Punjab, Pakistan

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—  Province  —
Counter-clockwise from top left:

Chenab River, Lahore Fort, Nankana Sahib, Faisalabad, Noor Mahal - Bahawalpur,

Masjid Wazir Khan - Lahore.


Location of Punjab in Pakistan
Map of Punjab, Pakistan
Coordinates: 31°20′N 74°13′E / 31.33°N 74.21°E / 31.33; 74.21Coordinates: 31°20′N 74°13′E / 31.33°N 74.21°E / 31.33; 74.21
Established1 July 1970
Largest cityLahore
 • TypeProvince
 • BodyProvincial Assembly
 • GovernorLatif Khosa (PPP)
 • Chief MinisterShehbaz Sharif (PML (N))
 • Total205,344 km2 (79,284 sq mi)
Population (2012)[1]
 • Total91,379,615
 • Density450/km2 (1,200/sq mi)
 2012 census preliminary
Time zonePKT (UTC+5)
Main Language(s)
Other languages: Saraiki, Potohari, Hindko, Jhangochi, Mewati, Baluchi
Assembly seats371[2]
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—  Province  —
Counter-clockwise from top left:

Chenab River, Lahore Fort, Nankana Sahib, Faisalabad, Noor Mahal - Bahawalpur,

Masjid Wazir Khan - Lahore.


Location of Punjab in Pakistan
Map of Punjab, Pakistan
Coordinates: 31°20′N 74°13′E / 31.33°N 74.21°E / 31.33; 74.21Coordinates: 31°20′N 74°13′E / 31.33°N 74.21°E / 31.33; 74.21
Established1 July 1970
Largest cityLahore
 • TypeProvince
 • BodyProvincial Assembly
 • GovernorLatif Khosa (PPP)
 • Chief MinisterShehbaz Sharif (PML (N))
 • Total205,344 km2 (79,284 sq mi)
Population (2012)[1]
 • Total91,379,615
 • Density450/km2 (1,200/sq mi)
 2012 census preliminary
Time zonePKT (UTC+5)
Main Language(s)
Other languages: Saraiki, Potohari, Hindko, Jhangochi, Mewati, Baluchi
Assembly seats371[2]

Punjab (Shahmukhī: پنجاب, panj-āb, "five waters": About this sound Punjab.ogg), also spelled Panjab, is the most populous province of Pakistan, with approximately 55.06% of the country's total population.[3] Forming most of the Punjab region, the province is bordered by Kashmir (Azad Kashmir, Pakistan and Jammu and Kashmir, India) to the north-east, the Indian states of Punjab, Rajasthan, and Gujarat to the east, the Pakistani province of Sindh to the south, the province of Balochistan to the southwest, the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to the west, and the Islamabad Capital Territory to the north. The Punjab is home to the Punjabis and various other groups. The main languages are Punjabi and Saraiki[4] and the dialects of Mewati and Potowari. The name Punjab derives from the Persian words Panj (پنج) (Five), and Āb (آب) (Water), i.e. (the) Five Waters - referring to five tributaries of the Indus River from which is also the origin of the name of "India" - these being Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas and Sutlej, that flow through the larger Punjab.

Punjab is the most developed, most populous, and most prosperous province of Pakistan.[5][6] Lahore has traditionally been the capital of Punjab for a thousand years; it is Punjab's main cultural, historical, administrative and economic center.[7] Historically, the Punjab region has been the gateway to the Indian subcontinent for people from Greece, Central Asia, Iran and Afghanistan and Vice-versa.[8] Due to its strategic location, it has been part of various empires and civilizations throughout history, including the Indus Valley Civilization, Vedic civilization, Mauryans, Kushans, Scythians, Guptas, Greeks, Persians, Arabs, Turks, Mongols, Timurids, Mughals, Afghans, Sikhs and the British.

The Greeks referred to Punjab as Pentapotamia, an inland delta of five converging rivers.[8] In Avesta, the sacred text of Zoroastrians, the Punjab region is associated with the ancient hapta həndu or Sapta Sindhu, the Land of Seven Rivers.[9] The British used to call Punjab "Our Prussia."



