While the official name of the nation is the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, generally the country has been referred to as Pakistan since 1971.
Identification. As part of India's independence from Great Britain in 1947, a partition took part of their land and created Pakistan as a separate Islamic nation. It is estimated that approximately 95 percent of the population are Muslim, but members of several minority religions live there, including some Hindus, Christians, Parsis, Sikhs, and Buddhists. Although the modern nation of Pakistan was but fifty-three years old in 2000, it has territorial areas and tribal populations whose histories date back many centuries; thus Pakistan has both an ancient and a relatively new identity.
Location and Geography. Pakistan is in South Asia and is 339,697 square miles (879,815 square kilometers) in area. It was created from what had been the northwest side of India. All of the country except the southern portion is landlocked, with Afghanistan to the northwest, Jammu and Kashmir to the northeast, India to the east and southeast, and Iran to the west. In the southern portion, along the shores of the city of Karachi, which was the original capital when the nation was formed in l947, is the Arabian Sea. Karachi is well known for its shorelines. Most of the northern section of the country consists of mountains and also the famous Khyber Pass, whose history goes back several thousand years. It is in this northern section where most of the ancient tribes still live and where many ancient tribal cultures and customs still exist.
Pakistan consists of several provinces, including Punjab, Sind, North-West Frontier, Baluchistan, and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).
The city of Islamabad, which is centrally located in the country, was officially named the capital of Pakistan in 1961, and construction began on government buildings in addition to others. Islamabad became the active capital in 1966. In addition to modern government buildings it also features a wide variety of modern hotels, an international airport, and the nearby famous ancient city of Rawalpindi.
In addition to being known for a number of mountains, including K-2, which is the second-highest mountain in world, Pakistan also has several lakes and rivers, including the Indus River, which is 1,800 miles (2,896 kilometers) long. Pakistan also has several deserts, in Punjab and Sind. Pakistan is also home to Taxila, the oldest known university in the world. In the north, leading from China, through Tammu and Kashmir, is a famous ancient silk road.
Pakistan is diverse. There are snowcapped mountains in the north, sunny beaches in the south, and a wide variety of geographically and culturally interesting sites elsewhere.
Demography. The population of Pakistan is estimated to be 135 million. An estimated 40 million live in urban areas, with the balance in rural areas. In addition to the residents of the major cities of Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, and Peshawar, which is the city at the edge of the Kybher Pass gateway, a number of tribal residents live in valleys. These include Chitral Valley, at an elevation of 3,800 feet (1,158 meters), where the majority of the people are Muslims but that also is home to the Kafir-Kalash (wearers of the black robe), a primitive pagan tribe. In Swat Valley, which was once the cradle of Buddhism, Muslim conquerors fought battles and residents claim to be descendants of soldiers of Alexander the Great. In the Hunza Valley, people are noted
Linguistic Affiliation. The official language of Pakistan is Urdu, but most public officials, people, and others in Pakistan also speak English; English is referred to as the informal official language of Pakistan. Urdu was created by combining the languages of early invaders and settlers, including Arabic, Persian, and Turkish. The spoken form of Urdu is the same as that of Hindi but it is written in a different script than Hindi.
While Urdu and English are prevalent throughout Pakistan, a number of other languages are spoken in different valleys and areas. These include the Punjaki, Sindhi, Pushto, Balochi, Brahvi, Saraiki, and Hindko dialects, among others.
Symbolism. The design of Pakistan's flag was officially adopted by the country's Constituent Assembly in July 1947, it was flown for the first time on their independence day, 14 August l947. The flag was designed by Ali Jinnah, the man acclaimed as the founder of Pakistan. There is a thick white strip on the left side of the flag; the rest of the flag has a dark green background with a white crescent and a five-pointed star centered on it. The white represents peace, and the dark green represents prosperity. The crescent stands for progress, and the star stands for light, guidance, and knowledge. Pakistan also has a national emblem. In the middle of a circled wreath of jasmine flowers is a shield that has four sections, each of which shows a major product of the country from when the country was created. One section shows cotton, another shows wheat, one tea, and one jute. Above the four sections are the crescent and star, as on the national flag. On a scroll beneath the wreath is written in Urdu "Faith, Unity, Discipline."
History and Ethnic Relations
Emergence of the Nation. For many years India sought independence from Great Britain. During most of those years the Muslim League of India was also striving to establish an independent Islamic nation. The Muslim leader was Ali Jinnah from as early as 1916; in 1940 he began advocating and working for a separate Muslim state. When the British finally agreed to India's independence and withdrew in 1947, Pakistan became a Muslim nation, with Ali Jinnah as its first governor-general. Originally it was divided into two parts. The nation now called Pakistan was then called West Pakistan, and on the opposite side of India, some 1,000 miles (1,609 kilometers) away, was another Muslim area, designated East Pakistan. In 1956 Pakistan became a republic. In 1971 East Pakistan waged a successful war of independence from West Pakistan and became the independent nation of Bangladesh.
While the history of Pakistan as an independent nation dates only to 1947, the history of the territory it encompasses dates back many thousands of years, during the period when the territory was a portion of the Indian subcontinent. In addition, the land is home to the famous Khyber Pass, which is the route that many invaders into India used. These include Mogul invaders and Alexander the Great. Many centuries ago a number of Buddhists also used that northern section as a route, so Pakistan today has many interesting Buddhist sites and historical notes as part of its history. Punjab is also a portion of the country; it was the home of the founder of the Sikh religion, and it continues to play a significant role in Pakistan. Lines of demarcation between India and Pakistan in northern border areas are unclear in places or in dispute, and controversy continues to surround these lines.
National Identity. The national identity of Pakistan today is that of an Islamic nation; it was created as such. However, because the territory that is now Pakistan has a history that goes back several thousand years, the area has a history that forms part of the present identity of Pakistan. That is one of the reasons why both residents and visitors find the relatively young nation of Pakistan historically interesting and why the national identity includes many sites and stories that are centuries older than the nation itself.
Ethnic Relations. There are at least five ethnic groups within Pakistan. In general, there are not continuous or frequent problems between the different ethnic groups other than ethnic tensions in Sind, which occur somewhat regularly.
Urbanism, Architecture and the Use of Space
Because of the relative newness (1966) of the capital city of Islamabad, it features modern architecture arrayed under a master plan. In addition to modern capital buildings, Islamabad is also home to the famous Shah Faisal Mosque, which is so large that the prayer hall can accommodate ten thousand persons, while verandas and porticoes can hold more than twenty-four thousand worshipers. It also has a courtyard that has enough space for forty thousand people.
Islamabad also has a sports complex, art galleries, a museum of natural history, and four universities.
Other sites in and near Islamabad include Rawal Lake; the Rose and Jasmine Garden, the Murghzar Mini Zoo and Children's Park; and the Shakarparian Hills, whose terraced garden features views of other hills, Rawal Lake, and the cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad.
