Punjab (Pakistan): Wikis


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Flag of Punjab Map of Pakistan with Punjab highlighted
Pakistan Pakistan
31°20′N 74°13′E / 31.33°N 74.21°E / 31.33; 74.21
Largest city Lahore
Population (2009)
 • Density
 • 397/km²
205,344 km²
Time zone PST (UTC+5)
Main language(s) Urdu (National)
English (Official)
Punjabi (Provincial)
Saraiki (Regional)
Mewati (Regional)
Pothowari (Regional)
Status Province
Districts 36
Towns {{{towns}}}
Union councils 127
Established 1 July 1970
Governor/Commissioner Salmaan Taseer
Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif
Legislature (seats) Provincial Assembly (370[2])
Website Government of Punjab

The Punjab (Shahmukhi: About this sound پنجاب ) is a province of Pakistan. It is the country's most populous[3] region with about 56% of Pakistan's total population. The Punjab is home to the Punjabis and various other groups. Neighbouring areas are Sindh to the south, Balochistan and the North-West Frontier Province to the west, Pakistan-administered Kashmir, Islamabad to the north, and the India to the east. The main languages are the Punjabi, Urdu, Saraiki, Mewati, Potowari and Pashto. The provincial capital is Lahore. The name Punjab literally translates from the Persian[4] words Pañj (پنج) , meaning Five, and Āb (آب) meaning Water. Thus Punjab can be translated as (the) Five Waters - and hence the Land of the Five Rivers, referring to the Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Sutlej and the Beas per ce. These five rivers are all the tributaries of the Indus River. The province was founded in its current form in May 1972.



Former Administrative Divisions of Punjab

Punjab is Pakistan's second largest province at 205,344 km² (79,284 mi²) after Balochistan and is located at the northwestern edge of the geologic Indian plate in South Asia. The provincial level-capital and main city of the Punjab is Lahore which has been the historical capital of the region. Other important cities include Multan, Faisalabad, Sialkot, Gujranwala, Jhelum and Rawalpindi. Undivided punjab is home to six rivers, of which five flow through Pakistani Punjab. From west to east, these are: the Indus, Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi and Sutlej. Nearly 60% of Pakistan's population lives in the Punjab. It is the nation's only province that touches every other province; it also surrounds the federal enclave of the national capital city at Islamabad.This geographical position and a large multi-ethnic population strongly influence Punjab's outlook on National affairs and induces in Punjab a keen awareness of the problems of the Pakistan's other important provinces and territories. In the acronym P-A-K-I-S-T-A-N, the P is for PUNJAB.

The province is a mainly a fertile region along the river valleys, while sparse deserts can be found near the border with Rajasthan and the Sulaiman Range. The region contains the Thar and Cholistan deserts. The Indus River and its many tributaries traverse the Punjab from north to south. The landscape is amongst the most heavily irrigated on earth and canals can be found throughout the province. Weather extremes are notable from the hot and barren south to the cool hills of the north. The foothills of the Himalayas are found in the extreme north as well.


Tilla Jogian, sacred and scenic peak in Punjab

Most areas in Punjab experience fairly cool winters, often accompanied by rain. By mid-February the temperature begins to rise; springtime weather continues until mid-April, when the summer heat sets in.

The onset of the southwest monsoon is anticipated to reach Punjab by May, but since the early 1970s the weather pattern has been irregular. The spring monsoon has either skipped over the area or has caused it to rain so hard that floods have resulted. June and July are oppressively hot. Although official estimates rarely place the temperature above 46°C, newspaper sources claim that it reaches 51°C and regularly carry reports about people who have succumbed to the heat. Heat records were broken in Multan in June 1993, when the mercury was reported to have risen to 54°C. In August the oppressive heat is punctuated by the rainy season, referred to as barsat, which brings relief in its wake. The hardest part of the summer is then over, but cooler weather does not come until late October.

Recently the province experienced one of the coldest winters in the last 70 years. Experts are suggesting that this is due to global climate change.[5]

Demographics and society

Historical populations
Census Population Urban Rural

1951 20,540,762 3,568,076 16,972,686
1961 25,463,974 5,475,922 19,988,052
1972 37,607,423 9,182,695 28,424,728
1981 47,292,441 13,051,646 34,240,795
1998 73,621,290 23,019,025 50,602,265
2009 81,593,586[6]

The population of the province is estimated to be 69,593,586 [1] in 2009 and is home to over half the population of Pakistan. The major language spoken in the Punjab is Punjabi (which is written in a Shahmukhi script in Pakistan) and Punjabis comprise the largest ethnic group in country. Punjabi is the provincial language of Punjab. The language is not given any official recognition in the Constitution of Pakistan at National level. Punjabis themselves are a heterogeneous group comprising different tribes, clans (Qaum (Urdu: قوم )) and communities. In Pakistani Punjab these Qaums have more to do with traditional occupations such as blacksmiths or artisans as opposed to rigid social stratifications.[7]

The biradari, which literally means brotherhood is an important unit of Punjabi society, and includes people claiming descent from a common ancestor. The biradaris collectively form larger units known as quoms or tribes. Historically, these quoms were endogamous, but latterly, especially in the large cities, there is considerable intermarriage between members of different quoms, and differences are getting blurred. Important quoms within Punjab include the Gondal, Arain,Paracha, Aheer, Awan, Dogar, Gakhars, Gujjars, Jat ,, Kamboh, Khattar, Mughal, Rajputs, Shaikhs (other name of Pakistani Punjabi Khatris), and the Syeds. Other smaller tribes are the Khateek, Maliar, Rawns, Pashtuns, Baloch, Rehmanis ( Muslim Labana) and the Maliks.[8]

In addition to the Punjabis, the province is also home to other smaller ethnic groups in the province include the Siraiki, Hindkowan, Kashmiris, Sindhis, and Muhajirs. Three decades of bloodshed in neighbouring Afghanistan have also brought a large number of Afghan refugees (Tajik, Pashtun, Hazara and Turkmen) to the province.

