Pakistani Culture

Naming

  • Naming conventions vary in Pakistan throughout ethnic, familial, regional and religious traditions. Typically, Pakistani names derive from Arabic, Indo-Persian or Turkish roots. Tribal and familial identity is strongly respected. Therefore, many people add their tribe's name with their family’s.
  • Due to Pakistan's large monotheistic religious contingency, traditional Arabic-Abrahamic (Quranic, Arabic-Biblical and Arabic-Judaic) names are the most prolific; (male) Ali, Muhammad, Yusuf, Bilal and Hamza; (female) Noor, Mariam, Ayesha, Fatima.
  • It is common practice to give the father's most commonly addressed name to the child as their last name. This is also applied to some married females, who adopt their husband's most commonly addressed name as their surname. However, Islamic law does not necessitate the custom of a wife adopting her husband's last name at marriage. Therefore, many Pakistani women retain their maiden names.
  • There are exceptions to this trend, most notably with the surname KHAN, which is common amongst those of Pakhtun origin. SHAH is another common surname passed between families.
  • Western influence following colonisation has seen many Pakistanis adopt European-style naming systems.
Cultural Competence Program
Cultural Competence Program Logo

Join over 300 organisations already creating a better workplace

Find out more
Download this Cultural Profile

Too busy to read it right now?

You can download this cultural profile in an easy-to-read PDF format that can be printed out and accessed at any time.

Pakistan
  • Population
    207,774,520
    [Census, 2017]
  • Language
    Punjabi (48.0%)
    Sindhi (12.0%)
    Saraiki (10.0%)
    Pashto/Pashtu (8.0%)
    Urdu [official] (8.0%)
    Balochi (3.0%)
    Hindko (2.0%)
    Brahui (1.0%)
    English [official], Burushaski, Shina and other 8%
    [2010 est.]
  • Religion
    Islam (96.28%)
    Christianity (1.59%)
    Hinduism (1.60%)
    Ahmadiyya (0.22%)
    Other (0.32%)
    [2010 est.]
  • Ethnicity
    Punjabi (44.68%)
    Pakhtun/Pathan (15.42%)
    Sindhi (14.10%)
    Seraiki (8.38%)
    Muhajir (7.57%)
    Balochi (3.57%)
    Other (6.28%)
    [2010 est.]
  • Cultural Dimensions
    55
    14
    50
    70
    50
    0
  • Australians with Pakistani Ancestry
    64,344 [Census, 2016]
Pakistanis in Australia
  • Population
    61,913
    [Census, 2016]
    This figure refers to the number of Australian residents that were born in Pakistan.
  • Median Age
    30 [Census, 2016]
  • Gender
    Male (60.9%)
    Female (39.1%)
    [Census, 2016]
  • Religion
    Islam (88.4%)
    Catholic Christianity (2.5%)
    Other Religion (2.9%)
    No Religion (2.2%)
    Not Stated (3.9%)
    [Census, 2016]
  • Ancestry
    Pakistani (61.6%)
    Indian (8.6%)
    Southern Asian [not defined] (4.2%)
    Afghan (4.1%)
    Other Ancestry (21.5%)
    [Census, 2016]
  • Language Spoken at Home
    Urdu (71.5%)
    English (8.1%)
    Pashto (6.2%)
    Hazaraghi (4.6%)
    Other Languages (9.0%)
    Of those who speak a language other than English at home, 90.3% speak English fluently.
    [Census, 2016]
  • Diaspora
    New South Wales (39.6%)
    Victoria (34.1%)
    Western Australia (8.8%)
    Queensland (7.6%)
    Other (9.9%)
    [Census, 2016]
  • Arrival
    Prior to 1996 (9.6%)
    1996 - 2005 (32%)
    2006 - 2015 (66.6%)
    2016 (5.8%)
    Not stated (2.6%)
    Note: Arrivals up until 9 August 2016.
    [Census, 2016]
Country https://dtbhzdanf36fd.cloudfront.net/countries/13/pk.svg Flag Country Pakistan