Pakistan (/ˈpækᵻstæn/ or /pɑːkᵻˈstɑːn/; Urdu: پاکستان), officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan (Urdu: اسلامی جمہوریہ پاکستان), is a federal parliamentary republic in South Asia on the crossroads of Central and Western Asia. It is the sixth-most populous country with a population exceeding 201 million people. In terms of area, it is the 33rd-largest country spanning 881,913 square kilometres (340,509 square miles). Pakistan has a 1,046-kilometre (650-mile) coastline along the Arabian Sea and its Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by India to the east, Afghanistan to the west, Iran to the southwest, and China in the far northeast, respectively. It is separated from Tajikistan by Afghanistan's narrow Wakhan Corridor in the north, and also shares a maritime border with Oman.
The territory that now constitutes Pakistan is considered a cradle of civilisation that was previously home to several ancient cultures, including the Mehrgarh of the Neolithic and the Bronze Age Indus Valley Civilisation, and later home to kingdoms ruled by people of different faiths and cultures, including Hindus, Indo-Greeks, Muslims, Turco-Mongols, Afghans, and Sikhs. The area has been ruled by numerous empires and dynasties, including the Persian Achaemenid Empire, Alexander of Macedonia, the Indian Mauryan Empire, the Arab Umayyad Caliphate, the Delhi Sultanate, the Mongol Empire, the Mughal Empire, the Durrani Empire, the Sikh Empire, and most recently, the British Empire.
Pakistan is considered by some as unique among Muslim countries in that it is the only country to have been created in the name of Islam. As a result of the Pakistan Movement led by Muhammad Ali Jinnah and the subcontinent's struggle for independence, Pakistan was created in 1947 as an independent homeland for South Asian Muslims. It is an ethnically and linguistically diverse country, with a similarly diverse geography and wildlife. Initially a dominion, Pakistan adopted a constitution in 1956, becoming an Islamic republic. An ethnic civil war in 1971 resulted in the secession of East Pakistan as the new country of Bangladesh. In 1973 Pakistan adopted a new constitution establishing, alongside its pre-existing parliamentary republic status, a federal government based in Islamabad consisting of four provinces and four federal territories. The new constitution also stipulated that all laws were to conform to the injunctions of Islam as laid down in the Quran and Sunnah.
A regional and middle power, Pakistan has the sixth-largest standing armed forces in the world and is also a nuclear power as well as a declared nuclear-weapons state, being the second in South Asia and the only nation in the Muslim world to have that status. Pakistan has a semi-industrialised economy with a well-integrated agriculture sector, and a growing services sector. The Pakistani economy is the 24th-largest in the world in terms of purchasing power and the 41st-largest in terms of nominal GDP (World Bank). It is ranked among the emerging and growth-leading economies of the world, and is backed by one of the world's largest and fastest-growing middle classes.
The post-independence history of Pakistan has been characterised by periods of military rule, and since 2008 a transition to democracy, amid conflicts with neighbouring India. The country continues to face challenging problems such as illiteracy, healthcare, and corruption, but has substantially reduced poverty and terrorism and expanded per capita income. Pakistan is a member of the United Nations, the Non-Aligned Movement, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, the Commonwealth of Nations, the ECO, the SAARC, the Developing Eight, and the G20 developing nations, Group of 24, Group of 77, and ECOSOC. It is also an associate member of CERN. Pakistan is a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol, the Paris Agreement, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.