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Pakistan - Political flags

Last modified: 2005-03-05 by rob raeside
Keywords: pakistan | crescent (white) | star (white) | bhutto | party | pakistan peoples party | jamiat al islami | shahada | khaksar tehrik | mqm | muttahida qaumi |
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Pakistan People's Party - Murtazi Bhutto's faction

[Flag of Murtazi Bhutto party] by Joe McMillan

The Pakistani flag is derived from a party flag. The ruling PPP of Benazir Bhutto uses a flag which incorporates the basic flag design (white inclined crescent and star on dark green), the same is true for the separatist faction of the PPP let by Mrs Bhutto's brother. Both parties use vertical tricolors.
Harald Müller, 28 October 1996

Yesterday I saw on the news a report on the murder of Pakistani politician Murtazi Bhutto, brother of prime minister Benazir Bhutto, and one of the strongest oppositions leaders.

There was a short scene from archives of one of his speeches a few days ago, where he sat at the table on which there was a flag I haven't seen before. I suppose that it is the flag of his party (which I don't remember what it is called). The flag was a vertical tricolour of red (at the hoist) - black - green with a white crescent and star very similar in shape to the one on Pakistani national flag.

The flag looks quite dark with this choice of colours, but quite effective if you ask me.
Željko Heimer, 22 September 1996

This would appear very similar to an old flag of Libya (1950-1969), which was red-black-green in three stripes, but horizontal (with the black stripe twice as wide as the other stripes). There was a white crescent and star on the black stripe.
Source: The International Flag Book in Colour, C.F. Pedersen (1970)
James Dignan, 25 September 1996

Two offshoots of this party are represented in the newly elected parliament, PPP-Parliamentarians and PPP-Sherpao. PPP-P won 71 of the 342 seats (25.8% of the vote) and is the largest single block in the National Assembly. PPP-Sherpao won two seats. The websites of both Benazir Bhutto's faction of the party and her brother's widow show identical flags, a red-black-green vertical tricolor with a white crescent and star on the black stripe. (I'm not quite clear on how these long-established factions relate to the offshoots elected to parliament, as Benazir herself is in exile and definitely persona non grata.) We show (below) a plain tricolor without the crescent and star, identifying it as the flag of the faction led by Benazir. I saw a number of the plain tricolors, especially before crossing the Indus River from Punjab into the Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP), as well as a few on the outskirts of Peshawar on which some kind of white logo but not the crescent and star had been applied to the black stripe. I'm forwarding the flag as seen on the party websites.
Joe McMillan, 30 January 2003

The latest photos I have (but months before Joe's trip) show the flag with a white horizontal sword in the lower part.
Jaume Ollé, 31 January 2003

Might it have been an arrow? One of the PPP factions was using an arrow as a party symbol, although I did not see it on a flag. The unidentifiable logo I saw was clearly not a sword--it looked like an American football with an inscription below it.
Joe McMillan, 1 February 2003

Pakistan People's Party - Benazir Bhutto's faction

[Pakistan People's Party] by Jorge Candeias

Yesterday, in a news report on the nuclear tensions between India and Pakistan, I saw an unknown to me flag: a 1:2 vertical tricolour of red, black and green. It was being flown in a military parade. Any ideas?
Jorge Candeias, 18 May 1998

It's the flag of the Pakistan People's Party, of which Benazir Bhutto is the leader. Flags of political parties throughout the sub-continent tend to be modified at the whim of the maker: crescents, stars, slogans, images of people, (usually the leader), etc., are all commonly displayed on them.
Glen Robert-Grant Hodgins, 19 May 1998

Muslim League

[Muslim League]

The ruling party in Pakistan is currently the Muslim League. It's flag is a white crescent on a green field, (just like the Pakistani national flag, but without the white bar at the hoist); in fact, the Pakistani national flag was based upon the flag of the Muslim League, just as the Indian national flag was based upon that of the Indian National Congress.
Glen Robert-Grant Hodgins, 19 May 1998

