Photos of Pakistan

Introduction

Background

The Indus Valley civilization, one of the oldest in the world and dating back at least 5,000 years, spread over much of what is presently Pakistan. During the second millennium B.C., remnants of this culture fused with the migrating Indo-Aryan peoples. The area underwent successive invasions in subsequent centuries from the Persians, Greeks, Scythians, Arabs (who brought Islam), Afghans, and Turks. The Mughal Empire flourished in the 16th and 17th centuries; the British came to dominate the region in the 18th century. The separation in 1947 of British India into the Muslim state of Pakistan (with West and East sections) and largely Hindu India was never satisfactorily resolved, and India and Pakistan fought two wars and a limited conflict - in 1947-48, 1965, and 1999 respectively - over the disputed Kashmir territory. A third war between these countries in 1971 - in which India assisted an indigenous movement reacting to the marginalization of Bengalis in Pakistani politics - resulted in East Pakistan becoming the separate nation of Bangladesh.

In response to Indian nuclear weapons testing, Pakistan conducted its own tests in mid-1998. India-Pakistan relations improved in the mid-2000s but have been rocky since the November 2008 Mumbai attacks and have been further strained by attacks in India by militants believed to be based in Pakistan. Imran KHAN took office as prime minister in 2018 after the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) party won a plurality of seats in the July 2018 general elections. Pakistan has been engaged in a decades-long armed conflict with militant groups that target government institutions and civilians, including the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and other militant networks.

Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.

Geography

Location

Southern Asia, bordering the Arabian Sea, between India on the east and Iran and Afghanistan on the west and China in the north

Geographic coordinates

30 00 N, 70 00 E

Area

total: 796,095 sq km

land: 770,875 sq km

water: 25,220 sq km

country comparison to the world: 37

Area - comparative

slightly more than five times the size of Georgia; slightly less than twice the size of California

Land boundaries

total: 7,257 km

border countries (4): Afghanistan 2670 km, China 438 km, India 3190 km, Iran 959 km

Coastline

1,046 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

contiguous zone: 24 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin

Climate

mostly hot, dry desert; temperate in northwest; arctic in north

Terrain

divided into three major geographic areas: the northern highlands, the Indus River plain in the center and east, and the Balochistan Plateau in the south and west

Elevation

mean elevation: 900 m

lowest point: Arabian Sea 0 m

highest point: K2 (Mt. Godwin-Austen) 8,611 m

Natural resources

arable land, extensive natural gas reserves, limited petroleum, poor quality coal, iron ore, copper, salt, limestone

Land use

agricultural land: 35.2% (2018 est.)

arable land: 27.6% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 1.1% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 6.5% (2018 est.)

forest: 2.1% (2018 est.)

other: 62.7% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

202,000 sq km (2012)

Population distribution

the Indus River and its tributaries attract most of the settlement, with Punjab province the most densely populated

Natural hazards

frequent earthquakes, occasionally severe especially in north and west; flooding along the Indus after heavy rains (July and August)

Environment - current issues

water pollution from raw sewage, industrial wastes, and agricultural runoff; limited natural freshwater resources; most of the population does not have access to potable water; deforestation; soil erosion; desertification; air pollution and noise pollution in urban areas

Environment - international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: Marine Life Conservation

Geography - note

controls Khyber Pass and Bolan Pass, traditional invasion routes between Central Asia and the Indian Subcontinent

People and Society

Population

238,181,034 (July 2021 est.)

note: provisional results of Pakistan's 2017 national census estimate the country's total population to be 207,774,000

country comparison to the world: 5

Nationality

noun: Pakistani(s)

adjective: Pakistani

Ethnic groups

Punjabi 44.7%, Pashtun (Pathan) 15.4%, Sindhi 14.1%, Saraiki 8.4%, Muhajirs 7.6%, Balochi 3.6%, other 6.3%

Languages

Punjabi 48%, Sindhi 12%, Saraiki (a Punjabi variant) 10%, Pashto (alternate name, Pashtu) 8%, Urdu (official) 8%, Balochi 3%, Hindko 2%, Brahui 1%, English (official; lingua franca of Pakistani elite and most government ministries), Burushaski, and other 8%

Religions

Muslim (official) 96.4% (Sunni 85-90%, Shia 10-15%), other (includes Christian and Hindu) 3.6% (2010 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 36.01% (male 42,923,925/female 41,149,694)

15-24 years: 19.3% (male 23,119,205/female 21,952,976)

25-54 years: 34.7% (male 41,589,381/female 39,442,046)

55-64 years: 5.55% (male 6,526,656/female 6,423,993)

65 years and over: 4.44% (male 4,802,165/female 5,570,595) (2020 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 64.4

youth dependency ratio: 57.2

elderly dependency ratio: 7.1

potential support ratio: 14 (2020 est.)

