Pakistan: Fact file
Pakistan: land of beauty, rich in culture and history
From the high snows of the mountains in the North the river passes through rugged hills that were mined for salt by Alexander the Great 300 years before Christ, through the well-watered rice fields of Punjab and on to the sandy deserts of the south. On its way it passes the ruins of Moenjodaro, relics of a great civilization of 5000 years ago, whose descendants still populate the land.
Waves of invaders left their mark on the land of deserts, mountains and rich agricultural plains of Punjab: the Indo-European Aryans in 1500 BC, followed by the Muslim conquerors of the 13th century, and the British traders who began their imperial conquest 300 years ago.
Independent and free
The vision of Pakistan’s founder, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, was of a land where all peoples, from every religion and caste, could live in freedom and peace.
Land of trouble, land of pain
Those early ideals did not last long. Since her birth in 1947, Pakistan has suffered:
- Four major wars with India and the loss of half the country (Bangladesh in 1971)
- Three periods of military dictatorship
- A catastrophic earthquake (70,000 died in 2005) and two major floods in 2010 and 2011
- An unsustainable population explosion (from 32 million in 1950 to 187 million in 2012)
- A refugee crisis spilling over from Afghanistan
- The current daily horror of terrorism, random killings, extremism and suicide bombings