Pakistan Destinations Travel Guide

Flag of Pakistan

Language: Urdu, English

Currency: Pakistani Rupee (PKR)

Calling Code: 92


Pakistan or Pakistan, officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a sovereign state of South Asia. With a population of more than 200 million people, it is the fifth most populous country in the world. It is located at a crossroads between the strategically important regions of the south, central and eastern Asia. It has 1046 km of coastline towards the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in its southern part. In addition, it has borders with India to the east, Afghanistan to the west and north, Iran to the southwest and China to the northeast. It is also separated from Tajikistan by the Wakhan corridor, which belongs to Afghanistan, and shares a maritime border with Oman.

The territory of present-day Pakistan was once the home of diverse cultures, such as the Neolithic Mehrgarh and the Indus Valley culture of the Bronze Age. It was also the object of invasions and settlements by Hindus, Persians, Indo-Greeks, Muslims, Turkish Mongols, Afghans and Sikhs. All that region was governed by numerous empires and dynasties such as the Maury Empire, the Achaemenid Empire, the Umayyad Caliphate, the Mongol Empire, the Durran Empire, the Sikh Kingdom and the British Empire. As a result of the efforts of the movement led by Muhammad Ali Jinnah and the Indian independence movement, in 1947 Pakistan gained its independence and became the nation of Muslims who lived in the eastern and western regions of India, where they were the majority. Initially Pakistan was a British domain, but in 1956 the country passed a constitution and became an Islamic republic. A civil war in 1971 resulted in the secession of East Pakistan, which was renamed Bangladesh. Pakistan's post-independence history has been characterized by periods of military rule, political instability and conflict with neighboring India, another country with nuclear weapons, for control of Kashmir. The country continues to face major problems such as terrorism, poverty, illiteracy and corruption.


Travel Destination in Pakistan

Baltit Fort in the Hunza Valley was constructed in the 13th century on the hill overlooking Karimabad in Pakistan.

Hunza Valley is a mountainous valley in the Gilgit-Baltistan region in North East Pakistan.

K2 is situated in Karakoram Range in Pakistan. Although it is slightly shorter than Mount Everest in Nepal standing at an elevation of 28,251 ft.



The name "Pakistan" literally means "land of the pure" in Urdu and Persian, from pāk, meaning "pure" in Persian and Pashto. The suffix ستان (-stān) is a Persian word for place and also resembles the synonymous Sanskrit word sthāna.

The country's name was coined in 1933 by Rahmat Ali, an independence activist who published it in his pamphlet Now or Never, where he used it as an acronym without the letter "and" ("thirty million Muslim brothers who live in PAKSTAN" ), from the names of the five northern regions of British India: Punjab, Afghanistan, Kashmir, Sindh and Balochistan. The letter "i" was subsequently included for easier pronunciation.



Ancient period

In the III-II millennium BC on the territory of Pakistan was the center of one of the oldest civilizations in the history of mankind - the Harappan. In the II millennium BC. Aryans settled in Pakistan. As a result of the campaigns of Alexander the Great in the West Indian principalities (such as Taxila), the culture of Hellenism is influenced. A powerful Kushan kingdom is formed - the first center of the spread of Buddhism.

From the 8th century A.D. Islam began to spread throughout the country. In the Middle Ages, large Muslim states were formed, headed by the Ghaznavids and the Ghurids. In the 13th century, the territory became part of the Mongol Empire. After the collapse of the Mongol Empire, the territory is part of the Timurid state, which breaks up into several states. One of the representatives of the Timurid dynasty in the 16th century founded the Mughal Empire. After the collapse of which in the 18th century there was an upsurge of Sikh nationalism in Sindh, Balochistan, Punjab.


Colonial period

In the 19th century, the territory of modern Pakistan was captured by British troops and incorporated into British India.

One of the spiritual founders of the state was the poet Muhammad Iqbal, head of the Muslim League, an organization of leaders of separatist tendencies. It was Iqbal who proposed in 1930 to create an independent Muslim state, which would include Punjab, Sindh, the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) and Balochistan. The name for the state was proposed back in 1933 by a Muslim student Chaudhury Rahmat Ali, who studied at Cambridge. Pakistan literally means "country of the pure", it is an acronym: "P" - from Punjab, "A" - from the Afghans from the border (i.e. Pashtuns of the NWFP), "K" - from Kashmir, "S" - from Sindh, and "tan - from Balochistan. On March 24, 1940, the historic Lahore Resolution was adopted in Lahore, which proclaimed the principles for the existence of a Muslim community in an independent state.


Modern period

In 1947, during the partition of British India, thanks to the efforts of the Muslim League, the state of Pakistan was formed, which included the northeastern and northwestern regions of Hindustan, predominantly with a Muslim population. The first governor-general of Pakistan as an independent administrative unit was Jinnah, the first prime minister of the country was Liaquat Ali Khan. In 1958, the first military coup took place in the country, when General Mohammed Ayyub Khan came to power.

In 1965 and 1971, Pakistan waged wars with India. In 1971, East Pakistan becomes the independent state of Bangladesh. In 1977 there was a military coup. During this period, Pakistan was on the side of the United States and supported the Mujahideen (dushmans), who waged an anti-government war in neighboring Afghanistan. Mujahideen training camps were located in Pakistan. After the death of President Zia-ul-Haq in a plane crash on August 17, 1988, the chairman of the Senate, Ghulam Ishaq Khan, came to power.

