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Pakistan (păkˈĭstănˌ, päkĭstänˈ), officially Islamic Republic of Pakistan, republic (2015 est. pop. 189,381,000), 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 the federal capital territory. The former federal territory known as the Tribal Areas was incorporated into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in 2018. 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 The waters of the other two rivers, the Beas and the Sutlej, are largely withdrawn for irrigation in India.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 from c.2600B.C. to c.1900 B.C., 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 B.C. reached the Indus River. Alexander the Great, conqueror of the Persian empire, invaded the Punjab in 326 B.C. The Seleucid empire, heir to Alexander's Indian conquest, was checked by the Mauryas, who by 305 B.C. occupied the Indus plain and much of Afghanistan.

After the fall of the Mauryas (2d cent. B.C.) the Indo-Greek Bactrian kingdom rose to power, but was in turn overrun (c.97 B.C.) by Scythian nomads called Saka and then by the Parthians (c.A.D. 7). The Parthians, of Persian stock, were replaced by the Kushans; the Kushan Kanishka ruled (2d cent. A.D.) 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 caretaker 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 2016; an estimated 1.5 million people were displaced by the fighting. 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. Attacks diminished greatly in 2015 after army successes in its campaign, but 2016 saw several especially deadly attacks by a number of groups, including a suicide bombing in Lahore in March that targeted Christians and an attack in in Quetta in October that targeted police cadets.

Beginning in Aug., 2014, 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. In Dec., 2015, the Pakistani and Indian prime ministers met in what was seen as a potential warming of relations, but expections were tempered in Jan., 2016, after Kashmiri separatists widely regarded as sponsored by Pakistan's intelligence agency attacked an Indian air force base. Tensions further increased after a separatist attack against an army base in Kashmir in Sept., 2016, with recurring exchanges of fire between Pakistan and Indian forces in Kashmir until late May, 2018.

Revelations (2016) arising from the publication of the Panama Papers led to an investigation, overseen by the supreme court, into Prime Minister Sharif's family's wealth and possible corruption. In July, 2017, the supreme court disqualified him from public office, and he and his government resigned; Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, an ally of Sharif and the petroleum minister, succeeded him as prime minister. Legislation incorporating the Tribal Areas into the neighboring province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was passed in May, 2018, with all aspects of the merger to be completed by 2020.

In June, Nasir-ul-Mulk, a former supreme court chief justice, became caretaker prime minister in preparation for the parliamentary elections. The Pakistan Tehreek-e Insaf party (PTI), led by former cricket star Imran Khan, won a plurality in the July balloting, but the military had shown favoritism toward the PTI prior to the election, and some opposition leaders denounced the election as rigged. Khan subsequently formed a coalition government with a number of smaller parties and became prime minister. In September, Arif Alvi, an ally of Khan's, was elected president. India launched an air strike against Pakistan in Feb., 2019, after a suicide bombing in Kashmir killed 46 Indian paramilitary police; Pakistan retaliated with its own air strike. There also was significant skirmishing in Kashmir before tensions subsequently eased somewhat; there was an escalation in situation on the Kashmir border in Apr., 2020.

The Pashtun Protection Movement (PTM), a nonviolent organization focused on military violence against Pashtuns and ending the militarization of the former Tribal Areas and removing the landmines there, became increasingly prominent in 2018 despite a blackout on media coverage of its protests. It has been accused by officials of being foreign-funded terrorists (though no evidence of that has been provided), and in mid-2019 the military and government launched a crackdown against the PTM.

In Sept., 2020, a broad group of opposition parties, including the PML-N, PPP, and PTM, formed an antigovernment alliance, the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), and called for an end to military interference in politics. Soon after the PML-N's Shehbaz Sharif, the PPP's Zardari, and some of their family members were arrested and indicted on corruption charges. In October, the PDM began mounting demonstrations against the government.


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); D. Walsh, The Nine Lives of Pakistan (2020).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(Islamic Republic of Pakistan).

A state in southern Asia, Pakistan is located in the northwestern part of the south Asian subcontinent. It is bounded on the southwest by Iran, on the west and northwest by Afghanistan, on the northeast by the People’s Republic of China, and on the east by India. In the south it is washed by the Arabian Sea. Area, 803,900 sq km. Population, 64.9 million (1972 census). The capital is Islamabad. Pakistan is divided into provinces; there are also areas administered by the central government (see Table 1).

Table 1. Administrative divisions of Pakistan
 Area (sqkm)1Population (1972 census)Administrative center
1 Estimate
Baluchistan ...........347,1002,400,000Quetta
Northwest Frontier Province ..74,5008,400,000Peshawar
Punjab ...................182,00037,400,000Lahore
Sind ..........................140,90014,000,000Karachi
Tribal areas ...........27,2002,500,000 
Federal capital territory of Islamabad ...................900235,000 

Pakistan is a federal republic whose present constitution was adopted in 1973. The head of state is the president, elected by a joint session of the houses of parliament. The president must consult the prime minister and act according to his recommendations. All presidential decrees must be signed by the prime minister or approved by the federal cabinet. The president appoints the governors of the provinces, the attorney general, the comptroller general, the chief election commissioner, the chiefs of staff of the various branches of the armed forces, and members of the Supreme Court and high courts.

Legislative power is vested in a bicameral parliament consisting of the National Assembly and Senate. The National Assembly’s 210 members are elected by universal suffrage for five-year terms. In the Senate each province is represented by 14 deputies, elected by provincial assemblies. In addition to the deputies from the provinces, the 63-member Senate includes five members from the tribal territories administered by the central government and two members from the federal capital territory of Islamabad. The Senate’s powers are limited. The government (cabinet), formed from among members of parliament, is headed by the prime minister, who is elected by the National Assembly.

The provinces are relatively autonomous. Each province has a government, headed by a chief minister, and an elected provincial assembly. The central government is represented in the provinces by governors. The parliament, provincial assemblies, president of the republic, and provincial governors are obliged, at the request of a majority in the parliament or a provincial assembly, to consult with the Council on Islam as to whether proposed legislation is compatible with Islam. The council’s recommendations must be implemented within two years. The judiciary is headed by the Supreme Court.


Pakistan stretches for almost 1,500 km from southwest to northeast. The northern and northwestern regions consist chiefly of mountains and uplands, and the east and southeast are occupied by the flat, low-lying Indus Plain, the western part of the Indo-Gangetic Plain. In the south, the coast of the Arabian Sea is low and little indented. The Indus delta is in the southeast.

Terrain. The alluvial Indus Plain, most of which lies below 200 m, has a monotonous, gently sloping terrain, broken only by ravines (along rivers), valleys, canals, and dry riverbeds. In the southeast the western part of the Thar Desert extends into Pakistan. On the plains of the Indus Basin are the natural and cultural-historical regions of Punjab in the north and Sind in the south. The mountains rimming the Indus Plain have rugged foothills with stretches of badlands. The western and northwestern parts of Pakistan are occupied by the outlying ranges of the Iranian Plateau—the Makran, Kirthar, and Sulaiman mountains. These almost parallel chains of mountains, rising to 3,000–3,600 m, have arid landscapes. Whereas the slopes facing the Arabian Sea and the Indus Plain are steep, those descending to the Baluchistan Plateau are gentle. On the plateau, high (to 3,000 m), relatively flat stretches alternate with intermontane basins intersected by numerous dry riverbeds. The largest mountain chains are in the extreme north and belong to the Hindu Kush and Himalayan mountain systems. The highest point in Pakistan is Mount Tirich Mir (7,690 m) in the Hindu Kush. The northern mountains are deeply dissected by river valleys and have large glaciated areas.

Geological structure and minerals. Pakistan encompasses the northwestern edge of the Indian (Hindustan) Platform and part of the Mediterranean Folded Zone. To the platform belongs the eastern low-lying part of the country (Indus Plain), covered with Anthropogenic deposits; rocks of the sedimentary mantle (Paleozoic, Mesozoic, and Paleogene) occur only in the Salt Range. The folded zone includes the mountain systems in the west and north—the Iranian Plateau, Hindu Kush, and Himalayas.

Baluchistan in the west, part of the alpine geosynclinal region, may be divided into several zones extending from east to west: a miogeosynclinal zone with Cretaceous and Paleogene carbonate deposits, a eugeosynclinal zone with Triassic and Jurassic limestones and Cretaceous rocks belonging to the ophiolite series, a zone of Paleogene and Miocene flysch, and a zone of Cretaceous and Paleogene volcanites and granitoids. The northern folded region is composed of Precambrian gneisses, schists, and granites. Along the northwestern rim of the folded region are flysch and volcanic deposits of the Paleozoic and Mesozoic with granite intrusions. The folded region is framed by troughs filled with Neogene Molasses.

The largest mineral deposits are associated with the sedimentary complexes along the edges of the platform and folded region. In 1970–72 known reserves included 4.7 million tons of petroleum, 453 billion cu m of natural gas, 2 billion tons of coals and 500 million tons of iron ore. There are also deposits of manganese, lead, zinc, bauxite, antimony, barite, celestite (strontium sulfate), sulfur, rock salt, gypsum, magnesite, limestone, and clay.

Climate. Most of the country has a tropical climate. In the northwest the climate becomes subtropical, mostly dry continental, and high altitudes affect the climate in the northern mountains. In January temperatures on the Indus Plain usually range from 12° to 16° C, rising to 20°C along the coast. Frosts occur in the northern mountains, and in the high mountains the temperature may drop to — 20°C. In July, the hottest month, temperatures reach 35°C in the southern and southwestern deserts and about 29°C along the coast. In the western mountains and plateaus the July temperature varies from 20° to 25°C, falling to 0°C at heights of about 5,000 m.

On the Indus Plain and in the northern mountains most of the precipitation falls between July and September, during the southwestern monsoon. On the Iranian Plateau the maximum precipitation occurs during the winter and spring. The coast receives 150–250 mm of rainfall annually; Sind, 100–200 mm (parts of the Thar Desert only 50 mm); the river valleys and northwestern plateaus, 250–400 mm; Punjab and the foothills, 350–500 mm; and the northern mountains, 1,000–1,500 mm. Almost everywhere evaporation greatly exceeds precipitation.

