Pakistan has been much in the news. Philatelically, Pakistan is a relatively new nation-state. The history of Pakistan is bound with the history of India and the relationship between those two countries is hostile. Separated religiously and culturally, under the British, Pakistan was not a separate nation at all but rather was part of India. India throughout it’s history had endured numerous invasions from the East and North and many of these invaders had been Muslim. There has always been considerable antipathy between the Hindus and the Muslims and when India became independent in 1947 it was Gandhi’s goal to maintain the Muslims and Hindus in one country. This proved impossible and India was partitioned with the Muslims moving both west and east forming the countries of East and West Pakistan (East Pakistan later obtained independence for itself and is now Bangladesh). Historians estimate that nearly one million people were killed during the Partition and many Hindus and Muslims had to leave their traditional homes and leave their property behind.

Relations between India and Pakistan are hostile with several small wars and numerous skirmishes and “incidents” marring the fragile peace that has been in place for the last sixty years. Both nations have nuclear weapons and have threatened to use them so that political scientists consider the India- Pakistan situation to be one of the most dangerous in the world. Pakistan itself is made up of large tribally loyal groups many of whom have intense fundamental Muslim beliefs which the Pakistan government says makes it difficult for it to maneuver as much as it would wish in the war on terror. The stamps of Pakistan are interesting and the issuing policy of Pakistan’s post office is conservative. Pakistan is a developing country but it’s economy has not grown like India and China and many of it’s people are very poor. The stamps of the Bangladeshi war for independence are very interesting. Most of the stamps are surcharged issues of Pakistan which were used during the revolution and many are quite rare though they can be purchased inexpensively. Pakistan and it subdivisions are a fascinating area to collect, with many scarce but relatively inexpensive varieties. And it has the advantage as a collecting specialty of being a country that will certainly be in the news.

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