Pakistan (Urdu: پاکستان listen (help·info)), officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country located in South Asia, Greater Middle East and converges with Central Asia and the Middle East. It has a 1,046 kilometer (650 mile) coastline along the Arabian Sea and 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.
The region forming modern Pakistan was home to the ancient Indus Valley Civilization and then, successively, recipient of ancient Vedic, Persian, Indo-Greek and Islamic cultures. The area has witnessed invasions and settlement by the Persians, Greeks, Arabs, Turks, Afghans and the Mongols. It was a part of British Raj from 1858 to 1947, when the Pakistan Movement for a state for Muslims, led by Muhammad Ali Jinnah and the Muslim League resulted in the independence and creation of the state of Pakistan, that comprised the provinces of Sindh, Northwest 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 the independence of Bangladesh. Pakistan's history has been characterized by periods of economic growth, 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. The country is listed among the "Next Eleven" economies. Pakistan is a founding member of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, Developing 8 Countries and the Economic Cooperation Organization. It is also a member of the United Nations, Commonwealth of Nations, World Trade Organization, G33 developing countries, Group of 77 developing nations, major non-NATO ally of the United States and is a nuclear state.
Independence Day (Pakistan)
Pakistan's independence day (also known as Yaum-e-Azadi (Urdu: یومِ آذادی)) is observed on 14 August, the day on which Pakistan became independent from British rule within then what was known as the British Raj in 1947. The day is a national holiday in Pakistan. The day is celebrated all over the country with flag raising ceremonies, tributes to the national heroes and fireworks taking place in the capital, Islamabad. The main celebrations takes place in Islamabad, where the President and Prime Minister raise the national flag at the Presidential and Parliament buildings and deliver speeches that are televised live. In the speech, the leaders highlight the achievements of the government, goals set for the future and in the words of the father of the nation, Quaid-e-Azam bring "Unity, Faith and Discipline" to its people.
14th August is a National holiday of Pakistan. In the capital Islamabad and in all major cities of Pakistan the Government Offices are lit up as well as all the larger skyscrapers. Flag hoisting ceremonies and cultural programs take place in all the provincial capitals. In the cities around the country the Flag Hoisting Ceremony is done by the Nazim (Mayor) belonging to that constituency. In various private organisations the Flag Hoisting Ceremony is carried out by a Senior officer of that organisation. Schools and colleges around the country organise flag hoisting ceremony and various cultural activities within their respective premises. Families and friends get together for lunch or dinner, or for an outing. Housing colonies, cultural centres, and societies hold entertainment programmes and competitions.
Other events include: Changing of the guard at the mausoleum of Mohammed Ali Jinnah, Mazar-e-Quaid, Wagah Border ceremonies, fashion and musical concerts, both sides releasing prisoners that may have crossed each others borders.
Flag of Pakistan
The national flag of Pakistan was designed by Syed Amir uddin Kedwaii and was based on the original flag of the Muslim League. It was adopted by the Constituent Assembly on August 11, 1947, just days before independence. The flag is referred to in the national anthem as Parcham-e-Sitāra-o-Hilāl in Urdu (lit. Flag of the Crescent and Star). The flag comprises a dark green field, representing the Muslim majority of Pakistan, with a vertical white stripe in the hoist, representing religious minorities. In the centre is a white crescent moon, representing progress, and a white five-pointed star, representing light and knowledge. The flag symbolizes Pakistan's commitment to Islam, the Islamic world, and the rights of religious minorities. The flag is flown on several important days of the year including Republic Day and Independence Day. The flag was designed by Muhammad Ali Jinnah, founder of the nation. It is associated with the flag used by the All-India Muslim League as an emblem of its aim of achieving an independent Muslim state. Their flag was green, with a central white star and crescent. At independence in 1947, a white stripe was added at the hoist to represent the state's minorities. The green and white together stand for peace and prosperity. The crescent symbolizes progress, and the star represents light and knowledge.
The official design of the national flag was adopted by the Constituent Assembly together with a definition of the features and proportions
"A dark green rectangular flag in the proportion of length and width 3:2 with a white vertical bar at the mast, the green portion bearing a white crescent in the centre and a five-pointed white heraldic star. The size of the white portion being one-fourth the size of the flag, nearest the mast, the remainder three-fourths being dark green. The dimensions of the crescent and star are obtained as follows:
"Draw the diagonal from the top right hand corner to the bottom left corner of the green portion. On this diagonal establish two points 'A' and 'B'. Point 'A' at a distance equidistant from top right and bottom left hand corners of the green portion, i.e. the centre of the green portion. Point 'B' at a distance from the top right hand corner equal to 13/20th the width of the flag. With centre point 'A' and radius 1.1/4th the width of the flag describe a second arc. The enclosures made by these two arcs form the crescent. The dimensions of the five-pointed white heraldic star are determined by drawing a circle 1/10th the width of the flag. The circle surrounds the five points of the heraldic star. The star lies with one point on the diagonal at a point where the larger arc of the crescent, if completed, cuts the diagonal."
