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Pakistan Demographics

Demographics of Pakistan

This article is about the demographic features of the population of Pakistan, including population density,ethnicity, education level, health of the populace, economic status, religious affiliations and other aspects of the population.
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1st row: Muhammad Ali Jinnah · Muhammad Iqbal · Abdus Salam
2nd row: Zulfikar Ali Bhutto · Noor Jehan · Ayub Khan
3rd row: Abdul Sattar Edhi · Abdul Qadeer Khan · Imran Khan
4th row: Atif Aslam · Sayeeda Warsi · Sadiq Khan
5th row: Rahim Shah · Shahid Afridi · Nadia Ali
6th row:Benazir Bhutto · Bohemia_(musician) · Mahira Khan
Total population
187 million approx.
Regions with significant populations
Primarily Pakistan, Large diaspora in United KingdomSaudi ArabiaUnited StatesCanada,UAEItalyFranceNorway and Spain
UrduPunjabiSindhiPashtoBalochiSaraiki and others
Islam 97% (Sunni majority, 5–20%Shia[1][2][3][4][5]) with Christian, Zorastrian Hindu,Sikh and Bahai minorities
Demographics of Islamic Republic of Pakistan

Population of Pakistan, 1961–2003
Population:187,343,000 (2011 est.)
Growth rate:1.6%[6]
Birth rate:31 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Death rate:8 deaths/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Life expectancy:63.39 years (2009 est.)
–male:62.4 years (2009 est.)
–female:64.44 years (2009 est.)
Fertility rate:3.58 children born/woman (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate:{{{infant_mortality}}}
Age structure:
0-14 years:36.7% (male 33,037,943/female 31,092,572)
15-64 years:59.1% (male 53,658,173/female 49,500,786)
65-over:4.2% (male 3,495,350/female 3,793,734) (2009 est.)
Sex ratio:
At birth:1.00 male(s)/female (2006 est.)
Under 15:1.06 male(s)/female (2006 est.)
15-64 years:1.05 male(s)/female (2006 est.)
65-over:0.82 male(s)/female (2006 est.)
Nationality:noun: Pakistani
Major ethnic:See Ethnic Groups of Pakistan
Official:See Languages of Pakistan
Spoken:See List of Pakistani languages by number of native speakers
Pakistan's estimated population in 2011 is over 187 million[7][8]making it the world's sixth most-populous country, behindBrazil and ahead of Bangladesh. During 1950–2011, Pakistan's urban population expanded over sevenfold, while the total population increased by over fourfold. In the past, the country's population had a relatively high growth rate that has, however, been moderated by declining fertility and birth rates. The population growth rate now stands at 1.6%.[6]
Dramatic social changes have led to rapid urbanization and the emergence of megacities. During 1990–2003, Pakistan sustained its historical lead as the second most urbanized nation in South Asia with city dwellers making up 36% of its population.[9] Furthermore, 50% of Pakistanis now reside in towns of 5,000 people or more.[10]
Pakistan has a multicultural and multi-ethnic society and hosts one of the largest refugee populations in the world as well as a young population.



[edit]Population data

Population density in Pakistan.

[edit]Geographic distribution

The majority of southern Pakistan's population lives along the Indus RiverKarachi is the most populous city in Pakistan. In the northern half, most of the population lives about an arc formed by the cities of FaisalabadLahore,RawalpindiIslamabadGujranwalaSialkotNowshera,SwabiMardan and Peshawar.

[edit]Population and growth

Historical populations

  • Population: 187,342,721 (July 2011 est.)
  • Growth rate: 1.573% (2011 est.)
  • Birth rate: 24.81 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
  • Death rate: 6.92 deaths/1,000 population (2011 est.)
  • Net migration rate: -2.17 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)

Source: OECD/World Bank
According to OECD/World Bank population in Pakistan increased from 1990 to 2008 with 58 million and 54 % growth in population compared to 34 % growth in India and 38 % growth in Bangladesh.[11]

[edit]Pakistanis around the world[12]


[edit]Age structure

  • 0–14 years: 42% (male 33,293,428; female 31,434,314)
  • 15–64 years: 54.9% (male 48,214,298; female 46,062,933)
  • 65 years and over: 4.1% (male 3,256,065; female 3,542,522) (2006 est.)
  • 0–14 years: 36.7% (male 33,037,943/female 31,092,572)
  • 15–64 years: 59.1% (male 53,658,173/female 49,500,786)
  • 65 years and over: 4.2% (male 3,495,350/female 3,793,734) (2009 est.)

