Background

The Islamic Republic of Pakistan

Pakistan displays some of Asia’s most magnificent landscapes as it stretches from the Arabian Sea, its southern border, to some of the world’s most spectacular mountain ranges in the north. Pakistan is also home to sites that date back to the world’s earliest civilizations (the Indus valley civilization of Mohenjo Daro and Harappa) rivaling those of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia.

Pakistan’s ethnic and cultural diversity has been formed through the blending of the cultural legacies of advancing Persians, Turks, Arabs, Huns, Greeks, and Mongols, many of whom practiced Islam.

[photo]

The first Governor General of Pakistan delivering his opening address on to the newly-created state of Pakistan. August 11, 1947.
Source: Wikipedia. Public domain.

Pakistan emerged on the world map as an independent country on August 14, 1947. When the British colonists vacated the Indian Subcontinent, Lord Mountbatten, the last British Viceroy in India, in response to popular demand, separated the Indian subcontinent into India and the Islamic country of Pakistan. At that time, both West Pakistan (currently known as Pakistan) and East Pakistan (currently known as Bangladesh) were part of the same country (Pakistan).

In 1971, East Pakistan seceded from its union with West Pakistan to form a separate country known as Bangladesh, and West Pakistan came to be called the Islamic Republic of Pakistan or in short, Pakistan.

With a total area of 803,940 sq. km., it is nearly four times the size of the United Kingdom. Its neighbors include India, Afghanistan, Iran and China.

Table 1: Leading Causes and Number of Deathsby Age Group: 1989-1998

Topic

Older Adults in Pakistan

Pakistani American Older Adults

Religion An overwhelming 95 percent of the Pakistani population are followers of Islam. There are much smaller Hindu, Christian and Zoroastrian minority communities. Pakistan is not a secular state; the state religion is Islam, and religion influences many aspects of Pakistani political and social life. There are also several distinct ethnic and linguistic groups in Pakistan, including Pathans, Punjabis, Sindhis, and Baluchis. American older adults are mostly Muslim, followers of the religion of Islam.
Language Urdu (derived mainly from Arabic and Persian vocabulary and adopting indigenous words and idioms) is the national language of Pakistan. Urdu has a vocabulary similar to Hindi, spoken widely in India. Pakistan has a population of more than 172 million people. The current population growth rate is of 1.99 %*. American older adults may not speak English (especially the women) and may be able o converse only in Urdu or a dialect ( e.g. Punjabi, Pashto). If an Urdu interpreter is not available, an interpreter speaking Hindi is helpful because Urdu and Hindi are similar languages.

*Much of the information in the module is taken from multiple sources in the reference list; individual points are not generally linked to specific references.

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