Religion in Pakistan

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Religion in Pakistan (2017 Census)[1][2][3][4][5]

  Islam (96.47%)
  Hinduism (2.14%)
  Christianity (1.27%)
  Ahmadiyya (0.1%)
  Sikhism (0.01%)
  Others (0.01%)

The official religion of Pakistan is Islam, as enshrined by Article 2 of the Constitution, and is practised by approximately 96.47% of the country's population.[1][7] The remaining less than 4% practice Hinduism, Christianity, Ahmadiyya, Sikhism and other religions.[8][9] A few aspects of Secularism have also been adopted by Pakistani constitution from British colonial concept.[10][11][12][13][8] However, religious minorities in Pakistan often face significant discrimination, subject to issues such as violence and the blasphemy laws.[14][15]

Muslims comprise a number of sects: the majority practice Sunni Islam (estimated at 85–90%), while a minority practice Shia Islam (estimated at 10–15%).[16][17][18] Most Pakistani Sunni Muslims belong to the Hanafi school of jurisprudence, which is represented by the Barelvi and Deobandi traditions.[8] However, the Hanbali school is gaining popularity recently due to Wahhabi influence from the Middle East.[19] The majority of Pakistani Shia Muslims belong to the Twelver Islamic law school, with significant minority groups who practice Ismailism, which is composed of Nizari (Aga Khanis), Mustaali, Dawoodi Bohra, Sulaymani, and others.

Before the arrival of Islam beginning in the 8th century, the region comprising Pakistan was home to a diverse plethora of faiths, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Zoroastrianism.[20][21]

Constitutional provisions[edit]

The Constitution of Pakistan establishes Islam as the state religion,[22] and provides that all citizens have the right to profess, practice and propagate their religion subject to law, public order, and morality.[23] The Constitution also states that all laws are to conform with the injunctions of Islam as laid down in the Quran and Sunnah.[24]

The Constitution limits the political rights of Pakistan's non-Muslims. Only Muslims are allowed to become the President[25] or the Prime Minister.[26] Only Muslims are allowed to serve as judges in the Federal Shariat Court, which has the power to strike down any law deemed un-Islamic, though its judgments can be overruled by the Supreme Court of Pakistan.[27] However, non-Muslims have served as judges in the High Courts and Supreme Court.[28] In 2019, Naveed Amir, a Christian member of National assembly moved a bill to amend the article 41 and 91 of the Constitution which would allow non-Muslims to become Prime Minister and President of Pakistan. However, Pakistan's parliament blocked the bill.[29]

Secularism[edit]

Aspects & Practices of secularism[edit]

There was a petition in Supreme Court of Pakistan in the year of 2015 by 17 judges to declare the nation as a "Secular state" officially.[30] Muhammad Ali Jinnah (the founder of Pakistan) wanted Pakistan to be a secular, democratic, and a liberal republic.[31] Pakistan was secular from 1947 to 1955 and after that, Pakistan adopted a constitution in 1956, becoming an Islamic republic with Islam as its state religion.[32]

The main principles of Secularism in the Pakistani constitution were incorporated in its fundamental rights which were granted under various articles of 20, 21, 22 & 25 of the constitution[33] -

(a) Article 20 : Freedom to profess religion and to manage religious institutions.[34]

(b) Article 21 : Safeguard against taxation for purposes of any particular religion.[35]

(c) Article 22 : Safeguards as to educational institutions in respect of religion, etc.[36]

(d) Article 25 : Equality of citizens.[37]

Demographics of religion in Pakistan[edit]

1901 to 1931 census[edit]

The 1961 Census of Pakistan (Volume 1 – page 24 of Part II – Statement 2.19) released estimates on the religious composition of the country to the nearest thousandth for Muslims, Hindus, Christians, and others for 60 years prior.[38]: 93–94 [39]: 20–21  The pre-partition figures were derived from prior decadal censuses taken in administrative divisions in British India that would become part of Pakistan following partition, and included separate results for West Pakistan and East Pakistan. As the area that composes the contemporary nation of Pakistan corresponds with the historical administrative unit of West Pakistan, the figures in the table below are for West Pakistan from the 1901 census, 1911 census, 1921 census, and the 1931 census.

