When I read about the sacrifices that were made to create Pakistan, my belief in my country strengthens. PHOTO: AFP
“Main to kehta hun bas karoaur Malaysia challo.”
(I think we should drop everything and move to Malaysia.)
For what seemed like an eternity, I just stood there with my eyes wide open. Shocked to the very core of my heart, I stared at him. My mind could not decipher where in God’s world my patriotic father had gone.
He is the same guy who took bullets in his arm during student movements in his youth, and the man who helped me write my first speech in Montessori that ended with ‘East or West; Pakistan is the best.’
What happened to Pakistan Zindabad? What happened to the largest flag in our entire colony that always had to be on our roof top? Whatever happened to the man who did not even consider lucrative job offers from abroad, and instead chose to join the government service? The one who worked in the harshest of conditions in Balochistan for 25 years just to try and make a difference? What happened to the guy who wore shalwar qameez while he was studying abroad simply out of love for his country?
I just stood there and stared at him. He had lost faith in our country. I wonder what had happened.
I didn’t have to think much; corruption, loadshedding, bomb blasts, Pakistanis killing each other – that’s what happened.
Moreover, the ‘sabzi waala’ (vegetable seller) threw in rotten vegetables when Baba (father) wasn’t paying attention and the ‘gosht waala’ (meat seller) cheated on his weighing scale.
Baba did not receive a sales tax certificate because he refused to pay Rs15,000 as a bribe to one of the clerks and further refused to use his contacts to put the clerk in his place. Meanwhile, the students of a nearby, renowned school smoked heroine in our house which was under-construction. And the list goes on.
Perhaps he ran out of reasons to believe in our country and its people, but I hadn’t.
I refuse to give up on my nation, and I refuse to leave this country for any other place on earth or beyond.
I remember the semi-final between India and Pakistan that we lost; the next day, my entire university was pumped up to do the best that they could to make a difference and to help Pakistan improve.
I look back at that day and I refuse to believe anybody who tries to suggest that this country will fall. I see my best friend representing Pakistan in an international competition and winning it, and I refuse to believe that my country, my people are any less than the others out there.
I look at myself and see how my father has raised me to be ready to give the last drop of blood for this country, and I refute each and every word he had recently said about Pakistan.
Even when our nation is going though the hardest of times, I see people smiling, laughing and enjoying their lives. I see myself submitting assignments on time with 16 hours of loadshedding, and I see amma (mother) shed tears at every casualty and mishap that gets reported on news channels daily.
I reject every theory and notion that says things cannot improve. I read Stanely A. Wolpert’s book on Jinnah, and Naseem Hijazi’s novels on partition, books that my father gave me, and think:
Sorry Baba, I am not leaving the pure land Jinnah has given me.
I read about the sacrifices that were made to create Pakistan, and my belief in my country strengthens.
There are many reasons to believe in Pakistan, and my father’s entire life is one of them.
Just as he always said: ‘East or West, Pakistan is the best.’
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Maeedah Babar Chishti
The author is a student of Business Administration at the National University of Sciences and Technology.She tweets @MaeedahChishti.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.
|Islamic Republic of Pakistan|
اسلامی جمہوریۂ پاکستان
Motto: Unity, Discipline, Faith
Anthem: Qaumī Tarāna
Area controlled by Pakistan in dark red; claimed and disputed but uncontrolled territory marked in light red
|Official languages||Urdu (National)|
|Recognised regional languages||Balochi, Pashto, Punjabi, Saraiki, Sindhi|
|Mamnoon Hussain (PML N)|
• Prime Minister
|Shahid Khaqan Abbasi (PML N)|
• Chief Justice
|Nasir ul Mulk|
• Chair of Senate
|Raza Rabani (PPP)|
• House Speaker
|Ayaz Sadiq (PML-N)|
• Upper house
• Lower house
• Pakistan Declaration
|28 January 1933|
• Pakistan Resolution
|23 March 1940|
|from the United Kingdom|
|14 August 1947|
• Islamic Republic
|23 March 1956|
|796,095 km2 (307,374 sq mi) (36th)|
• Water (%)
• 2014 estimate
• 1998 census
|214.3/km2 (555.0/sq mi) (55th)|
|GDP (PPP)||2011 estimate|
• Per capita
|GDP (nominal)||2011 estimate|
• Per capita
|HDI (2011)|| 0.504|
low · 145th
|Currency||Pakistani Rupee (Rs.) (PKR)|
• Summer (DST)
|Drives on the||left|
|ISO 3166 code||PK|
Pakistan is a country in southern Asia. It is next to India, Iran, Afghanistan, and China. It is officially called the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. It has a long coastline along the Arabian Sea in the south. Pakistan has the fifth largest population (207.77 million) in the world. Pakistan has a total land area of 880,940 km2 (340,130 sq mi) (including the Pakistani-administered territories of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan). This makes Pakistan the 34th largest country in the world. Pakistan has the seventh largest army in the world. The capital of Pakistan is Islamabad. Before 1960, it was Karachi, which is now the country's largest city.
The name Pākistān means Land of the Pure in Persian and Urdu.