Acting President Ghulam Ishaq Khan called new parliamentary elections, in which the Pakistan People's Party won a relative majority. Benazir Bhutto became the country's prime minister. The new government returned democratic rights and freedoms and lifted the state of emergency. Nevertheless, the situation in the country continued to deteriorate, and armed clashes broke out in Sindh. In August 1990, the Bhutto government was dismissed.

After the elections, Nawaz Sharif became the new prime minister.

In the 1990s, Pakistan's nuclear program developed under the leadership of Abdul Qadeer Khan, which caused the US to impose sanctions against Pakistan. In 1999, a military coup took place, General Pervez Musharraf came to power.

Since the early 2000s, Pakistan's northwestern region of Waziristan has been a stronghold of the Taliban. In 2004, the Taliban seized de facto power in the region.

After September 11, 2001, Pakistan officially ended its support for the Taliban regime and supported the US intervention against the Taliban.

On February 18, 2008, general elections were held in Pakistan, which were postponed from January 8, 2008 due to the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. In the elections, the Pakistan People's Party won the majority of the vote and formed an alliance with the Pakistan Muslim League. On August 18, 2008, Pervez Musharraf resigned as President of Pakistan under threat of impeachment. In the presidential elections that followed, Pakistan People's Party candidate Asif Ali Zardari won and became President of Pakistan.

As of June 2009, the territories of Pakistan bordering Afghanistan are almost not controlled by the authorities of this state. On May 7, 2009, Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Reza Gilani announced that he had ordered the army to eliminate the terrorists. Fights began with the use of aviation, tanks and artillery in order to capture the administrative center of the Swat district - the city of Mingora.

On April 28, 2011, there was a border conflict between Afghanistan and Pakistan near the city of Angur Ada (English) Russian .. 12 soldiers of the armed forces of Afghanistan and one border guard of Pakistan were killed during the battle. Three Pakistani border guards and eight Angur Ada civilians were injured.

According to the Thomson Reuters Foundation, which published the ranking of the world's most dangerous countries for women in 2018, Pakistan ranks sixth in the list of countries with the highest number of risks for women in terms of health care, access to economic resources, ordinary life, sexual violence and human trafficking.


State structure

Fundamentals of the state system

Pakistan is a federal republic of a mixed type, consisting of 4 provinces (Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (formerly North-West Frontier Province) and Balochistan). In addition to the provinces, Pakistan also includes the Federal Capital Territory and the regions of Gilgit-Baltistan and Free Kashmir (the latter is de jure recognized by Pakistan as an independent state, but is actually part of it), disputed by India. The basic law of the state is the constitution adopted in 1972. The 1972 constitution was repealed in 1977, restored in 1985, and is currently in force with a number of amendments. The main institutions of Pakistani statehood were formed in the first years of the country's independent development.

The first constitution of Pakistan was adopted on March 23, 1956. The constitution stipulated that the President of the country must be a Muslim. This article was also preserved in the constitution of 1962, which was in force under Ayub Khan. In 1972, a new constitution was adopted, which was in effect until 1977, when a military coup led by General Zia-ul-Haq was carried out, after which its operation was suspended until 1985. According to it, Islam is the state religion of the country.

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, the country in 2018 was classified on the Democracy Index as a hybrid regime.


Executive branch

The head of state is the president, currently Arif Alvi. The president is elected by the federal parliament for a term of 5 years.

President of Pakistan:
is the supreme commander of the armed forces of the country;
has the right to pardon, cancel and mitigate the sentence of any court;
makes appointments:
Prime Minister
government members,
provincial governors,
members of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and the Supreme Courts of the provinces,
Chairman of the Public Service Commission,
Chief Commissioner for Elections and members of the Electoral Commission,
top military leaders.

The government, approved by the president, is formed and led by the prime minister, who usually represents the majority party or coalition in the National Assembly. The Prime Minister must be a Muslim and is appointed by the President from among the members of the National Assembly. The prime minister must enjoy the confidence of the majority of his deputies. On his advice, the president appoints ministers. The government develops bills and submits them to parliament for discussion.



The Parliament of Pakistan consists of two houses - the Senate and the National Assembly.

The Senate consists of 100 members elected by the deputies of the lower house of the federal parliament and the provincial legislatures under the majoritarian scheme. The term of office of the Senate is 6 years. One third of the Senate is renewed every 2 years. The President of the Senate is Raza Rabbani.

The National Assembly consists of 342 deputies, 272 of whom are elected by the population by direct secret ballot under the proportional representation system for a term of 5 years. 60 seats are given to women, 10 seats are reserved for representatives of religious minorities. Speaker of the National Assembly - Sardar Sadiq.


Judicial branch

The legal branch of government is represented by the Supreme Court (whose members are appointed by the president) and the federal Islamic Sharia Court.

The President and members of the Supreme Court are appointed by the President. The Supreme Court hears disputes between central and provincial governments, as well as between provinces. The Supreme Court of Pakistan is the final court of appeal in cases involving questions of law related to the interpretation of the constitution when it comes to capital punishment, etc., gives opinions on points of law submitted to it by the president, exercises control over the observance of fundamental rights of citizens , decides on the constitutionality of certain actions of state bodies and on their eligibility.