The Interior Ministry of Pakistan provides dimensions for flags in different circumstances:
* For ceremonial occasions. 21' x 14', 18' x 12', 10' x 6-2/3' or 9' x 6 1/4.
* For use over buildings. 6' x 4' or 3' x 2'.
* For cars 12" x 8".
* For tables 10 1/4" x 8 1/4".
Pakistani nationalism refers to the political, cultural and religious expression of patriotism by peoples of Pakistan, of pride in the history and heritage of Pakistan, and visions for its future. It also refers to the consciousness and expression of religious and ethnic influences that help mould the national consciousness.
Nationalism describes the many underlying forces that moulded the Pakistan movement, and strongly continue to influence the politics of Pakistan.
From a political point of view and in the years leading up to the independence of Pakistan, the particular political and ideological foundations for the actions of the Muslim League can be called a Pakistani nationalist ideology. It is a unique and singular combination of philosophical, nationalistic, cultural and religious elements.
Pakistani nationalists state that Pakistan is the successor state of Islamic empires and kingdoms that ruled the region for almost a combined period of one millennium, the empires and kingdoms in order are Abbasid, Ghaznavid Empire, Ghorid Kingdom, Delhi Sultanate and Mughal Empire. Pakistan's imperial past composes possibly the largest segment of Pakistani nationalism. Pakistan today celebrates numerous Muslim kings and emperors for wars of "liberation" and "emancipation" such as Muhammad bin Qasim (not a king or emperor, but the commander of the first Muslim force sent to what was then known as Sindh), Muhammad of Ghaur, Mahmud of Ghazni (who defeated the Hindu king Prithviraj Chauhan), Aurangzeb Alamgir and Tipu Sultan who fought the British. However, few, if any, of the Kings mentioned above belonged to the region comprising modern day Pakistan. The region that is today known as Pakistan has always been tribal in nature. The Pashtuns have always considered Islam to be their primary source of identity and have thus supported many Islamic rulers. The Baloch were a Tribal Confederacy, who at times paid tribute to Afghanistan and Persia. Sindh was ruled by the Indic Kalhora and Baloch Talpur dynasties (both tributaries of Persia and Afghanistan at various times) in the period between the fall of the Mughal Empire and the beginning of the British Raj. Punjab and Kashmir were captured by the Durranis of Afghanistan, but later formed the Sikh Empire which captured integral Afghan territory including its former winter capital, Peshawar.
However liberal Muslim kings to an extent are also part of Pakistani pride. Akbar was a powerful Mughal emperor who started new religiont Din-i-Ilahi (for which he was condemned by orthodox clerics as a "heretic"), forged familial and political bonds with Hindu Rajput kings, and developed for the first time in medieval Pakistan an environment of religious freedom. Akbar undid most forms of religious discrimination, and invited the participation of wise Hindu ministers and kings, and even religious scholars in his court. In his reign, the Mughal Empire was politically powerful, prosperous and its common people secure.
The main Mughal contribution to South Asia was their unique architecture. Many monuments were built during the mughal era including the Taj Mahal.
Syed Ahmed Khan promoted Western-style education in Muslim society, seeking to uplift Muslims in the economic and political life of British India. He founded the Aligarh Muslim University, then called the Anglo-Oriental College.
In 1835 Lord Macaulay's minute recommending that Western rather than Oriental learning predominate in the East India Company's education policy had led to numerous changes. In place of Arabic and Persian the Western languages, history and philosophy were taught at state-funded schools and universities whilst religious education was barred. English became not only the medium of instruction but also the official language in 1835 in place of Persian, disadvantaging those who had built their careers around the latter language. Traditional Islamic studies were no longer supported by the state, and some madrasahs lost their waqf or endowment. The War of Independence 1857 is held by nationalists to have ended in disaster for the Muslims, as Bahadur Shah Zafar, the last Mughal, was deposed. Power over the South Asia was passed from the East India Company to the British Crown. The removal of the last symbol of continuity with the Mughal period spawned a negative attitude amongst some Muslims towards everything modern and western, and a disinclination to make use of the opportunities available under the new regime. This tendency, had it continued for long, would have proven disastrous for the Muslim community.