Religion in Pakistan (1901–1931)[a]
Religious
group
1901
[38]: 93–94 [39]: 20–21 
1911
[38]: 93–94 [39]: 20–21 
1921
[38]: 93–94 [39]: 20–21 
1931
[38]: 93–94 [39]: 20–21 
Pop. % Pop. % Pop. % Pop. %
Islam Star and Crescent.svg 10,957,000 80.39% 13,077,000 81.25% 13,554,000 79.53% 16,533,000 77.56%
Hinduism Om.svg 2,327,000 17.07% 2,267,000 14.09% 2,523,000 14.8% 3,115,000 14.61%
Christianity Christian cross.svg 31,000 0.23% 119,000 0.74% 214,000 1.26% 357,000 1.67%
Others[b] 314,000 2.3% 631,000 3.92% 751,000 4.41% 1,312,000 6.15%
Total Responses 13,630,000[c] 82.22% 16,094,000[d] 83.04% 17,042,000[e] 80.74% 21,317,000[f] 90.55%
Total Population 16,577,000[c] 100% 19,381,000[d] 100% 21,108,000[e] 100% 23,541,000[f] 100%

1941 census[edit]

The total population of the region that composes contemporary Pakistan was approximately 29,347,813 according to the final census prior to partition in 1941. With the exception of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, all administrative divisions in the region that composes contemporary Pakistan collected religious data, with a combined total population of 26,970,234, for an overall response rate of 91.9 percent. Similar to the contemporary era, where censuses do not collect religious data in Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit–Baltistan, the total number of responses for religion is slightly smaller than the total population, as detailed in the table breakdown below.

Religious groups in Pakistan (1941)[j]
Religious
group
Pakistan[j] Punjab[40]: 42 [g] Sindh[41]: 28  Khyber
Pakhtunkhwa
[42]: 22 
Balochistan[43]: 13–18  AJK[44]: 337–352 [h] Gilgit–
Baltistan
[44]: 337–352 [i]
Total
Population
Percentage Pop. % Pop. % Pop. % Pop. % Pop. % Pop. %
Islam Star and Crescent.svg 20,859,524 77.34% 13,022,160 75.06% 3,208,325 70.75% 2,788,797 91.79% 785,181 91.53% 939,460 87.54% 115,601 99.62%
Hinduism Om.svg[k] 3,931,961 14.58% 2,373,466 13.68% 1,229,926 27.12% 180,321 5.94% 54,394 6.34% 93,559 8.72% 295 0.25%
Sikhism Khanda.svg 1,671,137 6.2% 1,530,112 8.82% 31,011 0.68% 57,939 1.91% 12,044 1.4% 39,910 3.72% 121 0.1%
Christianity Christian cross.svg 432,629 1.6% 395,311 2.28% 20,209 0.45% 10,889 0.36% 6,056 0.71% 136 0.01% 28 0.02%
Tribal 36,824 0.14% N/A N/A 36,819 0.81% N/A N/A 3 0% 0 0% 2 0%
Jainism Jain Prateek Chihna.svg 13,219 0.05% 9,520 0.05% 3,687 0.08% 1 0% 11 0% 0 0% 0 0%
Zoroastrianism Faravahar.svg 4,249 0.02% 312 0% 3,838 0.08% 24 0% 75 0.01% 0 0% 0 0%
Judaism Star of David.svg 1,179 0.004% 7 0% 1,082 0.02% 71 0% 19 0% 0 0% 0 0%
Buddhism Dharma Wheel (2).svg 266 0.001% 87 0% 111 0% 25 0% 43 0.01% 0 0% 0 0%
Others 19,226 0.07% 19,128 0.11% 0 0% 0 0% 9 0% 89 0.01% 0 0%
Total responses 26,970,234 91.9% 17,350,103 100% 4,535,008 100% 3,038,087[l] 56.1% 857,835 100% 1,073,154 100% 116,047 100%
Total population 29,347,813 100% 17,350,103 100% 4,535,008 100% 5,415,666[l] 100% 857,835 100% 1,073,154 100% 116,047 100%

1951 census[edit]

Refugees during Partition of India, 1947

Religion in Pakistan (1951 Official census)[45]

  Islam (97.1%)
  Hinduism (1.6%)
  Christianity (1.2%)
  Others (0.1%)

After partition, when first census of Pakistan was conducted in the year 1951, It was found that the Muslim percentage as a total population have increased from 69% in 1947 to 97.1% in 1951, within four years leading to overwhelming Muslim majority to the nation,[46] as because the 1947 Partition of India gave rise to bloody rioting and indiscriminate inter-communal killing of Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs across the Indian subcontinent. As a result, around 7.2 million Hindus and Sikhs moved to India and 7.5 million Muslims moved to Pakistan permanently, leading to demographic change of both the nations to a certain extent.[47]