The provinces have their own High Courts, and their presidents and members are appointed by the president. The lower courts (from local to district) are divided into criminal and civil and are appointed by the provincial governors.

During the reign of Zia-ul-Haq, the Federal Sharia Court was also created, which decided whether the laws corresponded to the canons of Islamic law.


Provincial authorities

The provinces are governed by chief ministers. Provincial legislatures are provincial assemblies elected by the people. Executive power is exercised by governors appointed by the president and provincial governments approved by the provincial assemblies.


Foreign policy

Pakistan's foreign policy is characterized by instability, which is a consequence of the country's history, religious factor and geographical location. The main goal of foreign policy is to preserve the territorial integrity and ensure the security of Pakistan, which have been under threat since the creation of the state. In 1947, the country gained independence after the partition of British India, through the formation of two independent sovereign states - India and Pakistan. Both states began to look for their place in the world order and sought to strengthen their influence outside the subcontinent.

After gaining independence, tensions arose between India and Pakistan over the status of Kashmir, which led to numerous military conflicts between the two countries. In 1947, the First Indo-Pakistani War began, after which the territory of Kashmir was divided between Pakistan and India. From August to September 1965, the countries participated in the Second Indo-Pakistani War, which ended in a draw. In 1971, the Third Indo-Pakistani War took place, Pakistan lost the battle for the eastern part of the country, which led to the formation of the independent state of Bangladesh. After the end of the Cold War, the confrontation between India and Pakistan intensified, the territorial dispute over the ownership of Kashmir has not yet been resolved.

The Government of Pakistan seeks to strengthen the country's defense capability through cooperation with other states. Particular attention was paid to the creation of allied relations with the United States of America. An important part of foreign policy was the orientation towards the Western world and anti-communist movements. Pakistan also sees itself as the vanguard of independent Muslim states.


Armed forces

The armed forces of Pakistan are the sixth largest in the world. This includes the ground forces, navy, air force and semi-army formations involved in the settlement of local conflicts. Pakistan has nuclear weapons.

The army in Pakistan has always had great influence in the country. Generals often moved to high positions in the civil administration, actively participated in the political events of the country, introduced a state of emergency and established control over the government. The latest example of this kind is the 1999 military coup led by Pervez Musharraf.

The Pakistani army took part in three major conflicts with India (1947, 1965 and 1971), in the Kargil War.


Physical and geographical characteristics

Geographical position

Pakistan is located in the northwest of South Asia, stretching from the southwest to the northeast for 1500 km. Within Pakistan, three orographic regions can be distinguished - the flat east, the mid-mountain west and the high-mountain north. In the south, the territory of Pakistan is washed by the waters of the Arabian Sea, which forms low, slightly indented coasts.



The alluvial lowland of the Indus Valley is the western part of the Indo-Gangetic Plain, located on the outskirts of the Hindustan platform. It lies almost entirely below 200 m and is distinguished by a uniform, monotonous relief with small slopes. Most of the lowland along the left bank of the Indus is occupied by the Thar Desert. The western and northwestern parts of Pakistan are occupied by the outlying ranges of the Iranian Plateau - Makran, Kirthar, Chagai, Tobakakar, Suleiman Mountains, which are almost parallel chains of mountains up to 3452 m high. The slopes of the ridges facing the Arabian Sea and the Indo-Gangetic Plain are steep ; the opposite ones, descending to the plateaus of Balochistan, are gentle. Within Balochistan, high (up to 3000 m), relatively leveled areas alternate with intermountain basins, dissected by numerous dry riverbeds. The most powerful mountain ranges with deeply dissected river valleys and covered with large glaciers are located in the extreme north of Pakistan and belong to the mountain systems of the Hindu Kush, the Himalayas and the Karakorum. The latter is located in the Pakistan-controlled part of Kashmir. The highest points of the country are Mount Tirichmir (7690 m) in the Hindu Kush and Mount Chogori (8611 m) in the Karakorum. On the territory of Pakistan there are about 40 peaks exceeding 7000 meters. All mountainous regions of Pakistan belong to the young Alpine-Himalayan mobile belt.

The most important minerals are oil, gas, and coal, confined to the sedimentary complexes of the margins of the Hindustan platform, and ores of ferrous and non-ferrous metals in folded areas.



The climate in Pakistan is dry continental tropical, in the northwest - subtropical, in the mountains in the north of the country - more humid with a pronounced altitudinal zonality. Winter on the plain is warm (+12…+16 °C, on the coast up to +20 °C), in the highlands it is severe (up to −20 °C). Summer is hot (in the deserts - +35 °C, on the coast - +29 °C, in the mountains and on the plateaus of the Iranian Highlands - +20 ... +25 °C), in the highlands - frosty (at altitudes from 5000 m - below 0 ° C). Precipitation per year varies from 50 mm in the Thar Desert to 100-200 mm in Sindh, 250-400 mm in the valleys and on the plateaus of the Iranian Highlands, 350-500 mm in the foothills and 1000-1500 mm in the mountains in the north of the country. Most of the precipitation falls during the southwestern monsoon (in July - September), within the Iranian Highlands - in the winter-spring period.