Seeing this atmosphere of despair and despondency, Sir Syed launched his attempts to revive the spirit of progress within the Muslim community of India. He was convinced that the Muslims in their attempt to regenerate themselves, had failed to realize the fact that mankind had entered a very important phase of its existence, i.e., an era of science and learning. He knew that the realization of the very fact was the source of progress and prosperity for the British. Therefore, modern education became the pivot of his movement for regeneration of the Indian Muslims. He tried to transform the Muslim outlook from a medieval one to a modern one.
Sir Syed's first and foremost objective was to acquaint the British with the Indian mind; his next goal was to open the minds of his countrymen to European literature, science and technology.
Therefore, in order to attain these goals, Sir Syed launched the Aligarh Movement of which Aligarh was the center. He had two immediate objectives in mind: to remove the state of misunderstanding and tension between the Muslims and the new British government, and to induce them to go after the opportunities available under the new regime without deviating in any way from the fundamentals of their faith.
At the same time, Muslim nationalist leaders like Sir Muhammad Iqbal emphasized the spiritual richness of Islam and Islamic philosophy. Sir Muhammad Iqbal the conceptual founder of Pakistan, Is venerated by Pakistani and Muslim nationalists for implicitly endorsing the independence of a Muslim statein South Asia.
Iqbal is widely credited for his work in encouraging the political rejuvenation and empowerment of Muslims, and as a great poet not only in India and Pakistan, but also in Iran and Muslim nations in the Middle East.
Independence of Pakistan
In the Indian rebellion of 1857, Muslim soldiers and regional kings fought the forces allied with the British Empire in different parts of British Indian Empire. The war arose from a racialist viewpoint on the part of the British who attacked the "Beastly customs of Indians" by forcing the South Asian soldiers to handle Enfield P-53 gun cartridges greased with lard taken from slaughtered pigs and tallow taken from slaughtered cows. The cartridges had to bitten open to use the gunpowder, effectively meaning that sepoys would have to bite the lard and tallow. This was a manifestation of the disregard that the British exhibited to Muslim and Hindu religious traditions, such as the rejection of Pork in Islam, the rejection of Beef in Hinduism and the mandate of vegetarianism in Hinduism. There were also some kingdoms and peoples who supported the British. This event laid the foundation not only for a nationwide expression, but also future nationalism and conflict on religious and ethnic terms.
The Muslim desire for complete freedom, or Azadi, was born with Kernal Sher Khan, who looked to the glories of Muslim history and heritage, and condemned the fall of Muslims from the ruling elite to subservient citizens of the British Empire. The idea of complete independence did not catch on until after World War I, when the British attempted to exert totalitarian power with the Rowlatt Acts of 1919. When the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre in Amritsar, Punjab (India) of hundreds of unarmed and innocent civilians by British forces took place in the same year, the Muslim public was outraged and most of the Muslim political leaders turned against the British.
The Pakistan Movement
Strikes and protests were planned, but violence broke out all over India, especially in Calcutta and the district of Noakhali in Bengal, and more than 7,000 people were killed in Bihar. Although viceroy Lord Wavell asserted that there was "no satisfactory evidence to that effect", Muslim League politicians were alleged to be behind the violence. The violence began as the Muslim League, who were controlling the state in that period, declared that they would have a public holiday and the police and military will not interfere in any events that day. The Muslim League Chief Minister told Muslim protesters that the military and police had been 'restrained'. This was interpreted by the gathering as an open invitation to commit violence on the Hindus. Subsequently, there were reports of lorries (trucks) that came thundering down Harrison Road in Calcutta, carrying Muslim men armed with brickbats and bottles as weapons and attacking Hindu shops. Most victims of the resulting murders were Hindus. This is the first day that Pakistanis distinguished themselves as a separate political entity than Hindus. This was followed by the Noakhali Massacre, in which Muslims decided to kill all Hindus so as to proclaim Pakistan. The death toll is estimated to be in the thousands, with 50-75 thousand Hindus ethnically cleansed from the region.