As per the census of Pakistan 1998, linguistic distribution of the Punjab province is: Punjabi (75.23%), Saraiki (17.36%), Urdu (4.51%), Pashto (1.16%), Balochi (0.66%), Sindhi (0.13%) others (0.95%). The population of Punjab (Pakistan) is estimated to be between 97.21% Muslim with a Sunni majority and Shia minority. The largest non-Muslim minority is Christians, who make up 2.31% of the poulation. Other minorites include Ahmedi, Hindus, Sikhs, Parsis and Bahá'í.

The dialects spoken in different regions of the land have a common vocabulary and a shared heritage. The shared heritage also extends to a common faith, Islam. The people of Punjab have also a shared spiritual experience, which has been disseminated by Tassawwaf and can be witnessed on the occasion of the remembrance-fairs held on the Urs of Sufi Saints.


Ancient History

The main site of the Indus Valley Civilization in Punjab was the city of Harrapa. The Indus Valley Civilization spanned much of what is today Pakistan and eventually evolved into Indo-Aryan civilization. The arrival of the Indo-Aryans led to the flourishing of the Vedic Civilization along the length of the Indus River. This civilization shaped subsequent cultures in South Asia and Afghanistan. Although the archaeological site at Harappa was partially damaged in 1857 when engineers constructing the Lahore-Multan railroad used brick from the Harappa ruins for track ballast, an abundance of artifacts have nevertheless been found. Punjab was part of the great ancient empires including the Gandhara Mahajanapadas, Mauryas, Kushans and Hindu Shahi. Agriculture flourished and trading cities (such as Multan and Lahore) grew in wealth.

Due to its location, the Punjab region came under constant attack and influence from the west. Invaded by the Persians, Greeks, Kushans, Scythians, Turks, and Afghans, Punjab witnessed centuries of bitter bloodshed. Its legacy is a unique culture that combines Zorastrian, Hindu, Buddhist, Persian, Central Asian, Islamic, Afghan, Sikh, and British elements. The city of Taxila, founded by son of Taksh the son Bharat who was the brother of Ram. It was reputed to house the oldest university in the world, Takshashila University, one of the teachers was the great Vedic thinker and politician Chanakya. Taxila was a great centre of learning and intellectual discussion during the Maurya Empire. It is a UN World Heritage site, and revered for its archaeological and religious history.

Greeks, Central Asians, and Persians

Unique to Pakistani Punjab was that this area was briefly conquered into various central Asian, Greek and Persian empires: after the bloody victories of Alexander the Great, Mahmud of Ghazni and Tamerlane. These were periods of contact between this region of Pakistan and the Persian Empire and all the way to Greece. In later centuries, when Persian was the language of the Mughal government, Persian architecture, poetry, art and music was an integral part of the region's culture. The official language of Punjab remained Persian until the arrival of the British in the mid 19th century, where it was finally abolished and the administrative language was changed over to English. After 1947, Urdu, which has Persian and Sanskrit roots, became Pakistan's national language (Zaban-e-Qaum).

Arrival of Islam

Badshahi Masjid - The largest mosque of the Mughal Empire built by emperor Aurangzeb.

The Punjabis followed a diverse plethora of faiths mainly Hindus but with large minorities of Buddhists, Zoroastrians, Pagans and Shamans when the Umayyad Muslim Arab army led by Muhammad bin Qasim conquered the Punjab and Sindh in 711. During the reign of Mahmud of Ghazni, The province became an important centre and Lahore was made into a second capital of the Ghaznavid Empire based out of Afghanistan.


The Mughals controlled the region from 1524 until 1739 and would also lavish the province with building projects such as the Shalimar Gardens and the Badshahi Mosque, both situated in Lahore. Muslim soldiers, traders, architects, theologians and Sufis flocked from the rest of the Muslim world to the Islamic Sultanate in South Asia and some may have settled in the Punjab. Following the decline of the Mughals, the Shah of Iran and founder of the Afsharid dynasty in Persia, Nader Shah crossed the Indus and sacked the province in 1739. Later, the Afghan conqueror Ahmad Shah Durrani, incidently born in Panjab, in the city of Multan made the Punjab a part of his Durrani Empire lasting until 1762.


The founder of Afghanistan, Ahmad Shah Durrani, an ethnic Pashtun (Afghan), was born on the outskirts of Multan, souther Panjab where many of his descendants live to this day. After cementing his authority over various Afghan tribes, he went about to establish the first united Afghan Kingdom (Greater Afghanistan) that during its greatest extent included modern-day Afghanistan, Pakistan and northeastern Iran. The Punjab was a cultural reservoir for the Afghans, and many where attracted to its lush fertile lands, a process that continues to this very day. It has been said that with the loss of the breadbasket regions of the Punjab and Sindh, Afghanistan has never been able to achieve a stable state ever since. Many ethnic Afghan or Pashtun tribes continue to live in Pakistan's Punjab province such as the Khugyanis known as Khakwanis, Alizais, Tareens, Durranis, Mullazais, Niazis, Khattaks, yousafzais, sadozais, tahirkheli, utmanzais, bangash, mashwani, Lodhis, Kakars, Kakazais, and Barakzais to name a few.


