Pakistan

 

History of Pakistan

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Archeological explorations have revealed impressive ruins of a 4,500-year old urban civilization in Pakistan's Indus River valley. The reason for the collapse of this highly developed culture is unknown. A major theory is that it was crushed by successive invasions (circa 2000 B.C. and 1400 B.C.) of Aryans, Indo-European warrior tribes from the Caucasus region in what is now Russia. The Aryans were followed in 500 B.C. by Persians and, in 326 B.C., by Alexander the Great. The "Gandhara culture" flourished in much of present-day Pakistan.

The Indo-Greek descendants of Alexander the Great saw the most creative period of the Gandhara (Buddhist) culture. For 200 years after the Kushan Dynasty was established in A.D. 50, Taxila (near Islamabad) became a renowned center of learning, philosophy, and art.

Pakistan's Islamic history began with the arrival of Muslim traders in the 8th century. During the 16th and 17th centuries, the Mogul Empire dominated most of South Asia, including much of present-day Pakistan.

British traders arrived in South Asia in 1601, but the British Empire did not consolidate control of the region until the latter half of the 18th century. After 1850, the British or those influenced by them governed virtually the entire subcontinent.

In the early 20th century, South Asian leaders began to agitate for a greater degree of autonomy. Growing concern about Hindu domination of the Indian National Congress Party, the movement's foremost organization, led Muslim leaders to form the all-India Muslim League in 1906. In 1913, the League formally adopted the same objective as the Congress – self-government for India within the British Empire – but Congress and the League were unable to agree on a formula that would ensure the protection of Muslim religious, economic, and political rights.

Cities

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  • Islamabad - The Federal capital, a relatively new planned city with a much more laidback feel than the rest of the country's cities
  • Karachi - the Financial capital and the largest city of the country, it's an industrial port city and the provincial capital of Sindh
  • Lahore - City of the Mughals, it's a bustling and a very historical city that shouldn't be missed.
  • Faisalabad - A major city in Punjab, famous for its textile industry
  • Multan - The City of Saints, famous for blue pottery, ornamental glasswork, and Khussa - a type of shoes
  • Quetta - a large, beautiful and slightly unruly city in the southern state of Balochistan, you'll pass through here en route to or from Iran
  • Muzaffarabad - Capital of Azad Kashmir and a very picturesque city
  • Peshawar - Capital city of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, it has a bit of an outlaw edge to it, and is the gateway to the Khyber Pass
  • Sialkot - The City of sports goods, famous for its exports industry, one of the oldest city in the region

People & Culture

Pakistan's culture is very diverse. This stems from the fact that what is now Pakistan has in the past been invaded and occupied by many different peoples, including White Huns, Persians, Arabs, Turks, Mongols and various Eurasian groups. There are differences in culture among the different ethnic groups in matters such as dress, food, and religion, especially where indigenous pre-Islamic customs differ from Islamic practices.

Weather and Climate

Pakistan Climate
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Pakistan's climate is dry and hot near the coast, becoming progressively cooler toward the northeastern uplands. The winter season is generally cold and dry. The hot season begins in March, and by the end of June the temperature may reach 49° C (120° F). Between June and September, the monsoon provides an average rainfall of about 38 cm (15 in) in the river basins and up to about 150 cm (60 in) in the northern areas. Rainfall can vary radically from year to year, and successive patterns of flooding and drought are not uncommon.

Public Holidays

Pakistan Public Holidays Year 2014
Eid Milad-un-Nabi January 14, 2014 Tuesday
Kashmir Day February 5, 2014 Wednesday
Pakistan Day March 23, 2014 Sunday
Labour Day May 1, 2014 Thursday
Eid-ul-Fitr July 29-31, 2014 Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday
Independence Day August 14, 2014 Thursday
Eid-ul-Azha October 6-7, 2014 Monday and Tuesday
Iqbal Day November 9, 2014 Sunday
Ashura November 3-4, 2014 Monday and Tuesday
Quaid-e-Azam Day December 25, 2014 Thursday

Travel Advisory

We advise against non-essential travel to Pakistan due to the unpredictable security situation and the threat of terrorist attacks.