Supporting education and related programs for the empowerment
of children, youth and their communities in the Asia Pacific

pakistan - facts & figures 

Pakistan’s history is interlinked with India’s, with the birth of the separate Islamic state occurring simultaneously with the birth of an independent India on the 14 August 1947. From 1947 to 1956 Pakistan was a part of the Commonwealth of Nations meaning they retained the monarchy as their head of state. Pakistan officially became a republic in 1956 and in its early years faced challenges including a war with India in 1965 and a civil war in 1971 which lead to the Indo–Pakistani War of 1971, when India aided the Begali Mukti Bahini in their civil war with Pakistan. This ultimately lead to the establishment of the independent state of Bangladesh. Since then Pakistan has experienced considerable political challenges, with the country being involved in ongoing conflicts with India and experiencing intermittent civil unrest, as seen during the Pakistani Military Coup in 1999. These internal conflicts coupled with ongoing clashes with Afghani insurgents have resulted in millions of Pakistanis being displaced.

Pakistan is home to a large feudal landholding system where landholding families possess thousands of acres but do little work on the agriculture or work themselves. They enlist the services of their serfs to perform the labour of the land. 51% of poor tenants owe money to the landlord. The landlords' position of power allows them to exploit the only resource the poor can possibly provide - their own labour.


Pakistan, also known as the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, has a population of 187,342,721, which is growing at a rate of 1.573%.


One in three Pakistanis lives below the poverty line. Of these 74% live on less than US$2 a day and 17% live on less than US$1.25 a day. One of the biggest issues contributing to poverty in Pakistan is under employment, with women in particular often falling into this category.

Wealth distribution in Pakistan is highly uneven with 10% of the population earning 27.6% of income. The July 2010 floods have exacerbated this discrepancy, with many previously above the poverty line, falling below due to the impact of the floods.


Literacy rates in the country are a cause for concern, with only 49.9% of the population is considered literate in 2008 with a considerable discrepancy between males (67%) and females (42%).


Acute respiratory infection is on the most common diseases especially amongst children. It is exacerbated by poor nutrition. Malnutrition is another major health concern with almost 40% of all children under 5 underweight.

Malaria impacts about 16% of the population, mainly due to poor sanitation and stagnant bodies of water in both rural areas and city slums.


The gender discriminatory practices in Pakistani society also shape the distribution of poverty in the country. Traditional gender roles in Pakistan define the woman's place as in the home and not in the workplace, and define the man as the breadwinner. Consequently, the society invests far less in women than men.  Women in Pakistan suffer from a lack of opportunities throughout their lives. Female labour rates in Pakistan are exceptionally low.
In legislative bodies before 2002, women constituted less than 3% of the legislature elected on general seats. The 1973 Constitution allowed reserved seats for women in both houses of parliament for a period of 20 years, thus ensuring that women would be represented in parliament regardless of whether or not they are elected on general seats. This provision lapsed in 1993, so parliaments elected subsequently did not have reserved seats for women. Reserved seats for women have been restored after the 2002 election.


HIV/AIDS is a growing cause for concern for Pakistan, with UNAIDS stating that Pakistan is regarded as ‘facing a concentrated epidemic, particularly amongst intravenous drug users.’ Drug use in Pakistan is common, with the trend having been fed by the influx of a large number of migrants from Afghanistan, some 1,043,984 to date. UNAIDS reports that there are currently some 98,000 people living with HIV in Pakistan, although official estimates are much lower. Pakistan currently has one of the highest rates of intravenous drug use in the world, some 4.5% per capita per annum, and 64% of intravenous drug users report using non sterile needles. Another notable source of infection in Pakistan is by contaminated blood products, with UNAIDS claiming that only 50% of the 1.5 million bags of blood used are screened for the HIV virus.


Child labour is endemic and critical for the basic survival for about 40% of families whose children work.


These devastating floods occurred in July 2010 with almost one-fifth of the country underwater. The waters caused $43 billion worth of damage to infrastructure, agriculture and homes and affected over 20 million people (almost the total population of Australia). Contaminated water caused cholera, gastroenteritis and diarrhoea outbreaks. And on 24 September 2010 the World Food Programme announced that about 70% of Pakistan's population, mostly in rural areas, did not have adequate access to proper nutrition

The response from the international community was tepid and international aid that was received was slow to be distributed to the needy. Unfortunately, the situation post-floods in at the end of 2010 had not improved for many people. More than 4 million remained without adequate shelter with sub-zero temperatures in the north with many still living in tents in the freezing conditions and contacting diseases like chest infections, pneumonia and influenza. And thousands suffer from anaemia, skin diseases, acute respiratory tract infections and diarrhoea and post traumatic stress

Roads and other infrastructure remained blocked or damaged. Water is still contaminated and 70,000 children are still malnourished.

The number of individuals affected by the flooding in Pakistan exceeded the combined total of individuals affected by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the 2005 Kashmir earthquake and the 2010 Haiti earthquake.


Read about our projects in Pakistan