At the beginning of the fifteenth century, the religion of Sikhism was born, and during the Mughal period gradually emerged as a formidable military force until subjugated and assimilated by the later rising and expanding Sikh Empire. After fighting Ahmad Shah Durrani, the Sikhs wrested control of the Punjab from his descendants and ruled in a confederacy, which later became the Sikh Empire of the Punjab under Maharaja Ranjit Singh. A denizen of the city of Gujranwala, the capital of Ranjit Singh's empire was Lahore.[9]


The Maharaja's death in the summer of 1839 brought political chaos and the subsequent battles of succession and the bloody infighting between the factions at court weakened the state. Relationships with neighbouring British territories then broke down, starting the First Anglo-Sikh War; this led to a British official being resident in Lahore and the annexation of territory south of the Satluj to British India.

Some parts of Pakistani Punjab also served as the centre of resistance in the Indian Rebellion of 1857. Sikhs were the first people of the Punjab to rule their own land since Prithviraj Chauhan's defeat.

Independence and its aftermath

In 1947 the Punjab province of British India was divided along religious lines into West Punjab and East Punjab. The western Punjab was assimilated into new country of Pakistan while the east Punjab joined India. This led to massive rioting as both sides committed atrocities against fleeing refugees.

The undivided Punjab, of which Punjab (Pakistan) forms a major region today, was home to a large minority population of Punjabi Sikhs and Hindus unto 1947 apart from the Muslim majority.[10]

At the time of independence in 1947 and due to the ensuing horrendous exchange of populations, the Punjabi Sikhs and Hindus migrated to India.[11] Punjabi Muslims were uprooted similarly from their homes in East Punjab which now forms part of India.[12] Approximately 7 million plus who moved to Pakistan, over 6 million settled in Punjab.

Recent history

Punjab Assembly Building

Since the 1950s, Punjab industrialized rapidly. New factories came up in Lahore, Multan, Sialkot. In the 1960s the new city of Islamabad was built near Rawalpindi.

Agriculture continues to be the largest sector of Punjab's economy. The province is the breadbasket of the country as well as home to the largest ethnic group in Pakistan, the Punjabis. Unlike neighbouring India, there was no large-scale redistribution of agricultural land. As a result most rural areas are dominated by a small set of land-owning families.

Old style Punjabi home in a village

In the 1950s there was tension between the eastern and western halves of Pakistan. In order to address the situation, a new formula resulted in the abolition of the province status for Punjab in 1955. It was merged into a single province West Pakistan. In 1972, after East Pakistan seceded and became Bangladesh, Punjab again became a province.

Punjab witnessed major battles between the armies of India and Pakistan in the wars of 1965 and 1971. Since the 1990s Punjab hosted several key sites of Pakistan's nuclear program such as Kahuta. It also hosts major military bases such as at Sargodha and Rawalpindi. The peace process between India and Pakistan, which began in earnest in 2004, has helped pacify the situation. Trade and people-to-people contacts through the Wagah border are now starting to become common. Indian Sikh pilgrims visit holy sites such as Nankana Sahib.

Starting in the 1980s large numbers of Punjabis migrated to the Middle East, Britain, Spain, Canada and the United States for economic opportunities. Business and cultural ties between the United States and Punjab are growing.

Provincial government


There are 36 districts in Punjab, Pakistan.[13]

  1. Attock
  2. Bahawalnagar
  3. Bahawalpur
  4. Bhakkar
  5. Chakwal
  6. Chiniot
  7. Dera Ghazi Khan
  8. Faisalabad
  9. Gujranwala
  10. Gujrat
  11. Hafizabad
  12. Jhang
  13. Jhelum
  14. Kasur
  15. Khanewal
  16. Khushab
  17. Lahore
  18. Layyah
Punjab administrative1.PNG
  1. Lodhran
  2. Mandi Bahauddin
  3. Mianwali
  4. Multan
  5. Muzaffargarh
  6. Narowal
  7. Nankana Sahib
  8. Okara
  9. Pakpattan
  10. Rahim Yar Khan
  11. Rajanpur
  12. Rawalpindi
  13. Sahiwal
  14. Sargodha
  15. Sheikhupura
  16. Sialkot
  17. Toba Tek Singh
  18. Vehari


GDP by Province

Punjab has always contributed the most to the national economy of Pakistan. Punjab's economy has quadrupled since 1972.[14] Its share of Pakistan's GDP has historically ranged from 51.8% to 54.7%. It is especially dominant in the Service & Agriculture sectors of the Pakistan Economy. With its contribution ranging from 52.1% to 64.5% in the Service Sector and 56.1% to 61.5% in the Agriculture Sector. It is also major manpower contributor because it has largest pool of professionals and highly skilled (Technically trained) manpower in Pakistan. It is also dominant in the Manufacturing sector, though the dominance is not as huge, with historical contributions raging from a low of 44% to a high of 52.6%.[15] In 2007, Punjab achieved a growth rate of 7.8%[16] and during the period 2002-03 to 2007-08, its economy grew at a rate of between 7% to 8% per year.[17]

Irrigated land of Punjab

Despite lack of a coastline, Punjab is the most industrialized province of Pakistan; its manufacturing industries produce textiles, sports goods, machinery, electrical appliances, surgical instruments, Cement, Vehicles, Auto Parts, I.T, metals, Agriculture Machinery, bicycles and rickshaws, floor coverings, and processed foods. In 2003, the province manufactured 90% of the paper and paper boards, 71% of the fertilizers, 69% of the sugar and 40% of the cement of Pakistan.[18]

Despite its dry climate, extensive irrigation makes it a rich agricultural region. Its canal-irrigation system established by the British is the largest in the world. Wheat and cotton are the largest crops. Other crops include rice, sugarcane, millet, corn, oilseeds, pulses, vegetables, and fruits such as kinoo. Livestock and poultry production are also important. Despite past animosities, the rural masses in Punjab's farms continue to use the Hindu calendar for planting and harvesting.