[edit]Gender ratios

  • Sex ratio at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
  • under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
  • 15–64 years: 1.09 male(s)/female
  • 65 years and over: 0.92 male(s)/female
  • total population: 1.07 male(s)/female (2011 est.)

[edit]Human development

[edit]Human Development Index

According to the 2009 Human Development Report of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), 60.3% of Pakistanis live on less than $2 a day.[5]
 Saudi Arabia1,500,000
 United Kingdom1,400,000
 United Arab Emirates700,000  – 1,000,000
 United States600,410[13] – 1,000,000
ProvinceHuman Development IndexComparable Country
Medium human development
Punjab0.670 Tajikistan
Sindh0.628 India
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa0.607 Solomon Islands
Balochistan0.556 Ghana
Sources: Information on Pakistani regions:[7] Information on other countries:[14] All Estimated at 3 decimal points.
RegionHuman Development IndexComparable Country
Medium human development
Urban Sindh0.659 Equatorial Guinea/ South Africa
Urban Punjab0.657 Equatorial Guinea/ South Africa
Urban Khyber Pakhtunkhwa0.627 India
Urban Balochistan0.591 Solomon Islands
Rural Punjab0.517 Sudan
Low human development
Rural Khyber Pakhtunkhwa0.489 Zimbabwe/ Kenya
Rural Balochistan0.486 Mauritania
Rural Sindh0.456 Eritrea
RegionHuman Development IndexComparable Country
Medium human development
Urban Pakistan0.656 Equatorial Guinea/ South Africa
Low human development
Rural Pakistan0.496 Togo
Note: Regarding the above two tables, information on Pakistan has been taken from the PAKISTAN NATIONAL HUMAN DEVELOPMENT REPORT 2003 and for the countries of the world, information has been take from the Human Development Report 2006 as it best reflects the time when data was taken for Pakistan. Pakistan National Human Development Report gave Pakistan an HDI score of 0.541 where as the Human Development Report 2006 gave it a score of 0.539. So this is the MOST ACCURATE comparison.

[edit]Mortality and life expectancy

  • Infant mortality rate: 62 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)[17]
  • Maternal mortality rate: 320 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)[17]
  • Life expectancy at birth:
    • total population: 65.5 years (2007 est.)[18]
    • male: 66.5 years (2009 est.)[17]
    • female: 67.2 years (2009 est.)[17]
As adultery is a crime punishable by death in Pakistan, just in the main cities 1,210 infants were killed or abandoned to die, 90% of them girls and most less than a week old according to conservative estimates by the Edhi Foundation, a charity working to reverse this increasing trend.[19]


  • Total fertility rate: 3.17 children born/woman (2011 est.)

[edit]Fertility by region (2007)

RegionFertility Rate
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa4.3

[edit]Fertility by level of Education (2007)

Level of
Fertility Rate


definition: aged 10 and over and can read and write
  • Total population: 60%
  • Male: 69%
  • Female: 45% (2009 est.)

[edit]Educational institutions by kind




[edit]Pakistan's yearly population

Pakistan's yearly population from 1950 to 2011.[25]
YearPopulationAbsolute IncreasePercentage Increase

[edit]Foreign born population in Pakistan

The second biggest group of foreign born population consists of Muslim refugees from Afghanistan that have settled in Pakistan due to civil war in Afghanistan. The smaller groups consist of Muslim refugees fromMyanmar, Iraq, Somalia, Bangladesh, Iran, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, etc.

Mostly those born pre 1947
YearPopulationForeign BornPercentage Foreign Born
Source: [26]

[edit]Nationality and ethnicity

[edit]Ethnic groups

Major ethnic groups in Pakistan, 1973.