Parties of this name have come and gone since before independence. The current incarnation was the party of former Prime Ministers Junejo and Nawaz Sharif. It is now split into a number of factions, five of which won seats in the October election: PML-Quaid-i-Azam (69 seats, 25.7% of the vote), PML-Nawaz (14 seats, 9.4%), PML-Functional (4 seats, 1.1%), PML-Junejo (2 seats, 0.7%) and PML-Shahid Zia (1 seat, 0.3%). The flag of the PML is green with the white crescent and star--basically the national flag minus the white stripe at the hoist. This flag can also be seen at the website-in-exile of the Nawaz faction.
Joe McMillan, 30 January 2003

Jamiat e Islami

[Jamiat al Islami] by António Martins and Mario Fabretto

Yesterday, the news was full of reports from demonstrations against Mrs Bhutto, now led by the party jam'at alislami. Its flag replaces the white stripe of the national flag by a light blue and a white stripe (ratio approx 2:1). Moreover, the crescent and star point towards the hoist. Perhaps, the orientation of the crescent reflects the orientation of the party (which, in this case, is considered to be a "fundamentalist" one).
Harald Müller, 28 October 1996

In yesterday's paper Publico I saw a photo taken in Islamabad (a demonstrator holding a sign saying "CRUSH INDIA") with two or three flags on background: per bend azure over green, a bend argent. Does this ring a bell to someone?
António Martins, 15 May 1998

That's the flag of the party Jamiat Al Islami. At least three versions are know, all in vertical blue (at hoist) and green at fly (1:4) and a narrow white stripe between the two bands. The differences are the following:

1) the first one has the crescent and star (like the Pakistan national flag) and below the shahada.
2) the second has only the crescent and star (reported by Harald Mueller, former list member, with the crescent pointing towards the hoist and slighty rotated to the bottom; but I saw it in TV with the crescent and star in normal position).
3) The third has only the shahada and no crescent and star.
Seems to me that the last one is the official version. The second one is the most frequently used by the people; the first one is a variant of the other two.
Jaume Ollé, 17 May 1998

[Jamiat al Islami] by Jorge Hurtado

The Party Jamât-e-Islami (Islamist party) flag was seen on a visit to Pakistan from February to March 2001.
Michel Lupant, published in Gaceta de Banderas, October 2001

The Jamaat-e-Islami is a very conservative Islamist party that is one of the two leading components of the MMA, the Islamist coalition. The MMA won 53 seats in the national assembly (11.3% of the vote) as well as control over the state assembly of NWFP. We have an image of one and describe several others on our party flag page. I saw this flag on at least 100 houses and commercial buildings between the Indus and Peshawar--green field with light blue and white vertical stripes at the hoist, and on the green field a crescent star opening toward the upper hoist (the crescent thinner and shallower than that on the national flag) and the shahada in white at the top. Also visible on the party website.
Joe McMillan, 30 January 2003

Jamiat Ulama'a e Islam

[Flag of Muttahida Qami Movement (MQM)] by Santiago Dotor

A poster was displayed in Quetta, Pakistan, showing this flag along with what appear to be variants of the Taliban flag (white with one or another variant of the shehada), displayed in Quetta, Pakistan.
Al Kirsch, 13 October 2001

Some time ago I recorded a photo from the news of a demonstration in Sindh. The demonstrators hoisted a flag in the Catalan pattern (4 bars) white on dark (probably black or dark red). Many years ago, when Islamism didn't exist at the level of political organisations, I saw this flag many times on TV in new related to Pakistan, Sindh or Punjab (green, black or blue were the colors that I seemed to see). Currently the flag seems to be identified as an Islamist party flag, but why does it exist from many years ago? Can it be a regional flag? Probably regional flags exist in Pakistan. Some years ago, in my notes, and from other vexillologists, it seems that is has only three white bars (and four green). I saw a photo of Jaipur in Punjab with a similar flag (the flag is not totally visible, but could be three white bars on blue of three blue bars on white.
Jaume Ollé, 30 August 1999

The faction of this even more hardline Islamist party led by Fezlur Rehman (and known by the ironic abbreviation JUI-F) is the other main component of the MMA coalition. The JUI flag, seen in the logo on its website is black with four narrow white horizontal stripes.
Joe McMillan, 30 January 2003

Variant of this flag

[Flag of Muttahida Qami Movement (MQM)] by Santiago Dotor

During demonstrations in Peshawar, this flag was also seen in a square (1:1) format, almost certainly black (it could be mistaken with very-very dark green at first glance) and had four white horizontal stripes. The proportion of the white and black stripes was 2:3.

