How To Tell a Pakistani and Indian Apart : 101

A shared history, a shared border and shared languages, ( or different variants of them ) and almost similar dress codes are among some of the things that are similar about India and Pakistan. Combined demographically, they make up some of the largest immigrant populations in Canada. However, Pakistanis like myself are regularly mistaken for Indians courtesy of our non-white skin color. Want to do a better job at telling Pakistanis apart? Read ahead :

1.The Z Sound


Sanskrit does not have an alphabet equivalent to Z, hence why a lot of people from India pronounce it as a J.  Since languages in Pakistan predominantly use the Arabic/Persian script, both of which carry a letter equivalent to the English ‘Z’, the chance of meeting a Pakistani who pronounces Z as J is virtually impossible.




For religious or cultural reasons, vegetarian diet is extremely common among Indians. A Pakistani on the other hand, is the polar opposite of a vegetarian. Serving too many vegetarian dishes at a social gathering is even considered a sign of disrespect. No joke.




Pakistani men traditionally don’t wear a lot of Jewelry, and even when they do, It is not as extravagant as the one donned by their Indian counterparts.




The Bindi is a staple of traditional ladies fashion in India, but it is virtually non-existent among Pakistani women.  The same goes for the vermillion mark, or Sindoor as it is known locally.




Pakistanis are predominantly Muslim, with almost 97% of the population adhering to the religion. India on the other hand, is a bit more diversified with almost 80% following Hinduism, around 15% following Islam and the remaining following other religions.


6.Dual Nationality


Pakistanis are allowed dual nationality, which means that can be citizens of more than 1 country simultaneously. India on the other hand, does not allow dual citizenship.


7.Pop Music


Pakistan’s music industry Is almost exclusively built on its pop/rock industry. The country has a history of churning out pop/rock bands and artists, from the brilliant Vital Signs and Junoon in the late 80s and early 90s till date. India’s music industry on the other hand, is built almost exclusively on its film music industry.  The ineptness of India’s pop/rock industry is only matched by the ineptness of Pakistan’s film music industry.


8.Higher numbers in Ontario


Pakistanis have higher numbers in Ontario than in any other Canadian province. Some of the best known Canadians of Pakistani origin, like politicians Yasir Naqvi and Salma Zahid, both hail from Ontario. Immigrants from India on the other hand, are scattered across Canada and have large numbers in BC, Ontario, Alberta and Quebec.




Indian cuisine uses a lot strong spices, and whereas Pakistani cuisine is definitely not too far behind in this respect, the latter does not encompass the use of mustard seeds, curry leaves, and hing as often.




Pakistanis don’t really celebrate Diwali. Not because they are hostile to fun, but because it has never been a big deal back home. Diwali for Indians on the other hand, is one of the most prominent events of the year.

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