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The 17th Century Badshahi Mosque built by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb in Lahore

The society and culture of Pakistan (Pronounced shmeg-mah) (Urdu: ثقافت پاکستان ) comprises numerous diverse cultures and ethnic groups from the Punjabis, Kashmiri and Sindhis in the east to the tribal cultures of the Baloch and Pashtun in the west and the ancient Dardic and Tajik communities in the north. These Pakistani cultures have been greatly influenced by many of the surrounding countries' cultures, such as those of Turkish, Persian, Afghan, and Indians of South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East.

In ancient times, Pakistan was a major cultural hub and the home of an ancient civilizations, known as the Indus Valley Civilization - one of the first 'settled' peoples and urban centres in the world. Many cultural practices and great monuments have been inherited from the time of the ancient rulers of the region. One of the greatest cultural influences was that of the Persian Empire to which Pakistan was joined to. Infact, the Pakistani satraps were at one time the richest and most productive of the massive Persian Empire. Other key influences include the Afghan Empire and later the short lived but influential Mughal Empire.

Pakistan has a rich cultural and ethnic background going back to the Indus Valley Civilization, 2800 BC – 1800 BC. A civilization remarkable for its ordered cities, advanced-planned sanitation, straight roads and uniquely structured society. Present day Pakistan has been invaded many times in the past. it has been occupied and settled by many different peoples each of whom have left their imprint on the current inhabitants of the country. Some of the largest groups were the 'Aryans', Greeks, Scythians, Persians, White Huns, Arabs, Turks, Mongols, Afghans, Buddhists and other Eurasian groups right up until the British who left in the late 1940s.

The region has formed a distinct cultural unit within the main cultural complex of South Asia, the Middle East and Central Asia from the earliest times and is analogous to Turkeys position in Eurasia.[1] There are differences in culture among the different ethnic groups in matters such as dress, food, and religion, especially where pre-Islamic customs differ from Islamic practices. Their cultural origins also show influences from far afield; including from: Tibet, Nepal, India and eastern Afghanistan. All groups show varying degrees of significant influence from Persia, Turkestan and Hellenistic Greece. Pakistan was the first region of South Asia to receive the full impact of Islam and has developed a distinct Islamic identity, historically different from areas further west.[1]

Diwan-e-Khas: The hall of special audience with the emperor
Bahauddin Zakariya

Ancient sites in Pakistan include: Zorastrian, Islamic centres, Sufi Shrines, Buddhist, Hindu and Pagan temples and shrines, gardens, tombs, palaces, monuments, pleasure grounds and Mughal and Indo-Saracenic buildings. Sculpture is dominated by Greco-Buddhist friezes, and crafts by ceramics, jewellery, silk goods and engraved woodwork and metalwork.

Pakistani society is largely multilingual, multi-ethnic and multicultural. Though cultures within the country differ to some extent, more similarities than differences can be found as most Pakistanis are of mainly 'Aryan' heritage and/or have lived side by side along the Indus River for the past several thousand years and coexisted. However, over 60 years of integration, a distinctive "Pakistani" culture has sprung up especially in the urban areas where many of the diverse ethnic groups have coexisted and in many cases, intermarried. Education is highly regarded by members of every socio-economic stratum with the country now having a literacy rate of 55%, up from 3% at the time of independence. Traditional family values are highly respected and considered sacred, although urban families increasingly form nuclear families, owing to socio-economic constraints imposed by the traditional culture of the extended family.

The past few decades have seen emergence of a middle class in cities such as Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Hyderabad, Quetta, Faisalabad, Sukkur, Peshawar, Sialkot, Abbottabad and Multan. Rural areas of Pakistan are regarded as more conservative and are dominated by regional tribal customs dating back hundreds if not thousands of years.



Iqbal in deep thought; The picture earned him the Famous title of "The Thinker"


