National Flag and Anthem


The national flag of Pakistan (Urdu: پاکستان کا قومی پرچم‎) was adopted in its present form during a meeting of the Constituent Assembly on August 11, 1947, just three days before the country's independence, when it became the official flag of the Dominion of Pakistan. It was afterwards retained by the current-day Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The flag is a green field with a white crescent moon and five-rayed star at its center, and a vertical white stripe at the hoist side. Though the green color is mandated only as 'dark green', its official and most consistent representation is Pakistan green, which is shaded distinctively darker. The flag was designed by Amiruddin Kidwai, and is based on the All-India Muslim League flag.
The flag is referred to in the national anthem as Urdu: پرچم ستارہ و هلال‎ Parcham-e-Sitāra-o-Hilāl (lit. Flag of the Crescent and Star). It is flown on several important days of the year including Republic Day and Independence Day. A designer named Amiruddin Kidwai studied the League’s flag, as he tried to design a flag for a new, independent nation. Finally he arrived at a design, and he presented it to the men who would run the new Pakistan government. The Pakistan government adopted his design on August 11, 1947. The Pakistan government has pronounced rules about the flying of the Pakistan flag. The government has called for display of the flag at full mast on March 23 of each year. That display recognizes both the adoption of the Lahore Resolution in 1940 and the Declaration of the Republic of Pakistan in 1956. Flag raisers in Pakistan also make a point of hoisting the flag each year on the fourteenth day of August. That is considered to be Pakistan’s Independence Day. Pakistan was carved out from British India as a home to Indian Muslims.

History and symbolism

The green represents Islam and the majority Muslims in Pakistan and the white stripe represents religious minorities and minority religions. In the centre, the crescent and star which is traditional symbol of Islam symbolizes progress and light respectively. The flag symbolizes Pakistan's commitment to Islam and the rights of religious minorities. It is based on the original flag of the Muslim League, which itself drew inspiration from the flag of the Sultanate of Delhi and the Mughal Empire in India and the flag of the Ottoman Empire.


According to the specifications it is a dark green rectangular flag in the proportion of length [A] and width [B] as 3:2 with a white vertical bar at the mast, the green portion bearing a white crescent in the centre and a five-pointed white heraldic star. The size of the white portion is one quarter the size of the flag [C], nearest the mast, so the green portion occupies the remaining three quarters [D].


Draw a diagonal L3 from the top right hand corner to the bottom left corner of the green portion. On this diagonal establish two points P1 and P2. P1 is positioned at the centre of the green portion and P2 at the intersection of the diagonal L3 and an arc C4 created from the top right hand corner equal to 13/20 the height of the flag [E]. With the centre at point P1 and a radius 3/10 the height of the flag describe the first circle C1 and with centre at point P2 and a radius 11/40 the height of the flag describe a second circle C2. The enclosures made by these two circles form the crescent. The dimensions of the five-pointed white heraldic star are determined by drawing a circle C3 with a radius 1/10 the height of the flag positioned between P2 and P3 on the diagonal L3. The circle surrounds the five points of the heraldic star and star lies with one point on the diagonal L3 at point P3 where the circle C1 intersects the diagonal L3.


The Interior Ministry of Pakistan provides dimensions for flags in different circumstances:

For ceremonial occasions. 21' × 14', 18' × 12', 10' × 6⅔' or 9' × 6¼'.
For use over buildings. 6' × 4' or 3' × 2'.
For cars 24" × 16".
For tables 10¼" × 8¼".

National flag protocols

  • No other flag must fly higher (except the United Nations flag at United Nations buildings).
  • When displayed or flown alongside other national flags, the National Flag must be displayed or flown at the same height as the other national flags, never lower.
  • When displayed alongside provincial, military or corporate flags, the National Flag must be higher.
  • When tied to a mast, it must be tied only at the left (at the beginning of the white bar) and left to fly freely without any obstruction.
  • Must not touch the ground, shoes or feet or anything unclean.
  • Must never be flown in darkness.
  • Must be raised at dawn and lowered at dusk (except on the Parliament of Pakistan, which is the only official building on which the flag is never lowered). When flown over the Parliament of Pakistan at night, it must always remain alit with artificial light
  • Must not be marked with anything (including words or pictures).
  • When raising: (i) must be saluted to by all uniformed personnel, (ii) others must stand in attention.
  • Must be raised or lowered ceremoniously.
  • Must never be displayed vertically
  • When displayed horizontally, the white strip must always be at the left, with green field on the right.
  • Must not fly or be displayed upside down or with the crescent and star facing left.
  • Must not be displayed anywhere where it is likely to get dirty.
  • Must not be set on fire or trampled upon.
  • Must not be buried or lowered into a grave (when burying a flag-bearing casket, the National Flag must be detached from the casket and held above the grave as the casket is lowered or removed from the casket before burial).



