Pakistan suffers from political instability, the constant threat of war with its larger neighbour India and the overspill of conflict from Afghanistan.
This staunchly Islamic country of 184 million people is also prone to large-scale natural disasters, including earthquakes, floods and drought.
A strong earthquake struck northern Pakistan in 2005, killing more than 75,000 people.
It caused massive damage to buildings, roads and bridges and left three million homeless just as winter was setting in.
In July 2010, vast areas of the Indus valley were devastated by floods after exceptionally heavy rain in the Himalaya Mountains swelled the headwaters of the Indus, Pakistan's main river.
More than 20 million people were displaced from their homes and 2,000 were killed. At one point a fifth of Pakistan‟s land area was under water.
Conflict between the Pakistan army and local insurgents along the Afghan border, has created an on-going humanitarian crisis.
At one point in 2009 1.5 million people were forced to flee their homes as the army battled with Islamic fundamentalist insurgents advancing down the Swat Valley towards the capital Islamabad.
According to UNHCR, in early 2011, one million people were still displaced from their homes by fighting between the insurgents and government forces in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) along the Afghan border and in the adjoining Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province, formerly known as the North West Frontier Province.