Published on 21 Jan 2009 | over 9 years ago
The population of the province is estimated to be 86,084,000 in 2005 and is home to over half the population of Pakistan. The major language spoken in the Punjab is Punjabi (which is written in a Perso-Arabic script in Pakistan) and Punjabis comprise the largest ethnic group. The language is not given any official recognition in the Constitution of Pakistan. Punjabis themselves are a heterogeneous group comprising different tribes and communities, although the different castes in Pakistani Punjab has more to do with traditional occupations such as blacksmiths or artisans as opposed to rigid social stratifications.
The most important tribes within Punjab include the Muslim Rajputs, the Gakhars, the Gujjars, the Jats (see also List of Jat Clans of West Punjab), the Dogar, the Arain, the Punjabi Shaikhs and the Syeds. Other smaller tribes are the Awans, Rawns, Pukhtuns, Baloch, Afghans and the Maliks. Other smaller ethnic groups in the province include the Siraiki, Hindko, Kashmiris, Sindhis, and Muhajirs. Three decades of bloodshed in neighbouring Afghanistan have brought a large number of Afghan refugees (Tajik, Pashtun, Hazara and Turkmen) to the province.
The population of Punjab (Pakistan) is over 99% Muslim with a Sunni majority and Shia minority. There are small non-Muslims groups of Zorastrians, Bahá'ís, Christians, Sikhs,Hindus and Ahmadiyya communitiy.
The dialects spoken in different regions of the land have a common vocabulary and a shared heritage. The shared heritage also extends to a common faith, Islam. The people of Punjab have also a shared spiritual experience, which has been disseminated by Tassawwaf and can be witnessed on the occasion of the remembrance-fairs held on the Urs of Sufi Saints.
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