The Islamic Republic of Pakistan
was founded on the 14th of August 1947. The seat of the federal government is based in the city of Islamabad, which is the Republic’s capital.
Pakistan is the land of the Indus river, which flows through the country for 2500 kilometers (1600 miles) from the Himalaya and Karakoram mountain ranges to the Arabian Sea. It is a land of snow-covered peaks and burning deserts, of fertile mountain valleys and irrigated plains. It has an estimated population of 151.548 million (January 1, 2005) representing an array of ethnic groups but united by the Islamic faith.
Pakistan is strategically located at the crossroads of Asia, wherethe road from China to the Mediterranean meets the route from India to Central Asia. For thousands of years, this junction has been a melting pot of diverse cultures, attracting traders and adventurers, pilgrims and holy men. Now the old Chinese trade route is reopened; the spectacular Karakoram Highway threads its way through the Himalayas, Karakorams and Pamirs, following the ancient Silk Route and entering China over the 4733 metre (15,528 feet) Khunjerab Pass, the highest metalled border crossing in the world.
Pakistan’s 4000-year history is richly illustrated by archaeological sites and imposing monuments scattered over the length and breadth of the country. Brick cities from the Indus civilization, which flourished around 2000 BC, stand beside Buddhist ruins contemporaneous with the birth of Christianity. Magnificent muslim tombs from the 12th century vie with the palaces, mosques and forts of the Moghul emperors of the 16th and 17th centuries.
Area: The borders of Pakistan encompass a total area of 796,096 square kilometers. The provincial break up is given below:-
North West Frontier Province (NWFP) 74,521
Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA) 27,220
Pakistan enjoys a considerable measure of variety. North and northwestern high mountain ranges are extremely cold in winter while the summer months from April to September are very pleasant. The vast plains of the Indus Valley are extremely hot in summer and have cold weather in winter. The coastal strip in the south has a temperate climate. There is general deficiency in the rainfall. In the plains the annual average rainfall ranges from 13 cm in the northern parts of the lower Indus plains to 89 cm in the Himalayan region. Rains are monsoonal in origin and fall late in summer. Average rainfall is 76 cm per annum.
Pakistan has continental panorama with magnificent mountain ranges, plateaus (Potohar), deserts (Thar and Thal), plains (Punjab), rivers, lakes and the Arabian Sea. The Himalayan,Karakoram, Hindukush, Suleman and Salt ranges are some of the most renowned mountain ranges in the world with K-2 (second to Mount Everest), Nanga Parbat and Tirich Meer as some of the highest peaks in the world. Out of 14 highest peaks (more than 8000 m), in the world, 5 are situated in Pakistan. Pakistan boasts the densest concentration of high mountains in the world, with 82 peaks over 7000 meters (23,000 feet) within a radius of 180 Km (112 miles). The Himalayas and Karakorams rose to the heights when the northward drifting Indian geological plate collided with the Asia plate, its northern edge nosing under the Asian plate and pushing up the mountains still, causing the mountains to rise 7
millimeters (¼ inches) in a year.
Mountain Peaks of Pakistan
K2 8611 (28,253) Karakoram 2nd biggest in the world
Nanga Parbat 8125 (26,660) Himalaya 9th
Gasherbrum I 8068 (26,470) Karakoram 11th
Broad Peak 8047 (26,400) Karakoram 12th
Gasherbrum II 8035 (26,360) Karakoram 14th
The lofty mountains of Pakistan are interpenetrated with a range of mountain passes to relent for movements across the valleys and frontiers. The most important among them are listed as under:
Historical Mountain Passes
Khyber Pass NWFP
Kurram Pass NWFP
Tochi Pass NWFP
Gomal Pass NWFP
Lowari Pass NWFP
Bolan Pass Balochistan
Khunjerab Pass Northern Areas
Pakistan is repository of ancient civilizations, such as those of Mehr Garh, Moenjodaro, Harappa, Gandhara, and Taxila and a vast
collection of relics relating to art and sculptures has been unearthed and rehabilitated. Pakistan’s archaeological sites are located at a number of places such as Mehr Garh (Quetta), Chakwal, Kot Diji, Moenjodaro, Harappa, Taxila, Takht-i-Bahi, Dir and Swat. The Mehr Garh site, at the foot of Bolan Pass in Balochistan, discovered min 1984 is the first Neolithic site in the world. The evidence suggests that the site remained occupied for 5000 years (from 8th to 3rd millenniums BC) before the Indus Valley Civilization of Moenjodaro and Harappa.