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Religion in Pakistan

Religion in Pakistan[1]

  Islam (state religion) (96.28%)
  Hinduism (1.85%)
  Christianity (1.59%)
  Ahmadis (0.22%)
  Other Religions (0.07%)
The Badshahi Mosque in Lahore, Pakistan, was built during the Mughal Empire.

The state religion in Pakistan is Islam, which is practiced by 96.28% of the population. Freedom of religion is guaranteed by the Pakistani constitution, which established a fundamental right of Pakistani citizens, irrespective of their religion, to equal rights.[2][3][4][5][6] The remaining 4% practice Hinduism, Christianity, Ahmadis, Sikhism and other religions.[6][7]

Muslims comprise a number of sects: the majority practice practice Sunni Islam, while 5–15% Shias Islam.[8][9][10][11] Nearly all Pakistani Sunni Muslims belong to the Hanafi Fiqh Islamic law school.[6] The majority of Pakistani Shia Muslims belong to the Twelver Islamic law school, with significant minority groups who practice Ismailism, which is composed of Nizari (Aga Khanis), Mustaali, Dawoodi Bohra, Sulaymani, and others.

Religious minorities in Pakistan often face significant discrimination, subject to issues such as violence and misuse of the blasphemy law.[12] It is claimed that since 1947, religious minorities went from 23% to 3.7% of the population, due to violence and discrimination they have faced,[13] however the reason of decline has more to do with mass migration of nearly 5 million Hindus and Sikhs to India in 1947[14] and separation of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) in 1971 which contained nearly 22% of minorities of Pakistan leaving behind approximately 1.6% of minorities in West Pakistan. [15]

As per the census in 1998, there were less than 2.5 million Hindus in Pakistan. The Pakistani Hindu council puts the population at an estimated 8 million.[16]

Constitutional provisions

The Constitution of Pakistan establishes Islam as the state religion,[17] and provides that all citizens have the right to profess, practice and propagate their religion subject to law, public order, and morality.[18] The Constitution also states that all laws are to conform with the injunctions of Islam as laid down in the Quran and Sunnah.[19]

The Constitution limits the political rights of Pakistan's non-Muslims. Only Muslims are allowed to become the President[20] or the Prime Minister.[21] Only Muslims are allowed to serve as judges in the Federal Shariat Court, which has the power to strike down any law deemed un-Islamic, though its judgments can be overruled by the Supreme Court of Pakistan.[22], however non-Muslims have served as judges in the High Courts and Supreme Court.[23]

The focus of Islamic principles creates a system of institutionalised discrimination that filters down into society.[13] Moreover, the Constitution sets up an Islamic Council, tasked with ensuring Islamic ideology is followed in governmental decisions, actions and policy making.[13]

Demographics of religion in Pakistan

Based on information collected from the Library of Congress, CIA World Factbook, Oxford University, University of Pennsylvania, U.S. State Department and others, the following is a list of estimations about the percentage of people professing different faiths in the country. These estimations vary considerably from source to source, depending on methods of research and databases that were used.

As of 2012, around 5,900,000 non-Muslim Pakistanis held a Computerised National Identity Card (CNIC card) from the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA), which can only be obtained by citizens over 18 years of age. It is estimated that about 96% adult Pakistanis currently hold CNIC cards, and therefore the total adult population of non-Muslim religions seems to be over 3 million. Of the minority CNIC holders, 1,414,527 were Hindus (769,647 males and 644,880 females), 1,270,051 were Christians (731,713 males and 538,338 females), 125,681 were Ahmadi Muslims (63,479 males and 62,202 females), 33,734 were Bahá'ís, 6,146 were Sikhs, 4,020 were Parsis, 1,492 were Buddhist and 66,898 were others (such as Kalasha Animists).[24] NADRA makes it nearly impossible to declare and change the religion to anything from Islam making the statistics somewhat misleading.[25]

Islam

 
The Faisal Mosque in Islamabad, which is the largest mosque of Pakistan and is also one of the largest in the world, was built by King Faisal of Saudi Arabia.

