Pakistan, officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a southern Asian county encircled by India and China to the east, Afghanistan and Iran to the west and Arabian Seato the south. As per 2007 estimates, the population of Pakistanis 164,741,924. Pakistanis the sixth most populated country in the world. It lies on 30 degree north latitudes and 70 degree east longitude. Pakistan covers an area of 803,940 sq km.
Tourism to Pakistan started 4000 years ago with the arrival of the first tourist – the Aryans; they liked our land so much they never left. Next came the Persians, the Greeks, the Bactrians, the white Huns, the Turks, the Moghuls, and the British. But this country, which has been such an old tourist destination, is just now re-emerging on the tourist map. A late arrival but with a promising infrastructure, we can satisfy the most discerning travelers. Here, the tourist searching for the undiscovered, unspoiled gateway can find a vacation full of sublime vistas. Journey to the rugged Karakoram and Hindu Kush Mountains in the north to the historic fort-strewn deserts that sweep towards the south. Pakistan is a year- round destination, with new adventures developing each year. We have sophisticated cities that are modern and cosmopolitan, but still they preserve their age-old bazaars and ancient monuments that take days to explore. We have intriguing villages, with mysterious cultures that speak quietly of the past, clinging to old fashioned traditions that turn every visitor into a fascinated anthropologist. Everywhere in the cities, in the villages, on the roads that take you here to there – you will find a level of hospitality that is hard to forget.
Situated at the crossroads of history, Pakistan is a land of marvelous contrasts. From its southern desert plains to the terraced green fields of Askoli in the north (the last village before K-2), Pakistan drenches the senses with mountain majesty and exotic tribal cultures. Moving north, the endless white sandy beaches of the Arabian Sea give way to the Punjabi plains and vast agricultural lands, then the great gash of the Indus Gorge and countless snow-locked peaks along the border with China north, India east, Afghanistan west and the former Soviet republics of Central Asia.
Through the ages many civilizations settled along the banks of the mighty Indus River. The Indus, father of rivers, begins its journey in the remote peaks of the Sub-continent. Coursing in rolling fury through the Indus Gorge, the Indus is edged by the fragile ribbon of the Karakoram Highway (KKH). Today, the heirs of these ancient cultures, Baltis, Hunzakuts, Pushtuns and a host of others still practice their timeless ways of life along the KKH.
Each year millions flock to the European Alps and thousands visit Nepal. Only a few of the well-informed and adventurously curious are fortunate enough to experience the stunning “Roof of the World” that is Northern Pakistan. Here four great mountain ranges meet: The Himalaya, Karakoram, Hindukush and Pamir Mountains. Embracing many of the planet’s highest peaks, the Pamir Knot of Pakistan is the incredible confluence of these four great ranges. Of the fourteen highest peaks on earth, Pakistan has five, two of which are the sublime pyramid of K2 (at 8611 m) the second highest mountain on earth and the most dangerous mountain in the world, Nanga Parbat (8125m). In addition, the area contains some of the longest and largest glacier systems outside of the polar regions.
Pakistani hospitality and friendliness are legendary. Far from the civil unrest that occasionally plagues Karachi and many other Asian cities, the mountain people of Northern Pakistan look forward to welcoming you into their midst. Come join them in a world of unparalleled beauty and drama, learn and witness for yourself what so few others have experienced.
This is Pakistan – a new destination and ancient civilization that is eager to greet you with ‘Assalam – o – Alaikum!’ (May God bless you).