RELIGION LIBRARY

Pakistan

COUNTRY PROFILE

Map of Pakistan

The country has an area of 310,527 square miles and a population of 173 million. Official figures on religious demography, based on the 1998 census, showed that approximately 97 percent of the population was Muslim. Groups comprising 2 percent of the population or less include Hindus, Christians, and others, including Ahmadis. The majority of Muslims in the country are Sunni, with a Shi'a minority of approximately 20 percent. According to the Ministry of Minorities Affairs, Sikhs have approximately 30,000 adherents and Buddhists 20,000. The number of Parsis (Zoroastrians), according to a Parsi community center in Karachi, dropped to 1,822 in 2009 as compared to 2,039 in June 2006. The Baha'i claimed that the number of Baha'is is growing in Pakistan, with approximately 30,000 adherents. The number of Ahmadis living in Pakistan, according to Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya, is nearly 600,000, although it is difficult to establish an accurate estimate because Ahmadis, who are legally prohibited from identifying themselves as Muslims, generally choose to not identify themselves as non-Muslims. Some tribes in Balochistan and the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) practiced traditional animist religious beliefs; other religious groups include Kalasha, Kihals, and Jains.
Less than 0.5 percent of the population, as recorded in the 1998 census, was silent on religious affiliation or claimed not to adhere to a particular religious group. Social pressure was such that few persons would claim no religious affiliation.
No data were available on active participation in formal religious services or rituals. Religious beliefs often played an important part in daily life. Most Muslims offered prayers on Fridays, Islam's holy day. Many prayed daily. During the month of Ramadan, even less observant Muslims fasted and attended services. Approximately 70 percent of English-speaking Roman Catholics worshiped regularly; a much lower percentage of Urdu-speaking Catholics did so. Attendance at Hindu and Sikh religious services increased during festivals.

Population Population (2009 est.) 176,242,949
Religious Demographics Muslim 95% (Sunni 75%, Shi'a 20%), other (includes Christian and Hindu) 5%
Ethnic Groups Ethnic Groups Punjabi 44.68%, Pashtun (Pathan) 15.42%, Sindhi 14.1%, Sariaki 8.38%, Muhagirs 7.57%, Balochi 3.57%, other 6.28%
Languages Languages Punjabi 48%, Sindhi 12%, Siraiki (a Punjabi variant) 10%, Pashtu 8%, Urdu (official) 8%, Balochi 3%, Hindko 2%, Brahui 1%, English (official; lingua franca of Pakistani elite and most government ministries), Burushaski, and other 8%
Country Flag Flag of Pakistan