During the fight for an independent Pakistan, the Hindu minority were targeted by Muslims. Most of them were killed and beaten, and their properties were destroyed. Hindu women were abducted and raped. Often, members of the Muslims mob would kill Hindus and force their widows to marry them at gunpoint..Many Hindu temples were looted and destroyed. Hindus were forced to throw deities into the Ganges river and Muslim mobs forced them to consume beef, which is disallowed in Hinduism This was an elemental force in allowing Pakistani independence, with Hindus fearing complete eradication if they were not to give an independent Pakistan. This is also one of the first direct actions by people who could call themselves Pakistani nationalists. In fact, these nationalists shouted slogans like ‘League Zindabad’ (long live the Muslim league), ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ (long live Pakistan), ‘Larke Lenge Pakistan’ (we will create Pakistan by fighting), ‘Marke Lenge Pakistan’ (we will create Pakistan by killing) Another evidence of a separate Pakistan could be noted here when Gandhi asked for non-violence. Hindus, did not fight back, while Muslims chose to ignore Gandhi's wishes as he was no longer their leader. Jinnah's calls of Direct Action resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of Hindus, with conversions of many more thousand. It was a major victory for Pakistani nationalists, who were well on their way to achieving their goal of an independent Pakistan.
After a conference in December 1946 in London, the League entered the interim government, but Jinnah refrained from accepting office for himself. This was credited as a major victory for Jinnah, as the League entered government having rejected both plans, and was allowed to appoint an equal number of ministers despite being the minority party. The coalition was unable to work, resulting in a rising feeling within the Congress that division was the only way of avoiding political chaos and possible civil war. The Congress agreed to the divisionof Punjab and Bengal along religious lines in late 1946. The new viceroy Lord Mountbatten and Indian civil servant V. P. Menon proposed a plan that would create a Muslim dominion in West Punjab, East Bengal, Baluchistan and Sindh. After heated and emotional debate, the Congress approved the plan, National leaders like Liaquat Ali Khan, Abdur Rab Nishtar, Choudhary Rahmat Ali, and the Aga Khan, brought together generations of Muslims across regions and demographics, while forcing non-Muslim Punjabis and Sindhis out of the region, and provided a strong leadership base giving the country political direction. Pakistan became a purely Muslim nation created by Pakistani nationalists, any Hindus or Sikhs were killed if they decided not to leave Pakistan. This resulted in the death of hundreds of thousands of Hindus and Sikhs and the formation of a pure Muslim state. The goal of Pakistan had been achieved and the Hindu community in the region, which made up one quarter of the population before independence, had been separated from the community of distinctly Pakistani nationalists. Pakistani nationalists could celebrate Yom-e-Istiglal, the creation of their state. The name Pakistan also provides pride of nationalists, while it was based on the names of regions, the word Pak in Persian denotes pure, thus Pakistan was called the Land of the Pure.
Ethnic Nationalism in Pakistan
Pakistan's Balochi populations are strongly nationalistic and have their own ethnic identity as do most of Pakistan's major ethnic groups. Some groups within them wish to secede from the country and form their own separate states and have been aided and assisted by foreign governments. Nawab Akbar Bugti of Balochistan had expressed the need for Balochistan to separate and formed the separatist Balochistan Liberation Army to that effect, alleging that the Pakistani governments had been biased in favor of the Punjabi and Sindhi ethnic groups. He was killed in military action by Pakistan's forces in 2006, but many Balochi continue to support him. The majority of Baloch, however are content within Pakistan but yearn for greater autonomy and more provincial development and a greater share of national funds to bring the province at par with the rest of the country. Many Baloch irredentist movements have been inspired and supported by the Baloch from Iran and Afghanistan (countries where Baloch are trying to achieve independence).
The Pushtun people of the North Western Frontier province also have a unique ethnic identity. The former Taliban regime in nearby Afghanistan enjoys significant support here, both in recent times and during the Soviet Occupation of Afghanistan, the support reflecting in their aid to the Mujahideen. Pashtuns are disproportionately represented in all sphere's of Pakistan be it the bureaucracy, business, police force, civil service and the all powerful Pakistan Army.
However, despite nationalistic feelings many ethnic groups have often felt alienated by what they see as "Punjabization of Pakistan", due to the domination of the Punjabi groups due to their overal larger population. This extreme version of Pakistani nationalism is often attributed to the tensions among the different ethic and linguistic groups despite an Islamic majority. The secession of East Pakistan is largely blamed on such a "Punjabization" but many also claim the imposition of "Urdu" (language of the migrant community which held much clout in the country up to the mid 70's) was the key catalyst in encouraging Bengal separatism. Many in Bengal felt betrayed by such a "muslim nationalism" and Urdu imposition which soon proved futile, paving the way for Bengali nationalism.
