With almost 800,000 square kilometers, Pakistan is twice the size of Germany and Switzerland combined. The country is located in the northwest of the Indo-Pakistani subcontinent and extends from the mountain ranges of the Himalayas and Karakoram 1600 km to the Indian Ocean. With around 203 million residents, Pakistan is the second largest Islamic country in the world.
Official name: Islamic Republic of Pakistan
Area: approx. 800,000 km²
Residents: approx. 216 million (2019)
Growth of population: 2.07% per year (2020, estimated)
Seat of government: Islamabad
Official languages:: Urdu, English
Regional languages: Punjabi, Sindhi, Pashto
The above picture shows the ninth highest mountain in the world (8125m), the “Nanga Parbat” (originally from Sanskrit and means “naked mountain”), which is located in the West Himalayas in Gilgit-Baltistan, in the Northern Areas of Pakistan.
With an estimated 203 million residents (as of the end of 2018) and an annual population growth rate of 2%, Pakistan is the second largest Islamic country (after Indonesia) and the sixth most populous country in the world. The regional population is very unevenly distributed. More than half of the Pakistanis (~ 55%) live in Punjab, the country’s most fertile province. The Punjab takes its name from the five rivers (Beas, Chenab, Jhelum, Ravi and Sutlej) that flow through it and flow into the mighty Indus River. The Indus crosses the high mountains in the north of the country, falls into the valley of the Punjab and then flows through the province of Sindh to finally flow into the Indus delta of the Arabian Sea. In the southeast of the country, in the province of Sindh, there are also many people along the Indus (~ 23%), however, far fewer people live in the Thar Desert, which forms a natural border with India. About 13% of the population live in the mountainous north-western province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and about 2.4% of the population live in the tribal areas now attached to the KP province or the former Federal Administered Tribal Areas (Ex-FATA). In Baluchistan, the largest province in terms of area, which makes up 40% of the total area of the country, only about 5% live because it is characterized by a very barren and barren, although resource-rich landscape. About 0.6% of the Pakistani population live in the capital Islamabad.
According to aristmarketing, two thirds of the Pakistani population live in rural areas, only one third lives in cities. The current degree of urbanization is around 39.7%. However, at almost 3%, the annual urbanization rate is the highest in the South Asian region. According to an estimate by the United Nations Population Division, nearly half of Pakistan’s population will be living in urban areas by 2025. It is above all climate refugees, poor people who move from the countryside to urban centers in the hope of a better future and economic security. In addition, there has been an increased migration of residents of the troubled tribal areas and refugees from Afghanistan who are migrating to safer cities such as Peshawar, Quetta and increasingly to Karachi. As a result of several military operations in the tribal areas by the Pakistani military since 2004, around five million people have become internally displaced persons. More than 15 million people had to leave their homes due to natural disasters. This high country-city escape poses further challenges for the Pakistani state, such as the provision of adequate housing, sufficient energy / electricity and basic supplies. The mega-metropolis of Karachi, which according to estimates will grow to up to 19 million people in 2025, is already overwhelmed by the approximately 15 million resident people and their basic services.
The unequal distribution of the population in the country has shaped the Pakistani transport infrastructure. The rail network is concentrated in the densely populated provinces of Punjab and Sindh. The first railway line in what is now Pakistan began operating between Karachi and Kotri near Hyderabad in 1861. The state-owned railway company Pakistan Railways is responsible for operating the rail network. The majority of all passenger and goods transport is still mostly by road. The National Highways, the Pakistani highways approved by the National Highway Authority (NHA) have become indispensable transport links between the major cities in all parts of the country. The NHA continues to expand its network. Especially under the current Nawaz Sharif government, there are many NHA projects under construction or planning, such as the connections from the new Gwadar port to Sindh and Punjab. The main means of transport are still intercity buses. Goods are often transported using the artistically painted trucks that are typical of the country. Air traffic in Pakistan is relatively well developed. Pakistan has three international airports (Karachi, Islamabad, Lahore) as well as many national airports (such as Faisalabad, Peshawar, Quetta, Multan, Sialkot) and also numerous regional airports. The state-owned airline Pakistan International Airlines no longer has a monopoly in this sector since the liberalization under Musharraf. International freight traffic takes place almost exclusively via the Karachi Port, the “Gateway to Pakistan”. For his relief, the Port Muhammad Bin Qasim was built just outside Karachi. The Gwadar Port in Balochistan, built by the Chinese, will become increasingly important as soon as it is operational.