2017 census[edit]

Pakistan Religious diversity as per (2017 census)[4][2][3]
Religion Population %
Muslims (Star and Crescent.svg) 200,352,754 96.47%
Hindus (Om.svg) 4,444,437 2.14%
Christians (Christianity Symbol.svg) 2,637,586 1.27%
Ahmadiyyas 207,688 0.09%
Sikhs (Khanda.svg) 20,768 0.01%
Others (inc. Zoroastrians, Baháʼís, Buddhists, Irreligious) 20,767 0.01%
Total 207,684,000 100%

As per 2017 Census of Pakistan, the country has a population of 207,684,000.The CCI approved the release of provisional population figures of 207.754 million people. The final results showed the total population of Pakistan to be 207.684 million, a reduction of 68,738 people or 0.033% against provisional results,[48] Pakistan has a population of 224,418,238 as of 2021.[49]

As of 2018, there are 3.63 million non-Muslim voters in Pakistan- 1.77 million were Hindus, 1.64 million Christians, 167,505 were Ahmadi Muslims, 31,543 were Baháʼís, 8,852 were Sikhs, 4,020 were Parsis, 1,884 were Buddhist and others such as Kalashas.[50] The NADRA makes it nearly impossible to declare and change the religion to anything from Islam making the statistics somewhat misleading.[51]

Details[edit]

Pakistan Bureau of Statistics released religious data of Pakistan Census 2017 on 19 May 2021.[52] 96.47% are Muslims, followed by 2.14% Hindus, 1.27% Christians, 0.09% Ahmadis and 0.02% others.

These are some maps of religious minority groups. The 2017 census showed an increasing share in Hinduism, mainly caused by a higher birth rate among the impoverished Hindus of Sindh province. This census also recorded Pakistan's first Hindu-majority district, called Umerkot District, where Muslims were previously the majority.

On the other hand, Christianity in Pakistan, while increasing in raw numbers, has fallen significantly in percentage terms since the last census. This is due to Pakistani Christians having a significantly lower fertility rate than Pakistani Muslims and Pakistani Hindus as well as them being concentrated in the most developed parts of Pakistan, Lahore District (over 5% Christian), Islamabad Capital Territory (over 4% Christian), and Northern Punjab.

The Ahmadiyya movement shrunk in size (both raw numbers and percentage) between 1998 and 2017, while remaining concentrated in Lalian Tehsil, Chiniot District, where approximately 13% of the population is Ahmadiyya.

Here are some maps of Pakistan's religious minority groups as of the 2017 census by district:

Demographics of religion by province/territory[edit]

Punjab[edit]

Religion in Punjab, Pakistan (1941−2017)
Religious
group
1941[40]: 42 [g] 1951[53]: 12–21  1998[54] 2017[55][4]
Pop. % Pop. % Pop. % Pop. %
Islam Star and Crescent.svg 13,022,160 75.06% 20,200,794 97.89% 71,574,830 97.22% 107,541,602 97.77%
Hinduism Om.svg[m] 2,373,466 13.68% 33,052 0.16% 116,410 0.16% 211,641 0.19%
Sikhism Khanda.svg 1,530,112 8.82% N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Christianity Christian cross.svg 395,311 2.28% 402,617 1.95% 1,699,843 2.31% 2,063,063 1.88%
Jainism Jain Prateek Chihna.svg 9,520 0.05% N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Ahmadiyya Liwa-e-Ahmadiyya 1-2.svg N/A N/A N/A N/A 181,428 0.25% 158,021 0.14%
Others[n] 19,534 0.11% 239 0% 48,779 0.07% 15,328 0.01%
Total Population 17,350,103 100% 20,636,702 100% 73,621,290 100% 109,989,655 100%

Sindh[edit]