Punjab contributes about 70% to annual food grain production in the country. 51 million acres (210,000 km2) is cultivated and another 9.05 million acres (36,600 km2) are lying as cultivable waste in different parts of the province.

Cotton and rice are important crops. They are the cash crops that contribute substantially to the national exchequer. Attaining self-sufficiency in agriculture has shifted the focus of the strategies towards small and medium farming, stress on barani areas, farms-to-market roads, electrification for tube-wells and control of water logging and salinity.

Punjab has also more than 68 thousand industrial units. The small and cottage industries are in abundance. There are 39,033 small and cottage industrial units. The number of textile units is 14,820. The ginning industries are 6,778. There are 7,355 units for processing of agricultural raw materials including food and feed industries.

Lahore and Gujranwala Divisions have the largest concentration of small light engineering units. The district of Sialkot excels in sports goods, surgical instruments and cutlery goods.

Punjab is also a mineral rich province with extensive mineral deposits of Coal, Gas, Petrol, Rock salt (with the second largest salt mine in the world), Dolomite, gypsum, and silica-sand. The Punjab Mineral Development Corporation is running over a hundreds economically viable projects. Manufacturing includes machine products, cement, plastics, and various other goods.


The literacy rate has increased greatly since independence.

Year Literacy Rate
1972 20.7%
1981 27.4%
1998 46.56%
2008 60.7%


This is a chart of the education market of Punjab estimated by the government in 1998.

Qualification Urban Rural Total Enrolment Ratio(%)
23,019,025 50,602,265 73,621,290
Below Primary 3,356,173 11,598,039 14,954,212 100.00
Primary 6,205,929 18,039,707 24,245,636 79.68
Middle 5,140,148 10,818,764 15,958,912 46.75
Matriculation 4,624,522 7,119,738 11,744,260 25.07
Intermediate 1,862,239 1,821,681 3,683,920 9.12
BA, BSc... degrees 110,491 96,144 206,635 4.12
MA, MSc... degrees 1,226,914 764,094 1,991,008 3.84
Diploma, Certificate... 418,946 222,649 641,595 1.13
Other qualifications 73,663 121,449 195,112 0.26

Public Universities

Private Universities

Cultural heritage

Mausoleum of Sheikh Rukh-e-Alam (1320 AD)

Punjab has been the cradle of civilization since times immemorial. The ruins of Harappa show an advanced urban culture that flourished over 8000 years ago. Taxila, another historic landmark also stands out as a proof of the achievements of the area in learning, arts and crafts in bygone ages. In the more moderate era post-9/11, the ancient Hindu Katasraj temple and the Salt Range temples are regaining attention and much-needed repair.

The structure of a mosque is simple and it expresses openness. Calligraphic inscriptions from the Holy Qur’an decorate mosques and mausoleums in Punjab. The inscriptions on bricks and tiles of the mausoleum of Shah Rukn-e-Alam (1320 AD) at Multan are outstanding specimens of architectural calligraphy. The earliest existing building in South Asia with enamelled tile-work is the tomb of Shah Yusuf Gardezi (1150 AD) at Multan. A specimen of the sixteenth century tile-work at Lahore is the tomb of Sheikh Musa Ahangar, with its brilliant blue dome. The tile-work of Emperor Shah Jahan is of a richer and more elaborate nature. The pictured wall of Lahore Fort is the last line in the tile-work in the entire world.

Fairs and festivals

The culture of Punjab derives its basis from the institution of Sufi saints. The Sufi saints spread Islam and preached and lived the Muslim way of life. People have festivities to commemorate these traditions. The fairs and festivals of Punjab reflect the entire gamut of its folk life and cultural traditions. These mainly fall in following categories:

Religious and seasonal fairs/festivals

Religious fairs are held on special days of Islamic significance like Muharram, Eid Milad-un-Nabi, Eid-ul-Fithr, Eid-ul-Azha and Shab-e-Brat. The main activities on these special occasions are confined to congregational prayers and rituals. Melas are also held to mark these occasions.

Devotional fairs or Urs

The fairs held at the shrines of Sufi saints are called urs. They generally mark the death anniversary of the saint. On these occasions devotees assemble in large numbers and pay homage to the memory of the saint. Soul inspiring music is played and devotees dance in ecstasy. The music on these occasions is essentially folk and appealing. It forms a part of the folk music through mystic messages. The most important urs are: urs of Data Ganj Bukhsh at Lahore, urs of Hazrat Mian Mir at Lahore, urs of Baba Farid Ganj Shakar at Pakpattan, urs of Hazrat Bahaudin Zakria at Multan, urs of Sakhi Sarwar Sultan at Dera Ghazi Khan, urs of Shah Hussain at Lahore, urs of Hazrat Bullehe Shah at Kasur and urs of Hazrat Imam Bari (Bari Shah Latif) at Rawalpindi-Islamabad. urs of Shah Inayar Qadri( the murrshad of BABA BULEH-E-SHAH )in Lahore.

