Form of Government: Republic
Area: 796 096 sq km
Population: 216 565 318 inhab. (estimate 2019)
Density: 272.03 inhab./sq km
Coordinates: lat. 37° - 23° N; long. 61° - 75° E
Capital: Islāmābād 1 009 003 inhab. (2017), urban agglomeration
Currency: Pakistani rupee (100 paise)
Human development index: 0.557 (rank: 154)
President: Arif Alvi (PTI), elected 4 September 2018, in office since 9 September 2018
Prime Minister: Imran Khan (PTI), since 18 August 2018
National Assembly: seats based on the elections of 25 July 2018: PTI (Pakistan Movement for Justice), 116; PML-N (Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz), 64; PPP (Pakistan People's Party), 43; MMA (United Council of Action), 12; independents, 13; others, 22; not assigned, 2
Internet: www.pbs.gov.pk (Bureau of Statistics)
Member of Commonwealth, OAS observer, OIC, SAARC, SCO, UN, WTO
International license plate code PK
International dialling code 0092
Travel vaccinations requirement yellow fever (required only if traveling from a country with risk of transmission, including travelers having transited more than 12 hours through the airport of a country with risk of transmission); malaria prophylaxis (recommended for some areas)
Electricity (Voltage) 230
Driving side left
Internet code .pk
DST not applied
Annual average temperature (°C) Islāmābād 22.3; Karachi 25.9
Average temperature in January/July (°C) Islāmābād 10.5/32.5; Karachi 19/30
Daily sunshine hours in June/December (average) Islāmābād 10/7; Karachi 8/9
Annual average precipitation (mm) Islāmābād 361; Karachi 203
Days of rainfall (annual average) Islāmābād 27; Karachi 10
Politics and current affairs
Despite the economic recovery of 2021, the social effects of the recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic remain severe, with over two million people ending up in poverty.
Pakistan is bordered to the north-east by China, to the east and south-east by India, to the south-west by Iran, to the northwest by Afghanistan, and to the south by the Arabian Sea. In the north it is enclosed by offshoots of the western Himalayas and the Karakoram, Hindu Kush and Pamir ranges. The highest peak is K2 (8611 m).
Balochistān in the west is also mountainous. The Punjab, the most fertile area, comprises the valleys of the River Indus and its tributaries.
Pakistan gained independence from the British Empire on 18 July 1947 when India was split to create Pakistan (with a Muslim majority population) and the Union (Dominion) of India (with a Hindu-majority population). The split led to bitter conflict and massive population shifts (ten million Hindus from Pakistan to India, seven million Muslims in the opposite direction). After a bloody civil war, Pakistan separated from its eastern province (now Bangladesh) in 1971.
Conflict between Pakistan and the Union of India began as early as 1947-48 with the war in Kashmir, the region which both sides laid claim to. Other wars would follow (1965-66, 1971) and a separatist guerrilla war supported by Pakistan is still being fought. India and Pakistan resumed normal diplomatic relations in 2003 after both had launched missiles with nuclear capability as a show of strength.
Politically, Pakistan has seen an alternation of military regimes and no less authoritarian civilian governments. In 1977, General Mohammed Zia ousted Ali Bhutto, who had become prime minister in 1970 after the first federal elections in the country. The elections in 1988 brought his daughter, Benazir Bhutto, to power but her government quickly fell owing to ethnic conflict in the Sindh province that also engineered the downfalls of later governments.
A military coup on 12 October 1999 brought Pervez Musharraf to power. Having deposed the prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, he suspended the Constitution and dissolved the parliament and provincial governments. The military coup was subsequently declared “legal” by the Supreme Court in 2000 and a popular referendum in 2002 conferred a veneer of legitimacy on the Musharraf regime. Following the elections in 2008, in the run-up to which Benazir Bhutto was murdered (27 December 2007), Musharraf chose to resign (18 August 2008) to avoid impeachment.
The country is troubled by frequent attacks on religious minorities (in particular Shi’ites, Christians and Sufis). In the NWFP (North-West Frontier Province) and the tribal areas (Wazīristān), which are permeated by Afghan Taliban groups and other radical Islamic factions, air attacks by the United States forces have led to numerous civilian casualties, fuelling hostility towards foreign troops and the government. Autonomist guerrilla warfare by ethnic-based armed groups is under way in the Balochistān province.
