10 things you probably didn’t know about Pakistan

Published: December 9, 2014
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PHOTO: AFP/ FILE

“Pakistan is going through difficult times.”

“The future looks bleak.”

“Hope seems to be a luxury we cannot afford.”

Statements such as these are common nowadays. However, I tend to disagree.

I don’t believe there is anything as bad about Pakistan that can’t be fixed by what’s good about it. Pakistan is a beautiful country that has proven to be the epitome of resilience in the most difficult of times.

Here’s to celebrating everything that makes Pakistan a country so beautiful and so strong. Here’s to the breath-taking beauty and unimaginable strength.

Here’s to things you probably didn’t know about Pakistan.

1. The world’s 26th largest economy

It is a nuclear power and it has one of the strongest world armies. It ranks 26th in the largest economies of the world and has the second best performing stock exchange.

Photo: File

2. The world’s seventh largest standing force

Pakistani armed forces are internationally ranked as the seventh largest in the world, with the man power of 642,000. Pakistan provides the largest number of troops to serve the UN peacekeeping missions.

Photo: File

Along with this, Pakistan has one of the best trained air force pilots in the world. During the war of 1965, Squadron Leader Mehmud Alam held the world record of downing five Indian planes in less than a minute.

3. Fourth smartest people in the world

According to a poll organised by the Institute of European Business Administration, from 125 countries, Pakistanis have been ranked the fourth most intelligent people across the globe. Pakistan has the seventh largest collection of scientists and engineers.

Photo: File

The world’s youngest certified Microsoft experts, the late Arfa Karim and Babar Iqbal, both hail from Pakistan. Haroon Tariq, Ali Moeen Nawazish and Moosa Firoz are globally recognised achievers.

4.  Top national anthem tune of the world

Inspiring, motivational and beautiful poetry makes Pakistan’s national anthem the number one ranked tune in the world. Hafeez Jullundhri’s words were composed by musician Ahmad G Chagla. Pakistan also holds the record of most people singing the anthem, simultaneously.

Photo:Shafiq Malik/ File

5. Miraculous, breath-taking beauty

Aansu Lake, shaped like a tear drop, is at a height of 16,490 feet in Kaghan Valley.

The rooftop of the world, Trango Towers, the tallest vertical mountain in the world, Gilgit-Baltistan, along with four of the 10 highest peaks of the planet, make Pakistan the ‘rooftop of the world’.

Biafo glacier is the world’s longest glacial system outside the polar regions and that too is in Pakistan.

Photo: Bilal Allawala/ File

Pakistan has the world’s largest and most scenic railway gradient. A view of a tunnel and bridge over a river on the railway track from Rohri to Quetta, it’s the longest railway gradient of the world and the most scenic railway ride of Asia.

6. The second largest salt mines

The Khewra Mines are Pakistan’s oldest and the world’s second largest salt mines.

Their history goes back to 320 BC.

Photo: Muhammad Javaid/ File

7. The world’s largest ambulance network

Edhi Foundation is Pakistan’s largest non-profit social welfare program. It runs the world’s largest ambulance network in Pakistan.

Photo: File

8. Exceptional infrastructure

About 25% of Pakistan’s total land area is under cultivation and is watered by the largest irrigation system in the world. Pakistan irrigates three times more acres than Russia.

Tarbela Dam on the Indus River in Pakistan is the largest earth filled dam in the world and second largest by structural volume.

Photo: File

9. The world’s largest manmade forest

Changa Manga is one of the largest man-planned and man-grown forests in the world. It covers the area of approximately 12,000 acres.

Changa Manga

10. Asia’s largest bird sanctuary and the place where time stops

Pakistan has Hunza Valley, where time stops and fairies tread. The valley mostly remains covered under snow in winter, but when it melts, the sensuous hilly contour and the luxurious vegetation become a magnet to all and sundry.

Photo: Shabbir Mir /File

Haleji Lake is another asset. It is Asia’s greatest water fowl reserve. During winter, a hundred thousand birds fly down to Haleji from the cold of Siberia, making it the largest bird sanctuary of the continent.

While there are many who are more than willing to give up on Pakistan, for those who wish to salvage and save it, there are enough factors in this country to keep them motivated with their cause.

Gul Zehra Zaidi

Gul Zehra Zaidi

A medical student at Dow University, Karachi. She is an avid reader for whom being able to write is an absolute pleasure.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.