The ancient city of Rawalpindi, on the border of Islamabad, has a history that dates back three thousand years. While many new modern buildings have been added to this city, it has retained much of its historical look and is well known for its bazaars that specialize in handicrafts. Rawalpindi is home to Linquat Memorial Hall with a large auditorium and library; Ayub National Park; and the Rawalpindi Golf Course, which was completed in 1926 but is still in regular use.
Another well-known urban area is Lahore, founded four thousand years ago. Lahore was the cultural center of the Mogul Empire, which glorified it with palaces, gardens, and mosques. It is the second-largest city in Pakistan and the capital of Punjab. Some of its historical sites include the Royal Fort, which was built in 1566 by Akbar the Great, and Wazir Khan's mosque, which was built in 1683 and is still considered one of the most beautiful mosques in all of South Asia.
Another ancient but still famous site in Lahore is the Shalimar Gardens, which were originally laid out in 1642 by Mogul emperor Shah-Jehan. The garden is surrounded by high walls and a watchtower at each of the four corners. The garden is used as the site of regular special state receptions. Lahore is also home to several other well-known mosques, museums, and parks.
A more recent historical site in Lahore is the Minar-e-Pakistan, where a resolution was passed in 1940 demanding creation of a separate homeland for the Muslims. The minar is an estimated 197 feet (60 meters) high.
Another equally well-known urban area is the city of Karachi, which was the first capital of Pakistan. Karachi is in the south of the nation and in addition to being a modern city on the shores of the Arabian Sea, it has a number of interesting sites, including the Masjid-e-Tooba which is said to be the largest single-dome mosque, and several art galleries and bazaars. It has a wide variety of water sports and remains the center of commerce and industry.
There are a number of other urban areas throughout Pakistan, but one of the best known is the city of Peshawar, which is the northernmost major city and is home to the gateway to the Khyber Pass. Peshawar is a city of Pathan tribals who are also Muslims. Alexander the Great and parts of his army stayed in this city for forty days in 327 B.C.E. Balahissar Fort is on both the eastern and western approaches to the city, and it is from near here that one can take a train along the mountain routes of the Khyber Pass. While the city is centuries old, the modern Peshawar is well known for its bazaars and for several colleges and a university.
Food and Economy
Food in Daily Life. Because at least 95 percent of the Pakistani population is Muslim, there are two food customs that are followed almost universally. One is that Muslims do not eat pork (therefore beef, chicken, lamb, and fish are the basic foods), and the other is that during the month of Ramadan, fasting is a daily activity.
Spices and curry are an essential part of any Pakistani recipe. The most prevalent spices include chili powder, tumeric, garlic, paprika, black and red pepper, cumin seed, bay leaf, coriander, cardamom, cloves, ginger, cinnamon, saffron, nutmeg, and poppy seeds, among others. Using yogurt to marinate meats is another typical recipe. Because of the use of spices and curry for the main dish, the usual side dish is plain rice. Lentils are another common specialty. The food in the south is more exotic and highly spiced, while that in the north often features plain barbecued meat as the main dish. Usually any meat, fowl, or seafood is curried, and frying is the typical method of cooking. Ghee, which is clarified butter, is another commonly used recipe item and is often used for frying.
Wheat and flour products are considered mainstays of the daily diet, and the use of pickles, chutneys, preserves, and sauces along with curried meats, seafood, vegetables, and lentils and are why Pakistani cuisine has such a unique flavor.
Green tea is the typical drink served at all meals.
Food Customs at Ceremonial Occasions. Fasting is an important part of the Muslim observance of Ramadan, but food does play a role on many other occasions. One such event is the Eid-ul-Azha (Feast of Sacrifice) in the last month of the Muslim calendar, commemorating the occasion when the prophet Abraham was about to sacrifice his son in response to an order from God. Muslims who can afford it are required to sacrifice a sheep, goat, camel, or cow symbolizing Abraham's submission to God. The meat of the sacrificed animal is divided into three equal parts, with the first donated to the poor, the second given to relatives and/or friends, and the third cooked at the home of the person who made the sacrifice. Eating the meat is part of the festival celebration activity.
The important religious festival Shab-I-Barat involves a special type of pudding known as halwa and unleavened bread known as nan being distributed among the poor. The halwa and nan dishes are specially decorated with silver or gold leaves and also are sent to relatives and neighbors.
Workers on a community sanitation project examine the pipes for a new sewer in Faisalabad.
Food also plays a role in the celebration of the end of the Ramadan fasting period. This starts with a special breakfast of sheer kharma (a sweet dish), which is vermicelli cooked in milk with dried dates, raisins, almonds, and other nuts. In addition, crowds hurry to local bazaars to purchase fruit, meat, and sweets as well as new clothes and jewelry.
Sweets are distributed as part of the celebration of the birth of a new baby in a family, and an animal sacrificial offering is also made—one goat for a girl and two for a boy, with the animal meat distributed among the poor or among friends and relatives. Food also is involved in a ceremony celebrating a child becoming six or seven months old. Sisters and relatives place rice pudding in the infant's mouth using a silver spoon, and a drop of chicken broth is also put in the mouth. After this ceremony the adults then hold an elaborate dinner concluded with a special dessert called kheer.
Basic Economy. Pakistan is a poor country and its economic outlook is bleak. It relies heavily on foreign loans and grants, and debt obligations take nearly 50 percent of the government's expenditures. The average per capita income per person in Pakistan is estimated at $460 (U.S.). A large number of Pakistanis, estimated at 35 percent, live below the poverty line.
Land Tenure and Property. An estimated 54.69 million acres (22.14 million hectares) of land are used for agriculture. The major crops are cotton, wheat, rice, and sugarcane. A large amount of land in Pakistan has archaeological sites, such as Moenjo Daro, Harappa, Taxila, Kot Dijji, and Mehr Garh.
Commercial Activities. A large percentage of the commercial activities include the sale of handicraft items such as the carpets for which Pakistan is well known.
Major Industries. Major industries of Pakistan include textiles, cement, fertilizer, steel, sugar, electric goods, and shipbuilding.
Trade. Pakistan's major exports include cotton, textile goods, rice, leather items, carpets, sports goods, fruit, and handicrafts. Major imports include industrial equipment, vehicles, iron ore, petroleum, and edible oil. Trade partners include the United States, Hong Kong, Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United Arab Emirates.
A caravan along the Silk Road.
Division of Labor. Forty-eight percent of workers are in the service sector, 27 percent are in industry, and 25 percent are in agriculture.
Classes and Castes. There is no caste system in Pakistan. There are high-income, middle-income and a large number of low-income persons throughout the country. Locale makes an important difference in the quality of life; a low-income person in an urban area has more problems than one living in a tribal, mountainous area.
