Pakistan, officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country in South Asia. It is the world's fifth-most populous country, with a population of almost 242 million, and has the world's second-largest Muslim population. Pakistan is the 33rd-largest country by area, spanning 881,913 square kilometres (340,509 square miles). It has a 1,046-kilometre (650-mile) coastline along the Arabian Sea and Gulf of Oman in the south, and is bordered by India to the east, Afghanistan to the west, Iran to the southwest, and China to the northeast. It is separated narrowly from Tajikistan by Afghanistan's Wakhan Corridor in the north, and also shares a maritime border with Oman.
Pakistan is the site of several ancient cultures, including the 8,500-year-old Neolithic site of Mehrgarh in Balochistan, and the Indus Valley civilisation of the Bronze Age, the most extensive of the civilisations of the Afro-Eurasia. The region that comprises the modern state of Pakistan was the realm of multiple empires and dynasties, including the Achaemenid; briefly that of Alexander the Great; the Seleucid, the Maurya, the Kushan, the Gupta; the Umayyad Caliphate in its southern regions, the Hindu Shahis, the Ghaznavids, the Delhi Sultanate, the Mughals, the Durranis, the Sikh Empire, British East India Company rule, and most recently, the British Indian Empire from 1858 to 1947. (Full article...)