Pakistani literature, that is, the literature of Pakistan, as a distinct lite gained its nationhood as a sovereign state in 1947. The common and shared tradition of Urdu literature and English literature of South Asia was inherited by the new state. Over a period of time, a body of literature unique to Pakistan has emerged in nearly all major Pakistani languages, including Urdu, English, Punjabi, Pushto, Seraiki Baluchi, and Sindhi. In the 1946 elections for the Constituent Assembly of India, the Congress won most of the elected seats, while the League won a large majority of Muslim electorate seats. The 1946 British Cabinet Mission to India released a plan on May 16, calling for a united Indian state comprising considerably autonomous provinces, and called for "groups" of provinces formed on the basis of religion. A second plan released on June 16, called for the separation of South Asia along economic and religious lines, with princely states to choose between accession to the dominion of their choice or independence. The Congress, fearing India's fragmentation, criticised the May 16 proposal and rejected the June 16 plan. Jinnah gave the League's assent to both plans, knowing that power would go only to the party that had supported a plan. After much debate and against Gandhi's advice that both plans were divisive, the Congress accepted the May 16 plan while condemning the grouping principle.[citation needed] Jinnah decried this acceptance as "dishonesty", accused the British negotiators of "treachery",[34] and withdrew the League's approval of both plans. The League boycotted the assembly, leaving the Congress in charge of the government but denying it legitimacy in the eyes of many Muslims. Jinnah gave a precise definition of the term 'Pakistan' in 1941 at Lahore in which he stated: Some confusion prevails in the minds of some individuals in regard to the use of the word 'Pakistan'. This word has become synonymous with the Lahore resolution owing to the fact that it is a convenient and compendious method of describing [it]…. For this reason the British and Indian newspapers generally have adopted the word 'Pakistan' to describe the Moslem demand as embodied in the Lahore resolution.[35] Jinnah issued a call for all Muslims to launch "Direct Action" on August 16 to "achieve Pakistan".[36] Strikes and protests were planned, but violence broke out all over South Asia, especially in Calcutta and the district of Noakhali in Bengal, and more than 7,000 people were killed in Bihar. Although viceroy Lord Wavell asserted that there was "no satisfactory evidence to that effect",[37] League politicians were blamed by the Congress and the media for orchestrating the violence.[38] Interim Government portfolios were announced on October 25, 1946.[39] Muslim Leaguers were sworn in on October 26, 1946.[40] The League entered the interim government, but Jinnah refrained from accepting office for himself. This was credited as a major victory for Jinnah, as the League entered government having rejected both plans, and was allowed to appoint an equal number of ministers despite being the minority party. The coalition was unable to work, resulting in a rising feeling within the Congress that independence of Pakistan was the only way of avoiding political chaos and possible civil war. The Congress agreed to the division of Punjab and Bengal along religious lines in late 1946. The new viceroy Lord Mountbatten of Burma and Indian civil servant V. P. Menon proposed a plan that would create a Muslim dominion in West Punjab, East Bengal, and Sindh. After heated and emotional debate, the Congress approved the plan.[41] The North-West Frontier Province voted to join Pakistan in a referendum in July 1947. Jinnah asserted in a speech in Lahore on October 30, 1947 that the League had accepted independence of Pakistan because "the consequences of any other alternative would have been too disastrous to imagine."[42] The independent state of Pakistan, created on August 14, 1947, represented the outcome of a campaign on the part of the Muslim community for a Muslim homeland whereby the economic, traditional values and the ethnic identity/preservation of the people could be attained. While the traditional demand for Pakistan only entailed the western regions of the British colony, that is Balochistan, Sindh, Panjab, NWFP (Afghania), Gilgit and Kashmir, to simplify the process while the British hastily departed the region, the region of Bangal was also included. Bangal would later become a state of its own.[43] [edit]Views on statehood


Poetry is a highly respected art and profession in Pakistan. The preiminent form of Poetry in Pakistan almost always originates in Persian, this is due in part to the long standing affiliation the region had with the Persian Empire. The enthusiasm for poetry continues at a regional level as well with nearly all of Pakistan's provincial languages continuing the legacy and since the independence of the country in 1947 and establishment of Urdu as the national language, in that language as well. The Urdu language has a rich tradition of poetry and includes the famous poets Mirza Ghalib, Faiz Ahmad Faiz, Ahmad Faraz and Ahmad Nadeem Qasimi. Apart from Urdu poetry, Pakistani poetry also has blends of other regional languages. Persian poetry, Balochi poetry, Sindhi poetry , Punjabi poetry, Seraiki Poetry and Pashto poetry have all incorporated and influenced Pakistani poetry.

Performing arts


Pakistani music is represented by a wide variety of forms. It ranges from traditional styles such as Qawwali and Ghazal to more modern forms that try to fuse traditional Pakistani music with Western music. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan was internationally renowned for creating a form of music which synchronized Qawwali with western music. Popular forms of music also prevail, the most notable being film music and Urdu and Punjabi pop music. In addition to this are the diverse traditions of folk music, as well as modern styles, with rock bands such as Call (band) being recognized internationally.