The word Punjab is a combination of the Persian words panj (five) and āb (water), thus the (land of) five rivers.[10] The five rivers are the tributaries of the Indus River namely Chenab, Jhelum, Ravi, Beas and Sutlej. Sometimes, in English, there can be a definite article before the name i.e. the Punjab.[11] The name is also sometimes spelt as Panjab or Panjaab or Punjaab. From the Himalayas they all end up in the down-stream of Panjnad, eventually to the Arabian Sea.


Ancient history

Punjab was part of the Vedic Civilization

Punjab during Mahabharata times was known as Panchanada.[12][13] Punjab was part of the Indus Valley Civilization, more than 4000 years old.[14] 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 the 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, Achaemenids, Macedonians, Mauryas, Kushans, Guptas 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[citation needed], Hindu, Buddhist, Persian[citation needed], Central Asian[citation needed], 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[citation needed], 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, valued for its archaeological and religious history.

Greeks, Central Asians, and Persians

Mahmud and Ayaz
The Sultan is to the right, shaking the hand of the sheykh, with Ayaz standing behind him. Mahmud of Ghazni appointed Malik Ayaz as the ruler of Lahore, Punjab during the Ghaznavid era.

The northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent including Punjab was repeatedly conquered into various Persian, Central Asian, and Greek empires, such as those of Tamerlane, Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan. Having conquered Drangiana, Arachosia, Gedrosia and Seistan in ten days, Alexander crossed the Hindu Kush and was thus fully informed of the magnificence of the country and its riches in gold, gems and pearls. However, Alexander had to encounter and reduce the tribes on the border of Punjab before entering the luxuriant plains. Having taken a northeasterly direction, he marched against the Aspii, mountaineers, who offered vigorous resistance but were subdued. Alexander then marched through Ghazni, blockaded Magassa, and then marched to Ora and Bazira. Turning to the northeast, Alexander marched to Pucela, the capital of the district now known as Pakhli. He entered Western Punjab, where the ancient city of Nysa was situated. A coalition was formed against Alexander by the Cathians, the people of Multan, who were very skillful in war. Alexander invested heavy troops; eventually seventeen thousand Cathians fell in this battle, and the city of Sagala (present-day Sialkot) was razed to the ground. Alexander left Punjab in 326 B.C. and took his army to Persia and Susa.

Of particular importance were the periods of contact between Punjab and various Persian Empires[citation needed] when the region either became a part of the empire itself[citation needed], or was an autonomous region which paid taxes to the Persian king. In later centuries, when Persian was the language of the Mughal government, Persian architecture, poetry, art and music were 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, when the administrative language was changed to English. After 1947, Urdu, which is considered the poetic language of South Asia, which has a huge section of words derived from Persian, Arabic and to a lesser degree Turkish and with an indic base, became the newly formed Pakistan's national language (Qaumi Zubaan).

Arrival of Islam - Punjabi Muslims

Bulleh Shah (1680-1757), a Muslim Sufi poet

The Punjabis followed a diverse plethora of faiths, mainly comprising Hindus but with large minorities of Buddhists[citation needed], when the Muslim Umayyad army led by Muhammad bin Qasim conquered Sindh and Southern Punjab in 712, by defeating Raja Dahir. The Umayyad Caliphate was the second Islamic caliphate established after the death of the Prophet Muhammad SAW . It was ruled by the Umayyad dynasty, whose name derives from Umayya ibn Abd Shams, the great-grandfather of the first Umayyad caliph. Although the Umayyad family originally came from the city of Mecca, their capital was Damascus. Muhammad bin Qasim was the first to bring message of Islam to the population of Punjab. Over the next millennium Punjab was Muslim Empires consistenting of both Afghans, Pashtoon, and Turkic in corporation with local Punjabi tribes and others, which facilitated a millennium long Islamic dominance across South Asia and with its peak during large parts of the Mughal Empire . During the reign of Mahmud of Ghazni, the province became an important centre with Lahore as its second capital of the Ghaznavid Empire based out of Afghanistan.


The Mughals controlled the region from 1524 until around 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, incidentally born in Panjab, in the city of Multan made the Punjab a part of his Durrani Empire lasting until 1762.


Rohtas Fort, Jhelum built by the Afghan ruler, Sher Shah Suri

The founder of Afghanistan, Ahmad Shah Durrani, an ethnic Pashtun (Afghan) established the first united Afghan Kingdom (Greater Afghanistan) that during its greatest extent included modern-day Afghanistan, Pakistan and northeastern Iran. 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 have made Pakistan's Punjab their home over the centuries. These tribes include 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.

