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The majority of Pakistan?s population lives along the Indus River valley and along an arc formed by the cities of Faisalabad, Lahore, Rawalpindi/Islamabad and Peshawar.

Although the official language of Pakistan is Urdu, it is spoken as a first language by only nine percent of the population; 48 percent speak Punjabi, 12 percent Sindhi, and 27 percent speak other languages (including Pushtu, Saraiki, Baloch, Brahui). Urdu, Punjabi, Pushtu and Baloch are Indo-European languages; Brahui is believed to have Dravidian (pre-Indo-European) origins. English is widely used within the government, the military and in many institutions of higher learning.

The population of Pakistan has a life expectancy at birth of 55.9 years (55 for males, and 56.8 for females), according to May 2000 World Health Organization figures. Pakistan has an infant mortality rate of 91.86 deaths/1,000 live births. In terms of literacy, 24.4 percent of the female population and 50 percent of the male population, age 15 and over, can read and write.

The Human Development Index (HDI) is a composite of three basic components of human development: longevity, knowledge and standard of living. (For a complete overview of the index and its methodology, please see Appendix C.) The HDI 2000 places Pakistan in the lower part of the medium human development category on a 135th place with an overall score of 0.522. Like its South Asian neighbors, Pakistan?s highest score is found on the life expectancy index (0.66), while it scores 0.44 on the education index, and 0.47 on the GDP index.

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