Symbols of Social Stratification. There have been and continue to be a number of social development shortcomings in Pakistan, but in recognition of them, the government in 1992–1993 initiated the Social Action Program (SAP) to make social development and social services available to all levels of the Pakistanis. Reports show that while some had benefited, the rural people who were meant to benefit mostly did not. Some of the program's expenditures were for elementary education, primary health, welfare, and rural water supply and sanitation. It is believed that many people do not understand the purpose and scope of the SAP and that substantial changes must be made in the program if it is to be successful.
Government. The government of Pakistan consists of an elected prime minister, a president, and a Parliament that consists of the Senate (Upper House) and the National Assembly (Lower House). There are 57 members of the Senate and 217 members of the National Assembly. The prime minister is the head of government, and the president, who is elected by the legislature, is the head of state. There are also ministers in charge of government divisions such as education and tourism. These are appointed by the prime minister. They in turn appoint the governors of the different states within the country. Also appointed by the prime minister are the chief justices of the Supreme Court.
Leadership and Political Officials. Each individual state within the country has a governor, and each city has its own mayor. Additionally, most tribal groups have a head chief.
Social Problems and Controls. The greatest social problem in Pakistan is drug use. There are both governmental and non-government programs
Women gathered together at a wedding in Islamabad. Muslim marriages unite not only a couple but also their families.
Military Activity. Branches of the military are the army, navy, air force, civil armed forces, and national guard. The military of Pakistan consists of members from all ethnic groups within the country. Their duties have included participation in United Nations (UN) peacekeeping and nation-building activities in different areas of the world. Soldiers in the Pakistani Army are regular participants in the long-running dispute, sometimes resulting in violence, with India regarding sovereignty over Kashmir.
Military activity in Pakistan has included four military coups. After those in 1955, 1969, 1977, the government was returned to civilian control via popular election. The most recent coup took place in October 1999, and toward the end of 2000 a general was still acting as the head of the government, although he has promised a democratic election for a new prime minister in the near future.
Nongovernmental Organizations and Other Associations
There are a number of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) within Pakistan, including the Aurat and Behood women's organizations, as well as international Lions and Rotary clubs, to which a large number of men belong. The World Bank and its various agencies have been active in Pakistan since 1952.
The Aga Khan Rural Support Program has worked to build up village organizations with separate groups for men and women and then, through their groups, to launch a number of development activities. The Orange Pilot Project, headquartered in Karachi, has been active in urban development, including working to improve one of Karachi's worst slum areas, with the first focus being on sanitation, followed by a range of community development activities.
Gender Roles and Statuses
Division of Labor by Gender. The majority of Pakistani women are homemakers, and men are generally referred to as the breadwinners. The largest percentage of working women in Pakistan are nurses or teachers. Women are represented in government as ministers in Parliament and ambassadors. Benazir Bhutto was the first female prime minister and served from 1988 to 1990.
The Relative Status of Women and Men. The women of Pakistan are regular voters as are the men, and women also are regular attendees at colleges. Islam gives women rights to child custody, to alimony, and to inheritance, and they also have the right to conduct business and enter any profession. Women are engaged in agriculture production and the services sector. Women judges have been appointed to four high courts as well as several lower courts and a 10 percent quota was established for women to become police officers.
There are growing numbers of violent crimes against or involving women and the government has introduced the concept of women police stations, which have been opened in Rawalpindi, Karachi, and Abbottabad in the North West Frontier.
A number of computer training centers have been established for women and the government has opened "women development centers" that specialize in training community development workers in family planning, hygiene, sanitation, adult literacy, community organization, and legal rights.
Marriage, Family and Kinship
Marriage. One form of a Muslim marriage involves a nikah , a formal legal document signed by the bride and groom in front of several witnesses; this establishes that the couple is legally married.
There are other Muslim marriage traditions as well. One includes the mayun or lagan which takes place three or four days before the marriage and starts with the bride retiring to a secluded area of her home. On the day before the marriage there is a menhdi ceremony, when the bride's hands and feet are painted with henna. When the marriage ceremony takes place it is required that at least two witnesses be there, and all the guests offer a short prayer for the success of the marriage. After the ceremony, dried dates are distributed to the guests. Wedding customs vary somewhat among provinces, but the Muslim marriage is seen as uniting both families as well as the couple.
Each tribal group also has certain ceremonies that are an important part of the marriages within that group.
Inheritance. Women have inheritance rights in Pakistan, so that inheritance benefits can go to women and children after the death of the husband and father.
Kin Groups. A Muslim marriage is seen as uniting the families of both the bride and groom, so the kin group is expanded after a marriage. In some tribes there can be neither a cross-cultural marriage nor a dual ethnic one, so therefore the kin groups are and basically remain identical ethnically and culturally.
Infant Care. The addition of a new baby to a Muslim family is seen as a great blessing and there are a wide variety of ceremonies that take place both at the birth and throughout the different stages of infancy. To help families with infant care there are a number of child health centers throughout the country.
Child Rearing and Education. Most Pakistani families consider it the privilege of the grandfather to name the baby. Another tradition is that the first garment for a baby's layette is made from an old shirt that had belonged to the grandfather. The child is usually named within forty days after birth and thus is generally known by a nickname until then. A baby boy's hair is shaved off, with the belief that this will then ensure thick growth throughout life. The shorn hair is weighed and balanced against silver, and that silver is then given to the poor.
In February 1998 the prime minister announced a draft for a new education policy from 1998 to 2010, to increase the number of elementary and secondary schools to meet the projected enrollment of twelve million children, including about six million female children in the primary schools by 2003. The draft also suggested establishment of community-based nonformal schools to fill the school gap and to help minimize the cost of primary schools. The new education policy also proposed training about thirty-six thousand teachers each year from 1998 to 2003 to maintain a pupil-teacher ratio of forty to one, with most new teachers to be females. A reduction in military spending was also proposed so funds could be channeled toward countrywide primary education for all children.
Higher Education. Higher education is seen as having an important role in preparing an individual for a successful career. There are nearly one thousand colleges and universities located throughout almost the entire country.
Religious Beliefs. Pakistan was formed as an Islamic nation, and Islam continues to be the religion of approximately 95 percent of the population. There are also small groups of Buddhists, Christians, Parsis, and Hindus. The Muslim religion was
Houses in Baltit. Pakistan's landscape includes snowcapped mountains and valleys such as this, as well as sunny beaches.
Rituals and Holy Places. One of the prevalent rituals for Muslims is the month of Ramadan, during which time they are required to fast from dawn to sunset (this is not required of very young children, the elderly, or pregnant women). Ramadan is also a time when Muslims thank Allah for his blessings during the past year. An additional requirement during Ramadan is that all Muslims must help the less fortunate with both cash and food gifts. The Eid, or day ending Ramadan, starts with an elaborate breakfast; then Muslims go to a mosque or special park for prayer.
An equally important Muslim celebration is Eid-I-Milad-un-Nabi, the birth of the prophet Muhammad, on the twelfth day of Rabi-uh-Awwal, which is the third month of the Muslim calendar. In addition to special gatherings in mosques, where the story of the life and mission of Muhammad is told, large groups of Muslims parade through the streets singing praise to Muhammad. Even private homes are decorated (as are the mosques) in celebration and praise of Muhammad.
