Officially known as the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Pakistan is bordered by India to the east, Afghanistan to the west, Iran to the southwest, and China to the northeast. It is an Asian country ranked as the 33rd-largest by area, spanning 881,913 square kilometres.
The founder of Pakistan, which gained its independence on August 14, 1947, is Muhammad Ali Jinnah (1876-1948), who is revered as Quaid-e-Azam (The Great Leader) and Baba-e-Qaum (The Father of the Nation). Allama Dr. Muhammad Iqbal (1877-1938) is the national poet of Pakistan who is deemed as the spiritual founder of Pakistan as he fostered the two-nation notion in the Subcontinent as a proponent of the Pakistan Movement. Allama Iqbal is also known as Muffakir-e-Pakistan (The Thinker of Pakistan), Shair-e-Mashriq (The Poet of the East), and Hakeem-ul-Ummat (The Sage of Ummah).
As a country founded on the ideal of a separate country for the Muslims in the Subcontinent, Pakistan is also termed as ‘one of the two countries – other being Israel – founded on an ideology or ideal.’
20-plus languages, 50-plus dialects
As stated first in its 1956 Constitution, Pakistan is an Islamic Republic. Pursuant to the incumbent 1973 Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, all rules and regulations across the country are stipulated to be in line with the Holy Qur’an and the Traditions (Sunnah) of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). 97 per cent of the population is Muslims and 3 per cent are the adherents of Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism, and Buddhism.
Spoken as the mother tongue only by the 8 per cent of the population, Urdu is the national language of Pakistan. In addition to English and Urdu as the official languages, Punjabi is the most spoken language in Pakistan where more than 20 local languages and more than 50 dialects too are spoken. Pakistan’s national dress is shalwar kameez, national flower is jasmine, and national sport – even though cricket is the most popular – is hockey in which Pakistan won many world cups.
A surge of 50 million projected in 10 years
The second most populated Muslim country in the world, Pakistan’s population is more than 210 million (2017 census). Given the current population growth rate, it is estimated that the population of Pakistan will reach 263 million by 2030. As of 2020, the largest city in Pakistan is 16-million Karachi. Islamabad, the capital since 1960, is a well-planned city with a population of 3 million.
With its 110 million population and Lahore as its capital, Punjab is the most populated province of Pakistan. Sindh, with a population of 48 million, also has the 16-million Karachi as its capital. Spanning the largest area in the country, Balochistan is the least populated province of Pakistan with 12 million population and Quetta as the capital. With Peshawar as its capital and a population of 41 million, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa is the northeast frontier province of Pakistan. Lying on the foothills of the Himalayas, the Gilgit-Baltistan has a population of 2 million and Gilgit is the capital.
Autonomous and Administrative Regions
Founded after the first Indo-Pak War in 1948, the Azad Kashmir (AJK) spans 13.000 square kilometres near the Indian border and has a population of 4.5 million with Muzaffarabad as the capital. Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) includes the federal capital Islamabad city zones and suburbs with a population of 3 million.