Under the Constitution of 1973, amended numerous times, Pakistan is a parliamentary republic with a President elected for five years by both houses of Parliament and the provincial assemblies. The Parliament consists of the Senate with 104 members (92 elected by the provincial assemblies, 4 representing the federal capital and 8 representing tribal territories) with a term lasting for 6 years and renewed for half that time every 3 years, and of the National Assembly with 342 members (272 of whom are elective, 60 strictly women and 10 minorities) elected for a five-year term.
The country possesses nuclear weapons and tactical missiles; it has never signed the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.
The judicial system is based on British Common Law and Islamic sharia law introduced in some north-western areas in 2009.
|Karāchi||14 884 402||inhab.||2017|
|Lahore||11 119 985||inhab.||2017|
|Karāchi||14 884 402||inhab.||2017|
|Lahore||11 119 985||inhab.||2017|
|Population by age and gender (% - 2020)|
There are over 1.4 million Afghan refugees in the country.
After the recession caused by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the second half of 2020 saw a slow recovery of the economy, driven by domestic consumption, remittances from emigrants and investments in some manufacturing sectors. To aid credit access the central bank lowered interest tax, which had previously been kept high in order to keep a lid on inflation, which nevertheless remains high, in particular due to the rise in food prices. Rising prices and the depreciation of the Pakistani rupee have eaten away at the foreign exchange reserves, which makes financing imports difficult and which has already forced the country to borrow from the International Monetary Fund (May 2019). The textile industry, which is the largest export sector, is vulnerable to the fluctuations in international demand and cotton prices. As a whole, economic growth must remain elevated in order to guarantee employment for the rising population. Remittances from emigrants and international aid play an important role.
|Agricultural prod. index (2004-06=100)||127.61||index||2016|
|Agricultural prod. index (2014-16=100)||117.99||index||2019|
|Active population||72 335 052||units||2020|
|Active population, Females||20.3||%||2019|
|Unemployment rate, Females||25.5||%||2019|
|Expenses||8 345 640||M LCU||2019|
|Revenues||4 933 747||M LCU||2019|
|Currency in circulation||6 543.806||BN LCU||2020|
|International reserves||18 521.734||M US$||2020|
Agriculture is concentrated in areas irrigated by the River Indus and its tributaries (Punjab and Sindh). The country produces wheat, rice (mostly exported), sugar cane, cotton and citrus fruits, and local food crops (maize, potatoes, pulses, millet, sorghum) are extremely important. The livestock population is substantial. The main fishing ports are in Karāchi and in the Makrān region.
|cereals, total||43 260.318||1000 t||2019|
|potatoes||4 869.312||1000 t||2019|
|roots and tubers, total||5 415.102||1000 t||2019|
|carrots and turnips||504.425||1000 t||2019|
|beans, dry||139.15||1000 t||2019|
|beans, green||7.505||1000 t||2019|
|castor oil seed||1.107||1000 t||2019|
|sugar beet||38.62||1000 t||2019|
|sugar cane||66 880.011||1000 t||2019|
|seed cotton||4 494.645||1000 t||2019|
|citrus fruits||2 289.262||1000 t||2019|
|maize||1 413.246||1000 ha||2019|
|sweet potatoes||1.688||1000 ha||2019|
|carrots and turnips||29.187||1000 ha||2019|
|beans, dry||200.636||1000 ha||2019|
|beans, green||1.493||1000 ha||2019|
|castor oil seed||0.984||1000 ha||2019|
|sugar beet||1.014||1000 ha||2019|
|sugar cane||1 039.777||1000 ha||2019|
|seed cotton||2 526.999||1000 ha||2019|
|citrus fruits||201.472||1000 ha||2019|
|timber||33 593 349||m³||2019|
|cattle||47 821||1000 heads||2019|
|cattle and buffaloes||87 823||1000 heads||2019|
|buffaloes||40 002||1000 heads||2019|
|sheep||30 859||1000 heads||2019|
|goats||76 143||1000 heads||2019|
|asses||5 417||1000 heads||2019|
|asses and mules||5 613||1000 heads||2019|
|camels||1 090||1000 heads||2019|
|birds||1 324 867||1000 heads||2019|
|butter||1 024.453||1000 t||2018|
|condensed milk||3 862||t||2018|
|crustaceans and molluscs||40 487||t||2019|
|freshwater fishes||304 560||t||2019|
The country has good energy resources: oil and natural gas are extracted in Balochistān, Punjab and Sindh, whereas the main coal deposits are concentrated in Sindh. There is a wide variety of mineral resources, especially copper, iron ore, barite, salt, gypsum, aragonite and marble.
