Pakistan is a nation in South Asia. Pakistan is one the most populous nations in the world, with 180 million people. Pakistan borders Iran and Afghanistan to the west, China to the north, and India to the east. The capital of Pakistan is Islamabad, and the largest city is Karachi. Although there are many regional languages, Urdu and English are spoken by most people. Sunni Islam is the official religion.


Pakistan was the site of the Indus River valley civilization, one of the oldest civilizations on Earth. Pakistan was conquered by Alexander the Great in the 3rd century BC, and became part of the Indo-Greek kingdom. Pakistan converted to Sunni Islam in the 11th century after the establishment of the Sultanate of Delhi. Pakistan was conquered by the Mongols, and later by Timur. Pakistan was the base of power of the Mughal Empire.

Pakistan was colonized by the British in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. In 1859, after the sepoy rebellion, Pakistan became part of the British Raj. Pakistan gained independence in 1947; it also included Bangladesh, then known as East Pakistan. The region of Kashmir was disputed between India and Pakistan, and led to the 1947 Indo-Pakistani War and lingering animosity. In 1971, the climactic 1971 Indo-Pakistani war was fought, which resulted in a Pakistani loss and the independence of Bangladesh. Pakistan developed nuclear weapons in 1998 to counter the Indian threat. Pakistan supports the U.S. military in the war in Afghanistan, although elements of it assist the Taliban.

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