Median age

total: 22 years

male: 21.9 years

female: 22.1 years (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 180

Birth rate

26.95 births/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 40

Death rate

6.1 deaths/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 151

Net migration rate

-0.92 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 140

Population distribution

the Indus River and its tributaries attract most of the settlement, with Punjab province the most densely populated

Urbanization

urban population: 37.2% of total population (2020)

rate of urbanization: 2.53% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)

Major urban areas - population

16.459 million Karachi, 13.095 million Lahore, 3.542 million Faisalabad, 2.281 million Rawalpindi, 2.290 million Gujranwala, 1.164 million ISLAMABAD (capital) (2021)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1.05 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 1.05 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.86 male(s)/female

total population: 1.04 male(s)/female (2020 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

23.6 years (2017/18 est.)

note: median age at first birth among women 25-29

Maternal mortality rate

140 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 61

Infant mortality rate

total: 55.26 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 59.58 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 50.73 deaths/1,000 live births (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 18

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 69.37 years

male: 67.34 years

female: 71.5 years (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 176

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 94.2% of population

rural: 89.9% of population

total: 91.5% of population

unimproved: urban: 5.8% of population

rural: 10.1% of population

total: 8.5% of population (2017 est.)

Physicians density

0.98 physicians/1,000 population (2018)

Hospital bed density

0.6 beds/1,000 population (2017)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 82.5% of population

rural: 62.9% of population

total: 70.1% of population

unimproved: urban: 17.5% of population

rural: 37.1% of population

total: 29.9% of population (2017 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: high (2020)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A and E, and typhoid fever

vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria

animal contact diseases: rabies

note: widespread ongoing transmission of a respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is occurring throughout Pakistan; as of 24 January 2021, Pakistan has reported a total of 530,818 cases of COVID-19 or 240.3 cumulative cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 population with 5.1 cumulative deaths per 100,000 population; the Government of Pakistan will permit commercial outbound passenger flights from all international airports except Gwadar and Turbat effective 30 May 2020, but inbound passenger flights remain suspended; limited domestic flight operations from five major airports – Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, and Quetta are available; on 7 May 2020, the Government of Pakistan announced an ease in some of the nationwide lockdown restrictions; additionally, the Islamabad Capital Territory and Sindh, Punjab, Balochistan, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces have varying degrees of lockdowns

Literacy

definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 59.1%

male: 71.1%

female: 46.5% (2015)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 8 years

male: 9 years

female: 8 years (2018)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 7.8%

male: 8.2%

female: 6.8% (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 145

Government

Country name

conventional long form: Islamic Republic of Pakistan

conventional short form: Pakistan

local long form: Jamhuryat Islami Pakistan

local short form: Pakistan

former: West Pakistan

etymology: the word "pak" means "pure" in Persian or Pashto, while the Persian suffix "-stan" means "place of" or "country," so the word Pakistan literally means "Land of the Pure"

Government type

federal parliamentary republic

Capital

name: Islamabad

geographic coordinates: 33 41 N, 73 03 E

time difference: UTC+5 (10 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

etymology: derived from two words: "Islam," an Urdu word referring to the religion of Islam, and "-abad," a Persian suffix indicating an "inhabited place" or "city," to render the meaning "City of Islam"

Administrative divisions

4 provinces, 2 Pakistan-administered areas*, and 1 capital territory**; Azad Kashmir*, Balochistan, Gilgit-Baltistan*, Islamabad Capital Territory**, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab, Sindh

Independence

14 August 1947 (from British India)

National holiday

Pakistan Day (also referred to as Pakistan Resolution Day or Republic Day), 23 March (1940); note - commemorates both the adoption of the Lahore Resolution by the All-India Muslim League during its 22-24 March 1940 session, which called for the creation of independent Muslim states, and the adoption of the first constitution of Pakistan on 23 March 1956 during the transition to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan

Constitution

history: several previous; latest endorsed 12 April 1973, passed 19 April 1973, entered into force 14 August 1973 (suspended and restored several times)

amendments: proposed by the Senate or by the National Assembly; passage requires at least two-thirds majority vote of both houses; amended many times, last in 2018

Legal system

common law system with Islamic law influence

International law organization participation

accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; non-party state to the ICCt

Citizenship

citizenship by birth: yes

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Pakistan

dual citizenship recognized: yes, but limited to select countries

residency requirement for naturalization: 4 out of the previous 7 years and including the 12 months preceding application

Suffrage

18 years of age; universal; note - there are joint electorates and reserved parliamentary seats for women and non-Muslims

Executive branch

chief of state: President Arif ALVI (since 9 September 2018)

head of government: Prime Minister Imran KHAN (since 18 August 2018)

cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president upon the advice of the prime minister

elections/appointments: president indirectly elected by the Electoral College consisting of members of the Senate, National Assembly, and provincial assemblies for a 5-year term (limited to 2 consecutive terms); election last held on 4 September 2018 (next to be held in 2023); prime minister elected by the National Assembly on 17 August 2018

election results: Arif ALVI elected president; Electoral College vote - Arif ALVI (PTI) 352, Fazl-ur-REHMAN (MMA) 184, Aitzaz AHSAN (PPP) 124; Imran KHAN elected prime minister; National Assembly vote - Imran KHAN (PTI) 176, Shehbaz SHARIF (PML-N) 96

Legislative branch

description: bicameral Parliament or Majlis-e-Shoora consists of:
Senate (104 seats; members indirectly elected by the 4 provincial assemblies and the territories' representatives by proportional representation vote; members serve 6-year terms with one-half of the membership renewed every 3 years); note - the byelection scheduled for 15 April 2020 has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic
National Assembly (342 seats; 272 members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote and 70 members - 60 women and 10 non-Muslims - directly elected by proportional representation vote; all members serve 5-year terms)

elections:
Senate - last held on 3 March 2018 (next to be held in March 2021)
National Assembly - last held on 25 July 2018 (next to be held on 25 July 2023)

election results:
Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party as of December 2019  - PPP 19, PML-N 16,  PTI 14, MQM-P 5, JUI-F 4, BAP 2, JI 2, PkMAP 2, ANP 1, BNP 1, PML-F 1, other 7, independent 30

National Assembly - percent of votes by party NA; seats by party as of December 2019 - PTI 156, PML-N 84, PPP 55, MMA 16, MQM-P 7, BAP 5, PML-Q 5, BNP 4, GDA 3, AML 1, ANP 1, JWP 1, independent 4

Judicial branch

highest courts: Supreme Court of Pakistan (consists of the chief justice and 16 judges)

judge selection and term of office: justices nominated by an 8-member parliamentary committee upon the recommendation of the Judicial Commission, a 9-member body of judges and other judicial professionals, and appointed by the president; justices can serve until age 65

subordinate courts: High Courts; Federal Shariat Court; provincial and district civil and criminal courts; specialized courts for issues, such as taxation, banking, and customs

Political parties and leaders

Awami National Party or ANP [Asfandyar Wali KHAN]
Awami Muslim League or AML [Sheikh Rashid AHMED]
Balochistan National Party-Awami or BNP-A [Mir Israr Ullah ZEHRI]
Balochistan National Party-Mengal or BNP-M [Sardar Akhtar Jan MENGAL]
Grand Democratic Alliance or GDA (alliance of several parties)
Jamhoori Wattan Party or JWP [Shahzain BUGTI]
Jamaat-i Islami or JI [Sirajul HAQ]
Jamiat-i Ulema-i Islam Fazl-ur Rehman or JUI-F [Fazlur REHMAN]
Muttahida Quami Movement-London or MQM-L [Altaf HUSSAIN] (MQM split into two factions in 2016)
Muttahida Quami Movement-Pakistan or MQM-P [Dr. Khalid Maqbool SIDDIQUI] (MQM split into two factions in 2016)
Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal or MMA [Fazl-ur- REHMAN] (alliance of several parties)
National Party or NP [Mir Hasil Khan BIZENJO]
Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party or PMAP or PkMAP [Mahmood Khan ACHAKZAI]
Pakistan Muslim League-Functional or PML-F [Pir PAGARO or Syed Shah Mardan SHAH-II]
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz or PML-N [Shehbaz SHARIF]
Pakistan Muslim League – Quaid-e-Azam Group or PML-Q [Chaudhry Shujaat HUSSAIN]
Pakistan Peoples Party or PPP [Bilawal BHUTTO ZARDARI, Asif Ali ZARDARI]
Pakistan Tehrik-e Insaaf or PTI (Pakistan Movement for Justice) [Imran KHAN]Pak Sarzameen Party or PSP [Mustafa KAMAL]
Quami Watan Party or QWP [Aftab Ahmed Khan SHERPAO]