National Alliance Party

[National Alliance Party] by Joe McMillan

A coalition of moderate secular parties which won 12 seats (4.6% of the vote) in the national assembly. At the flag of the Pakistan National Alliance, which seems to be the same group, is shown as green with nine white stars, 3 x 3, each star tilted about 30 degrees counterclockwise.
Joe McMillan, 30 January 2003

The nine stars flag was reported some years ago as the flag of IDA, Islamic Democratic Alliance.
Jaume Ollé, 31 January 2003

Millat Party

[Millat Party] by Joe McMillan

One of the component parties of the PNA. I saw this flag--divided lower hoist to upper fly, red over green, with the white crescent and star overall--on Pakistani television on 12 January and was able to identify it from
Joe McMillan, 30 January 2003

Khaksar Tehrik

[Flag of Khaksar Tehrik]

This is the flag of Khaksar Tehrik, a political party in Pakistan. The English translation of "Tehrik" is "Movement". See for information on Allama Mashriqi -scholar and founder of the Khaksar movement
Office of Allama Mashriqi, 29 Nov 1999

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf

[Flag of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf] by Joe McMillan

A small party favoring "a model moderate Islamic republic, political freedom, economic opportunity, and social justice," but best known for being led by the great cricket player Imran Khan, who won the party's only parliamentary seat (the party got 0.8% of the vote). The flag can be seen at horizontally green over red with a white crescent and star overall.
Joe McMillan, 30 January 2003

Pakistan Awami Tehreek

[Flag of Pakistan Awami Tehreek] by Joe McMillan

A rather Iranian-looking flag for a party with 1 parliamentary seat and 0.7% of the vote. Despite its small support base, I saw several of these flags on the outskirts of Peshawar: horizontal tricolor, red-white-green.
Joe McMillan, 30 January 2003

Party El Jihad Tanzim

[Jamiat al Islami] by Jorge Hurtado

Seen on a visit to Pakistan from February to March 2001, this flag is fairly new as far as I know, though I have seen the flag on TV. Can anybody identify the inscription?
Michel Lupant, published in Gaceta de Banderas, October 2001

The inscription is Akbar = The greatest.
Dov Gutterman, 16 October 2001

I would like to contest your translation of Party Al-Jihad Tanzim. It could be read Akbar, but I believe it to be Al-Jihad. Though it could very well have been written this ambiguous way to convey both meanings. As with the following pages which do indeed say al-Jihad, a small 'h' (chhoTii he) is occasionally used instead of the big 'H' (baRii He) in Urdu. If this were pure Arabic, you would be uncontested. But in my opinion, this is a Nastaliq (Perso=Arabic style of the Arabic Alphabet) rendering of Al-Jihad.
Kurt Singer, 24 February 2005

Party Sipâh-e-Sâhaba

[Party Sipâh-e-Sâhaba] by Jorge Hurtado

Seen on a visit to Pakistan from February to March 2001, several variants are known.
Michel Lupant, published in Gaceta de Banderas, October 2001

This flag and variants was seen in various reports in 2001, and is more fully described on our page on Party Sipâh-e-Sâhaba.

