Pakistan Population and Languages

By | December 17, 2021

Pakistan is a South Asian state, in the Indian region. It includes the historical regions ofwestern Punjab and Sind, in the Indus lowland, a strip of the Iranian Plateau (Baluchistan) and the reliefs that border the plateau itself along the border with Afghanistan. AE borders with India and to the NE, through Kashmir, with China.

The territory of Pakistan consists, in the central section, of a vast flat area, crossed by the Indus river and its tributaries, whose floods have filled the depression between the mountain ranges of central-southern Asia and the ancient block continental of the Deccan. The high river valley marks the boundary between the Karakoram ranges and the Himalayas. The western regions are part of the Iranian Plateau. The course of the Indus marks the suture zone that separates the margin of the Asian plate from that of the Indian plate; here the welding between the two plates took place, following the collision of the late Cenozoic and here the boundary between the Indian Peninsula to the south and the rest of Asia to the north must be placed. The Indus is also the axis of the Pakistan, which has its economic and cultural center in the regions of Punjab and Sind. The first is crossed by five left tributaries of the Indus (Sutlej, Beas, Ravi, Chenab, Jhelum), the second is the riparian region of the lower course of the river. They are areas of subtropical and tropical latitude with markedly continental characters, only marginally affected by the summer monsoon: especially Sind, Thar, in Indian territory. The western section of the country corresponds to Baluchistan, a very drought plateau in the internal parts (in several sections scattered with endorheic basins of brackish waters), a little less in the outer edges that descend precipitously towards the Indus plain and the Arabian Sea. The northern end of the country includes a stretch of Hindukush (Tirich Mir, 7690m), while the Pakistan-controlled section of Kashmir rises to 8611m of K2, the highest peak in the Karakoram range.


In a central position with respect to the routes between the Iranian Plateau, Central Asia, Tibet and the Indo-Gangetic Lowland, the territory of the present Pakistan has welcomed, since ancient times, peoples of various origins. The Pakistani population, very articulated under the ethnic profile, has strong Indo-Arian components, modest Dravidian traces (especially in Baluchistan) and conspicuous groups of Tibetan origin in Baltistan ; notable are the somatic and cultural variety, with a clear predominance of Indo-Ari characters in the Indus plain (in particular in Punjab and Sind) and a notable frequency of Semitic characters in Baluchistan and along the borders with Afghanistan. Born in 1947 as a counterpart to India, Pakistan bases his raison d’etre on the religion practiced by its residents, who are overwhelmingly Muslim. The deep friction between Hindus and Muslims, exacerbated in the entire Indian region after the end of the Moghūl empire (1857), led to the division of the region into two states: in the aftermath of independence (1947), to avoid the continuation of bloody clashes, a gigantic exchange of populations (about 17 million people) took place, with which the majority of Hindus moved to India and most of the Muslims to Pakistan (including East Bengal, then part of the Pakistan). The demographic increase has been tremendous since then. From the 65 million residents of 1972 (after the Pakistan, with the secession of Bangladesh, assumed its current dimensions and lost the character of a ‘polymeric’ state, i.e. divided into clearly separated territorial parts), it passed to 84 million in 1981 and to 176 million estimated in 2009, with an average annual increase among the highest in the world, still in the last decade of the 20th century. above 3%, then dropped to around 2%. While overall mortality rapidly dropped below 10%, there is still a worrying infant mortality rate (around 70%). The population is very young (average age of 21), but life expectancy is around 64 years; literate adults are just half of the total. Emigration is intense, especially towards the countries of the Persian Gulf and Europe. The Soviet invasion, the civil war and then the NATO invasion of Afghanistan pushed Pakistan refugees who, still in 2007, were estimated at around 1 million, having reached an estimated maximum of 5 million in 2002. The density average does not reflect the differences between the various regions of Pakistan, partly almost depopulated (especially to the North, to the West and, partially, to the SE): Baluchistan has less than 20 residents / km 2, Punjab about 360. The rural population in 2008 was still 64% of the total (around 1980 it was about 90%) and the most widespread form of settlement is the village. In the steppes of Baluchistan, and between these and the Indus, nomadic and semi-nomadic herding of camels and sheep is widespread (the intensification of which is causing a drastic depletion of the plant heritage). The cities, despite their demographic size (7 exceeding one million residents), do not constitute a true urban network. The most populous is Karachi, on the Arabian Sea, the capital until 1959 and still the largest economic center, which at the 1998 census had over 9.3 million residents (estimated at 11.5 in 2006); Lahore, on the Ravi river, an important cultural and commercial center, has 5.1 million residents (an estimated 6.5); the populations of Faisalabad, in the richest agricultural area of ​​the country, of Hyderabad, an important communications hub, of Rawalpindi, capital from 1959 to 1968, and of Islamabad itself, just N of Rawalpindi with which it forms a conurbation, are less consistent. specifically to perform the capital functions, assumed in 1968 (805,000 residents in 1998).


Official language is Urdū, together with English, alongside various regional idioms practiced as languages ​​of use. Pakistan has a population that is almost entirely Islamic (77% Sunni, 20% Shia); the rest is divided between Hindus and Christians. Belonging to Islam, the strongest reason for the cohesion of the state, does not exclude sharp contrasts between a reformist vision and a traditionalist interpretation, an element of the frequent social and political clashes that periodically afflict the country. For Pakistan religion and languages, please check

Pakistan Languages