- Islamic Republic of, a republic in S Asia, between India and Afghanistan: formerly part of British India; known as West Pakistan from 1947–71 to distinguish it from East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). 310,403 sq. mi. (803,881 sq. km). Capital: Islamabad.
- (before 1947) the predominantly Muslim areas of the peninsula of India as distinguished from Hindustan, the predominantly Hindu areas.
- a republic in S Asia, on the Arabian Sea: the Union of Pakistan, formed in 1947, comprised West and East Pakistan; East Pakistan gained independence as Bangladesh in 1971 and West Pakistan became Pakistan; a member of the Commonwealth from 1947, it withdrew from 1972 until 1989; contains the fertile plains of the Indus valley rising to mountains in the north and west Official language: Urdu. Official religion: Muslim. Currency: rupee. Capital: Islamabad. Pop: 193 238 868 (2013 est). Area: 801 508 sq km (309 463 sq miles)
- a former republic in S Asia consisting of the provinces of West Pakistan and East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), 1500 km (900 miles) apart: formed in 1947 from the predominantly Muslim parts of India
south Asian nation formed 1947 by division of British India, the name apparently proposed 1930s by Muslim students at Cambridge University, first element said to be an acronym from Punjab, Afghanistan and Kashmir, three regions envisioned as forming the new state, which also made a play on Iranian pak “pure.” For second element, see -stan. Related: Pakistani (1941). Republic in southern Asia, bordered by India to the east, the Arabian Sea (an arm of the Indian Ocean) to the south, Iran to the southwest, and Afghanistan to the west and north.