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Infrastructure

Economy



The skyline in Karachi's financial district

Pakistan is a rapidly developing country and is one of the Next Eleven, the eleven countries that, along with the BRICs, have a high potential to become the world's largest economies in the 21st century. The economy is semi-industrialized, with centres of growth along the Indus River. The diversified economies of Karachi and Punjab's urban centres coexist with less developed areas in other parts of the country. Pakistan's estimated nominal GDP as of 2011 is US$202 billion. The estimated nominal per capita GDP is US$1,197, GDP (PPP) per capita is US$2,851 (international dollars), and debt-to-GDP ratio is 55.5%. A 2010 report by RAD-AID positioned Pakistan's economy at 27th largest in the world by purchasing power and 45th largest in absolute dollars. It is South Asia's second largest economy, representing about 15 percent of regional GDP.

Pakistan's economic growth since its inception has been varied. It has been slow during periods of civilian rule, but excellent during the three periods of military rule, although the foundation for sustainable and equitable growth was not formed. The early to middle 2000s was a period of rapid reform; the government raised development spending, which reduced poverty levels by 10% and increased GDP by 3%. The economy cooled again from 2007. Inflation reached 25% in 2008 and Pakistan had to depend on an aggressive fiscal policy backed by the International Monetary Fund to avoid possible bankruptcy. A year later, the Asian Development Bank reported that Pakistan's economic crisis was easing. The inflation rate for the fiscal year 2010–11 was 14.1%.



A mango orchard in Multan, southern Punjab: agriculture is the backbone of Pakistan's economy

Pakistan is one of the largest producers of natural commodities, and its labour market is the 10th largest in the world. Around 600,000 Pakistanis went abroad to work in 2009. Expatriate workers send remittances of close to US$8 billion annually—the largest source of foreign exchange apart from exports. According to the World Trade Organization Pakistan's share of overall world exports is declining; it contributed only 0.128% in 2007. The trade deficit in the fiscal year 2010–11 was US$11.217 billion.

The structure of the Pakistani economy has changed from a mainly agricultural to a strong service base. Agriculture now[when?] accounts for only 21.2% of the GDP. Even so, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, Pakistan produced 21,591,400 metric tons of wheat in 2005, more than all of Africa (20,304,585 metric tons) and nearly as much as all of South America (24,557,784 metric tons). The service and industrial sectors account for 52.4% and 26.4% of GDP respectively. Between 2002 and 2007 there was substantial foreign investment in Pakistan's banking and energy sectors. Other important industries include clothing and textiles (accounting for nearly 60% of exports), food processing, chemicals manufacture, iron and steel. There is great potential for tourism in Pakistan, but it is severely affected by the country's instability.

Transport

The transport sector accounts for 10.5% of Pakistan's GDP. Its road infrastructure is better than those of India, Bangladesh and Indonesia, but the rail system lags behind those of India and China, and aviation infrastructure also needs improvement. There is scarcely any inland water transportation system, and coastal shipping only meets minor local requirements.

Road form the backbone of Pakistan's transport system; a total road length of 259,618 km accounts for 91% of passenger and 96% of freight traffic. Road transport services are largely in the hands of the private sector, which handles around 95% of freight traffic. The National Highway Authority is responsible for the maintenance of national highways and motorways. The highway and motorway system depends mainly on north–south links, connecting the southern ports to the populous provinces of Punjab and NWFP. Although this network only accounts for 4.2% of total road length, it carries 85 percent of the country's traffic.



Nagan Interchange is one of the busiest intersections in Karachi.

Pakistan Railways, under the Ministry of Railways, operates the railroad system. Railway was the primary means of transport till 1970. In the two decades from around 1990, there was a marked shift in traffic from rail to highways. Now the railway's share of inland traffic is only 10% for passengers and 4% for freight traffic. The total rail track decreased from 8,775 km in 1990–91 to 7,791 km in 2011. Pakistan expects to use the rail service to boost foreign trade with China, Iran and Turkey.

