Safari the Globe

Cultural Information for the Traveler

Destinations » Asia » South Asia »

PakistanPakistan is a relatively recent name given to the lands and country of Pakistan. It is directly translated from Urdu or Persian to mean "land of the pure" (stan means "land of" or "country of"). However, the name was also perhaps chosen because it was an acronym of the regions that make up modern day Pakistan, although what regions specifically are in doubt: Punjab, Afghania, Kashmir, Sindh, Turkharistan, Afghanistan & Baluchistan. The "i" was either added to ease pronunciation or was added to include Iran or the Indus Valley at a later date. Likewise, Turkharistan and Afghanistan seem to be more recent additions to the name as Baluchistan seemed to originally include the entire "-tan."

WARNING: Terrorist threats continue in Pakistan, please read this travel warning before going!

Introduction:

Pakistan is home to some of the most fertile lands on earth in the delta of the Indus River. This region has been home to people for millennia and over time hundreds of ethnic groups have come and gone until the people that live there today settled and intermarried the previous people. This land is one of the world's greatest cradles of civilization because it provides multiple foods in the form of both plants and animals. It was in this delta region that most people made a living by farming and even today many people survive off the land, although today the greater region is more densely populated.

As with any fertile land that is accessible, others came to take the land or trade with the people and the people of Pakistan today are essentially the result of these various people. Over time the culture, ethnicity, language, and lifestyle was ever changing and today the people are a result of these many changes over time. Among the earliest of these changes came when the people shifted their lifestyle from one focused on farming to one that involved both farming and trading. This also brought in new people and ideas.

The flag of Pakistan has a crescent moon over a green background, both symbols of Islam. The narrow white stripe on the side represents the country's religious minorities.

Name: Islamic Republic of Pakistan
Independence: August 14, 1947
Capital: Islamabad
Currency: Pakistani Rupee
Population: 193,238,868 (2013 estimate)
Ethnicity: Punjabi, Pashtun, Sindhi, & others
Language: Urdu
Religion: Sunni Muslim

Among the many outside influences that were introduced to Pakistan, one of the most profound and influential was the people's conversion to Islam. While many people converted to this religion, many others remained believers in Hinduism or another religion. Islam changed the diet of the people, social interactions, and lifestyle, but it also created a division among the Muslims and the Hindus, as well as other non-Muslims. Over time this division became more important than the shared history and many other similarities the people had with other as Islam became one of the most important identifying features of Pakistani culture.

Although few people in Pakistan are devout Muslims today, the religion has played a significant role in their culture and political sphere as the country gained independence from India primarily on the grounds of religious differences, although political direction and social differences also greatly contributed.

In more recent times Pakistan has been thrown further into flux. Most of the population continues to work on farms, but the British introduced new technologies from the Industrial Revolution and the cities of Pakistan have used this technology to create a new urban lifestyle and jobs that were never available in the past. This is creating another divide among the people, this time by generation as the youth is growing up with high tech communication and fairly liberal attitudes, while many people in the older generations tend to be more conservative and remain in the villages and on their farms. Pakistan is a country that seems to be always moving and changing; where the country goes in the future is seemingly always a mystery.

Learn More About Pakistan:

The Land:
Geography WeatherWildlife

The Past:
History Architecture

The Food:
FoodSpecialtiesDining Etiquette Drinks

The Culture:
Way of Life EthnicityLanguage ReligionDress BehaviorIdentity

Map of Pakistan:

Pakistan Map

Travel Planner:

Start your trip to Pakistan with our free Travel Planner:

Step-by-Step Travel Planning Guide

Information for Pakistan was last updated: November, 2012 ● View our: Sources & Special Thanks