Biggest Group by Region
Pakistan's diversity is more visible along cultural differences and less along linguistic, religious or genetic lines. Almost all Pakistanis belong to the Indo-Iranians ancestral group. Pakistan's rough estimates vary, but the consensus is that the Punjabis are the largest ethnic group. Pashtuns make up the second largest and Sindhi are the third largest ethnic groups.[27][28][not in citation given] Saraikis, (a transitional group between Punjabis and Sindhis) make up 10.53% of the total population. The remaining large groups include the Muhajirsand the Baloch people that make up 7.57% and 3.57% of the total population, respectively. Hindkowans and the Brahui, and the various peoples of the Gilgit-Baltistan, constitute roughly 4.66% of the total population. The Pakhtun and Baloch represent two of the major populations that are linguisticallyIranic, while the majority Punjabis, Hindkowans, Sindhis and Saraikis are the major linguistically Indo-Aryan groups.
Descendents of Black African that where brought as slaves in 15th to the 19th century are known as Sheedis. The Sheedisare Muslims and speak BalochiSindhi and Urdu.
In 1850, the British started developing Karachi as a major port for trade and commerce resulting in arrival of large number immigrants from Rajasthan, Gujarat and Goa. The GoanCatholics constitute the majority of the Christians in the city.[29]
After Pakistan-India war in 1971, thousands of Biharis andBengalis from Bangladesh arrived in the Karachi, followed by Muslim Rohingya refugees[30] from Burma, and Asians fromUganda. According to the UNHCR and the local law enforcement, approximately 500,000 Afghan refugees live in Karachi.[31]
Ethnics groups from Afghanistan, Central Asia and Iran include HazaraUzbeksTurkmensTajiksKyrgyzs,NuristanisPashaisPamirisBrahuisDardsBaltisBurushosUyghurs and Wakhis. Approximately 2.7 million Afghan refugees remain in Pakistan, though the exact number can be higher.[32][33] They are not counted in the national census since they are considered citizens of Afghanistan. In addition, there are pockets of refugees/migrants including IraqisIraniansTajiksSomalisRohingyas, and others.
All major ethnic groups in Pakistan, while categorized as separate entities, have thousands of years of shared history and inter-mingling. Thus, the genetic (as well as cultural and linguistic) differences between ethnic groups in Pakistan and those of its neighbours (Southeastern Afghanistan, North-Western India and others) are insignificant. In addition, inter-marriages between ethnic groups within Pakistan are becoming quite common.


According to the CIA World FactbookLibrary of CongressOxford University, over 97% of the population of Pakistan is Muslim and the remaining 3% is Christian, Hindu and others.[3][4][34] Majority of the Muslims practice Sunni Islam while the Shi'a make up 10–20%.[1][2][3][4][5][34]
In Pakistan, nearly all Sunnis belong to Hanafi school. The majority of Pakistani Shia Muslims belong to theIthnā‘Ashariyyah branch,[3] while there are some who practice Ismailism. There are small non-Muslim religious groups, including The Ahmadiyya Christians, Jews, HindusBuddhistsSikhsParsisBahá'ís andZoroastrians (Parsis).

[edit]Religious population In Pakistan

[edit]Languages of Pakistan

Census History of Major languages
RankLanguage1998 census1982 census1961 census1951 census
4Seraiki10.53%9.54%-- -- 
{* Seraiki was included with Punjabi in the 1951 and 1961 censuses.}
Following are the major languages spoken in Pakistan. The percentage of Pakistanis who are native speakers of that language is also given.
Numbers of speakers of larger languages
Language2008 estimate1998 censusMain areas spoken
2Pashto26,692,89015.44%20,408,62115.42%Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
4Seraiki18,019,61010.42%13,936,59410.53%South Punjab
There are around 75 to 80 known Pakistani languages although, in practice, there are primarily six major languages in Pakistan spoken by 95% of the population: Punjabi, Pashto, Sindhi, Saraiki, Urdu and Balochi. The official language is English and the national language is Urdu, the census indicates that around 8% of the population speak Urdu as their first language. However, due to rapid urbanization and modernization, the use of Urdu as a primary language is increasing, especially amongst the growing urbanized middle class of Pakistan. Around 44% speak Punjabi, 15.5% speak Pashto, 15.5% speak Sindhi, 10.5% Saraiki, 7.5% Urdu, 3.5% Balochi and 3.5% other languages (HindkoBrahui etc.) as their first language. Most Pakistanis, however, speak or understand at least two to three languages and almost all Pakistanis speak or understand the national language, Urdu.
The most prevalent native languages appear in bold below, with the percentage of the population speaking them as their first language rounded to the nearest percentage point:

