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Pakistanis are the Pakistani nationality law|citizens and nationals of the Pakistan|Islamic Republic of Pakistan. According to the 2017 Census of Pakistan|2017 Pakistani national census, the population of Pakistan stood at over 213 million people, making it the world's List of countries and dependencies by population|fifth-most populous country.[1] The majority of Pakistanis natively speak languages belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages|Indo-Aryan and Iranian languages|Iranian language families.

Located in South Asia, the country is also the source of a Overseas Pakistani|significantly large diaspora, most of whom reside in the Arab states of the Persian Gulf|Arab countries of the Persian Gulf, with an estimated population of 4.7 million.[2] The second-largest Pakistani diaspora resides throughout both Northwestern Europe and Western Europe, where there are an estimated 2.4 million; over half of this figure reside in the United Kingdom (see British Pakistanis).[3][4]

Ethnic subgroups

Having one of the List of countries by population growth rate|fastest-growing populations in the world, Pakistan's people belong to various ethnic groups, with the overwhelming majority being speakers of the Indo-Iranian languages|Indo-Iranic languages.[5] Ethnically, Indo-Aryan peoples comprise the majority of the population in the eastern provinces of Punjab, Pakistan|Pakistani Punjab and Sindh while Iranian peoples|Iranic peoples comprise the majority in the western provinces of Balochistan, Pakistan|Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. In addition to Administrative units of Pakistan|its four provinces, Pakistan also administers Kashmir conflict|two disputed territories known as Azad Kashmir|Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan|Gilgit–Baltistan; both territories also have an Indo-Aryan majority with the exception of the latter's subregion of Baltistan, which is largely inhabited by Tibetan peoples. Pakistan also hosts a significant population of Dravidian peoples, the majority of whom are South Indians who trace their roots to historical Princely state|princely states such as Hyderabad State|Hyderabad Deccan and are identified with the multi-ethnic community of Mahajir (Pakistan)|Muhajirs (Template:Literal translation), who arrived in the country after the Partition of India|partition of British India in 1947.[6][7]

Major ethnolinguistic groups in the country include Punjabis, Pashtuns, Sindhis, Saraiki people|Saraikis, and Baloch people;[8][9] with significant numbers of Kashmiris, Brahui people|Brahuis, Hindkowans, Pahari people (Kashmir)|Paharis, Shina people, Burusho people, Wakhi people|Wakhis, Balti people|Baltis, Kho people|Chitralis, and other minorities.[10][11]



The existence of Pakistan as an Islamic state since Constitution of Pakistan of 1956|1956 has led to the large-scale injection of Islam into most aspects of Pakistani culture and everyday life, which has accordingly impacted the historical values and traditions of the Islam in Pakistan|Muslim-majority population. Marriages and other major events are significantly impacted by regional differences in culture, but generally follow Fiqh|Islamic jurisprudence where required. The national dress of Pakistan is the shalwar kameez, a Unisex clothing|unisex garment commonly worn throughout Central Asia and South Asia.[12][13] However, Pakistani clothing varies regionally and traditionally reflects historical ethnolinguistic links,[14] with Clothing in India|Indian cultural clothing such as kurtas, dhotis, and saris having more prominence among the Indo-Aryan peoples|Indo-Aryan and Dravidian peoples|Dravidian communities;[15] and Persian clothing|Persianate clothing such as chador or burqa, khetpartug, and Perahan o tunban|perahan-o tunban having more prominence among the Iranian peoples|Iranic communities.[16]


Urdu, an Indo-Aryan languages|Indo-Aryan language, is the lingua franca of Pakistan, and while it shares official status with English language|English, it is the preferred and dominant language used for inter-communication between different ethnic groups. However, despite serving as the country's national language, Urdu is spoken as a second language by most Pakistanis, with nearly 93 percent of the population speaking a first language other than Urdu. Numerous regional and provincial languages are spoken as native languages by Pakistan's various ethnolinguistic groups, with the Punjabi language having a national plurality as the first language of approximately 45 percent of the total population. Languages with more than a million speakers each include Pashto, Sindhi language|Sindhi, Saraiki language|Saraiki, Balochi language|Balochi, Brahui language|Brahui, and Hindko. The Pakistani English|Pakistani dialect of English is also widely spoken throughout the country, albeit mostly in urban centres such as Islamabad and Karachi.


Pakistan officially endorses Islam as a state religion and utilizes Sharia in governance across the entire country to a large degree. The overwhelming majority of Pakistanis identify as Muslims, and the country has the Islam by country|second-largest population of Muslims in the world after Indonesia.[17][18] Other minority religious faiths include Hinduism in Pakistan|Hinduism, Christianity in Pakistan|Christianity, Ahmadiyya in Pakistan|Ahmadiyya, Sikhism in Pakistan|Sikhism, the Baháʼí Faith in Pakistan|Baháʼí Faith, Parsis|Zoroastrianism, and Kalash people#Religion|Kalasha. Pakistan's Hindu and Christian minorities comprise the second- and third-largest religious groups in the country, respectively.


