Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Ethnic Groups in Pakistan

Major Ethnic Groups in Pakistan

Along with the proliferating violence and mass scale bombing, ethnic groups in Pakistan continue to stroke and force down the people of this country. This has not been an issue that erupted a few decades ago, but had always encompassed this land since its birth. After raising the curtains, Ethnicity in Pakistan proves to play a significant role in obliterating the economy and its people. Since the very first human beings placed their steps on earth, people and societies have always become a victim of differentiation and descrimination. Information regarding some of these major groups has been given below:
The province Punjab, also known as the land of five rivers constitutes various ethnic groups. Arabs, Afghani’s, Persians and Turks ruled the land mainly. Even though all these empires gradually disappeared from Punjab, but their culture and language became a part of people’s lives. Punjabi language has different dialects and there are almost 63 dialects of Punjabi are spoken throughout the province of Punjab.
Pushtuns, generally referred to as Pathans, are the natives of West Indus River. They are the second largest ethnic group in Pakistan. Their majority population lives in Karachi and then in Peshawar. Their unique code of conduct is based on tribal structure and referred to as Pushtunwali.
The province Sindh exists along the Indus River and got exposure due to Indus Valley Civilization. Sindhis are the inhabitants of Sindh. The name of the land was inherited from Indus Civilization.
Baluchistan is situated on the South West side of Pakistan. It is the largest province of Pakistan The population of Baluchistan constitutes 6% of Pakistan’s total population. The people belonging to the land are referred to as Baluchis.

The word “Muhajir” means migrating from one place to another. These people are migrants from Central Asia and Middle East. The large majority of these people are Pashtuns; others include BokrasMemons and Ismailis. The one thing, which unites them, is the Urdu language.

Seraikis speak the language Seraiki and are settled in southern part of Punjab. This is the second largest community in Punjab. It is one of the dialects of Punjabi. There are almost 13.9 million Saraiki people in Pakistan.

Languages spoken amongst Ethnic groups

Although Pakistan has five provinces, which are Punjab, Sindh, Baluchistan, and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, and Gilgit-Baltistan, each province consists of more than one language and many dialects. Punjabi is the largest speaking language of Pakistan with 44.15% of total population speaking it.
In Sindh, mostly Sindhi is spoken. It’s the second most spoken language after Punjabi. Holy Quran was first translated in Sindhi language, which explains a strong religious factor. The poetry is mostly based on Sufi-ism.
In Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, mostly Pashto is spoken. It is also spoken in Afghanistan. There are other languages also spoken in this region because of different emperors and rulers that stayed in this region for years. These include, Chitrali, Kohistani, and Hindko.
In Baluchistan province, mostly Baluchi is spoken, however in some parts of Baluchistan Pashto is also spoken.
The one factor that unites Pakistan is the Urdu language. It’s a mixture of different languages like Punjabi, Arabic, Farsi and English and other different other languages. 7.57% speak Urdu in Pakistan.
English is the international language and people have adopted the language. The official communication is also done through English. English has taken place of Urdu in govt. offices and departments. In Pakistan 10.97% people speak English.
The ethnic groups in Pakistan contributes to her rich culture. Pakistani society and culture continues to develop as the interaction among these groups rises. Although, diversity contributes to positivity and creativity in a society, conflicts of severe nature have hampered country's economic and socio-political progress. Division among the people on the basis of geographic association,  language, religion economic disparities, and subcultures has had adverse effects on the country in all aspects. At this hour, the matter of ethnicity in Pakistan along with education system in Pakistan needs critical attention and the government needs to root out the differences among the people. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Ethnicity in Pakistan

Overview of Ethnicity in Pakistan

The battle for equality and recognition by an ethnic group is an old and recurring phenomenon. If this struggle gathers momentum, it develops into an ethnic conflict. Baluchis, Punjabis, Pashtuns, Sindhis, Seraikis, Muhajirs and Chitralis are the main ethnic groups of Pakistan. Since the emergence of Pakistan on world’s map, the country has had ethnic and linguistic differences among its people, and ethnicity in Pakistan has existed since it's very inception.


Ethnicity refers to a group of people who have their own-shared common characteristics that distinguish them from most other people in the same society. Biological characteristics that play a part in racial differences may be visible in an ethnic group, but these characteristics do not form a criterion for defining an ethnic group. It is a population whose members identify with each other on the basis of a real or presumed common ancestry. No one has control over at their ethnicity. It relates to your race as well: Asian, African-American, Caucasian or European, Hispanic etc. 

Behavioral ethnicity includes the learning of values, belief, behavioral norms, languages or distinctive dialect, by the member of ethnic category during the process of socialization. They use these social values as their basic interaction manifestation. 

Difference between Race and Ethnicity

Ethnicity is different than race. Race is the classification of people based on physical or biological characteristics sharing different ethnic values. Ethnicity incorporates language, religion, demarcation of territory and other cultural traits including historical, political and geographical origins. According to the survey conducted, when asked if one considered oneself associated to any ethnic group, 72% people in some way associated themselves to an Ethnic group. 

Ethnic Differences and Ethnic Conflicts

Changes in people’s affinity with any of them may occur over time. Ethnic differences among people whether physical or cultural, exist as part of human experience. The recognition of these diversities may be intensified as contacts between two groups grow. Ethnic distinctiveness invokes an innate sense of people-hood. 

In many cases some groups gain privileges over others on the basis of their ethnic differences. The primary simulators of the ethnic differences are often economic, social or political power. The cultural differences referred to in ethnic interaction cannot always be reduced without a loss of analytic comprehension. Since one of the main insights from formalist studies of ethnicity is that culture cannot be treated as a fixed and bound system of signs. 

Ethnic differences are inevitably linked to violence on a grand scale. The assumption that because conflicts are often ethnic, ethnicity must breed conflict is a huge mistake. But at some instances, ethnic diversities do lead to violence and conflicts. One of the most common cause of the ethnic conflicts is, people prefer members of their own group and have active antipathy towards out-group members making conflicts the inevitable result. If the antipathies due to ethnic diversities are so deep that they cannot be resolved, then separation is the only workable solution left.

Ethnic Conflicts in Pakistan

Different ethnic groups can reside in one nation peacefully if there is less discrimination and despising, but if the struggle to win ethnic rights is constantly hampered, it transforms into a movement for an independent nation. In a country like Pakistan, where economical and political instability prevails, ethnic differences augment with a ferocious pace and the consequences can be dreadful, thus preventing measures must always be taken to reduce these conflicts. History concurs with this notion as ethnic differences comprising of economical and military disparities and language controversy lead to a war in 1971 between East and West Pakistan. It resulted in separation of East Pakistan which became Bangladesh. Urdu-Bengali conflict was one of the primary factors which gave birth to Bengali National Movement.
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