Maratha Empire

The Millennium long period of Muslim Empires were coming to an end, and a turbulent period would follow. In 1758, the general of the Hindu Maratha Empire, Raghunath Rao invaded Lahore and Attock.Timur Shah Durraniwho was the son and viceroy of Ahmad Shah Abdali and was already weakened by the mighty Khalsa army was drove out of Punjab with the important and necessary help of Sikhs. Lahore, Multan, Dera Ghazi Khan, Kashmir and other subahs on the south and eastern side of Peshawar were under the Maratha rule for the most part.[15] In Punjab and Kashmir, the Marathas were now major players.[16][17] By 1761, Ahmad Shah Abdali invaded the Maratha territory of Punjab and captured remnants of the Maratha Empire in Punjab and Kashmir regions and re-consolidated control over them.[18]

Punjabi Sikhs

Ranjit Singh's Empire

In mid fifteenth century, the religion of Sikhism was born. During the Mughal empire, due to the strong and righteous approach many Hindus increasingly adopted Sikhism. These became a formidable military force against the Mughal Era and later against the Afghan Empire. After fighting Ahmad Shah Durrani in the later eighteenth century, the Sikhs took control of Punjab and managed to establish the Sikh Empire under Maharaja Ranjit Singh, which lasted from 1799 to 1849. The capital of Ranjit Singh's empire was Lahore, and extended from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Afghanistan, some of India, and some of China.


Maharaja Ranjit Singh'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 in 1849 of territory south of the Satluj to British India. After the Second Anglo-Sikh War in 1849, the Sikh Empire became the last territory to be merged into British India. Some parts of Pakistani Punjab also served as the centre of resistance in the Indian Rebellion of 1857.


The predominantly Muslim population of Western Punjab supported Muslim League and Pakistan Movement. After the independence of Pakistan in 1947, the minority Hindus and Sikhs migrated to India while the Muslim refugees from India settled in the Western Punjab.

In 1947 the Punjab province of British India was divided along religious lines into West Punjab and East Punjab. Western Punjab was assimilated into the new country of Pakistan, while East Punjab became a part of modern-day India. This led to massive rioting as both sides committed atrocities against fleeing refugees.

The British 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.[19]

At the time of independence in 1947 and due to the ensuing horrendous exchange of populations, the Punjabi Sikhs and Hindus migrated to India <[20] Punjabi Muslims were uprooted similarly from their homes in East Punjab which now forms part of India.[21] Approximately 7 million plus moved to Pakistan, of whom over 6 million settled in Punjab.

Recent history

Since the 1950s, Punjab industrialized rapidly. New factories were established in Lahore, Multan, Sialkot and Wah. 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 feudalistic land-owning families.

Old style Punjabi home in a village near Khansar Bhakkar

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, forming the large Punjabi diaspora. Business and cultural ties between the United States and Punjab are growing.


Sunrise in Himalayas, North Punjab

Punjab is Pakistan's second largest province at 205,344 km2 (79,284 sq mi) after Balochistan and is located at the northwestern edge of the geologic Indian plate in South Asia. The capital and largest city is Lahore which was the historical capital of the wider Punjab region. Other important cities include Multan, Faisalabad, Sheikhupura, 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, Beas, 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
Sunset in Punjab, during summers

Most areas in Punjab experience warm 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.[22]

Punjab's region temperature ranges from -2° to 45°C, but can reach 47°C (117°F) in summer and can touch down to -5°C in winter.

