Pakistan is located in South Asia, and covers an area of 340,509 square miles. The country’s capital is Islamabad, and the country had a population of 207,774,550 as per the 2017 census ranking it fifth in population globally. The name Pakistan translates to land of the pure in both Persian and Urdu. Pakistan is one of the regional powers in South Asia, and its army is ranked the sixth largest in the world. The country is the only Muslim country in possession of nuclear weapons. Pakistan has a varied landscape made up of forests, deserts, plateaus, and hills. The country shares borders with four independent states and the total land border have a length of approximately 4,344.1 miles. India borders the country to the East, Iran to the southwest, China to the northeast and Afghanistan to the west. The country has borders that have been disputed through the years.
The India-Pakistan border separates India from Pakistan. The border begins at the Line of Control and ends in Wagah. The line of control is a line controlled by the military that separates Indian Kashmir from Pakistan Kashmir. India is in control of about 45.1% of Kashmir while Pakistan controls 38.2%. The Line of Control is not accepted as an international border, but it is a regional agreement between the two countries. The Indian side is named Jammu and Kashmir, and the Pakistani is Azad Jammu and Kashmir. The line of control was set up in 1972 after a war between India and Pakistan in 1947. Wagah, on the other hand, divides Indian Punjab from Pakistani Punjab. The Pakistan-India border was based on the Radcliffe line which was set by Sir Cyril Radcliff in 1947. The border is 1,800 miles, and it is considered one of the most dangerous borders globally. India has installed about 150,000 floodlights on the border making it visible from space at night. The border has two crossings, Attari and Munabao. Aside from the international boundary, there is also a working boundary between the two countries. The working boundary is named so that it separates Sialkot from Jammu and Kashmir which is a disputed area.
The border separating Afghanistan from Pakistan is 1,510 miles, and it is officially known as the Durand line. The border was agreed upon in 1896 between the Afghan Amir, Abdur Rahman Khan, and Sir Mortimer Durand. Afghanistan was considered independent by the British by then though the British still took care of the country’s foreign affairs. The two signed an agreement on November 12, 1893. The border passes through the Pashtun tribal areas and the Balochistan region dividing the Pashtuns and Baloch ethnic groups on either side of the border. The border was disputed before it was accepted in 1994. Afghanistan claims that the Durand line was imposed on them while they were still a weak state. There have been recent border tensions arising along the Durand line since 2017 and Hamid Karzai, the president of Afghanistan, mentioned that Afghanistan could never accept the Durand line as the border. In 2003, the armies from both sides fought over the border posts. Afghanistan claimed that the Pakistani army had set up a post inside Afghan territory in the Yaqubi area. The Afghanistan-Pakistani border is one of the dangerous borders in the world as the area is under minimal government control and it is legal to possess arms and explosives around the region. The border is used for some illegal exploits including smuggling of arms and ammunition, gemstones, narcotics, vehicles, copper, and lumber. Muslim extremists from all over the world have migrated to the area and have made the region around the Durand line their home. Taliban cross the border from the Afghanistan side to bomb cities in Pakistan and vice versa.
The Iran-Pakistan border separates Sistan and Baluchistan province, Iran from Balochistan province in Pakistan and is 564.8 miles long. Iran started building a concrete wall border barrier to separate the two countries, and it is to cover 434.96 miles from Mand to Taftan. The wall is intended to curb illegal border crossing and drug peddling. The wall is also said to be a response to attacks carried out on February 17, 2007, at Zahedan town which is located at the Iranian border though Iran has refuted the claims. The bomb attack killed thirteen people. Pakistan has stated that it sees no issue with Iran erecting the wall to protect its borders through the provincial assembly of Balochistan has raised opposition to the wall. The Baloch people oppose the wall as the border passes through the region dividing the ethnic people on either side of the border, and a wall would cause a further division of the people.
The Karakoram Highway in Pakistan crosses into China and becomes the China National Highway 314. The border between the two countries is 363.5 miles long and has only one crossing which is the Khunjerab Pass. The highway was built by both the Chinese and Pakistan governments and is at times referred to as the friendship highway. The Karakoram highway passes through the Gilgit Baltistan area. Gilgit Baltistan is a slightly independent region under the Pakistani administration. The region is one of the disputed areas between India and Pakistan in the Kashmir region. The population of Gilgit Baltistan wants to be included as a distinct fifth province in Pakistan. The highway is one of the tourist attractions in the area and despite Pakistan not being a tourist destination; the Guardian ranked the highway as the best tourist attraction site in Pakistan in 2006.
The Kashmir Dispute
The Kashmir region between India and Pakistan has been an area of conflict between the two countries. The two countries have had three wars over the region in 1947, 1965, and 1971. The war in 1971 saw Bangladesh become an independent country. India claims the Kashmir area was given to them by the Kashmir leaders while Pakistan believes the area belongs to them due to its geographical location and the Muslim majority.
Countries That Border Pakistan