Another important Muslim religious festival is Shab-I-Barat, which is held on the fourteenth day of Shaban, the eighth month of the Muslim year. The belief is that on this day the lives and fortunes of mankind are registered in Heaven for the coming year. During Muharram, which is the first month of the Muslim calendar, the martyrdom of Imam Husain, the grandson of Muhammad, is commemorated. For the first nine days of the month the death is recounted, and then on the tenth day, which is the day he was murdered, there are barefoot processions with persons carrying banners relating to the tragedy of his death.
Other religions in Pakistan also have special festivals/rituals and holidays, with Christmas and Easter being the special ones of the 750,000 Pakistani Christians. Christmas coincides with the birthday of the Ali Jinnah, acclaimed as Pakistan's founder, so both Muslims and Christians celebrate on this day.
The main festival of the Buddhist community is Baisakhi Purnima, the day on which Buddha was born; it is the same calendar date when later in his life he is believed to have attained his great wisdom of enlightenment.
Parsi residents of Pakistan celebrate their New Year (Naoroz) on 21 March. Approximately fifty-five hundred Parsis live near Karachi.
View over central Karachi, Pakistan's first capital. Set on the shore of the Arabian Sea, it is a center of commerce and industry.
Pakistani Hindus also have a number of festivals; the two most special ones are Diwali (Festival of Lights) and Holi (Festival of Colors). The Festival of Lights is held in Lahore at the Shalimar Gardens, which are filled with multicolored lights and where folk music and dances are performed.
A colorful and interesting festival is held in North-West Frontier Province in April, in the Peshawar stadium. Events include the Khattak famous dance of the Pathans and musical concerts; tribal people participate in colorful costumes.
During Eid, tribesmen gather around the shrine of Baba Kharwari in Ziarat Valley, and wrestling and marksmanship contests are held. A large number of people visit it regularly to offer sacrifices in memory of the saint.
The Quaid-I-Azam Residency in Ziarat Valley was Ali Jinnah's residence during his last illness and now houses relics of him and is a highly revered sacred site. It was originally built in l882 by the British and used by the agent to the governor as his summer headquarters.
Takht Bhai is one of the holy places of Buddhism. The Buddhist monastery of Takht Bhai stands 500 feet (152 meters) above the plain on the hill. The Buddhists selected this spot to construct a religious complex where the monks and students could pursue their rituals and studies. The main stupa is surrounded on three sides by chapels in which images of both the Buddha and Buddhisattva were installed.
Makli Hill, near Thatta town is where more than one million graves of kings, queens, saints, scholars, philosophers, and soldiers are located. Gravestones and mausoleums are considered masterpieces in stone carving representing different eras and dynasties.
Death and the Afterlife. Shab-I-Barat is also celebrated as a remembrance day of deceased family and friends. Special illumination of the mosques takes place and food is distributed among the poor. It is also a time when children participate in fireworks. After distribution of the food the Qur'an is read and prayers are said; then most Muslims visit cemeteries and put flowers and lights on the graves of deceased family and friends.
Medicine and Health Care
At a seminar at Aga Khan Medical University in September of 1998, medical experts reported that perinatal mortality rates in Pakistan were alarmingly high, with an estimated 54 deaths per thousand births. A 1990–1994 national health survey reported that eighty-nine children per thousand under age five died in Pakistan from pneumonia, diarrhea, vaccine prevention diseases, or a combination of them, with most of these deaths occurring in the first week after birth.
A number of programs have been undertaken to attack polio; the World Health Organization and Japan have participated. At the end of the twentieth century, there were one hundred thousand deaths from and at least twenty thousand new cases of paralytic polio each year.
A survey by the Federal Bureau of Statistics in Pakistan indicated that about 50 percent of the basic health units were without doctors and that about 70 percent of government health facilities are without any female staff. Only about 56 percent of the country's people have safe drinking water and just 24 percent have good sanitation.
Programs are underway to expand basic health services for women, develop a women-friendly district health system, and both strengthen and improve human resource capacity to sustain women's health development.
Official national holidays include: Pakistan Day, 23 March; May Day, 1 May; Independence Day, August 14; Defense of Pakistan Day, 6 September; death of Ali Jinnah, 11 September; and birth of Ali Jinnah, 25 December.
The Awami Mela or People's Festival of Lahore held annually each March, is a six-day pageant that features equestrian sports, cattle displays, and enormous crowds of people. Special events include polo, animal dances, large band displays, acrobatics by camels, dancing horses, parades, and folk dances.
Another festival in Lahore is Basant, when the sky is filled with thousands of colored kites in celebration of the coming of spring. The color yellow is associated with the festival, everyone dresses in yellow and mostly yellow foods are cooked.
Often a national holiday is declared when Pakistan's national cricket team wins a major international match.
The Arts and the Humanities
Support for the Arts. The Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) has established the National Gallery, the Sadequinn Gallery, and the National Music and Dance Center. They also regularly hold exhibitions, seminars and theater workshops.
In the early 1970s the National Film Development Corporation was formed to use film to make people aware of social and cultural values. The corporation holds film festivals regularly.
Literature. Faiz Ahmad Faiz is considered to have been Pakistan's greatest poet, and there is a national holiday celebrating his birth. Pakistan has been referred to as a land of poetry, and it is said that nearly every Pakistani has written some poetry.
Graphic Arts. There are a wide variety of graphic art examples, including handpainted clay products, the hand design for batik products, and block printing called Ajrak. Glazed pottery with handpainted designs is common throughout the country, and artistic work in clay goes back thousands of years.
Pakistani handicrafts are as varied as the ethnic backgrounds of the craftsmen and include work in wood, beaten brass and copperware, pottery, and jewelry, a wide variety of fabrics that feature embroidery, and the hand-designed carpets for which Pakistan is internationally recognized.
Performance Arts. There are so many dance and music performance arts in Pakistan—many unique to the ethnic culture of the performer—that they are almost considered common rather than unique. Music and dance are done in the both classical and folk form. Usually the performer wears a costume that features ethnic design.
Just as the costume worn by the performer identifies the tribe or ethnic group, so does the music or performance. For example, while dancing in a circle is the basic formation for Pakistani folk dances, there are also many versions of the Pathans' khattak, but they all begin with dancers in two columns accompanied by pipe and drum music. There is the Jhoomer in Baluchistan, which involves spinning around at top speed, as men do on dark nights by the light of flickering torches. The women of Punjab do the jhoomer in what is referred to as a romantic fashion. Also in Punjab, the juddi starts with girls singing to the beat of a drum; then they join in a circle and start to dance. Still another dance of Punjab is the bhangra which is described as being like rock and roll and which is always done at the beginning of the harvest season. The Ho Jamalo originated in Sind but is popular throughout Pakistan. It is a dance that is performed as part of a victory or celebration.
