Pakistan encapsulates great variety, fromhidden bazaars in the narrow streets of Rawalpindi to architecture that rivals the Taj Mahal in Lahore. It is a land enriched byfriendly people and magnificent landscapes. Opportunity for adventure is as high as its mighty mountain ranges, withwatersports, mountaineering and trekking all popular and rewarding activities. Coupled with this is a profound sense of cultural concoction, Pakistan once being home to several ancient civilisations, and witness to the rise and fall of dynasties.
In ancient times, the area that now comprises Pakistan marked the farthest reaches of the conquests of Alexander the Great. It was also the home of Buddhist Ghandaran culture. It was the independence of India in 1947 that catalysed Pakistan's nationhood. Under pressure from Indian Muslims, the British created a separate Muslim state. Originally, it consisted of two parts, East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) and West Pakistan (now a single unitary state).
Following military rule and civil war, Bangladesh became independent, truncating Pakistan. Today, the long-running Indo-Pakistan conflict continues, with the status of Kashmir at its heart. Although it has a majority Muslim population, Kashmir became part of India in 1947.