Folk dances are still popular in Pakistan and vary according to region such as:

Drama and theatre

These are very similar to stage plays in theatres. They are performed by well-known actors and actresses in the Lollywood industry. The dramas and plays deal with many themes from life events, often with a humorous touch.

Visual arts


Ustad Allah Baksh, Ajaz Anwar, Ismail Gulgee, Jamil Naqsh and Sadequain are very prominent painters of Pakistan. Pakistani vehicle art is a popular folk art.


The architecture of the areas now constituting Pakistan can be designated to four distinct periods — pre-Islamic, Islamic, colonial and post-colonial. With the beginning of the Indus civilization around the middle of the 3rd millennium[2] B.C., an advanced urban culture developed for the first time in the region, with large structural facilities, some of which survive to this day.[3]Mohenjo Daro, Harappa and Kot Diji belong to the pre-Islamic era settlements. The rise of Buddhism and the Persian and Greek influence led to the development of the Greco-Buddhist style, starting from the 1st century CE. The high point of this era was reached with the culmination of the Gandhara style. An example of Buddhist architecture is the ruins of the Buddhist monastery Takht-i-Bahi in the northwest province.

The arrival of Islam in today's Pakistan introduced the classical Islamic contruction techniques into Pakistan's architectural landscape.[4] However, a smooth transition to predominantly picture-less Islamic architecture occurred. The town of Uch Sharif contains the tombs of Bibi Jawindi, Baha'al-Halim and Jalaluddin Bukhari, which are considered some of the earliest examples of Islamic architecture in Pakistan and are on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list. One of the most important of the few examples of the Persian style of architecture is the tomb of the Shah Rukn-i-Alam in Multan. During the Mughal era design elements of Islamic-Persian architecture were fused with and often produced playful forms of the Hindustani art. Lahore, occasional residence of Mughal rulers, exhibits a multiplicity of important buildings from the empire, among them the Badshahi mosque, the fortress of Lahore with the famous Alamgiri Gate, the colourful, still strongly Persian seeming Wazir Khan Mosque as well as numerous other mosques and mausoleums. The Shahjahan Mosque of Thatta in Sindh also originates from the epoch of the Mughals, as does the Mohabbat Khan Mosque in Peshawar.

In the British colonial age predominantly representative buildings of the Indo-European style developed, from a mixture of European and Indian-Islamic components. Post-colonial national identity is expressed in modern structures like the Faisal Mosque, the Minar-e-Pakistan and the Mazar-e-Quaid.

Recreation and sports

Polo is regarded as a traditional sport and played widely in the northern areas
Field hockey match between Pakistan and India

The official and national sport of Pakistan is field hockey and Polo is recognized as the State sport, although squash and cricket are also very popular. The national cricket team has won the Cricket World Cup once (in 1992), were runners-up once (in 1999) and co-hosted the games twice (in 1987 and 1996). They won the 20-20 International World Cup in 2009. The team has also won the Australasia Cup in 1986, 1990, and 1994. The country will also be hosting the 2011 Cricket World Cup with India and Bangladesh.

At an international level, Pakistan has competed many times at the Summer Olympics in field hockey, boxing, athletics, swimming, and shooting. Hockey is the sport that Pakistan has been most successful at the Olympics, with three gold medals (1960, 1968, 1984). Pakistan has also won the Hockey World Cup four times (1971, 1978, 1982, 1994).[5] Pakistan has hosted several international competitions, including the SAFG in 1989 and 2004.

A1 Grand Prix racing is also becoming popular with the entry of a Pakistani team in the 2005 season. The Tour de Pakistan, modelled on the Tour de France, is an annual cycling competition that covers the length and breadth of Pakistan. Recently, football has grown in popularity across the country, where traditionally it had been played almost exclusively in the western province of Balochistan. Fifa has recently teamed up with the government to bring football closer to the northern areas too. Also, it is hoped that Pakistan will fare better in the Football World Cup qualifiers for 2010.


Culinary art in Pakistan comprises a mix of Middle Eastern, Iranian, Afghan, north west Indian, and Turkish cuisine that reflects the country's history as well as the variation of cooking practices from across the surrounding regions. Urban centres of the country offer an amalgamation of recipes from all parts of the country, while food with specific local ingredients and tastes is available in rural areas and villages. Besides the main dishes of curry with or without meat cooked with vegetables or lentils, there are a number of provincial specialties such as karahi, biryani and tikka in various forms and flavours, eaten alongside a variety of breads such as naan, chapati and roti.

