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Differences between Pakistan and Afghanistan

Introduction

Pakistan and Afghanistan are two neighbouring sovereign Islamic states situated in South Asia. The two countries share a border of 2430Km. along the southern and eastern edges of Afghanistan.  Before 1947 Pakistan was integral part of secular India. In August 1947, India got independence from the British rule, and subsequently the country was partitioned on religious line, and Islamic Pakistan was born. Muhammad Ali Jinna, who spearheaded the demand for Islamic Pakistan is adorned as ‘father of Pakistan’. On the other hand, the political history of Afghanistan dates back to 18th century. Hotaki and Durrani dynasties worked for welfare of the people of Afghanistan. King Ahmad Shah of Durrani dynasty is considered as ‘father of Afghanistan’. Both Pakistan and Afghanistan have witnessed a number of coups, and both the countries are devastated by Islamic terrorism and civil wars.

Differences between the two countries are enumerated below according to different parameters.

1. Geographical

Pakistan is situated in south Asia, with 180 million population, it is the 6th most populous country in the world, and the second most populated Islamic country after Indonesia. With 796095 square Km. of area under its occupation, it is the 36th largest country in the world. The neighbours of Pakistan are India to the east, Afghanistan to the west, Iran to southeast, and China to the northeast.

Afghanistan on the other hand is land-locked between Pakistan to the south, Tajikistan to the northeast, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan to the north. The total land area of Afghanistan is around 252000 squares Km., and it is 41st largest country in the world. Population of Afghanistan is about 31 million, which makes it 42nd most populated country in the world.

2. Political

Pakistan has remained an integral part of India or Hindustan prior to 1947, and has been ruled by Hindu, Muslim, and Sikh rulers, as a part of Hindustan, from time to time. In 1947,pressurised by British and instigated by some front ranking Hindu and Muslim political leaders, the country was divided on religious line, albeit after bloody blood-bath, and Islamic Pakistan was born. Since birth the country’s political theme has been ‘hostility towards India’ and it has been nurtured by three political pillars of the country, namely the army, the political parties, and the Islamic fundamentalists. Successive military coups, wars with India, and terrorism sponsored by both the state and non-state players have devastated the country politically and economically so much so that in 1980s the country was on the verge of bankruptcy, only to be bailed out by America and other allies. The country still faces political instability in spite of having a democratically elected government. Unlike Afghanistan, in Pakistan army is the most powerful political agent and calls the shots in almost all issues.

On the other hand history of Afghanistan as a sovereign state is much older than Pakistan. It has been ruled by successive dynasties for long time. Kings of Hotaki and Durrani dynasties worked for welfare and modernisation of the country. The country attained independence from British rule in 1919 and emerged as a sovereign Islamic Republic. Since 1973 the country has witnessed a number of coups and foreign invasions. Apart from this religious extremism has severely impacted social and political fabrics of the country.

3. Cultural

Pakistan inherited the strong root of rich Indian classical music like Khayal, Thungri, Dadra, Ghazal, and Qawali, and produced number of talented musicians. Internationally acclaimed Urdu poetry finds its root in Pakistan. Peoples of Pakistan talk in synthesis of Hindi and Urdu. On the other hand, Afghanistan has the rich heritage of Persian poetry, and indigenous vocal and instrumental folk music. The predominant language of Afghanistan is Pushtun. Pakistani music and art are much ahead of Afghan counterpart.

4. Agricultural

Weather pattern and land quality of Pakistan are agriculture friendly, hence Pakistan is agriculturally rich country, with considerable production of food grains especially sugar, wheat, and rice. It also produces agro products like rubber and herbs. Weather pattern in Afghanistan, on the other hand is not agriculture friendly, more over Afghanistan has too much of barren land making agriculture more difficult. However Afghanistan is famous for producing dry fruits like apricots, dates, and other fruits namely melon, grapes, and pomegranates. It may be noted that Afghanistan is the largest producer of opium in the world.

Economical

Pakistan is a semi industrialized country, poised to develop at a high rate. I industrialized urban sectors co-exist with less developed areas. As of 2011 Pakistan’s nominal GDP was US$202 billion, nominal per-capita GDP was US$1197, and in terms of Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) these were US$486.6 billion, and US$2851 respectively. Inflation rate in Pakistan for the fiscal year 2010-11 was 14.1%. Pakistan has been witnessing a transition from agricultural to industrial economy, and agriculture now accounts for only 21.2% of the GDP. Unemployment rate in Pakistan is about 12%.

Afghanistan, on the other hand is one of the poorest countries in the world. For quite a long time Afghan economy has remained closed with trade between tribes and communities. Due to prolonged instability no foreign investment has come through. As of 2013 the GDP of Afghanistan stands at US$45.3 billion, and per capita GDP stands at US$1100. Unemployment rate of the country is about 45%, and about 50% people live below poverty line. However the government of Afghanistan is working hard with active assistance from IMF, ADB, India, and other western countries in its attempt to recover the economy. Donors have initiated a USD$50 billion aid package, which is expected to sow the seed of economic growth for Afghanistan.

Summary

Pakistan and Afghanistan are two neighbouring Islamic states in south Asia; sharing a border of 2430 Km. Afghanistan has a much longer political history than Pakistan. Both the countries have witnessed bloody civil wars, coups, and terrorism. There exist some political, social and historical differences, but most glaring among them is difference in economic conditions.


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2 Comments

  1. Afghanistan is war torn, Pakistan on the other hand only has a small portion of it’s land such as Waziristan that can be considered as a war torn region. Pakistan is a much more prosperous nation then Afghanistan, plus there is the CPEC project in Pakistan. So yeah..

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[0]http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/03/GAO-USAID_Map_of_Pakistan_and_Afghanistan.PNG

[1]http://www.wikipedia.org

[2]www.vspages.com/Afghanistan-vs-Pakistan-the-difference-between

[3]http://www.volconvo.com

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