller parties under the umbrella of larger coalitions. The three main political coalitions were the alliance for the Restoration of Democracy (ARD), the MMA, and the Pakistan oppressed nations Movement (PONM). The ARD was the principle opposition group, led by the PML-n and the PPP. Its primary goal was to end military government and restore full democracy. However, it was not well organized and has thus dissolved since Musharraf’s departure. The MMA is a coalition of five leading religious parties led by the Ji and JUI-f. It leads the KPP regional government and partners with the pro-military coalition ruling Balochistan. The PONM is an alliance of smaller regional parties opposed to military rule. It included both Sindhi and Pashtun parties unified by their opposition to centralized rule. Party Name description PML-Q Military – sponsored ruling party. Notionally center right and pro – business but with growing Islamism tendencies. PML-N center – right opposition party. PPP center-left opposition party. MQM Pro-government party representing Urdu – speaking Mohajir in Sindh Province. MQM-Haqiqi splinter of MQM. Balochistan National Party Left-leaning opposition Balochi regional party. National Party Left-leaning opposition Balochi regional party. JWP centrist opposition party in Balochistan. PkMAP Moderate opposition Pashtun party. ANP Moderate opposition Pashtun party. JI Pro-government religious revival group. JUI-F Radical Pashtun-dominated Islamic religious party. JUI-S Radical Islamic religious party.
The United States and Pakistan have traditionally been allies; the relationship, however, is often strained. Pakistan’s test of nuclear weapons in 1998 and military coup in 1999 significantly harmed relations. Sanctions imposed after the nuclear tests were lifted in October 2001, because of Pakistan’s support for the War on terrorism. Pakistan is a key U.S. ally in the War on terrorism and has reluctantly supported U.S. operations in Afghanistan. Several senior AQ officials have been arrested in Pakistan.
The United States continues to press Pakistan over human rights, religious freedom, and democracy issues. Ultimately, however, security issues related to the global War on terrorism remain the main focus of the U.S.-Pakistan relationship. On this front, the countries continue to work closely together.
Afghanistan Pakistan supported anti-soviet forces in Afghanistan after the 1979 invasion and has provided shelter for more than 1 million displaced afghan refugees. Ongoing tensions exist because of Pakistan’s relationship with the Taliban. Pakistan was one of only three governments to formally recognize the Taliban in Afghanistan. Under international pressure following the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, Pakistan backed away from open support of the group. When the U.S.-led invasion initially evicted the Taliban from Afghanistan, Pakistan pledged to work with the new afghan government. On the other hand, there continue to be accusations that Pakistan still shelters and, perhaps, even supports Taliban insurgents. A 2006 agreement between Pakistan’s government and pro-Taliban Pashtun tribal groups in Waziristan heightened concerns that Pakistan serves as a safe haven for the Taliban forces fighting in Afghanistan. in 2008 to 2009, militants seized control of swat District in the kPP. the ensuing short-lived peace fell apart when militants invaded the adjacent district of Buner. The Pakistan military then launched a massive counterinsurgency operation, re-taking Buner and swat. As of September 2009, swat District remains a volatile area.
An unresolved border dispute also negatively impacts Pakistan-Afghanistan relations. Since Pakistan was created in 1947, Afghanistan has claimed it owns the Pashtun-occupied territory on the Pakistan side of the Durand Line—the line was established in 1893. Afghanistan is not giving voice to its claim. Pakistan’s failure to renounce the claim, however, creates justifiable concern in Pakistan about the impact of a strong central government in Afghanistan.
Relations between India and Pakistan have been mostly hostile since the two countries gained independence in 1947. They have fought three major wars—1947, 1965, and 1971—and several small conflicts, including the 1999 Kargil conflict. The 1971 war was generally fought over the independence of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). Kashmir Province, however, was the main focus in the other conflicts. Kashmir Muslim militants launch terrorist attacks against Indian and Hindu targets in Kashmir and, occasionally, in India. India accuses Pakistan of providing materiel support to the insurgents; Pakistan asserts that the insurgency is an internal Kashmir issue and admits only to moral support for the militants.