Religion in Sindh (1941−2017)
Religious
group
1941[41]: 28  1951[53]: 22–26 [o] 1998[54] 2017[55][4]
Pop. % Pop. % Pop. % Pop. %
Islam Star and Crescent.svg 3,208,325 70.75% 5,535,645 91.53% 27,796,814 91.32% 43,234,107 90.34%
Hinduism Om.svg 1,229,926 27.12% 482,560 7.98% 2,280,842 7.49% 4,176,986 8.73%
Tribal 36,819 0.81% N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Sikhism Khanda.svg 31,011 0.68% N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Christianity Christian cross.svg 20,209 0.45% 22,601 0.37% 294,885 0.97% 408,301 0.85%
Zoroastrianism Faravahar.svg 3,838 0.08% 5,046 0.08% N/A N/A N/A N/A
Jainism Jain Prateek Chihna.svg 3,687 0.08% N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Judaism Star of David.svg 1,082 0.02% N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Buddhism Dharma Wheel (2).svg 111 0% 670 0.01% N/A N/A N/A N/A
Ahmadiyya Liwa-e-Ahmadiyya 1-2.svg N/A N/A N/A N/A 43,524 0.14% 21,661 0.05%
Others 0 0% 1,226 0.02% 23,828 0.08% 13,455 0.03%
Total Population 4,535,008 100% 6,047,748 100% 30,439,893 100% 47,854,510 100%

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa[edit]

Religion in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (1881–2017)[p]
Religious
group
1881[56]: 95  1891[56]: 95  1901[56]: 95  1911[56]: 95  1941[42]: 22  1951[53]: 9–11  1998[54] 2017[55][4]
Pop. % Pop. % Pop. % Pop. % Pop. % Pop. % Pop. % Pop. %
Islam Star and Crescent.svg 1,451,444 92.1% 1,714,490 92.3% 1,882,294 92.2% 2,039,894 92.86% 2,788,797 92.52% 5,858,080 99.89% 20,808,480 99.47% 35,428,857 99.79%
Hinduism Om.svg 111,892 7.1% 118,881 6.4% 128,617 6.3% 119,942 5.46% 180,321 5.94% 2,432 0.04% 5,368 0.03% 6,373 0.02%
Sikhism Khanda.svg 7,880 0.5% 18,575 1% 26,540 1.3% 30,345 1.38% 57,939 1.91% N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Christianity Christian cross.svg 4,728 0.3% 5,573 0.3% 6,125 0.3% 6,585 0.3% 10,889 0.36% 3,823 0.07% 38,974 0.19% 50,018 0.14%
Ahmadiyya Liwa-e-Ahmadiyya 1-2.svg N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 48,703 0.23% 7,204 0.02%
Others N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 121[q] 0% 215 0% 16,808 0.08% 9,512 0.03%
Total Responses[p] 1,575,943 100% 1,857,519 100% 2,041,534 96.05% 2,196,766 57.52% 3,038,087 56.1% 5,864,550 100% 20,919,976 100% 35,501,964 100%
Total Population[p] 1,575,943 100% 1,857,519 100% 2,125,496 100% 3,819,027 100% 5,415,666 100% 5,864,550 100% 20,919,976 100% 35,501,964 100%

Balochistan[edit]

Religion in Balochistan (1901−2017)
Religious
group
1901[57]: 5  1911[58]: 9–13  1921[59]: 47–52  1931[60]: 149  1941[43]: 13–18  1951[53]: 2  1998[54] 2017[55][4]
Pop. % Pop. % Pop. % Pop. % Pop. % Pop. % Pop. % Pop. %
Islam Star and Crescent.svg 765,368 94.4% 782,648 93.76% 733,477 91.73% 798,093 91.88% 785,181 91.53% 1,137,063 98.52% 6,484,006 98.75% 12,255,528 99.28%
Hinduism Om.svg 38,158 4.71% 38,326 4.59% 51,348 6.42% 53,681 6.18% 54,394 6.34% 13,087 1.13% 39,146 0.6% 49,378 0.4%
Sikhism Khanda.svg 2,972 0.37% 8,390 1.01% 7,741 0.97% 8,425 0.97% 12,044 1.4% N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Christianity Christian cross.svg 4,026 0.5% 5,085 0.61% 6,693 0.84% 8,059 0.93% 6,056 0.71% 3,937 0.34% 26,462 0.4% 33,330 0.27%
Zoroastrianism Faravahar.svg 166 0.02% 170 0.02% 165 0.02% 167 0.02% 75 0.01% 79 0.01% N/A N/A N/A N/A
Judaism Star of David.svg 48 0.01% 57 0.01% 19 0% 17 0% 19 0% N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Jainism Jain Prateek Chihna.svg 8 0% 10 0% 17 0% 17 0% 11 0% N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Buddhism Dharma Wheel (2).svg 0 0% 16 0% 160 0.02% 68 0.01% 43 0.01% 1 0% N/A N/A N/A N/A
Ahmadiyya Liwa-e-Ahmadiyya 1-2.svg N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 9,800 0.15% 2,469 0.02%
Others 0 0% 1 0% 5 0% 75 0.01% 12 0% 0 0% 6,471 0.1% 3,703 0.03%
Total Population 810,746 100% 834,703 100% 799,625 100% 868,617 100% 857,835 100% 1,154,167 100% 6,565,885 100% 12,344,408 100%

