For a country that’s home to 220 million people, it’s no surprise that Pakistan is full of interesting characters and facts. So if you want to learn more about Pakistan, you’re in the right place. From nature to economics, discover 12 fascinating things about Pakistan you never knew before.
1. One name, two languages
The name Pakistan derives from two languages. “Pak,” which is Persian for holy or pure, and “isthan,” which means place in Hindi.
2. Pakistan has balls
It’s true. Nearly half of all the footballs (or soccer balls) in the world are made in the Pakistani city of Sialkot, according to The Atlantic. And they’re hand-sewn to order. Now over to you, Messi and Ronaldo.
3. Pakistan boasts the world’s highest highway
The Karakoram Highway is the world’s highest paved road. The 800-mile highway connects Pakistan to China, and reaches a height of 15,300 feet – that’s about half the length of Hawaii’s Mauna Kea, the world’s tallest mountain – from base to summit.
4. High notes
After crossing the Karakoram Highway, you’ll find the Khunjerab Pass – the Pakistan-China border. Famously, the border boasts the world’s highest ATM machine. The ATM is operated by the National Bank of Pakistan and is 16,007 feet above sea level.
5. A billion dollars worth of talent
Pakistani freelancers generated over $1 billion from their work in 2017. However, Pakistan only ranks fourth in the world in providing overseas freelancers. That’s behind India, Bangladesh, and the United States.
6. No added salt
The Khewra Salt Mine in Pakistan is the oldest (and second-largest) salt mine in the world. It’s a major tourist attraction with over 250,000 people visiting the spot every year.
7. A nation of firsts
In 1988, Benazir Bhutto became the first female Prime Minister of Pakistan, and of any Muslim nation. After losing office in 1990, she was re-elected in 1993.
8. A win-win nation
Two Pakistanis have won the Nobel Peace Prize. The first was the late Abdus Salam in 1979, who won the prize for physics and his contribution to electroweak unification theory. The second was Malala Yousafzai in 2014. A woman’s education activist, Malala won the Nobel aged 17, making her the youngest-ever laureate.
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9. Art in motion
Pakistan is world famous for its truck art. Many Pakistani artists and their truck designs have won various awards at truck art competitions around the world.
10. Brothers, inc
The world’s first PC virus was created by two Pakistani brothers, Basit and Amjad Alvi. Together they created “Brain” in 1986 which targeted IBM computers. Although harmful to other PCs, the brothers claimed to have created Brain only to protect their medical software from being copied.
11. Water, water, everywhere
Pakistan has the world’s largest irrigation system, which is three times bigger than Russia’s famous canal network. What’s even more staggering is that Russia is nearly ten times the size of Pakistan.
12. Everyone’s welcome
The great Shah Faisal Mosque in Islamabad was once the world’s largest mosque. Built in 1976, the mosque can accommodate up to 100,000 worshippers. Interestingly, at the time of its construction, it could accommodate the entire population of the city.