Population: 160 million,
97 percent Muslim, with Hindu, Christian and Sikh minorities.
Location: Borders Iran, Afghanistan, India, China and 650 miles of the Arabian Sea. At 300,664 square miles, it is twice the size of California.
Independence: British-ruled until 1947, when it was split into Hindu-majority India and the Islamic state of Pakistan.
Economy: Largely agricultural. Chief products are wheat, cotton, rice, sugarcane and maize. The economy grew by 6.6 percent during 2007.
Governance: Ruled by army generals for more than half its 60-year history.
Strategic picture: India and Pakistan have nuclear weapons.