Many indigenous Pakistani's also reject the imposition and state support towards the language of Urdu seeing it as a foreign language imported along with the migrant community (Mohajir) that arrived from India and quickly came to dominate the government and policy making. They cite the exclusiveness during the early years of Pakistan that the Urdu speakers (refugees) practiced in favouring fellow co-linguists over native Pakistani's. Many blame this policy for failing to bring cohesion and interprovincial harmony within the country. Others point to the fact that the policy of the newly arrived refugees is what catalyzed and marginalized the inhabitants of East Pakistan to secede from the federation. Critics point to the fact that no where in the world has the language of a refugee population been established as a national language over that of the indigenous population. Urdu continues to be Pakistan's national language but has undergone considerable changes over the years acquiring a particularly 'Pakistani flavour' with the incorporation of more and more grammar and prose from Pakistan's many indigenous languages (eg. Pashto, Panjabi, Sindhi, Balochi etc.)
Nationalist mausoleums, shrines and symbols
Pakistan has many shrines, sights, sounds and symbols that have significance to Pakistani nationalists. These include the Shrines of Political leaders of pre-independence and post-independence Pakistan, Shrines of Religious leaders and Saints, The Shrines of Imperial leaders of various Islamic Empires and Dynasties, as well as national symbols and sounds of Pakistan. Some of these shrines, sights and symbols have become a places of Pilgrimage for Pakistani ultra-nationalism and militarism, as well as for obviously religious purposes.
Nationalism And Politics
The political identity of the Military of Pakistan, Pakistan's largest institution and one which controlled the government for over half the history of modern day Pakistan (see History of Pakistan for events in the region that is now Pakistan before the Pakistani nation-state emerged) and still does, is reliant on the connection to Pakistan's Imperial past. The Pakistan Muslim League's fortunes up till the 1970s were single-handedly propelled by its legacy as the flagship of Pakistan's Independence Movement, and the core platform of the party today evokes that past strongly, considering itself to be the guardian of Pakistan's freedom, democracy and unity as well as religion. Muslims have remained loyal voters of the Pakistan Muslim League, seen as defender of Religious rights. Smaller parties have arisen, such as Pakistan Peoples Party, a party based on Liberal conservatism have also arisen. In contrast, the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal employs a more aggressively theocratic nationalistic expression. The MMA seeks to defend the culture and heritage of Pakistan and the majority of its people, the Muslim population. It ties theocratic nationalism with the aggressive defence of Pakistan's borders and interests against archrival India, with the defence of the majority's right to be a majority. The party's fortunes arose primarily in the 1990s, with the frustration of the people with over 40 years of military domination as well as PPP corruption, sycophant leaders and lack of direction.
Ethnic nationalist parties include the Awami National Party, which is closely identified with the creation of a Pashtun-majority state in North-West Frontier Province and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas includes many Pashtun leaders in its organization. However, the Awami National Party, At the last legislative elections, 20 October 2002, won a meagre 1.0% of the popular vote and no seats in the lower house of Parliament. In Balochistan, the Balochistan National Party uses the legacy of the independent Balochistan to stir up support, However at the last legislative elections, 20 October 2002, the party won only 0.2% of the popular vote and 1 out of 272 elected members.
Almost every Pakistani state has a regional party devoted solely to the culture of the native people. Unlike the Awami National party and the Balochistan national party, these mostly cannot be called nationalist, as they use regionalism as a strategy to garner votes, building on the frustration of common people with official status and the centralization of government institutions in Pakistan. However, the recent elections as well as history have shown that such ethnic nationalist parties barely ever win more than 1% of the popular vote, the overwhelming majority of votes go to large and established political parties that pursue a national agenda as opposed to regionalism.
State Emblem of Pakistan
The State Emblem of Pakistan was adopted in 1954. The emblem's green colour and the star and crescent at the top are symbols of Islam, the religion with which most Pakistani citizens identify. In the center is a quartered shield, with each quarter containing a major crop of Pakistan at the time of its adoption: cotton, jute, tea, and wheat. The floral wreath around the shield represents the Mughal cultural heritage of Pakistan. The scroll at the bottom contains the national motto in Urdu, coined by Muhammad Ali Jinnah, which reads from right to left: (Urdu: ایمان ، اتحاد ، نظم ) Iman, Ittehad, Nazm translated as "Faith, Unity, Discipline".
On May 28, in 1998, Pakistan tested its first nuclear weapon in Chagai, Balochistan, and thus became the 7th nation in the world to possess an arsenal of nuclear weapons. It is postulated that Pakistan's nuclear program arose in the 1970s as a response to the Indian acquisition of nuclear weapons. It also resulted in Pakistan pursuing similar ambitions, resulting in the May, 1998 testings of five nuclear devices by both countries, opening a new era in their rivalry. Pakistan is not a signatory to the NPT and CTBT, which it considers an encroachment on its right to defend itself.
Map Of Pakistan
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