Pakistan, an Inheritor of a Great Civilization | All Round View

Pakistan, an Inheritor of a Great Civilization

Aziz Khan (All Round View File Photo)

Pakistan means the land of the Pure. Pakistan is an independent, sovereign and an egalitarian modern Islamic state with an established family system and a vibrant civil society based on contemporary Islamic civilization which draws its values and traditions from Islam and the rich Islamic history. The people of Pakistan have strong social bonds among them; and despite of small differences, they have been coexisting side by side along the Indus River for several thousand years that make them live together like one family. They are very cooperative to each other, and they strongly believe in mutual respect, brotherhood, harmony, tolerance and egalitarianism among them.

This is the reason that over seventy (70) years of post independence integration, a distinctive “Pakistani Society” has sprung up based on a unique “Pakistani Culture”, especially in the urban areas where many of the diverse ethnic groups are living together like “One Big Family”. The word, “One Big Family” has been specifically used here based on the truth that despite all the troubles, sufferings and miseries all these ethnic groups are living together with love, peace and harmony with each other. If we look into history or analyze the recent situations, then we observe that many countries or societies have collapsed due to wars, conflicts or insurgencies but on the other hand if we look at Pakistani society then we see that it has emerged as a stronger society than ever before, and even the former Soviet Afghan War and the recent so called War on Terror have brought people of Pakistan closer to each other. We have recently gone through endless waves of terrorism and sabotage, but we have emerged as a stronger nation.

In Pakistan, traditional family values are highly respected and considered sacred. The social life in Pakistan revolves around family, relatives and close family connections. Even among members of the elites of the society, family retains its overarching significance. The family is the basis of social organization that provides its members with both identity and protection. Rarely any individual lives alone or separate from relatives; even male urban migrants usually live with relatives or friends of kin or town. Children live with their parents, even majority of male children prefer to stay with their parents after their marriages as they strongly believe in joint family system that portrays the importance of a strong family system in Pakistani society.

Pakistan has a literacy rate of 60% that was hardly 3% at the time of independence. The rate of literacy is rapidly increasing with the passage of time that is another positive sign of Pakistani society. Moreover, during the past few decades, a comparatively stronger middle class has emerged in the big cities of Pakistan. Due to globalization and free media, though the social life in the big cities of Pakistan is influenced by the Western culture up to some extent, but Pakistani media has successfully countered this trend and effectively promoted Pakistani culture among the new generation. This is the reason that Pakistani culture is still in dominant position in the society despite of the fact that a minor fraction of population in big cities is adopting the western living styles. This phenomenon shows that we belong to a stronger society and we are still bound in strong social bonds; and that it is not easy to break these bonds.

If we look at the historical traces of the territorial location of Pakistan, then the region forming modern Pakistan was the site of several ancient cultures and civilizations including the Neolithic Mehrgarh and the bronze era Indus Valley Civilisation. The Indus Valley Civilization, which existed from 2800 to 1800 B.C., was remarkable for its ordered cities, advanced sanitation, excellent roads, and uniquely structured society. Subsequently, Pakistan was invaded many times in the past, and was occupied by different people who further settled here and left their imprints on this land like the Aryans, Greeks, Scythians, Persians, Hephthalites (White Huns), Arabs, Turks, Mongols, Afghans, Sikhs and Europeans. Hence, this area has remained a part of numerous empires and dynasties including the Indian Empire, the Persian Empire and Arab Caliphates as well as the Mongol, Mughal, Afghan, Sikh and British Empires.

Pakistan got independence from the British Empire in 1947, after a long struggle for independence led by the Great Mohammad Ali Jinnah who sought the partition of British India and a new independent state for the Muslim majority areas of India. Initially Pakistan was a dominion state, but with the adoption of its constitution in 1956 Pakistan became an Islamic republic.

Pakistan covers an area of 881,913 Sq-Km, approximately equivalent to the combined land areas of France and the United Kingdom. It is the 33rd largest country by total area although this ranking varies depending on how the disputed territory of Kashmir is counted. It has a 1,046-kilometre coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman. Pakistan is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan lies adjacent to Pakistan but is separated by the narrow Wakhan Corridor. In addition, Oman is also located in maritime vicinity and shares a marine border with Pakistan. Strategically, Pakistan is located in a position between the important regions of South Asia, Central Asia and the greater Middle East.

The geography of Pakistan is a blend of landscapes varying from plains to deserts, forests, hills, and plateaus ranging from the coastal areas of the Arabian Sea in the south to the mountains of the Karakoram range in the north. Pakistan is divided into three major geographic areas: the northern highlands; the Indus River plain; and the Balochistan Plateau. The northern highlands of Pakistan contain the Karakoram, Hindu Kush and Pamir mountain ranges, which incorporate some of the world’s highest peaks, including K2 (8,611 M) and Nanga Parbat (8,126 M). The Balochistan Plateau lies to the West, and the Thar Desert in the East. An area of alluvial plains lies in Punjab and Sindh along the Indus River. The 1,609 Km Indus River and its tributaries flow through the country from the Kashmir region to the Arabian Sea.

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