Islam is the state religion of Pakistan, and about 95-98% of Pakistanis are Muslim.[26] Pakistan has the second largest number of Muslims in the world after Indonesia.[27] The majority are Sunni (estimated at 75-95%),[8][9] with an estimated 5-20% Shia.[8][9][10][28][29] A PEW survey in 2012 found that 6% of Pakistani Muslims were Shia.[30] There are a number of Islamic law schools called Madhab (schools of jurisprudence), which are called fiqh or 'Maktab-e-Fikr' in Urdu. Nearly all Pakistani Sunni Muslims belong to the Hanafi Islamic school of thought, while a small number belong to the Hanbali school. The majority of Pakistani Shia Muslims belong to the Twelver (Ithna Asharia) branch, with significant minority who adhere to Ismailism branch that is composed of Nizari (Aga Khanis), Mustaali, Dawoodi Bohra, Sulaymani, and others.[31] Sufis and above mentioned Sunni and Shia sects are considered to be Muslims according to the Constitution of Pakistan. Shias allege discrimination by the Pakistani government since 1948, claiming that Sunnis are given preference in business, official positions and administration of justice.[citation needed]

The mosque is an important religious as well as social institution in Pakistan.[32][33] Many rituals and ceremonies are celebrated according to Islamic calendar.

Sufi

 
Hindu Mandir of 1870

Islam to some extent syncretized with pre-Islamic influences, resulting in a religion with some traditions distinct from those of the Arab world. Two Sufis whose shrines receive much national attention are Ali Hajweri in Lahore (ca. 11th century) and Shahbaz Qalander in Sehwan, Sindh (ca. 12th century).[citation needed] Sufism, Fariduddin Ganjshakar in pakpatan a mystical Islamic tradition, has a long history and a large popular following in Pakistan. Popular Sufi culture is centered on Thursday night gatherings at shrines and annual festivals which feature Sufi music and dance. Contemporary Islamic fundamentalists criticize its popular character, which in their view, does not accurately reflect the teachings and practice of the Prophet and his companions. There have been terrorist attacks directed at Sufi shrines and festivals, 5 in 2010 that killed 64 people.[34][35]

Hinduism

Hinduism is the second largest religion in Pakistan after Islam, according to the 1998 Census.[36] As of 2010, Pakistan had the fifth largest Hindu population in the world and PEW predicts that by 2050 Pakistan will have the fourth largest Hindu population in the world.[37] According to the 1998 Census,the Hindu population was found to be 2,111,271 (including 332,343 scheduled castes Hindus). The Religious data of 2017 Census has not been released . Hindus are found in all provinces of Pakistan but are mostly concentrated in Sindh. About 93% of Hindus live in Sindh, 5% in Punjab and nearly 2% in Balochistan.[38] They speak a variety of languages such as Sindhi, Seraiki, Aer, Dhatki, Gera, Goaria, Gurgula, Jandavra, Kabutra, Koli, Loarki, Marwari, Sansi, Vaghri[39] and Gujarati.[40]

The Rig Veda, the oldest Hindu text, was believed to have been composed in the Punjab province of modern-day Pakistan on the banks of the Indus River around 1500 BCE[41] and spread from there across South and South East Asia slowly developing and evolving into the various forms of the faith we see today.[citation needed]

Cases collected by Global Human Rights Defence show that underage Hindu (and Christian) girls are often targeted by Muslims for forced conversion to Islam.[12]According to the National Commission of Justice and Peace and the Pakistan Hindu Council (PHC) around 1000 non-muslim minority women are converted to Islam and then forcibly married off to their abductors or rapists. [42]

Christianity

Christians (Urdu: مسيحى‎) make up 1.6% of Pakistan's population.[43] The majority of the Pakistani Christian community consists of Punjabis who converted during the British colonial era and their descendants. Pakistani Christians mainly live in Punjab and in urban centres. There is also a Roman Catholic community in Karachi which was established by Goan and Tamil migrants when Karachi's infrastructure was being developed by between the two World Wars. A few Protestant groups conduct missions in Pakistan.

There are a number of church-run schools in Pakistan that admit students of all religions, including Forman Christian College[44][45], St. Patrick's Institute of Science & Technology and Saint Joseph's College for Women, Karachi.