There are also local forms of grilled meat or kebabs, desserts, and a variety of hot and cold drinks.



The holiest month of the Islamic Calendar. It is widely observed in Pakistan during which Muslim Pakistanis (about 97% of the population) fast, attend mosques with increased frequency and recite Quran. Special foods are cooked in greater quantities, parties are held and special accommodation is made by workplaces and educational institutes.

Chand Raat

After an Islamic month of fasting, Ramadan, just the night before Eid comes, everyone gets ready for Eid. In the night known as Chand Raat, girls put henna on their hands. Most people have parties at their house. People go out for the last minute shopping for gifts and sweets that will be given to friends and families. Even outside at the malls and the plazas, there are many colourful lights. There are large crowds in the city center to celebrate the beginning of Eid.

Eid celebrations

The two Eids, Eid ul-Fitr and Eid ul-Adha commemorate the passing of the month of fasting, Ramadan, and the willingness of Ibrahim to sacrifice his son Ishmael for God. During these days there are national holidays and many festivals and events take place to celebrate Eid. As Pakistan is a Muslim state, there are three days off for all businesses and Government offices.

On the night before Eid, people search for the new moon to mark the end of Ramadan and arrival of Eid ul-Fitr. The day starts with morning prayers, then returning home for a large breakfast with family members. The day is spent visiting relatives and friends and sharing gifts and sweets with everyone. During the evening people hit the town for some partying, going to restaurants or relaxing in city parks.

On Eid ul-Fitr, money is given for charity and as gifts to young children.

On Eid ul-Adha, people may also distribute meat to relatives and neighbors and donate food for charity.

Milaad un Nabi

Milaad un Nabi is a known religious festival which is celebrated in many parts of Pakistan. The Milaad is the celebration for the birthday of the Islamic prophet Muhammad.

Muharram (Ashura)

In Pakistan, the first ten days of Muharram are observed officially. The 10th day of Muharram is marked in the memory of Imam Hussain (Aliahsalam), the grandson of Muhammad, who was a martyr, along with 72 family members, friends and followers during the Battle of Karbala. It is marked mainly among the Shia community of Pakistan.


Jashn-e-Baharan also referred to as Basant is a pre-Islamic Punjabi festival that marks the coming of spring. Celebrations in Pakistan are centered in Lahore and people from all over the country and abroad come to the city for the annual festivities. Kite flying competitions take place all over the city's rooftops during Basant (now prohibited). The fertile province of Punjab was intimately tied via its agriculture to the different seasons of the year. The arrival of Spring was an important event for all farmers and was welcomed with a celebration, hence the origins of Jashn (celebration) Baharan (spring).


This festival is like Nowruz of Iran, Afghanistan and Central Asia. In Northern Pakistan (Chitral, Gilgit and Baltistan) Nowruz is celebrated as a socio-religious festival. It is also celebrated with much fervour in Balochistan and in almost all of Pakistan's major urban centres. The day coincides with the Spring Equinox on March 21, but the celebration continues for weeks. In Baltistan, the main features of Nowruz are the giving of coloured eggs to friends and polo matches. In Balochistan, the festival is marked with outdoor feasts, and the traditional jumping over a fire to wash away sins and usher in a fresh start. The origins of this festival are pre-Islamic and date back to when Pakistan was part of the Achaemenid and Sassanid Persian empires.

Independence Day

On August 14, the people of Pakistan celebrate the day Pakistan gained its independence from British India for an independent state for Muslims. There are many celebrations all over the country, the streets are full of joyful people singing and dancing. Concerts are held with many pop and classical singers. Parades are held in the capital city (Islamabad). Many people decorate their houses and fly the flag of Pakistan. At night, fireworks are used in many cities. Many people pray for the country and reflect on their pride in the country of Pakistan.

Defense Day Parade

Joint Services Parade on March 23, 2005 in the capital, Islamabad

September 6 is another patriotic day, when the Army of Pakistan is put on display for the general public to show Pakistan arms. All Government officials attend the ceremony and medals and recognitions are awarded to special people for their work. In March 2007, the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) put on display the new joint manufactured Chinese-Pakistani aircraft called the JF-17 Thunder.

