Discover the 10 Most Populated Cities in Pakistan

Written by Alan Lemus
Updated: July 3, 2023
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Pakistan has a contradictory image when it comes to its representation. Perhaps you will find a different perspective through the lens of this particular blog. Please take a peek with us into the largest cities of Pakistan and discover them yourself. 

Picture graph of the 10 Most Populated Cities in Pakistan.
These cities represent many different industries and a rich and ancient history.

Where is Pakistan?

Most people do not know Pakistan is a country in the south of Asia. It has an estimated population that crosses the 220 million mark. Out of this enormous number, 96% of the people are Muslims. 

Pakistan is bordered by Afghanistan, Iran, China, and India. There are many things this country is famous for, including its food, cricket, philanthropy, and, most of all, tea. 

Another interesting fact about Pakistan is that it is a place where you can find all four seasons. It has lush mountains, a widespread desert, ocean views, hidden caves, waterfalls, lakes and rivers, glaciers, and even cliffs. A nature lover’s trip to Pakistan will be memorable and serene. In contrast, what kinds of megacities does this country host? 

Karachi is the biggest city in Pakistan, carrying a population of over 14.9 million people. It spreads out over an area of more than 3780 square kilometers. It is the financial hub of the whole country, comprising between 12-to-15% of the country’s GDP. Nonetheless, its living conditions are poor. 

#1 Karachi

karachi

The most populated city in the country at over 17 million , Karachi is known for its cuisine and its traffic.

©ibrar.kunri/Shutterstock.com

When you step into Karachi, you will feel a buzz that will keep you excited for the days ahead. Even till midnight, you will find the streets carrying traffic, restaurants catering to customers, and stores opening up for your convenience. This is why it is called the city of lights. In addition, it hosts various communities around the country, allowing it to bring a platter of exquisite and mouth-watering dishes. For the food vloggers, it is a haven of delicious tastes and cuisines. Oh, and don’t forget to ask for doodh patti, the famous Karachi tea served even after midnight!

#2 Lahore 

lahore

Lahore is home to countless shrines and mosques, making it a great place for history buffs.

©Homo Cosmicos/Shutterstock.com

Lahore is another big city in the country, carrying a population of nearly 14 million people. A famous saying translates to, Ones who haven’t seen Lahore, haven’t been born or aren’t alive. This sits well if you visit a city over 2000 years old.

People with an aesthetic sense of historical sites would love to spend time out here. In addition, it is a city of gardens, shrines, mosques, qawwals (a traditional music setup), and more. Some famous mosques you will find are the Badshahi mosque and the Wazir mosque. There is even a heavenly view from a restaurant near Badshahi mosque at night. Talking about food, you will not be disappointed. Karachi and Lahore have always been in a verbal war about who has the best food. 

#3 Faisalabad

faisalabad

Faisalabad is is also referred to as the Manchester of Pakistan because of its involvement in the textile industry.

©highonphotos js/Shutterstock.com

A city with an estimated population of 3.7 million comes in the top three spots of the largest cities in Pakistan. It is known as the land of the clothes, and brings many widely known and worn dresses to the country.

The city is also referred to as the Manchester of Pakistan because of its involvement in the textile industry. The town, after Lahore, serves platters of delicious foods like Sajji (steamed chicken roast), batches of fresh fish, and mutton chops. You will also find the famous Ghanta Ghar (clock tower), which serves as a landmark of the city. Apart from that, there is a forest park, a water park, and many museums to cater to your educational taste. 

#4 Gujranwala

Rush hour traffic at Chan Da Qila square, a famous landmark in the industrial city of Gujranwala, Pakistan.

©Jahanzaib Naiyyer/Shutterstock.com

This city of Gujranwala has a wild population of over 2.4 million people. It is known as the city of wrestlers and holds the heavy weight of producing many champions in that arena. That is not all. Do you know about Basmati rice? One of the best varieties, according to Asians, is created and refined here.

You will find a lot of other major industries of Pakistan here, like pottery, fans, ceramics, garments, oil extracting mills, tires, agriculture, and even animal feed. It also hosts several popular tourist attractions that you can go to enjoy. But the best part is the huge side portions that the Gujjars eat almost daily! A famous delicacy is lassi, a cold beverage made of milk and yogurt. It can be both savory and sweet! 

#5 Peshawar

peshawar

Aerial front view of Chowk Yadgar monument in Peshawar, provincial capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

©Doulat Khan/Shutterstock.com

Peshawar is situated in Khyber Pakthunkhwa or KPK. It is a city of over 2 million people and is the largest and most progressive city in the province. But unfortunately, it is one of the cities that has a terrible image around the world, but it is only when the eyes will see it that the narrative changes. 

Home to one of the oldest railways built by the British empire and various bazaars, you can take a tour to see the decades-old architecture. But that is not all that is there. The modern Peshawar is quite progressive and hosts a very decent standard of living. On top of that, you can always find a few things to keep for yourself, like the Peshawari chappal, a famous shoe around town. You can also purchase beautifully embroidered Afghani carpets, delicious honey, and street food. Some favorite dishes are the savory Karrahi, the delicately cooked Namkeen Boti, and other mouth-watering BBQ items. 

