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Formal Name: Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
Short Form: Pakistan.
Term for Citizen(s): Pakistani(s).
Capital: Islamabad (Islamabad Capital Territory).
Major Cities: Pakistan has seven cities with a population of 1 million or more: Karachi (9,339,023), Lahore (5,143,495), Faisalabad (2,008,861), Rawalpindi (1,409,768), Multan (1,197,384), Hyderabad (1,166,894), and Gujranwala (1,132,509).
Independence: Proclaimed August 14, 1947, from Britain.
Public Holidays: Eid-ul-Azha (Feast of the Sacrifice of Abraham, movable date); Muharram (Islamic New Year, movable date); Kashmir Day (February 5); Ashura (movable date); Pakistan Day (signing of first constitution and proclamation of the republic, March 23); Labour Day (May 1); Eid-i-Milad-un-Nabi (Birthday of the Prophet Muhammad, movable date); Independence Day (August 14); Ramadan commencement (movable date); Iqbal Day (Birthday of Muhammad Iqbal, November 9); Eid-ul-Fitr (end of Ramadan, movable date); Birthday of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah and Christmas (December 25). Muslim holidays are observed nationally, and Christian holidays are elective for Christians only.
Pakistan’s flag is green with a narrow vertical white band on its left side. A white crescent and star are in the center of the green band. Green signifies the Muslim majority, white denotes minorities, the crescent represents progress, and the star symbolizes light and knowledge.
Early Empires: Existing archaeological evidence suggests that humans lived in what became Pakistan around 2.2 million years ago, and the first civilization in South Asia, the Harappan Civilization, is believed to have started around 3000 B.C. in the Indus River valley. Indus civilizations maintained irrigated agriculture, had contact with the Middle East and North Africa, and endured until around 1750 B.C., when nomadic tribes from Central Asia called Aryans conquered much of the Indus Valley. The Aryans maintained a system of social stratification based on inherited occupation and physical separation of themselves from native peoples, and this system was justified religiously in scripts called Vedas that form the basis of Hinduism.