Steady, low-level hostilities, with occasional flare-ups, continue between India and Pakistan armed forces along the border. Missile and nuclear tests by both countries in 1998 dramatically raised the tension levels. Several high-profile terrorist attacks conducted by Kashmir militants in India nearly led to another full-fledged war from late 2001 to 2002. Relations remain tense, though there is a formal cease fire. There have also been some tentative moves toward negotiations. trade improvements are seen as the first step toward a broader peace settlement. the two countries have also been providing aid for regions along their shared border that were affected by an earthquake in October 2005. All such diplomatic improvements were suspended, however, following November 2008 attacks in Mumbai, which were supported from within Pakistan. Iran the relationship between Iran and Pakistan has been strained since the 1979 Iranian revolution. During Afghanistan’s civil war, the two countries opposed each other. Relations improved slightly after the fall of the Taliban government in Afghanistan; but they deteriorated in 2005, when Pakistani officials accused Iran of supporting insurgent groups inside Pakistan. Pakistan’s government has acknowledged that Iran received nuclear technology, including centrifuges, from Pakistani scientist A.Q. khan. It has, however, denied any official role in the transfers.
Pakistan and china have had a long relationship founded, in large part, on their common rivalry with India. China is a major supplier of military equipment and technology to Pakistan. China has provided substantial assistance to Pakistan’s combat aircraft, ballistic missile, and nuclear programs. China and Pakistan are also expanding commercial ties. Pakistan is seeking full membership in the shanghai co-operation organization and a free-trade agreement with china. china is also helping Pakistan construct hydroelectric dams, a new seaport at Gwadar, and a new highway connecting Gwadar to Karachi, which could serve both commercial and military activities.
Bangladesh originally called East Pakistan
Bangladesh separated from Pakistan after the 1971 war. Although their relations were initially strained, they now are on fairly good terms and have had several high-level diplomatic visits in recent years. the countries are finalizing a free trade agreement and have signed memoranda of understanding on agriculture, tourism, export promotion, and product standardization. The major point of tension between Pakistan and Bangladesh is the fate of the Bihari refugees, Urdu-speaking Pakistanis who were stranded in Bangladesh after the two countries split. Some of these refugees wish to return to Pakistan; others, particularly those born after the split, want to become Bangladeshi citizens. Approximately 127,000 refugees were repatriated by 1982; almost 250,000 remain. There has been little movement on this issue in recent years.
Although Pakistan’s overall economy has historically been underdeveloped, Pakistan’s macro economy had impressive growth between 2001 and 2008. From 2004 to 2008, the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) increased in all sectors. The country was regaining its international reserves and strengthening its banking sector. Public debt slowly declined from moderately high levels. Pakistan’s tax reduction and greater export earnings also provided significant economic advances.
In 1988, IMF helped Pakistan restructure and improve its credibility with foreign investors. The IMF approved a Us$1.5 billion aid and-debt forgiveness program for Pakistan, including a Us $ 250 million loan in 2004. In 2001, for its role in the War on terrorism, Pakistan received additional financial support and the United States lifted its sanctions. Following the massive 2005 earthquake, many countries, including India and the United states, pledged millions of dollars to the rebuilding efforts.
In the 2008 global economic downturn, Pakistan took a major hit and has asked foreign countries to provide an influx of cash. Now, an increasing debt burden and rising inflation are undermining the past years’ gains. Pakistan remains a low-income country with a large percentage of its population living in poverty. The government’s reform efforts have centered on macroeconomic reforms to attract foreign investment, rather than on social reform and improvements to infrastructure in order to attract foreign investment and develop domestic industries. When combined with high-population growth rates, the lack of economic development contributes to a persistent poverty level. the country also faces the economic consequences of political instability, ethnic and sectarian violence, and devastating natural disasters, such as a 7.6-magnitude earthquake on 8 October 2005. The greatest threat to Pakistan’s economy is inflation, which was at 17.19 percent in May 2009. Economic Statistics GDP (official exchange rate) Us$160.9 billion (2009, est) Purchasing power parity Us$448.1 billion (2009, est) Growth rate 2.7% Per capita Us$2,600 Industry (% of GDP) 24.3% Agriculture (% of GDP) 20.8% Services (% of GDP) 54.9% Inflation rate 14.2% Debt Us$45.3 billion Unemployment rate 7.4% plus substantial underemployment Imports Us$28.31 billion Exports Us$17.87 billion Labor force 55.88 million resources Pakistan’s primary resources are arable land, water, natural gas reserves, petroleum, coal, iron ore, copper, salt, and limestone. The country has 759 billion cubic meters (26.8 trillion cubic feet) of proven natural gas reserves, mostly in Balochistan Province. In 2003, it produced sufficient natural gas to meet its consumption needs. Projected economic growth, however, will likely outstrip production by the next decade. Baloch separatists also target natural gas pipelines.
