Pakistani rupee

The Pakistani Rupee (Urdu: روپیه / ALA-LC: Rūpiyah; sign: ; code: abbreviated as PKR), is the official currency of Pakistan since 1948.

Pakistani rupee
1000 rupees banknote (obverse)
ISO 4217
Freq. used10, 20, 50, 100, 500, 1000 Rupees
Rarely used5000 Rupees
Freq. used1, 2, 5, 10 Rupees
Rarely used20 Rupees
Official user(s) Pakistan
Unofficial user(s) Afghanistan[1][2]
Central bankState Bank of Pakistan
PrinterPakistan Security Printing Corporation
MintPakistan Mint
Inflation9.4% (March 2019)

The coins and notes are issued and controlled by the central bank, namely State Bank of Pakistan. Prior to partition, the coins and notes were controlled by the British Indian central bank, namely Reserve Bank of India.

Since the United States dollar suspension in 1971 of convertibility of paper currency into any precious metal, Pakistani rupee is, de facto, fiat money. Before the collapse of Bretton Woods system, currency was pegged at fixed exchange rate to the United States dollar for international trade and was backed by the US gold. The currency was convertible to gold on demand.

In Pakistani English, large values of rupees are counted in terms of thousands; lakh (100,000); crore (10 million); arab (1 billion); kharab (100 billion).


The word rūpiya is derived from the Sanskrit word rūpya, which means "wrought silver, a coin of silver",[3] in origin an adjective meaning "shapely", with a more specific meaning of "stamped, impressed", whence "coin". It is` derived from the noun rūpa "shape, likeness, image". Rūpaya was used to denote the coin introduced by Sher Shah Suri during his reign from 1540 to 1545 CE.

The Pakistani Rupee was put into circulation in Pakistan after the dissolution of the British Raj in 1947. Initially, Pakistan used British Indian coins and notes simply over-stamped with "Pakistan". New coins and banknotes were issued in 1948. Like the Indian rupee, it was originally divided into 16 annas, each of 4 pice or 12 pie. The currency was decimalised on 1 January 1961, with the rupee subdivided into 100 pice, renamed (in English) paise (singular paisa) later the same year. However, coins denominated in paise have not been issued since 1994.


In 1948, coins were introduced in denominations of 1 pice, 12, 1 and 2 annas, 14, 12 and 1 rupee. 1 pie coins were added in 1951. In 1961, coins for 1, 5 and 10 pice were issued, followed later the same year by 1 paisa, 5 and 10 paise coins. In 1963, 10 and 25 paise coins were introduced, followed by 2 paise the next year. 1 rupee coins were reintroduced in 1979, followed by 2 rupees in 1998 and 5 rupees in 2002. 2 paise coins were last minted in 1976, with 1 paisa coins ceasing production in 1979. The 5, 10, 25 and 50 paise all ceased production in 1996. There are two variations of 2 rupee coins: most have clouds above the Badshahi Masjid but many do not. The one and two rupee coins were changed to aluminium in 2007.[4]

Paisa denominated coins ceased to be legal tender in 2013, leaving the 1 Rupee coin as the minimum legal tender.[5] On 15 October 2015, the Pakistan government introduced a revised 5 rupee coin with a reduced size and weight and having a golden color, made from a composition of copper-nickel-zinc,[6] and also in 2016 a Rs.10 coin was introduced into circulation.[7]

In 2019 the Pakistan government introduced coin of value Rupees 550 on 550th birthday of Sri Gru Nanak Dev Ji and in tribute of opening of new Gurdwara of Kartarpur Pakistan.

Currently circulating coins
Obverse Reverse Value Years in use Composition Obverse illustration Reverse illustration
₨ 1 1998 – present Bronze (1998-2006)
Aluminium (2007–present)
Muhammad Ali Jinnah
Hazrat Lal Shahbaz Qalandar Mausoleum,
Sehwan Shareef
₨ 2 1998 – present Brass (1998-1999)
Nickel-brass (1999-2006)
Aluminium (2007-)
Crescent and Star Badshahi Masjid, Lahore
₨ 5 2002 – present Cupronickel (2002-2011)
Copper-Zinc-Nickel (2015–present)
Crescent and Star Number "5"
₨ 10 2016 – present Nickel-brass Crescent and Star Faisal Mosque, Islamabad
Rs 550 2019 – present Copper-Zinc-Nickel (2019–present) Crescent and Star Sri Gru Nanak Dev Ji Gurdwara, Kartarpur
For table standards, see the coin specification table.


On 1 April 1948, provisional notes were issued by the Reserve Bank of India and the Government of India on behalf of the Government of Pakistan, for use exclusively within Pakistan, without the possibility of redemption in India. Printed by the India Security Press in Nasik, these notes consist of Indian note plates engraved (not overprinted) with the words GOVERNMENT OF PAKISTAN in English and "Hukumat-e-PAKISTAN" in Urdu added at the top and bottom, respectively, of the watermark area on the front only; the signatures on these notes remain those of Indian banking and finance officials.[8]

Regular government issues commenced in 1948 in denominations of 1, 5, 10 and 100 rupees. The government continued to issue 1 rupee notes until the 1980s but another note-issuing was taken over by the State Bank of Pakistan in 1953 when 2, 5, 10 and 100 rupees notes were issued. Only a few 2 rupees notes were issued. 50 rupees notes were added in 1957, with 2 rupees notes reintroduced in 1985. In 1986, 500 rupees notes were introduced, followed by 1000 rupees the next year. 2 and 5 rupees notes were replaced by coins in 1998 and 2002. 20 rupee notes were added in 2005, followed by 5000 rupees in 2006. Until 1971, Pakistan banknotes were bilingual, featuring Bengali translation of the Urdu text (where the currency was called taka instead of rupee), since Bengali was the state language of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh).[9]

All banknotes other than the 1 and 2 rupees feature a portrait of Muhammad Ali Jinnah on the obverse along with writing in Urdu. The reverses of the banknotes vary in design and have English text. The only Urdu text found on the reverse is the Urdu translation of the Prophetic Hadith, "Seeking honest livelihood is the worship of God." which is حصول رزق حلال عبادت ہے (Hasool-e-Rizq-e-Halal Ibaadat hai).

