Pakistan or the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a country in South Asia, covering an area of more than 800,000 sq km. Its capital is Islamabad.
It has a coastline along the Arabian sea, and is bordered by Afghanistan in the northwest, by Iran in the southwest, by China in the north and by India in the east.
Pakistan is a federation of 4 provinces (Punjab, Sindh, North-West Frontier Province and Belochistan) and a capital territory and federally administered tribal areas.
Pakistan is a semi-presidential federal democratic republic with Islam as the state religion. It has a bicameral legislature comprising a 100-member Senate and a 342-member National Assembly. The President is the Head of State (currently Asif Ali Zardari) and the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces and is elected by an electoral college. The prime minister is usually the leader of the largest party in the National Assembly. Each province has a similar system of government with a directly elected Provincial Assembly in which the leader of the largest party or alliance becomes Chief Minister. Provincial Governors are appointed by the President.
The estimated population of Pakistan is 172,800,000, making it the world's sixth most populous country, behind Brazil and ahead of Russia. By the year 2020, the country's population is expected to reach 208 million, owing to a relatively high growth rate.
Pakistan is a multilingual country with more than 60 languages being spoken. English is the official language of Pakistan and used in official business, government, and legal contacts, while Urdu is the national language.
The structure of the Pakistani economy has changed from a mainly agricultural base to a strong service base. According to government figures, agriculture now only accounts for roughly 20 percent of the GDP, while the service sector accounts for 53 percent of the GDP. Significant foreign investments have been made in several areas including telecommunications, real estate and energy. Other important industries include textiles (accounts almost 60 percent of total GDP), food processing, chemicals manufacture, and the iron and steel industries.