note: political alliances in Pakistan shift frequently

International organization participation

ADB, ARF, ASEAN (dialogue partner), C, CICA, CP, D-8, ECO, FAO, G-11, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, MINURSO, MONUSCO, NAM, OAS (observer), OIC, OPCW, PCA, SAARC, SACEP, SCO (observer), UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNMIL, UNOCI, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Asad Majeed KHAN (since 11 January 2019)

chancery: 3517 International Court NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 243-6500

FAX: [1] (202) 686-1534

consulate(s) general: Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York

consulate(s): Louisville (KY), San Francisco

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Ambassador Paul W. JONES (since 24 September 2018)

telephone: [92] 51-201-4000

embassy: Diplomatic Enclave, Ramna 5, Islamabad

mailing address: 8100 Islamabad Place, Washington, DC 20521-8100

FAX: [92] 51-227-6427

consulate(s) general: Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar

Flag description

green with a vertical white band (symbolizing the role of religious minorities) on the hoist side; a large white crescent and star are centered in the green field; the crescent, star, and color green are traditional symbols of Islam

National symbol(s)

five-pointed star between the horns of a waxing crescent moon, jasmine; national colors: green, white

National anthem

name: "Qaumi Tarana" (National Anthem)

lyrics/music: Abu-Al-Asar Hafeez JULLANDHURI/Ahmed Ghulamali CHAGLA

note: adopted 1954; also known as "Pak sarzamin shad bad" (Blessed Be the Sacred Land)

Economy

Economic overview

Decades of internal political disputes and low levels of foreign investment have led to underdevelopment in Pakistan. Pakistan has a large English-speaking population, with English-language skills less prevalent outside urban centers. Despite some progress in recent years in both security and energy, a challenging security environment, electricity shortages, and a burdensome investment climate have traditionally deterred investors. Agriculture accounts for one-fifth of output and two-fifths of employment. Textiles and apparel account for more than half of Pakistan's export earnings; Pakistan's failure to diversify its exports has left the country vulnerable to shifts in world demand. Pakistan’s GDP growth has gradually increased since 2012, and was 5.3% in 2017. Official unemployment was 6% in 2017, but this fails to capture the true picture, because much of the economy is informal and underemployment remains high. Human development continues to lag behind most of the region.

In 2013, Pakistan embarked on a $6.3 billion IMF Extended Fund Facility, which focused on reducing energy shortages, stabilizing public finances, increasing revenue collection, and improving its balance of payments position. The program concluded in September 2016. Although Pakistan missed several structural reform criteria, it restored macroeconomic stability, improved its credit rating, and boosted growth. The Pakistani rupee has remained relatively stable against the US dollar since 2015, though it declined about 10% between November 2017 and March 2018. Balance of payments concerns have reemerged, however, as a result of a significant increase in imports and weak export and remittance growth.

Pakistan must continue to address several longstanding issues, including expanding investment in education, healthcare, and sanitation; adapting to the effects of climate change and natural disasters; improving the country’s business environment; and widening the country’s tax base. Given demographic challenges, Pakistan’s leadership will be pressed to implement economic reforms, promote further development of the energy sector, and attract foreign investment to support sufficient economic growth necessary to employ its growing and rapidly urbanizing population, much of which is under the age of 25.

In an effort to boost development, Pakistan and China are implementing the "China-Pakistan Economic Corridor" (CPEC) with $60 billion in investments targeted towards energy and other infrastructure projects. Pakistan believes CPEC investments will enable growth rates of over 6% of GDP by laying the groundwork for increased exports. CPEC-related obligations, however, have raised IMF concern about Pakistan’s capital outflows and external financing needs over the medium term.

Real GDP growth rate

5.4% (2017 est.)

