population in Pakistan
Sunni Muslims: 80%
Shia Muslims: 20%
Ahmadi : 2,000,000
Bahá'í Faith: 30,000 - 78,000
Other (included Animists, Atheists, Jews, etc: unknown
data indicates that over 98% of the population are Muslims. The
Muslims are divided into different sects which are called schools of
jurisprudence i.e. 'Maktab-e-Fikr' (School of Thought) in Urdu.
Nearly 80% of Pakistani Muslims are Sunni Muslims and 20% are Shi'a
Muslims. The nearly all Pakistani Sunni Muslims belong to Hanafi
school with a small Hanbali school represented by Wahabis and Ahle
Hadith. The Hanafi school is divided into Barelvis and Deobandis
schools. While majority of Pakistani Shia Muslims belong to Ithna 'ashariyah
school with significant minority of Nizari Khoja Ismailis (Aga
Khanis) and a small Mustaali Dawoodi Bohra schools. By one estimate,
in Pakistan, Muslims are divided into following schools: the
Barelvis 48%, Deobandis 25%, Ithna Ashari 19%, Ahle Hadith 4%,
Ismailis 1%, Bohras 0.25%, and other smaller sects. The
Ahle-e-Hadith are part of Hanbali school. Nearly 65% of the total
seminaries (Madrassah) are run by Deobandis, 25 per cent by the
Barelvis, six percent by the Ahle Hadith and three percent by
various Shia organizations. Zikris are considered to be a heretical
sect by mainstream Muslims.
non-Muslim population mainly comprises of Christians (1% of the
population) and Hindus (1%), with smaller numbers of Ahmadis,
Buddhists, Jews, Sikhs, Zoroastrians, and Animists (mainly the
Kalash in Chitral). Pakistan's religious demographics has been
significantly influenced by the movement of populations in 1947
(millions of Muslims moved to Pakistan and millions of Hindus and
Sikhs moved to India) and the wars in Afghanistan (millions of
refugees who have become permanent residents).
there are very few Sikhs in Pakistan today, the country has a
significant place in Sikhism. Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism
was born in present-day Pakistan, and it is said he received his
message near Lahore. Therefore, the religion actually originated in
Pakistan. Most of Sikhism's holy sites are located in Pakistan. Many
other great Sikh leaders, including Ranjit Singh and several gurus,
were born in Pakistan. Ranjit Singh is buried in Lahore.
is also the birthplace of Mahayana Buddhism, the form of
Buddhism that is practiced by most Buddhists today, including those
in India, Japan, China, Korea, and Vietnam. The religion enjoyed
prominence in the northwestern section of the country up until the
arrival of Islam.
Islam was brought to the South Asian subcontinent in the eighth
century by wandering Sufi mystics known as pir. As in other areas
where it was introduced by Sufis, Islam to some extent syncretized
with preIslamic influences, resulting in a religion traditionally
more flexible than in the Arab world. Two Sufis whose shrines
receive much national attention are Data Ganj Baksh in Lahore (ca.
eleventh century) and Shahbaz Qalander in Sehwan, Sindhh (ca.
Islam is the national religion of Pakistan and 96% of Pakistanis are
Muslims. The Muslims are divided into different sects which are
called fiqh or Madhab (Mazhab) i.e., schools of jurisprudence (also
'Maktab-e-Fikr' (School of Thought) in Urdu). Nearly 70% of
Pakistani Muslims are Sunnis and 30% are Shi'as which is the second
major sect off Muslim sects in Pakistan. Nearly all Pakistani Sunni
Muslims belong to Hanafi school with a small group of Ahle Hadith.
The Hanafi school is divided into Barelvis and Deobandis schools.
While the majority of Pakistani Shia Muslims belong to Ithna Asharia
branch with significant minority of Ismaili, both Nizari (Agakhanis)
and Mustaali (Bohras). By one estimate, in Pakistan, Muslims are
divided into following schools: the Barelvi 38%, Deobandi 24%, Shia
Ithna Asharia 23%, Ahle Hadith 7%, Ismaili 1%, Bohra 0.25%, and
other smaller sects. The Ahle Hadith are part of Hanbali school.
Nearly 60% of the total seminaries (Madrasahs) are run by Barelvis ,
20 per cent by the Deobandis while 10 percent by the various Shi'a
organizations and 10 percent by Ahle Hadith. Zikris are considered
to be a heretical sect by Muslims.
The government of Pakistan does not consider this group followers
of Islam. The Pakistani parliament has declared Ahmadis to be
non-Muslims. In 1974, the government of Pakistan amended its
constitution to define a Muslim "as a person who believes in
finality of Prophet Muhammad".Ahmadis believe in Muhammad as the
best and the last law bearing prophet and Mirza Ghulam Ahmad as the
Christ of Muslims who was prophesized to come in the latter days and
unite the Muslims. Consequently they were declared non-Muslims by a
tribunal, the records of which have not been released to date.
