Note: This column mainly includes countries along the Belt and Road and countries that have signed cooperation agreements with China on Belt and Road Initiative.

Pakistan is strategically located at the confluence of South Asia, Middle East and Central Asia. On its north-east is India, with Afghanistan on the west, Iran on the south-west and China in the northeast, and a coastline along Arabian Sea. It is separated from Tajikistan by Afghanistan’s narrow Wakhan Corridor in the north and also shares a maritime border with Oman. Pakistan is endowed with natural and historical wonders.

Historically, Pakistan traces its roots to the Great Indus Valley Civilization that developed thousands of years ago along the banks of the River Indus, on the crossroads of the ancient trading routes stretched between Central Asia, China, Middle East and East Asia. Almost half a dozen civilizations have flourished here, leaving their signature on the culture, art, architecture and cuisine.

Pakistan covers an area of 796,095 km2(307,374 sq mi). Pakistan with a population exceeding 190 million, is the sixth largest country in the world, 36 percent of which is youth. The climate varies from tropical to temperate, having four distinct seasons throughout the year.

The country comprises four provinces: Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The capital of Pakistan is Islamabad, while Karachi is its largest city.

The economy of Pakistan has progressed from agrarian economy in 1950s to a semi-industrialized economy of today. It is the 27th largest economy in the world in terms of Purchasing Power Parity (PPP). The country’s exports include cotton and yarn products, rice, textiles, leather and sports goods, and surgical equipment. Pakistan imports heavy machinery, transport vehicles, raw material and petroleum, among other things. Major trading partners of Pakistan are China, European Union, United Arab Emirates, United States and Saudi Arabia.

Pakistan is a multi-ethnic and multicultural society. It has a federal parliamentary political system. Pakistan is a democracy with elections held every five years. The national language of Pakistan is Urdu. The four major provincial languages are : Punjabi, Pashto, Sindhi and Balochi. In addition several regional languages and dialects are spoken in Pakistan. The official currency is Rupee.

Official Name: Islamic Republic of Pakistan

Independence Day: August 14th (1947)

National Day: 23rd March

Area: 796,095 km2

Population: 190 million (estimated)

Religion: 95 percent Muslims, 5 percent others including

Christians, Hindus etc.

National Language: Urdu

Head of State: Mamnoon Hussain, President

Head of Government: Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, Prime Minister

Capital: Islamabad

Editor: lishen