There are four main families of musical instruments in Pakistan and more than six hundred Pakistani musical instruments; the most well known are the sitar, veena, rabab, sur mandal and tanpura. The most popular of all the instruments is the sitar but a two-piece drum, the tabla is reputedly the most important accompaniment for all Pakistani music and dancing. Nearly all the instruments are used primarily for solo performances; the Western concept of orchestral music is not part of the Pakistani musical heritage. However, Western instruments such as the piano, violin, and accordion are now often included in Pakistani concerts because they are adaptable to Pakistani music.
Several other musical instruments are used, particularly the dhol, a double-sided drum that is usually hung around the neck and played with sticks, while the dholkit is smaller and played by hand. In addition, the flute is often used.
The State of the Physical and Social Sciences
In the social sciences, one of the major concerns is the low rate of literacy in Pakistan. Efforts are being made and outside the educational establishment to address this concern. Another social concern is that frequently young children must work—most often in carpet manufacturing jobs—to supplement the family's income and sometimes to provide the sole income in the family. As a result, the children do not have time to attend school. Efforts made to address this problem have often involved trying to find work for the parents.
In the physical sciences one of the largest problems is that because of ever-increasing population growth, natural resources are often misused, with land being lost to desertification, waterlogging, and soil erosion. There is increasing contamination of groundwater and surface water from agricultural chemicals as well as from industrial and municipal wastes. Because of the important role of agriculture in the overall economy of the country, agricultural production is and will continue to be greatly threatened by land degradation unless solutions can be found rapidly.
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"Sind" redirects here. For other uses, see Sind (disambiguation).
Left to right: Mazar-e-Quaid, Makli Hill, Faiz Mahal, Ayub Bridge adjacent to Lansdowne Bridge and Ranikot Fort
|Nickname(s): Mehran (Gateway)|
Location of Sindh in Pakistan
|• Type||Self-governing Province subject to the Federal government|
|• Governor||Muhammad Zubair Umar|
|• Chief Minister||Murad Ali Shah|
|• Chief Secretary Sindh||Rizwan Memon|
|• Legislature||Provincial Assembly|
|• High Court||Sindh High Court|
|• Total||140,914 km2 (54,407 sq mi)|
|• Density||340/km2 (880/sq mi)|
|Time zone||PKT (UTC+5)|
|ISO 3166 code||PK-SD|
|Main Language(s)||Other languages: Brahui, Pashto, Baluchi, Saraiki & Panjabi|
|Notable sports teams|
|Seats in National Assembly||75|
|Seats in Provincial Assembly||168|
Sindh (Sindhi: سنڌ ; Urdu: سندھ) is one of the four provinces of Pakistan, in the southeast of the country. Historically home to the Sindhi people, it is also locally known as the Mehran. Sindh is the third largest province of Pakistan by area, and second largest province by population after Punjab. Sindh is bordered by Balochistan province to the west, and Punjab province to the north. Sindh also borders the Indian states of Gujarat and Rajasthan to the east, and Arabian Sea to the south. Sindh's landscape consists mostly of alluvial plains flanking the Indus River, the Thar desert in the eastern portion of the province closest to the border with India, and the Kirthar Mountains in the western part of Sindh. Sindh's climate is noted for hot summers and mild winters. The provincial capital of Sindh is Pakistan's largest city and financial hub, Karachi.
Sindh has Pakistan's second largest economy with Karachi being its capital that hosts the headquarters of several multinational banks. Sindh is home to a large portion of Pakistan's industrial sector and contains two of Pakistan's commercial seaports, Port Bin Qasim and the Karachi Port. The remainder of Sindh has an agriculture based economy, and produces fruit, food consumer items, and vegetables for the consumption other parts of the country. Sindh is also the centre of Pakistan's pharmaceutical industry.
Sindh is known for its distinct culture which is strongly influenced by Sufism, an important marker of Sindhi identity for both Hindus (Sindh has Pakistan's highest percentage of Hindu residents) and Muslims in the province. Several important Sufi shrines are located throughout the province which attract millions of annual devotees.
Sindh's capital, Karachi, is Pakistan's most ethnically diverse city, with Muhajirs, or descendants of those who migrated to Pakistan from India after 1947 and throughout the 1950s and 1960s, making up the majority of the population. Karachi and other urban centres of Sindh have seen ethnic tensions between the native Sindhis and the Muhajirs boil over into violence on several occasions. Sindh is home to two UNESCOWorld Heritage Sites – the Historical Monuments at Makli, and the Archaeological Ruins at Moenjodaro.
The word Sindh is derived from the Sanskrit term Sindhu (literally meaning "river"), which is a reference to Indus River. The official spelling "Sind" was discontinued in 1988 by an amendment passed in Sindh Assembly.
The Greeks who conquered Sindh in 325 BC under the command of Alexander the Great rendered it as Indós, hence the modern Indus. The ancient Iranians referred to everything east of the river Indus as hind. When the British came to India in the 17th century, they applied the Greek version of the name Sindh to all of South Asia, calling it India. Pakistan's name is derived from an acronym, in which the letter 'S' stands for Sindh.
Main article: History of Sindh
Sindh's first known village settlements date as far back as 7000 BCE. Permanent settlements at Mehrgarh, currently in Balochistan, to the west expanded into Sindh. This culture blossomed over several millennia and gave rise to the Indus Valley Civilization around 3000 BCE. The Indus Valley Civilization rivaled the contemporary civilizations of Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia in size and scope, numbering nearly half a million inhabitants at its height with well-planned grid cities and sewer systems.
The primitive village communities in Balochistan were still struggling against a difficult highland environment, a highly cultured people were trying to assert themselves at Kot Diji. This was one of the most developed urban civilizations of the ancient world. It flourished between the 25th century BCE and 1500 BCE in the Indus valley sites of Mohenjo-daro and Harappa. The people had a high standard of art and craftsmanship and a well-developed system of quasi-pictographic writing which remains un-deciphered. The remarkable ruins of the beautifully planned towns, the brick buildings of the common people, roads, public baths and the covered drainage system suggest a highly organized community.
According to some accounts, there is no evidence of large palaces or burial grounds for the elite. The grand and presumably holy site might have been the great bath, which is built upon an artificially created elevation. This indigenous civilization collapsed around 1700 BCE. The cause is hotly debated and may have been a massive earthquake, which dried up the Ghaggar River. Skeletons discovered in the ruins of Mohen Jo Daro ("mount of dead") were thought to indicate that the city was suddenly attacked and the population was wiped out, but further examinations showed that the marks on the skeletons were due to erosion and not of violence.