Party Arkat el Mujahideen

[Party Arkat el Mujahideen] by Jorge Hurtado

Seen on a visit to Pakistan from February to March 2001, this flag is fairly new as far as I know.
Michel Lupant, published in Gaceta de Banderas, October 2001

I believe the inscription is 'the jihad'.
Santiago Dotor, 16 October 2001

On ABC Television last night, there was a piece on Pakistanis who've gone to fight with the Taliban in Afghanistan. At one point, there was a brief shot of a billboard in Pakistan about those who've fought. The camera focused on a flag depicted on the bottom left (the "signature" area) of the sign (that is, a small picture of a flying flag on a pole, not a real flag). The flag was white, with two green stripes running across it- rather than five stripes, white-green-white-green-white, it seemed to be two thick stripes in the center of the flag. In the center of the flag, covering the stripes (they weren't visible under it) was a black and white globe, shown as a circle/sphere with latitude and longitude marked (no continents). Written on the globe was an Arabic (or Urdu/Pashto?) word or two, but the camera moved away before I could make it out.
Nathan Lamm, 5 December 2001

Party Jihad

[Flag of Party Jihad] by Jorge Hurtado

Seen on a visit to Pakistan from February to March 2001, the Party Jihad, which advocates holy war in Kashmir. This is a fairly new flag as far as I know. I believe the inscription is 'jihad'.
Michel Lupant, published in Gaceta de Banderas, October 2001

Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM)

[Flag of Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM)]  by Jarig Bakker

This party flag can be seen at
Dov Gutterman, 15 Dec 1999

The MQM was founded in 1981 as "Muhajir Quami Mahaz" (Muhajir National Movement), and was mainly concerned with the rights of post-partition Urdu-speaking migrants from India to Pakistan, who it would like to see recognized as constituting a "fifth nationality". In 1987 the party won a majority of seats in Karachi, and, with 13 seats, became the third biggest party in the National Assembly in 1988. In 1993 the party split in three groups:
- The "official" MQM
- MQM-Altaf, led by Altaf Husain. resident in London
- MQM-Haqiqi, led by Afaq Ahmed

It seems that the MQM-Altaf became the dominant party under the name Muttahida Quami Movement. In 1999 the Pakistani government launched a secretive operation against the MQM, which cost the lives of several prominent party-members, which in its turn caused demonstrations in Karachi

Source: Political Handbook of the World, 1997
Fischer Weltalmanach 2001
Jarig Bakker, 17 September 2001

The MQM movement applied to become a member of the UNPO some years ago. They are from the Sind minority living in the Southern part of Pakistan.
Pacer Prince, 27 September 2001

Muttahida Quami Movement (formerly Mohajir Quami Movement) (MQM) - The MQM is a mainly Karachi-based party that caters to the interests of Mohajirs,  the Muslims who emigrated from India to Pakistan at partition in 1947 and their descendants. It won 13 seats (3.1% of the vote) in the new national assembly. The flag, as shown at consists of vertical stripes of red and dark green at the hoist and a large white field in the fly. The green stripe is sometimes shown equal to the red one and sometimes slightly narrower.  Click here for an equal width red/green stripe version.
Joe McMillan, 30 January 2003

Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA)

I haven't seen any of these in town [Islamabad], but at the website of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) is the MMA party flag: white with a green crescent open toward the upper hoist, with the Arabic words Allahu akbar (God is great) inscribed within the horns of the crescent and the party name in Urdu script at the bottom. This is the union of Islamist parties that got so much attention for its strong showing in the recent elections, including gaining control of the provincial legislature in the heavily Pashtun Northwest Frontier Province.
Joe McMillan, 12 January 2003

Pushtunkuwa Milli Awami Party (Pushtunkuwa National Awami Party)

[UFE] by Santiago Dotor

Yesterday I saw a TV report about the arrest of Maulana Fazlur Rehman, leader of the pro-Taleban Pakistani party Jamiat Ulema Islam. Even though most images showing him attending demonstrations showed the black flag with white stripes we have already discussed, another demonstration showed several people waving large flags unlike any other of the Pakistani UFEs we have discussed. These were vertical tricolours of red-white-green, with a red star in the centre pointing downwards. The shade of red appeared slightly orange on my monitor. I guess you are thinking I saved my image upside down by some mistake. Well, I am afraid I didn't! I did see several flags, all of them with the red stripe by the *hoist*, and those in which I could see the central star, this was pointing *down*.
Santiago Dotor, 8 October 2001