Cases collected by Global Human Rights Defence show that young underage Christian (and Hindu) girls are often targeted by Muslims for forced conversion to Islam.[12] Christians also often face abuses of Pakistani blasphemy laws, notably in the case of Asia Bibi.

Ahmadiyya

According to the last Census in Pakistan, Ahmadi made up 0.22% of the population; however, the Ahmadiyya community boycotted the census. Independent groups generally estimate the population to be somewhere between two and five million Ahmadis. In media reports, four million is the most commonly cited figure.[46]

In 1974, the government of Pakistan amended the Constitution of Pakistan to define a Muslim according to Qu'ran 33:40,[47] as a person who believes in finality of Prophet Muhammad under the Ordinance XX.According to Ordinance XX, Ahmadis cannot call themselves Muslim or "pose as Muslims" which is punishable by three years in prison.[48] Ahmadis believe in Muhammad as the best and the last law bearing prophet and Mirza Ghulam Ahmad as the Messiah of Muslims. Consequently, Ahmadis were declared non-Muslims by a parliamentary tribunal.

Bahá'í

The Bahá'í Faith in Pakistan begins previous to its independence when it was still under British colonial rule. The roots of the religion in the region go back to the first days of the Bábí religion in 1844,[49] with Shaykh Sa'id Hindi who was from Multan.[50] During Bahá'u'lláh's lifetime, as founder of the religion, he encouraged some of his followers to move to the area that is current-day Pakistan.[51]

The Bahá'ís in Pakistan have the right to hold public meetings, establish academic centers, teach their faith, and elect their administrative councils.[52] However, the government prohibits Bahá'ís, as well as every other citizen, from travelling to Israel for Bahá'í pilgrimage.[53] Recent estimates say that there are over 79,000[54] though Bahá'ís claimed less than half that number.[55]

Sikhism

 
Nankana Sahib Gurdwara in Punjab, Pakistan is a famous pilgrimage site for Sikhs

In the 15th century the reformist Sikh movement originated in Punjab region in undivided India where Sikhism's founder as well as most of the faiths disciples originated from. There are a number of Sikhs living throughout Pakistan today; estimates vary, but the number is thought to be on the order of 20,000. In recent years, their numbers have increased with many Sikhs migrating from neighboring Afghanistan who have joined their co-religionists in Pakistan.[56] The shrine of Guru Nanak Dev is located in Nankana Sahib near the city of Lahore where many Sikhs from all over the world make pilgrimage to this and other shrines.

Zoroastrianism

 
Bai Virbaiji Soparivala Parsi School, Karachi

There are at least 4,000 Pakistani citizen practicing the Zoroastrian religion.[24] With the flight of Zoroastrians from Greater Iran into the Subcontinent, the Parsi communities were established. More recently, from the 15th century onwards, Zorastrians came to settle the coast of Sindh and have established thriving communities and commercial enterprises. These newer migrants were to be called Parsi. At the time of independence of Pakistan in 1947, Karachi and Lahore were home to a thriving Parsi business community. Karachi had the most prominent population of Parsis in Pakistan. After independence, many migrated abroad but a number remained. Parsis have entered Pakistani public life as social workers, business folk, journalists and diplomats. The most prominent Parsis of Pakistan today include Ardeshir Cowasjee, Byram Dinshawji Avari, Jamsheed Marker, as well as Minocher Bhandara. The founding father of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, married Ratti Bai who belonged to a Parsi family before her conversion to Islam.[57]

Kalash

 
Guardians of a Kalasha village in the valley of Mumuret (Bumburet)

The Kalash people practise a form of ancient Hinduism[58] mixed with animism.[59] Adherents of the Kalash religion number around 3,000 and inhabit three remote valleys in Chitral; Bumboret, Rumbur and Birir. Their religion is unique but shares some common ground with Greek, Macedonian Pagan, Vedic and Pre-Zoroastrian religions.

