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Is Pakistan an Arab Country? Ethnicity of Pakistan

The diversity of the different nations makes this world an interesting and exciting place to live in. Each country has a distinct geographical position, culture, language, and religion. 

Here, in this article, we will discuss the Arabs and Pakistani nations and their differences.

Pakistan, the country with the world’s second-largest Muslim population, has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman and shares its borders with India, Afghanistan, Iran, and China. 

Pakistan’s proximity to the Middle East creates a misconception of Pakistan being an Arab country. Is Pakistan really an Arab country?

Pakistan is not an Arab country. Pakistan ethnically and linguistically is closer to South Asian nations.

Pakistan is culturally similar to India and Bangladesh. Pakistan shares Islam religion with Arabs. Yet, Pakistan is heavily influenced more by Turkic and Persian cultures, not Arabic culture.

Pakistan is not an Arab country because Arabs are counted as a minority in Pakistan, and Pakistan is not an Arab majority country. Arabs are one of the small minorities of this multicultural nation.

Ethnic Composition of Pakistan

EthnicityPercentage in Total PopulationOrigin of the Ethnic Group
Punjabis44,7 %Punjab region, Pakistan
Pathans15.4%Historically known as Afghans
Sindhis 14.1%Native to the Sindh region in Pakistan
Saraikis8.4%Central and Southeastern Pakistan
Muhajirs7.6%Indian emigrants (mostly Urdu-speaking)
Baloch3.6%.Balochistan region in Pakistan
Other ethnic minorities6.3%
Ethnic Composition of Pakistan Source
The traditional drum is played during marriages in Punjabi Culture. Photo Wikipedia

Is Pakistan part of the Arab world?

Pakistan is not a part of the Arab world or a majority Arabic Speaking Country. Pakistan is not a member of any Arab international organization.

Pakistan is a South Asian nation, linguistically, culturally, and geographically closer to Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh.

The South Asian region consists of eight states, including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Maldives, and Pakistan.

Pakistan is also not a member of the Arab League, and Pakistan is not considered an Arab country by the Arab nations. 

The Arab League has 21 members. The Arab League’s mission is to improve the relations among its member states, protect and pursue the interests of the Arab countries, and limit conflicts. 

The Arab League, formed in 1945 with only six members, has expanded to 21 countries. The members included in the Arab League are the Muslim majority Arabic-speaking countries.

Pakistan is a country that I love. Click to check my other articles on Pakistan. I also linked them all at the end of this article.

Members of the Arab League. Photo Source Wikipedia

The members of the Arab League are; Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates.

For more, we suggest our article: Is Pakistan part of the Middle East or Asia? 11 Things to Know

The differences in the language – Pakistani vs Arabs

Mostly, a state is recognized as an Arab state if the majority of its population speaks Arabic.

Pakistan is the fifth-most populous country in the world and the second-largest Muslim population, with a population exceeding 225.2 million.

Yet, Pakistan has many languages, and not a single one of them is related to Arabic.

The official languages of Pakistan are Urdu and English. Urdu is spoken as the first language by a minority of Pakistan, yet it is the lingua franca of Pakistan.

Map of Languages of Pakistan. Photo Source Wikipedia

Punjabi, Pashto, Sindhi, Saraiki, Urdu, Balochi, Hindko, Kohistani, and Khowar are the major languages spoken in Pakistan.

Major Pakistani languages belong to the Indo-European Language Family’s Indo-Aryan Language Branch. Whereas Arabic belongs to Semitic with totally different linguistic roots.

Here is the map of Indo-European Languages, and the blue areas are its Indo-Aryan Branch.

Map Indo European Languages and their branches. Blue is the Indo-Aryan Language branch. Photo Source Wikipedia

On the contrary, Arabic countries use Arabic as their official language. The total population of the Arab world was between 407 to 420 million as of 2018. 

Arabic countries use Arabic as their official language. 

Arabic, named after Arabs, is a Semitic language. Almost 350 million people in the world speak Arabic as their native language. Arabic is mostly spoken in North Africa and the Middle East.

Dark Green areas are the places where the Arabic Language is the majority.
Light green areas are the places where Arabic speakers are a minority. Photo Source Wikipedia

Pakistan uses a Perso-Arabic Alphabet. The only commonality between the Arabs and Pakistanis is the alphabet. Yet, the languages of both nations have different ancestries.

Additionally, Arabic and Pakistani languages have no mutual intelligibility other than some religious terms.

For more, we suggest our article: A Local’s Guide to Many Languages of Pakistan

Are Arabs Indian?

Indians are not Arabs. Arab descent Indians are a very small minority in India. Yet, India, as a regional power, has good relations with Arabic countries, and India is an observer state in the Arab League.

Arabs in India are people of Arab descent who have lived in the Indian Subcontinent for a long time. Over millennia, India and the Arab world have maintained substantial commercial and cultural ties. 

The west coast of India, particularly the Malabar and Konkan coasts, were major trading areas that Arab merchants frequented on their way to Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia.

Migrants from numerous Arabian nations emigrated to various regions and kingdoms of the Indian subcontinent as traders, missionaries, and through intermarriage over several centuries.

SUGGESTED READING: Is Pakistan a Third World Country? Explained

Are Afghans Arabs?

Afghans are not Arabs. Afghanistan is composed of different ethnicities, which are native South Asian region and Central Asia.

The word ‘Afghan’ is of Persian origin and refers to the Pashtun people.

The earliest mentions of the Afghans are found during the 3rd century CE by Shapur I, the second Sasanian King of Kings of Iran. The term Afghan refers to someone who is from Afghanistan.

According to some scholars, the term Afghan is taken from the Sanskrit word Aśvakan, which means “horsemen”.

Afghanistan, officially the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, is a country in Central and South Asia bordered by Pakistan, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and China.

By 2020, Afghanistan had a population of 31.4 million, including Pashtuns, Tajiks, Uzbeks, and Hazaras.

Pashtuns are the indigenous people of Afghanistan. Uzbeks are Turkic people, and Hazaras have both Turkic and Mongol origins. Tajiks are related to Iranians.

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