A public army school in Peshawar, Pakistan was assaulted by terrorists. Over 100 schoolchildren were killed, many were forced to witness the brutal deaths of their teachers. Peshawar is located in the North-West Frontier of Pakistan.
Much of present-day Pakistan was once part of the Indus Valley civilization. During the second century B.C., remnants of this culture fused with the migrating Indo-Aryan peoples. The area underwent successive invasions in subsequent centuries from the Persians, Greeks, Scythians, Arabs (who brought Islam), Afghans, and Turks. The Mughal Empire flourished during the 16th and 17th centuries.
The British dominated the region in the 18th century. In 1947, the region stretching from Pakistan in the West to Bangladesh in the East gained independence from Britain. Later in 1947, Pakistan separated to create a Muslim state. Two wars were fought between Pakistan and India over the Kashmir territory (1947-8 and 1965). The issue of governing Kashmir remains unresolved. A third war with India (1971) resulted in East Pakistan separating to become the independent country of Bangladesh.
The government and military continue to struggle with domestic insurgents, mainly in the tribal areas along the Afghanistan border. Pakistan has four provinces, one territory (Federally Administered Tribal Areas), and one capital territory (Islamabad). The legal system consists of common law with Islamic law influences. The bicameral parliament reserves seats for women and non-Muslims.
Pakistan shares borders with: Afghanistan, China, India, and Iran. The Indus plain in the east is predominantly flat; the Baluchistan plateau is in the west, while mountains dominate in the north and northwest. Most of the climate is hot, dry, desert-like; the northwest enjoys a temperate climate and the north lies in an arctic zone. The natural resources of Pakistan include: natural gas, petroleum, coal, iron ore, copper, salt, and limestone.
CIA World Factbook; The White House; The Columbia Gazetteer, 6/2014; 12/2014; 12/2014