Situated on the crossroads of South Asia, the Middle East and Central Asia, Pakistan is a beautiful country with a unique history and cultural heritage. Pakistan was the site for one of the world's earliest human settlements: the great prehistoric Indus Valley Civilization, the crucible of ancient empires, religions and cultures. Pakistan is situated between latitude 24 and 37 degrees North and longitude 61 and 75 degrees East. The country is bound to the west by Iran, to the south by East India, Afghanistan to the north-west, China to the north-east and Arabian Sea the south. The land of Pakistan ranges from lofty mountains in the north, the Karakoram and the Himalayas, through dissected plateaus to the rich alluvial plains of the Punjab. This follows the desolate barrenness of Baluchistan and the hot, dry deserts of Sindh blending into miles and miles of golden beaches of Makran coast.