Pakistan covers 796,095 sq.km with a population of 132.35 million according to population census 1998. It is divided into four provinces: Sindh, Punjab, North West Frontier Province and Balochistan. It consists of such physical regions as a) the western offshoots of Himalayas which cover its northern and north western parts of which the highest peak K-2 rises to 8611 meters above sea level; b) the Balochistan plateau c) The Potohar Plateau and salt range and d) The Indus plain, the most fertile and densely populated area of the country getting its sustenance from the Indus River and its tributaries.
Religiously Pakistan is an Islamic country where 96.28 % of population prays towards Makkah. Christians are 1.95 % of the population whereas Hindus are 1.60 % and schedule Hindus represent 0.25 %. Qadiyanis have relatively small community with only 0.22 % representing the new religion. Others are 0.07 % which includes Sikhs and other religious communities.
Climatically, Pakistan enjoys a considerable measure of variety. North and north western high mountainous ranges are extremely cold in winter while the summer months of April to September are very pleasant. The plains of the Indus valley are extremely hot in summer with a cold and dry weather in winter. The coastal strip in the South has a moderate climate. There is a general deficiency of rainfall. In the plains annual average ranges from 16 centimeters in the northern parts of lower Indus plain to 120 centimeters in the Himalayan region. Rains are monsoonal in origin and fall late in summers. Due to the rainfall and high diurnal range of temperature, humidity is comparatively low. Only the coastal strip has high humidity. The country has an agricultural economy with a network of canals irrigating a major part of its cultivated land. Wheat, cotton, rice, millet and sugar cane are the major crops. Among fruits: mangos, oranges, bananas and apples are grown in abundance in different parts of the country. The main natural resources are natural gas, coal, salt and iron. The country has an expanding industry. Cotton, Textiles, sugar, cement, and chemicals play an important role in its economy. It is fed by vast hydroelectric power.
Urdu is the national language and is used as a medium of understanding throughout the country. Pakistan is culturally divided into four bilingual provinces. Punjabi is spoken in the Punjab, Sindhi in Sindh, Pashto in NWFP, and Balochi in Balochistan. The country comprises of a vast area that was the great center of ancient civilizations of the world. Its historical sites beginning with stone-age to Twentieth Century A.D are a mirror of the life of its people who are by nature simple, virile, hospitable and hard working. Ancient sites excavated in Taxila, Harappa, and Moenjodaro speak volumes for Pakistan rich cultural background dating back to 3,000 B.C.
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