Rivers and lakes. Much of Pakistan lies within the Indus Basin. The western regions either drain into the Arabian Sea or, like Baluchistan, have interior drainage. The total annual drainage in the Indus Basin is 208 cu km. About half of the water comes from the Indus River and the remainder from its principal tributary, the Sutlej (Panjnad), which receives the waters of the main rivers of the Punjab area—the Chenab, Ravi, Jhelum, and Beas. The large rivers have a summer high-water period, caused by monsoon rains and the melting of snow and glaciers in the mountains. As protection against frequent flooding many rivers have been lined with embankments over long stretches. During the summer the discharge is 10–16 times greater than in winter, and some rivers dry up in winter and spring. A considerable portion of the drainage (as much as 40 percent in the Indus Basin) is diverted for irrigation. With the exception of the mountains in the north, the river network is sparse, and in parts of the Thar Desert and western Baluchistan there are no rivers. The irrigated lands are crisscrossed with canals.

Soils and vegetation. In the plains sierozems and grayish brown soils predominate. The Thar Desert in the southeast has sandy soils, and in the intermontane depressions of Baluchistan sandy desert soils alternate with solonchaks. The foothills have light brown and dark brown soils. In the mountains the soil changes with elevation, resulting in a sequence of mountain light brown, mountain dark brown forest, mountain-meadow, and mountain meadow-steppe soils. In the dry mountains and foothills, chiefly in western Pakistan, much of the soil is eroded by mountain streams. The expansion of irrigation in the plains has intensified soil salinization and waterlogging, making large tracts unsuitable for agricultural use every year. Large areas, primarily in Punjab, have been plowed up.

The vegetation is primarily of the semidesert and desert type. The sparsest vegetation occurs in the Thar Desert, where sandy ridges are stabilized by xerophytic shrubs (Calligonum and acacia) and tough wiry grasses. In the Indus Plain the natural vegetation is that of semideserts and desert-like savannas (Stipa splendens, wormwood, capers, Astragalus). Along the Indus and other rivers grow strips of shrub and reed thickets called tugai, and mangrove thickets occur in places in the Indus delta and along the seacoast. The Iranian Plateau is covered with semidesert formations of spiny pulvinate shrubs (plateau xerophytes), and the mountains of Baluchistan have sparse growths of Pistacia and juniper. In the northern mountains at elevations of 1,500 to 3,000 m, are found tracts of deciduous, primarily oak, forests and coniferous forests of spruce, fir, pine, and Himalayan cedar. Forests occupy 3 percent of Pakistan’s territory. In the valleys, fig plantations (in the south), citrus and olive groves, and fruit orchards are found near settlements. Mulberry trees are cultivated along the irrigation canals.

Fauna. Animal life includes Indo-African, Central-Asian, and Mediterranean species. Of the large mammals leopards, wild sheep and goats, and Persian gazelles inhabit the mountains, and hyenas, jackals, boars, and wild asses are found in the plains. Rodents are numerous. Among the many species of birds are eagles, vultures, peacocks, and parrots. There are many snakes, and crocodiles abound in the Indus River. The Arabian Sea abounds in herring, tuna, and other fish.

Natural regions. There are three natural regions: the Indus Plain, the Iranian Plateau, and the Hindu Kush and Himalayas. The Indus Plain is an alluvial lowland, largely plowed up, but with desert tracts in the southeast. The Iranian Plateau consists of medium-elevation ranges, covered primarily with scrub vegetation, and intermontane depressions with solonchaks and sandy deserts. The Hindu Kush and Himalayas are high mountains with deep canyons and valleys, landscapes reflecting altitudinal zonation, and permanent snow and glaciers on the crests.


Ocherk geologii Pakistana. Moscow, 1971.
Fridland, V. M. Mezhdu Gimalaiami i Araviiskim morem. Moscow, 1968.
Bilgrami, S. A. “Pakistan.” Mining Annual Review. 1971, pp. 411–13;
1972, pp. 407–10. Ahmad, K. S. A. Geography of Pakistan. Karachi, 1964.

F. A. TRINICH and IU. S. PERFIL’EV (geological structure and minerals)

Pakistan is a multinational state. The most numerous people are the Punjabis, who numbered about 42 million in 1972 (census). Among the Punjabis the speakers of various dialects of Western Punjabi, or Lahnda, are divided into several ethnic groups—the Multanis, Jatkis, Thalis, Awankaris, Pothoharis, and others—totaling about 14 million persons in 1972. The Punjabis have settled in the upper and lower parts of the Indus Plain. The regions along the lower course of the Indus are occupied by the Sindhis, numbering about 9.5 million in 1972. In the mountains bordering on Afghanistan live about 10 million Pashtuns (Pathans). The extreme west is inhabited by the Baluchis, totaling about 1.7 million persons in 1972. In central Baluchistan live about 400,000 Brahuis. Pashtuns, Baluchis, and Brahuis also live in neighboring parts of Afghanistan and Iran. They have to some extent preserved their tribal organization, and some are semi-nomads. The extreme north is inhabited by mountain peoples— the Khos (or Chitrals, more than 100,000) and the Kohistanis (about 100,000). In the cities live about 1.5 million Gujaratis, Rajasthanis, and other refugees from India. About 25,000 Persians and about 10,000 Parsis also live in the cities. The official languages are Urdu and, provisionally, English. More than 98 percent of the people are Muslims. Most of them are Sunnis of the Hanafite school; although there are many Shiites in the cities. There is also a sect of Ismailite Muslims. Other groups include some 600,000 Hindus, two-thirds of whom belong to the lower castes, and an equal number of Christians, both Catholics and Protestants. The Parsis are Zoroastrians.


The official calendar is the Gregorian, although the Muslim lunar and other calendars are also used.

From 1961 to 1972, the period between two censuses, the population grew by 22 million, or by 51.33 percent. The average annual growth rate is 3.8 percent, primarily because of natural increase. Population changes have occurred as a result of the migration of people between India and Pakistan after the 1947 partition and the exchange of persons between Pakistan and the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. Out of an economically active population of 18.5 million (according to 1970 UN data), 70.5 percent are engaged in agriculture.

The population is distributed unevenly. The regions of irrigated agriculture in the valleys of the Indus and its tributaries are densely populated, and the mountainous and semidesert regions are sparsely settled. Whereas the average density is 81 persons per sq km, Punjab has 205 persons per sq km and Baluchistan only seven. More than 25 percent of the population lives in the cities. Nineteen cities have more than 100,000 inhabitants; of these the largest are Karachi, Lahore, Lyallpur, Hyderabad, Rawalpindi, Multan, Peshawar, and Islamabad.

Ancient history (prior to the sixth century). Pakistan was settled as early as the end of the first interglacial period. During the Neolithic the first agricultural communities arose in the river valleys. The first states appeared during the third millennium B.C. in the Indus Valley. These states belonged to one of the world’s oldest civilizations, the Proto-Indic, or Harappa, civilization, which lasted from about the middle of the third to the middle of the second millennium B.C. Its decline coincided with the arrival of Vedic Aryan tribes. Contacts between these tribes and the indigenous peoples at the beginning of the first millennium B.C. resulted in the evolution of the Indo-Aryan peoples.

During the seventh and sixth centuries B.C., according to Buddhist legends, the first Indo-Aryan states, notably Madra, Gandhara, and Sauvira, arose in the area. Apparently, eastern Iranian tribes were also moving into the Indus Basin at this time. Pre-Indo-European peoples continued to inhabit parts of Pakistan. At the end of the sixth century B.C. almost the entire Indus Valley was incorporated into the ancient Persian Achaemenid Empire. It was not until the turn of the fourth century B.C. that the regions beyond the Indus regained their independence. In 327–325 B.C. the Indus Basin, as far as the Beas River, was conquered by Alexander the Great. After his death in 323 B.C., the area became part of the Maurya Empire. Early in the second century B.C. a Hellenistic, “Greco-Indian” kingdom was founded on the territory of Pakistan. From the first to the third century A.D., the Indus Basin was part of the Kushan kingdom; Purushapura, present-day Peshawar, became the capital of the kingdom during the reign of Kanishka.

The last centuries B.C. and the first centuries A.D. were a time of cultural flowering for the slaveholding society in the Indus Basin. Especially famous was the art of the Gandhara school. After the disintegration of the Kushan kingdom, the western regions of present-day Pakistan were included within the Sassanid empire, and the eastern regions became part of the Gupta empire. During the second half of the fifth century the Chionites, or Ephthalites, gained control over the area; they ruled until the sixth century, making their capital Sakala, present-day Sialkot.

Sixth century to the first half of the 19th. In the sixth and seventh centuries several early-feudal states arose on the territory of present-day Pakistan. At this time important changes occurred in the culture of the local population. The ideology of a feudal society evolved within the framework of Hinduism, which almost everywhere replaced Buddhism. The caste system, which had originated earlier, developed, and a hierarchy of castes was established. In the early eighth century the Arabs conquered Sind and the southern part of Punjab. The Arab conquest was accompanied by the spread of Islam. After the fall of the Umayyad Caliphate in 750, Sind became essentially an independent state, and in the early tenth century Multan became an independent kingdom. A native dynasty ruled north of Multan; its capital was Udabhandapura, present-day Undh, near Attock. The Ghaznavids gained control over the Indus Basin in the early 11th century, and the Ghorids ruled over the area in the late 12th century. In the early 13th century it became part of the Sultanate of Delhi.

Despite endless wars, revolts of feudal lords, and numerous foreign invasions (the Mongols in the 13th and early 14th centuries and Timur in the late 14th century), which retarded the growth of productive forces, the major cities of the Indus Basin became important economic and cultural centers and played a large role in the trade relations between the countries west and east of the Indus. Such cities as Lahore, Multan, Peshawar, and Tatta were situated on important trade routes. These cities were in the most highly developed and densely populated parts of the country, where irrigation was used, food and industrial crops were cultivated, and handicrafts and building techniques attained a relatively high level. The cities retained their importance after the fall of the Sultanate of Delhi and the ascendancy of the Great Moguls, who ruled over Punjab, Sind, and the right bank of the Indus until the early 18th century. In Punjab the growth of feudal exploitation provoked uprisings by the peasants and the lower classes in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. The uprisings were led by the Sikhs, a religious sect. In the mid-18th century the Afghan ruler Ahmad Shah Durrani conquered Pakistan. In 1765 the Sikhs captured Lahore. The Sikh principalities that arose in Punjab were united into a single state by Ranjit Singh, who ruled from 1799 to 1839. After the power of the Durrani shahs weakened, several feudal principalities were founded in Sind and Baluchistan in the late 18th century.

British colonial domination (from the mid-19th century to 1947). The military expansion of British colonialists, which began on the south Asian subcontinent in the 17th century, reached Pakistan by the mid-19th century. In 1843 the British colonialists captured Sind; in 1845–49, during the Sikh Wars, the British seized Punjab; and in 1854, 1876, 1879, and 1893 they captured Baluchistan and subdued the eastern Pashtun tribes and principalities.