A big fair/mela is organized at Jandiala Sher Khan in district Sheikhupura on the Mausoleum of Syed Waris Shah who is the most loved Sufi poet of Punjab due to his claasic work known as Heer Ranjha.

Industrial and commercial fairs

Exhibitions and Annual Horse Shows in all Districts and National Horse and Cattle Show at Lahore are held with the official patronage. National Horse and Cattle Show at Lahore is the biggest festival where sports, exhibitions, and livestock competitions are held. It not only encourages and patronizes agricultural products and livestock through the exhibitions of agricultural products and cattle but is also a colourful documentary on the rich cultural heritage of the Province with its strong rural roots.

Provincial symbols of Punjab
Provincial emblem Coat of arms of Punjab Pk)punjab.gif
Provincial flag Flag of Punjab 100px-Pk-punj.PNG
Provincial language پنجابی (unofficial) Nastaliq-proportions.jpg
Provincial animal Punjab Urial
Provincial bird Asiatic peafowl Peacock front02 - melbourne zoo.jpg
Provincial tree Dalbergia sissoo Morne Seychellois NP footpath.jpg
Provincial flower Justicia adhatoda Justicia adhatoda 1.jpg

Arts and crafts

The crafts in the Punjab are of two types: the crafts produced in the rural areas and the royal crafts that flourished in the urban centres particularly in Lahore. The former include cotton textiles, basketry, embroidery etc. while the latter are tile and woodwork skills, ivory, silver and gold work, naqqashi and architectural crafts.

Hand knotted carpets of fine quality are made in Punjab since the Mughal period. Emperor Akbar in the 15th century established the first factory in Lahore. While carpets were made for the wealthy, rough rugs (known as namdas) were made by the common people for their own use. Lahore is the centre of hand-made carpets.

Since ancient times the weavers of the region have produced colourful fabrics of silk and cotton. The hand-woven cotton cloth like khaddar of Kamalia, are popular. The cloth woven on handlooms is either block printed or beautifully embroidered. Multan is famous for beautiful hand-woven bed covers.

Major attractions

The province is home to many well known historical sites including the Shalimar Gardens, Lahore Fort, the Badshahi Mosque, and the ruins of the ancient city of Harrapa. The Anarkali Market and Jahangir's Tomb are prominent in the city of Lahore as is the Lahore Museum, while the ancient city of Taxila in the northwest was once a major centre of Buddhist and Hellenic influence. Many important Sikh shrines are in the Pakistani portion of Punjab, including the birthplace of the first Guru: Guru Nanak (born at Nankana Sahib). There is also the largest salt mine in Asia situated the Khewra Salt Mines.

Punjabi music

Classical music forms are an important part of the cultural wealth of the Punjab. The Muslim musicians have contributed a large number of ragas to the repository of classical music. The most common instruments used are the Tabla and Harmonium.

Among the Punjabi poets, the names of Sultan Bahu, Bulleh Shah, Mian Muhammad Baksh, and Waris Shah and folk singers like Inayat Hussain Bhatti and Tufail Niazi, Alam Lohar, Sain Marna, Mansoor Malangi, Allah Ditta Lona wala, Talib Hussain Dard, Attaullah Khan Esakhlvi, Gamoo Tahliwala, Mamzoo Gha-lla, Akbar Jat, Arif Lohar, Ahmad Nawaz Cheena and Hamid Ali Bela are well-known. In the composition of classical ragas, there are such masters as Malika-i-Mauseequi (Queen of Music) Roshan Ara Begum, Ustad Amanat Ali Khan, Salamat Ali Khan and Ustad Fateh Ali Khan. Alam Lohar has made significant contributions to folklore and Punjabi literature, by being a very influential Punjabi folk singer from 1930 until 1979.

For the popular taste however, light music, particularly Ghazals and folk songs, which have an appeal of their own, the names of Mehdi Hasan, Ghulam Ali, Nur Jehan, Malika Pukhraj, Farida Khanum, Roshen Ara Begum, and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan are well-known. Folk songs and dances of the Punjab reflect a wide range of moods: the rains, sowing and harvesting seasons. Luddi, Bhangra and Sammi depict the joy of living. Love legends of Heer Ranjha, Mirza Sahiban, Sohni Mahenwal and Saiful Mulk are sung in different styles.

For the most popular music from the region, bhangra, the names of Abrar-Ul-Haq, Arif Lohar, Attaullah Naizi, Jawad Ahmed, Legacy, and Malkoo are renown.


The folk heritage of the Punjab is the traditional urge of thousands of years of its history. While Urdu is the official language of the province, there are a number of local dialects through which the people communicate. These include Majhi, Jhangochi or Jangli, Pothohari, Saraiki, Jatki, Hindko, Chhachhi, Doabi, and Derewali. The songs, ballads, epics and romances are generally written and sung in these dialects.

There are a number of folk tales that are popular in different parts of the Punjab. These are the folk tales of Mirza Sahiban, Sayful Muluk, Yusuf Zulekha, Heer Ranjha, Sohni Mahiwal, Dulla Bhatti, and Sassi Punnun. The mystic folk songs include the Kafees of Khwaja Farid in Saraiki, Punjabi and the Shalooks by Baba Farid. They also include Baits, Dohas, Lohris, Sehra, and Jugni.[24]

The most famous of the romantic love songs are Mayhiah, Dhola and Boliyan. Punjabi romantic dances include Dharees, Dhamaal, Bhangra, Giddha, Dhola, and Sammi.

