Pakistan traces its history back to 2,500 years B.C., when a highly developed civilization in the Indus Valley, excavations at Harappa, Moenjodaro, Kot Diji and Mehr Garh have brought to light, the evidence of an advanced civilization existing even in more ancient times.
Around 1,500 B.C., the Aryans overwhelmed this region, and influenced the Hindu civilization, whose center moved to Ganges Valley, further east. Later the Persians occupied the northern region in the 5th century B.C. up to the 2nd century A.D. The Greeks came in 327 B.C., under Alexander of Macedonia and passed through like a hot knife through butter. In 712 AD, the Arabs, led by Muhammad Bin Qasim, Landed somewhere near modern Karachi and ruled the lower half of Pakistan for two hundred years. During this time, Islam took roots in the soil and influenced the life, culture and traditions of the people.
In the 10th century AD, began the systematic conquest of South Asia by the Muslims from Central Asia, who ruled here up to the 18th century. Then the British became the masters of the land and ruled for nearly 200 years and for only 100 years over what is Pakistan now. The Muslim revival began towards the end of the last century when Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, a renowned Muslim leader and educationalist, launched a movement for intellectual renaissance of the Muslims of South Asia. In 1930, the well known poet/philosopher, Allama Muhammad Iqbal, conceived the idea of a separate state for the Muslims of the South Asia. In 1940, a resolution was adopted by the All India Muslim League, demanding a separate dependent homeland for the Muslims of South Asia. After seven years of un-tiring struggle under the brilliant leadership of Quaid-e-Azam (The great leader) Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Pakistan emerged on the world map as a sovereign state on the 14th of August, 1947.
Pakistan is an Islamic republic with its capital in Islamabad. It has four provinces: Balochistan, North West Frontier Province (NWFP), Punjab and Sind. Their respective capitals are Quetta, Peshawar, Lahore and Karachi. In addition to provinces are the Federally Administered Northern Areas (F.A.N.A) and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (F.A.T.A). Pakistan has a federal structure. The Parliament consists of a National Assembly and the Senate. Members of the National Assembly are directly elected on an adult franchise base and their term of office is five years. The National Assembly determines the major policy issue and passes annual budget and legislation. It elects the Prime Minister from among its members. The Prime Minister forms his/her cabinet from amongst the members of the Assembly and the Senate. Provinces have their own elected legislative Assemblies and Chief Ministers. Majority of the members, of the upper house are elected by the Provincial Assemblies.
LOCATION & GEOGRAPHY:
Pakistan is situated between latitudes 24 and 37 degrees north and longitudes 62 and 75 degrees east. The country borders Iran on the west, India in the east, Afghanistan in the north-west, China in the north and Arabian Sea on the south. The great mountain ranges of the Himalayas, the Karakoram and the Hindukush form Pakistan's northern highlands of the North West Frontier province and the Northern Areas. Punjab province is a flat, alluvial plain with five major rivers dominating the upper region eventually joining the Indus river flowing south to the Arabian sea. Sind is bounded on the east by the Thar desert and the Rann of Kutch and on the west by the Kirthar range. the Balochistan plateau is an arid tableland, encircled by dry mountains.
POPULATION (1998 Census):
Total population : 130.58 million, Growth Rate : 2.61% per annum.
Density : 164 person / Sq. kms
Sex Ratio : 108 males to 100 females
8,03,940 Sq.km (including FATA and FANA).
Pakistan has well defined seasons. Winter (December - February), Spring (March - April), Summer (May - September) and Autumn (October - November).
During the summer season in central and southern parts of the country, the temperature may go as high as 45 degrees Celsius. However, the northern regions have very pleasant weather during summers. Between July and August, the season brings an average 38-51cm of rain to plains and 152-203cm in lower Himalayan valleys of Murree, Kaghan, Swat and Azad Kashmir.
Muslim (97%), Hindu (1.5%), Christian (1%) and several other minorities.
National language : URDU
Official language : ENGLISH
Main Regional Languages : Sindhi, Balochi, Punjabi and Pashto.
Basic unit of currency is Rupee which divides into 100 paisa.
Currency notes of 10, 50, 100, 500, 1000 and 5000 rupees are in use.
American Express is the most widely accepted card. Master card and Visa are also used extensively.
Dinner club and other cards have more limited use.
Generally accepted at most banks, four & five star hotels and major shops. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travelers are advised to take travelers check in US Dollars or Pounds Sterling.
220 V, 50 Hz AC.
Pakistan Standard Time is GMT plus 5 hours. It gets dark at about 05:00pm in winter and at 07:30pm in summer.
All traffic in Pakistan runs on the left side. International or own national license is valid. Cars must be insured and registered. Minimum age for driving is 18 years. Speed limit is 65 km/h at most roads and 120 km/h on Motorways.
Tourists are advised to make insurance arrangements in case of accidents, thefts etc. from their country of origin. There are many insurance companies in Pakistan's major cities which also offer such services.
AIRPORT FACILITIES INCLUDE:
Banks, car rental services, tourist information centers (at Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar and at Saidu Sharif), duty free shops, restaurants, hotels, reception booths, post offices and public call offices.
AIRPORT DEPARTURE TAX:
Economy Class: Rs.400
Club/Business Class: Rs.600
First Class: Rs.800
Foreign Travel Tax (on tickets purchased inside Pakistan): Rs.1,500
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