The Geography of Pakistan is a profound blend of landscapes varying from plains to deserts, forests, and plateaus ranging from the coastal areas of the Arabian Sea in the south to the mountains of the Karakoram, Hindukush, Himalayas ranges in the north. Pakistan geologically overlaps both with the Indian and the Eurasian tectonic plates where its Sindh and Punjab provinces lie on the north-western corner of the Indian plate while Balochistan and most of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa lie within the Eurasian plate which mainly comprises the Iranian Plateau. Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir lie along the edge of the Indian plate and are prone to violent earthquakes where the two tectonic plates collide.
Geography of Pakistan
|Highest point||K2 (8,611 m)|
|Lowest point||Arabian Sea|
|Longest river||Indus River|
|Largest lake||Manchhar Lake|
|Exclusive economic zone||290,000 km2|
Pakistan is bordered by India to the east, Afghanistan to the northwest and Iran to the west while China borders the country in the northeast. The nation is geopolitically placed within some of the most controversial regional boundaries which share disputes and have many-a-times escalated military tensions between the nations, e.g., that of Kashmir with India and the Durand Line with Afghanistan. Its western borders include the Khyber Pass and Bolan Pass that have served as traditional migration routes between Central Eurasia and South Asia.
At 881,913 square kilometres (340,509 sq mi), Pakistan is the 33rd largest country by area, little more than twice the size of the US state of California, and slightly larger than the Canadian province of Alberta.
Pakistan shares its borders with four neighbouring countries – People’s Republic of China, Afghanistan, India, and Iran while Tajikistan is separated by thin Wakhan Corridor– adding up to about 7,307 km (4,540.4 mi) in length (excluding the coastal areas).
The border with Afghanistan which is known as the Durand Line, 2,670 km (1,659.1 mi), which runs from the Hindu Kush and the Pamir Mountains. A narrow strip of Afghanistan territory called the Wakhan Corridor extends between Pakistan and Tajikistan.
The eastern tip of the Wakhan Corridor starts the Sino-Pak border between the People’s Republic of China and Pakistan spanning about 559 km (347.3 mi). It carries on south-eastward and ends near the Karakoram Pass. This line was determined from 1961 to 1965 in a series of agreements between China and Pakistan and finally on 3 March 1963 both the governments, of Islamabad and Beijing, formally agreed. It is understood that if the dispute over Kashmir is resolved, the border would need to be discussed again.
The Northern Areas has five of the world’s seventeen highest peaks along with highest range of mountains the Karakoram and Himalayas. It also has such extensive glaciers that it has sometimes been called the “Third Pole”. The international border-line has been a matter of pivotal dispute between Pakistan and India ever since 1947, and the Siachen Glacier in northern Kashmir has been an important arena for fighting between the two sides since 1984, although far more soldiers have died of exposure to the cold than from any skirmishes in the conflict between their National Armies facing each other.
The boundary with Iran, 959 km (595.9 mi), was first delimited by a British commission in the same year as the Durand Line was demarcated, separating Iran from what was then British India’s Baluchistan province. Modern Iran has a province named Sistan va Baluchistan that borders Pakistan and has Baluchis in an ethnic majority. In 1957 Pakistan signed a frontier agreement with Iran in Rawalpindi according to which the border was officially declared and the two countries haven’t had this border as a subject of serious dispute at all