[edit]English (official language)

English is the official language, being widely used within the government, by the civil service and the officer ranks of the military. Pakistan's Constitution and laws are written in English. Nearly all schoolscolleges anduniversities, use English as the medium of instruction. Amongst the more educated social circles of Pakistan, English is seen as the language of upward mobility and its use is becoming more prevalent in upper social circles often spoken alongside native Pakistani languages. Among countries that use English as an official language, Pakistan is the third most populous in the world.

[edit]Urdu (national language)

Urdu is the national language of Pakistan, the lingua franca chosen to facilitate inter-provincial communication between the country's diverse linguistic populations. Although only about 7.5% of Pakistanis speak it as their first language, it is spoken as a second and often third language by nearly all Pakistanis. Its introduction as the lingua franca was encouraged by the British upon the capitulation and annexation of Sindh (1843) andPunjab (1849) with the subsequent ban on the use of Persian, the lingua franca of the region for the last 1,000 years, probably since the time the area was part of the Persian Achaemenid Empire. The decision to make the language change was to institute a universal language throughout the then British Raj in South Asia as well as minimize the influence of PersiaOttoman Empire, Afghanistan and Central Asia had on this transitional region. Urdu is a relatively new language in the contemporary sense but has undergone considerable modifications and development borrowing heavily on the traditions of older languages likePersianArabicTurkish and local South Asian languages all of which can be found in its vocabulary. It began as a standardized register of Hindi and in its spoken form. It is widely used, both formally and informally, for personal letters as well as public literature, in the literary sphere and in the popular media. It is a required subject of study in all primary and secondary schools. It is the first language of most Muhajirs (Muslim refugees that fled from genocide and pograms from different parts of India after independence of Pakistan in 1947) that form nearly 8% of Pakistan's population and is an acquired language. But nearly all of Pakistan's native ethnic groups representing almost 92% of the population making Pakistan a unique country in the choice of national languages. As Pakistan's national language, Urdu has been promoted as a token of national unity. In recent years, the Urdu spoken in Pakistan has undergone further evolution and acquired a particularlyPakistani flavour to it often absorbing local native terminology and adopting a strong PunjabiSindhi andPashto leaning in terms of intonations and vocabulary. It is a modern language which is constantly evolving from its original form. It is written in a modified form of the Perso-Arabic scriptNastaliq, and its basic Hindi-based vocabulary has been enriched by words from PersianArabicTurkic languages and English. Urdu has drawn inspiration from Persian literature and has now an enormous stock of words from that language. In recent years, the Urdu spoken in Pakistan has gradually incorporated words from many of the native languages found there including PashtoPunjabi and Sindhi to name a few. As such the language is constantly developing and has acquired a particularly 'Pakistani' flavour to it distinguishing itself from that spoken in ancient times and in India. The first poetry in Urdu was by the Persian poet Amir Khusro (1253–1325) and the first Urdu book "Woh Majlis" was written in 1728 and the first time the word "Urdu" was used bySirajuddin Ali Khan Arzoo in 1741.[36] The Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb Alamgir (1658–1707) spoke Urdu (orHindustani) fluently as did his descendents while his ancestors mostly spoke Persian and Turkish.[37]

[edit]Punjabi (provincial language)

