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Geography—note: controls Khyber Pass and Bolan Pass, traditional invasion routes between Central Asia and the Indian Subcontinent

total: 803,940 sq km
land: 778,720 sq km
water: 25,220 sq km

Area—comparative: slightly less than twice the size of California

Coastline: 1,046 km

Climate: mostly hot, dry desert; temperate in northwest; arctic in north

Terrain: flat Indus plain in east; mountains in north and northwest; Balochistan plateau in west

Natural resources: land, extensive natural gas reserves, limited petroleum, poor quality coal, iron ore, copper, salt, limestone

Environment—current issues: water pollution from raw sewage, industrial wastes, and agricultural runoff; limited natural fresh water resources; a majority of the population does not have access to potable water; deforestation; soil erosion; desertification 

Population: 135,135,195 (July 1998 est.)
note: population figures based on 1981 national census results—1998 census results are pending

Age structure:
0-14 years: 42% (male 29,083,284; female 27,425,172)
15-64 years: 54% (male 37,432,059; female 35,731,170)
65 years and over: 4% (male 2,716,739; female 2,746,771) (July 1998 est.)

Population growth rate: 2.2% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: 34.38 births/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Death rate: 10.69 deaths/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 93.48 deaths/1,000 live births (1998 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 59.07 years
male: 58.23 years
female: 59.96 years (1998 est.)

Total fertility rate: 4.91 children born/woman (1998 est.)

Ethnic groups: Punjabi, Sindhi, Pashtun (Pathan), Baloch, Muhajir (immigrants from India and their descendants)

Religions: Muslim 97% (Sunni 77%, Shi'a 20%), Christian, Hindu, and other 3%

Languages: Punjabi 48%, Sindhi 12%, Siraiki (a Punjabi variant) 10%, Pashtu 8%, Urdu (official) 8%, Balochi 3%, Hindko 2%, Brahui 1%, English (official and lingua franca of Pakistani elite and most government ministries), Burushaski, and other 8%

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 37.8%
male: 50%
female: 24.4% (1995 est.) 

National capital: Islamabad

Independence: 14 August 1947 (from UK)

National holiday: Pakistan Day, 23 March (1956) (proclamation of the republic)

Constitution: 10 April 1973, suspended 5 July 1977, restored with amendments 30 December 1985

Suffrage: 21 years of age; universal; separate electorates and reserved parliamentary seats for non-Muslims and tribal areas

Political parties and leaders:
government: Pakistan Muslim League, Nawaz Sharif faction (PML/N), Nawaz SHARIF; Balochistan National Movement/Mengal Group (BNM/M), Sardar Akhtar MENGAL; Mutahida Qaumi Movement, Altaf faction (MQM/A), Altaf HUSSAIN; Jamiat-al-Hadith (JAH); Jamhoori Watan Party (JWP), Akbar Khan BUGTI; Pakistan People's Party/Shaheed Bhutto (PPP/SB), Ghinva BHUTTO; Baluch National Party (BNP), leader NA
opposition: Pakistan People's Party (PPP), Benazir BHUTTO; Pakistan Muslim League, Junejo faction (PML/J), Hamid Nasir CHATTHA; National People's Party (NPP), Ghulam Mustapha JATOI; Pakhtun Khwa Milli Awami Party (PKMAP), Mahmood Khan ACHAKZAI; Balochistan National Movement/Hayee Group (BNM/H), Dr. HAYEE Baluch; Pakhtun Quami Party (PKQP), Mohammed AFZAL Khan; Awami National Party (ANP), Wali KHAN
frequently shifting: Jamiat Ulema-i-Pakistan, Niazi faction (JUP/NI); Pakistan Muslim League, Functional Group (PML/F), Pir PAGARO; Pakistan National Party (PNP); Milli Yakjheti Council (MYC) is an umbrella organization which includes Jamaat-i-Islami (JI), Qazi Hussain AHMED, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam, Sami-ul-Haq faction (JUI/S), Tehrik-I-Jafria Pakistan (TJP), Allama Sajid NAQVI, and Jamiat Ulema-i-Pakistan, Noorani faction (JUP/NO)
note: political alliances in Pakistan can shift frequently; subsequent to the election Jamiat Ulema-i-Islami, Fazlur Rehman group (JUI/F) was disbanded 

Economy—overview: Pakistan continues to suffer through a damaging foreign exchange crisis. The crisis stems from years of loose fiscal policies that exacerbated inflation and allowed the public debt, money supply, and current account deficit to explode. In April 1997, Prime Minister SHARIF introduced a stimulus package of tax cuts intended to boost failing industrial output and spur export growth. At that time, the IMF endorsed the program, paving the way for a $1.5 billion Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility. Although the economy showed signs of improvement following the measures, SHARIF has refused to implement the tough structural reforms necessary for sustained, longer-term growth. As a consequence, at yearend 1997, industrial production continued to flag, foreign exchange reserves continued to teeter around $1 billion—only four weeks of imports—and borrowing to support the budget deficit already exceeded the amount allocated for the entire fiscal year. At the same time, the government must cope with long-standing economic vulnerabilities—inadequate infrastructure, low levels of literacy, and increasing sectarian, ethnic, and tribal violence.

GDP—real growth rate: 3.1% (1997 est.)

GDP—composition by sector:
agriculture: 24.2%
industry: 26.4%
services: 49.4% (1997)

Agriculture—products: cotton, wheat, rice, sugarcane, fruits, vegetables; milk, beef, mutton, eggs

total value: $8.2 billion (FY96/97)
commodities: cotton, textiles, clothing, rice, leather, carpets
partners: EU, US, Hong Kong, Japan

total value: $11.4 billion (FY96/97)
commodities: petroleum, petroleum products, machinery, transportation equipment, vegetable oils, animal fats, chemicals
partners: EU, Japan, US, China

Debt—external: $33 billion (1997 est.)

Currency: 1 Pakistani rupee (PRe) = 100 paisa 

Military manpower—availability:
males age 15-49: 32,450,056 (1998 est.)

Military manpower—fit for military service:
males: 19,888,353 (1998 est.)

Military expenditures—dollar figure: $3.3 billion (FY96/97)

Military expenditures—percent of GDP: 5.3% (FY96/97)

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