According to the last Pakistan census, Ahmadis made up 0.25% of the
population. However the website adherents.com proposes that the
Ahmadiyya Muslim community made up 1.42% of the population; a much
more neutral source. The Ahmadis claim their community is much
Over 97% of Pakistan's population is Muslim; the rest is made up of
1.6% Christians about 2.8 million people out of a total population
of 173 Million (Est. U.N. census 2008), 1.85% Hindu, with much
smaller minorities of Buddhists, Sikhs, Bahá'ís, as well as others.
Although under the Pakistani constitution all religious minorities
are equal, social prejudice is practiced with Christians. According
to constitution, non-Muslims cannot become President, Prime Minister
or the chief of army staff.
The adherents of Christianity are the second largest religious
minority community in Pakistan. Christianity came to the areas now
forming Pakistan most probably through the trade routes from Central
Asia; in addition to influence from Syrian Christians in South India
A majority of the Pakistani Christian community belongs to converts
from the low caste Hindus from Punjab region during the British
colonial era while others are converts from Islam during the same
period. The community is geographically spread throughout the Punjab
province, whilst its presence in the rest of the provinces is mostly
confined to the urban centers. There is a Roman Catholic community
in Karachi which was established by Goan migrants when Karachi's
infrastructure was being developed by the British during colonial
administration between World War I and World War II.
Jews (Urdu: یہودی pronounced "Yehudi") are a very small religious
group in Pakistan. Various estimates suggest that there were about
2,500 Jews living in Karachi at the beginning of the twentieth
century, and a smaller community of a few hundred lived in Peshawar.
There were synagogues in both cities; while the Karachi synagogue
was burnt down the one in Peshawar still exists but has fallen into
disuse. Nearly all Pakistani Jews have emigrated.
Hinduism has an ancient history in Pakistan, the Rig Veda was
believed to have been composed in the Punjab region. Hindus today
are a much reduced community numbering over 3 million. According to
the last census 93% of Hindus live in Sindh, 5% in Panjab and nearly
2% in Balochistan.
There are many important Sikh religious sites in Pakistan where,
prior to the partition of India in 1947, some 40-50% of the world's
Sikh population resided. Today, the number of Sikhs remaining in
Pakistan is very small; estimates vary, but the number is thought to
be on the order of 20,000. Over the years more and more Sikhs from
abroad have been permitted to make pilgrimages to their shrines.
Like Hinduism, Buddhism has an ancient history in Pakistan. In fact
at the time of the arrival of Islam much of the population was
Buddhist. Today there are no established Buddhist communities and
numbers are very few.
Before independence of Pakistan in 1947, major urban centres in what
is now Pakistan were home to a thriving Parsi business community.
Karachi had the most prominent population of Parsis in Pakistan and
were mostly Gujarati-speaking. After independence, majority of
Pakistan's Parsi populace migrated to India, notably Bombay; however
a number of Parsis still remain in Pakistan and have entered
Pakistani public life as social workers, business folk, and
diplomats. The most prominent Parsis of Pakistan today include
Ardeshir Cowasjee, Byram Dinshawji Avari, Jamsheed Marker, as well
as the late Minocher Bhandara.
The Bahá'í Faith in Pakistan begins previous to its independence
when it was part of India. The roots of the religion in the region
go back to the first days of the Bábí religion in 1844,with Shaykh
Sa'id Hindi who was from Multan.During Bahá'u'lláh's lifetime, as
founder of the religion, he encouraged some of his followers to move
to the area that is current-day Pakistan.
In 1921 the Bahá'ís of Karachi elected their first Bahá'í Local
Spiritual Assembly. By 1956 Bahá'í local assemblies spread
across many cities,and in 1957, East and West Pakistan elected a
separate National Bahá'í Assembly from India and later East Pakistan
became Bangladesh with its own national assembly.Waves of refugees
arrived in 1979 due to the Soviet Union invasion of Afghanistan and
the Iranian Revolution in Iran.
The Bahá'ís in Pakistan have the right to hold public meetings,
establish academic centers, teach their faith, and elect their
administrative councils.However, the government prohibits Bahá'ís
from travelling to Israel for Bahá'í pilgrimage.though Bahá'ís
claimed less than half that number.
This is the religion of the Kalash people living in a remote part of
Chitral. Adherents of the Kalash religion number around 3,000 and
inhabit three remote valleys in Chitral; Bumboret, Rumbur and Birir.
Their religion is unique but shares some common ground with Vedic
and Pre Zoroastrian Iranian religions.
There are also an undetermined number of atheists and agnostics in
Pakistan, particularly in the affluent areas of the larger cities.
Some were born in secular families while others in religious ones.
According to the last Pakistan census (1998) people who did not
state their religion accounted for 0.5% of the population, although
this cannot be considered a reliable indicator of the number of
There is immense intolerance of atheism in the country. Pakistan's
harsh blasphemy laws, which stipulate the death penalty for
blaspheming, institutionalize such discrimination. Subsequently,
most atheists and agnostics keep their views private and choose to
portray themselves publicly as indifferent Muslims rather than
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