After the British conquest, the area was transformed into a source of agricultural raw material for the mother country. The colonial authorities stimulated the production of export crops, and certain prerequisites for capitalist production evolved. As feudalism disintegrated, opportunities arose for the development of capitalism. But colonial oppression retarded and distorted the development of these processes, contributing to the preservation of feudal vestiges.

The social and economic development of the peoples of Pakistan during the colonial period affected the national liberation movements that arose here during the second half of the 19th century. The ideas of bourgeois enlightenment and national liberation usually asserted themselves as religious reforms, frequently of a sectarian character. The colonialists took advantage of this aspect of the national liberation movements. In striving to divide the anti-imperialist forces, they fomented dissension between Hindus and Muslims, playing on the conflicts between various religious and social groups among the propertied classes and encouraging the most reactionary aspects of the Hindu, Sikh, and Muslim religious and social ideologies.

In the early 20th century a revolutionary-democratic trend emerged within the national liberation movement of the peoples of Pakistan, and the first revolutionary-democratic organizations were founded (the Ghadr, the Red Shirts and the Khilafat movement). The first workers’ organizations were established, and socialist ideas spread rapidly during the 1930’s. The liberation struggle of the peoples undermined the colonialist regime. The struggle often took the form of armed uprisings, such as the revolts of the Khuris in Sind from 1896 to 1908 and of the Pashtun border tribes from 1919 to 1921 and the uprisings in Peshawar in 1930 and in Baluchistan from 1897 to 1900 and in 1915–16, 1925, and 1927–28.

Independence. After World War II, the British colonialists had to grant independence to their colony of British India in 1947. Former British India was partitioned along religious lines into two states—India and Pakistan. India acquired the regions with a predominantly Hindu population, and Pakistan received those with a Muslim majority. Pakistan’s independence was proclaimed on Aug. 14, 1947. The first governor-general of the new state—the Dominion of Pakistan—was the leader of the Muslim League, M. A. Jinnah. On May 1, 1948, the USSR established diplomatic relations with Pakistan. The partition of former British India along religious lines resulted in the creation of a Pakistani state consisting of two separate regions. Pakistan included western Punjab, Sind, the Northwest Frontier Province, and Baluchistan in the northwestern part of the south Asian subcontinent and East Bengal in the northeastern part of the subcontinent. The mass migration of Hindus and Muslims during the partition and the bloody Hindu-Muslim pogroms, incited by the forces of imperialist and domestic reaction, weakened the young sovereign states—both Pakistan and India—and complicated the relations between them after independence.

Pakistan inherited a backward colonial economy from the period of British rule. Some 90 percent of the population lived in rural areas, and factory industry provided only 1.4 percent of the country’s national income in 1948. British monopolies were firmly entrenched in the principal branches of the economy. Economically, East Pakistan was far more backward than West Pakistan. The country’s political life was dominated by disputes over the country’s direction of growth and over the pace and methods of promulgating reforms necessary to eradicate the colonial heritage and strengthen the state’s independence.

Until 1954 the Muslim League dominated the political life of Pakistan. Its leaders sought to strengthen the large landholders of West Pakistan and the Muslim big bourgeoisie, chiefly newcomers from India. Between 1948 and 1950 taxes, excise duties, and land rents were increased, a policy that provoked discontent among the population. At the end of 1947 the workers’ movement revived, and in 1948 the Communist Party of Pakistan was formed. A peasant movement arose, becoming especially strong in East Pakistan. Peasant disturbances compelled the ruling circles to adopt a series of agrarian laws. In East Pakistan the government gradually bought up lands from large landowners, and the peasants, traditionally hereditary tenant farmers, became hereditary owners, paying a tax to the state. In West Pakistan the hereditary tenant farmers were allowed to buy their plots, and the landowners’ share of the harvest was fixed at 40 percent.

In 1948 a movement to reorganize Pakistan’s administrative-territorial structure on a national and linguistic basis arose in East Pakistan, Sind, the Northwest Frontier Province, and Baluchistan. These provinces sought greater autonomy in internal affairs and larger allocations for their economic and social needs than had been made in the economic development plans (the six-year plan beginning in 1950; the two-year segment of the six-year plan, 1951–52; and the first five-year plan beginning in 1955). The politically active groups in East Pakistan, Sind, Baluchistan, and the Northwest Frontier Province also sought to increase their influence in the bureaucracy and armed forces.

Unable to solve the basic problems of Pakistan’s development, the Muslim League lost the support of the broad masses. Factional disputes within the Muslim League intensified, and the late 1940’s and early 1950’s saw the rise of the first bourgeois-democratic opposition parties, of which the most important were the Awami League and the Azad Pakistan Party.

Increasing economic difficulties and the influence of the British monopolies provoked discontent among some patriotic officers. In March 1951 members of the army opposition were arrested in the “Rawalpindi conspiracy.” The Communist Party and democratic organizations were also persecuted. Within the ruling camp disputes over a constitution for Pakistan intensified. On Oct. 16, 1951, Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan was assassinated.

During the spring of 1953 bloody riots against the Ahmadiya, a Muslim sect, broke out in West Pakistan, and these events undermined the position of the ruling circles. The United Front of Opposition Parties was founded in December 1953, and in March 1954 it overwhelmingly defeated the Muslim League in the elections to the Legislative Assembly of East Pakistan. The United Front formed a government headed by A. K. Fazlul Huq. To remain in power the ruling circles declared a state of emergency in East Pakistan, and on May 30, 1954, the United Front government was dissolved. The Communist Party was banned in East Pakistan on July 5, 1954, and in West Pakistan on July 24,1954. On Oct. 24, 1954, a state of emergency was also declared in West Pakistan. In 1954, Pakistan joined SEATO, and in 1955 it signed the Baghdad Pact (it has been a member of CENTO since 1959).

The elections to the Constituent Assembly in June 1955 attested to the declining influence of the ruling circles. To remain in power, the leaders of the Muslim League made certain concessions to the Bengali national movement. In 1954, Bengali was designated an official language, along with Urdu. In August 1955 a coalition government was formed out of the Muslim League and the United Front. In October 1955 the ruling circles united West Pakistan into a single province; prior to that time West Pakistan had been divided into four provinces (Punjab, the Northwest Frontier Province, Sind, and Baluchistan), several principalities (Bahawalpur, Kalat, Dir), and tribal areas. On Feb. 29, 1956, the Constituent Assembly adopted a constitution in accordance with which Pakistan was proclaimed the federal Islamic Republic of Pakistan on Mar. 23, 1956.

The alliance between right-wing leaders of the United Front and the Muslim League caused dissatisfaction among the left-wing and centrist parties in the United Front. In September 1956 a coalition government was formed by the Awami League and the Republican Party, founded in 1956; it was headed by H. S. Suhrawardy until October 1957. However, even this government was unable to solve the country’s pressing problems. There were mass strikes by workers, and the peasant and national movements gained momentum. The parties advocating a reexamination of Pakistan’s domestic and foreign policies formed the National Party in November 1956 in West Pakistan. In July 1957 the National Party merged with the left wing of the Awami League to form the National Awami Party. The intensified struggle among various factions within the ruling camp precipitated a series of government crises between October 1957 and October 1958.

The commercial and industrial big bourgeoisie, which had grown stronger, resented the concentration of power in the hands of the large landowners of West Pakistan. In these circumstances a military coup d’etat was carried out on Oct. 7–8, 1958. The constitution was abolished, and political parties were banned. On Oct. 27, 1958, M. Ayub Khan, the commander in chief of the armed forces, assumed the functions of president. The coup strengthened the big bourgeoisie and the landowners engaged in business activities. In the interest of these groups the government promulgated several reforms in 1959–60 and tightened its control over the economic development of the provinces. In West Pakistan, 880,000 hectares (ha) of land were bought from the 5,000 largest landowners and resold to 74,000 tenant farmers. A new constitution adopted in 1962 established a presidential form of government and indirect elections of members of legislative bodies and the head of state. In 1962 and again in 1965, M. Ayub Khan was elected president, and the Muslim League, which Ayub Khan headed, won the majority of seats in the legislative assemblies.

In the 1960’s Pakistan departed from its narrowly pro-Western foreign policy. On Mar. 4, 1961, Pakistan and the USSR concluded an agreement on cooperation in prospecting for petroleum and natural gas.

The armed conflict that broke out between Pakistan and India in the autumn of 1965 was linked to unresolved problems that had originated in the colonial period. On Sept. 4 and 17, 1965, the Soviet government offered its good offices to Pakistan and India to restore peace and normalize relations. It invited the president of Pakistan and the prime minister of India to a meeting in Tashkent on Jan. 4–10,1966, where the two leaders signed the Tashkent Declaration, opening the way for a peaceful resolution of the conflict.

The 1965 armed conflict with India weakened Pakistan’s economy. Expenditures on economic development and social needs were curtailed. Between 1966 and 1969 the workers’ and student movement gained strength; 622,000 man-days were lost through strikes in 1965 and 2,492,000 in 1967. The growing national movements demanded the reorganization of Pakistan’s administrative-territorial structure on an ethnic basis, the granting of full regional autonomy to the provinces, and the introduction of universal and direct suffrage. The strengthening of democratic movements led to a political crisis. On Mar. 25, 1969, Ayub Khan transferred his power to General A. M. Yahya Khan, and a military regime was again imposed. In 1970 the military administration divided the province of West Pakistan into four provinces: Punjab, Sind, the Northwest Frontier Province, and Baluchistan.

In December 1970 the first general elections in Pakistan’s history took place. The victory went to parties advocating democratic reforms: in East Pakistan, the Awami League, led by Mujibur Rahman, and in West Pakistan, the Pakistan People’s Party, led by Z. A. Bhutto. The leaders of the Awami League demanded that power be transferred to the elected majority of deputies in the National Assembly and that the constitution guarantee East Pakistan’s right to full regional autonomy. The refusal of Pakistan’s ruling circles to meet these demands led to an acute political crisis. On Mar. 26, 1971, in response to repressive measures by the Pakistani authorities, the independent People’s Republic of Bangladesh was proclaimed in East Pakistan. As millions of refugees poured into India from East Pakistan, relations between India and Pakistan quickly deteriorated, and a large-scale armed conflict broke out in December 1971. The Pakistani army in Dacca surrendered on Dec. 16, 1971, and two days later military actions were halted in the west as well. On Dec. 20, 1971, General Yahya Khan resigned, transferring power to Z. A. Bhutto. A meeting between Bhutto, the president of Pakistan, and I. Gandhi, the prime minister of India, in Simla in 1972 paved the way for the normalization of relations between the two countries.

