Pakistan Space Force
Image from Steve Bowers
The Ensign of the Space Force of the Republic of Pakistan

Old Earth polity existing between the Industrial Age and the Great Expulsion, originally a colony of Great Britain, but after independence gradually becoming a major power in its own right.

Seceded from the British Empire in 22 BT, as one of two nations making up the old British Raj, the other having been India. The reason behind this split was the levels of tension between the Muslim and Hindu communities, thus separating them into two separate countries. This caused strife for many years, as the countries remained rivals for the Industrial Age and much of the Information Age. Former East Pakistan seceded from Pakistan in 2 AT to form the Republic of Bangladesh, which became a relatively influential polity in its own right.

From its inception, Pakistan was a widely diverse nation, with a number of significant native cultures, some of them shared with neighbouring nations.

The polity industrialised in the early Information Age, becoming a nuclear power and continuing to rival with India over the disputed Jammu and Kashmir region in the north. In this period, and for a significant time after, there was a high level of emigration from Pakistan to other nations, and their culture was a highly significant constituent of Gulf Arabian societies in the Information, Interplanetary and Golden Ages, as well as a notable influence on British and North American nations.

During the mid-Information Age Pakistan became a major high-tech centre, and hosted a fair portion of the early AI research. It was also heavily involved in biotechnology, although this industry later declined due to the rise in Sri Lankan expertise.

A wide range of early aioids and vecs were developed by Pakistan researchers, many of them becoming citizens in due course. The country as a whole became much more progressive during the mid-to-late Information Age, and in due course religious freedom was introduced with a high level of acceptance of minorities. English had by now become its lingua franca, although a large proportion of the population did still speak Hindustani, Punjabi, Pashto, Baluchi and other languages in many contexts. Small Bengali-, Arabic-, Mandarin- and Spanish-speaking communities also established themselves thanks to immigration.

In the Interplanetary Age there was a substantial Pakistani influence over early space settlement and exploration. In particular, Pakistani agencies or corporations invested greatly in early asteroid mining activities, and Pakistani cultures had a minor impact on those of the asteroid belt.

The huge population of Pakistan, as well as its problems dealing with global warming and occasional strife with Islamist factions in earlier years, meant many Pakistanis settled on Mars and in the asteroid belt, as well as migrating to cislunar space. There were a few major colonies on Luna constructed by Pakistanis, some of which became major population centres in later years.

During the Interplanetary Age, with the growing tightening of economic and political ties between the South Asian polities, and growing levels of autonomy to regional divisions in India, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka, the region arguably formed a confederation in the mid-Interplanetary Age, but this was more of a simple loosening of the concept of nation states at this time, with cultural loyalties playing more of a factor. So the borders of Pakistan became a little vague, with many Pakistanis identifying with their Pashtun brethren in neighbouring Afghanistan, the Indian subcontinent as a whole, a regional Punjabi identity, or some other ethnic identity, sometimes even East Asian or African in origin.

The region remained very influential as a whole throughout the Solsys Golden Age, and Pakistan hosted growing numbers of tweaks, superiors, ais and vecs, as well as small numbers of provolves, mostly Mawas and Reefs, both working in areas of the still-strong industry.

Post-Expulsion Era

Maintaining a prosperous status until the Technocalypse, Pakistanis were forced with many others into space after the Great Expulsion. Following this period, Pakistanis were among the most influential groups in the formation of Orbital Islam, the new sect which would come to dominate the religion, and give birth to such political entities as the Stellar Ummah. Additionally, many of the sects now classified under Confucianist Sufism came out of Pakistan, and a small number of the Hindu-Muslim, or Muslim-Sikh, fusion religions which spread in some colonies. A few of the interstellar colonies established following the Interplanetary Dark Ages were essentially South Asian worlds, some of them dominated by Pakistanis, leaving even more legacies.

While the Pakistani identity has of course long disappeared, there are still influences particularly in the Sophic League and Stellar Ummah, as well as numerous other Middle Regions and Outer Volumes cultures. A number of retro-reconstructionist worlds in the Terragen Federation have established replica cultures based on records surviving from pre-expulsion Pakistan, although some data has been lost over time and the details are sometimes debatable.

As for the region on Old Earth itself, it has been restored to its Pleistocene state by GAIA, and is now a wide mixture of environments, ranging from desert in the east to verdant forests and plains. Endangered or extinct animals such as snow leopards, cheetahs, river dolphins and ancient varieties of lion, mastodon, bear, rhinoceros and mammoth now populate the country, along with numerous bird and antelope species. Aside from the cultural heritage sites in the old Indus Valley and in a collection of ancient Sufi shrines where pilgrims may visit, the only inhabitants are various Children of GAIA, many of them either provolves, often mammoths, mastodons or bears, or rianths with antelope, rhinoceros or avian features, as well as a few tweaks, according to some reports.

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Development Notes
Text by Kirran Lochhead Strang
additional material by Steve Bowers
Initially published on 15 February 2014.