Spinners Shoaib Malik, Yasir Shah and Zulfiqar Babar shared nine wickets between them to help Pakistan beat England by 127 runs in the third and final Test in Sharjah on Thursday for a decisive 2-0 result in the three-match series.
The series win sees Pakistan move up to second in the International Cricket Council's world rankings, leapfrogging Australia in the process. It is the first time in nine years Pakistan has held such a lofty position in the global standings.
South Africa - who started their own four-Test series against India today - remain the world's No.1 Test team. Australia made a strong start in their series against New Zealand as David Warner and Usman Khawaja hit centuries on a prolific day in Brisbane. At one stage on Thursday, three Tests were being played concurrently in Australia, India and the United Arab Emirates.
Shah (4-44), Malik (3-26) in his last Test and Babar (2-31) bundled England out for 156 after lunch on day five.
England, set 284 to win, were always on the back foot on a turning pitch, only skipper Alastair Cook showing resistance during his four-hour fight, scoring 63 - his 46th half-century in Tests.
Malik gave Pakistan the prized wicket of Cook, stumped by wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed, to finish with seven wickets in the match.
Shah had Ben Stokes stumped in the next over for 12 to spark celebrations in the field.
The victory lifts Pakistan to an equal highest No.2 in the ICC (International Cricket Council) Test rankings, a spot they previously attained in August 2006 only for a few days.
Pakistan won the second Test by 178 runs in Dubai.
Skipper Misbah-ul-Haq attributed teamwork for the win.
"We finally managed to win and credit to England for fighting well.
"If you look back at the series, everyone contributed, especially (man of the series) Shah, who won us both the games and was outstanding."
Shah finished with 15 wickets in two matches after missing the first through injury.
Misbah said he would take time before making a decision on retirement.
"I will think (about retiring from Tests) because our next series is seven months away so I will decide whether I want to continue or not."
Cook's team fought well throughout the three Tests and were unlucky not to win the first Test in Abu Dhabi, forced into a draw due to bad light with just 24 needed for victory.
England drop to sixth from third in the Test rankings.
Cook said playing Pakistan in the UAE was always tough.
"We competed really well in all three of the games but, at critical moments, we couldn't dominate Pakistan. Had we grabbed our chances on the fourth day, it would have been different."
England were in danger of losing the match before lunch but Adil Rashid (22) helped add 49 for the seventh wicket with Cook to delay Pakistan's win.
When the final day began, England lost four wickets within 31 balls after resuming at 2-46.
Shah trapped Joe Root in the second over with a delivery that kept low and caught the batsman in front of the stumps before he had added to his overnight score of six.
James Taylor survived nine deliveries to score two before Babar spun one across his bat for Younis Khan to take the edge in the slips. In the next over, Shah trapped Jonny Bairstow lbw for nought.
It became 6-59 when Samit Patel was lbw in Babar's next over.