Climatically, Punjab has three major seasons:[23]

Demographics and society

Historical populations


The population of the province is estimated to be 93,963,240[1] in 2010 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 (Urdu: Tribes )) and communities. In Pakistani Punjab these tribes have more to do with traditional occupations such as blacksmiths or artisans as opposed to rigid social stratifications.[26]

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 tribes. Historically, these tribes were endogamous, but latterly, especially in the large cities, there is considerable intermarriage between members of different tribes, and differences are getting blurred. Important within the Punjab include Aheers, Arains, Awans, Niazis, Legharis, Khosas, Dogars, Gakhars,Thaheem, Gujjars, Jats, Kambohs, Khokhars, Mughals, Rajputs, Sheikhs, Qureshis, and Syeds. Other smaller tribes are the Rawns, Maliks, Khetran, and Rehmanis (Muslim Labana)[27]

In addition to the Punjabis, the province is also home to other smaller ethnic groups in the province include the Saraiki, Hindkowan, Kashmiris, Sindhis, Pashtuns, Balochs and Muhajirs. The Muhajirs are Urdu speaking Muslim migrants from India and settled in Pakistan after independence in 1947. Three decades of bloodshed in neighboring Afghanistan have also brought a large number[citation needed] of Afghan refugees 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 Hanafi majority and Shia Ithna 'ashariyah minority. The largest non-Muslim minority is Christians and make up 2.31% of the poulation. The Other minorites include Ahmedi, Hindus, Sikhs, Parsis and Bahá'í.[28]

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

Provincial government

Provincial symbols of Punjab (unofficial)
Provincial animalPunjab Urial
Provincial birdPeacockPeacock front02 - melbourne zoo.jpg
Provincial tree"Shisham" (Dalbergia sissoo)Dalbergia-sissoo-20080401-2.JPG
Provincial flowerBhekkarJusticia adhatoda 1.jpg


Districts of Punjab, Pakistan

There are 36 districts in Punjab, Pakistan.[29]

Sr.DistrictHeadquartersArea (km²)Population (1998)Density (people/km²)
7Dera Ghazi KhanDera Ghazi Khan11,9221,643,118138
20Mandi BahauddinMandi Bahauddin2,6731,160,552434
25Nankana Sahib[30]Nankana Sahib2,9601,410,000
28Rahim Yar KhanRahim Yar Khan11,8803,141,053264
35Toba Tek SinghToba Tek Singh3,2521,621,593499

Major cities

List of major cities in Punjab

Rwp train1.jpg

Source: World Gazetteer 2010[31]
This is a list of each city's urban populations and does not indicate total district populations


GDP by Province

Punjab has the largest economy in Pakistan, contributing most to the national GDP. The province's economy has quadrupled since 1972.[32] Its share of Pakistan's GDP was 54.7% in 2000 and 59% as of 2010. 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%.[33] In 2007, Punjab achieved a growth rate of 7.8%[34] and during the period 2002-03 to 2007-08, its economy grew at a rate of between 7% to 8% per year.[35] and during 2008-09 grew at 6% against the total GDP growth of Pakistan at 4%.

Irrigated land of Punjab

Despite lack of a coastline, Punjab is the most industrialized province of Pakistan; its manufacturing industries produce textiles, sports goods, Heavy machinery, electrical appliances, surgical instruments, Cement, Vehicles, Auto Parts, I.T, metals, Sugar mill plants,Aircraft, Cement Plants, 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.[36]

Industrial Zones Punjab, Source:[37]
Former Administrative Divisions of Punjab

Despite its a tropical wet and 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 76% to annual food grain production in the country. 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 incidence of poverty differs between the different regions of Punjab. With Northern and Central Punjab facing much lower levels of poverty than Western and Southern Punjab. Those living in Southern and Western Punjab are also a lot more dependant on agriculture due to lower levels of industrialisation in those regions.

As of June 2012 Pakistan's electricity problems were so severe that violent riots were taking place across Punjab. According to protesters, load shedding was depriving the cities of electricity 20-22 hours a day, causing businesses to go bust and making living extremely hard. Gujranwala, Toba Tek Singh, Faisalabad, Sialkot, Bahawalnagar and communities across Khanewal District saw widespread rioting and violence on Sunday 17 June 2012, with the houses of several members of parliament being attacked as well as the offices of regional energy suppliers Fesco, Gepco and Mepco being ransacked or attacked.[38]


The literacy rate has increased greatly since independence. Punjab has the highest Human Development Index out of all of Pakistan's provinces at 0.670.[39]

YearLiteracy Rate


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

QualificationUrbanRuralTotalEnrolment Ratio(%)
Below Primary3,356,17311,598,03914,954,212100.00
BA, BSc... degrees110,49196,144206,6354.12
MA, MSc... degrees1,226,914764,0941,991,0083.84
Diploma, Certificate...418,946222,649641,5951.13
Other qualifications73,663121,449195,1120.26

Public universities

A women's college in Rawalpindi

Private universities


Mausoleum of Sheikh Rukh-e-Alam, Multan (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. 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 Quran 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 and festivals

Religious fairs are held on special days of Islamic significance like Eid ul-Adha, Eid-ul-Fitr, Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi, Ashura, Laylat al-Qadr and Jumu'ah-tul-Wida. The main activities on these special occasions are confined to congregational prayers and rituals. Melas are also held to mark these occasions.