Popular media


Traditionally, the government-owned Pakistan Television Corporation (PTV) has been the dominant media player in Pakistan. The PTV channels are controlled by the government and oppositional views are not given much time. However, the past decade has seen emergence of several private TV channels (news, entertainment) such as GEO TV, AAJ TV, ARY Digital, dunya TVIndus Vision, HUM, MTV Pakistan and others. Traditionally the bulk of TV shows have been plays or soap operas, some of them critically acclaimed. Various American, European, Asian TV channels and movies are available to a majority of the population via Cable TV.

Television accounted for almost half of the advertising expenditure in Pakistan in 2002.[2]


After independence, Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation (PBC) was the sole radio channel in Pakistan during 1947. The Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation was formed on 14 August 1947 when Pakistan became independent. It was a direct descendant of the Indian Broadcasting Company which later became All India Radio. At independence Pakistan possessed three radio stations at Dhaka, Lahore and Peshawar. A major programme of expansion saw new stations opened at Karachi and Rawalpindi in 1948, and a new broadcasting house at Karachi in 1950. This was followed by new radio stations at Hyderabad (1951), Quetta (1956), a second station at Rawalpindi (1960) and a receiving centre at Peshawar (1960). During the 1980s and 1990s the corporation expanded its network to many cities and towns of Pakistan to provide greater service to the local people. Today, there are over a hundred radio stations due to more liberal media regulations.


An indigenous movie industry exists in Pakistan, and is known as "Lollywood" as it is based in Lahore, producing over forty feature-length films a year. In contrast, Indian movies are popular in Pakistan despite a ban since the Pakistan-India War in 1965. However, due to the massive film piracy industry in Pakistan, Indian Bollywood films and American Hollywood films have made it to Pakistani movie shelves and home videos for over thirty years. The Lollywood industry used to produce many Urdu films however as Lahore became the headquarters of the film industry, slowly the number of Urdu films decreased with the same rate of Punjabi language rising.

The film industry suffered badly during the rule of the military dictator Gen. Zia, who forced women to cover their heads even on government controlled Pakistan TV. The number of films produced per year also declined due to several other factors including the wide spread use of VCR and DVD players since even most patriotic Pakistanis like to watch Indian movies over their own. Today, Lollywood has totally collapsed and once busy film producing studios have been turned into more profitable business ventures. Most of cinema houses too have been turned into commercial business plazas.

Pakistan also has another film industry based in Peshawar, North West Frontier Province that produced Pashto language films. As demand for films has increased, Karachi has its own version of film festivals, which includes the Kara Film Festivals where many film producers, actors and film staff get together to celebrate achievements in the industry. Under the fear of Taliban and religious extremists, the film industry in Peshawar has come to a standstill today. The Northwestern province of Pakistan has its own culture which is very restricted and even in good old days the buses will turn off entertainment programs upon entering into this province.

National Dress

The national dress of Pakistan is Shalwar Qameez (Urdu: شلوار قمیض ) for both men and women. It consists of a long, loose fitting tunic with very baggy trousers. The dress is believed to be an amalgamation of the dresses worn by the ancient Turks, Persians and Afghans (Pashtuns) who have left their impression on the people and culture of Pakistan.

The men's version consists of solid, masculine colours and is almost always accompanied by collar and buttons (similar to polo shirt). Men often wear an outer waistcoat over the shalwar kameez. The women's version almost never contains collar and buttons but is often embroidered and consists of feminine colors and may feature lace or flower patterns.

In the summer, a light, cotton version is often worn, while during the winter, a heavier, wool version is worn.

The sherwani or achkan with karakuli hat is the recommended dress for male government employees and officials, as it is not specifically associated with any of the provinces. Most male government officials wear the formal black sherwani on state occasions.


Pakistan ranks 56th in the world on the Kearney/FP Globalization index.[6] Their position on this index fell 10 spots from 2004 to 2006. Many multinational restaurant chains have established their franchises in major cities and towns in Pakistan.

A large Pakistani diaspora exists in the West and the Middle East. Whereas Pakistanis in the United States, Canada and Australia tend to be professionals, the majority of them in the United Kingdom, Germany and Scandinavia originally came from a rural background belonging to the working class. These emigrants and their children influence Pakistan culturally and economically, keeping close ties with their roots by travelling to Pakistan and especially by returning or investing there.