4.6% (2016 est.)

4.1% (2015 est.)

note: data are for fiscal years

country comparison to the world: 36

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

9.3% (2019 est.)

5.2% (2018 est.)

4.2% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 208

Credit ratings

Fitch rating: B- (2018)

Moody's rating: B3 (2015)

Standard & Poors rating: B- (2019)

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$1,015,796,000,000 (2019 est.)

$1,005,850,000,000 (2018 est.)

$950.381 billion (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars
data are for fiscal years

country comparison to the world: 25

GDP (official exchange rate)

$253.183 billion (2019 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$4,690 (2019 est.)

$4,740 (2018 est.)

$4,571 (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2010 dollars

country comparison to the world: 178

Gross national saving

12.3% of GDP (2019 est.)

12.2% of GDP (2018 est.)

13% of GDP (2017 est.)

note: data are for fiscal years

country comparison to the world: 160

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 24.4% (2016 est.)

industry: 19.1% (2016 est.)

services: 56.5% (2017 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 82% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 11.3% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 14.5% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 1.6% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 8.2% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -17.6% (2017 est.)

Agricultural products

sugar cane, buffalo milk, wheat, milk, rice, maize, potatoes, cotton, fruit, mangoes/guavas

Industries

textiles and apparel, food processing, pharmaceuticals, surgical instruments, construction materials, paper products, fertilizer, shrimp

Labor force

61.71 million (2017 est.)

note: extensive export of labor, mostly to the Middle East, and use of child labor

country comparison to the world: 9

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 42.3%

industry: 22.6%

services: 35.1% (FY2015 est.)

Unemployment rate

6% (2017 est.)

6% (2016 est.)

note: Pakistan has substantial underemployment

country comparison to the world: 97

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 4%

highest 10%: 26.1% (FY2013)

Budget

revenues: 46.81 billion (2017 est.)

expenditures: 64.49 billion (2017 est.)

note: data are for fiscal years

Public debt

67% of GDP (2017 est.)

67.6% of GDP (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 56

Fiscal year

1 July - 30 June

Current account balance

-$7.143 billion (2019 est.)

-$19.482 billion (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 188

Exports

$31.517 billion (2019 est.)

$27.604 billion (2018 est.)

$25.613 billion (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 69

Exports - partners

US 17.7%, UK 7.7%, China 6%, Germany 5.8%, Afghanistan 5.2%, UAE 4.5%, Spain 4.1% (2017)

Exports - commodities

textiles (garments, bed linen, cotton cloth, yarn), rice, leather goods, sporting goods, chemicals, manufactures, surgical instruments, carpets and rugs

Imports

$42.27 billion (2019 est.)

$51.602 billion (2018 est.)

$47.165 billion (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 66

Imports - partners

China 27.4%, UAE 13.7%, US 4.9%, Indonesia 4.3%, Saudi Arabia 4.2% (2017)

Imports - commodities

petroleum, petroleum products, machinery, plastics, transportation equipment, edible oils, paper and paperboard, iron and steel, tea

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$18.46 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$22.05 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 62

Debt - external

$107.527 billion (2019 est.)

$95.671 billion (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 53

Exchange rates

Pakistani rupees (PKR) per US dollar -

160.425 (2020 est.)

155.04 (2019 est.)

138.8 (2018 est.)

102.769 (2014 est.)

101.1 (2013 est.)

Energy

Electricity access

electrification - total population: 79% (2019)

electrification - urban areas: 91% (2019)

electrification - rural areas: 72% (2019)

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 2,607,495

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 1.14 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 49

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 174,702,132

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 76.38 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 9

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: the telecommunications infrastructure is improving, with investments in mobile-cellular networks increasing, fixed-line subscriptions declining; system consists of microwave radio relay, coaxial cable, fiber-optic cable, cellular, and satellite networks; 4G mobile services broadly available; 5G not before 2030; mobile platform and mobile broadband doing well and dominate over fixed broadband sector (2020)

domestic: mobile-cellular subscribership has skyrocketed; more than 90% of Pakistanis live within areas that have cell phone coverage; fiber-optic networks are being constructed throughout the country to increase broadband access, though broadband penetration in Pakistan is still relatively low; fixed-line 1 per 100 and mobile-cellular 76 per 100 persons (2019)

international: country code - 92; landing points for the SEA-ME-WE-3, -4, -5, AAE-1, IMEWE, Orient Express, PEACE Cable, and TW1 submarine cable systems that provide links to Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Southeast Asia, and Australia; satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (1 Atlantic Ocean and 2 Indian Ocean); 3 operational international gateway exchanges (1 at Karachi and 2 at Islamabad); microwave radio relay to neighboring countries (2019)

note: the COVID-19 outbreak is negatively impacting telecommunications production and supply chains globally; consumer spending on telecom devices and services has also slowed due to the pandemic's effect on economies worldwide; overall progress towards improvements in all facets of the telecom industry - mobile, fixed-line, broadband, submarine cable and satellite - has moderated

