|Currency||Pakistani rupee (PKR)|
|Area||total: 803,940 sq km |
land: 778,720 sq km
water: 25,220 sq km
|Population||147,663,429 (July 2002 est.)|
|Language||Punjabi 48%, Sindhi 12%, Siraiki (a Punjabi variant) 10%, Pashtu 8%, Urdu (official) 8%, Balochi 3%, Hindko 2%, Brahui 1%, English (official and lingua franca of Pakistani elite and most government ministries), Burushaski, and other 8%|
|Religion||Muslim 97% (Sunni 77%, Shi'a 20%), Christian, Hindu, and other 3%|
Pakistan, formerly known as West Pakistan, is a country in Southern Asia. It has an Arabian Sea coastline in the south and lies between India to the east, Iran to the southwest, Afghanistan to the west and northwest and China in the northeast. It controls access to the Khyber Pass and Bolan Pass, the traditional overland routes between Central Asia and the Indian Subcontinent.
Map of Pakistan
- Administrative divisions
- 4 provinces, 1 territory*, and 1 capital territory**;
Some important Pakistani cities are:
Mostly hot, dry desert; temperate in northwest; arctic in north. Flooding along the Indus after heavy rains (July and August)
Flat Indus plain in east; mountains in north and northwest; Balochistan plateau in west. Experiences frequent earthquakes, occasionally severe, especially in north and west.
- Highest point
- K2 (Mt. Godwin-Austen) 8,611 m
Prior to the second world war, the British controlled Pakistan as part of the Indian Raj.
The separation, in 1947, of British India into the Muslim state of Pakistan (with two sections West and East) and largely Hindu India was never satisfactorily resolved. A third war between these countries in 1971 resulted in East Pakistan seceding and becoming the separate nation of Bangladesh. A dispute over the state of Kashmir is ongoing.
In response to Indian nuclear weapons testing, Pakistan conducted its own tests in 1998.
Like India, Pakistan has strong cultural ties with the United Kingdom, with many expatriate Pakistanis living in the UK. The English sport of cricket has become a national passion and the national cricket team's success around the world is keenly followed. Sadly, tours of Pakistan by other national cricket teams have recently been marred by violence and, more recently, terrorism incidents. Visiting teams have now become reluctant to tour without intensive security measures.
- Punjabi 48%, Sindhi 12%, Siraiki (a Punjabi variant) 10%, Pashtu 8%, Urdu (official) 8%, Balochi 3%, Hindko 2%, Brahui 1%, English (official and lingua franca of Pakistani elite and most government ministries), Burushaski, and other 8%
Pakistani food mainly consists of various kinds of curry eaten with either flatbread or rice. Food tends to be very spicy so if you are intolerant of spice, notify your server repeatedly. In general, most of the same food you can find in the highest quality restaurants/hotels there is available commonly in the markets (but European-style food is generally reserved for the former).
The types of flatbread (collectively referred to as roti) are:
You can ask for a roti and get this. It is a very thin, round thing made of flour and water.
A softer, thicker version of the roti that has risen a little, which makes it more like bread. Better for picking up the liquid part of curries. Recognize it by its larger, white exterior.
An extremely oily version of the roti. Usually excellent if you're going out to eat, but beware of health concerns; often it is literally dripping with oil because it is meant to be part of a rich meal.
This is a slightly sweetened, lightly oiled roti that has waffle-like squares punched in it. It is often considered the most desireable roti and is a delicacy to most people. Often paired with the nihari curry.
Much like the sheer mal but with a puffed-up ring around it. This is generally jsut as good as the sheer mal but easier to eat liquidy curry with.
As you might have noticed, roti is usually used to pick up curry. Utensils are not commonly used during meals in Pakistan except to serve dishes (unless someone is eating rice and would like to be polite or is unpracticed eating it by hand). Attempting to cut a roti with a knife and drink curry with a spoon may elicit some amusement around you. Watching others may help.
There are too many curries to enumerate. However, you should know of the most common ones.
Some curries (known as salan):
Yellow(plain) or brown(slightly sour) lentil "soup". Usually unspiced. Common to all economic classes.
Potatoes and cauliflour. Cooked so that both are soft and breakable with finger pressure.
Can be bitter...
A vegetarian mixture with 'X' as the main ingredient
- Aloo Gosht (Potatoes and Meat)
Chunks of potato and goat meat in gravy. Levels of spice vary. One example of a generic dish that includes most things + Gosht(meat).
Beef simmered for several hours. A delicacy often eaten with Nan, Sheer Mal, or Taftan. Few people will have this available without spice. Eat with lemon, fried onion and caution: it is one of the spiciest curries.
Very, very wet salan, often served in a bowl or similar dish. Eat by dipping pieces of roti in it, maybe finishing with a spoon. Hard to eat.
Baked or roasted chicken with a spicy exterior. Looks like a huge, red chicken leg and thigh. For all meat lovers. Is available most anywhere.
Thick souplike mix of tiny chunks of meat, lentils and wheat grains.
Enjoy a variety; ice cream's usually not as good as the local sweets. Mitthai is a generic term for various types of sweets you can eat with your fingers. Eat small chunks at a time, eating large pieces can be rude and will generally be too sweet.
Tap water is not fit for drinking unless you have lived there and drunk it for a long time. Ask for bottled water wherever possible, and avoid anything cold that might have water in it. See Stay Healthy for details.
In the warmer southern region, sweet drinks are readily available throughout the day. Look for street vendors that have fruits (real or decorations) hanging from their roofs. Also, some milk/yoghurt shops serve lassi. Ask for meethi lassi for a sweet yoghurt drink.