Punjabi is spoken as a first language by more than 44% of Pakistanis, mostly in Punjab as well as by a large number of people in Karachi. It is an important language since Punjabi is spoken by about half of Pakistanis. However, Punjabi does not have any official status in Pakistan. The exact numbers of Punjabi speakers in Pakistan is hard to find since there are many dialects / languages, such as Saraiki, which some regard as part of Punjabi and others regard as separate language. When taking into account Hindko, Potwari, Pahari, Saraiki, Punjabi dialects are thus spoken by almost 60% of the population in Pakistan. The standard Punjabi dialects is from LahoreSialkotGujranwala and Sheikhupura districts of the Pakistani Punjab which was used by Waris Shah (1722–1798) in his famous book Heer Ranjha and is also now days the language of Punjabi literature, film and music; such as Lollywood. Other dialects are Multani or Saraiki in the West and South, Pothowari & Hindko in the North, Dogri in the mountain areas and Shahpuri in the Sargodha district.
Punjabi is descended from Prakrit in the Vedic period (1700 B.C.), Pali, Old Persian and Apabhramsha in theAshoka period (273 B.C. – 232 B.C.) and Hindvi, Lahori and Multani in the Muslim period (711 A.D. – 1857 A.D.) Punjabi literature was principally spiritual in nature and has had a very rich oral tradition. The Great poetry written by Sufi saints has been the folklore of the Punjab and is still sung with great love in any part of Punjab.
Punjabi dialects:

[edit]Sindhi (provincial language)

Sindhi is spoken as a first language by 15.5% of Pakistanis , mostly in Sindh. It has a rich literature and is used in schools. It is an Indo-Iranian (Indo-European) language, derived from SanskritPersian and Arabic languages. Sindhi absorbed many Persian words as it was lingua franca of the region for the last 2,000 years, probably since the time the area was part of the Persian Achaemenid Empire. The the Arabs ruled Sindh for more than 150 years after Muhammad bin Qasim conquered it in 712 AD, remaining there for three years to set up Arab rule. Consequently, the social fabric of Sindh contains elements of Arabic society. Sindhi is spoken by over 36 million people in Pakistan, and is the official language of Sindh province. It is widely spoken in the Lasbela District of Balochistan (where the Lasi tribe speaks a dialect of Sindhi), many areas of theNaseerabad and Jafarabad districts of Balochistan, and by the Sindhi diaspora abroad. Sindhi language has six major dialects: Sireli, Vicholi, Lari, Thari, Lasi and Kachhi. It is written in the Arabic script with several additional letters to accommodate special sounds. The largest Sindhi-speaking cities are KarachiHyderabad,SukkurShikarpurDaduJacobabadLarkana and NawabshahSindhi literature is also spiritual in nature.Shah Abdul Latif Bhita'i (1689–1752) is one of its greatest poets, and wrote Sassi Punnun and Umar Marvi, folk stories, in his famous book "Shah Jo Risalo".
Sindhi Dialects:
  • Sindhi Siraiki- a version of siraiki regarded as a dialect of Sindhi; spoken mainly in Upper Sindh.
  • Vicholi- in Vicholo, i.e. Central Sindh
  • Lari- in Laru, i.e. Lower Sindh
  • Lasi- in Lasa B’elo, a part of Kohistan in Baluchistan on the western side of Sindh
  • Thari or Thareli- in Tharu, the desert region on the southeast border of Sindh and a part of the Jaisalmer district in Rajasthan
  • Kachhi- in the Kutch region and in a part of Kathiawar in Gujarat, on the southern side of Sindh
Vicholi is considered as the standard dialect by all Sindhi speakers.

[edit]Pashto (provincial language)

Pashto is spoken as a first language by 15.5% (28–30 millions) of Pakistanis, mostly in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and in Balochistan as well as by immigrants to the eastern provinces who are often not counted due to census irregularities. The Pashto has rich written literary traditions as well as an oral tradition. There are two major dialect patterns within which the various individual dialects may be classified; these are Pakhto, which is the Northern (Peshawar) variety, and the softer Pashto spoken in the southern areas. Khushal Khan Khattak (1613–1689) and Rahman Baba (1633–1708) were the most famous poets in the Pashto language. In the last part of 20th century, Pakhto or Pashto has produced some great poets like Ghani KhanKhatir Afridiand Amir Hamza Shinwari. There are also many Pakistani's from the adjacent regions of PunjabSindh andBalochistan who are conversant in Pashto and count it as their second language. They are not included in the overall percentage. Karachi is the biggest Pashto speaking city in the world although the Pashto speakers constitute only about 20% of Karachi's population.

