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Pakistan Information - Page 2
History
India, which included present-day Pakistan, was settled by Europeans from the fifteenth century. The first to settle were the Portuguese. They were followed by the French and the British.

In 1613 the British East India Company started its first trading post in Gujarat (India). After the 1857 Indian Mutiny - also called the First War of Independence - the British government took over control of India from the East India Company. Queen Victoria became the Empress of India.

After World War II there was a demand for India's independence from the British Empire. Independence was granted to India in 1947. The Muslim League had pressed for a separate Muslim state which also led to the creation of Pakistan.

Pakistan was divided into two regions, separated by 1,600 km of Indian territory: West Pakistan between Iran and the western border of India, and East Pakistan on the eastern side of India. Millions of Hindus and Sikhs moved to India and Muslims moved to Pakistan.

In 1971 East Pakistan seceded from Pakistan. Thus Pakistan became two separate countries: Pakistan in the West and Bangladesh in the East.

Economy
In November 2008 the government borrowed billions of dollars from the IMF to help with spiralling debts. The loan, linked to economic reforms, was agreed during the turmoil of the global financial crisis.

During 2009-2010 Pakistanís current account strengthened and foreign exchange reserves stabilised, largely because of lower oil prices and record remittances from workers abroad.

In July-August 2010 record floods lowered agricultural output contributing to a jump in inflation and adding to the strain on the governmentís limited resources.

Between 2004 and 2007 Pakistan experienced growth in the industrial and service sectors. However, agriculture is a significant employer.

Agricultural products are wheat, rice, sugarcane, fruits, vegetables, mutton, beef, milk and eggs. Cotton is also produced.

Major industries are construction materials, pharmaceuticals, fertilizer, paper products, textiles and clothing, shrimp, and food processing.

The services sector provides the highest percentage of the country's Gross Domestic Product. (2011)

Arts
The Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) is responsible for coordinating all cultural, artistic, literary, and intellectual activities in the country. The Council aims to promote the visual and performing arts in Pakistan.

The National Performing Arts Group is part of the PNCA. The group consists of versatile dancers and an experienced orchestra; folk and classical dances are performed.

Sport
Sports played in Pakistan include cricket, football, hockey, basketball, volleyball, and polo. Mountain ranges, such as the Himalayas, provide opportunities for mountain climbing. Skiing is also available - the Malam Jabba resort was developed by the Government of Pakistan.

Water sports in the Arabian Sea are water-skiing, sailing and deep-sea fishing.

Holidays
All Islamic religious festivals are celebrated. Republic Day is on 23 March (1956) and Independence Day is 14 August (1947).

News
News from Pakistan is available from Newslink.

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