BBC TV also had similar footage. I agree that the red looked orange. My impression - and it's only an impression - was that some stars were pointing downwards, some sideways. Difficult to tell in a couple of seconds and without the video running! I wasn't clear from the commentary who the demonstrators were - the former king of Afghanistan was also mentioned.
André Coutanche, 8 October 2001

This red-white-green tricolour with red upside-down star is that of the Pushtunkuwa National Awami Party. The star is correct as in the image (upside down), even if there might be variations as in Santiago Tazón's image below.  It has been reported on Yahoo Daily News, wrongly attributed to the Jamuhari Watan Party, unless this party uses the same flag. The caption reads: "Pakistani men wave their party's flag and hold up banners during a rally of the JWP (Jamuhari Watan Party, a leftist, nationalist, pro-democracy party) in central Quetta October 7, 2001. Thousands of Pakistan's Pasthun-speaking people heard their leader, Mehmoud Khan Achakzai, call for an independent, democratic government in Afghanistan. The Achakzai leftist Nationalist party is opposed to any U.S. military intervention, saying a democratic Afghanistan would root out foreign terrorists like Osama Bin Laden. REUTERS/Jerry Lampen"
Jaume Ollé, 12 October 2001

Variant of the flag

[UFE] by Santiago Tazón

I saw this flag in the TV news, today. A Spanish TV channel was broadcasting a report about the Islamic movements of Pakistan, they mixed several images and in one of them appeared several flags like the image that I made. Three vertical stripes, green, white and red; all of them same width. In the center of the white stripe a red five points star. I don't know what group uses it.
Santiago Tazón, 7 October 2001

Islamic Students Organization of Pakistan (Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba)

[Islamic Students Organization of Pakistan] by Juan Manuel Gabino Villascán

According to the "El Universal" (Mexican newspaper) this is the flag of the "Islamic Students Organization of Pakistan". I can just identify the text that says "Pakistan" at the end of the sentence, may be it is the organization's name. The orange text says: "Allahu Akbar" (God is almighty).
Juan Manuel Gabino Villascán, 13 October 2001

The flag of Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba is green at the hoist, narrow red vertical stripe, last half (more or less) light blue with white crescent and star opening to fly. Whatever website I got this from says the organization was formed in 1947. "Jamiat" means something like "union," I believe, so this would be something like "Islamic Union of Students."

A similar flag is at The colors are the same, but the green and red bands in the hoist are of about equal width, the crescent and star face the hoist, the crescent is thinner and shallower, and the Takbir (Allahu akbar) appears in red between the crescent and the star. The name on this site is
given as Islami Jamiat Talibat Pakistan, which should mean Islamic Union of Students of Pakistan. Sounds like the same group, but the site says it was founded in 1969, so apparently not--maybe an offshoot.
Joe McMillan, 2 February 2003

Mr. Juan Manuel Gabino Villascan IS correct on Allaahu Akbar, however the text on the flag says 'Bagistan' NOT 'Pakistan'!
Kurt Singer, 24 February 2005

Hizb ut Tahrir

[Hizb ut Tahrir Party] by Joe McMillan

Black with the shahada. Given the source, undoubtedly a radical Islamist group, but a minor political party. The transliteration of the name is not typical of Urdu, so this may actually be an Arab group of some kind, but the source is in Pakistan. Source:
Joe McMillan, 2 February 2003

Pakistan Christian Congress

[Pakistan Christian Congress Party] by Joe McMillan

Vertical tricolor, red-yellow-green, with a red Latin cross on the center. Source:
Joe McMillan, 2 February 2002

Sindh National Front

[Hizb ut Tahrir Party] by Joe McMillan

Seven horizontal stripes, white and red. The party says it seeks provincial autonomy on the United States, Swiss, and Canadian model.
Joe McMillan
, 2 February 2002

Hezb-e-Mughalstan (Mughalstan Party)

[Hezb-e-Mughalstan (Mughalstan Party)] from 

located by Dov Gutterman, 26 May 2002

Hezb-e-Mughalastan stands for independence and reunification of Muslim areas of Pakistan, north India and neighbouring regions.

This is a fictional creation, as is most of the other organizations mentioned on
J.A. Sommansson, 23 Febraury 2005