[edit]Saraiki (regional language)

Saraiki is closely related to Punjabi (See Classification, below). Many argue that it is merely a regional dialect of Punjabi. It is spoken as a first language by 10.5% of Pakistanis, mostly in the southern districts of Punjab, Pakistan (see Saraikis). Dialects tend to blend into each other, with Punjabi to the east, and Sindhi to the south. Until recently it was considered to be a dialect of Punjabi. The Saraiki language has an 85% lexical similarity with Sindhi and 68% similarity with Odki and Sansi. Dialects are Derawali, Khatki, Jangli or Jatki and Riasti or Bahawalpuri. Saraiki or Multani (also Lehndi by some) differs from Punjabi more than any other dialect. Multani becomes more and more different as you move down south, as the influence of Sindhiincreases, it is also known as Saraiki there. Saraiki itself is Sindhi word and means northern.

[edit]Balochi (provincial language)

Balochi is spoken as first language by about 3.5% of Pakistanis, mostly in BalochistanSindh and southernPunjab. Balochi language is very close to the Persian itself. The name Balochi or Baluchi is not found before the 10th century. It is believed that the language was brought to its present location in a series of migrations from northern Iran region of Caspian SeaRakshani is the major dialect group in terms of numbers. Sarhaddi, is a sub dialect of Rakshani. Other sub – dialects are QalatiChagai Kharani, and Makrani. The Eastern Hill Balochi or Northern Balochi are distinct dialects.The Kethran language in North East Balochistan is also a variant of Balochi.It is one of the 9 distinguished languages of Pakistan. Since Balochi is a very poetic and rich language and have a certain degree of affinity to Persian and Urdu, Balochi poets tend to be very good poets in Urdu as well and Ata Shaad, Gul Khan Nasir and Noon Meem Danish are excellent examples of this.

[edit]Brahui (regional language)

Brahui (Urduبراہوی ') is of uncertain origin despite the fact that the bulk of the language shares lexical similarities to Balochi as well as Sindhi. In colonial times, many British linguists tried to make the claim of a possible Dravidian language origin but this has not been conclusively proven despite ongoing research in the language for a century now.[38] spoken in southern Pakistan, may have evolved from the original languages ofIndus valley civilizations at Mehrgarh . However it is heavily influenced by Balochi and Pashto. It is spoken in central and east central Balochistan. The Mengals are a famous Brahvi tribe. Around 1–1.5% of Pakistani population has Brahui as their first language. It is one of the nine distinguished languages of Pakistan.
The Brahui population of Balochistan has been taken by some as the linguistic equivalent of a relictpopulation, perhaps indicating that Dravidian languages were formerly much more widespread and were supplanted by the incoming Indo-Aryan languages.[39] However it has now been demonstrated that the Brahui could only have migrated to Balochistan from central India after 1000 CE. The absence of any Avestan, an older Iranian language, loanwords in Brahui supports this hypothesis. The main Iranian contributor to Brahui vocabulary, Balochi, is a western Iranian language like Kurdish, and moved to the area from the west only around 1000 CE.[40]

[edit]Hindko (regional language)

Hindko is an ancient Indo-Aryan language spoken by Hindkowans in Pakistan. It is very similar to northern dialects of Punjabi. The language is spoken in the areas of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (including Hazara), local people of Peshawar Punjab and Azad Kashmir by an estimated 2.2 to 4 million people.[citation needed] During the pre-Buddhist era in present day Pakistan, the language of the masses was refined by the ancient grammarian Pāṇini, who set the rules of a structurally rigorous language called Sanskrit which was used principally for scriptures (analogous to Latin in the Western world). Meanwhile, the vernacular language of the masses, Prakrit developed into many tongues and dialects which spread over the northern parts of South Asia. Hindko is believed to be closely related to Prakrit. Due to the geographic isolation of the regions, it has undergone very little grammatical corruption, but has borrowed considerable vocabulary from its neighbours, in particular Pashto. It shows close affinity to Punjabi and the Lahnda sub-group of Indo-Aryan tongues and can be sub-divided into a northern and southern dialects.