In June 2015, a heat wave hit the southern provinces of Pakistan. The temperature in some cities reached +49°C, in a few days more than 1,200 people died from dehydration and heat stroke.

The largest river in Pakistan is the Indus, which covers most of the country. The rivers in the west are either endorheic or have a local discharge into the Arabian Sea. The main tributary of the Indus is the Sutlej, which collects the waters of the main rivers of the Punjab (Chinab, Ravi, Jelam, Bias) and gives water to large irrigation canals (Dipalpur, Pakpattan, Panjnad). On large rivers, there is a summer flood due to monsoon rains and melting of glaciers in the mountains.


National parks

The national parks of Pakistan are established to protect and preserve outstanding scenery and wildlife in a natural state. The protection and protection of the environment in Pakistan was first included in the 1973 Constitution, but the Environment Protection Ordinance was not passed until 1983. In accordance with the legislation of the Modern Protected Areas, national parks can be used for scientific research, education and recreation. They prohibit the construction of roads and rest houses, the clearing of land for agricultural purposes, water pollution, the use of firearms, and the destruction of wild animals. The parks are administered by the following government departments: the Ministry of Environmental Protection and the Biodiversity Authority.

As of 2010, there are 25 national parks in Pakistan, 19 of them are under state control and the rest are in private hands. The oldest national park, Lal Suhanra in the Bahawalpur region, was established in 1972. This is the only national park that existed before the independence of the country, in addition, it is the only biosphere reserve in Pakistan. The last of the parks, Cala Citta, was created in 2009. The Central Karakorum in Gilgit-Baltistan is the largest national park in the country, covering a total area of ​​about 1,390,100 hectares. The smallest national park is Ayub, with a total area of ​​about 931 hectares.



The vegetation of Pakistan is predominantly semi-desert and desert; the most sparse is in the Thar Desert, where sandy ridges predominate, semi-fixed by xerophytic shrubs (acacia, calligonum ...) and tough grasses. On the Indus Plain, natural vegetation is semi-deserts and deserted savannahs (chiy, wormwood, capers, astragalus ...), along the Indus and other rivers - strips of tugai, in the Indus Delta and along the coast of the Arabian Sea - in places mangroves. Semi-desert formations of thorny cushion-like shrubs are widespread in the Iranian Highlands, and rare thickets of pistachio and juniper are found in the mountains of Balochistan. In the mountains in the north of the country at an altitude of 1500-3000 m there are separate areas of deciduous (oak, chestnut) and coniferous (spruce, fir, pine, Himalayan cedar) forests. In the valleys near the villages there are plantations of date palms, citrus fruits, olives, orchards. Mulberry plantations are frequent along irrigation canals.


Animal world

The fauna of Pakistan is represented by Indo-African, Central Asian and Mediterranean species. Of the large mammals in the mountains, there are leopard, snow leopard, brown and white-breasted bear, fox, wild goats and rams, Persian gazelle; on the plains - hyenas, jackals, wild boars, antelopes, gazelles, kulans, wild donkeys, numerous rodents. The world of birds is diverse (eagles, vultures, peacocks, parrots). Many snakes, including poisonous ones; there are crocodiles in the Indus. Of the invertebrates, scorpions, ticks are common, the Arabian Sea is rich in fish (tuna, herring, sea bass, Indian salmon), crustaceans (shrimp) and sea turtles.



Pakistan is an industrial-agrarian country with a diversified economy. Agriculture continues to play a large role in the country's economy and occupies 20.8% of the total GNP, although industry is actively developing and already accounts for 24.3% of the GNP (in 2009). At the same time, 43% of employees are employed in agriculture, and 20% in industry. The unemployment rate is 15.2% (in 2009).

It is characterized by a high dependence on weather conditions, on which industries such as agriculture, the textile industry, hydropower, and water transport directly depend.

In Pakistan, spatial differences in the economy are pronounced, due to the combined action of various factors. Four historical-geographical regions are distinguished, in territorial terms closely coinciding with the administrative provinces - Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, including the tribal regions in the latter. The Punjab stands out most for its agricultural production; up to 2/3 of wheat, cotton and sugar cane are produced here.

In the 2000s, Pakistan's economy showed a steady economic growth of about 7% per year.

Pakistan's GDP growth in fiscal year 2005 (ended June 30, 2005) was 8.4%. Two thirds of Pakistani exports are made up of textile and clothing products. The main agricultural crops are cotton and wheat.

The government of Pervez Musharraf pursued a relatively liberal economic policy; in recent years, several large banks, the largest telecommunications company and a number of others have been privatized.



Pakistan produced in 2018:
25.0 million tons of wheat (7th place in the world in terms of production);
10.8 million tons of rice (10th producer in the world);
6.3 million tons of corn (20th producer in the world);
4.6 million tons of potatoes (18th producer in the world);
67.1 million tons of sugar cane (5th largest production in the world after Brazil, India, China and Thailand);
4.8 million tons of cotton (5th largest producer in the world);
2.3 million tons of mangoes (5th largest producer in the world, second only to India, China, Thailand and Indonesia);
471 thousand tons of dates (6th largest producer in the world);
2.1 million tons of onions (6th producer in the world);
1.6 million tons of orange (12th producer in the world);
593 thousand tons of mandarin;
1601 thousand tons of tomatoes;
545 thousand tons of apples;
540 thousand tons of watermelon;
501 thousand tons of carrots.
Cattle breeding brings about half of the profits in the agricultural sector, accounting for almost 11% of GDP.