Azad Jammu and Kashmir[edit]

Religious groups in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (1941)[h]
Religious
group
1941[44]: 337–352 
Pop. %
Islam Star and Crescent.svg 939,460 87.54%
Hinduism Om.svg 93,559 8.72%
Sikhism Khanda.svg 39,910 3.72%
Christianity Christian cross.svg 136 0.01%
Others 89 0.01%
Total population 1,073,154 100%

Gilgit–Baltistan[edit]

Religious groups in Gilgit–Baltistan (1941)[i]
Religious
group
1941[44]: 337–352 
Pop. %
Islam Star and Crescent.svg 115,601 99.62%
Hinduism Om.svg 295 0.25%
Sikhism Khanda.svg 121 0.1%
Christianity Christian cross.svg 28 0.02%
Tribal 2 0%
Total population 116,047 100%

Islam[edit]

The Faisal Mosque in Islamabad, which is the largest mosque of Pakistan and is also one of the largest in the world, was built by King Faisal of Saudi Arabia.

Islam is the state religion of Pakistan, and about 95-98% of Pakistanis are Muslim.[61] Pakistan has the second largest number of Muslims in the world after Indonesia.[62] The majority are Sunni (estimated at 85-90%),[16][17] with an estimated 10-15% Shia.[16][17][18][63] A PEW survey in 2012 found that 6% of Pakistani Muslims were Shia.[64] There are a number of Islamic law schools called Madhab (schools of jurisprudence), which are called fiqh or 'Maktab-e-Fikr' in Urdu. Nearly all Pakistani Sunni Muslims belong to the Hanafi Islamic school of thought, while a small number belong to the Hanbali school. The majority of Pakistani Shia Muslims belong to the Twelver (Ithna Asharia) branch, with significant minority who adhere to Ismailism branch that is composed of Nizari (Aga Khanis), Mustaali, Dawoodi Bohra, Sulaymani, and others.[65] Sufis and above mentioned Sunni and Shia sects are considered to be Muslims according to the Constitution of Pakistan.

The mosque is an important religious as well as social institution in Pakistan.[66][67] Many rituals and ceremonies are celebrated according to Islamic calendar.

Sufi[edit]

The shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar

Islam to some extent syncretized with pre-Islamic influences, resulting in a religion with some traditions distinct from those of the Arab world. Two Sufis whose shrines receive much national attention are Ali Hajweri in Lahore (ca. 11th century) and Shahbaz Qalander in Sehwan, Sindh (ca. 12th century).[citation needed] Sufism, a mystical Islamic tradition, promoted by Fariduddin Ganjshakar in Pakpatan, has a long history and a large popular following in Pakistan. Popular Sufi culture is centered on Thursday night gatherings at shrines and annual festivals which feature Sufi music and dance. Contemporary Islamic fundamentalists criticize its popular character, which in their view, does not accurately reflect the teachings and practice of the Islamic prophet Muhammad and his companions. There have been terrorist attacks directed at Sufi shrines and festivals, 5 in 2010 that killed 64 people.[68][69]

Ahmadiyya[edit]

Yadgar Mosque, the first mosque of Rabwah

According to the last Census in Pakistan, Ahmadi made up 0.22% of the population; however, the Ahmadiyya community boycotted the census. Independent groups generally estimate the population to be somewhere between two and five million Ahmadis. In media reports, four million is the most commonly cited figure.[70]

In 1974, the government of Pakistan amended the Constitution of Pakistan to define a Muslim according to Qu'ran 33:40,[71] as a person who believes in finality of Muhammad under the Ordinance XX. According to Ordinance XX, Ahmadis cannot call themselves Muslim or "pose as Muslims" which is punishable by three years in prison.[72] Ahmadis believe in Muhammad as the final law-bearing prophet, but also believe Mirza Ghulam Ahmad to be a prophet, the prophecised Mehdi and second coming of Jesus. Consequently, Ahmadis were declared non-Muslims by a parliamentary tribunal and are subject to persecution under Pakistani blasphemy laws.