Social issues

One social/educational issue is the status of Punjabi language. According to Dr. Manzur Ejaz, "In Central Punjab, Punjabi is neither an official language of the province nor it is used as medium of education at any level. There are only two daily newspaper published in Punjabi in Central Punjab. Only a few monthly literary magazines constitute Punjabi press in Pakistan".

Punjabis are prominent in business, agriculture, industry, government, and the military to the point that there is resentment from other ethnic groups. The smaller provinces often voice concern at Punjabi domination of key institutions such as the Army[citation needed]. A newer generation of upper class Panjabis is re-affirming their maternal language and have begun requesting the government for official patronage not just of their language (Punjabi and Urdu) but that of other major ethnic groups in Pakistan such as the Pashtuns, Balochi and Saraiki[citation needed]. Punjabis form the 44 to 46% of population of Pakistan.

Twin Punjabi Associations

The Punjab historically, since ancient times, has been one cultural and political entity within which the Punjabi people have lived in. However, after the partition of India the Punjab was divided, cutting the Punjabi people in two across the international border between Pakistan and India. Relations after partition were unusually Luke-warm between the twin Punjabs. However, over the last 20 years both Punjab governments, in India and Pakistan, have made concerted effort to maintaining cultural and historical ties of the Punjabi people. This included the international Punjabi Games held in 2004, arranged by both Punjab Governments. Academic institutions have kept their strong contacts such as Universities that were spilt after partition, such as the twin Punjab Universities at Chandigarh and Lahore.

Famous people of Punjab

  • Hazrat Data Gang Bakhsh( Lahore)
  • Dr Sir Allama Muhammad Iqbal, lawyer, poet, philosopher.
  • Hazrat Khawaja Pir Sufi Raja Muhammad Iqbal Khan Naqshbandi, Naqshbandiya Sufi Saint, Bharot Sharif.
  • Mian Molvi Noor Muhammad(Late) of Tanda, a famous town in Hoshiarpur district in Indian Punjab.He was a well known muslim trader before partition but migrated to Pakistan after partition and settled in Jauharabad, a well known town in Khushab district of Pakistani Punjab.
  • Hazrat Khawja Fateh Muhammad (Late) of Faisl Colony, District Bahawalnagar.He was a well known muslim.
  • Mian Humayun Rehman Wattoo (Bahawalnagar)
  • Malik Amir Muhammad Khan (Nawab of Kalabagh)
  • Sardar sir Muhammad Nawaz khan (local man,kot Fateh khan,Fateh jang ,Attock)
  • Sardar Mumtaz Hussain khan (local man,kot Fateh khan)
  • Sardar Babar (Technocrat, Kot Fateh Khan, Fateh Jang, Attock)
  • Sardar Malik Ata Muhammad Khan(The Legend of Horse riding and tent pegging), Kot Fateh Khan).


See also


  1. ^ a b Punjab - World Gazetteer
  2. ^ Provincial Assembly - Punjab
  3. ^ Government of the Punjab
  4. ^ Singh, Pritam (2008). Federalism, Nationalism and Development: India and the Punjab Economy. London; New York: Routledge. pp. 3. ISBN 0415456665. http://books.google.com/books?id=mQLDcjhNoJwC. 
  5. ^ Mercury drops to freezing point - Dawn Pakistan
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ Muslim peoples : a world ethnographic survey / Richard V. Weekes, editor-in-chief Greenwood Press 1978
  8. ^ Punjabi Muslalman by J M Wikely
  9. ^ Sikh Period - Government of Pakistan
  10. ^ The Punjab in 1920s – A Case study of Muslims, Zarina Salamat, Royal Book Company, Karachi, 1997. table 45, pp. 136. ISBN 9694072301
  11. ^ Panel 33 European Association for South Asian Studies
  12. ^ Pakistan: a modern history, Ian Talbot, St. Martin's Press, 1999. ISBN 0312216068
  13. ^ Government of Punjab - Districts
  14. ^ http://siteresources.worldbank.org/PAKISTANEXTN/Resources/293051-1241610364594/6097548-1257441952102/balochistaneconomicreportvol2.pdf
  15. ^ Provincial Accounts of Pakistan: Methodology and Estimates 1973-2000
  16. ^ http://www.thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=152370
  17. ^ http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/in-paper-magazine/economic-and-business/micro-credit,-income-distribution,-poverty-789 - Last Paragraph
  18. ^ Punjab Gateway
  19. ^ http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0014/001459/145959e.pdf
  20. ^ http://www.statpak.gov.pk/depts/fbs/publications/lfs2007_08/results.pdf
  21. ^ http://www.miir-pk.page.tl
  22. ^ http://www.umi-pk.com
  23. ^ http://www.nu.edu.pk
  24. ^ http://www.punjabilok.com/pakistan/pak_punjab.htm

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Asia : South Asia : Pakistan : Punjab

Punjab (Punjabi: پنجاب) is a province in Pakistan, and home to over half the population of Pakistan. There is also a state in India called Punjab.

