Cultural Identities

Pakistan is a proud nation. It is one of the few nations created not out by an accident of history but with a purposeful ideology. Since 1947 Pakistan has tried to create for itself a cultural identity that its people can feel a part of. It has looked towards West Asia, Central Asia and South Asia to find a sense of identity. The question of Pakistan’s identity is a much debated topic. Perhaps it is this flexibility of identity that is the fate of the Pakistan. Harboring both the most liberal as well as the most orthodox of ideology Pakistan tries to locate itself in the myriad ethnicity, and centuries of history that has played out with its geographical territory. Rich is literature, poetry, history, art and music Pakistan boasts the ability to mix and match, construct and deconstruct tradition and heritages.

About 97 percent of all Pakistani’s are Muslims. Of which Sunni Muslims are at a majority and constitute 77 percent of the population, while the Shia Muslims constitute an additional 20 percent. Religious minorities including Christian and Hindus make up for 1 percent. Sufism is practiced widely in Pakistan, and has much more flexible religiosity than the more extreme form of Islam. Shrines of Data Ganj Baksh and Shahbaz Qalander in Sehwan are visited by million in a year.

Pakistan is home to over 170 Million people. There are a number of ethnic groups within Pakistan. See map below. Broadly, they comprise four main ethnic groups Pashtuns (15%), Baluchis (3%), Punjabis (40%) and Sindhis (14%), and numerous smaller groups (28%) like Brahui, Seraiki, Balti, Mohajirs, Chitrali or Kalash.


Photo Source: M.Izady, 2007-2013,
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To read more about the Cultural Heritage of Pakistan please click here.

To see the list of National Symbols in Pakistan please click here.

Photo Source: Iqbal Academy Pakistan
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Allama Iqbal is a towering figure in the cultural, social and political landscape of Pakistan. He was a poet, a philosopher, a social reformer and much more. He provided the ideological guidance that lead to the creation of the state of Pakistan. His works are recited till today and form the backbone for the Pakistani national identity.
To read about Allama Iqbal in detail please visit this website dedicated to his life and life-work.

To read some of Iqbal’s poetry please click here.