Hinduism[edit]

Shri Hinglaj Mata temple shakti peetha is the largest Hindu pilgrimage centre in Pakistan. The annual Hinglaj Yathra is attended by more than 250,000 people.[73]

Hinduism is the second largest religion affiliation in Pakistan after Islam.[74] As of 2020, Pakistan has the fourth largest Hindu population in the world after India, Nepal and Bangladesh.[75] According to the 1998 Census, the Hindu population was found to be 2,111,271 (including 332,343 scheduled castes Hindus). While according to latest census of 2017, There are 4.4 million Hindus in Pakistan out of 207.68 million total population comprising 2.14% of the country's population of both General and Schedule caste.[48] Hindus are found in all provinces of Pakistan but are mostly concentrated in Sindh. About 93% of Hindus live in Sindh, 5% in Punjab and nearly 2% in Balochistan.[76] They speak a variety of languages such as Sindhi, Seraiki, Aer, Dhatki, Gera, Goaria, Gurgula, Jandavra, Kabutra, Koli, Loarki, Marwari, Sansi, Vaghri[77] and Gujarati.[78]

The Rig Veda, the oldest Hindu text, is believed to have been composed in the Punjab region in the Indian subcontinent around 1500 BCE[79] and spread from there across South and South East Asia slowly developing and evolving into the various forms of the faith we see today.[80]

Many ancient Hindu temples are located throughout Pakistan. A significant Hindu pilgrimage site known as Hinglaj Mata takes place in southern Balochistan, where over 250,000 people visit during spring as a pilgrimage.

Cases collected by Global Human Rights Defence show that underage Hindu (and Christian) girls are often targeted by Muslims for forced conversion to Islam.[14] According to the National Commission of Justice and Peace and the Pakistan Hindu Council (PHC) around 1,000 non-Muslim minority women are converted to Islam and then forcibly married off to their abductors or rapists.[81][15]

Christianity[edit]

Christians (Urdu: مسيحى، عیسائی) make up 1.3% of Pakistan's population.[82] The majority of the Pakistani Christian community consists of Punjabis who converted during the British colonial era and their descendants. Pakistani Christians mainly live in Punjab and in urban centres. There is also a Roman Catholic community in Karachi which was established by Goan and Tamil migrants when Karachi's infrastructure was being developed between the two World Wars. A few Protestant groups conduct missions in Pakistan. The present Christian population in Pakistan is ranged between 2-3 million as per as recent (2020–21) year estimation by various institution and NGOs of Pakistan.[3] There is a small myth that Christianity has been existent in Pakistan ever since a few decades after the crucifixion of Jesus. This myth became more popular after the finding of a structure looking like a giant cross in Northern Pakistan, but there is almost no evidence that this cross is related to Christianity.

There are a number of church-run schools in Pakistan that admit students of all religions, including Forman Christian College,[83][84] St. Patrick's Institute of Science & Technology and Saint Joseph's College for Women, Karachi.

Pakistan is number eight on Open Doors’ 2022 World Watch List, an annual ranking of the 50 countries where Christians face the most extreme persecution.[85] Cases collected by Global Human Rights Defence show that young underage Christian (and Hindu) girls are sometimes targeted by Muslims for forced conversion to Islam.[14][15] Christians also often face abuses of Pakistani blasphemy laws, notably in the case of Asia Bibi.

Other religions[edit]

Baháʼí[edit]

The Baháʼí Faith in Pakistan begins previous to its independence when it was still under British colonial rule. The roots of the religion in the region go back to the first days of the Bábí religion in 1844,[86] with Shaykh Sa'id Hindi who was from Multan.[87] During Bahá'u'lláh's lifetime, as founder of the religion, he encouraged some of his followers to move to the area that is present day Pakistan.[88]

The Baháʼís in Pakistan have the right to hold public meetings, establish academic centers, teach their faith, and elect their administrative councils.[89] Bahá'í sources claim their population to be around 30,000.[90] Shoba Das of Minority Rights Group International reported around 200 Baháʼís in Islamabad and between 2,000 and 3,000 Baháʼís in Pakistan, in 2013.[91] One more PhD thesis says that "It is an assumption that the Bahá’ís do not want to declare their exact population, which is supposed to be more or less 3,000 in total." Most of these Bahá’ís have their roots in Iran.[92]

