Pakistan is a predominantly agricultural country, with over 65% of its population living in rural areas. Its major industries are textiles, leather and food processing.
A growing population has put pressure on land, leading to urban migrations. But a narrow industrial base has not been able to absorb this workforce.
Since 2001, considerable direct foreign investment and remittances have bolstered Pakistan's foreign exchange reserves, stimulating high growth rates.
But most development has taken place in the services sector, with marginal impact on urban employment.
The rural sector continues to lag behind.
Uneven development sees high inflation, especially for food. A widening trade gap threatens to draw down foreign exchange reserves and dampen GDP growth.