Pakistan (i// or i//; Urdu: پاكِستان, Pākistān,Urdu: [pɑːkɪst̪ɑːn] ( listen)), officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan (Urdu:اِسلامی جُمہُوریۂ پاكِستان, Islāmī Jumhūriya'eh Pākistān, Urdu: [ɪslɑːmi d͡ʒʊmɦuːriə-e pɑːkɪst̪ɑːn]), is a sovereign country in South Asia. With a population exceeding180 million people, it is the sixth most populous country and with an area covering 796,095 km2 (307,374 sq. miles), it is the 36th largest country in the world in terms of area. Located at the crossroads of the strategically important regions of South Asia,Central Asia and Western Asia, Pakistan has a 1,046-kilometre (650 mi) coastlinealong the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by India to the east, Afghanistan to the west and north, Iran to the southwest and China in the far northeast. It is separated from Tajikistan by Afghanistan's narrow Wakhan Corridor in the north, and also shares a marine border with Oman.
The territory of modern Pakistan was home to several ancient cultures, including theNeolithic Mehrgarh and the Bronze Age Indus Valley Civilisation, and has undergone invasions or settlements by Hindu, Persian, Indo-Greek, Islamic, Turco-Mongol, Afghanand Sikh cultures. The area has been ruled by numerous empires and dynasties, including the Indian Mauryan Empire, the Persian Achaemenid Empire, the ArabUmayyad Caliphate, the Mongol Empire, the Mughal Empire, the Durrani Empire, theSikh Empire and the British Empire. As a result of the Pakistan Movement led byMuhammad Ali Jinnah and India's struggle for independence, Pakistan was independent in 1947 as an independent nation for Muslims from the regions in the east and west of India where there was a Muslim majority. Initially a dominion, Pakistan adopted a new constitution in 1956, becoming an Islamic republic. A civil war in 1971 resulted in the secession of East Pakistan as the new country of Bangladesh.
Pakistan is a federal parliamentary republic consisting of four provinces and four federal territories. It is an ethnically and linguistically diverse country, with a similar variation in its geography and wildlife. A regional and middle power, Pakistan has theseventh largest standing armed forces in the world and is also a nuclear power as well as a declared nuclear weapons state, being the only nation in the Muslim world, and the second in South Asia, to have that status. It has a semi-industrialised economywhich is the 27th largest in the world in terms of purchasing power and 44th largest in terms of nominal GDP.
Pakistan's post-independence history has been characterised by periods of military rule, political instability and conflicts with neighbouring India. The country continues to face challenging problems, including overpopulation, terrorism, poverty, illiteracy andcorruption. It is a founding member of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (now the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation) and is a member of the United Nations, theCommonwealth of Nations, the Next Eleven Economies, SAARC, ECO, D8 and theG20 developing nations.