Since 1972, Bhutto’s government has introduced a number of progressive social and economic changes, including agrarian, educational, and labor reforms. Major industrial enterprises, private banks, insurance companies, and other firms have been nationalized. Martial law was lifted. A new constitution was adopted on Apr. 10, 1973, and went into effect on Aug. 14, 1973, giving the provinces considerable autonomy within the federal republic. In August 1973, Fazal Elahi Chaudhry was elected president of Pakistan, and Bhutto became prime minister.

Changes occurred in Pakistan’s foreign policy. It left SEATO and the British Commonwealth and established diplomatic relations with the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, the German Democratic Republic, and the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea (1972). In 1974, Pakistan recognized the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. Of great importance for the development of Pakistani-Soviet relations was President Bhutto’s visit to the USSR in March 1972. The visit was followed by the signing of a plan for exchanges in education, science, culture, art, and sports; a protocol on economic and technical cooperation; and a trade agreement (1973–75). Prime Minister Bhutto’s visit to Moscow in October 1974 strengthened the good-neighbor, mutually advantageous ties between Pakistan and the USSR and helped normalize the situation in south Asia.

The second general elections, held in March 1977, brought victory to the Pakistan People’s Party. The opposition within the Pakistan National Alliance refused to recognize the results of the elections.


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The Pakistan People’s Party, founded in 1967, became the ruling party on Dec. 20, 1971. It draws its support from the national bourgeoisie and landowners and to some extent from the intelligentsia, petite bourgeoisie, and students. The National Awami Party, founded in 1957 and banned in February 1975, reflected the interests of the petite and middle nationalist bourgeoisie and advocated democratic changes. In 1972 several factions formed within the party. The National Democratic Party was founded in November 1975 by a group of former members of the National Awami Party. The Pakistan Muslim League, known as the Muslim League prior to October 1972, was founded in 1906. From 1947 to 1954 and from 1962 to 1969 it was the ruling party, although it has split into several independent groups since 1962. It is backed by the big bourgeoisie and the landowners. Jamaat-i-Islami, founded in 1941, is an extreme right-wing religious party. The Communist Party of Pakistan, founded in 1948, was banned between 1954 and 1972.

The most influential trade union organization is the reformist Pakistan Federation of Trade Unions (PFTU), known prior to 1972 as the All-Pakistan Confederation of Labor. It was founded in 1948 and is a member of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions. Affiliated with the PFTU are the Pakistan Labor Organization, founded in 1971; the Pakistan National Federation of Trade Unions, founded in 1963; and the Pakistan National Labor Federation of Trade Unions, founded in 1968. Among other important trade union associations are the United Labor Federation, founded in 1969; the Pakistan Federation of Trade Unions, founded in 1970; the Federation of Pakistani Workers, founded in 1966; and the Pakistan Labor Union, founded in 1977.


General characteristics. Prior to 1947 the economy of the areas now included within Pakistan evolved within the framework of colonial India. As a result of the long domination of British imperialism, the country was at an extremely low level of economic development at the time that the sovereign state of Pakistan was formed. In the partition of former British India, Pakistan received the industrially more backward regions. Prior to 1971 it consisted of two separate sections: West Pakistan and East Pakistan. After the victory of the national movement of the East Bengal peoples, the People’s Republic of Bangladesh was proclaimed in East Pakistan in 1971.

Since independence, Pakistan has made progress in its economic development, but it has nevertheless remained a poorly developed agricultural country with a multisector economy. The leading position in the economy is occupied by the private capitalist and state capitalist sectors, although small-scale producers are the most numerous. In some outlying regions a patriarchal subsistence economy has survived.

Between 1949–50 and 1969–70, Pakistan’s gross national product increased at an annual rate of 4.6 percent. In 1971–72 the growth rate decreased to 0.9 percent; in 1972–73 it rose to 6.5 percent; and in 1973–74 it was 6.1 percent. The per capita income in 1973–74 was $120.

In 1972–73 agriculture accounted for 37.3 percent of the GNP, industry for 15.6 percent (of which large factories contributed 11.6 percent), commerce for 13.8 percent, construction for 3.8 percent, and transportation for 6.2 percent.

After Bangladesh seceded, industries that formerly supplied goods to the East Bengal market were forced to turn to foreign markets. To stabilize the economic situation and strengthen the role of the state sector in the economy, the government introduced a number of economic and administrative reforms between 1972 and 1974. These included the nationalization of banks, insurance companies, several large heavy-industry enterprises, vegetable-oil mills, and maritime shipping firms. The government also took control of the sale of petroleum and petroleum products and the export of cotton. Agrarian reforms were initiated. In reexamining the direction of the country’s economic development, the government has emphasized industrialization and the maximum use of natural, especially energy, resources. The government’s economic policy and individual measures for economic development have been adapted to the country’s mixed economy.

The economy’s chief branches remain in the private sector. Monopolistic groups, controlled by 22 families, own the leading industrial enterprises (82 percent of the investments in large industry) and major commercial and construction companies.

The government encourages foreign investments in various branches of the economy and seeks foreign loans and credits. British capital is well entrenched in several branches of the economy. After Great Britain the largest investments come from American, Japanese, and West German capitalists.

In mid-1974, Pakistan’s foreign loans, credits, and subsidies totaled $8.2 billion. In June 1973 its foreign debt came to $4.6 billion. More than three-fourths of the expenditures on a development program for 1973–74 were to be covered by foreign sources of financing.

Agriculture. Despite the promulgation of a number of agrarian reforms and the stimulus given to capitalist relations in agriculture, vestiges of feudalism persist in Pakistan’s agrarian system. Large landowners lease small plots to tenant farmers, often on harsh terms. This is the principal cause of backwardness in this branch of the economy. The agrarian reform proclaimed in March 1972 was aimed at limiting the size of landholdings; maximum landholdings were to be reduced from 200 to 60 ha of irrigated land and from 400 to 120 ha of nonirrigated land.

In 1969, 24 percent of Pakistan’s area, or 19.2 million ha, was under cultivation, including 14.5 million ha of plowed land. A total of 2.3 million hectares (2.8 percent) were forested and 46 million ha (57.4 percent) were designated as either unsuitable for cultivation or as not yet registered as arable land. Because two crops a year are obtained on the cultivated land, the sown area in effect totals 16 million ha.

In the Indus Valley land has been irrigated since ancient times. Today, the irrigation system consists mostly of large canals (the Sukkur irrigation system, the Lower Sind Reservoir, the Upper and Lower Chenab Canals, and the Upper Jhelam Canals). Since independence large-scale hydraulic engineering and reclamation projects have been completed. The waters of the Indus Basin have been divided between India and Pakistan, a project that was financed by foreign subsidies and loans. In 1969 the area irrigated by state-owned canals totaled 12.3 million ha, as contrasted with 7.9 million ha in 1949.

Crop cultivation is the main branch of agriculture. Crops are grown for spring (rabí) and fall (kharif) harvests. The first category includes wheat—the chief food crop, grown everywhere—gram (chickpeas), barley, and oil-bearing plants. In the second category are rice; cotton, the most important industrial crop; and sugarcane and corn. The sown area and production of rice have increased considerably in the last few years, chiefly on the saline irrigated soils of Sind. On the nonirrigated land in arid regions the chief crops are millet, including jowar and bajra. Other crops are becoming increasingly important, including tobacco, vegetables (onions, potatoes, and peppers), orchard crops (mangoes, citrus fruits, figs, and apricots), and peanuts. (See Table 2 for the sown area and yield of principal crops.)

The introduction of high-yield varieties of wheat and rice and the use of chemical fertilizers (the “green revolution”) increased the yield and production of the chief grain crops in the late 1960’s. Nevertheless, by the early 1970’s the problem of satisfying the country’s food needs had not been completely solved; in 1971–72 grain imports exceeded 750,000 tons. The benefits of the “green revolution” have been enjoyed primarily by the landowners and well-to-do peasants, intensifying social differentiation in the countryside.

Livestock raising occupies a subordinate position in the economy. Most of the animals are used for draft, although during the last few years animal husbandry for meat and milk has been developing on the outskirts of cities. In arid regions there is nomadic herding of sheep, goats, and camels.

Fishing is important along the coast. In 1972–73 the fish catch amounted to 212,000 tons.

Industry. From the colonial period Pakistan inherited several dozen small textile factories, sugar refineries, flour mills, and railroad and machine workshops. Since independence national private and state capital has created a comparatively large light industry and laid the foundations for heavy industry. The average annual growth rate of factory production exceeds 10 percent.

In 1969–70, Pakistan had 3,289 large factories, employing some 400,000 persons. The value of goods produced amounted to 9.1 billion rupees, of which the textile (chiefly cotton) industry contributed 48 percent; food processing, more than 15 percent (sugar refining, 7 percent); tobacco processing, 10 percent; metallurgy and machine building, 5 percent; and the cement and chemical industries, 3 percent each. Small-scale industry has been expanding, and handicrafts continue to be important.

MINING INDUSTRY AND ENERGY. Mining, which accounts for only 0.5 percent of the GNP, is dominated by the natural gas industry, which supplies 35 percent of the country’s energy. In 1974 there were nine gas fields, of which the largest was the Sui field in Baluchistan. Pipelines connect the largest gas fields with industrial centers. The petroleum extracted at Dhulian and elsewhere and refined in Rawalpindi meets only 15 percent of the country’s needs. The refineries in Karachi process imported petroleum. Since 1961 the USSR has aided Pakistan in petroleum and natural gas exploration. Small quantities of coal, rock salt (Salt Range), and gypsum (Sibi) are mined. Most of the country’s chromites, produced in the Hindubagh region, are exported.

Energy production is one of the weakest sectors of the economy, despite the increase in power-generating capacity from 1,000 megawatts to 1,923 megawatts between 1965 and 1970. Pakistan’s first nuclear power plant, built near Karachi, has a capacity of 132 megawatts. Most of the country’s electric energy is supplied by hydroelectric power plants in the Indus Valley, among which the largest are Mangla (300 megawatts), Malakand, and Rasul. Under construction in 1974 was the large Tarbela Hydroelectric Power Plant on the Indus River near Islamabad.

MANUFACTURING. Since independence the textile, primarily cotton, industry has expanded rapidly. By 1974 there were 146 cotton mills with 3.3 million spindles and 30,000 looms. Pakistan is one of the world’s leading exporters of cotton yarn. There are also factories producing wool cloth, silk, and knitted goods. The principal textile centers are Karachi, Hyderabad, Lyallpur, Multan, and Lahore.