The ancient city of Roruka, identified with modern Aror/Rohri, was capital of the Sauvira Kingdom, and finds mentioned early Buddhist literature as a major trading center. Sindh finds mention in the Hindu epic Mahabharata as being part of Bharatvarsha. Sindh was conquered by the PersianAchaemenid Empire in the 6th century BC. In the late 4th century BC, Sindh was conquered by a mixed army led by Macedonian Greeks under Alexander the Great. Alexander described his encounters with these trans-Indus tribes of Sindh: "I am involved in the land of a lions and brave people, where every foot of the ground is like a well of steel, confronting my soldier. You have brought only one son into the world, but everyone in this land can be called an Alexander." The region remained under control of Greek satraps for only a few decades. After Alexander's death, there was a brief period of Seleucid rule, before Sindh was traded to the Mauryan Empire led by Chandragupta in 305 BC. During the rule of the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka, the Buddhist religion spread to Sindh.
Mauryan rule ended in 185 BC with the overthrow of the last king by the Shunga Dynasty. In the disorder that followed, Greek rule returned when Demetrius I of Bactria led a Greco-Bactrian invasion of India and annexed most of northwestern lands, including Sindh. Demetrius was later defeated and killed by a usurper, but his descendants continued to rule Sindh and other lands as the Indo-Greek Kingdom. Under the reign of Menander I many Indo-Greeks followed his example and converted to Buddhism.
In the late 2nd century BC, Scythian tribes shattered the Greco-Bactrian empire and invaded the Indo-Greek lands. Unable to take the Punjab region, they invaded South Asia through Sindh, where they became known as Indo-Scythians (later Western Satraps). By the 1st century AD, the Kushan Empire annexed Sindh. Kushans under Kanishka were great patrons of Buddhism and sponsored many building projects for local beliefs.Ahirs were also found in large numbers in Sindh.Abiria country of Abhira tribe was in southern Sindh.
The Kushan Empire was defeated in the mid 3rd century AD by the Sassanid Empire of Persia, who installed vassals known as the Kushanshahs in these far eastern territories. These rulers were defeated by the Kidarites in the late 4th century.
It then came under the Gupta Empire after dealing with the Kidarites. By the late 5th century, attacks by Hephthalite tribes known as the Indo-Hephthalites or Hunas (Huns) broke through the Gupta Empire's northwestern borders and overran much of northwestern India. Concurrently, Ror dynasty ruled parts of the region for several centuries.
Afterwards, Sindh came under the rule of Emperor Harshavardhan, then the Rai Dynasty around 478. The Rais were overthrown by Chachar of Alor around 632. The Brahman dynasty ruled a vast territory that stretched from Multan in the north to the Rann of Kutch, Alor was their capital.
Arrival of Islam
In 711, Muhammad bin Qasim conquered the Sindh and Indus Valley, bringing South Asian societies into contact with Islam. Dahir was an unpopular Hindu king that ruled over a Buddhist majority and that Chach of Alor and his kin were regarded as usurpers of the earlier Buddhist Rai Dynasty, a view questioned by those who note the diffuse and blurred nature of Hindu and Buddhist practices in the region, especially that of the royalty to be patrons of both and those who believe that Chach may have been a Buddhist. The forces of Muhammad bin Qasim defeated Raja Dahir in alliance with the Jats and other regional governors.
In 711 AD, Muhammad bin Qasim led an Umayyad force of 20,000 cavalry and 5 catapults. Muhammad bin Qasim defeated the Raja Dahir, and captured the cities of Alor, Multan and Debal. Sindh became the easternmost State of the Umayyad Caliphate and was referred to as "Sind" on Arab maps, with lands further east known as "Hind". Muhammad bin Qasim built the city of Mansura as his capital; the city then produced famous historical figures such as Abu Mashar Sindhi, Abu Ata al-Sindhi,Abu Raja Sindhi and Sind ibn Ali. At the port city of Debal most of the Bawarij embraced Islam and became known as Sindhi Sailors, who were renowned for their in navigation, geography and languages. After Bin Qasim left, the Umayyads ruled Sindh through the Habbari dynasty.
By the year 750, Debal (modern Karachi) was second only to Basra; Sindhi sailors from the port city of Debal voyaged to Basra, Bushehr, Musqat, Aden, Kilwa, Zanzibar, Sofala, Malabar, Sri Lanka and Java (where Sindhi merchants were known as the Santri). During the power struggle between the Umayyads and the Abbasids. The Habbari Dynasty became semi independent and was eliminated and Mansura was invaded by Sultan Mahmud Ghaznavi. Sindh then became an easternmost State of the Abbasid Caliphate ruled by the Soomro Dynasty until the Siege of Baghdad (1258). Mansura was the first capital of the Soomra Dynasty and the last of the Habbari dynasty. Muslim geographers, historians and travelers such as al-Masudi, Ibn Hawqal, Istakhri, Ahmed ibn Sahl al-Balkhi, al-Tabari, Baladhuri, Nizami,al-Biruni, Saadi Shirazi, Ibn Battutah and Katip Çelebi wrote about or visited the region, sometimes using the name "Sindh" for the entire area from the Arabian Sea to the Hindu Kush.
Soomra dynasty period
Main article: Soomra dynasty
When Sindh was under the ArabUmayyadCaliphate, the Arab Habbari dynasty was in control. The Umayyads appointed Aziz al Habbari as the governor of Sindh. Habbaris ruled Sindh until Sultan Mahmud Ghaznavi defeated the Habbaris in 1024. Sultan Mahmud Ghaznavi viewed the Abbasid Caliphate to be the caliphs thus he removed the remaining influence of the Umayyad Caliphate in the region and Sindh fell to Abbasid control following the defeat of the Habbaris. The Abbasid Caliphate then appointed Al Khafif from Samarra; 'Soomro' means 'of Samarra' in Sindhi. The new governor of Sindh was to create a better, stronger and stable government. Once he became the governor, he allotted several key positions to his family and friends; thus Al-Khafif or Sardar Khafif Soomro formed the RajputSoomro Dynasty in Sindh; and became its first ruler. Until the Siege of Baghdad (1258) the Soomro dynasty was the Abbasid Caliphate's functionary in Sindh, but after that it became independent.
When the Soomro dynasty lost ties with the Abbasid Caliphate after the Siege of Baghdad (1258,) the Soomra ruler Dodo-I established their rule from the shores of the Arabian Sea to the Punjab in the north and in the east to Rajasthan and in the west to Pakistani Balochistan. The Soomros were one of the first indigenous Muslim dynasties in Sindh of ParmarRajput origin. They were the first Muslims to translate the Quran into the Sindhi language. The Sammas created a chivalrous culture in Sindh, which eventually facilitated their rule centered at Mansura. It was later abandoned due to changes in the course of the Puran River; they ruled for the next 95 years until 1351. During this period, Kutch was ruled by the Samma Dynasty, who enjoyed good relations with the Soomras in Sindh. Since the Soomro Dynasty lost its support from the Abbasid Caliphate, the Sultans of Delhi wanted a piece of Sindh. The Soomros successfully defended their kingdom for about 36 years, but their dynasties soon fell to the might of the Sultanate of Delhi's massive armies such as the Tughluks and the Khaljis.
