Pakistan is a Muslim nation that stretches across a region twice the size of California. The landscape offers a kaleidoscope of contrasts, from the snow-capped Himalaya and Karakoram mountain ranges in the north to lush dissected plateaus and alluvial plains in central and southern Pakistan. Its cultural heritage includes the famous Badshahi Masjid and Shalimar Gardens in Lahore, the tomb of Jahangir in the historic city of Delhi and the exquisite calligraphy and ceramics of the Lok Virsa Museum in Islamabad.
The capital city of the country is Islamabad, which became the official capital on August 14, 1967. It is located on the Potwar Plateau and has been referred to as “the City of Peace.” The U.S. Embassy is located in the city’s diplomatic enclave, and its public buildings include the Presidential Palace, Supreme Court building, Parliament House, and several universities.
Islamabad is a very organized city and much cleaner than other parts of the country. It is divided into eight zones for diplomacy, trade, education, industry, and other areas. The city also has a national park, greenbelt, and an Olympic village.
The economy is primarily industrial with significant agriculture and services sectors. The GDP growth rate has improved since the 1990’s as the result of wide-ranging reforms and a more stable political climate. However, high inflation and a below par savings rate could pose challenges to long-term growth. The United States maintains a large presence in Pakistan with a full range of Embassies and Consulates in the capital, Islamabad; Karachi, the country’s manufacturing and media hub; and Lahore, and Peshawar, near the borders with India and Afghanistan respectively.