Pakistan Geography

What is the terrain and geography like in Pakistan?

Overview:

Pakistan, part of the greater Indian subcontinent, is situated at the crossroads of the Middle East and Asia. It is bordered by Iran and Afghanistan on the west; China on the north; the disputed territory of Jammu and Kashmir on the northeast; India on the east; and the Arabian Sea on the south. Pakistan lies between latitudes 24 and 37 degrees north (e.g., from the southern tip of Florida to the southern border of Virginia).

The major political divisions of the country are the Provinces of Sindh, Balochistan, Punjab, Northwest Frontier, and the federally administered Northern Areas, Tribal Areas, and Azad Kashmir. The provinces roughly correspond with the country’s major geographic, ethnic, and linguistic regions.

There are five distinct geographic regions:

The Thar Desert and Lower Indus Valley, located in the southernmost province of Sindh, consists largely of arid valleys and rocky hills that extend into neighboring India. Farming is successful only in the irrigated areas nearest to the Indus River.

The Balochistan Plateau is a broad, arid tableland that lies between 1,000 and 3,000 feet above sea level in the western province of Balochistan. The plateau is encircled by rugged mountains and covers nearly one-half of the country’s territory.

The Indus Basin features the largest contiguous irrigation system in the world. "Punjab," the name of the province in which much of the basin is located, means "five waters" in Persian, referring to the five major rivers (Indus, Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, and Sutlej) in the basin. The province of Punjab comprises the northeastern quarter of Pakistan.

The Northwest Frontier is a region of barren mountains sheltering rich irrigated valleys. The provincial capital of Peshawar is situated on an ancient trade route that leads through the Khyber Pass and into Afghanistan.

The Far North offers Pakistan’s most spectacular scenery with towering snowcapped mountains, deep narrow valleys, and glaciers. The world’s second highest mountain, K–2, is located in the Far North, as are a dozen other peaks of more than 25,000 feet elevation, including Nanga Parbat, Gasherbrun, and Rakaposhi.

Geography - note:

controls Khyber Pass and Bolan Pass, traditional invasion routes between Central Asia and the Indian Subcontinent

Climate:

Seasonal temperatures vary widely in these five regions. With the exception of the Far North, summers are hot throughout the country with temperatures ranging from 90°F to 120°F and little nighttime relief. Trade winds provide some relief during the hot and humid summers in Karachi and a brief cool season comes between December and February. In Lahore, Islamabad, and Peshawar, a distinct winter season brings daytime temperatures of 60°F or less and cold nights. Islamabad and Peshawar may have light frosts. Spring and fall are delightful seasons in these three cities. Altitude governs climate in the Far North, with pleasant summers in the lower regions and perpetual snow in the higher mountains.

The average annual rainfall varies from 6 inches in Karachi, 15 inches in Peshawar, and 18 inches in Lahore, to about 30 inches in Islamabad. Most rain falls during the summer monsoon from July to September, although parts of the Punjab and the Northwest Frontier experience a moderate winter rainy season as well.

Pakistan Use of Natural Resources

Pakistan Environment

Climate:

Seasonal temperatures vary widely in these five regions. With the exception of the Far North, summers are hot throughout the country with temperatures ranging from 90°F to 120°F and little nighttime relief. Trade winds provide some relief during the hot and humid summers in Karachi and a brief cool season comes between December and February. In Lahore, Islamabad, and Peshawar, a distinct winter season brings daytime temperatures of 60°F or less and cold nights. Islamabad and Peshawar may have light frosts. Spring and fall are delightful seasons in these three cities. Altitude governs climate in the Far North, with pleasant summers in the lower regions and perpetual snow in the higher mountains.

The average annual rainfall varies from 6 inches in Karachi, 15 inches in Peshawar, and 18 inches in Lahore, to about 30 inches in Islamabad. Most rain falls during the summer monsoon from July to September, although parts of the Punjab and the Northwest Frontier experience a moderate winter rainy season as well.

Terrain:

flat Indus plain in east; mountains in north and northwest; Balochistan plateau in west

Natural Resources:

land, extensive natural gas reserves, limited petroleum, poor quality coal, iron ore, copper, salt, limestone

Natural Hazards:

frequent earthquakes, occasionally severe especially in north and west; flooding along the Indus after heavy rains (July and August)

Irrigated Land:

77,181 Square Miles
199,900 Square Kilometers

Environmental Issues:

water pollution from raw sewage, industrial wastes, and agricultural runoff; limited natural fresh water resources; a majority of the population does not have access to potable water; deforestation; soil erosion; desertification

Environment - International Agreements:

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified: Marine Life Conservation

Pakistan Geography

Geographic Location Asia
Total Area 307,372 Square Miles
796,095 Square Kilometers
Land Area 297,635 Square Miles
770,875 Square Kilometers
Water Area 9,737 Square Miles
25,220 Square Kilometers
Land Boundaries 4,209 Miles
6,774 Kilometers
Irrigated Land 77,181 Square Miles
199,900 Square Kilometers
Border Countries Afghanistan 2,430 km, China 523 km, India 2,912 km, Iran 909 km
Coastline 650 Miles
1,046 Kilometers
Geographic Coordinates 30 00 N, 70 00 E
Terrain flat Indus plain in east; mountains in north and northwest; Balochistan plateau in west
Highest Point 8,611 Meters
Highest Point Location K2 (Mt. Godwin-Austen) 8,611 m
Lowest Point Location Indian Ocean 0 m
Natural Resources land, extensive natural gas reserves, limited petroleum, poor quality coal, iron ore, copper, salt, limestone
Time Zone UTC+5 (10 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
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