Political Parties and Ethnic Groups in Pakistan  

Definition of the Problem

The United States-Pakistan Relations

The Role of the Military in Pakistan

Poverty In Pakistan

Political Parties and Ethnic Groups

Map of Pakistan

 History of the Taliban
Policy Alternatives

Costs and Benefits

 Policy Recommendation


Ethnic groups in Pakistan
            There are four major ethnic groups in Pakistan: Pashtuns, Baluchis, Punjabis, and Sindhis. Pashtuns reside mainly in North West Frontier Province, and Baluchis live mostly in the Baluchistan province. Punjabis reside in the North-East, namely in the Punjab province, and Sindhis in the South-East, the Sindh province. Also, Pakistan is linguistically diverse; besides Urdu, the official language, Punjabi, Sindhi, Pashto, Baluchi, and Brahui are widely spoken.

Political Parties in Pakistan
            There are three major parties in Pakistan: Pakistan People’s Party, currently led by Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari, husband of the former slain leader and chairwoman of the party, Benazir Bhutto. The official chairman of Pakistan People's Party (PPP) is Bhutto’s son, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. The second major party in Pakistan is Pakistan Muslim League (PML), which consists of two factions: PML-N is the largest faction led by Nawaz Sharif, former Prime Minister of Pakistan. PML-Q split from Pakistan Muslim League in 2001 and formed an alliance with Musharraf’s government. The third major party is Muttahida Majlis Amal (MMA) which emerged after Musharraf’s alliance with the U.S. war on terrorism and comprises six Islamic parties. Jamaat Islami (JI) and Jamiat Ulema Islam (JUI-F) are the largest groups within the MMA, which dominates North West Province and Baluchistan provinces and aims to establish Sharia law in Pakistan (Gregory). 

Distribution of Resources and Power among Ethnic Groups and Political Parties.
            There is an uneven distribution of power and resources among the political and ethnic groups in Pakistan. Punjabis account for 44 percent of the population, control the best farmland, and have full access to education and the nation’s cultural and scientific institutions, especially in Lahore. Punjabis also hold high-level positions in the military and government. Punjabis are represented by the two factions of the Pakistan Muslim League. On the other hand, Sindhis make up about fourteen percent of the population, and griculture is their major source of income. The major city in the Punjab province is Karachi, where the Mohajirs (the Arabic word for immigrants), who emigrated from India, have control over commerce and business and hold predominant positions in the government. Now the Mohajirs account for eight percent of the population. Politically, the Mohajirs are represented by the Muttahida Qaumi Movement. Musharraf is a Mohajir. Sindhs, who make up a larger proportion of the population in the Sindh province, resent the Mohajirs’ domination of the Province’s political and economic institutions. Pashtuns account for more than 15 percent of the population and live mainly in the North West Frontier Province, which has been the command center for the Taliban militants. Pashtuns have strong relations with Pakistan’s Inter-Services intelligence and the military. Baluchistan is the largest and least populated Province in Pakistan. Baluchis account for only four percent of the population, but their province is rich in resources, especially natural gas. Baluchistan is the poorest province in Pakistan(Wiseman).

Wiseman, Paul. “Country's EthnicGroups Maintain Tenuous Bond.” 9 Jan. 2008. USA Today. 23 March 2008 <http://0 search.ebscohost.com.libra.nazlib.org/login.aspx?
Gregory, Shaun. “The Role of the Military in the Cohesion and Stability of Pakistan.”Contemporary South Asia 6.1 (2007): 39-61