[edit]Kashmiri (regional language)

Kashmiri is an ancient Dardic language spoken in Azad KashmirGilgit-Baltistan and Punjab provinces ofPakistan. There are over 2 million Kashmiri speakers in Pakistan. Most of the Kashmiris in Punjab province and Karachi are refugees and their descendents who fled Indian invasion and occupation of Kashmir in 1948.
In 1919 George Abraham Grierson wrote that “Kashmiri is the only one of the Dardic languages that has a literature”. Kashmiri literature dates back to over 750 years, this is, more-or-less, the age of many a modern literature including modern English. Kashmiri retains several features of Old Indo-Aryan that have been lost in other Modern Indo-Aryan languages such as UrduPunjabi and Sindhi.[41]

[edit]Persian (cultural language)

A sizeable proportion of Pakistanis speak Persian. Although Persian has no official status, it had been thelingua franca for a thousand years and a preferred language amongst the educated Muslim elite, and was the official and cultural language of the Mughal EmpireAfghan Empire and various Muslim princely states based in Pakistan. The Persian speaking Qizilbash tribe settled in northern regions of modern Pakistan and their numbers were further increased with the arrival of tens of thousands of Qizilbash refugees from neighboringAfghanistan when they were termed enemies of the state by the then Emir of Afghanistan for allegedly siding with the British Raj in the First Anglo-Afghan War (1839 to 1842). Persian was officially abolished from the region with the arrival of the British to the province of Sindh in 1843 and Punjab in 1849 to minimize the influence of Persia and Afghanistan on the regions that now make up Pakistan and integrate these regions with the rest of South Asia under a common Urdu language. Nevertheless Persian culture continues to influence the country to this day. It has influenced and formed the base for many of Pakistan's native languages, and has greatly influenced Urdu in more recent times. It is still spoken and understood by the educated elite as a literary and prestigious language, especially in the fields of music (Qawwali) and art. TheNational Anthem of Pakistan has some Persian words.
Many Persian speaking refugees, Dari and Tajiks, from Afghanistan have settled in Pakistan permanently. There are also Tajiks refugees from Tajikistan that have settled in Pakistan.

[edit]Arabic (religious language)

Arabic is considered to be religious language of Pakistan. The QuranSunnahHadith and Muslim theology is taught in Arabic with Urdu translation. The large numbers of Pakistanis living in the Persian Gulf region and in other Middle Eastern countries has further increased the number of people who can speak Arabic in Pakistan. Arabic is taught as a religious language in Mosques, Schools, Colleges, Universities and Madrassahs. Nearly all of Pakistan's Muslim population has had some form of education in the reading, writing and pronunciation of the Arabic language.
Many Arabs who took part in Afghanistan war have now settled in Pakistan permanently with their families. Millions of Pakistanis that have worked in Middle East also speak Arabic as a second language.

[edit]Turkic (cultural language)

Turkic languages were used by the ruling Turco-Mongols (or Mughals) and earlier Sultans of India many of whom have settled in Pakistan. There are pockets of Turkic speakers found throughout the country, notably in the valleys in the countries northern regions which lie adjacent to Central Asia, western Pakistani region ofWaziristan principally around Kanigoram where the Burki tribe dwells and in Pakistan's urban centres ofKarachiLahore and Islamabad. The autobiography of Mughal emperor BaburTuzk Babari was also written inTurkish.
Many Turkic speaking refugees, Uzbeks and Turkmens, from Afghanistan have settled in Pakistanpermanently. They are also Uzbeks and Turkmen refugees that have moved from Uzbekistan andTurkmenistan and settled in Pakistan. Turkey also provides scolarships to large number of Pakistani students to study in Turkish universities. President Pervez Musharraf studied in Turkey and spoke Turkish fluently.
The word Urdu is of Turkic origin, as Urdu was originally called Zaban-e-Ordu or language of the ArmyOrdumeans army' in Turkish.