International trade

In 2016, the volume of Pakistan's foreign trade amounted to: exports of 24.2 billion US dollars, imports of 48.1 billion US dollars, a negative balance of foreign trade of 23.9 billion US dollars.

Main exports: cotton, textiles and other weaving goods, rice, leather, meat, sugar, fruits. Top buyers: US 15% ($3.58 billion), China 8% ($1.94 billion), Germany 7% ($1.7 billion), Afghanistan 7% ($1.68 billion USD) and the UK 6% (USD 1.43 billion).

Main imports: machinery and equipment, electronics, petroleum products, chemicals, metals and foodstuffs. Top Suppliers: China 30% ($14.2 billion), United Arab Emirates 12% ($5.84 billion), US 4.3% ($2.06 billion), Indonesia 4.2 % ($2.02 billion) and Japan 4.2% ($2.01 billion).

The trade turnover between Russia and Pakistan in 2017 amounted to $541,044,426, an increase of 33.59% ($136,049,940) compared to 2016.

In the structure of Russian exports to Pakistan in 2017, the main share of deliveries fell on the following types of goods: metals and products, of which 31.43% of the total export volume, chemical industry products 15.82%, mineral products 12.87%, wood and pulp and paper products 12.73%, food products and agricultural raw materials 12.59%, machinery, equipment and vehicles 3.04%. In the structure of Russian imports from Pakistan in 2017, the main share of deliveries fell on the following types of goods: textiles and footwear 59.38% of total imports, food products and agricultural raw materials 23.79%, chemical products 3.92%, machinery, equipment and vehicles 1.94%.

The Pakistani Rupee (PRe, PRs) is subdivided into 100 Paise. In circulation are banknotes in denominations of 5000, 1000, 500, 100, 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 rupees, as well as coins in denominations of 2 and 1 rupees, 50, 25 and 10 paise.



Pakistan is one of the most populous countries in the world (207,774,520 inhabitants, 6th in the world - 2017 census).

The bulk of the population lives in the Indus Valley. The largest cities of Pakistan are located in the eastern part of the country (Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi, etc.). The urban population of the country is 36.38% (in 2017).

Ethnic composition: Punjabis - 44.7%, Pashtuns - 15.4%, Sindhis - 14.1%, Seraiki - 8.4%, Muhajirs - 7.6%, Baluchis - 3.6%, etc. (6, 3%).



Pursuant to Article 251 of the Constitution of Pakistan, the national language of the Republic is Urdu, also known as Lashkari. At the same time, the use of English in official matters is allowed if there was no order to replace it with the national language. In the provinces of Pakistan, languages ​​such as Punjabi, Sindhi, Balochi and Pashto are also spoken.



Pakistan is the world's second largest Muslim country (after Indonesia) and the second largest Sunni Muslim country. 96% of the population is Muslim, of which 91% are Sunnis and 5% are Shiites.

The state religion of Pakistan is Sunni Islam.

The confessional composition of the population:
Muslims - 173,000,000 (96%);
Hindus - 3,200,000 (1.85%);
Christians - 2,800,000 (1.6%);
Ahmadiyya - 291,000 (0.22%);
Sikhs - 20,000 (0.01%);
Parsis, Buddhists, Jews, Baha'is and animists, etc.

Pakistan is the only state in which the Ahmadis are officially recognized as a non-Muslim minority, because, according to most Islamic theologians, they do not consider the Prophet Muhammad the last prophet.

Since the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Pakistan has boycotted the census since the 1974 census, the Ahmadiyya part of the census data is considered inaccurate, and the total number of Ahmadiyya in Pakistan, according to various estimates, is from 2 to 5 million people. The Ahmadi Muslim community in Pakistan is considered the largest in the world.



Due to its location on the edge of the Indian subcontinent, Pakistan has strong ties to Indian culture, which has, however, been partially overshadowed by Persian, Afghan-Pashtun and Arabic culture. Since the 8th century, Islam has exercised significant influence and has deeply penetrated society. However, given the young history of the state of Pakistan, its Islamic culture must always be viewed in the context of the tradition of Islam throughout the Indian subcontinent.



The Pakistani government spent only about 2.2 percent of gross domestic product on education in 2017 - less than any other country in South Asia.

There is no general compulsory schooling or education. Only in the province of Punjab has primary school attendance been required by law since 1994, and free of charge since 2014. The goal of free and compulsory education has been mentioned in the constitution since 2010. According to a UNESCO report from 2014, 5.5 million children in Pakistan did not go to school; this is the second highest number in the world (after Nigeria). According to figures from the Ministry of Education at the beginning of 2017, 22.6 million children in Pakistan were out of school.

That same year, Human Rights Watch lamented the devastating impact of over 800 school attacks between 2007 and 2015. The report highlighted militant groups that were not being sufficiently prosecuted or not being prosecuted at all by the authorities.

Conservative social values are strongly evident in everyday school life in Pakistan. For example, the national anthem has to be sung every morning; children who do not sing along are beaten by the teacher. In addition, the condition of the clothing is checked at the beginning of every week; children who fail the check are turned away. The hairstyle must not be unusual either; for example, many teachers prohibit their male students from wearing long hair.