Samma Dynasty period
Main article: Samma dynasty
In 1339 Jam Unar founded a Sindhi Muslim RajputSamma Dynasty and challenged the Sultans of Delhi. He used the title of the Sultan of Sindh. The Samma tribe reached its peak during the reign of Jam Nizamuddin II (also known by the nickname Jám Nindó). During his reign from 1461 to 1509, Nindó greatly expanded the new capital of Thatta and its Makli hills, which replaced Debal. He patronized Sindhi art, architecture and culture. The Samma had left behind a popular legacy especially in architecture, music and art. Important court figures included the famous poet Kazi Kadal, Sardar Darya Khan, Moltus Khan, Makhdoom Bilwal and the theologian Kazi Kaadan. However, Thatta was a port city; unlike garrison towns, it could not mobilize large armies against the Arghun and Tarkhan Mongol invaders, who killed many regional Sindhi Mirs and Amirs loyal to the Samma. Some parts of Sindh still remained under the Sultans of Delhi and the ruthless Arghuns and the Tarkhans sacked Thatta during the rule of Jam Ferozudin.
Migration of Baloch
Main article: Sindhi Baloch
According to Dr. Akhtar Baloch, Professor at University of Karachi, the Balochi migrated from Balochistan during the Little Ice Age and settled in Sindh and Punjab. The Little Ice Age is conventionally defined as a period extending from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries, or alternatively, from about 1300 to about 1850. According to Professor Baloch, the climate of Balochistan was very cold during this epoch and the region was uninhabitable during the winters so the Baloch people emigrated in waves to Sindh and Punjab.
In the year 1524, the few remaining Sindhi Amirs welcomed the Mughal Empire and Babur dispatched his forces to rally the Arghuns and the Tarkhans, braches of a Turkic dynasty. In the coming centuries Sindh became a region loyal to the Mughals, a network of forts manned by cavalry and musketeers further extended Mughal power in Sindh. In 1540 a mutiny by Sher Shah Suri forced the Mughal Emperor Humayun to withdraw to Sindh, where he joined the Sindhi Emir Hussein Umrani. In 1541 Humayun married Hamida Banu Begum, who gave birth to the infant Akbar at Umarkot in the year 1542.
During the reign of Akbar the Great, Sindh produced scholars and others such as Mir Ahmed Nasrallah Thattvi, Tahir Muhammad Thattvi and Mir Ali Sir Thattvi and the Mughal chronicler Abu'l-Fazl ibn Mubarak and his brother the poet Faizi was a descendant of a Sindhi Shaikh family from Rel, Siwistan in Sindh. Abu'l-Fazl ibn Mubarak was the author of Akbarnama (an official biographical account of Akbar) and the Ain-i-Akbari (a detailed document recording the administration of the Mughal Empire).
Shah Jahan carved a subah (imperial province), covering Sindh, called Thatta after its capital, out of Multan, further bordering on the Ajmer and Gujarat subahs as well as the rival Persian Safavid empire.
During the Mughal period Sindhi literature began to flourish and historical figures such as Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai, Sulatn-al-Aoliya Muhammad Zaman and Sachal Sarmast became prominent throughout the land. In 1603 Shah Jahan visited the State of Sindh; at Thatta he was generously welcomed by the locals after the death of his father Jahangir. Shah Jahan ordered the construction of the Shahjahan Mosque, which was completed during the early years of his rule under the supervision of Mirza Ghazi Beg. During his reign, in 1659 in the Mughal Empire, Muhammad Salih Tahtawi of Thatta created a seamlesscelestial globe with Arabic and Persian inscriptions using a wax casting method.
Sindh was home to very famous wealthy merchant-rulers such as Mir Bejar of Sindh, whose great wealth had attracted the close ties with the Sultan bin Ahmad of Oman.
In the year 1701 the Kalhora Nawabs were authorized in a firman by the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb to administer subah Sindh.
From 1752 to 1762, Marathas collected Chauth or tributes from Sindh. Maratha power was decimated in the entire region after the Third Battle of Panipat in 1761. In 1762, Mian Ghulam Shah Kalhoro brought stability in Sindh, he reorganized and independently defeated the Marathas and their prominent vassal the Rao of Kuch in the Thar Desert and returned victoriously.
After the Sikhs annexed Multan, the Kalhora Dynasty supported counterattacks against the Sikhs and defined their borders.
In 1783 a firman, which designated Mir Fateh Ali Khan Talpur as the new Nawab of Sindh, and mediated peace particularly after the Battle of Halani and the defeat of the ruling Kalhora by the Talpur baloch tribes.
The Talpur tribe migrated from Dera Ghazi Khan in Punjab to Sindh on the invitation of Kalhora to help them organize unruly Baloch tribes living in Sindh. Talpurs, who learned the Sindhi language, settled in northern Sindh. Very soon they united all the Baloch tribes of Sindh and formed a confederacy against the Kalhora Dynasty. The Talpur Baloch soon gained power, overthrowing the Kalhora after the Battle of Halani to conquer and rule Sindh and other parts of present-day Pakistan, from 1783 to 1843. British East India Company forces led by General Charles James Napier overthrew the Talpur Baloch in 1843.
In 1802, when Mir Ghulam Ali Khan Talpur Baloch succeeded as the Talpur Nawab, internal tensions broke out in the state. As a result, the following year the Maratha Empire declared war on Sindh and Berar Subah, during which Arthur Wellesley took a leading role causing much early suspicion between the Emirs of Sindh and the British Empire. The British East India Company made its first contacts in the Sindhi port city of Thatta, which according to a report was:
"a city as large as London containing 50,000 houses which were made of stone and mortar with large verandahs some three or four stories high ... the city has 3,000 looms ... the textiles of Sindh were the flower of the whole produce of the East, the international commerce of Sindh gave it a place among that of Nations, Thatta has 400 schools and 4,000 Dhows at its docks, the city is guarded by well armed Sepoys".
British and Bengal Presidency forces under General Charles James Napier arrived in Sindh in the mid-19th century and conquered Sindh in February 1843. The Baloch coalition led by Talpur Balochs under Mir Nasir Khan Talpur Baloch was defeated at the Battle of Miani during which 5,000 Talpur Baloch were killed. Shortly afterward, Hoshu Sheedi commanded another army at the Battle of Dubbo, where 5,000 Baloch were killed. The first Agha Khan helped the British in their conquest of Sindh. As result he was granted a lifetime pension. A British journal by Thomas Postans mentions the captive Sindhi Amirs: "The Amirs as being the prisoners of 'Her Majesty'... they are maintained in strict seclusion; they are described as Broken-Hearted and Miserable men, maintaining much of the dignity of fallen greatness, and without any querulous or angry complaining at this unlivable source of sorrow, refusing to be comforted". Within weeks, Charles Napier and his forces occupied Sindh. After 1853 the British divided Sindh into districts and later made it part of British India's Bombay Presidency. Sibghatullah Shah Rashidi pioneered the Sindhi Muslim Hur Movement against the British Raj. He was hanged on 20 March 1943 in Hyderabad, Sindh. His burial place is not known. During the British period, railways, printing presses and bridges were introduced in the province. Writers like Mirza Kalich Beg compiled and traced the literary history of Sindh.
