Pakistan is the 5th most populous country in the world, with a population exceeding 208 million people occupying 881,913 square kilometers of land, or 340,509 square miles. The country has a 1,046-kilometer, or 650-mile coastline along the Arabian Sea and Gulf of Oman in the south, and is bordered by India to the east, Afghanistan to the west, Iran to the southwest, and China in the far northeast.
What is now Pakistan was the site of several ancient cultures, including the Mehrgarh of the Neolithic and the Bronze Age Indus Valley civilization, and was later home to kingdoms ruled by people of different faiths and cultures, including Hindus, Indo-Greeks, Muslims, Turco-Mongols, Afghans, and Sikhs. The area has been ruled by numerous empires and dynasties, including the Persian Achaemenid Empire, Alexander III of Macedon, the Indian Mauryan Empire, the Arab Umayyad Caliphate, the Delhi Sultanate, the Mongol Empire, the Mughal Empire, the Afghan Durrani Empire, partially by Sikh Empire, and most recently by the British Empire.
Pakistan is unique among Muslim countries in that it is the only country to have been created in the name of Islam. As a result of the Pakistan Movement led by Muhammad Ali Jinnah and the subcontinent’s struggle for independence, Pakistan was created in 1947 as an independent homeland for Indian Muslims. Initially a dominion, Pakistan adopted a constitution in 1956, becoming an Islamic republic. An ethnic civil war in 1971 resulted in the secession of East Pakistan as the new country of Bangladesh. In 1973 Pakistan adopted a new constitution that stipulated that all laws were to conform to the injunctions of Islam, as laid down in the Quran and Sunnah.
A regional and middle power, Pakistan has the sixth-largest standing armed forces in the world and is a nuclear armed state, being the second in South Asia and the only nation in the Muslim world to have that status.
The post-independence history of Pakistan has been characterized by periods of military rule, political instability and conflicts with neighbouring India. The country continues to face challenging problems, including overpopulation, terrorism, poverty, illiteracy, and corruption. Pakistan is a member of the United Nations, the Non-Aligned Movement, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, the Commonwealth of Nations, the Economic Cooperation Organisation, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, the Developing Eight, and the G20 developing nations, Group of 24, Group of 77, and ECOSOC. It is also an associate member of CERN. Pakistan is a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol, the Paris Agreement, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Regardless of Pakistan’s economic troubles, occasional strife and unstable government it is a tourist mecca resulting in tourism in Pakistan being a growing industry. This geographically and ethnically diverse country has much to offer; from natural beauty, historical heritage to cultural diversity. By 2025, the government predicts tourism will contribute ₨1 trillion (US$9.5 billion) to the Pakistani economy. Unfortunately, negative world media headlines can cause periods when tourism virtually ceases.
In 2016, foreign tourists visiting Pakistan stood at 965,498. Pakistan’s tourism industry attracted an estimated of 1.1 million foreign tourists annually in 2011 and 966,000 in 2012 contributing $351 million and $369 million respectively. Pakistan’s domestic tourism industry is estimated at 50 million tourists who travel in the country on short trips usually between May to August. The largest inflow or foreign tourists is from United Kingdom, followed by United States, India and China.
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