Is Pakistan Part of the Middle East?

Pakistan's location on a map.
Pakistan's location on a map.

Pakistan is a country in South Asia and not in the Middle East. It is the 6th most populous country in the world with a population of over 210 million people. By area, Pakistan is the 33rd largest country, covering over 340,000 square miles. The country has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman. Pakistan has a well-organized and 6th largest military force in the world. It possesses nuclear weapons. The area that is now present-day Pakistan was a site of ancient cultures in the history of the Indian sub-continent.

Geography Of Pakistan

Pakistan is an extremely diverse country. It covers an area of approximately 340,509 square miles, almost the combined size of the UK and France. It has a 650 miles coastline along the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea. Pakistan is bordered by several Asian countries including Afghanistan, China, Iran, and Oman, and is narrowly separated from Tajikistan by the Wakhan Corridor. It is divided into three main geographical regions; the Indus River plain, northern highlands, and the Balochistan Plateau. Geopolitically, Pakistan is located at the crossroads of Central Asia, the Middle East, and South Asia. So, is the country part of Middle East?

Is Pakistan In The Middle East?

Is Pakistan part of Middle East? The answer to this question depends on how one looks at it. Pakistan is culturally, geographically, and politically part of South Asia and not the Middle East. However, it is considered part of the “Greater Middle East” which also include Afghanistan. The Middle East is a region centered on Western Asia and comprises of 18 countries of which neither Pakistan nor Afghanistan is apart of. The term “Middle East” is a replacement of “Near East” which was mainly used by the British. Near East was used to refer to the countries near Europe. The Middle Eastern countries include Lebanon, Palestine, Israel, Syria, Cyprus, Iraq, Turkey, Iran, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Yemen, Bahrain, and Oman.

Partition Of India

The country of Pakistan was actually formed from India. Following the declaration of independence by British India in 1947, India was partitioned into two states; secular India which became the Republic of India and Islamic Pakistan which became the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Before the partition of India, British India was not part of the Middle East and even after the partition, the two countries were not included in the Middle East, remaining as part of South Asia.

The Greater Middle East

In the early 2000s, the term “Greater Middle East" was introduced in reference to the countries that are continuously connected from Morocco in the west to Pakistan in the east. Some countries in Central Asia are also sometimes included in the definition. The Greater Middle East does not only include the 18 Middle Eastern countries but also several other countries of which Pakistan is one of them. So, while Pakistan is not part of Middle East, it is sometimes considered to be part of the Greater Middle East. 


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