Name of Pakistan[change | change source]
The name Pakistan (English pronunciation: ( listen) or ( listen); Urdu: پاکستان [paːkɪˈst̪aːn]) means Land of (the) Spiritually Pure in both Urdu and Persian languages. Many South-central Asian states and regions end with the element -stan, such as Afghanistan,PAKISTAN,Baluchistan,Kurdistan, and Turkistan. This -stan is formed from the Iranian root *STA "to stand, stay," and means "place (where one stays), home, country". Iranian peoples have been the principal inhabitants of the various geographical region of the Ancient Persian Empires now occupied by the states for over a thousand years. The names are compounds of -stan and the name of the peoples living there. Pakistan is a bit of an exception; its name was coined on the 28th January 1933 as Pakstan by Choudhary Rahmat Ali, a Pakistan Movement activist, who published it in his paper Now or Never. by using the suffix -istan from Baluchistan preceded by the initial letters of Punjab, Afghania, Kashmir and Sindh. The name is actually an acronym that stands for the "thirty million Muslim brethren who lived in PAKSTAN—by which we mean the Five Northern units of India viz: Punjab, (Afghan Province), Kashmir, Sind, and Baluchistan". The letter i was incorporated to ease pronunciation and forms the linguistically correct and meaningful name. Most notably interestingly, a word almost identical in form, etymology, and meaning to the Iranian suffix -stan is found in Polish, which has a word stan meaning "state" (in the senses of both polity and condition). It can be found in the example of a Polish name for the "United States of America," Stany Zjednoczone Ameryki (literally "States United of America").
Government and politics[change | change source]
Main articles: Government of Pakistan and Politics of Pakistan
Pakistan has a federal parliamentary system. The head of state is an indirectly-elected President. The president is also the Commander in Chief of the Joint Armed Forces. The head of government is the Prime Minister, who is also indirectly elected.
The President's appointment and term are constitutionally independent of the Prime Minister’s term. The Electoral college of the country, (composed of the Senate, the National Assembly, and the four Provincial Assemblies) chooses a leadership representing the President of Pakistan for a five-year term. The Prime Minister is usually the leader of the largest party in the National Assembly and is assisted by a cabinet of ministers drawn from both chambers of the federal legislature.
Politics[change | change source]
Pakistan is officially a federal republic, but during a long period in its history it changed to a democratic state and a military dictatorship. Military dictators include Ayub Khan in the 1960s, General Zia-ul-Haq in the 1980s.
Pakistan's two largest political parties are the Pakistan People's Party and the government party Muslim League (Pakistan), which have military support. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf has also gained prominence in the past years.
On 27 December 2007, the leader of the Pakistan Peoples Party, Benazir Bhutto, was assassinated. The reason is yet to be determined.
Administrative divisions[change | change source]
Main articles: Administrative units of Pakistan and Districts of Pakistan
Pakistan is made up of four provinces, two territories and two special areas. Both special areas are in Kashmir. The provinces and territories were divided into 26 divisions with now 147 districts directly divided from the provinces. Each district is divided into several tehsils and each tehsil is divided into several union councils. There are around 596 tehsils and over 6,000 union councils in Pakistan.
- Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (formerly NWFP)
Among the four provinces, Punjab has the most people but Balochistan is the largest province by area. (Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa also have Provincially Administered Tribal Areas (PATA) which are going to be regular districts.)
- Islamabad Capital Territory
- Federally Administered Tribal Areas
Administrative Areas (Pakistan-administered Kashmir)
- Azad Kashmir
- Gilgit Baltistan
India, Pakistan and China separately control parts of the Kashmir region. India and Pakistan's parts are divided by a Line of Control. The Pakistan–China border is internationally recognised. Trade is common between the 2 countries.
National symbols[change | change source]
Main article: National symbols of Pakistan
Economy[change | change source]
Main article: Economy of Pakistan
Pakistan has a semi-industrialized economy. The growth poles of the Pakistani economy are situated along the Indus River. Diversified economies of Karachi and Punjab's urban centres, coexist with less developed areas in other parts of the country. Despite being a very poor country in 1947, Pakistan's economic growth rate has been better than the global average during the subsequent four decades, but imprudent policies led to a slowdown in the late 1990s.
Recently, wide-ranging economic reforms have resulted in a stronger economic outlook and accelerated growth especially in the manufacturing and financial services sectors. Since the 1990s, there has been great improvement in the foreign exchange market position and rapid growth in hard currency reserves.
The 2005 estimate of foreign debt was close to US$40 billion. However, this decreased with help from the International Monetary Fund and significant debt-relief from the United States. Pakistan's gross domestic product, as measured by purchasing power parity, is estimated to be $475.4 billion while its per capita income stands at $2,942. The poverty rate in Pakistan is estimated to be between 23% and 28%.