Education System

The state education system has three levels. The five-year primary school, which children from the age of five can attend, is followed by the three-year middle school. The actual secondary education includes two years of training at a high school, which ends with an exam, and then at a higher secondary school, which also lasts two years. Successful completion of Higher Secondary School entitles you to attend a state university. There are over 110 recognized public and private universities in Pakistan.

In addition to state schools, thousands of Koranic schools in Pakistan represent an important pillar of the education system. They also offer free basic education to children from poor families who are often unable to attend a state educational institution. It is not uncommon for them to provide humanitarian aid. However, they are not subject to any state control, so religious extremists use madrassas to spread extremist ideas.



There are over 6,000 libraries in academic, private and religious institutions. Public libraries are severely underdeveloped. The almost 300 public libraries are located in larger cities. In the 1980s, over 4,000 box libraries were set up in rural areas, but little is known about their current status. Since 1998, national education policy has called for the establishment of libraries in rural areas - but so far without consequences.

According to the PTCL (Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited), internet access should be possible for 95 percent of the population. A relatively large number of Internet cafes makes this number likely to be correct. A very small number of cyber community centers set up with international help provide high-quality Internet information access in rural areas and offer PC and Internet courses.

A postgraduate diploma in Library and Information Science can be obtained at six universities.



Although progress has been made in developing the education system since independence, Pakistan's illiteracy rate remained one of the highest in Asia at around 42 percent in the 2015-2016 survey period. For men it is significantly lower at 30 percent than for women at 52 percent. Between 2004 and 2015 there was little progress in this regard (in contrast to neighboring India, for example). UNESCO also called the literacy rate in Pakistan “disturbingly low.” According to UNESCO statistics, 56.4% of the population could read in 2015 (69.4% of men and 42.7% of women). This put Pakistan well below the values of its neighboring states Iran, India and the People's Republic of China, but still ahead of Afghanistan. In 2013/14, the best reading ability score was in Punjab (61%), and the worst scores were in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (53%) and Balochistan (43%).



In 1979, the Pakistani physicist Abdus Salam (1926–1996) received the Nobel Prize in Physics and the UNESCO Albert Einstein Medal for his contribution to the theory of unified weak and electromagnetic interactions between elementary particles. Abdus Salam was the first Pakistani and the first Muslim to win the Nobel Prize in Physics. Abdus Salam was a supporter of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.



With the beginning of the Indus Civilization around the middle of the 3rd millennium BC. In the 4th century BC, an advanced urban culture emerged for the first time in what is now Pakistan with large buildings, some of which have been preserved as ruins. Archaeologists have unearthed numerous ancient cities, including Mohenjo-Daro, Harappa and Kot Diji, which are characterized by a uniform, functional layout with wide streets and sophisticated sanitation, irrigation and drainage systems. The majority of surviving mudbrick buildings are residential or public buildings such as bathhouses and workshops. Monumental representative or temple buildings, such as those typical of Ancient Egypt and the early civilizations of Mesopotamia, are missing. The architecture of the Indus cities thus reflects the more “bourgeois” nature of the Indus culture with few social classes.

With the extinction of the Indus Civilization, the art of architecture suffered a considerable decline. The Vedic era left no architectural evidence. Perishable materials such as wood and clay probably served as building materials. It was only with the advent of Buddhism that outstanding architectural monuments emerged, especially of a sacred nature, which have survived to the present day. There were also Persian and Greek influences. The latter led to the emergence of the Graeco-Buddhist style, which reached its peak with the Gandhara style from the 1st century AD. Significant remains of Buddhist stupas and other structures with clearly recognizable Greco-Bactrian stylistic elements such as Ionic columns can be found, alongside ruins from other periods, in the Gandharan capital of Taxila in the far north of the Punjab. The ruins of the Buddhist monastery Takht-i-Bahi (around 1st to 7th century AD) in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are also considered a particularly beautiful example.

The arrival of Islam in what is now Pakistan - initially in Sindh - in the 8th century brought an abrupt end to Buddhist architecture, but paved the way for Islamic architecture, which was predominantly imageless and primarily worked with ornaments. Early mosques were still strongly based on the Arabic style, such as the mihrabless mosque of Banbhore from 727, which has been preserved as a ruin and was the first Muslim place of worship on the Indian subcontinent.

Under the Ghurids and Delhi Sultans, the Persian-Central Asian style replaced Arab influences. The most important characteristic of this style is the iwan, a vaulted hall closed on three sides and open on one side, which was used primarily in the entrance area of mosques, palaces and the typical Persian madrassas. Other features include large facades often decorated with mosaics and geometric patterns, round or onion domes and the use of painted tiles. The most important of the few completely preserved Persian-style buildings is the tomb of Shah Rukn-i-Alam (built 1320 to 1324) in Multan.

