Pakistan,is a sovereign country in South Asia. With a population exceeding 180 million people, it is the sixth most populous country in the world. Located at the crossroads of the strategically important regions of South Asia, Central Asia and Western Asia, Pakistan has a 1,046-kilometre coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by India to the east, Afghanistan to the west and north, Iran to the southwest and China in the far northeast. It is separated from Tajikistan by Afghanistan's narrow Wakhan Corridor in the north, and also shares a marine border with Oman.
Some of the earliest ancient human civilisations in South Asia originated from areas encompassing present-day Pakistan. The earliest known inhabitants in the region were Soanian during the Lower Paleolithic, of whom stone tools have been found in the Soan Valley of Punjab. The Indus region, which covers most of Pakistan, was the site of several successive ancient cultures including the Neolithic Mehrgarh and the Bronze Age Indus Valley Civilisation (2800–1800 BCE) at Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro.
Geography and climate
Pakistan covers an area of 796,095 km2 (307,374 sq mi), approximately equal to the combined land areas of France and the United Kingdom. It is the 36th largest nation by total area, although this ranking varies depending on how the disputed territory of Kashmir is counted. Pakistan has a 1,046 km (650 mi) coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and land borders of 6,774 km (4,209 mi) in total: 2,430 km (1,510 mi) with Afghanistan, 523 km (325 mi) with China, 2,912 km (1,809 mi) with India and 909 km (565 mi) with Iran. It shares a marine border with Oman,and is separated from Tajikistan by the cold, narrow Wakhan Corridor.
Pakistan is a rapidly developing country and is one of the Next Eleven, the eleven countries that, along with the BRICs, have a high potential to become the world's largest economies in the 21st century.However, after decades of war and social instability, as of 2013, serious deficiencies in basic services such as railway transportation and electric power generation had developed.The economy is semi-industrialized, with centres of growth along the Indus River. The diversified economies of Karachi and Punjab's urban centres coexist with less developed areas in other parts of the country. Pakistan's estimated nominal GDP as of 2011 is US$202 billion. The GDP by PPP is US$488.6 billion. The estimated nominal per capita GDP is US$1,197, GDP (PPP) per capita is US$2,851 (international dollars), and debt-to-GDP ratio is 55.5%. A 2010 report by RAD-AID positioned Pakistan's economy at 27th largest in the world by purchasing power and 45th largest in absolute dollars.It is South Asia's second largest economy, representing about 15 percent of regional GDP.
Tourism in Pakistan has been stated by the Lonely Planet magazine as being the tourism industry's "next big thing". Pakistan, with its diverse cultures, people and landscapes attracted 1 million tourists in 2012 Pakistan's tourism industry was in its heyday during the 1970s when the country received unprecedented amounts of foreign tourists, thanks to the Hippie trail. The main destinations of choice for these tourists were the Khyber Pass, Peshawar, Karachi, Lahore, Swat and Rawalpindi.
Culture and society
Pakistani society is largely hierarchical, emphasising local cultural etiquettes and traditional Islamic values that govern personal and political life. The basic family unit is the extended family, although there has been a growing trend towards nuclear families for socio-economic reasons. The traditional dress for both men and women is the Shalwar Kameez; trousers and shirts are also popular among men. The middle class has increased to around 35 million and the upper and upper-middle classes to around 17 million in recent decades, and power is shifting from rural landowners to the urbanised elites. Pakistani festivals like Eid ul-Fitr, Eid al-Adha and Ramadan are mostly religious in origin. Increasing globalisation has resulted in Pakistan ranking 56th on the A.T. Kearney/FP Globalization Index.
Popular destinations in Pakistan