One of the most important food-processing industries is sugar refining. In mid-1974 the country’s 24 sugar refineries, most of them in Punjab, Sind, and the Northwest Frontier Province, were processing about one-third of the sugarcane harvest. The remainder of the harvest was used for the production of brown sugar by cottage industries. Rice mills, flour mills, vegetable-oil enterprises, canneries, and tobacco, chiefly cigarette, factories are found throughout the country.

In 1974 a metallurgical plant was being built near Karachi with Soviet assistance. When completed, it will have an annual

Table 2. Sown area and yield of principal crops1
 Sown area(hectares)Yield(tons)
1Data for the territory of present-day Pakistan
Rape and mustard .367,000561,000477,000534,000144,000239,000250,000287,000
Table 3. Output of principal industrial products
Natural gas (cu m)623,000,0003,622,000,0004,1,35,000,000
Petroleum (tons)65,000313,000520,000738,000
Coal (tons)245,000735,0001,270,0001,082,000
Chromites (tons)17,00015,00026,00018,000
Rock salt (tons)209,000172,000310,000354,000
Cotton yarn (tons)12,000160,000273,000376,000
Cotton cloth (m)5,000,00050,000,000663,000,000644,000,000
Sugar (tons)160008400061,0,000440,000
Vegetable oils (tons)4,00028,000124,000187,000
Cigarettes (units)1,490,000,0008,170,000,00022,370,000,00027,620,000,000
Cement (tons)396,000640,0002,656,0002,875,000
Nitrogenfertilizers (tons)206,000533,000

capacity of 1 million tons of steel. Metalworking and machine building are represented primarily by small enterprises—motor-vehicle assembly shops, machine shops, and railroad workshops. In 1974 construction was completed on large state-owned machine-building plants in Landhi and Taxila.

The chemical industry is essentially oriented toward agriculture, producing about one-half of the fertilizer needed by the country’s farmers. There is a large cement industry, and several plants produce synthetic rubber goods and glassware.

About one-third of the nation’s large industries are concentrated in Karachi. Lyallpur, Gujranwala, Lahore, Multan, Rawalpindi, and Hyderabad are also important industrial centers. In addition to fabrics, Pakistan’s cottage industries produce leather goods, metal products, and, chiefly for export, lacquer articles, sporting goods, embroidery, glazed ceramics, and surgical instruments. (See Table 3 for the output of principal industrial products.)

Transportation. The state-owned railroad is an important means of transportation. In 1974, Pakistan had 8,810 km of railroad tracks. The main line, running through the Indus Valley, connects the leading industrial centers with the seaport of Karachi. In 1972 there were 33,500 km of roads, including 19,000 km of all-weather roads. The country has about 290,000 motor vehicles. Truck transport has grown rapidly. Most of the cargo to foreign countries is shipped by sea.

The nation’s merchant fleet of 52 vessels, nationalized in 1974, does not meet the country’s needs. Much of the country’s maritime freight is carried by foreign shipping companies. In 1972–73 the cargo turnover in the port of Karachi was 10.5 million tons, and in 1974 plans were made to build a new port, Kasim. Domestic and international air transport, provided by Pakistan International Airlines, has been rapidly expanding. Karachi is a major international airport.

Foreign trade. In 1972–73, Pakistan’s exports totaled 8.6 billion rupees, and its imports, 8.4 billion rupees. The chief exports are cotton yarn and cloth, raw cotton, rice, hides, fish, carpets, and wool. Pakistan relies heavily on imports of capital goods, fuel, raw material, and consumer goods. The chief imports are wheat, machinery and equipment, ferrous metals, petroleum and petroleum products, and chemical goods. Pakistan’s principal trading partners are the USA, Japan, Great Britain, the Federal Republic of Germany, and the People’s Republic of China. Trade with the USSR is expanding. The monetary unit is the Pakistan rupee. In September 1974, 100 Pakistan rupees equaled 7.54 rubles according to the exchange rate of Gosbank (State Bank) of the USSR.


Pithawalla, M. Pakistan: Geograficheskii ocherk. Moscow, 1952. (Translated from English.)
Akhtar, S.M. Ekonomika Pakistana. Moscow, 1957. (Translated from English.)
Puliarkin, V. A. Zapadnyi Pakistan. Moscow, 1962.
Ekonomicheskoe razvitie Pakistana: Sbornik statei. Moscow, 1974.
Pakistan Yearbook. Karachi, 1970.


The armed forces of Pakistan consist of an army, air force, and navy. Overall leadership is exercised by the minister of defense and the chiefs of staff of the three branches of the armed forces. The army is made up of volunteers. Officers are trained at military schools in Pakistan and in the USA and Great Britain. As of 1974 the armed forces had a total strength of more than 300,000 men. There are also border troops (more than 30,000) and a national guard (about 30,000). The army of some 280,000 men has two tank divisions, 14 infantry divisions, and two separate brigades. The air force of about 17,000 men is equipped with more than 200 combat planes and more than 100 auxiliary aircraft. The navy of about 10,000 men has more than 20 ships of various types. The main naval base is at Karachi.

According to approximate data, the average annual birth rate between 1965 and 1970 was 50.9 per 1,000 inhabitants, and the mortality rate was 18 per 1,000; infant mortality was 142 per 1,000 live births (World Health Organization statistics for Pakistan within its pre-1971 borders). The chief causes of death are malaria, tuberculosis, intestinal infections, smallpox, and diphtheria. Among common diseases are leprosy, trachoma, venereal diseases, and skin diseases, such as impetigo, furunculosis, dermatomycosis, herpes, and scabies. The population of the mountains and plains suffers from malaria, chiefly tertian fever; tropical malaria is more rare. The most common helminthiases are ascariasis, found chiefly in the hilly regions and the Indus Delta, and hymenolepiasis, occurring everywhere. Ancylos-tomiasis is encountered mostly in the plains. There are frequent outbreaks of cholera. Smallpox is widespread, particularly in the Indus Valley, and a campaign to eradicate the disease was initiated in 1969. Rickettsial disease is prevalent throughout the country. Noninfectious diseases include cardiovascular disorders, urolithiasis, and tumors. Diseases caused by malnutrition are a serious problem.

In 1969, Pakistan had 2,588 hospitals with 42,600 beds, or about one bed per 1,000 inhabitants. In 1969 there were 21,200 physicians (one for every 6,000 inhabitants), 377 dentists, and about 8,000 medical assistants. Physicians are trained at six medical colleges, and there are nine institutions training medical assistants.


Veterinary services. Infectious animal diseases are widespread and cause the loss of about 10 percent of the livestock annually. Cases of cattle plague are recorded each year, primarily in the south and in the regions bordering on India and Afghanistan. A serious problem, especially for the dairy farms near Karachi and Lahore, is a virus disease of the mucous membranes whose symptoms are similar to those of the plague. The mortality rate among dairy buffalo cows and calves exceeds 50 percent. Foot-and-mouth disease (types O, A, C, and Asia-1) is prevalent throughout the country. Smallpox among sheep occurs primarily in the central regions, usually during the dry season, resulting in a wool loss of about 20 percent. In rural regions there are frequent cases of rabies, spread by stray dogs. Considerable losses are caused by contagious pleuropneumonia among goats, braxy and enterotoxemia among sheep, and pseudopest among poultry. There is a high incidence of hemorrhagic septicemia, usually during the rainy season in regions of heavy rainfall and in irrigated areas. Blackleg is prevalent on the plateaus and in the low mountains, and piroplasmosis is also widespread. Dairy herds suffer from tuberculosis and brucellosis. Helminthiases are a serious problem: about 50 percent of all livestock is infected with fascioliasis; about 27 percent of the cattle and 35 percent of the buffaloes suffer from echinococcosis; and about 50 percent of the sheep are afflicted with haemonchosis.

Veterinary services in the provinces are directed by departments of animal husbandry, which operate veterinary hospitals, clinics, and veterinary centers. Fees are charged for treating animals. There are five diagnostic laboratories, in Karachi, Hyderabad, Lahore, Peshawar, and Quetta. Research is conducted at the Research Institute in Lahore and its branches in Peshawar and Karachi, at the Agricultural University in Lyallpur, and at the College of Animal Husbandry in Lahore. Specialists are trained at the Agricultural University at Lyallpur and at a branch of the Sind Agricultural College in Tando Adam. In 1973, Pakistan had 1,080 veterinarians.


The present school system comprises five-year primary schools, lower secondary schools (grades 6–8), secondary schools (grades 9 and 10), and intermediate colleges (grades 11 and 12). Children enter primary school at the age of six, and boys and girls are taught separately. In the primary and secondary schools classes are conducted in Urdu, and English is studied from the third grade. Religious education (Islam) is compulsory in grades 1 to 8 of the general schools. Mathematics and the natural sciences have also become required subjects and have even been introduced into the curricula of the traditional Muslim schools. During the 1969–70 school year primary schools in West Pakistan had an enrollment of 4.2 million pupils, and secondary schools, 1.3 million pupils. In 1972 instruction in grades 1 to 8 became free of charge, and other educational reforms were introduced in 1974.

Those who have completed a lower secondary school may enroll in a vocational school. Such schools include commercial, agricultural, and medical schools, as well as schools of fine arts, all offering a two-year course of study. During the 1967–68 school year, West Pakistan had 152 vocational schools with 24,000 students. Graduates of secondary schools may enroll in three-year specialized secondary schools, including technicums, polytechnicums, and teacher-training schools. In the 1967–68 school year, West Pakistan had 27,000 specialized secondary schools with an enrollment of 1,000.

Those wishing to acquire a higher education after graduating from a secondary school enroll in two-year preparatory schools, called intermediate colleges, which have divisions of the humanities, natural sciences, commerce, and technology. During the 1966–67 academic year there were 101 intermediate colleges in West Pakistan with 26,000 students.

In 1973 the country had eight universities: the University of Punjab in Lahore (founded in 1882), the University of Islamabad (1965), the University of Karachi (1951), the University of Peshawar (1950), the University of Sind (Hyderabad, founded in 1947 in Karachi and transferred in 1951), the University of Baluchistan (Quetta, 1970), the Pakistan Agricultural University (Lyallpur, 1961), and the Pakistan University of Engineering and Technology (Lahore, 1961). The universities have two types of colleges—university colleges and affiliated colleges. The largest university, the University of Punjab, has eight faculties, about 90 affiliated colleges, and three university colleges. During the 1970–71 academic year the universities in West Pakistan had an enrollment of about 105,000. The universities charge tuition, and the language of instruction is usually English.