Devotional fairs (Urs)

Punjab is famous for various shrines of Sufi saints and Data durbar in particular

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 Buksh at Lahore, urs of Hazrat Sultan Bahu at Jhang, urs of Hazrat Shah Jewna at Jhang, 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 Bulleh Shah at Kasur, urs of Hazrat Imam Bari (Bari Shah Latif) at Rawalpindi-Islamabad and urs of Shah Inayar Qadri (the murrshad of Bulleh 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. The shrine of Heer Ranjha in Jhang has been one of the most visited shrines in Punjab.

Badshahi Mosque, built by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb at Lahore

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.

Other festivals

In addition to the religious festivals, Hindu Punjabis may celebrate seasonal and harvest festivals, which include Lohri,[42] Basant, Baisakhi and Teej.

Arts and crafts

The crafts in the Punjab are of two types: the crafts produced in the rural areas and the royal crafts.

Major attractions

The province is home to many well known historical sites including the Shalimar Gardens, Lahore Fort, the Badshahi Mosque, Rohtas Fort 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 Hindu 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.Khewra salt mines is an attraction for visitors accompanied by guides due to the fact that the mines itself is very large and complex interconnected pass ways are like a maze.There is a small but beautiful Mosque inside the mines made from salt stone.The mines have a good reputation with the patients of Asthma as breathing inside the mines help to permanently cure the Asthma and some other diseases related to respiratory system. There are few famous hill stations in the province include Murree, Bhurban, Patriata and Fort Munro.

Music and dance

Classical music forms, such as Hindustani classical music, 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 Essa Khailwi, 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 Hassan, 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 Khan Essa Khailwi, Jawad Ahmed, Legacy, and Malkoo are renowned.


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, 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.[43]

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 newspapers published in Punjabi in the Central areas of Punjab. Only a few monthly literary magazines constitute Punjabi press in Pakistan". Many have called for the Punjabi language to be given recognition as it has in India.[44]

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 languages (Punjabi, Potohari, and Seraiki) but those of other major ethnic groups in Pakistan such as the Pashtuns and Balochi[citation needed].