  • Lahore - the provincial capital, and Pakistan's cultural capital
  • Faisalabad-A textile hub of Pakistan
  • Gujranwala-The city of wrestlers, also known for its electrical,Ceramics and textile industry
  • Jhelum
  • Kehror Pacca
  • Khurrianwala
  • Multan-A must stop for tourists, most famous for its wonderful mangoes,friendly people and pottery,also lots of tombs and beautiful mosques.
  • Murree - famous for its scenic beauty and a popular hill station
  • Rawalpindi-Military headquarters
  • Bahawalpur - a city of different Nawab (king) and British palaces as well as the Derawar Fort
  • Sahiwal
  • Sialkot - famous for its sports and leather industry
  • Khewra Salt Mine - World's largest Salt mine & tourist complex
  • Rohtas Fort
  • Cholistan desert
  • Nur Mahal in Bahawalpur
  • Indus Valley Civilization: Harappa
  • Taxila: Gandhara civilization
  • Takht-i-Bahi: Buddhist Monastery
  • Badshahi Masjid, Lahore - 2nd largest mosque in the World
  • Hasanabdal - Sikhs Holy site
  • Nankana Sahib - Sikhs Holy site


The major language spoken in the Punjab is Punjabi, the provincial language. Educated people also understand and speak Urdu and English. In the south Seraiki is the main language it's best if you learn some basic sentences at the Seraiki phrasebook

Get in

Both Lahore and Islamabad have direct flights to numerous international destinations across Asia, the Greater Middle East and Europe. There are buses/Train between Delhi to Lahore. From Kashi China one can travel by road via the KKH upto Gilgit for about 50$ and from Gilgit there are direct buses to Islamabad for about 5$ but 17 hours of journey on harrowingly winding roads.

Get around

By Plane, Train, Taxi, Bus

From ancient times people have been travelling through Punjab using the Grand Trunk Road that run through Pakistan and into the Indian subcontinent. It's a rewarding but time consuming way to see this part of the world. New highways have been developed and the country is due for an expansion in its highway network. Currently, a world-class motorway connects the cities of Lahore, Islamabad and Faisalabad

Pakistani Rangers and their counterparts
Pakistani Rangers and their counterparts

The province is home to many well known historical sites including the Shalimar Gardens, the Badshahi Mosque, and the ruins of the ancient city of Harrapa. The Anarkali Market and Jahangir's Tomb are prominent in the city of Lahore as is the Lahore Museum, while the ancient city of Taxila in the northwest was once a major centre of Buddhism. Many important Sikh shrines are in the Pakistani portion of Punjab, including the birthplace of the first Guru: Guru Nanak (born at Nankana Sahib), you can visit the Wagah border parade. There is also the largest salt mine in Asia situated the Khewra Salt Mines.

  • Golf
  • Cricket
  • See Art galleries, Museums
  • Concerts
  • Desert Safari
  • Jeep Rally s
  • Shopping
  • Eco tours
  • Trekking
  • Biking
  • Para gliding


Punjabi food mainly consists of various kinds of kabobs eaten with either flatbread or rice. Food tends to be either mild or very spicy depending on where you are. So state your preference before beginning to eat. In general, most of the same food you can find in the highest quality restaurants/hotels there is available commonly in the markets (but European-style food is generally reserved for the former).

  • The types of flatbread (collectively referred to as Nan are:
    • Nan - A soft and thick bread that often requires special clay ovens and cannot be properly made on home stoves. It is recognized by its larger, white exterior.
    • Roti/Chapatti - A homemade bread that doesn't have as much flavor as naan. It is a cheap alternative that is ready in minutes.
    • Paratha - An extremely oily version of the roti. Usually excellent if you're going out to eat, but beware of health concerns; often it is literally dripping with oil because it is meant to be part of a rich meal. Pratha is more declicious if you cook it in pure oil like "desi ghee".
    • Sheer Mal - This is a slightly sweetened, lightly oiled bread that has waffle-like squares punched in it. It is often considered the most desirable bread and is a delicacy to most people. Often paired with nihari.
    • Taftan - Much like the sheer mal but with a puffed-up ring around it. This is generally just as good as the sheer mal but easier to eat liquidy shorba with.

As you might have noticed, Nan is usually used to pick up liquid and soft foods like shorba and beans. Utensils are not commonly used during meals in Pakistan except to serve dishes (unless someone is eating rice and would like to be polite or is unpracticed eating it by hand). Attempting to cut a naan with a knife and drink shorba with a spoon may elicit some amusement around you. Watching others may help.

  • Types of kababs (mainly made of Beef or Lamb) are:
    • Seekh Kabab (سيخ کباب) - A long skewer of Beef mixed with herbs and seasonings.
    • Shami Kabab (شامي کباب) - A round patty of seasoned Beef, softer than seekh kabobs.
    • Chapli Kabab (چپلي کباب) - A spicy round kabob that is a specialty of Peshawar.
    • Chicken Kabab (مرغ کباب) - A popular kabob that is found both with bone and without.
    • Lamb Kabab (کبابِ برہ گوشت) - The all lamb meat kabob is usually served as cubes.
  • More Pakistani Foods:
    • Roasted Chicken (whole) (مرغ بريان) - A whole chicken roasted. Very famous around Pakistan. You'll see them on the rotisserie while driving on Lahore streets.
    • Biryani (برياني) - A dish with mixed pieces of chicken and rice. It smells nice from the saffron and other seasonings added.
    • Chicken Tikka - Barbequed chicken with a spicy exterior. Looks like a huge, red chicken leg and thigh. For all meat lovers. Is available most anywhere.
    • Haleem - Thick soup-like mix of tiny chunks of meat, lentils and wheat grains.

There are too many shorbas, or sauces, to enumerate. However, you should know of the most common ones.

