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Pakistan Geography


Situated in southern Asia, Pakistan has an area of 803,940 km² (310,403 mi²), extending 1,875 km (1,165 mi) northeast to southwest from the ranges of the Hindu Kush, and the Himalaya to the Arabian Sea and 1,006 km (625 mi) southeast to northwest. Comparatively, the area occupied by Pakistan is a fraction bigger than Turkey, or slightly less than twice the size of the state of California. The enclave of Junagadh, claimed by Pakistan, and Jammu and Kashmir, divided between Pakistan and India by the 1971 "Line of Control", are not included in the area. Pakistan is bordered on the northeast by China, on the east by Jammu and Kashmir to the Karakoram Pass, on the east and southeast by India, on the south by the Arabian Sea, on the southwest by Iran, and on the west and northwest by Afghanistan. The total land boundary length is 6,774 km (4,209 mi). The coastline is 1,046 km (650 mi). Pakistan's capital city, Islamabad, is located in the northern part of the country.

More than two-thirds of Pakistan is arid or semiarid. The west is dominated by the Baluchistan plateau, consisting of arid plains and ridges. Rivers, streams, and lakes exist only seasonally. The arid south ends at the rugged Makran coast and rises to the east into a series of rock-strewn ranges, the Kirthar, and to the north, the Sulaiman, which extends to the Indus plains. A semi-watered plateau surrounds Rawalpindi, bounded to the south by the salt range. Southward, the extensive Punjab plains support about 60% of the country's population.

In the northern areas of Pakistan, the forest-clad hills give way to lofty ranges, including 60 peaks over 6,700 m (22,000 ft) high. K-2 (Godwin Austen), at 8,611 m (28,250 ft), is the second-highest mountain in the world.
The principal ranges, trending northwest to southeast, include several Himalayan ranges – notably the Pir Panjal and Zaskar – leading into the Karakoram Mountains. The Indus is the principal river of Pakistan. Its major tributaries are the Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi and Sutlej.

Pakistan's climate is dry and hot near the coast, becoming progressively cooler toward the northeastern uplands. The winter season is generally cold and dry. The hot season begins in March, and by the end of June the temperature may reach 49°C (120°F). Between June and September, the monsoon provides an average rainfall of about 38 cm (15 in) in the river basins and up to about 150 cm (60 in) in the northern areas. Rainfall can vary radically from year to year, and successive patterns of flooding and drought are not uncommon.


Location : Southern Asia, bordering the Arabian Sea, between India on the east and Iran and Afghanistan on the west and China in the north
Geographic coordinates : 30 00 N, 70 00 E
Map references

: Asia

: total: 796,095 sq km
land: 770,875 sq km
water: 25,220 sq km
Area - comparative : a fraction bigger than Turkey, or slightly less than twice the size of the state of California
Land boundaries : total: 6,774 km
border countries: Afghanistan 2,430 km, China 523 km, India 2,912 km, Iran 909 km
Coastline : 1,046 km
Maritime claims
: territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
Climate : mostly hot, dry desert; temperate in northwest; arctic in north
Terrain : flat Indus plain in east; mountains in north and northwest; Balochistan plateau in west
Elevation extremes
: lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
highest point: K2 (Mt. Godwin-Austen) 8,611 m
Natural resources

: land, extensive natural gas reserves, limited petroleum, poor quality coal, iron ore, copper, salt, limestone
Land use : arable land: 24.44%
permanent crops: 0.84%
other: 74.72% (2005)
Irrigated land

: 198,700 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources
: 233.8 cu km (2003)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
: total: 169.39 cu km/yr (2%/2%/96%)
per capita: 1,072 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards
: frequent earthquakes, occasionally severe especially in north and west; flooding along the Indus after heavy rains (July and August)
Environment - current issues
: water pollution from raw sewage, industrial wastes, and agricultural run-off; limited natural freshwater resources; most of the population does not have access to potable water; deforestation; soil erosion; desertification
Environment - international agreements
: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Marine Life Conservation
Geography - note : controls Khyber Pass and Bolan Pass, traditional invasion routes between Central Asia and the Indian Subcontinent




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