Energy and industry.
Electricity generation is insufficient for the needs of the country and is mainly obtained from fossil fuels (especially natural gas) and hydroelectric plants, the largest of which is active at Tarbela on the River Indus. Six nuclear power reactors are operational at Karāchi and Chashma, with one more being built.
Most industries exist to satisfy domestic demand. The largest oil refineries are located in Korangi, Morgāh (near Rāwalpindi), Mahmūd Kot (near Multān) and in Karāchi, where regasification terminals are also active.
The chemical works at Multān and Faisalabad mostly produce nitrogenous fertilizers. The main iron and steel works are at Karāchi and Lahore. Cement production at Karāchi, Sukkur, Rohri, Miānwāli and Hyderābād also important. However, the largest industry is cotton textiles (Karāchi, Faisalabad, Hyderābād) which also generate modest exports. There are also wool factories at Karāchi and Bannu. Mechanical engineering consists mainly of ship-building and motor-vehicle assembly. There are many sugar refineries at Punjab, Sindh and North-West Frontier provinces.
|coal||3 317||1000 t||2018|
|coal, total||7 740.6||1000 t||2020|
|aragonite||6 335.7||1000 t||2018|
|aragonite and marble||8 576||1000 t||2015|
|emeralds - kg||3.7||kg||2018|
|- thermal||90 488.16||M kWh||2018|
|- hydro||37 006.2||M kWh||2018|
|- thermal||22 800||1000 kW||2018|
|- hydro||9 874||1000 kW||2019|
|total net generation||143 985.76||M kWh||2018|
|total installed capacity||35 143.54||1000 kW||2018|
|coke, metall.||139.7||1000 t||2017|
|petrol||2 171.9||1000 t||2014|
|ammonia||3 100||1000 t||2020|
|caustic soda||276.5||1000 t||2018|
|cotton fabrics||1 044.4||M m²||2018|
|cotton yarn||3 430.5||1000 t||2018|
|footwear||24 847 000||pairs||2015|
|beer of barley||3$||1000 t||2018|
|coconut oil||4.9||1000 t||2018|
|cigarettes||59 058||M units||2018|
|cigars and cigarettes||59 058||M units||2018|
|chemical pulp||41$||1000 t||2019|
|chemi-mechanical pulp||82$||1000 t||2019|
|cement||40 830||1000 t||2018|
|chemicals production||2 497.9||M US$||2006|
|food, beverages and tobacco production||4 000.8||M US$||2006|
(M US$ - 2017) apparel and household linens 8 937, cotton 3 498, rice 1 743, leather goods 632, fruit and vegetables 527, sugar and derived products 512, technical and electro-medical appliances 411, fish 407, alcoholic beverages 381, hides and skins 335
Finance and banking.
The financial system is overseen by the Pakistan Central Bank. The Stock Exchange is in Karāchi.
|manufactures||73.944||% of goods exports||2019|
|food products||20.675||% of goods exports||2019|
|United States||4 141||M US$||2020|
|China||1 867||M US$||2020|
|China||12 486||M US$||2020|
|United Arab Emirates||4 474||M US$||2020|
|Expenditures||3 000||M US$||2019|
|Number of arrivals||965 000||units||2014|
In 2015, an agreement was signed with China for a vast infrastructure investment plan aimed at connecting China with the Arabian Sea (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor), ending at the Port of Gwādar, where a special economic zone is developing.
|Civil aviation, km flown||79 500 000||km flown||2004|
|Civil aviation, passengers carried||7 420.4||1000 units||2019|
|Broadband subscribers||8.131||per 1000 pop.||2019|
|Computers||5.2||per 1000 pop.||2005|
Social and welfare
Income disparities are still very high, despite the fact that economic growth has favoured a consistent decline in poverty in recent years.
|Expected years of schooling||8.276||years||2018|
|Students, primary level||22 931 305||units||2018|
|Students, secondary level||13 357 618||units||2018|
|Social protection spending||0.1||% of total expenses||2011|
|Hospital beds||0.64||per 1000 pop.||2018|
|Physicians||1.06||per 1000 pop.||2018|
|HIV||0.1||% of adults||2019|
|Archaeological sites, visitors||6 636 623||units||2018|
|Research and development spending||0.236||% of GDP||2017|
|Access to clean fuels and technologies for cooking||49.1||%||2019|
|Access to electricity||73.914||%||2019|