PAKISTAN, a country of subcontinent

Written by admin on July 11th, 2011

areas are also densely settled. The province is the second largest in area.

Sind is the second most populated province in Pakistan, with about 30 million people (1998). Its population is the most urbanized in Pakistan. Sindhis make up about 60 percent of the population of Sind, living mostly in rural areas. Mohajirs constitute the remaining 40 percent and live mostly in the province’s large cities. Sind is the third largest province in area.

The North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) has a population of 17.6 million (1998). The majority of the people are Pashtuns. The province is part of the historic Pashtun tribal lands, which extend throughout southern and southeastern Afghanistan and well into western Pakistan, including the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and northern Baluchistan. The NWFP is Pakistan’s smallest province in area. In the 1980s refugees from war-torn Afghanistan began to settle in the province. Refugee camps and rudimentary villages were set up in the border areas. A large number of refugees also established communities in cities such as Pesh?war. Many became semipermanent residents of Pakistan because Afghanistan remained in a state of war through the mid-1990s. The majority of refugees were Pashtuns, facilitating their assimilation into the province’s population, in many cases through intermarriage.

Baluchistan is the most sparsely populated and least developed province of Pakistan. A majority of the 6.5 million (1998) people who live in Baluchistan are Baluchis. Pashtuns are the second largest ethnic group in the province. In recent years a large number of Afghan refugees have settled in Baluchistan. In area, Baluchistan is the largest province of Pakistan, covering nearly 40 percent of the country’s total territory. However, the province is an arid and inhospitable hinterland.

C Principal Cities

Pakistan’s largest city is Kar?chi, the capital of Sind Province. It is the country’s only seaport and a major financial, industrial, and commercial center. It is also known as the ethnic melting pot of Pakistan. Lahore, the capital of Punjab Province, is Pakistan’s second largest city and a cultural and educational center. Faisal?b?d, in central Punjab, is the center of textile and fertilizer industries. Mult?n, the largest city in southern Punjab, has many ancient Muslim shrines, a huge fertilizer factory, and small cottage industries such as carpet weaving and pottery. Hyder?b?d, in Sind Province, is a manufacturing center with textile and glass factories, as well as a cultural center with museums, historic mosques, and a medical school. Pesh?war, the capital of the North-West Frontier Province, is a busy, overcrowded frontier outpost and a hub of trade with Afghanistan. For centuries it served as a gateway and trading post between Afghanistan and Southeast Asia.

Isl?m?b?d is the capital of Pakistan and the seat of the federal government; it forms its own administrative unit, the Isl?m?b?d Capital Territory. Just to the south, in bordering Punjab Province, is R?walpindi, the headquarters of the Pakistani army and an industrial center.

D Religion


Sunni Muslim A Sunni Muslim prays outside the entrance of his home in Quetta, in northwestern Pakistan. About 97 percent of the people in the country are Muslims, of which about 80 percent are Sunni Muslims.Arvind Garg



Faisal Mosque, Isl?m?b?d A planned city, Isl?m?b?d replaced Kar?chi as Pakistan’s capital in 1967. The city contains many examples of modern architecture, including Faisal Mosque, designed by Turkish architect Vedat Dalokay.Liaison Agency/Arvind Garg



Islam is the faith of about 97 percent of the people of Pakistan. About three-quarters of the country’s Muslims are Sunni, and about one-quarter are Shia. Some small Muslim fringe sects, such as the Ahmedis and Zikris, also exist. Hindus and Christians form the largest religious minorities, accounting for about 3 percent of the population. Other religious groups include Sikhs, Parsis, and a small number of Buddhists. The constitution defines Pakistan as an Islamic state but guarantees freedom of religion.

E Languages

Urdu is the official language of Pakistan. It is the first language of only a small percentage of the population, but it cuts across linguistic and provincial boundaries as the national language. More than 75 percent of Pakistanis can speak and understand Urdu. In urban areas about 95 percent of the people communicate in Urdu. Urdu replaced English as the official language in 1978.

Most Pakistanis speak at least two languages. A large segment of the population is trilingual, speaking English, Urdu, and an ethnic-based regional language. Punjabi, Pashto, Sindhi, Baluchi, and Brahui are the major regional languages. These languages have many regional dialects, including Saraiki, a widely spoken dialect of Punjabi. Regional languages are recognized as a potent force because language and ethnic identity are closely interrelated; even the national census categorizes groups according to their language, rather than their ethnicity. However, there is growing awareness among Pakistanis that for social mobility, national cohesion, and individual success, it is imperative to be fluent in Urdu and proficient in English.

Several factors contributed to the establishment of Urdu as the lingua franca of Pakistan. It was the language of the educated Muslims in northern India, who spearheaded the Pakistan Movement. Urdu helped foster a linguistic identity among Muslims in the region. Although similar to Hindi as a spoken language, Urdu uses a Persian-derived script and incorporates many Arabic words. Choosing Urdu as the national language provided a linguistic basis for the formation of a Muslim national identity. It also provided the country with a “neutral” language because Urdu does not have ethnic or tribal associations. Since the founding of Pakistan in 1947, state-controlled electronic and print media have promoted Urdu. In the public schools of the country, Urdu is the principal language of instruction.

For all practical purposes, however, English is the de facto official language. Pakistan’s legal system is based on British common law, and judicial and government documents are mostly written in English. Pakistanis of all social strata strive to learn English, which has a certain elite status. Although the quality of instruction in English has declined, English continues to be the language of the educated and those who want to move ahead in life.

F Education

Pakistan has one of the lowest literacy rates in the world. In 2004 only 46.6 percent of adult Pakistanis were literate. Male literacy was 60.6 percent, while female literacy was 31.5 percent. From 1976 to 2001 the number of primary schools doubled, but so did the population. High levels of population growth continue to hamper educational development in the country. The government launched a nationwide initiative in 1998 with the aim of eradicating illiteracy and providing a basic education to all children.

According to the constitution, it is the state’s responsibility to provide free primary education. Five years has been established as the period of primary school attendance, but attendance is not compulsory. While the enrollment rate in primary school is high for boys, less than one-half of girls attend school. In the 2000–2001 school year 75 percent of primary school-aged children were enrolled in school, while only 25 percent of secondary school-aged children attended. In 1996, 3.5 percent of Pakistan’s college-aged population attended institutions of higher education. The wealthiest and best students seek education in British and American universities.

At the time of independence Pakistan had only one university, the University of the Punjab, founded in 1882 in Lahore. Pakistan now has more than 20 public universities. Among Pakistan’s leading public institutions of higher education are Quaid-e-Azam University (1965), in Isl?m?b?d, the University of Kar?chi (1951), the University of Pesh?war (1950), and the University of Sindh (1947), near Hyder?b?d.

Since 1978 the government has encouraged the privatization of education at all levels. This led to the creation of three major private universities: Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), Agha Khan University Medical College (in Kar?chi), and Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute of Engineering Sciences and Technology (in Topi, North-West Frontier Province). The National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), in R?walpindi, conducts research in the fields of science and technology for both the public and private sectors.

Pages: 1 2 3

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply