The nation of Pakistan lies in an area in which the Indus Valley civilization developed some 5000 years ago. Today its neighbors include India to the east, China to the north, Afghanistan to the west and Iran to the southwest. Its terrain consists of arid mountains in the north and west where the climate is temperate, and desert in the east and southeast.

Pakistan's population is estimated at about 185,000,000, most of whom live in the Indus River valley and in an arc formed by the cities of Faisalabad, Lahore, Rawalpindi/Islamabad, and Peshawar. Ethnic groups include Punjabi, Sindhi, Pashtun, Baloch, Muhajir, Saraiki, and Hazara.

The languages spoken in Pakistan number 77 and include Urdu (national and official), English, Punjabi, and Sindhi. Most (96%) are Muslim; small minorities exist of Christians, Hindus, and others. Indeed, Pakistan's emergence as a nation was founded by political movements to establish a state on the Indian subcontinent in which Muslims were the majority population. Pakistan's most prominent cities include Karachi (13.125 million, 2009 estimate), Lahore (7.132 million), Faisalabad (2.849 million), Rawalpindi (2.026 million), and the capital, ISLAMABAD (832,000).

Economically, Pakistan's development has been hampered by decades of internal political disputes and low levels of foreign investment. Agriculture accounts for more than one-fifth of output and two-fifths of employment; services and industry comprise roughly 38% and 20% of employment, respectively.

The most important crops are cotton, wheat, rice, sugarcane, fruits, and vegetables. Textiles account for most of Pakistan's export earnings. The UN Human Development Report estimated poverty in 2011 at almost 50% of the population. Inflation has worsened the situation, climbing from 7.7% in 2007 to more than 13% for 2011. Physician density in Pakistan is less than 1 physician per thousand people (2009) and no more than 55% of adults are literate; life expectancy is about 64 years.

Please pray for the people of Pakistan today.