Jainism

 
Jain Temple of Bhodesar

Jainism existed in Sindh, Punjab, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, before the partition in 1947, and even for several years after the partition. There is no evidence of any Jains living in Pakistan today, although it is claimed that a few still live in Sindh and Punjab provinces. They are number of disused Jain Temples found in different parts of Pakistan. Gulu Lalvani, a famous Jain, was originally from Pakistan but he, like other Jains, emigrated from Pakistan. Baba Dharam Das Tomb is also found in Pakistan. The Jain temple at Gori in Tharparkar was a major Jain pilgrimage center. The Jain Mandir Chowk at Lahore was the site of a Digambar Jain Temple. The memorial of Jain seer Vijayanandsuri at Gujranwala is now a police station.

Buddhism

Buddhism has an ancient history in Pakistan; currently there is a small community of at least 1500 Pakistani Buddhist in the country.[60] The country is dotted with numerous ancient and disused Buddhist stupas along the entire breath of the Indus River that courses through the heart of the country. Many Buddhist empires and city states existed, notably in Gandhara but also elsewhere in Taxila, Punjab and Sindh.[61]

The number of Buddhist voters was 1,884 in 2017 and are mostly concentrated in Sindh and Punjab.[62]

Judaism

Various estimates suggest that there were about 1,500 Jews living in Pakistan at the time of its independence on 14 August 1947, with the majority living in Karachi and a few living in Peshawar. However, almost all emigrated to Israel after 1948. There are a few disused synagogues in both cities; while one Karachi synagogue was torn down for the construction of a shopping mall. The one in Peshawar still exists, although the building is not being used for any religious purpose. There is a small Jewish community of Pakistani origin settled in Ramla, Israel.

One Pakistani, Faisal Khalid (a.k.a. Fishel Benkhald) of Karachi claims to be Pakistan's only Jew.[63][64] He claimed that his mother is Jewish (making him Jewish by Jewish custom) but, his father is a Muslim. Pakistani authorities have issued him a passport which stated Judaism as his religion and have allowed him to travel to Israel.[65][66][67]

Irreligion

There are people who do not profess any faith (such as atheists and agnostics) in Pakistan, but their numbers are not known.[68] They are particularly in the affluent areas of the larger cities. Some were born in secular families while others in religious ones. According to the 1998 census, people who did not state their religion accounted for 0.5% of the population, but social pressure against claiming no religion was strong.[56] A 2012 study by Gallup Pakistan found that people not affiliated to any religion account for 1% of the population.[69]

See also

References

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  10. ^ a b "The World's Muslims: Unity and Diversity". Pew Research Center. 9 August 2012. Retrieved 26 December 2016. On the other hand, in Pakistan, where 6% of the survey respondents identify as Shia, Sunni attitudes are more mixed: 50% say Shias are Muslims, while 41% say they are not.
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  46. ^ The 1998 Pakistani census states that there are 291,000 (0.22%) Ahmadis in Pakistan. However, the Ahmadiyya Muslim community has boycotted the census since 1974 which renders official Pakistani figures to be inaccurate. Independent groups have estimated the Pakistani Ahmadiyya population to be somewhere between 2 million and 5 million Ahmadis. However, the 4 million figure is the most quoted figure and is approximately 2.2% of the country. See:
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  58. ^ West, Barbara A. (19 May 2010). Encyclopedia of the Peoples of Asia and Oceania. Infobase Publishing. p. 357. ISBN 9781438119137. The Kalasha are a unique people living in just three valleys near Chitral, Pakistan, the capital of North-West Frontier Province, which borders Afghanistan. Unlike their neighbors in the Hindu Kush Mountains on both the Afghani and Pakistani sides of the border the Kalasha have not converted to Islam. During the mid-20th century a few Kalasha villages in Pakistan were forcibly converted to this dominant religion, but the people fought the conversion and once official pressure was removed the vast majority continued to practice their own religion. Their religion is a form of Hinduism that recognizes many gods and spirits ... given their Indo-Aryan language, ... the religion of the Kalasha is much more closely aligned to the Hinduism of their Indian neighbors that to the religion of Alexander the Great and his armies.
  59. ^ Sean Sheehan (1 October 1993). Pakistan. Marshall Cavendish. ISBN 978-1-85435-583-6. The Kalash people are small in number, hardly exceeding 3,000, but they ... and as well as having their own language and costume, they practice animism (the worship of spirits in nature)...
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  69. ^ http://www.gallup.com.pk/Polls/240712.pdf