Sikhism[edit]

Gurdwara Janam Asthan, the birthplace of the founder of Sikhism in Nankana Sahib

In the 15th century, the reformist Sikh movement originated in the Punjab region of the Indian subcontinent where Sikhism's founder, as well as most of the faiths disciples, originated from. There are a number of Sikhs living throughout Pakistan today; estimates vary, but the number is thought to be on the order of 20,000. In recent years, their numbers have increased with many Sikhs migrating from neighboring Afghanistan who have joined their co-religionists in Pakistan.[93] The shrine of Guru Nanak Dev is located in Nankana Sahib near the city of Lahore where many Sikhs from all over the world make pilgrimage to this and other shrines.

Zoroastrianism[edit]

There are at least 4,000 Pakistani citizen practicing the Zoroastrian religion.[94] The region of Balochistan is believed to be a stronghold of Zoroastrianism before the advent of Islam.[95][96] With the flight of Zoroastrians from Greater Iran into the Indian subcontinent, the Parsi communities were established. More recently, from the 15th century onwards, Zorastrians came to settle the coast of Sindh and have established thriving communities and commercial enterprises. At the time of independence of Pakistan in 1947, Karachi and Lahore were home to a thriving Parsi business community. Karachi had the most prominent population of Parsis in Pakistan, though their population is declining.[97][98] Parsis have entered Pakistani public life as social workers, business folk, journalists and diplomats. The most prominent Parsis of Pakistan today include Ardeshir Cowasjee, Byram Dinshawji Avari, Jamsheed Marker, as well as Minocher Bhandara. The founding father of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, married Ratti Bai who belonged to a Parsi family before her conversion to Islam.[99]

Kalash[edit]

Guardians of a Kalasha village in the valley of Mumuret (Bumburet)

The Kalash people practise a form of ancient Hinduism[100] mixed with animism.[101] Adherents of the Kalash religion number around 3,000 and inhabit three remote valleys in Chitral; Bumboret, Rumbur and Birir. Their religion has been compared to that of ancient Greece, but they are much closer to the Hindu traditions in other parts of the Indian subcontinent.[100] It is more similar to the historical Vedic religion, than later forms of Hinduism.[102]

Jainism[edit]

A Jain Temple at Sirkap, part of the Indo-Greek kingdom, near modern-day Taxila, Punjab, Pakistan

Several ancient Jain shrines are scattered across the country.[103] Baba Dharam Dass was a holy man whose tomb is located near the bank of a creek called (Deoka or Deokay or Degh) near Chawinda Phatic, behind the agricultural main office in Pasrur, near the city of Sialkot in Punjab, Pakistan. Another prominent Jain monk of the region was Vijayanandsuri of Gujranwala, whose samadhi (memorial shrine) still stands in the city.[103]

Buddhism[edit]

A statue of Buddha (at Jaulian, Taxila) with a hole in the navel is an odd artifact. It is called the "Healing Buddha". Buddhist pilgrims put their fings in the navel hole and pray for the ailment of the patients.

Buddhism has an ancient history in Pakistan; currently there is a small community of at least 1500 Pakistani Buddhist in the country.[94] The country is dotted with numerous ancient and disused Buddhist stupas along the entire breadth of the Indus River that courses through the heart of the country. Many Buddhist empires and city states existed, notably in Gandhara but also elsewhere in Taxila, Punjab and Sindh.[104]

The number of Buddhist voters was 1,884 in 2017 and are mostly concentrated in Sindh and Punjab.[105]

Judaism[edit]

Various estimates suggest that there were about 1,500 Jews living in Pakistan at the time of its independence on 14 August 1947, with the majority living in Karachi and a few living in Peshawar. However, almost all emigrated to Israel after 1948. There are a few disused synagogues in both cities; while one Karachi synagogue was torn down for the construction of a shopping mall. The one in Peshawar still exists, although the building is not being used for any religious purpose. There is a small Jewish community of Pakistani origin settled in Ramla, Israel.

