Islamic Republic of Pakistan is Asia's seventh largest country, occupying the northwestern portion of South Asia. It covers an area of 796,095 square km. The Country extends for more than 1,600 km from south to north and for about 880 km from west to east. It is bounded to the west by Iran, to the north by Afghanistan, to the northeast by China, to the east and southeast by India, and to the south by the Arabian Sea.
Pakistan has a developing mixed economy based largely on agriculture, light industries, and services. The Government has placed special emphasis on the liberalization and privatization of the economy since 1990. The Gross National Product (GNP) is increasing more rapidly than the population, but the GNP per capita is among the lowest in Asia, albeit the highest in South Asia. Agriculture accounts for approximately one-fourth of the GDP and employs about 46 per cent of the labor force. Wheat is the chief staple, and sugarcane is widely grown. Cotton and rice are major export crops. Manufacturing accounts for approximately one-fifth of the GDP and employs one-eighth of the labor force. Textiles, particularly cotton textiles, are the chief manufacture and are a leading export. Mining, which is largely controlled by the government, accounts for about 0.4 percent of the GDP. Coal and iron ore (both of which are mostly low-grade), some petroleum, and substantial quantities of natural gas are extracted. Limestone, chromite, and gypsum are widely mined. Pakistan has known deposits of coal, iron ore, chromites, gypsum, copper, rock salt, marble, and other mineral resources that remain largely unexploited. Natural gas is by far the most valuable resource.