Indo-Islamic architecture reached its peak in the 16th century under the Mughals. In the Mughal style, the geometric, rather strict design elements of Islamic-Persian architecture were combined with the curved and often playful forms of Hindu art, which were borrowed from nature. This was particularly expressed in lush, stylized plant tendrils as facade decoration and the integration of columns and consoles as components. Lahore, a temporary residence of the Mughal rulers, has a number of important buildings in the Mughal style, including the Badshahi Mosque (built in 1673/74), the Lahore Fort (second half of the 16th century) with the famous Alamgiri Gate, the colorful one The strongly Persian-looking Wasir Khan Mosque (1634/35) as well as numerous other mosques and mausoleums. The Mughal ruler of the same name had the Shah Jahan Mosque in Thatta in Sindh built in the middle of the 17th century, at the same time as the Taj Mahal in Agra. Both buildings are similarly subtle in appearance and differ from the more imperial-looking buildings of this period in Lahore. The countless tombs on the Makli Hill near Thatta and the Chaukhandi burial ground east of Karachi are unique. Most of them were built between the 15th and 17th centuries and combine the influence of Mughal architecture from Central Asia with elements of North Indian temple buildings to form the independent architectural style of Sindh. The local Indian tradition from Gujarat in particular has led to fully sculptural decorative elements emerging from the wall and elaborate geometric and floral reliefs in the stone carvings.

The Mughal construction activity came to a standstill in the late 18th century. After that, hardly any impulses came from local architecture. During the British colonial period, predominantly representative buildings were built in the Indo-Saracenic style, a mixture of European and Indian-Islamic components.

After independence, Pakistan sought to express its newfound national identity through architecture. This is reflected above all in modern religious buildings such as the Faisal Mosque in the capital Islamabad, which was rebuilt in the 1960s. The self-confidence of the young state is expressed in monumental buildings such as the Minar-e-Pakistan in Lahore or the white marble mausoleum Mazar-e-Quaid of the state's founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah in Karachi.



The literature of Pakistan includes the literatures of the written languages spoken in Pakistan, primarily Urdu, Sindhi, Panjabi, Pashtun, Baluchi and, more recently, English. Until the 19th century, poetry dedicated to religious, mystical and folk material dominated what is now Pakistan. During the colonial period, under the influence of Western realist literature, local poetry increasingly took up other themes and forms of storytelling. Short stories are particularly popular. Poetry retained its place with contemporary themes.

Muhammad Iqbal (1877–1938), who wrote mainly in Persian (Dari), but also in Urdu, is considered the national poet of Pakistan. His works mostly deal with Islamic philosophy. At the same time, Iqbal was one of the most important figures in the Pakistani national movement. His best-known work is the Persian volume of poetry Asrar-i-Khudi (English: “The Secrets of the Self”).

The most vibrant is Urdu literature, whose origins date back to the 14th century. Saadat Hasan Manto (1912–1955), who was born in Punjab and moved from Bombay to Pakistan in 1948, primarily dealt with the chaos of the Indian partition in his short stories, which were often characterized by satire and black humor. He fought against the sexual exploitation of women and worked as a translator and playwright. He is still considered the most important Indian-Pakistani short story writer of the 20th century. Some of his works have been made into films. The best-known representative of contemporary Pakistani Urdu literature was the communist Faiz Ahmed Faiz (1911–1984), who was part of the resistance against the military regime of Muhammad Ayub Khan and had to live in exile in India for years. Her themes include female sexuality, which was an unheard of provocation in the 1960s.

Rukhsana Ahmad, a British-based, Karachi-born English literature lecturer, freelance writer and journalist, published The Women's Press in 1991, a collection of feminist poems written in Urdu and translated into English by her.

The Sufi mystic Shah Abdul Latif (1689/90–1752/53) is considered an outstanding Sindhi poet. The pioneer of modern Sindhi prose was Mirza Kalich Beg (1853–1929).

Pakistan has shared the Pashtun literary tradition with neighboring Afghanistan for centuries. She produced extensive love poetry and heroic poems. Khushal Khan Khattak (also Hushal Han, 1613–1689), a leader of the uprising against the Mughal rulers and master of the landai, a two-line Pashtun short poem, is considered the founder of classical Pashto poetry. The classical tradition was maintained by Ghani Khan (1914–1996), who also occasionally wrote in English and Urdu. He is considered the best Pashto poet of the 20th century. Ghani Khan, who came from the northwestern tribal areas, was imprisoned for six years and was only honored very late by the Pakistani government for his work.

More recently, Jamil Ahmad (1931–2014) has become known, whose autobiographical memoirs of his service in the Pashtun tribal areas were published after around 30 years. They were published in German in 2013 under the title The Path of the Falcon.

In Panjabi, love and religious didactic poems have survived. Panjabi literature reached its peak in the 17th century as the language of Sikhism. Particularly popular songs and ballads were created in Balochi. Kamila Shamsi (* 1973) writes her award-winning novels in English.


Calligraphy and painting

In Islam, calligraphy serves to perfectly reproduce the beauty of the content of God's word, i.e. the Koran. Favored by Islam's ban on images, it developed into the highest form of fine art. In mosques, calligraphy is one of the most important types of surface and spatial design. Artfully crafted lettering decorated with ornaments can be found almost everywhere. The Quran quotations on glazed tiles in the Wasir Khan Mosque in Lahore are particularly famous.

On the other hand, painting is less developed due to the ban on figurative representations of God, the Prophet Mohammed and his followers. The ban on images was often interpreted as a general ban on depicting living beings. However, under Persian influence, a high-quality tradition of miniature painting emerged, which continued and developed further under the rule of the Mughals. The miniatures of the Mughal era primarily depicted courtly life and historical events.