The largest libraries are the University of Punjab Library (with 250,000 volumes and more than 18,000 manuscripts in Urdu, Arabic, Sanskrit, Hindi, and Pali), the Punjab Public Library in Lahore (200,000 volumes), and the University of Karachi Library (200,000 volumes). The major museums are the National Museum of Pakistan in Karachi (founded in 1950), the Lahore Museum (1864), the Peshawar Museum (1906), and the Archaeological Museum in Rawalpindi (1928).


Natural sciences and technology. Scientific learning on the territory of present-day Pakistan originated at the time of the Harappa civilization, which flourished here from around the middle of the third millennium to the middle of the second millennium B.C. The first Indo-Aryan states, which arose at the turn of the sixth century B.C., made notable progress in medicine and iron metallurgy. According to Buddhist legends, a famous physician named Jiwaka lived in Taxila, the capital of Gandhara. In the last centuries B.C. and the first centuries A.D., astronomy, mathematics, chemistry, pharmacology, and medicine reached a high level for that time. The knowledge accumulated in the ancient states of the Indus Valley between the fourth century B.C. and the second century A.D. was partially assimilated by the Greco-Roman world. The most important mathematician and astronomer was Brahmagupta (seventh century), the author of Brahma-sphuta-siddhanta (Improved System of Brahma), written in 628 and translated into Arabic in 771 by the Arab mathematician Ibrahim al-Fazari. Brahmagupta’s treatise, along with works by other scholars of Sind and Punjab, enriched Arabic culture—and through it European culture—with mathematical, astronomical, and medical knowledge.

During the Middle Ages numerous invasions, internecine wars, and theological influences hindered the development of science. Nevertheless, several works appeared on astronomy, mathematics, geography, medicine, pharmacology, mineralogy, and metallurgy. During British colonial rule research was divorced from practical application and the needs of the people.

Since independence, the natural sciences and technology have developed under government supervision. Much attention has been given to applied research in agriculture and the processing of agricultural raw materials. The leading agricultural research institutes are the Institute of Cotton Research and Technology at Karachi (founded in 1951), the Irrigation Research Institute at Lahore (1925), the Pakistan Forest Institute at Peshawar (1947), the Pakistan Animal Husbandry Research Institute at Peshawar (1949), the Punjab Veterinary Research Institute at Lahore (1958), the Department of Plant Protection at Karachi (1947), and the Zoological Survey Department at Karachi (1948). Medical research is conducted at the Central Medical Research Institute (1957) and the Cancer Research Institute (1954), both in Karachi. Projects are under way on the peaceful uses of atomic energy. The Pakistani nuclear physicist A. Salam has been a foreign member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR since 1971. Other important research fields are geology, meteorology, geophysics, geography, and technology.


Social sciences, PHILOSOPHY. The philosophical thought of the peoples inhabiting Pakistan evolved in the course of centuries within the framework of various religious and philosophical systems—Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and, later, Islam and Sikhism. Islam became the dominant religion in the ninth century. The mystical philosophy of Sufism (Suhrawardi and Chisti orders) became widespread, and from the 15th and 16th centuries the teachings of the Ismailite sect attracted many followers. Antifeudal movements emerged within such religious currents as Mahdism, Roshani, and Bhakti. The disintegration of feudal society and the quest for social and cultural revival led to the appearance of a philosophy of “transition” in the 18th century. The philosophy was developed by Ahmad Abdur Rahman and Shah Wali Allah, who believed that Islam needed a “new orientation.” In the 19th century these ideas were elaborated by Sayyid Ahmad Khan, who called for a “revival” of the Muslim community through education. He held that the achievements of European science should be propagated and urged that Islamic teachings and injunctions be interpreted from a modern point of view. Sayyid Ahmad Khan’s political views fostered communal tendencies, and his educative work contributed to the development of a Muslim intelligentsia. The founder of the Ahmadiya religious sect, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (19th century), reexamined the Islamic teachings concerning the finite nature of prophecy and the jihad. The most complete bourgeois-progressive interpretation of the philosophical and ethical tenets of Islam was provided by Muhammad Iqbal (first half of the 20th century), who propounded the idea of man as a creative being, a co-creator with god. In politics Iqbal advocated Muslim nationalism and supported M. Jinnah’s theory of “two nations.”

Since the formation of Pakistan in 1947, Islam, now the official ideology, has continued to play a leading role in the social consciousness. Religious philosophers, conservative in social matters and totally fatalistic, are divided into “traditionalists,” who call for a return to the norms and traditions of the Middle Ages, and “revivalists,” such as Abu-1 Ala Maududi, the ideologist of the Jamaat-i-Islami Party. The revivalists’ ideal is the early Islamic society of the seventh and eighth centuries, and they advocate a feudal-theocratic state. Those calling for reforms and progressive social changes also express themselves in revivalist terms. Revivalists of this type have developed the ideas of Shah Wali Allah, stressing the democratic elements in early Islam.

Since the 1960’s the leading Pakistani philosophical school has attempted to reform Islam, to adapt it to modern times. The philosophers of this school are continuing the tradition of Sayyid Ahmad Khan and Muhammad Iqbal. They oppose absolute fatalism, affirm man’s free will, emphasize personal initiative, and attempt to reconcile religion with science. In the sphere of political theory the Islamic reformers uphold Muslim nationalism, but they see the ideal Islamic state not as a theocratic despotism but as a parliamentary democracy (A. Brohi, I. H. Qureshi). The theories of “Islamic socialism” are also becoming popular. Academic philosophers are attracted to various currents in Western European, primarily British, idealist philosophy (K. A. Hakim, M. M. Sharif, C. A. Qadir). During the 1960’s sociological studies developed under the influence of contemporary American sociology. The leading philosophical journals are Pakistan Philosophical Journal (since 1958), Iqbal Review (since 1961), and Iqbal (since 1952).


Historical scholarship. The first historians were chroniclers. From the ninth century A.D., historical chronicles were compiled at the courts of the Muslim rulers of Sind, and from the 12th century they were also written in Punjab. Several basic genres of historical writing gradually evolved: dynastic histories, genealogical works, and histories of historical-cultural areas, the oldest of which is the ninth-century Chachnamah by Muhammad Ali on the history of Sind. Works were also written on the reigns of outstanding rulers (Abdul Hamid Lahauri, 17th century), on the history of philosophy (Ahmad Tattawi, 16th century), and on literary history (Ali Shir Kani, 18th century). Numerous works, often compilations, were devoted to world history, the lives of the associates of the prophet Muhammad, and the deeds of prominent Muslim missionaries and heads of religious orders. The development of historical genres continued down to the second half of the 19th century.

The intensification of anticolonialist and patriotic sentiments in the late 19th and early 20th centuries stimulated interest in the past. Historical periodicals and scholarly historical societies were founded in Lahore, Karachi, and other cities, and the first modern historical works were published. Editions of critical texts (M. Kalichbeg) and ethnographic studies (M. Hayat Khan) appeared, as well as historical sketches of various regions and their inhabitants’ struggle against foreign invaders (H. B. Jatoi). Histories of Islam and the Muslim community in south Asia were also published.

After the creation of Pakistan in 1947, historical problems were studied from the standpoint of Muslim nationalism by I. H. Qureshi, Mahmud Husain, Sh. Abdur Rashid, A. H. Siddiqui, and Razi-Wasti. I. H. Qureshi, S. M. Ikram, and G. A. Allana wrote works on the history of the country’s formation. The political and social history of the peoples inhabiting Pakistan and India was studied by S. Moinul Haq and Raizul Islam. Such scholars as P. H. Rashdi, Abdul Qadeer, and N. A. Baloch studied and published outstanding literary works of the past. A Pakistani school of archaeology evolved and did important work on the origin and development of Proto-Indic civilization. Its leading representatives are F. A. Khan, A. H. Dani, M. Sharif, F. A. Durrani, and M. R. Mugal. The development of democratic movements in the country prompted Pakistani historians to study the anticolonial struggle of the peoples of Pakistan and the history of the country’s national democratic and revolutionary movements (Gul Khan Nazir, A. Malik, S. S. Hasan).

The leading historical journals are Tarikh-o-Syasiat (in Urdu), Pakistan Archeology, Journal of the Pakistan Historical Society, and Journal of the Punjab University Historical Society.


LINGUISTICS. The most important linguistic studies, developing the traditions of Indian philology, deal with the languages of Pakistan—Modern Hindi, Iranian, and Dardic—as well as English. Important work has been done by Anwar S. Dil (Urdu, Punjabi, and extra-linguistic problems), Shaikh Ikramul Huq (Lahnda and Urdu), Kalim Muhammad Smusu Khan (Lahnda), Qadir Khan (Pashto and Urdu), and Baloch Nabi Bakhsh Khan (Sindhi). The Linguistic Research Group of Pakistan was established in 1961. The first and second linguistic conferences, held in 1962 and 1963, resulted in the publication of two collections, edited by Anwar S. Dil: Pakistani Linguistics (1962) and Pakistani Linguistics (1964). The Linguistic Research Group of Pakistan publishes the collection Studies in Pakistani Linguistics and the Directory of Pakistani Linguists and Language Scholars.

Much attention is given to the history of languages. Important lexicographic works are The Students’ Standard English-Urdu Dictionary (Karachi, 1952) and A Comprehensive Dictionary of the Sindhi Language (Karachi, 1960).


Scientific institutions. In the early 1970’s Pakistan had more than 80 scientific institutions, employing 6,500 scientific workers and 3,300 engineers. Scientific institutions are maintained by the state; 50 percent of the allocations for research go to government research councils, 45 percent to state-run research laboratories, and 5 percent to universities. Expenditures on research constitute about 0.1 percent of the country’s GNP. The National Science Council, founded in 1961, coordinates and directs the work of scientific institutions and prepares recommendations for the government on the development of scientific research. The Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, founded in 1953 in Karachi, supervises research, chiefly applied, aimed at developing national industry. The council operates laboratories in Karachi, Peshawar, and Lahore. The Pakistan Standards Institution was founded in 1952.

Research on the peaceful use of nuclear energy and radioactive materials is organized by the government’s Atomic Energy Commission in Karachi (1956), which directs the Pakistani Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology in Islamabad (1960) and its nuclear reactor, the Atomic Center in Lahore, and research centers working on the use of nuclear energy in agriculture (Thando Adam) and medicine (Karachi, Lahore, Jam Shoro). In 1947 the Pakistan Geological Survey was organized in Quetta, and the Meteorological Department was established in Karachi. In 1961 the government founded the Committee on the Study of the Upper Atmosphere and Outer Space. The Institute of Geophysics was opened in Quetta in 1958.

