Pakistani people

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"Pakistani" redirects here. For other uses, see Pakistani (disambiguation).
This article is about people from Pakistan as a pan-ethnic identity and nation. For information on the population of Pakistan, see Demographics of Pakistan.
پاكِستانى قوم
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Total population
187 million approx.
2.7% of the world's population
Regions with significant populations
Pakistan Pakistan: 187,000,000 (2011)
 United Kingdom 1,200,000[1]
 Saudi Arabia 1,100,000+ (2013)
 United Arab Emirates 1,100,000+
 United States[2] 363,699
Canada Canada 175,310[3]
 Kuwait 100,000
 Italy 150,000+
 Oman 85,000+
 Greece 80,000+
 France 54,000
 Germany 53,668+
 Qatar 52,000+
 Spain 47,000+
 Bahrain 45,500+
 China 43,000+[4]
 Norway 39,134+
 Denmark 21,152+
 Australia 31,277+
 South Korea 25,000+[5]
 Netherlands 19,408+
 Hong Kong 13,000+[6]
 Japan 10,000+
 Sweden 5000+
 Peru 100+
Urdu, Punjabi, Sindhi, Pashto, Balochi, Kashmiri, Brahui, Balti and others
Islam 97% (majority Sunni, while 20% being Shia, also Zahiri Muslims) Other Religions: Christianity, Hinduism, Bahai Faith, Zoroastrianism, Ahmadiyya

Pakistani people (Urdu: پاكِستانى قوم‎; Pakistani Qaum) are the people who are citizens of the modern State of Pakistan and their descendants. Pakistan is a multi-ethnic and multilingual state, and its people are predominantly Indo-Iranian both ethnically and linguistically, varying between predominantly Indo-Aryan and of Iranian subgroups.[7][8] As of 2011, the estimated population of Pakistan was over 187 million[9][10] making it the world's sixth most-populous country.

Ethnic sub-groups[edit]

Pakistan has one of the world's fastest growing populations. As the country is located in South Asia the Pakistani people are a mixture of various ethnic groups. Furthermore, various ethnic groups, invading armies and the migrations to the region by people passing through on their way to and from Indus have left their imprint on the population.

Pakistani people belong predominantly to seven main ethno-linguistic groups: Punjabis, Sindhis, Seraikis, Pashtuns, Mohajirs, Balochs, and Kashmiris, Ranghar,[11] with substantial numbers of Brahuis, Hindkowans, Shins, Burushos, Wakhis, Baltis, Chitralis and other small, minority ethnic groups in the remote north of the country.

The Baloch people inhabit the southwest of the country and traditionally hold their origins to settlers from far off Aleppo (in modern day Syria) who arrived to the region and assimilated into the local peoples and gave their name to the province of Balochistan.[12] The Punjabi people, the largest ethnic group in Pakistan, reside predominantly in Central and some Northern regions as well. Punjabis have been the primary inhabitants of the historical Punjab region which derives its name from the Persian Panj meaning five (5) and Ab meaning water(s); hence the land of five rivers or Panj-Ab. Considerable population of Punjabis live in Karachi as well. The Sindhi people, on the other hand have been settled in the southeast of the country and gave their name to the mighty Indus/Sindhu river, while regional groups such as the Seraiki people have inhabited the regions between Punjab and Sindh.[12] The Kashmiri people are an important ethnic group of the Kashmir region in the north. There are other important indigenous people like the Balti, Hunzakots, and Gilgiti people(s) of the northern territories of Gilgit through whose territory ran the ancient Silk Route connecting Asia and Europe. The Chitrali people are another indigenous people who live high in the mountains in the northwest. Along with these main groups, there are smaller communities of Sheedi's who are descendants of African sailors and warriors who are believed to have arrived from the horn of Africa as well as Muhajir people who came as refugees from India when Pakistan attained its independence from Britain in 1947. There are countless other ethnic groups that make up part of Pakistani's mosaic such as the Bengalis, Burmese, Hazara, Tajik, Tajiks, Arab and Hakka; the last are an ethnic group that traces its origin to China.[12]


Main article: Culture of Pakistan

Pakistan has a heterogeneous culture, with all of the provinces maintaining differing social mores. However, Islam is the driving force behind the unity of varying ethnic groups from different parts of the country, and has significantly shaped the values and traditions of Pakistanis. Pakistani culture falls in the category of high context.


Main article: Languages of Pakistan

In Pakistan, Urdu is mostly learned as a second or a third language; nearly 93% of Pakistan's population has a mother tongue other than Urdu. Despite this, Urdu was chosen as a token of unity and as a lingua franca so as not to give any native Pakistani language preference over the other. Urdu is therefore spoken and understood by the vast majority in some form or another. Urdu is the national language of Pakistan and spoken as a first, second or at times third tongue by almost all Pakistani people; although there are numerous regional and provincial languages which are spoken as first languages by the ethno-linguistic groups making up the country. English is spoken at an official level and is a legacy of the long British Raj colonial rule in the region. Although English is used in most elite circles, but Punjabi has a plurality of native speakers with 45% of the total population.

Many Pakistanis worldwide speak the various regional languages of Pakistan such as: Urdu, Saraiki, Punjabi, Sindhi, Pashto, Balochi, Kashmiri, and Arabic. Overseas Pakistanis also speak many of the national languages of the country such as: English, Norwegian, German, Japanese, French, Swedish, Persian, Arabic, Dutch, etc.


Main article: Religion in Pakistan
Further information: Islam in Pakistan

The largest religion practiced in Pakistan is Islam. Other religious groups include Hinduism, Christianism and Ahmadiyya.


Main article: Pakistani diaspora

There are large populations of Pakistani ancestry around the world, due to emigration. The population of Pakistanis abroad is considered to exceed seven million and can be found in the Middle East, North America, Europe, Asia and Australia.

Notable people[edit]

Main article: List of Pakistanis

Further reading[edit]