Broadcast media

media is government regulated; 1 dominant state-owned TV broadcaster, Pakistan Television Corporation (PTV), operates a network consisting of 8 channels; private TV broadcasters are permitted; to date 69 foreign satellite channels are operational; the state-owned radio network operates more than 30 stations; nearly 200 commercially licensed, privately owned radio stations provide programming mostly limited to music and talk shows (2019)

Internet users

total: 34,734,689

percent of population: 15.51% (July 2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 22

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 1,811,365

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 1 (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 57

Transportation

National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 5 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 52

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 6,880,637 (2018)

annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 217.53 million mt-km (2018)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 108 (2017)

over 3,047 m: 15 (2017)

2,438 to 3,047 m: 20 (2017)

1,524 to 2,437 m: 43 (2017)

914 to 1,523 m: 20 (2017)

under 914 m: 10 (2017)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 43 (2013)

2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 (2013)

1,524 to 2,437 m: 9 (2013)

914 to 1,523 m: 9 (2013)

under 914 m: 24 (2013)

Heliports

23 (2013)

Pipelines

12,984 km gas, 3,470 km oil, 1,170 km refined products (2019)

Railways

total: 11,881 km (2019)

narrow gauge: 389 km 1.000-m gauge (2019)

broad gauge: 11,492 km 1.676-m gauge (293 km electrified) (2019)

country comparison to the world: 22

Roadways

total: 263,775 km (2019)

paved: 185,063 km (includes 708 km of expressways) (2019)

unpaved: 78,712 km (2019)

country comparison to the world: 22

Merchant marine

total: 57

by type: bulk carrier 5, oil tanker 7, other 45 (2020)

country comparison to the world: 114

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Karachi, Port Muhammad Bin Qasim

container port(s) (TEUs): Karachi (2,224,000) (2017)

LNG terminal(s) (import): Port Qasim

Military and Security

Military and security forces

Pakistan Army (includes National Guard), Pakistan Navy (includes marines, Maritime Security Agency), Pakistan Air Force (Pakistan Fizaia); Ministry of Interior paramilitary forces: Frontier Corps, Pakistan Rangers (2019)

note:  the National Guard is a paramilitary force and one of the Army's reserve forces, along with the Pakistan Army Reserve, the Frontier Corps, and the Pakistan Rangers

Military expenditures

4% of GDP (2019)

4.1% of GDP (2018)

3.8% of GDP (2017)

3.6% of GDP (2016)

3.6% of GDP (2015)

country comparison to the world: 11

Military and security service personnel strengths

estimates of the size of the Pakistan military’s active force vary; approximately 650,000 active personnel (560,000 Army; 30,000 Navy; 60,000 Air Force); est. 70,000 Frontier Corps; est. 25,000 Pakistan Rangers (2019)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the Pakistan military inventory includes a broad mix of equipment, primarily from China, France, Ukraine, the UK, and the US; since 2010, China and the US are the leading suppliers of arms to Pakistan; Pakistan also has a large domestic defense industry capable of upgrading existing air, land, and sea weapons systems (2019)

Military deployments

1,230 Central African Republic (MINUSCA); 1,950 Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO); 140 Mali (MINUSMA); 900 Sudan (UNAMID) (2020)

Military service age and obligation

16-23 years of age for voluntary military service; soldiers cannot be deployed for combat until age 18; women serve in all three armed forces; reserve obligation to age 45 for enlisted men, age 50 for officers (2019)

Terrorism

Terrorist group(s)

