Pakistan (i/ˈpækɨstæn/ or i/pɑːkiˈstɑːn/; Urdu: پاکِستان) (Urdu pronunciation: [paːkɪˈst̪aːn] ( listen)), officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan (Urdu: اسلامی جمہوریۂ پاکِستان) is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a 1,046-kilometre (650 mi) coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan lies adjacent to Pakistan but is separated by the narrow Wakhan Corridor. In addition, Oman is also located in maritime vicinity and shares a marine border with Pakistan. Strategically, Pakistan is located in a position between the important regions of South Asia, Central Asia and the greater Middle East.
The region forming modern Pakistan was the site of several ancient cultures including the neolithic Mehrgarh and the bronze era Indus Valley Civilisation. Subsequently it was the recipient of Hindu, Persian, Indo-Greek, Islamic, Turco-Mongol, Afghan and Sikh cultures through several invasions and/or settlements. As a result the area has remained a part of numerous empires and dynasties including the Indian empires, Persian empires, Arab caliphates, Mongol, Mughal, Durrani Empire (Afghan Empire), Sikh and British Empire. Pakistan gained independence from the British Empire in 1947, after a struggle for independence led by Mohammad Ali Jinnah that sought the partition of British India and a new independent state for the Muslim majority populations of the eastern and western regions of India. Initially a dominion, with the adoption of its constitution in 1956 Pakistan became an Islamic republic. In 1971, an armed conflict in East Pakistan resulted in the creation of Bangladesh.
Pakistan is a federal parliamentary republic consisting of four provinces and four federal territories. With a population exceeding 170 million people, it is the sixth most populous country in the world and has the second largest Muslim population after Indonesia. It is an ethnically and linguistically diverse country, with a similar variation in its geography and wildlife. Its semi-industrialized economy is the 27th largest in the world in terms of purchasing power. Since gaining independence, Pakistan's history has been characterised by periods of military rule, political instability and conflicts with neighbouring India. The country faces challenging problems including terrorism, poverty, illiteracy and corruption.
Pakistan has the eighth largest standing armed force and is the only Muslim-majority nation to possess nuclear weapons. Pakistan is the first nuclear power country in the Muslim world, and the second in the South Asia, the first being India. It is designated as a major non-NATO ally of the United States and a strategic ally of China. It is a founding member of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (now the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation) and a member of the United Nations, Commonwealth of Nations, Next Eleven economies and the G20 developing nations.
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