Notable people


See also


  1. ^ a b "Punjab - World Gazetteer". http://www.world-gazetteer.com/wg.php?x=&men=gpro&lng=en&des=wg&geo=437641435&srt=pnan&col=abcdefghinoq&msz=1500&geo=-2943. Retrieved 29 March 2012. 
  2. ^ "Provincial Assembly - Punjab". http://www.pap.gov.pk/index.php/members/stats/en/19. 
  3. ^ Ian S Livingston; Micheal O'Hanlon (29 November 2011). "Pakistan Index" (PDF). Brookings. http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/Files/Programs/FP/pakistan%20index/index.pdf. Retrieved 8 February 2012. 
  4. ^ The Languages of Pakistan
  5. ^ The Growing Threat In Pakistan’s Punjab
  6. ^ http://www.islamonline.net/servlet/Satellite?c=Article_C&pagename=Zone-English-News/NWELayout&cid=1239889006387
  7. ^ Lahore Cantonment
  8. ^ a b WHKMLA : History of West Punjab
  9. ^ Tajikam Portal - The Lands of the Avesta
  10. ^ Singh, Pritam (2008). Federalism, Nationalism and Development: India and the Punjab Economy. London; New York: Routledge. pp. 3. ISBN 0-415-45666-5. http://books.google.com/books?id=mQLDcjhNoJwC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false. 
  11. ^ "How to obtain a police certificate - India". Cic.gc.ca. 2009-11-09. http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/information/security/police-cert/asia-pacific/india.asp. Retrieved 2010-07-18. 
  12. ^ Gazetteer of the Bombay Presidency ... - Google Books
  13. ^ Gazetteer of the Bombay Presidency ..., Volume 1, Part 1-page-11
  14. ^ Punjab History - history of Punjab
  15. ^ http://books.google.co.in/books?id=d1wUgKKzawoC&pg=PA224&dq=The+Marathas+were+promised+the+chauth+of+north-western+provinces+which+had+already+been+annexed&hl=en&sa=X&ei=U7YbT_ubCpHOrQe0iLXUDQ&ved=0CDAQ6AEwAA#v=snippet&q=peshawar&f=false
  16. ^ Roy, Kaushik. India's Historic Battles: From Alexander the Great to Kargil. Permanent Black, India. pp. 80–1. ISBN 978-81-7824-109-8. 
  17. ^ Elphinstone, Mountstuart (1841). History of India. John Murray, Albermarle Street. p. 276. 
  18. ^ For a detailed account of the battle fought, see Chapter VI of The Fall of the Moghul Empire of Hindustan by H. G. Keene.
  19. ^ The Punjab in 1920s – A Case study of Muslims, Zarina Salamat, Royal Book Company, Karachi, 1997. table 45, pp. 136. ISBN 969-407-230-1
  20. ^ Panel 33 European Association for South Asian Studies
  21. ^ Pakistan: a modern history, Ian Talbot, St. Martin's Press, 1999. ISBN 0-312-21606-8
  22. ^ "Mercury drops to freezing point - Dawn Pakistan". http://www.dawn.com/2007/01/06/nat47.htm. 
  23. ^ http://punjabgovt.nic.in/punjabataglance/SomeFacts.htm
  24. ^ http://www.statpak.gov.pk/depts/pco/statistics/pop_by_province/pop_by_province.html_Pages/statpak.gov.pk/depts/pco/statistics/pop_by_province/pop_by_province
  25. ^ http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-13514-Population-shoots-up-by-47-percent-since-1998
  26. ^ Muslim peoples: a world ethnographic survey / Richard V. Weekes, editor-in-chief Greenwood Press 1978
  27. ^ Punjabi Muslalman by J M Wikely
  29. ^ "Government of Punjab - Districts". http://pportal.punjab.gov.pk/portal/portal/media-type/html/user/anon/page/default.psml/js_pane/P-11c93de95dd-1009f;jsessionid=0a00000230d785df0507a90e49fa9af7f835de7bb79d.e34Ma3iPcheLci0Lc3iSc3mNaNmKe6fznA5Pp7ftolbGmkTy?nav=left. 
  30. ^ (English) Internet Edition, Dawn Newspaper. ""Nankana becomes district"". http://www.dawn.com/2005/05/10/nat43.htm. Retrieved 2006-04-14. 
    No data is yet available on the recently-created district of Nankana.
  31. ^ "Pakistan: Largest cities and towns and statistics of their population". http://world-gazetteer.com/wg.php?x=&men=gcis&lng=en&des=wg&geo=-172&srt=npan&col=abcdefghinoq&msz=1500&pt=c&va=&srt=pnan. Retrieved 2011-02-10. 
  32. ^ World Bank Document
  33. ^ "Provincial Accounts of Pakistan: Methodology and Estimates 1973-2000". http://www.spdc.org.pk/pubs/nps/nps5.pdf. 
  34. ^ http://www.thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=152370
  35. ^ 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
  36. ^ "Punjab Gateway". 
  37. ^ Industrial Zone Punjab, Pakistan
  38. ^ "Another day of outrage at outages across Punjab". Dawn (Karachi, Pakistan). 18 June 2012. Archived from the original on 18 June 2012. http://dawn.com/2012/06/18/another-day-of-outrage-at-outages-across-punjab/. Retrieved 18 June 2012. 
  39. ^ http://www.spdc.org.pk/pubs/rr/rr73.pdf
  40. ^ Pakistan: where and who are the world's illiterates?; Background paper for the Education for all global monitoring report 2006: literacy for life; 2005
  41. ^ The Express Tribune: Rural women uphold Pakistan’s literacy rate
  42. ^ Harvest Festival of Punjab,Harvest Festival Lohri,Cultural Festival of India,Harvest Festival in India
  43. ^ at Punjabilok.com
  44. ^ The Punjabi Language | The Realm Of The Intoxicated Mind

External links