Pakistan (Urdu: پاکستان Pākistān), officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country located in South Asia. It has a 1,046 kilometre (650 mile) coastline along the Arabian Sea and Gulf of Oman in the south, and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, the Republic of India in the east and the People's Republic of China in the far northeast. Tajikistan also lies adjacent to Pakistan but is separated by the narrow Wakhan Corridor. In recent times, Pakistan has been called part of the New Middle East.
The region forming modern Pakistan was home to the ancient Indus Valley Civilisation of the Indian Subcontinent and then, successively, recipient of ancient Vedic, Persian, Turco-Mongol, Indo-Greek and Islamic cultures. The area has witnessed invasions and/or settlement by the Aryans, Iranic peoples (including Persians), Greeks, Arabs, Turks, Afghans, Mongols, Sikhs and the British. Before 1947, present-day Pakistan was part of ancient, classical, medieval and colonial India. It was ruled by the British Raj from 1858 to 1947 under the political union known as the Indian Empire. Under compulsions of the Indian independence movement, (led by Mahatma Gandhi of the Indian National Congress), and the Pakistan Movement, (led by Muhammad Ali Jinnah of the All India Muslim League, which demanded an independent state for the majority Muslim populations of the eastern and western regions of British India), the British granted independence and also the creation of the Muslim majority state of Pakistan, that comprised the provinces of Sindh, North-West Frontier Province, West Punjab, Balochistan and East Bengal. With the adoption of its constitution in 1956, Pakistan became an Islamic republic. In 1971, a civil war in East Pakistan resulted in intervention from India and the subsequent independence of Bangladesh. Pakistan's history has been characterized by periods of military rule and political instability.
Pakistan is the sixth most populous country in the world and has the second largest Muslim population in the world after Indonesia. It also has the second largest Shia Muslim population in the world. The country is listed among the Next Eleven economies, is a founding member of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, G20 developing nations, Asia Cooperation Dialogue and the Economic Cooperation Organisation. It is also a member of the United Nations, Commonwealth of Nations,World Trade Organisation, Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, G33 developing countries, Group of 77 developing nations, major non-NATO ally of the United States and is a nuclear state.
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