[edit]Other Pakistani languages

Numerous other languages are spoken by relatively small numbers of people, especially in some of the more remote and isolated places in, for example, the Northern Areas of Pakistan.[42] Other Indo-Europeanlanguages spoken in Pakistan include PothohariShinaGujjariKutchhiWakhiKashmiriMarwariMemoni,Khowar, and Dari Persian. Non-Indo-European languages include Brahui and Burushaski, a language isolate.
There are some languages that are spoken by less than a thousand people, such as Aer.
Arabic and Persian are also taught in schools and religious institutions.


Most of Pakistan's languages are Indo-European languages and within the smaller Indo-Iranian sub-branch.

[edit]Indo-Aryan languages

Around 80% of Pakistan's population speak one or more of the various Indo-Aryan languages. Usually concentrated in the heavily populated areas east of the Indus river, the Indo-Aryan languages and their cultures form the predominant cultural group in the country. They derive their roots from the Sanskrit language of Aryan invadors and are later heavily influenced by the languages of the later Muslim arrivals (i.e., Turkish, Persian, and Arabic), and are all written in a variant of either the Arabic or Nastaliq script. Urdu, the country's national language, is an Indo-Aryan tongue. PunjabiHindko and Seraiki, all mutually intelligible, are classified by linguists as dialects of an Indo-Aryan speech called Lahnda,[43] also spelled as Lehnda. These are also, to a lesser extent, mutually intelligible with Urdu. Added together, speakers of these mutually-intelligible languages make up nearly two-thirds of Pakistan's population. Sindhi is the common language of the people of Sindh in southern Pakistan and has a rich literary history of its own, traced back to the era of the early Arab arrivals. The Dardic languages of Gilgit-BaltistanAzad Kashmir and the northwestern mountains are sometimes classified by many linguists as belonging to the Indo-Aryan family. Other Indo-Aryan languages includeGujaratiKutchiMemoni and others.

[edit]Dardic languages

The Dardic languages are spoken in the northern Pakistan. They include Shina (spoken in GilgitChilas andDiamar) , Khowar (spoken in ChitralGhizer and the Kalam Valley of upper Swat), Kalasha (spoken by Kalashtribe) , Kohistani (spoken in upper Swat and Kohistan) and Kashmiri mostly by Immigrants from Kashmir valley and by a few in the Neelum District.
Kashmiri spoken in north east Azad Kashmir and the adjacent Kashmir valley, (not to be confused with Pahari language spoken in the lower Azad Kashmir) is one of the Dardic languages that has a literary tradition that goes well back into the history where as other Dardic languages spoken in northern Pakistan, do not have written literature. It is believed to be the result of the northern areas of Pakistan having remained isolated in the mountain valleys from the others for centuries.

[edit]Iranic family of languages

PashtoYidgha and Wakhi are Eastern Iranian languages spoken in Khyber-PakhtunkhwaBalochistan and the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan. Balochi spoken in Balochistan is classified as a members of the Northwestern Iranian languages.[44] If combined, Iranic peoples who speak Pashto, Balochi, Yidgha and Wakhi comprise about 18% of the population of Pakistan, and are concentrated in the northwest and west of Pakistan.
Brahui may or may not be a language isolate and many origins have been hypothesized for it including Iranianand Dravidian.[38] spoken in southern Pakistan, primarily in Kalat in Balochistan. The Brahui population ofBalochistan has been taken by some as the linguistic equivalent of a relict population, perhaps indicating thatDravidian languages were formerly much more widespread and were supplanted by the incoming Indo-Aryan languages.[39] However it has now been demonstrated that the Brahui could only have migrated to Balochistan from central India after 1000 CE. The absence of any Avestan, an older Iranian language, loanwords in Brahui supports this hypothesis. The main Iranian contributor to Brahui vocabulary, Balochi, is a western Iranian language like Kurdish, and moved to the area from the west only around 1000 CE.[40]
Burushaski is a language isolate, spoken by Burusho people in HunzaNagarYasin, and parts of the Gilgitvalleys in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan.

[edit]Suffix of regions and towns

Parts of region and settlement names: