Pakistan officially names the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country in South Asia. It has a 1,046-kilometre (650 mi) 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. Tajikistan also lies very close to Pakistan but is separated by the narrow Wakhan Corridor. Thus, it occupies a crossroads position between South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. The region forming modern Pakistan was at the heart of the ancient Indus Valley Civilisation and then later was the recipient of Vedic, Persian, Indo-Greek, Turco-Mongol, Islamic and Sikh cultures. The area has witnessed invasions and/or settlements by the Indo-Aryans, Persians, Greeks, Arabs, Turks, Afghans, Mongols and the British.
While the Indian independence movement demanded an independent India, the Pakistan Movement (led by Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah of the Muslim League) sought independent states for the majority Muslim populations of the eastern and western regions of British India as well. The British granted Independence and also the creation of one Muslim majority state of Pakistan that comprised the provinces of Sindh, North-West 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 creation of Bangladesh.
Pakistan’s history has been characterized by periods of military rule, political instability and conflicts with neighboring India. It is the sixth most populous country in the world and has the second largest Muslim population after Indonesia. Pakistan also has the second largest Shia Muslim population. It is the only Muslim-majority nuclear state and is classified as major non-NATO ally of the United States. Pakistan is one of the founders of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference and a member of the United Nations, Commonwealth of Nations, Next Eleven economies and G20 developing nations.
The name Pakistan (Urdu pronunciation: [pa?k?s?ta?n] ( listen)) means Land of (the) Pure in Urdu and Persian (Farsi). It was coined in 1934 as Pakstan by Choudhary Rahmat Ali, a Pakistan movement activist, who published it in his pamphlet Now or Never. The name is a portmanteau representing the “thirty million Muslims of PAKISTAN, who live in the five Northern Units of British Raj — Punjab, Afghania (now known as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Kashmir, Sindh and BalochisTAN.”
However, the authorship of the name is controversial. It is also maintained that the word Pakistan was invented by Khawaja Abdul Rahim and he obtained Sir Muhammad Iqbal’s blessings for his coinage. Sir Muhammad Iqbal himself wrote to Prof. Edward John Thompson of Oxford University, that “Pakistan scheme proposes a separate federation of Muslim Provinces directly related to England as a separate dominion. This scheme originated in Cambridge. The authors of this scheme believe that….”. The word “authors” means that there are more than one author. According to Stephen Philip Cohen,a group of Indian students at Cambridge proposed naming it Pakistan.