Research agriculture and related fields is coordinated by the government’s Pakistan Agricultural Research Council, founded in Karachi in 1964. The Pakistan Medical Research Council in Karachi, founded in 1953 and reorganized in 1962, coordinates medical research. Research in various fields is promoted by a number of state-supported learned societies: the Pakistan Association for the Advancement of Science (Lahore, 1947), the Agricultural Economics Society of Pakistan (Karachi, 1958), the Pakistan Medical Association (Karachi), and the All-Pakistan Homeopathic Association (Karachi, 1949). The Pakistan Academy of Sciences was founded in 1953.

Research in philosophy is conducted by the Pakistan Philosophical Congress (founded in 1954) in Lahore, the Pakistan Sociological Association (1963), the Islamic Academy (1957), and the Shah Waliullah Academy in Hyderabad. The leading centers for historical scholarship are the Universities of Lahore, Hyderabad, Peshawar, and Karachi. Important historical research is also being done at the Department of Archaeology, the Institute for the Study of Central and Western Asia in Karachi, the Institute of Sindology in Hyderabad, and the Institute of International Affairs, founded in 1947 in Karachi. Economic problems are studied by the Economic Research Institute (1955), the Pakistan Council for Economic Research (1919), and the Pakistan Economic Association (1958). Research in the humanities is also conducted at the Central Institute of Islamic Studies, established in 1960 in Islamabad, and the Iqbal Academy, founded in 1951, in Karachi.


Nambiar, K. G. A Cultural History of India and Pakistan [vol. 1].
Nileshwar, 1957. Basham, A. L. Aspects of Ancient Indian Culture. Bombay [1966].
Pakistan Yearbook, 1971. Karachi, 1971.
Gordon-Polonskaia, L. R. Musul’manskie techeniia v obshchestvennoi mysli Indii i Pakistana. Moscow, 1963.
Stepaniants, M. T. Filosofiia i sotsiologiia v Pakistane. Moscow, 1967.
Smet, R. V. de. Philosophical Activity in Pakistan. Lahore, 1961.
Rauf, A. Renaissance of Islamic Culture and Civilization in Pakistan. Lahore, 1965.


In 1971, 1,332 periodical publications, including 91 dailies, 19 semiweeklies, and 260 weeklies, were published on the territory of present-day Pakistan. The newspapers and magazines were issued in Urdu, English, Sindhi, Gujarati, Pashto, Punjabi, Persian, Arabic, Baluchi, and Brahui.

The most important newspapers are Jang, published in Urdu in Karachi, Rawalpindi, and Quetta; the English-language Dawn, published since 1942 in Karachi; the English-language Pakistan Times, published since 1946 in Lahore and Rawalpindi; Imroz, issued in Urdu in Lahore and Lyallpur; the Urdu-language Mashriq, published in Karachi, Lahore, and Quetta; Nawa-i-Waqt, issued in Urdu in Lahore and Rawalpindi; and Musawat, published in Urdu in Lahore, Lyallpur, and Karachi. The main information agencies are the Associated Press of Pakistan (founded in 1948), Pakistan Press International (1952), and United Press of Pakistan (1948).

In 1947 there were two radio stations, one in Lahore and the other in Peshawar. By 1973 there were radio stations, in Karachi, Hyderabad, Multan, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Quetta, and Peshawar. Programs are broadcast in 24 languages, including Urdu, English, Bengali, Kashmir, Sindhi, Pashto, Baluchi, Arabic, Persian, and Swahili.

The first experimental television station was established in Lahore in 1964. Between 1967 and 1969 stations were opened in Karachi, Rawalpindi, and Islamabad. They are all managed by the Pakistan Television Corporation, founded in 1967.


Since 1947 Pakistani literature has been developing out of the national literatures in Urdu, Sindhi, Punjabi, Pashto, Gujarati, Baluchi, and Bengali (prior to 1971), as well as the folklore and cultural heritage of the peoples of northern India. Because of political and ideological circumstances, the literary heritage of the peoples of Pakistan is dominated by the multiethnic Urdu literature. During the 1950’s and 1960’s a written literature emerged in the languages and dialects of the smaller ethnic groups, such as the Brahuis.

For a long time the literatures of the various peoples of Pakistan influenced each other, resulting in similar imagery and genres, and the spread of Islam throughout the region contributed to the assimilation of Persian and, to some extent, Arabic literary traditions.

In the late 1940’s religious-communal tendencies grew stronger in literature as many writers sought to break away from the traditions of Hindu literature and to contrast them with the Muslim tradition. Persian and Arabic words were introduced freely, and poetic imagery became more complex, particularly in Urdu literature. These trends, however, were resisted by a group of writers who in 1949 formed the Pakistan Progressive Writers’ Association (PPWA), headed by A. N. Qasmi (born 1916), which was soon disbanded by the authorities. In 1955 some of the writers who had belonged to the PPWA formed the Association of Freethinking Writers, which was also short-lived. Modernist writers formed the Circle of Lovers of the Beautiful and published their works in the journal Adabi Dunya. The Pakistan Writers’ Guild, founded in 1959 under the auspices of the government, seeks to protect the professional rights of writers. In 1972 the PPWA was revived, but its influence extends to a relatively small group of writers. The creation of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh in 1971 ushered in a new phase in the history of Bengali literature.

The dominant trends in Pakistani literature are realism and, to some extent, romanticism, chiefly in poetry. During the 1950’s and 1960’s various modernist schools became popular, and since the mid-1960’s Maoist and religious-chauvinist ideas have gained adherents. Increasing attention has been given to translations, both from one national language to another and from Western European languages. Translations of works by such classical Russian writers as L. N. Tolstoy, A. S. Pushkin, I. S. Turgenev, and N. V. Gogol have appeared. Among Soviet writers whose works have been translated are M. Gorky, N. A. Ostrovskii, M. A. Sholokhov, V. V. Mayakovsky, and K. G. Paustovskii.

The most famous Urdu poets are Josh Malihabadi (born 1898), Faiz Ahmad Faiz (born 1911), A. N. Qasmi (who also writes prose), Zahir Kashmiri (born 1919), Ehsan Danish (born 1914), Farigh Bokhari, Qateel Shifai, Habib Jalib, and Abdul Matin Arif. Modernist poets include Miraji (1910–49), N. M. Rashid, and Jilani Kamran. The most promising prose genres are the novel and short story. Among popular prose writers are the realists S. H. Manto (1912–55), Ghulam Abbas (born 1909), Mirza Adib (born 1914), Ibrahim Jalis, Shaukat Siddiqui, Khadija Mastoor, Hajira Masroor, Abdulla Husain, Jamila Hashmi, Aziz Ahmad, Qudratullah Shahab, Intizar Husain, and Ashfaq Ahmad. Popular literature—detective and Muslim novels—is flourishing, and its most famous authors are M. Islam, Rais Ahmad Jafri, Nasim Hijazi, and Rashid Akhtar. Playwrights include Mirza Adib, Asghar Butt, and Bano Qudsia. An important contribution to literary criticism has been made by Syed Abdullah, Viqar Azeem, Muhammad Sadiq, Abdul Lais Siddiqui, Shaukat Sabzwari, Mumtaz Husain, and Wazir Agha, a theoretician of modernism. The literary journals Nuqoosh, Fu-noon, Afkar, and Adab-i-Latif are published in Urdu.

Patriotic ideas infuse the works of Sindhi writers, notably the poetry of Sheikh Ayaz, Abdur Razak, and Hari Dilgir and the prose of G. H. Baloch, Anjam Halai, Muhammad Hasan Saz, and Jamaluddin Abro. The Sindhi Literary Union, founded in 1946, joined the PPWA. Sindhi folklore is being collected and published by the Sindhi Literary Bureau. Prose is not as well developed as poetry, and there are only a few outstanding plays. The principal literary journal is Mehran.

Among the highest achievements of Pashto poetry are the works of Syed Rahat Zakheli (1886–1963), Samandar Khan Samandar (born 1901), Amir Hamza Shinwari (born 1907), Fazili Haq Shaida, and Sanobar Husain Mohmand. Prose developed only after the creation of Pakistan. The leading prose writers are Master Abdul Karim (1908–61), Hafiz Muhammad Idris (born 1915), Wali Muhammad Khan Tufan (born 1919), Ajmal Khattak (born 1925), Sayed Mir Mahdi Shah Mahdi (born 1926), and Qalandar Mohmand (born 1930). Less attention has been given to drama and literary criticism.

The works of Punjabi writers are published in the journals Panjabi (since 1951), Panj-darya (since 1958), and Panjabi-adabi (since 1963). Classical literature is published by the Punjab Academy, founded in 1956. Poetry is the leading genre. Poets of the older generation, notably Faqir Muhammad Faqir, Sain Feroz, and Maula Bakhsh Kushta, emphasize form. Such poets as Chiragh Din Daman, Hamdam, Joshua Fazal-ud-Din, and Abdul Majid Bhati have remained within the mainstream of traditional poetry. The younger poets—Afzal Randhawa, Ahmed Rahi, and Munir Nyazi—show the influence of Western literature. Afzal Ahsan is known for his prose works, and Mirza Maqbul Budashani, Sharif Kunjahi, and Muhammad Asif Khan are concerned with literary theory and criticism. The literature of the 1970’s has focused on the classical traditions of Punjabi literature and the folklore heritage. Many writers who formerly wrote in Urdu are now using Punjabi, among them Faiz Ahmad Faiz, Ahmad Salim, and Afzal Randhawa.

Baluchi literature has evolved during the 1960’s and 1970’s. Patriotic poems are written by Gul Khan Nasir (born 1914), Azad Jamalini (born 1918), and Muhammad Hussain Unqa. The journals Oman and Nava-yi vatan publish the works of Abdul Haqim Haqgu (born 1912), Abdul Rahim Sabir (born 1919), and Muhammad Ishaq Shamin (born 1923). The first short stories were published by Badban Riki, Abdullah Jan Jamaldini, and Ghulam Muhammad Shahwani. The Baluchi Academy was created in 1959, and the first literary groups were founded.

Gujarati literature is represented by the prose of Adib Qure-shi, Salik Papatia, and Muhammad Adib and the poetry of Shama Porbandari, Toufiq Katir, and Jafar Mansur.


