Explore some of the mightiest mountains of the world that are located in the northern areas of Pakistan


See for yourself the lush green valleys amid the snow clad mountains


Do you know from where the Indus originates? Find out.


The Plains and Deserts in lower Punjab, Sind and Balochistan have their own charm and typical life style


The picturesque Lakes of Pakistan

The Geographical Layout of Pakistan

Pakistan - a country from sea shore to some of the highest mountain peaks in the world, from lush green plains to vast stretches of deserts, from water falls to gushing rivers. Here is a country where one finds snow clad mountains over looking sand at such high elevations, a rarity seldom found any where in the world.

Pakistan is located in South Asia and has a total area of 803,940 square kilometres (land area of 778,720 km²), approximately the combined land areas of France and the United Kingdom. Pakistan is bordered by India to its east, which has a 2,912 km (1,809 mile) border with Pakistan. To the west is Iran, with a 909 km (565 mile) border with Pakistan. To Pakistan's northwest lies Afghanistan, with a shared border of 2,430 km (1,510 miles). China is towards the northeast and has a 523 km (325 mile) border with Pakistan. To the south is the Arabian Sea, with 1,046 km (650 mile) of coastline. A panhandle of Afghanistan territory in the northwest, the Wakhan Corridor, separates Pakistan and Tajikistan. Jammu and Kashmir is a disputed territory located between Pakistan and India. Pakistan controls a portion of the territory as Azad (Free) Kashmir and the Northern Areas, while India controls a portion as the state of Jammu and Kashmir (Read More). The variety of landscape divides Pakistan into six major regions the North High Mountainous Region, the Western Low Mountainous Region, the Balochistan Plateau, the Pothohar Uplands, the Punjab and the Sindh Plains High Mountain Region.

The land mass of Pakistan is an oblong stretch of land between the Arabian sea and Karakoram mountains, lying diagonally between 24° N and 37° N latitudes and 61° E and 75° E longitudes, and covering an area of 87.98 million hectares. Topographically, Pakistan has a continuous massive mountainous tract in the north, the west and south-west and a large fertile plain, the Indus plain. The northern mountain system, comprising the Karakoram, the great Himalayas, and the Hindu-Kush, has enormous mass of snow and glaciers and 100 peaks of over 5,400 m. in elevation. K-2 ( the second highest peak in the world). The mountain system occupies one third of this part of the country. The western mountain ranges, not so high as in the north, comprise the Sufed Koh and the Sulaiman while the south-western ranges forming a high, dry and cold Balochistan plateau. Characteristically, the mountain slopes are steep, even precipitous, making fragile watershed areas and associated forest vegetation extremely important from hydrological point of view. The valleys are narrow. The mountains are continuously undergoing natural process of erosion. The nature of climate with high intensity rainfall in summer and of soil in the northern regions render these mountains prone to landslides.

A great variety of parent rock types occur in Pakistan, which exert considerable influence on the properties of the soil. The rocks found in Pakistan can be classified into three major groups, viz. the igneous rocks, the sedimentary rocks and the metamorphic rocks. In the Himalayan regions, the common rock types are metamorphic which are gneisses, schist, slates and phyllites with some quartzite and marble. In the northern part of Indus plain, between Sargodha and Shahkot small outcrops of phyllites and quartzites occur. Granite, syenite, diorite, gabbro, dolerite and peridotite are more common types of igneous rocks, which occur in Dir, Swat, Chitral, Gilgit, Zhob, Chagai, Las Bela and Nagarpark.

The Indus plain consists of the alluvial plain and sand-dunal deserts. The country is drained by five rivers; namely, Indus, Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi and Sutlej. Of these Indus arising in snow covered northern mountain ranges flows towards south through the Punjab and Sindh plains into a wide delta before entering Arabian sea. Other rivers join it on the way, together feeding one of the largest irrigation systems in the world. The great river system of Indus in Pakistan derives a part of their water supply from sources which lie in the highlands beyond the Himalayas and the western mountains, and part from countless valleys which lie hidden within the mountain folds. Much of the silt of the alluvial plain is from natural geological erosion of mountains in the north brought down by rivers. Thal desert lies between the rivers Indus and Jhelum, while Cholistan and Thar deserts occur on the south-east of the country.

The Indus River that flows the length of Pakistan from north to south almost vertically divided the country into two halves. To the west of the Indus are the rugged dry mountains of the Sulaiman Range, which merge with the treeless Kirthar Range in the south. Farther west are the arid regions of the Balochistan Plateau and the Kharan Basin. A series of mostly barren low mountains and hills predominate in the western border areas. While that on left is mostly plains, lush green and fertile in the northern half and Thar Desert in the southeast that straddles the border with India. Read More about Indus and other rivers of Pakistan.

The coastline of Pakistan extends 1,050 km (650 mi) along the Arabian Sea. Karachi, Ormarah, Pasni and Gwader are some of the important coastal areas. In addition to Karachi and Bin Qasim (some 40 km west of Karachi), a new sea port at Gwader is presently under construction with the Chinese assistance. Upon completion, it will serve as a major hub of economic activities for CARs. A naval base is also under construction at Ormarah. Thus the chain of seaports will greatly improve the living of fishermen living all along the coast. A coastal highway from Karachi to Gwader is also fast completing. The Makran Coast Range forms a narrow strip of mountains along about 75 percent of the total coast length, or about 800 km (500 mi). These steep mountains rise to an elevation of up to 1,500 m (5,000 ft).
In the north and west are mountains rising to the skies. There are some of the highest pinnacles of the world (at least five above 8,000 metres - including the K-2, the second highest after Mt Everest). The northern parts of the country receive more rainfall than the rest of the country and serve as the storage of huge water reservoirs to produce electricity and water for irrigation. However, generally Pakistan is a dry, sun-scorched region, and most parts of its southern regions are desert or semi desert areas. The area bordering with India in the south east is flat desert known as Cholistan or Thar Desert, which is known as the Rajhistan Desert on the other side of the border.

This page was created on 1 January 2005 / 21 December 2008

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