01 Pakistan the Land of Beauty

Thursday, July 12, 2007

About Pakistan

Pakistan is located in the hub of the South Asian sub-continent, it is a home of rich historical and cultural heritage; interesting in it's own way. Pakistan used to be the home to one of the globe's most-initial places where people had come to live and build homes, the great Indus Valley Civilization in the pre-historic era, the centre of old empires, religions and cultures. Strategically being located at the historical crossings, it connects Southeast Asia with Middle East and Iran in the West with an accessibility to the landlocked Afghanistan and Central Asian Republics. This land has been a witness to the historical and civilization changes with immense impacts on it's people as well as their language and culture.

Pakistan is situated between 24 and 37 degrees Latitudes and between 61 and 75.5 degrees Longitude. China in the North, Afghanistan and Iran in the West and India in the east are the surrounding countries. Arabian Sea lying in it's South having a coastline of 1000 kms length with fascinating beaches. Pakistan is connected with China via land by Karakoram Highway along the famous Silk Route. It is also linked with India by air and road. Afghanistan and Iran have air and road links with Pakistan.
Nature has bestowed upon Pakistan the rare landscape, the towering mountains, plateau, plains, deserts and the attractive sunny beaches are also seen here. Anyway, over 50% of it's area is mountainous, especially it's North and North Western parts which have very interesting mountains on the earth. Impressive remains of continents in collision, fifty million years ago, an extremely large island bumped into the mainland Asia to bring into existence the South Asian Subcontinent and let the Himalayas tower skyward. Huge and mighty ranges like Karakoram, the Himalayas and the Hindukush meet here. Mountains of impressive and frightening heights, valleys of unique beauty, enriched with peaceful lakes of crystal clear blue water. Murmuring streams and springs and roaring rivers, most prominent the lion river "mighty Indus".

Pakistan's large river, 2896 kms long "mighty Indus" emerges in the Southern Tibet and flows North West. Crossing through the Karakoram and Himalayas, it runs through Ladakh and Skardu valleys. It takes turn to South near Gilgit separating Hindukush and Himalayas. From Kalabagh, it flows Southward and after twisting through the plains of Punjab and Sind discharges its waters into the Arabian Sea at a point near Karachi. Four smaller rivers being it's tributaries namely Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi and Sutlej of course drain the plains of Punjab from East to Southwest before meeting the great Indus. There are number of small thundering rivers, especially in the mountainous region, which also flow into the Indus River.

Pakistan does trace it's history back to at least 2,500 years before Christ. Then a very developed civilization had flourished in the Indus valley area. Excavation at Harrapa, Moejodaro and Kot Diji have unearthed the remains of an advance civilization which existed in most ancient times. In about 1,500 DC the Arayans did rule this region influencing the Hindu civilization and it's center moved further eastward to the Ganges valley. Later on, the Persians occupied and held the Northern regions in the 5th century up to the 2nd Century BC. There are so many stupas and monasteries of the Gandhara civilization which have roots in the 6th Century. At that time it formed part of the Achaemenid Empire of Persia (518 to 330 BC). In 327 BC the Greeks arrived under Alexander the Great from Macedonia and then onwards it reigned under the successive rule of the Mauryans, the Bactrian Greeks, Scythians, Parthians, Kushanas and Sasanians until its final ruin by the White Huns in the 5th century AD. In 712 AD, the Arabs under the command of Mohammad Bin Qasim, after landing at the Southern coast near Karachi, ruled the lower regions of Pakistan for 200 years. During that period Islam taking roots inspired the life, culture and traditions of the people.

In the 10th Century AD the planned conquest of the, South Asian Subcontinent by the Muslims of the Central Asian origin happened. They ruled nearly whole of the Sub-continent by 18th Century. Then British took over reigns and continued to rule the Sub-continent for about 200 hundred years. The Muslim renaissance started towards the end of the last Century when Sir Syed Ahmed Khan; a reputed Muslim leader and educationist launched a campaign for the Muslim revival in Sub-continent. In 1930, the renowned poet-philosopher Allama Iqbal conceiving the idea of a separate and independent homeland for the Muslims of India. After seven years of relentless struggle under the dynamic leadership of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Pakistan came into being and appeared on the Globe as a sovereign state on 14th August 1947. At that time the British India was divided into two independent states "India and Pakistan" as a result of partition.

Islamabad is the capital of Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Pakistan has four provinces; North West Frontier Province (NWFP), Baluchistan, Punjab and Sindh with capitals of Peshawar, Quetta, Lahore and Karachi respectively. Also there are the Federally Administered Northern Areas consisting of the districts of Diamer, Gaunche, Ghizer, Gilgit and Skardu. Additionally, there are seven Federally Administered Tribal Areas. Pakistan's total area is 796,095 sq. kms and it's population is 135.28 million (as per 1996 estimates). Major cities include the seaport Karachi (10 million), Lahore (5.5 million), Faisalabad (2 million) Rawalpindi (0.928 million), Hyderabad (0.8 million) and Islamabad (0.340 million). The population growth rate a is about 2.8% per annum. Population is mainly Muslim (97%). There are several minorities such as Hindu (1.5%) and Christian (1%). Urdu is national language while English is used as the official language. Sindhi, Balochi, Punjabi and Pushto are the main regional languages.

Pakistan due to the rich historical and cultural heritage, different landscape with a vast range comprising the warm sea beaches, deserts, fertile plains and high mountain ranges with natural beauty in the world do make Pakistan a natural heavenly destination for tourists with different tastes.

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