Pakistan has 291 million barrels of recoverable crude oil reserves. Domestic oil production largely takes place in Punjab’s Potwar plateau and the lower sindh Province. the country produces 64,000 barrels per day of crude oil, and it plans to increase production to 100,000 barrels per day by 2010. Because domestic consumption of petroleum products exceeds production by nearly 50 percent, oil remains one of Pakistan’s top imports. Pakistan lacks the in World’s largest land Salt Mine, Khewra Frastructure and capital to exploit fully its petroleum resources; it has made future energy development a priority. Pakistan has the world’s sixth-largest coal reserves, estimated at 3 billion tons. an additional 1.7 billion tons was recently discovered in the that Desert of the Sindh Province. This discovery increased foreign and domestic development interest. While Pakistan has substantial coal resources, the quality is poor. Industry accounts for 25 percent of Pakistan’s GDP. The main industries are textiles, food processing, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, steel, machinery, cement, paper products, and fertilizer as well as commercial services. the cotton textile industry accounts for more than 60 percent of Pakistan’s total exports. Large companies spin and weave the cotton; small and mid-size firms manufacture garments. Technology prompted growth in the textile industry, but private investment remains relatively low. Predictions of increased international and domestic demand have spurred the government to give more attention to, and invest more money in textiles.
Pakistan’s large agricultural sector makes the country an ideal candidate for growth in the processed-food industry. It registered nearly 7 percent growth from 2005 to 2006. Major subsectors are vegetable ghee, cooking oils, sugar, flour, and lye. The lack of infrastructure has hindered the development of additional subsectors. Steel is one of the country’s public-sector industries. Pakistan has one integrated steel plant, located east of Karachi near Port Qasim. It has an annual production capacity of 1.1 million tons (2.2 billion pounds). Pakistan steel produces coke, pig iron, billets, hot and cold rolled coils and sheets, and galvanized sheets. The facility can expand to over 3 million tons (6 billion pounds) of steel but still would not meet expectations for future domestic steel demand. The services sector consists primarily of finance and insurance; transport, storage, and communication; and wholesale and retail trade. The finance and insurance sector experienced 23 percent growth in 2005-2006, part of the services sector’s overall growth of 8.8 percent. However, growth has slowed since 2008 due to the global economic downturn. Foreign investment foreign investment in Pakistan has been moderate, and the government is trying to change the trend. Foreign direct investment in fiscal year 2007 was Us$8.43 billion; in 2008, it was Us$5.19 billion, a decrease of 19.8 percent in 11 months. Political instability, security threats, protracted ethnic and sectarian violence, corruption, and rule of law gaps have discouraged foreign investors. Primary foreign investors have come from the United States, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, and Japan. The government attempted different reform programs in 1992, 1997, and 2000, each designed to open the economy to new investment and reform the political structure to make Pakistan investor friendly. Measures included market-oriented reforms, and unsuccessful or limited infrastructure improvements, privatization, deregulation, and tax and duty incentives.
Outlook along with many nations suffering from the global economic downturn, Pakistan’s economy declined in 2009; unemployment and inflation increased while foreign investments decreased. Despite pressure from other nations and the IMF for Pakistan to reform and streamline its economy, friction between political parties, combined with the supreme court’s resistance to implement the recommended measures, has hampered any feasible economic recovery plan. With no party expected to dominate the next round of elections, such disagreements will likely continue and any economic recovery program will be implemented only incrementally. Pakistan, therefore, is unlikely recover quickly.