Pakistan, our beautiful, beloved country, will celebrate its 75th year on 14 August 2022. We have compiled some interesting facts you may or may not be aware of about our rich history. Here goes…
* Two Pakistanis have won the Nobel Peace Prize: the late Abdus Salam, a theoretical physicist who in 1979 shared the Nobel Prize in Physics for his contribution to electroweak unification theory, and Malala Yousafzai, a woman’s education activist who in 2014 shared it with Kailash Satyarthi of India. Yousafzai was 17 when she was awarded the Nobel, making her the youngest-ever laureate.
* The name Pakistan derives from two Persian words, 'Pak' and 'istan', meaning pure and land respectively
* Pakistan has six designated UNESCO World Heritage sites: the archeological ruins at Moenjodaro; the Buddhist ruins of Takht-i-Bahi and neighboring city remains at Sahr-i-Bahlol; the fort and Shalamar Gardens in Lahore; the monuments at Makli; Fort Rohtas; and the ancient ruins of Taxila.
* Pakistan has the world’s largest contiguous irrigation system, according to the United Nations.
* If you play soccer – called football by most people around the world – it’s likely you’ve put a boot into a product made in Pakistan. Workers in the country hand-sew many of the soccer balls distributed around the world, and as The Atlantic reports, roughly 40% of all soccer balls in the world are made in one Pakistani city: Sialkot.
* The world’s first PC virus was created by two Pakistani brothers. Basit Farooq Alvi and Amjad Farooq Alvi created “Brain,” which was discovered in 1986 and targeted IBM PC platforms.
* Some of the highest mountains in the world are located in Pakistan. The world’s second-tallest mountain is in the country and has many names: Dapsang or Chogori locally, Mount Godwin-Austen in English and Qogir Fengin Chinese. But most people know it simply as K2, standing at 8,611 meters, or 28,251 feet.
* The Karakoram Highway is the world’s highest paved international road, according to Travel+Leisure magazine. The 800-mile highway connects Pakistan to western China, and reaches a maximum height of 15,300 feet.
* Speaking of heights, the ATM at the world’s highest elevation belongs to the National Bank of Pakistan and sits in the Khunjerab Pass, in Gilgit-Baltistan. It was established in November 2016 and is 15,397 feet above sea level.
* The late Benazir Bhutto was the first woman to head a democratic government in a Muslim-majority country.
* During the iconic pre-independence speech by Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of free India, in Delhi, the viceroy, Lord Mountbatten, was watching the Bob Hope movie ‘My Favourite Brunette’ with his wife.
* Over 25 films have been made set in the partition of India and Pakistan, while many others allude to the migration, displacement, communal tension and revolts of the time.
* Until 1948, Pakistan used Indian currency bank notes, over-stamped with ‘Pakistan’ on the notes. New coins and banknotes of Pakistani rupees were circulated in 1948.
* Pakistan has the only fertile desert in the world – the Tharparkar desert – located in Sindh province.
* Pakistan is also blessed with Jahangir Khan, a former World No. 1 professional squash player. Between 1981 and 1986, he won 555 matches consecutively (the longest winning streak by any athlete in top-level professional sports as recorded by Guinness World Records).
* Pakistan is the only Muslim country after Turkey to open Combat Jobs for women.
* Sohail Abbas, a Pakistani field hockey defender, is the highest goal scorer in the history of field hockey, with his current goal tally at 348.
* Pakistan is also famous for truck art (decorating trucks with complex floral patterns and poetic calligraphy). Trucks are painted with a splash of colors and the artists’ creativity is very appealing.
* The Badshahi Mosque in Lahore, Pakistan is one of the world’s largest mosques. It was commissioned by the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb in 1671 and its construction completed in 1673. However, the mosque was largely used for military purposes during the Sikh era and the British rule for many years until the independence of Pakistan when it was restored to its original condition.
* Darra Adam Khel is a city situated in Khyber Regency, south of the city of Peshawar. Almost three-quarters of the population of the city, generally regarded as the largest illegal gun market in the world, is involved in the gun business. Replicas of nearly every gun available on the market are produced in the region. The business came into existence in 1897 and is run by the local Afridi tribe.
* When Pakistan became independent, it received between 10 and 12 million refugees from different parts of India. Many of these people had lost everything they had and used a different language for communicating with the locals. Pakistanis smilingly welcomed these people to their nation and helped them to lead a prosperous life.