Chapter 8: Pakistan
Pakistan occupies a large land mass in a highly strategic geographic location at the crossroads of South Asia, Central Asia and West Asia, and has done so through almost all of written history. Not surprisingly, then, it is an ethnically and linguistically diverse country. After India, Pakistan is the second largest middle-income country in South Asia. It is the second largest Muslim-majority country of South Asia with a population around 180 million, of whom 98 per cent are Muslim. Consequently, Pakistan plays an increasingly important role in the economic and political affairs of the Muslim world. Pakistan has made a major contribution to the late twentieth-century emergence, development and growth of Islamic banking and finance. The contemporary economic and political history of Pakistan can conveniently be analysed beginning with the moment of its political independence from Britain in 1947. It was established by partitioning India into three political entities, two of which would together confer political self-determination upon the Muslim people of several regions of the subcontinent. The three political entities into which India was partitioned were, from West to East, West Pakistan, India and East Pakistan. East and West Pakistan, though widely separated geographically, together formed the independent country of Pakistan. Present-day Bangladesh was East Pakistan until its 1971 separation from West Pakistan, now known simply as Pakistan.
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