Religious minorities form only three per cent of Pakistan’s population; but their contribution in business, education, medicine, and the arts is much greater.
Not only have the minorities been able freely to follow their professions and trades but encouraged to contest the specially created and reserved seats for them in the legislative assemblies of the nation. A Federal Minister for Minority Affairs safeguards their interest.
Christians, the biggest minority group, have made their homes in most parts of the country. Churches of virtually every denomination embellish the architectural horizon of most Pakistan cities.
Although Pakistani Christians have not restricted their attention to any one area of activity, they have made, and continue to make, outstanding contributions in health, education, railways, and the police. Many hold senior positions in civil and defence services.
The Hindus of Pakistan, generally settled in Sind, celebrate their holy days with their entire traditional colour. In the larger cities (particularly Karachi) the Hindu acumen for business comes into full play. Members of this community are extremely active in commerce.
Most of the Ahmadis, a relatively recent religious community, are of Punjab origin. The sect came into existence at the end of the last century when the preaching of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad attracted a large number of followers.
Ahmadis are also known as Qadianis since the belief originated in the town of Qadian in East Punjab. Though divided into the Qadiani and Lahori groups, they are well-organized and take part in virtually every field of economic activity.
The Parsis (or Zoroastrians), an extremely small minority concentrated in the larger cities of Pakistan, are almost exclusively engaged in business. Some of the foremost hotel and shipping magnates of Pakistan are Parsis and richer members of this community are well known for their philanthropic activities.
Buddhists are few but the cultural impact made by their ancestors has enriched the heritage of Pakistan. Ancient Buddhist temples, schools, and cities dot the archaeological map of Pakistan.
There are also many important Sikh temples and shrines in Pakistan which are looked after by the Government; The most notable among these is Nankana Sahib, the birthplace of Guru Nanak, the founder of the Sikh religion.