Irreligion, agnosticism, and atheism are present amongst a minority of Pakistanis, the majority of whom belong to the newer generations.[19][20][21] According to a 2005 Gallup (company)#World Poll|Gallup World Poll, 1 percent of Pakistani respondents identified themselves as atheists. By 2012, the figure had risen to 2 percent. The same poll also surveyed 2,700 other people in Pakistan, of whom 54 were self-declared irreligious.[22]


File:Map of the Pakistani Diaspora in the World.svg|right|thumb|Distribution of Pakistani diaspora
Template:Legend Template:Legend Template:Legend Template:Legend Template:Legend The Pakistani diaspora maintains a significant presence in the Middle East, Europe, North America, and Australia (continent)|Australia. According to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Pakistan has the List of sovereign states and dependent territories by immigrant population#UN 2019 report: emigrant population|seventh-largest diaspora in the world.[23] According to the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development of the Government of Pakistan, approximately 8.8 million Pakistanis live abroad, with the vast majority (over 4.7 million) residing in the Arab states of the Persian Gulf.[24]

See also

  • List of Pakistanis
  • Demographics of Pakistan
    • Ethnic groups in Pakistan
  • Overseas Pakistani|Overseas Pakistanis



  1. (28 August 2017). "Census results show 59.7pc growth in Karachi's population, 116pc in Lahore's since 1998" (in en). DAWN.COM. 
  2. "Overseas Pakistani" (in en). 
  3. "2.43 million Pakistanis working in Europe". 23 April 2017. 
  4. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named 2011census
  5. Pakistan Population. (28 August 2019). Retrieved 2019-09-14, from
  6. "Muhajir | people" (in en). 
  7. "Pakistan - People" (in en). 
  8. "Ethnic Groups In Pakistan" (in en-US). 
  9. "Pakistan - Linguistic and Ethnic Groups". 
  10. Hurst, Christopher O. (1996-01-01). "Pakistan's ethnic divide". Studies in Conflict & Terrorism 19 (2): 179–198. doi:10.1080/10576109608436002. ISSN 1057-610X. 
  11. Ahmed, Feroz (1996). "Ethnicity, Class and State in Pakistan". Economic and Political Weekly 31 (47): 3050–3053. ISSN 0012-9976. 
  12. "National costume of Pakistan. Pakistani officials are required to dress in folk clothing since the 1980s -". 
  13. "Traditional Pakistani Clothing - Pakistani Clothes" (in en-US). 
  14. Prashant Rupera (Dec 21, 2012). "Pakistan 'Islamised' sarees, like its happening to Urdu: Chishti | India News - Times of India" (in en). 
  15. "Sari trend in Pakistan as a formal wear is amazing these days" (in en-US). 2011-02-05. 
  16. "How do cultural dresses make you stand out in the crowd?" (in en-US). 2018-01-31. 
  17. Singh, Dr. Y P (2016). Islam in India and Pakistan – A Religious History. Vij Books India Pvt Ltd. ISBN 9789385505638. 
  18. see: Islam by country
  19. "Pakistani youths turning into atheists". IBN Live. 
  20. "Global Index of Religiosity and Atheism". WIN/GIA. 
  21. "The hardest part about being faithless". Pakistan Today. 
  22. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named auto
  23. Service, Tribune News. "India has largest diaspora population in world: UN" (in en). 
  24. "Year Book 2017-18". Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development. 

Further reading

  • Abbasi, Nadia Mushtaq. "The Pakistani diaspora in Europe and its impact on democracy building in Pakistan." International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (2010).
  • Awan, Shehzadi Zamurrad. "Relevance of Education for Women's Empowerment in Punjab, Pakistan." Journal of International Women's Studies 18.1 (2016): 208+ online
  • Bolognani, Marta, and Stephen Lyon, eds. Pakistan and its diaspora: multidisciplinary approaches (Springer, 2011).
  • Eglar, Zekiya. A Punjabi Village in Pakistan: Perspectives on Community, Land, and Economy (Oxford UP, 2010).
  • Kalra, Virinder S., ed. Pakistani Diasporas: Culture, conflict, and change (Oxford UP, 2009).
  • Lukacs, John, ed. The people of South Asia: the biological anthropology of India, Pakistan, and Nepal (Springer, 2013).
  • Marsden, Magnus. "Muslim village intellectuals: the life of the mind in northern Pakistan." Anthropology today 21.1 (2005): 10-15.
  • Mughal, M. A. Z. "An anthropological perspective on the mosque in Pakistan." Asian Anthropology 14.2 (2015): 166-181.
  • Rauf, Abdur. "Rural women and the family: A study of a Punjabi village in Pakistan." Journal of Comparative Family Studies (1987): 403-415.

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