Haqqani Network; Harakat ul-Jihad-i-Islami; Harakat ul-Mujahidin; Hizbul Mujahideen; Indian Mujahedeen; Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham-Khorasan; Islamic State of ash-Sham – India; Islamic State of ash-Sham – Pakistan; Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan; Jaish-e-Mohammed; Jaysh al Adl (Jundallah); Lashkar i Jhangvi; Lashkar-e Tayyiba; Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan; al-Qa’ida; al-Qa’ida in the Indian Subcontinent (2019)

note: details about the history, aims, leadership, organization, areas of operation, tactics, targets, weapons, size, and sources of support of the group(s) appear(s) in Appendix-T

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

various talks and confidence-building measures cautiously have begun to defuse tensions over Kashmir, particularly since the October 2005 earthquake in the region; Kashmir nevertheless remains the site of the world's largest and most militarized territorial dispute with portions under the de facto administration of China (Aksai Chin), India (Jammu and Kashmir), and Pakistan (Azad Kashmir and Northern Areas); UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan has maintained a small group of peacekeepers since 1949; India does not recognize Pakistan's ceding historic Kashmir lands to China in 1964; India and Pakistan have maintained their 2004 cease-fire in Kashmir and initiated discussions on defusing the armed standoff in the Siachen glacier region; Pakistan protests India's fencing the highly militarized Line of Control and construction of the Baglihar Dam on the Chenab River in Jammu and Kashmir, which is part of the larger dispute on water sharing of the Indus River and its tributaries; to defuse tensions and prepare for discussions on a maritime boundary, India and Pakistan seek technical resolution of the disputed boundary in Sir Creek estuary at the mouth of the Rann of Kutch in the Arabian Sea; Pakistani maps continue to show the Junagadh claim in India's Gujarat State; since 2002, with UN assistance, Pakistan has repatriated 3.8 million Afghan refugees, leaving about 2.6 million; Pakistan has sent troops across and built fences along some remote tribal areas of its treaty-defined Durand Line border with Afghanistan, which serve as bases for foreign terrorists and other illegal activities; Afghan, Coalition, and Pakistan military meet periodically to clarify the alignment of the boundary on the ground and on maps

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 2.58-2.68 million (1.4 million registered, 1.18-1.28 million undocumented) (Afghanistan) (2017)

IDPs: 106,000 (primarily those who remain displaced by counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations and violent conflict between armed non-state groups in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and Khyber-Paktunkwa Province; more than 1 million displaced in northern Waziristan in 2014; individuals also have been displaced by repeated monsoon floods) (2019)

Trafficking in persons

current situation: Pakistan is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking; the largest human trafficking problem is bonded labor in agriculture, brickmaking and, to a lesser extent, fishing, mining and carpet-making; children are bought, sold, rented, and placed in forced begging rings, domestic service, small shops, brick-making factories, or prostitution; militant groups also force children to spy, fight, or die as suicide bombers, kidnapping the children or getting them from poor parents through sale or coercion; women and girls are forced into prostitution or marriages; Pakistani adults migrate to the Gulf States and African and European states for low-skilled jobs and sometimes become victims of forced labor, debt bondage, or prostitution; foreign adults and children, particularly from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka, may be subject to forced labor, and foreign women may be sex trafficked in Pakistan, with refugees and ethnic minorities being most vulnerable

tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List – Pakistan does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so; the government lacks political will and capacity to fully address human trafficking, as evidenced by ineffective law enforcement efforts, official complicity, penalization of victims, and the continued conflation of migrant smuggling and human trafficking by many officials; not all forms of trafficking are prohibited; an anti-trafficking bill drafted in 2013 to address gaps in existing legislation remains pending, and a national action plan drafted in 2014 is not finalized; feudal landlords and brick kiln owners use their political influence to protect their involvement in bonded labor, while some police personnel have taken bribes to ignore prostitution that may have included sex trafficking; authorities began to use standard procedures for the identification and referral of trafficking victims, but it is not clear how widely these methods were practiced; in other instances, police were reluctant to assist NGOs with rescues and even punished victims for crimes committed as a direct result of being trafficked (2015)

Illicit drugs

significant transit area for Afghan drugs, including heroin, opium, morphine, and hashish, bound for Iran, Western markets, the Gulf States, Africa, and Asia; financial crimes related to drug trafficking, terrorism, corruption, and smuggling remain problems; opium poppy cultivation estimated to be 930 hectares in 2015; federal and provincial authorities continue to conduct anti-poppy campaigns that utilizes forced eradication, fines, and arrests