One Pakistani, Faisal Khalid (a.k.a. Fishel Benkhald) of Karachi claims to be Pakistan's only Jew.[106][107] He claimed that his mother is Jewish (making him Jewish by Jewish custom) but, his father is a Muslim. Pakistani authorities have issued him a passport which stated Judaism as his religion and have allowed him to travel to Israel.[108][109][110]

Irreligion[edit]

Irreligion is present among a minority of mainly young people in Pakistan. There are people who do not profess any faith (such as atheists and agnostics) in Pakistan, but their numbers are not known.[111] They are particularly in the affluent areas of the larger cities. Some were born in secular families while others in religious ones. According to the 1998 census, people who did not state their religion accounted for 0.5% of the population, but social pressure against claiming no religion was strong.[93] A 2012 study by Gallup Pakistan found that people not affiliated to any religion account for 1% of the population.[112] Many atheists in Pakistan have been lynched and imprisoned over unsubstantiated allegations of blasphemy. When the state initiated a full-fledged crackdown on atheism since 2017, it has become worse with secular bloggers being kidnapped and the government running advertisements urging people to identify blasphemers among them and the highest judges declaring such people to be terrorists.[113]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  1. ^ Figures in table are for West Pakistan, as the area that composes the contemporary nation of Pakistan corresponds with the historical administrative unit of West Pakistan.
  2. ^ Including Sikhism, Jainism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Tribals, others, or not stated
  3. ^ a b Religions break up of 2,947,000 persons are not available as such those have been excluded from all relevant totals.[38]: 94 [39]: 21 
  4. ^ a b Religions break up of 3,287,000 persons are not available as such those have been excluded from all relevant totals.[38]: 94 [39]: 21 
  5. ^ a b Religions break up of 4,066,000 persons are not available as such those have been excluded from all relevant totals.[38]: 94 [39]: 21 
  6. ^ a b Religions break up of 2,224,000 persons are not available as such those have been excluded from all relevant totals.[38]: 94 [39]: 21 
  7. ^ a b c 1941 figure taken from census data by combining the total population of all districts (Lahore, Sialkot, Gujranwala, Sheikhupura, Gujrat, Shahpur, Jhelum, Rawalpindi, Attock, Mianwali, Montgomery, Lyallpur, Jhang, Multan, Muzaffargargh, Dera Ghazi Khan), one tehsil (Shakargarh – then part of Gurdaspur District), one princely state (Bahawalpur), and one tract (Biloch Trans–Frontier) in Punjab Province, British India that ultimately fell on the western side of the Radcliffe Line. See 1941 census data here:[40]: 42 
    Immediately following the partition of India in 1947, these districts and tract would ultimately make up the subdivision of West Punjab, which also later included Bahawalpur. The state that makes up this region in the contemporary era is Punjab, Pakistan.
  8. ^ a b c 1941 figure taken from census data by combining the total population of two districts (Mirpur and Muzaffarabad) and one Jagir (Poonch) in the Princely State of Jammu and Kashmir that ultimately would be administered by Pakistan, in the contemporary self-administrative territory of Azad Jammu and Kashmir. See 1941 census data here:[44]: 337–352 
  9. ^ a b c 1941 figure taken from census data by combining the total population of one district (Astore) and one agency (Gilgit) in the Princely State of Jammu and Kashmir that ultimately would be administered by Pakistan, in the contemporary administrative territory of Gilgit–Baltistan. See 1941 census data here:[44]: 337–352 
  10. ^ a b 1941 figure taken from census data by combining the total population of all administrative divisions that compose the region of contemporary Pakistan, including Punjab,[40]: 42 [g] Sindh,[41]: 28  Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,[42]: 22  Balochistan,[43]: 13–18  Azad Jammu and Kashmir,[44]: 337–352 [h] and Gilgit–Baltistan.[44]: 337–352 [i]
  11. ^ Including Ad-Dharmis
  12. ^ a b Religious data only collected in North West Frontier Province, and not in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. Total responses to religion includes North West Frontier Province, and total population includes both North West Frontier Province and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, both administrative divisions which later amalgamated to become Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
  13. ^ 1941 census: Including Ad-Dharmis
  14. ^ 1941 census: Including Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Tribals, others, or not stated
    2017 census: Also includes Sikhs, Parsis, Baháʼís, others, and not stated
  15. ^ Including Federal Capital Territory (Karachi)
  16. ^ a b c Pre-partition populations for religious data is for North-West Frontier Province only and excludes the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (both administrative divisions later merged to form Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in 2018), as religious data was not collected in the latter region at the time.
    1951, 1998, and 2017 populations for religious data combine the North-West Frontier Province and Federally Administered Tribal Areas, both administrative divisions which later merged to form Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in 2018.
  17. ^ Included 71 Jews, 25 Buddhists, 24 Parsis (Zoroastrians), and 1 Jain.

External links[edit]