#6 Rawalpindi 

Rawalpindi

Aerial view of Rawalpindi. Pakistan, from the metro platform.

©Sun_Shine/Shutterstock.com

A city that is a little distance away from Islamabad is Rawalpindi. Most of the time, they both are called the Twin Cities. Rawalpindi hosts over 2 million people and is exceptionally organized in stature and living style. 

The city is famous for its markets and army headquarters. It connects the highway to different tourist attractions like Murree, Bhurban, Ayubia, and Nathia Gali. They are all popular during the season and present lovely weather for walking around the woods and green mountains. But Rawalpindi is not just a connection between cities. It has a famous food bazaar that carries a lot of eateries in one place. It is buzzing at all times with people and delicious aromas.

#7 Multan

Multan

A panoramic view of old Multan, Punjab province, Pakistan.

©Sergey-73/Shutterstock.com

Multan is a city in Punjab that has a population of 2,155,000 people. It has always been known as the city of Pirs and Shrines. The reason is that it has several shrines that are 1000s of years old.

If you wish to get yourself a souvenir from the city, you can quickly go to any of the markets to find traditional handicrafts. From clothes for women to various animal-skin products, the city can give you a lot of treats. Speaking about joys, you will adore the Sohan Halwa if you are a fan of sweets. It is a sticky sweet dish with a crunching texture from the nuts. It is made up of sugar, ghee, and milk and served as a warm treat in the winter season.

#8 Hyderabad

The Tombs of Talpur Mirs are a complex of tombs of the ruling TalpurMirs of Sindh who reigned from 1784 to 1843 The tombs are also known as Cubbas (the Sindhi word for tombs) Hyderabad Pakistan

A complex of tombs in Hyderabad, Pakistan, of the ruling Talpur Mirs of Sindh (reigned 1784 to 1843).

©Zaman shah/Shutterstock.com

This city is a 2-hour drive from Karachi. Hyderabad and Karachi are the largest cities in the province of Sindh. Hyderabad hosts a population of almost 2 million people. There is another city named Hyderabad in India, also with a huge population, but don’t get confused!

You will find bazaars (markets), mosques, temples, and churches in the city. If you wish to buy something, the Shahi Bazaar is spread out over miles and is colorful and attractive. Chooriyan or bangles is one favorite thing to find here!

#9 Islamabad 

Islamabad

Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad is a lush, green city with breathtaking views of the Margalla mountains.

©thsulemani/Shutterstock.com

Islamabad seems like a less populous city in comparison, but that is because of the majestic mountains present. Otherwise, it has a population of around 1.2 million people. It is the capital of Pakistan and is spread over an area of 906 square kilometers. It also hosts the fifth most prominent mosque, the Faisal masjid. 

Apart from being the country’s capital, it is also a site of mesmerizing attractions. You will find various cute spots around the city catering to your aesthetic sense. The city is green, lined by peaceful trees and paving the view for lush green mountains. It also carries various tourist destinations atop the Margalla mountains that provide a quiet, calm, and breathtaking view of the land below. 

#10 Quetta

Aerial view of Quetta, Pakistan

Aerial view of Quetta, Pakistan, the tenth largest city in the country.

©Mohammad Karimi/Shutterstock.com

Last on our list is Quetta, the capital of Balochistan, a province of Pakistan. It also has a population of just over 1 million people but less than that of Islamabad. Nevertheless, it is the place to be during the winter season. It is situated 5,510 feet above sea level, making it Pakistan’s only high-altitude major city.

If you want to seek fresh fruits and captivating views of dry mountains, you will find yourself hooked to Quetta. But that is not all. The city is called the “fruit garden” of Pakistan, so it is easily the best place to pick fruits. You can find rich red pomegranates, succulent apples, sticky sweet plums, juicy peaches, big melons, cherries, and even dry fruits like almonds and pistachios. Lastly, the tea of Quetta is also quite famous!

Summary of the 10 Most Populated Cities in Pakistan

RankCityPopulation
1.Kurachi17,236,000
2.Lahore13,979,000
3.Faisalabad3,711,000
4.Gujranwala2,415,000
5.Peshawar2,412,000
6.Rawalpindi2,377,000
7.Multan2,155,000
8.Hyderabad1,968,000
9.Islamabad1,232,000
10.Quetta1,190,000

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Khalid Nawaz/Shutterstock.com


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About the Author

Alan is a freelance writer and an avid traveler. He specializes in travel content. When he visits home he enjoys spending time with his family Rottie, Opie.

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Sources
  1. Economy, Available here: https://www.economy.pk/top-10-cities-of-pakistan-based-on-population/
  2. Tanveer Rajput TV, Available here: https://www.tanveerrajputtv.com/2021/08/top-10-places-to-visit-in-faisalabad.html
  3. Times Of India, Available here: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/travel/web-stories/unique-facts-about-hyderabad/photostory/89306646.cms