Outside the cities and some regions of each city, travel in groups that include locals. In the unwesternized parts of each city (the posh, westernized parts are obvious: they have better roads and larger homes), travel in groups and dress conservatively. Stay with locals who like you.
Don't let safety factors stop you from visiting Pakistan. It's much safer than you hear, and the people are much more welcoming and honest than in other, more heavily touristed countries in the region.
Avoid tap water! Take every precaution to drink only boiled, filtered or bottled water. Tap water is known to contain many impurities. Also beware when drinking milk--don't drink it fresh from the milk carrier very often; boil and cool it. Non-pasteurized dairy can spread tuberculosis.
Avoid foods with a lot of spice! Always notify your host, cook or waiter if you are intolerant of spice.
Tuberculosis is common in some regions. Be very careful, very careful around people with a hacking cough.
The rest of this article is an import from the CIA World Factbook 2002. It's a starting point for creating a real Wikitravel country article according to our country article template. Please plunge forward and integrate it into the article above.
- Geographic coordinates
- 30 00 N, 70 00 E
- total: 803,940 sq km
land: 778,720 sq km
water: 25,220 sq km
- Area - comparative
- slightly less than twice the size of California
- 1,046 km
- Maritime claims
- contiguous zone: 24 NM
territorial sea: 12 NM
continental shelf: 200 NM or to the edge of the continental margin
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
- Natural resources
- land, extensive natural gas reserves, limited petroleum, poor quality coal, iron ore, copper, salt, limestone
- Land use
- arable land: 27.81%
permanent crops: 0.79%
other: 71.4% (1998 est.)
- Irrigated land
- 180,000 sq km (1998 est.)
- Environment - current issues
- water pollution from raw sewage, industrial wastes, and agricultural runoff; limited natural fresh water resources; a majority of the population does not have access to potable water; deforestation; soil erosion; desertification
- Environment - international agreements
- party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban
- Economy - overview
- Pakistan, an impoverished and underdeveloped country, suffers from internal political disputes, lack of foreign investment, and a costly confrontation with neighboring India. Pakistan's economic prospects, marred by poor human development indicators, low levels of foreign investment, and reliance on international creditors for hard currency inflows, were nonetheless on an upswing through most of 2001. The MUSHARRAF government made significant inroads in macroeconomic reform - it completed an IMF short-term loan program for the first time and improved its standing with international creditors by increasing revenue collection and restraining the fiscal deficit in the 2001/02 budget. While Pakistan has capitalized on its international standing after the 11 September terrorist attacks on the US by garnering substantial assistance from abroad - including $1.3 billion in IMF Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility aid and $12.5 billion in Paris Club debt rescheduling - long-term prospects remain uncertain. GDP growth will continue to hinge on crop performance; dependence on foreign oil leaves the import bill vulnerable to fluctuating oil prices; and foreign and domestic investors remain wary of committing to projects in Pakistan. Pakistani trade levels - already in decline due to the global economic downturn - worsened in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, which occurred in the USA.
- Telephones - main lines in use
- 2.861 million (March 1999)
- Telephones - mobile cellular
- 158,000 (1998)
- Telephone system
- general assessment: the domestic system is mediocre, but improving; service is adequate for government and business use, in part because major businesses have established their own private systems; since 1988, the government has promoted investment in the national telecommunications system on a priority basis, significantly increasing network capacity; despite major improvements in trunk and urban systems, telecommunication services are still not readily available to the majority of the rural population
domestic: microwave radio relay, coaxial cable, fiber-optic cable, cellular, and satellite networks
international: satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (1 Atlantic Ocean and 2 Indian Ocean); 3 operational international gateway exchanges (1 at Karachi and 2 at Islamabad); microwave radio relay to neighboring countries (1999)
- Radio broadcast stations
- AM 27, FM 1, shortwave 21 (1998)
- 13.5 million (1997)
- Television broadcast stations
- 22 (plus seven low-power repeaters) (1997)
- 3.1 million (1997)
- Internet country code
- Internet Service Providers (ISPs)
- 30 (2000)
- Internet users
- 1.2 million (2000)
- total: 8,163 km
broad gauge: 7,718 km 1.676-m gauge (293 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 445 km 1.000-m gauge (2001)
- total: 247,811 km
paved: 141,252 km (including 339 km of expressways)
unpaved: 106,559 km (1998)
- crude oil 250 km; petroleum products 885 km; natural gas 4,044 km (1987)
- Merchant marine
- total: 17 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 241,832 GRT/367,093 DWT
ships by type: cargo 13, container 3, petroleum tanker 1 (2002 est.)
- 120 (2001)
- Airports - with paved runways
- total: 87
over 3,047 m: 14
2,438 to 3,047 m: 21
914 to 1,523 m: 17
under 914 m: 3 (2002)
1,524 to 2,437 m: 32
- Airports - with unpaved runways
- total: 38
1,524 to 2,437 m: 9
914 to 1,523 m: 9
under 914 m: 19 (2002)
- 13 (2002)
- Disputes - international
- armed stand-off with India over the status and sovereignty of Kashmir continues; dispute with India over the terminus of Rann of Kutch prevents extension of a maritime boundary; water-sharing problems with India persist over the Indus River (Wular Barrage); close ties with Pashtuns in Afghanistan make long border difficult to control
- Illicit drugs
- opium poppy cultivation practically eliminated; key transit point for Southwest Asian heroin bound for Western markets; Afghan narcotics continue to transit Federally Administered Tribal Areas, Balochistan Province, and Karachi; financial crimes related to drug trafficking, terrorism, corruption, and smuggling remain problems
- Focal point of Islamic terrorism
- Al-Quaeda and Taliban have strong local support especially in FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas) areas. Western travellers and journalists are at highest threat, esp those adhering to Jewish or Hindu religious beliefs