Pakistan had 35 airports in 2007–8. The state-run Pakistan International Airlines is the major airline; it carries about 73% of domestic passengers and all domestic freight. Karachi's Jinnah International Airport is the principal international gateway to Pakistan, although Islamabad and Lahore also handle significant amounts of traffic. Pakistan's major seaports are Karachi, Muhammad bin Qasim and Gwadar, which is still[when?] under construction.

Science and technology



The boot sector of an infected floppy by Brain virus; the world's first computer virus, made in Pakistan.

Pakistan is active in physics research. Every year, scientists from around the world are invited by the Pakistan Academy of Sciences and the Pakistan Government to participate in the International Nathiagali Summer College on Physics. Pakistan hosted a international seminar on Physics in Developing Countries for International Year of Physics 2005. Pakistani theoretical physicist Abdus Salam won a Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on the electroweak interaction.

In medicine, Salimuzzaman Siddiqui was the first Pakistani scientist to bring the therapeutic constituents of the Neem tree to the attention of natural products chemists. Pakistani neurosurgeon Ayub Ommaya invented the Ommaya reservoir, a system for treatment of brain tumours and other brain conditions.

Pakistan has an active space program led by its space research agency, SUPARCO. Polish-Pakistani aerospace engineer W. J. M. Turowicz developed and supervised the launch of the Rehbar-I rocket from Pakistani soil, making Pakistan the first South Asian country to launch a rocket into space. Pakistan launched its first satellite, Badr-I, from China in 1990, becoming the first Muslim country and second South Asian country to put a satellite into space. In 1998, Pakistan became the seventh country in the world to successfully develop and its own nuclear weapons.

Pakistan is one of a small number of countries that have an active research presence in Antarctica. The Pakistan Antarctic Programme was established in 1991. Pakistan has two summer research stations on the continent and plans to open another base, which will operate all year round.

Electricity in Pakistan is generated and distributed by two vertically integrated public sector utilities: the Karachi Electric Supply Corporation (KESC) for Karachi and the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) for the rest of Pakistan. Nuclear power in Pakistan is provided by three licensed commercial nuclear power plants under Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC). Pakistan is the first Muslim country in the world to embark on a nuclear power program. Commercial nuclear power plants generate roughly 3% of Pakistan's electricity, compared with about 64% from thermal and 33% from hydroelectric power.

Education



Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute, one of Pakistan's top ranking engineering universities

The constitution of Pakistan requires the state to provide free primary and secondary education. At the time of independence Pakistan had only one university, the University of the Punjab. As of September 2011[update] it has 136 universities, of which 74 are public universities and 62 are private universities. It is estimated that there are 3193 technical and vocational institutions in Pakistan, and there are also madrassahs that provide free Islamic education and offer free board and lodging to students, who come mainly from the poorer strata of society. After criticism over terrorists' use of madrassahs for recruitment, efforts have been made to regulate them.

Education in Pakistan is divided into six main levels: pre-primary (preparatory classes); primary (grades one through five); middle (grades six through eight); high (grades nine and ten, leading to the Secondary School Certificate); intermediate (grades eleven and twelve, leading to a Higher Secondary (School) Certificate); and university programmes leading to graduate and postgraduate degrees. Pakistani private schools also operate a parallel secondary education system based on the curriculum set and administered by the Cambridge International Examinations. Some students choose to take the O level and A level exams conducted by the British Council.

Government is in development stage[timeframe?] of extending English medium education to all schools across the country. By 2013 all educational institutions in Sindh will have to provide Chinese language courses, reflecting China's growing role as a superpower and Pakistan's close ties with China.

Literacy rate of population above ten years of age in the country is 58.5%. Male literacy is 70.2% while female literacy rate is 46.3%. Literacy rates vary by region and particularly by sex; for instance, female literacy in tribal areas is 3%. The government launched a nationwide initiative in 1998 with the aim of eradicating illiteracy and providing a basic education to all children. Through various educational reforms, by 2015 the ministry of education expects to attain 100% enrolment levels among children of primary school age and a literacy rate of 86% among people aged over 10.


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