Pakistan (pronunciation/ˈpækɨstæn/ or pronunciation/pɑːkiˈstɑːn/; Urdu: پاکستان) (Urdu pronunciation: [paːkɪˈst̪aːn] ( listen)), officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan (Urdu: اسلامی جمہوریۂ پاکستان) is a sovereign country in South Asia. It has a 1,046-kilometre (650 mi) coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by India in the east; Afghanistan and Iran in the west; and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan lies adjacent to Pakistan but is separated by the narrow Wakhan Corridor. In addition, Oman is also located in maritime vicinity and shares a marine border with Pakistan. Strategically, Pakistan is situated at the crossroads of the important regions of South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East.The region forming modern Pakistan was the site of several ancient cultures including the neolithic Mehrgarh and the bronze era Indus Valley Civilisation. Subsequently it was the recipient of Hindu, Persian, Indo-Greek, Islamic, Turco-Mongol, Afghan and Sikh cultures through several invasions and/or settlements. As a result, the area has remained a part of numerous empires and dynasties including the Indian empires, Persian empires, Arab caliphates, Mongol, Mughal, Durrani Empire, Sikh and British Empire. Pakistan gained independence from the British Empire in 1947, after a struggle for independence led by Muhammad Ali Jinnah that sought the partition of British India and the establishment of a new independent state for the Muslim majority populations of the eastern and western regions of India. Initially a dominion, with the adoption of new constitution in 1956 Pakistan became an Islamic republic. In 1971, an armed conflict in East Pakistan resulted in the creation of Bangladesh.Pakistan is a federal parliamentary republic consisting of four provinces and four federal territories. With a population exceeding 170 million people, it is the sixth most populous country in the world and has the second largest Muslim population after Indonesia. It is an ethnically and linguistically diverse country, with a similar variation in its geography and wildlife. Its semi-industrialized economy is the 27th largest in the world in terms of purchasing power. Since gaining independence, Pakistan’s history has been characterized by periods of military rule, political instability and conflicts with neighboring India. The country continues to face some challenging problems including terrorism, poverty, illiteracy and corruption.
A middle and regional power, Pakistan has the seventh largest standing armed forces in the world and is a recognised nuclear weapons state, being the first and only nation to have that status in the Muslim world, and the second in South Asia. It is designated as a major non-NATO ally of the United States and a strategic ally of China. Pakistan is a founding member of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (now the Organization of Islamic Cooperation) and is a member of the United Nations, Commonwealth of Nations and the G20 developing nations.