  • Vegetarian
    • Daal - Yellow (plain) or brown (slightly sour) lentil "soup". Usually unspiced. Common to all economic classes.
    • Aloo Gobi - Potatoes and cauliflower. Cooked so that both are soft and breakable with finger pressure.
    • Bhindi - Okra, Can be bitter...
    • X + ki sabzi - A vegetarian mixture with 'X' as the main ingredient.
  • With Meat
    • Aloo Gosht (Potatoes and Meat) - Chunks of potato and goat meat in gravy. Levels of spice vary. One example of a generic dish that includes most things + Gosht(meat).
    • Nihari- Beef simmered for several hours. A delicacy often eaten with Nan, Sheer Mal, or Taftan. Few people will have this available without spice. Eat with lemon, fried onion and caution: it is one of the spiciest curries.
    • Paye - Very, very wet salan, often served in a bowl or similar dish. Eat by dipping pieces of naan in it, maybe finishing with a spoon. Hard to eat.
  • Desserts
    • Enjoy a variety; ice cream can be found in an abundance of flavors such as the traditional pistachio flavoured Kulfi;
    • Falooda (فلودہ) is tasty rosewater desert. The sweets are extremely popular in Pakistan and called different things depending on where you go. Eat small chunks at a time, eating large pieces can be rude and will generally be too sweet.
    • Kulfi is a very traditional made ice-cream mixed with cream and different types of nuts.
    • If you want to go to some ice-cream parlors, there are some good ice-cream parlors in Lahore like "Polka Parlor" "Jamin Java" "Hot Spot".
  • Tea (or Chai as it is referred to in Pakistan) is popular throughout the country.
    • Both black and green tea (Sabz chai or qahvah) are common and are traditionally drunk with cardamom and lots of sugar. Lemon is optional but recommended with green tea.
    • Kashmiri chai is a milky tea with almonds and nuts added to give additional flavour. This tea is very popular during weddings and in the cold season.
  • Coffee is also available in all major cities.

In the warmer southern region, sweet drinks are readily available throughout the day. Look for street vendors that have fruits (real or decorations) hanging from their roofs. Also, some milk/yogurt shops serve lassi. Ask for meethi lassi for a sweet yogurt drink and you can also get a salty lassi which tastes good if you are having "bhindi" in food or some other rich dish. There is also a sweet drink called Mango Lassi which is very rich and thick, made with yogurt, mango pulp, and pieces of mango.

Stay safe

The people of Punjab are very hospitable. They tend to welcome any foreigner very warmly.

It is recommended not to attend any rallies, protests or religious gatherings.

Get out

By plane

Lahore Islamabad and Sialkot are the main gateways to Outside Punjab by air. However, there are 134 airfields in Pakistan.

  • Allama Iqbal International Airport in Lahore [1] has been completely renovated with a new terminal for international arrivals and departures. Many airlines are currently operating to the airport including Emirates, Etihad Airways, Indian Airlines, Mahan Air, Qatar Airways, Gulf Air, Singapore Airlines, Pakistan International (PIA), Saudi Arabian Airlines, Thai Airways, Kuwait Airways, Uzbekistan Airways and over four private airlines from Pakistan.
  • Benazir Bhutto International Airport [2] is currently in review to be expanded and modernized to meet the needs of the future passenger numbers as demand for air travel has increased dramatically. There are many airlines operating into Islamabad including many of the above with Ariana Afghan Airlines, British Airways and China Southern Airlines. The only problem is that the airport is also used by Government officials as well as arrivals from foreign diplomats so the airport may shut down as security is increased so flights are delayed.

By train

Punjab has train links with its neighbour the Republic of India to the east. The Samjhauta Express is the more common, running on Tuesdays and Fridays between Delhi and Lahore via the Attari/Wagah border crossing. Tourists should be aware that after recent terrorist attacks on the train, which caused many a casualty and strained relationships between the two neighbors, it is strongly advised that you take taxis or buses to and from the border instead.

By car

From ancient times people have been travelling through Punjab using the Grand Trunk Road that run through Pakistan and into the Indian subcontinent. It's a rewarding but time consuming way to see this part of the world. New highways have been developed and the country is due for an expansion in its highway network. Currently, a world-class motorway connects the cities of Lahore, Islamabad and Faisalabad

Punjab is connected to China through the Karakoram Highway, a modern feat of engineering that traverses a remarkably scenic route through the Karakoram and Himalayan mountains. Which is about to be expanded from current 10m wide to 30m because of the increase in trade traffic due to Gwader port opening.

By bus

To India: While there is international service running from Lahore to Delhi it is just as fast, much more flexible, and much cheaper to take the journey by stringing together local transport and crossing the border on foot.

To China: While there is international service running from Islamabad to Kashgar it is just as fast, much more flexible, and much cheaper to take the journey by stringing together local transport and crossing the border on foot.

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Simple English

[[File:|thumb|150px|Map of The Punjab]]

File:Dialects Of
Dialects of Punjabi

Punjab (Urdu:صوبہ پنجاب) is a province in Pakistan. The capital of Punjab is Lahore. Punjab has a population of 80 million people and an area of 79,284 mi² or (205,344 km²) in terms of area the province of Punjab is greater in area than Kyrgyzstan but smaller than Belarus.



Before 1947 both Pakistan and the Republic of India were ruled by the British. The Punjab province used to be a part of British Punjab. In 1947 the British province of Punjab was split between Pakistan and Bharat via the Radcliffe Line and the Ferozpur District and the sub-district of Gurdaspur awards were originally meant to go to the Pakistanis, however it was decided on August 18th to allocate them to East Punjab. Today India has a state called Punjab since 1966. A bus service was launched in 2006 connecting Lahore in Pakistani Punjab with Amritsar in India. This was the first bus service between the two Punjabs for almost 60 years.[1]

Camel cart in Punjab, Pakistan

Districts of Punjab (Pakistan)

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