Mercantile culture

Pakistan's service sector accounts for 53% of the country's GDP. Wholesale and retail trade is 30% of this sector. Shopping is a popular pastime for many Pakistanis, especially among the well-to-do and the thirty-million strong middle class. The cities of Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar, Islamabad, Faisalabad and Quetta are especially known for the great contrast in shopping experiences - from burgeoning bazaars to modern multi-story shopping malls. In particular, Lahore and Karachi are peppered with colourful shopping plazas.

Over 1,081 patent applications were filed by non-resident Pakistanis in 2004, revealing a new found confidence.[7]

Social Culture

Pakistan National Symbols of Pakistan[8]
Flag Flag of Pakistan
Emblem Faith, Unity, Discipline
Anthem Qaumi Tarana
Animal Markhor
Bird Chukar
Flower Jasmine
Tree Cedrus deodara
Juice Sugarcane juice
Sport Field hockey
Dress Shalwar Kameez

The direct translation of Pakistan's name means Land of (the) Pure, implying spiritual purity.[citation needed]

  • Hospitality, many tourists and travellers to Pakistan are often surprised at the hospitality that Pakistani show to guests and tourists. In many of the traditional cultures of Pakistan, hospitality is considered a Farz (obligatory) and anyone found to be a poor host is shunned socially.
  • Consumption of alcoholic beverages by Muslims is officially illegal in Pakistan. Only non-Muslim Pakistanis and non-Muslim foreigners are allowed to consume alcoholic beverages (receiving government issued license). However, State and Christian/Parsi owned breweries operate in Pakistan, such as the Murree Brewery and Quetta Brewery, which produce all sorts of alcoholic beverages and earn considerable revenue for the government. Despite all the restrictions, there are reports that underground alcoholic activities exist and have thrived ever since the law banning Alcohol consumption was passed in the late 70's.

Cultural traditions

Pakistanis have a distinct culture, traditions and customs. Shalwar kamiz is the dress commonly worn, both by men and women in Pakistan. Pakistani food is rich in meat (including beef), whereas wheat is the main staple. Pashto, Punjabi, Balochi, Sindhi, Kashmiri, etc. music and dances are distinctly unique with their own melodies, instruments, patterns and styles. Pakistani arts in metal work, tiles, furniture, rugs, designs/paintings, literature, calligraphy, etc. are distinct and diverse. Pakistani architecture is unique with its Islamic styles. The manners and lifestyles are guided by a blend of Islam and local traditions. In comparison both Pakistanis and the Indians definitely have distinct cultures of their own. Some Indian women wear Shalwar kameez, which is due to Persian cultural influence which is more strong in Pakistan. Many Pakistani food dishes are shared with Indian cuisine (like naan, tikka, kebab, biryani/pulao, etc.). There is barely any Hindu architectural influence in Pakistan (Gandhara is Graeco-Buddhist and Harappan is distinct),. The lives of most Pakistanis are shaped by Islam, whereas the lives of most Indians are shaped by Hanadic-Hinduism.


About 85% of Pakistanis are Caucasoid by race, 10% Australoid-Negroid, and 5% Mongoloid in the overall genetic composition. The majority of Pakistanis are of average height. Pakistan is notable for having several individuals in the guiness book of world records (Alam Cheema) for the tallest man in the world. Most Pakistanis have brown skin, dark hair and eyes, however coloured eyes do occur in small portions of the population (namely the northern regions bordering afghanistan) among the Kalash, Tajik and North Western Pashtun tribes. The typical Pakistani can range from dark brown skin similar to south Indians, to light brown skin similar to North Indians. Though Indic people (or Indo-Aryan people) make up the large majority of Pakistan's population, such as Punjabis and Sindhis (numbering together around 128 million people), a significant minority of people inhabiting Pakistan's Northern and Western regions are Iranic (Pashtuns, Baluch) and share affinities with ethnic groups in Iran and Afghanistan. While the racial features of each ethnic group in Pakistan are not uniform, Pashtuns of North-Western Pakistan are the most Caucasoid, phenotypically, followed by the Kashmiris, then by, Baluchis, Sindhis, Punjabis, and Seraikis etc. The Australoid-Negroid people live along the Makran coast and are significant minority known as the Sheedi who came from East Africa in the 15th century. Mongoloid people also inhabit Pakistan and are of Mongolian origin.