Many modern artists in Pakistan see themselves in the tradition of Islamic calligraphers. Some turned to more painterly aspects and even, like the internationally best-known Pakistani artist Sadequain (1930–1987), moved to figurative painting. Nevertheless, calligraphy remains an integral part of Pakistani culture. The official language of Pakistan, Urdu, is written in Nastaliq, a calligraphic variant of the Arabic alphabet. Until the late 1980s, most Pakistani daily newspapers in Urdu had their typesetting made by hand by trained typewriters, which was not least due to the difficulty of converting this calligraphic script into typesetting.



Pakistan has a rich musical tradition, born from the fusion of Indian music with Arabic and Persian influences. In Sufism, love for God is expressed in ecstatic songs such as Qawwali. The Qawwali songs are often accompanied by a harmonium, the kettle drum tabla and clapping of hands. The most famous quawwali singer in western countries is Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. At pilgrimage sites, for example, professional street music ensembles perform with several double-headed tube drums dhol, several cone oboes shehnai and the bagpipe baghalbin. Folk music is particularly lively in the province of Balochistan and among the Pashtuns. Possession rituals in Balochistan include the musical style gwati with the melody-leading bowed lute sorud (also suroz, related to the sarinda) and the plucked two- to four-stringed long-necked lute damburag (similar to the northern Afghan dambura and the tanburo played in Sindh). The double beak flutes doneli in Baluchistan and alghoza in Sindh can be used for this. The longitudinal flute narh, which is common in Balochistan and Sindh, is played along with a sung drone. Other folk musical instruments include the small pair of kettle drums, the naghara, the one- to two-string long-necked lute, the yaktaro (equivalent to the ektara), and the keyboard zither, the banjo.

Classical music uses instruments that are typical of Hindustani music, which is widespread in northern India. In the well-known Khyal style, the rhythm is provided by the tabla or in the Dhrupad by the double-headed pakhawaj; the main melodic instruments are string instruments such as sitar, sarangi and sarod, wind instruments such as the bamboo flute bansuri and the harmonium. The dulcimer santur is of Persian origin.

Modern popular music is characterized by strong Western influences as well as classical and traditional elements. It is particularly conveyed through local and Indian films. Popular songs from successful Bollywood films usually become best sellers in Pakistan.



Main article: Holidays in Pakistan
Pakistan Day[46] (March 23) - on this day in 1940, the Lahore Resolution was adopted.
Iqbal Day (April 21) - the day of the death of the national poet Muhammad Iqbal.
End day of Ramadan.
Eid-i Milad (May 25) is the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad.
Eid ul-Azha (March 23-24) is a holiday on the occasion of the pilgrimage to Mecca.
Independence Day (August 14).
Birthday of Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan (December 25).
New Year.


Education and science

Only 63% of Pakistani children have completed primary school. In addition, only 68% of Pakistani boys and 72% of girls reach grade 5. Pre-school education is intended for children aged 3-5 and consists of three stages: play groups, nursery and kindergarten. After preschool education, students go to elementary school. In secondary school, separate education of girls and boys is practiced, however, in large cities there are also schools with coeducation. The eight core disciplines are Urdu, English, Mathematics, Visual Arts, Science, Social Studies, Islamic Studies and Computer Science. The programs of some schools also include the languages ​​of Pakistan's neighboring countries, in particular, Arabic and Chinese, as well as French.


Mass media

State radio company - PBC (Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation, ریڈیو پالی پاتان "Radio Pakistan"), includes regional radio stations, PBC News radio station, state broadcaster PTV (Pakistan Television Corporation, پاكِستان ٹیلی وژن نیٹ "TV network") TV channel PTV Home and cable TV channels; previously also included PTV2, launched in 1992 and closed in 2008.



The most common sports in Pakistan are football, field hockey, tennis, table tennis, wrestling, boxing, weightlifting, golf, polo, swimming, squash, baseball and cricket.



The most popular sport in the country is cricket. The national cricket team of Pakistan is one of the strongest in the world and is fighting for leadership in international competitions with rivals from the UK, Australia, and India. In 1992, Pakistan managed to win the Cricket World Cup. A special national committee has been set up to guide and oversee the development of cricket. Shahid Afridi is the former captain of the Pakistan cricket team.


Field hockey

Of the Olympic sports, field hockey is by far the most successful for Pakistan. Of their 10 Olympic medals in history, Pakistanis won 8 in men's field hockey, including all gold and silver. Three times (1960, 1968 and 1984) Pakistanis became Olympic champions, won silver three times (1956, 1964, 1972) and twice bronze (1976 and 1992). Thus, from 1956 to 1984, Pakistan won awards at all 7 Olympics in which it took part (Pakistan boycotted the 1980 Games in Moscow). It was Pakistan that in 1960 in Rome managed to break India's winning streak, which won gold at 6 Olympics in a row (in the final, Pakistan beat India 1-0). The bronze of hockey players at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona remains at the moment the last Olympic award for Pakistanis. Freestyle wrestler Mohammad Bashir (bronze in 1960) and boxer Said Hussein Shah (bronze in 1988) brought Pakistan two more Olympic awards.