Faiz, A. F.“Mnogoobrazie i zhiznennaia sila (O sovremennoi literature i teatre Pakistana).” Inostrannaia literatura, 1964, no. 4.
Sukhochev, A. S.“Zametki o Gil’dii pisatelei Pakistana.” Kratkie soobsh-cheniia Instituta narodov Azii AN SSSR. Moscow, 1965, no. 80.
Glebov, N., and A. Sukhochev. Literatura urdu. Moscow, 1967.
Rasskazy pisatelei Pakistana. Moscow, 1965. (Translated from Urdu.)
“Braslety”: Novelly pushtunskikh pisatelei Zapadnogo Pakistana. Moscow, 1967.
Iz sovremennoi pakistanskoi poezii. Moscow, 1973.
Bausani, A. Storia delle litterature del Pakistan. Milan, 1958.


Excavations at Amri, Rana Ghundai, and other places have revealed the remains of Aeneolithic rural settlements dating from the fourth and third millennia B.C. Houses made of stone and sun-dried mud bricks have been uncovered, as well as the ruins of stone dams and terraces. Among art objects unearthed are painted pottery, metal ornaments, and clay figurines of women and animals. One of the earliest known urban settlements with a planned layout has been discovered at the town of Kot Diji, south of Khairpur. It dates from about the third millennium B.C. The cities of Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa, discovered in the Indus Valley, were centers of one of the world’s oldest advanced civilizations—the Harappa civilization, dating from around the middle of the third to the middle of the second millennia B.C. After the decline of the Harappa civilization, the next important artistic culture also arose in the Indus Valley, in the northern region of Gandhara. A distinctive art evolved here in the first century A.D., reaching its apogee at the time of the Kushan kingdom. Among the remains of the Gandhara culture are works of civil architecture (in Taxila and elsewhere), religious structures, including both stupas and the chaityas, and Buddhist monasteries, such as the Dharmarajika and Jaulian monasteries in Taxila. The stupas were decorated with sculpture —reliefs, stucco molding, and statues of Buddha, Bodhisattvas, and genii. Gandhara painting is best represented by the murals of the 60 cave stupas at Mingaora, near Saidu.

The Arabs who conquered Sind in the eighth century did not leave any significant works. The remains of the seaport of Banb-hore, near Karachi, indicate that it had massive stone fortifications and a mosque. Radical changes occurred after the 11th century, when Muslim feudal lords from the Near East firmly established themselves in the Indus Basin. The artistic traditions and tenets of Islam fused with the indigenous culture. New structures, such as mosques, minarets, and mausoleums, appeared in Pakistan. Numerous fortified residences were built, as well as defensive structures in strategically important cities and points (Multan, Peshawar, Lahore). The houses of the common people were made of pisé or sun-dried mud bricks and had wooden frames. Large structures were usually made of baked bricks and decorated with woodcarvings and with panels inlaid with mosaic designs created with blue, white, green, and yellow tiles. The religious architecture of the 13th to the 15th century was influenced by fortress architecture, for example the 14th-century Mausoleum of Rukn-i-Alam in Multan, with its sloping walls and massive bastions.

The Great Mogul emperors who ruled Pakistan in the 16th and 17th centuries undertook many large-scale construction projects. Cities were enclosed within thick walls with towers and gates and ringed with gardens. Mighty forts with palaces and official and religious buildings were built outside the city walls. Lahore was transformed into a huge fortified city-residence. A number of important architectural works of the 16th and 17th centuries have been preserved in Tatta, notably the Shah Jahan Mosque and Mirza Isa Khan’s Mausoleum on Makli Hill. Because Islam forbade the artistic reproduction of living creatures, sculpture was not developed, and animals and people were depicted chiefly in miniature painting. Mogul miniatures reached their peak during the 16th and 17th centuries.

During the 18th century, the country’s general decline, brought on by the disintegration of the Mogul empire and the invasions of Iranian and Afghan conquerors, was paralleled by a decline in the indigenous architecture and art. This trend continued in the period of British colonial domination, from the mid-19th century to 1947. Many old cities and trade centers lost their former importance. During the second half of the 19th century cities acquired new kinds of structures—ports, railroad stations, and municipal buildings. Seventeenth-century architecture, with its cupolas, arcades, ornamental stone carving, and colored glazed tiles, was much imitated in the late 19th and first half of the 20th centuries. British architects introduced English neoclassical and neo-Gothic styles.

After the creation of Pakistan in 1947, construction proceeded at a rapid pace. Pakistan’s new cities, such as Daud Khel and Khaur, have regular layouts and consist mostly of low houses with inner courtyards. A new capital is under construction at Islamabad. Mosques and mausoleums continue to be built in the traditional styles, but employ modern structural components. Pictorial art is developing. Such painters as A. R. Chughtai, A. Baksh, and F. Rahamin derive their inspiration from the traditions of the Mogul miniatures and ancient Indian painting. The foremost representative of European realistic art is Gulgee. Western modernism has been adopted by the painters Sh. Ali and Sadequain and by the painter and sculptor Z. Agha. Decorative-applied art is represented by such ancient handicrafts as metalworking, pottery, rug-making, embroidery, and carving in bone and wood.


Korotskaia, A. A. “Arkhitektura Pakistana.” In Vseobshchaia istoriia arkhitektury, vol. 11. Moscow, 1973.
Painting in Pakistan. Karachi [no date].
Rajput, A. B. Architecture in Pakistan. Karachi, 1963.
Jalal, Uddin Ahmed. Art in Pakistan, 3rd ed. Karachi, 1964.
Muslim Architecture and Art Treasuries in Pakistan. Karachi, 1965.


The music of Pakistan has absorbed the cultural values created in the course of centuries by the peoples of India, Afghanistan, and Iran. The most distinctive music is folk music, found in every region in local forms and performing traditions. Professional, or classical, music is more complex in its content, means of expression, and performing techniques. It contains much ornamentation and is saturated with emotional nuances. Every work, whether instrumental or vocal, is improvised on the basis of one of the traditional melody-rhythm patterns, or ragas. Pakistani music uses seven basic tones, comparable to the European scale. Unlike the European scale, however, the pitch is not tempered, and the octave contains 22 unequal intervals of less than a half-tone, called srutis.

Among famous musicians of the 13th through 16th centuries are Amir-Khusro, Sultan Husain Sharqi, Mian Tansen, and Wajid Ali Shah. The early 20th century produced such outstanding musicians as Dijendralal, Rajanikant, Nazrul Islam, and Antulproshad. In the 1960’s and the early 1970’s new forms and genres influenced by European music appeared, among them songs and music for films. The leading composers of this kind of music are Khurshid Anvar, Mehdi Zaheer, and Sohail Raana. Among popular singers of ragas are Roshan Ara Begum, Ferdausi Begum, and Mehdi Hasan, and the most famous instrumentalists are Muneer Sarhadi, Abdul Rasheed Beenkar, and Ustad Allah Ditta. Professional musicians are trained at the music center in Karachi. The first music conference was held in Lahore in 1956. A National Council on the Arts was established to publicize achievements in music and dance.


Enayetullakh, A. “Dva desiatiletiia muzyki v Pakistane.” In the collection Muzyka narodov Azii i Afriki. Moscow, 1973. Pages 332–44.
The Cultural Heritage of Pakistan. Edited by S. M. Ikram. [Karachi] 1955. Pages 45–60.

The first films produced after the creation of Pakistan were newsreels and short documentaries. The feature film Terey Jaad, directed by D. Sardari Lai, was released in 1948. Most of Pakistan’s motion pictures are profit-oriented, sentimental melodramas. Notable exceptions include Day Shall Dawn (1958, directed by A. Kardar) and Nida and Sima (both 1967, directed by Sh. Malik). These are realistic films, portraying the daily problems of the common people. Since 1970 motion pictures have been produced not only in Punjabi and Urdu but also in Sindhi, Pashto, Gujarati, and other local languages. There are film studios in Lahore and Karachi. Among outstanding motion-picture directors and performers (1973) are L. Akhtar, I. Shahzad, M. Anwar, Sh. Ara, Allauddin, M. Ali, Nisho, and Nadeem. In 1972, 100 feature films were released. The country had 350 motion-picture theaters.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


Official name: Islamic Republic of Pakistan

Capital city: Islamabad

Internet country code: .pk

Flag description: Green with a vertical white band (symbolizing the role of religious minorities) on the hoist side; a large white crescent and star are centered in the green field; the crescent, star, and color green are traditional symbols of Islam

National anthem: Blessed be the sacred Land (first line in English translation), lyrics by Abdul Asar Hafeez Jul­lundhri, music by Ahmed G. Chagla

National animal: Markhor

National bird: Chakor (Red-legged partridge)

National flower: Jasmine

National poet: Allama Muhammad Iqbal (1877-1938)

National tree: Deodar (Cedrus Deodara)

Geographical description: Southern Asia, bordering the Arabian Sea, between India on the east and Iran and Afghanistan on the west and China in the north

Total area: 310,527 sq. mi. (803,943 sq. km.)

Climate: Mostly hot, dry desert; temperate in northwest; arctic in north

Nationality: noun: Pakistani(s); adjective: Pakistani

Population: 164,741,924 (July 2007 CIA est.)

Ethnic groups: Punjabi, Sindhi, Pashtun (Pathan), Baloch, Muhajir (immigrants from India at the time of partition and their descendants), Saraiki, and Hazara

Languages spoken: Punjabi 48%, Sindhi 12%, Siraiki (a Punjabi variant) 10%, Pashtu 8%, Urdu (official) 8%, Balochi 3%, Hindko 2%, Brahui 1%, English (official; lin­gua franca of Pakistani elite and most government min­istries), Burushaski and other 8%

Religions: Muslim 97% (Sunni 77%, Shi’a 20%), other (includes Christian and Hindu) 3%

Legal Holidays:

Birthday of Muhammad IqbalNov 9
Christmas Day and Birthday of Quaid-e-AzamDec 25
Independence DayAug 14
Kashmir DayFeb 5
Labor DayMay 1
Pakistan DayMar 23
Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary, Fourth Edition. © 2010 by Omnigraphics, Inc.


1. a republic in S Asia, on the Arabian Sea: the Union of Pakistan, formed in 1947, comprised West and East Pakistan; East Pakistan gained independence as Bangladesh in 1971 and West Pakistan became Pakistan; a member of the Commonwealth from 1947, it withdrew from 1972 until 1989; contains the fertile plains of the Indus valley rising to mountains in the north and west. Official language: Urdu. Official religion: Muslim. Currency: rupee. Capital: Islamabad. Pop.: 157 315 000 (2004 est.). Area: 801 508 sq. km (309 463 sq. miles)
2. a former republic in S Asia consisting of the provinces of West Pakistan and East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), 1500 km (900 miles) apart: formed in 1947 from the predominantly Muslim parts of India
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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