There are many festivals celebrated annually in Pakistan - which may or may not be observed as national public holidays - e.g. Pakistan Day (23 March), Independence Day (14 August), Defence of Pakistan Day (6 September), Pakistan Air Force Day (7 September), the anniversaries of the birth (25 December, a national holiday) and death (11 September) of Quaid-e-Azam, birth of Allama Iqbal (9 November) and the birth (30 July) and death (8 July) of Madar-e-Millat. Labour Day, (also known as May Day), is also observed in Pakistan on 1 May and is a public holiday. Several important religious festivals are celebrated by Pakistani Muslims during the year; the celeberation days depend on the lunar Islamic calendar. Ramadan, the ninth month of the calendar, is characterised by daytime fasting for 29 or 30 days and is followed by the festival of Eid ul-Fitr. In a second festival, Eid ul-Adha, an animal is sacrificed in remembrance of the actions of Prophet Abraham (Arabic: Ibrahim) and the meat is shared with friends, family, and the less fortunate. Both Eid festivals are public holidays, serving as opportunities for people to visit family and friends, and for children to receive new clothes, presents, and sweets. Muslims also celebrate Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi - the birthday of the prophet Muhammad - in the third month of the calendar (Rabi' al-Awwal) and mark the Day of Ashurah on the 9th and 10th days of the first month (Muharram) to commemorate the martyrdom of Husayn bin Ali.

Zorastrians, Parsis, Bahai's, Nestorians, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, and Christians in Pakistan also celebrate their own festivals and holidays. Sikhs come from across the world to visit several holy sites in Punjab, including the shrine of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, at Hasan Abdal in Attock District, and his birthplace, at Nankana Sahib. There are also several regional and local festivals, such as the Punjabi festival of Basant, which marks the start of spring and is celebrated by kite flying.


  1. ^ a b Basham, A.L. (1968), Pacific Affairs, University of British Columbia, 641-643
  2. ^ Dehejia, Vidja South Asian Art and Culture. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Retrieved on February 10, 2008
  3. ^ The Indus Valley And The Genesis Of South Asian Civilization [1] Retrieved on February 6, 2008
  4. ^ Architecture in Pakistan: A Historical Overview. All Things Pakistan. Retrieved on February 10, 2008
  5. ^ World Hockey, International Hockey Federation
  6. ^ The Global Top 20, Globalization Index, A.T. Kearney, Foreigh Policy Magazine, 2006
  7. ^ Worldwide Patent Filings, WIPO Patent Report: Statistics on Worldwide Patent Activity (2006 Edition)
  8. ^ "National Symbols of Pakistan". Ministry of Culture, Government of Pakistan.!ut/p/c0/04_SB8K8xLLM9MSSzPy8xBz9CP0os3h_Nx9_SzcPIwP_IB8DA6MQN6MgP39LQ09_U_2CbEdFAGG3mnQ!/?WCM_PORTLET=PC_7_OFLO9FH20ORL002TF2RNO91IV4_WCM&WCM_GLOBAL_CONTEXT=/wps/wcm/connect/moculcl/sCultureOfPakistan/SaNationalsymbolsofPakistan/. Retrieved 2009-02-07. 

External links

Simple English

Badshahi Mosque built by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb in Lahore]]

The society of Pakistan (Urdu: ثقافت پاکستان) has many different cultures. The east of country is mainly Punjabi, the south is mainly Sindhi in the east are the tribal cultures. In many areas the tribes and cultures are mixed, most Pakistanis are Punjabis and most of the nation are Sunni Muslim.

The cultures have been greatly influenced by the surrounding cultures of India, Afghanistan, Central Asia and the Middle East along with other places. Pakistan in ancient times was a major cultural hub, the home of ancient civilisations, including the Indus Valley Civilization, the foundation of Indian culture. Many cultural practices have been inherited from the rule of many rulers of the region that have added their cultural traditions. One of the most influenced cultures being the Mughals.

Pakistan has a lot of wealthy cultural and ethnic background going back to Indus Valley Civilization, 2800 BC – 1800 BC. The region of Pakistan has been invaded in the past, occupied and settled by many different people, including Aryans, Greeks, White Huns, Arabs, Turks, Mongols and various Eurasian groups. [1] The different ethnic groups have differences in dress, food, and religion. The cultural origins come from the civilizations of India and eastern Afghanistan, with significant influences from Persia, Turkestan and Hellenistic Greece. It was the first part of the subcontinent to receive the full impact of Islam. Hence it has developed an identity of its own.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Basham, A.L. (1968), Pacific Affairs, University of British Columbia, 641-643

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