History[change | change source]
Pakistan became Independent in 1946 from the Indian empire of British Raj. The first people in Ancient Pakistan lived 9000 years ago. These people were the ones who made up the Indus Valley Civilization, which is one of the oldest civilizations on Earth. After that, the Vedic period came. This also included parts of north-western Republic of India. Until 1971, Pakistan also included an area in the North-east India region. This is now called Bangladesh. It lost that area after a war with the Indian Army and the joint militant group of Indo-Bangladeshi alliance of Mitro Bahini of West Bengal. During recent times Pakistan has been in the centre of world politics. This is first because of its support to guerillas in Afghanistan, following Sovietinvasion 1979, and later during the 1990s because of its cooperation with and support for the Talibanregime in Afghanistan. However, since 2000 Pakistan has basically supported the West in their war against fundamentalist terrorism, including the removal of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.
Pakistan is a member of the Commonwealth. However, after the war in East Pakistan the country was excluded (between 1972-1989). It was also a member between 1999 and 2007, it was excluded in 2007 for a time but again became a member in 2008.
Geography and climate[change | change source]
Main article: Geography of Pakistan
There are many earthquakes in the area. The earthquake in 2005 with its earthquake center in Kashmir is the strongest so far. Over 100,000 people were killed or wounded on October 8, 2005.
Pakistan covers 880,940 km2 (340,130 sq mi), approximately equalling the combined land areas of France and the United Kingdom. Its eastern regions are located on the Indian plate and the western and northern regions on the Iranian plateau and Eurasian landplate. Apart from the 1,046 km (650 mi) Arabian Sea coastline, Pakistan's land borders total 6,774 km (4,209 mi) — 2,430 km (1,510 mi) with Afghanistan to the northwest, 523 km (325 mi) with China to the northeast, 2,912 km (1,809 mi) with India to the south and east, and 909 km (565 mi) with Iran to the southwest.
The northern and western highlands of Pakistan contain the towering Karakoram and Pamir mountain ranges, which incorporate some of the world's highest peaks, including K2 8,611 m (28,251 ft) and Nanga Parbat 8,126 m (26,660 ft). The Balochistan Plateau lies to the west, and the Thar Desert and an expanse of alluvial plains, the Punjab and Sindh, lie to the east. The 1,609 km (1,000 mi) Indus River and its tributaries flow through the country from the disputed territory of Occupied Kashmir to the Arabian Sea.
Pakistan has four seasons: a cool, dry winter from December through February; a hot, dry spring from March through May; the summer rainy season, or southwest monsoon period, from June through September; and the retreating monsoon period of October and November. The beginning and length of these seasons vary somewhat according to location. Rainfall can vary radically from year to year, and successive patterns of flooding and drought are also not uncommon.
People[change | change source]
Languages[change | change source]
Main article: Languages of Pakistan
Urdu is replacing English as the national language of the country. English is still spoken among the Pakistani elite and in most government ministries. Many people also speak Saraiki, Punjabi, Hindko, Pashto, Sindhi , Balochi, Brahui and Khowar.
Shina is also one of the regional languages of Pakistan. It is spoken in Gilgit-Baltistan.
Religion[change | change source]
Main article: Islam in Pakistan
Pakistan is a muslim country which means the religion is Islam
Most (97%) of the people are Muslim. Most of the Muslims in Pakistan are Sunni Muslims (>75%) and some are Shia Muslims (20%). However a few minority groups exist. Pakistan also has some Christian, Hindu, Sikh, Zoroastrians and animist minority groups in the northern parts of the country.
After the separation from British India, Hinduism had much less importance in the newly created state of Pakistan, but has played an important role in its culture and politics as well as the history of its regions. In fact, Pakistan has the 5th largest population of Hindus, after Sri Lanka.
The word Hindu comes from the Sindhu (Indus River) of Pakistan. The Sindhu is one of the holy rivers of Hinduism. Thus, in many ways, the land which is today's heavily Muslim Pakistan has played an important part in the origin of Hinduism. There are about 3 million Hindus living in Pakistan.
Poverty[change | change source]
Poverty in Pakistan is a growing concern. Although the middle-class has grown in Pakistan, nearly one-quarter of the population is classified poor as of October 2006.
Sports[change | change source]
For more details, see Pakistan at the Olympics, Pakistan national field hockey team, and Pakistan national football team
The national sport of Pakistan is field hockey, although cricket is the most popular game across the country. The national cricket team has won the Cricket World Cup once (in 1992), were runners-up once (in 1999), and co-hosted the games twice (in 1987 and 1996). Pakistan were runners-up in the inaugural 2007 ICC World Twenty20 held in South Africa and were the champions at the 2009 ICC World Twenty20 held in England. The team also won two Asia Cups in 2000 and 2012. Lately however, Pakistani cricket has suffered heavily due to teams refusing to tour Pakistan after militants attacked the touring Sri Lankan team in March 2009, after which no international cricket was played until May 2015, when the Zimbabwean team agreed to tour.
In addition to sports like field hockey, cricket, squash rackets, football and others, Pakistanis are also very keen on equestrianism of various types,and equestrian sports such as Polo and the traditional Tent pegging are played by many. Other traditional rural sports include two types of Wrestling, Kabbadi and a martial art called Gatka. Pakistan won ICC Champions trophy against India in 2017.