In early 1948, A. R. Ghani, a Muslim from Transvaal, South Africa, offered two prizes of five thousand rupees each for the poet and composer of a new national anthem for the newly independent state of Pakistan. The prizes were announced through a government press advertisement published in June 1948. In December 1948, the Government of Pakistan established the National Anthem Committee (NAC) with the task of coming up with the composition and lyrics for the official national anthem of Pakistan. The NAC was initially chaired by the Information Secretary, Sheikh Muhammad Ikram, and its members included several politicians, poets and musicians, including Abdur Rab Nishtar, Ahmad G. Chagla and Hafeez Jullundhri. The NAC encountered early difficulties in finding suitable music and lyrics.

When President Sukarno of Indonesia became the first foreign head of state to visit Pakistan on 30 January 1950, there was no Pakistani national anthem to be played. In 1950, the impending state visit of the Shah of Iran added urgency to the matter and resulted in the Government of Pakistan asking the NAC to submit an anthem without further delay. The NAC Chairman, then Federal Minister for Education, Fazlur Rahman, asked several poets and composers to write lyrics but none of the submitted works were deemed suitable. The NAC also examined several different tunes and eventually selected the one presented by Ahmed G. Chagla and submitted it for formal approval.

The anthem, without lyrics, was performed for the first time for a foreign head of state on the state visit of the Shah of Iran to Pakistan in Karachi on 30 March 1950 by a Pakistan Navy band.

It was later played for Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan during his official visit to the United States on 3 May 1950. It was played before the NAC on 10 August 1950.Official recognition to the national anthem, however, was not given until August 1954. The NAC distributed records of the composed tune amongst prominent poets, who responded by writing and submitting several hundred songs for evaluation by the NAC. Eventually, the lyrics written by Hafeez Jullundhri were approved and the new national anthem was broadcast publicly for the first time on Radio Pakistan on 13 August 1954, sung by Hafeez Jullundhri himself. Official approval was announced by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on 16 August 1954. The composer, Ahmed G. Chagla, passed away in 1953, before the new national anthem was officially adopted. In 1955, there was a performance of the national anthem involving 11 major singers of Pakistan, including Ahmad Rushdi, Shameem Bano, Kaukab Jahan, Rasheeda Begum, Najam Ara, Naseema Shaheen, Zawar Hussain, Akhtar Abbas, Ghulam Dastagir, Anwar Zaheer and Akhtar Wasi Ali.


The Qaumi Tarana is a melodious and harmonious rendering of a three-stanza composition with a tune based on eastern music but arranged in such a manner that it can be easily played by foreign bands.

The music, composed by the Pakistani musician and composer, Ahmad G. Chagla in 1950, reflects his background in both eastern and western music. Twenty-one musical instruments and thirty-eight different tones are used to play the Qaumi Tarana, the duration of which is 80 seconds.


The Urdu lyrics, written by the Pakistani Urdu-language poet, Hafeez Jullundhri in 1952, have commonality with Persian, making them understandable in both languages. No verse in the three stanza lyrics is repeated.

Urdu lyrics Transliteration Translation
پاک سَرزَمِین شاد باد
كِشوَرِ حَسِين شاد باد
تُو نِشانِ عَزمِ عالی شان
!اَرضِ پاکِستان
مَرکَزِ یَقِین شاد باد
pāk sarzamīn šād bād
kišwar-ē ḥasīn šād bād
tū nišān-ē ʿazm-ē ʿālī šān
arⱬ-ē Pākistān!
markaz-ē yaqīn šād bād
Blessed be the sacred land
Happy be the bounteous realm
Thou symbol of high resolve
O Land of Pakistan!
Blessed be the citadel of faith
پاک سَرزَمِین کا نِظام
قُوَّتِ اُخُوَّتِ عَوام
قَوم، مُلک، سَلطَنَت
!پایِندَه تابِندَه باد
شاد باد مَنزِلِ مُراد
pāk sarzamīn kā niẓām
quwwat-ē uxuwwat-ē ʿawām
qaum, mulk, salṭanat
pāyindah tābindah bād!
šād bād manzil-ē murād
The order of this sacred land
Is the might of the brotherhood of the people
May the nation, the country, and the state
Shine in glory everlasting!
Blessed be the goal of our ambition
پَرچَمِ سِتَارَه و ہِلال
رَہبَرِ تَرَقّی و کَمال
تَرجُمانِ ماضی، شانِ حال
!جانِ اِستِقبال
سایۂ خُدائے ذوالجَلال
parčam-ē sitāra(h) ō-hilāl
rehbar-ē taraqqī ō-kamāl
tarjumān-ē māⱬī, šān-ē ḥāl
jān-ē istiqbāl!
sāya(h)-ē Xudā-ē ẕu-l-jalāl
The flag of the crescent and star
Leads the way to progress and perfection
Interpreter of our past, glory of our present
Inspiration for our future!
Shadow of God, the Glorious and Mighty