Although Sindh had a culture of religious syncretism, communal harmony and tolerance due to Sindh's strong Sufi culture in which both Sindhi Muslims and Sindhi Hindus partook, the mostly Muslim peasantry was oppressed by the Hindu moneylending class and also by the landed Muslim elite. Sindhi Muslims eventually demanded the separation of Sindh from the Bombay Presidency, a move opposed by Sindhi Hindus. Another campaign in the early 20th century which attracted Sindhi Muslims was the Khilafat Movement, for which support had been generated by the Sufi pirs of Sindh. In that time period Sindh emerged at the forefront of the Khilafat cause. By 1936 Sindh was separated from the Bombay Presidency. Elections in 1937 resulted in local Sindhi Muslim parties winning the bulk of seats. By the mid-1940s the Muslim League gained a foothold in the province and after winning over the support of local Sufi pirs, came to have the support of the overwhelming majority of Sindhi Muslims for its campaign to create Pakistan.
Independence of Pakistan
At the time of Partition there were 1,400,000 Hindu Sindhis, dominating the province's upper middle class. There was very little communal violence in Sindh, in comparison to Punjab. Communal violence in Ajmer, in India, in December 1947 led to Muslim refugees crossing over the Thar Desert to Sindh in Pakistan. This sparked riots in Hyderabad and later in Karachi, although less than 500 Hindu were killed in Sindh between 1947-48 as Sindhi Muslims largely resisted calls to turn against their Hindu neighbours. Hundreds of thousands of Sindhi Hindus fled to India. The arrival of Sindhi Hindu refugees in the Indian town of Godhra sparked the March 1948 anti-Muslim riots there which led to an emigration of Ghanchi Muslims from Godhra to Pakistan. Indian Muslims from the United Provinces, Central Provinces and Bombay continued migrating to and settling in Sindh's urban centers throughout the 1950s and 1960s.
Main article: Demographics of Sindh
|Sindh Demographic Indicators|
|Population growth rate||2.80%|
|Gender ratio (male per 100 female)||112.24|
|Economically active population||22.75%|
Sindh has the 2nd highest Human Development Index out of all of Pakistan's provinces at 0.628. The 1998 Census of Pakistan indicated a population of 30.4 million. According to 2011 estimates the population of Sindh increased 81.5% to a total of 55.24 million since the census of 1998. Sindh was the second largest gainer of population after Balochistan during this period. Just under half of the population are urban dwellers, mainly found in Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkur, Mirpurkhas, Nawabshah District, Umerkot and Larkana. Sindhi is the sole official language of Sindh since the 19th century.
The Sindhis as a whole are composed of original descendants of an ancient population known as Sammaat, sub-groups related to the Baloch origin are found in interior Sindh and to a lesser extent Sindhis of Pashtun origins. Sindhis of Balochi origins make up about 30% of the total Sindhi population (although they speak Sindhi Saraiki as their native tongue), while Urdu-speaking Muhajirs make up over 19% of the total population of the province while Punjabi are 10% and Pashtuns represent 7%.In August 1947, before partition of India, total population of Sindh was 38,87,070 out of which 28,32,000 were Muslims and 10,15,000 were Hindus
According to Dr. Akhtar Baloch, Professor at University of Karachi, the Baloch migrated from Balochistan during the Little Ice Age. This is conventionally defined as a period extending from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries, or alternatively, from about 1300. to about 1850, although climatologists and historians working with local records no longer expect to agree on either the start or end dates of this period, which varied according to local conditions. Professor Baloch said the climate of Balochistan was very cold and the region was inhabitable during the winter so the Baloch people in waves migrated and settled in Sindh and Punjab.
See also: Sufism in Sindh and Hinduism in Sindh
Islam in Sindh has a strong Sufi ethos with numerous Muslim saints and mystics, such as the Sufi poet Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai, having lived in Sindh historically. One popular legend which highlights the strong Sufi presence in Sindh is that 125,000 Sufi saints and mystics are buried on Makli Hill near Thatta. The development of Sufism in Sindh was similar to the development of Sufism in other parts of the Muslim world. In the 16th century two Sufi tareeqat (orders) - Qadria and Naqshbandia - were introduced in Sindh. Sufism continues to play an important role in the daily lives of Sindhis.
Sindh also has Pakistan's highest percentage of Hindu residents, with 8% of Sindh's population overall, and 11.6% of Sindh's rural population, classifying itself as Hindu, and over 40% of residents in Tharparkar District identifying themselves as Hindu. The communal harmony between Sindhi Muslims and Hindus is an example of Sindh's pluralistic and tolerant Sufi culture.
Main article: Sindhi language
Sindhi (Arabic script: سنڌي) is spoken by more than 27 million people (in 2016) in the province of Sindh.
Sindhi (like Punjabi) is an Indo-European language, both are linguistically considered to be the daughter languages of Sanskrit. Balochi and Seraiki have also influenced Sindhi which also accommodates substantial Persian, Turkish and Arabic words. Sindhi is written in a modified Arabic script. Today, Sindhi in Pakistan is heavily influenced by Urdu with more borrowed Perso-Arabic elements, while Sindhi in India is influenced by Hindi and borrows more elements from Sanskrit. Key dialects of Sindhi include Kutchi, Lasi, Memoni, Lari, Vicholi, Utradi, Macharia and Dukslinu (which is spoken by Sindhi Hindus).
Other languages in the province include Gujarati and Parkari Koli (sometimes called just Parkari); a language spoken by only 250,000 natives of Sindh according to a 1995 estimate.
Only 7.3% of people Karachi's residents are Sindhi-speaking. Karachi is populated by Muhajirs who speak Urdu. Other immigrant communities in Karachi are Pashtuns from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjabis from Punjab and other linguistic groups from various regions of Pakistan.
Geography and nature
Sindh is in the western corner of South Asia, bordering the Iranian plateau in the west. Geographically it is the third largest province of Pakistan, stretching about 579 kilometres (360 mi) from north to south and 442 kilometres (275 mi) (extreme) or 281 kilometres (175 mi) (average) from east to west, with an area of 140,915 square kilometres (54,408 sq mi) of Pakistani territory. Sindh is bounded by the Thar Desert to the east, the Kirthar Mountains to the west and the Arabian Sea in the south. In the centre is a fertile plain around the Indus River.
Expansion under Muhammad, 622–632
Expansion during the Rashidun Caliphate, 632–661
Expansion during the Umayyad Caliphate, 661–750