The region forming modern Pakistan was home to the ancient Indus Valley Civilisation and then, successively, recipient of ancient Vedic, Persian, Turco-Mongol, Indo-Greek and Islamic cultures. The area has witnessed invasions and/or settlement by the Aryans, Persians, Greeks, Arabs, Turks, Afghans, Mongols and the British. It was a part of British India during the British Raj from 1858 to 1947, until the Indian independence movement led by Mahatma Gandhi. When the Pakistan Movement for a state for Muslims, led by Muhammad Ali Jinnah and the Muslim League resulted in the independence and creation of the state of Pakistan, that comprised the provinces of Sindh, North-West Frontier Province, West Punjab, Balochistan and East Bengal. With the adoption of its constitution in 1956, Pakistan became an Islamic republic. In 1971, a civil war in East Pakistan resulted in intervention from India and the subsequent independence of Bangladesh. Pakistan's history has been characterized by periods of economic growth, military rule and political instability.
Pakistan is the sixth most populous country in the world and has the second largest Muslim population in the world after Indonesia. The country is listed among the "Next Eleven" economies. Pakistan is a founding member of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, Developing 8 Countries, G20 developing nations, Asia Cooperation Dialogue and the Economic Cooperation Organisation. It is also a member of the United Nations, Commonwealth of Nations, World Trade Organisation, Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, G33 developing countries, Group of 77 developing nations, major non-NATO ally of the United States and is a nuclear state.