The banknotes vary in size and colour, with larger denominations being longer than smaller ones. All contain multiple colours. However, each denomination does have one colour which predominates. All banknotes feature a watermark for security purposes. On the larger denomination notes, the watermark is a picture of Jinnah, while on smaller notes, it is a crescent and star. Different types of security threats are also present in each banknote.

Banknotes before the 2005 Series[10]
ImageValueDimensionsMain ColourDescription – ReverseStatus
₨ 1 95 × 66 mm Brown Tomb of Muhammad Iqbal in Lahore No longer in circulation
₨ 2 109 × 66 mm Purple Badshahi Masjid in Lahore
₨ 5 127 × 73 mm Burgundy Khojak Tunnel in Balochistan
₨ 10 141 × 73 mm Green Mohenjo-daro in Larkana District No longer in circulation
₨ 50 154 × 73 mm Purple and red Alamgiri Gate of the Lahore Fort in Lahore
₨ 100 165 × 73 mm Red and orange Islamia College in Peshawar
₨ 500 175 × 73 mm Green, tan, red, and orange The State Bank of Pakistan in Islamabad No longer in circulation
₨ 1000 175 × 73 mm Blue Tomb of Jahangir in Lahore

The State Bank has started a new series of banknotes, phasing out the older designs for new, more secure ones.

2005 Series[11]
ImageValueDimensionsMain colourDescriptionPeriod
₨ 5 115 × 65 mm Greenish grey Muhammad Ali Jinnah Gwadar port, a large project in Balochistan (Pakistan) 8 July 2008 – 31 December 2012
₨ 10 115 × 65 mm Green Bab ul Khyber, the entrance to the Khyber Pass 27 May 2006 – present
₨ 20 123 × 65 mm Brown/orange green Mohenjo-daro in Larkana District 22 March 2008 – present
₨ 50 131 × 65 mm Purple K2, second highest mountain of the world, in northern Pakistan 8 July 2008 – present
₨ 100 139 × 65 mm Red Quaid-e-Azam Residency in Ziarat 11 November 2006 – present
₨ 500 147 × 65 mm Rich Deep Green Badshahi Masjid in Lahore
₨ 1000 155 × 65 mm Dark blue Islamia College in Peshawar 26 February 2007 – present
₨ 5000 163 × 65 mm Mustard Faisal Masjid in Islamabad 27 May 2006 – present

Hajj and special anniversary banknotes

Due to a large number of pilgrims to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia during the 1950s, the State Bank of Pakistan provided simple exchange facilities for Hajj pilgrims. The issue of special notes for the express use of the pilgrims was introduced. Although other means of exchange were considered, the high level of illiteracy amongst the Pakistani pilgrims and the additional costs that would be incurred through the need to purchase such means prevented the government from these methods of exchange. The State Bank Order to allow the issue of these "Hajj notes" was made in May 1950.

The use of Hajj notes continued until 1978. Until this date, stocks of notes were used without the necessity of printing new notes with the signatures of the later Governors. It is believed that, once the use of Hajj Notes was discontinued, most of the remaining stock of notes were destroyed. However, a large number of notes did find their way into the collector market following their sale to a banknote dealer by the State Bank of Pakistan.

Hajj banknotes
ImageValueMain colourDescription – ReverseDate of usage
₨ 10 Dark purple Shalimar Gardens in Lahore 1960–1969
₨ 10 Dark blue Mohenjo-daro in Larkana 1970–1976
₨ 100 Dark orange Islamia College (Peshawar) 1970–1976
For table standards, see the banknote specification table.
Special banknote for the 50th anniversary of the Independence of Pakistan
ImageValueMain colourDescription – ReverseDate of usage
₨ 5 Dark purple Baha-ud-din Zakariya Tomb Multan 1997-onwards
For table standards, see the banknote specification table.

Exchange rate

The rupee was pegged to the British pound until 1982 when the government of General Zia-ul-Haq changed to a managed float. As a result, the rupee devalued by 38.5% between 1982–83 and 1987–88 and the cost of importing raw materials increased rapidly, causing pressure on Pakistani finances and damaging much of the industrial base. The Pakistani rupee depreciated against the United States dollar until the turn of the century, when Pakistan's large current account surplus pushed the value of the rupee up against the dollar. The State Bank of Pakistan then stabilized the exchange rate by lowering interest rates and buying dollars, in order to preserve the country's export competitiveness.

2008 was termed a disastrous year for the rupee after the elections: between December 2007 and August 2008 it lost 23% of its value, falling to a record low of 79.2 against the US dollar.[12] The major reasons for this depreciation were huge current and trade accounts deficits that had built up since the credit boom in Pakistan after 2002. Due to rising militancy in the NWFP and FATA areas, foreign direct investment began to fall, and the structural problems of the balance of payment were exposed; foreign exchange reserves fell disastrously to as low as $2 billion. However, by February 2011 Forex reserves had recovered and set a new record of $17 billion. Of that $17 billion, more than $10 billion was borrowed money on which interest was payable.

In February 2016 the rupee was Rs 104.66 against US dollar. In December 2017, after holding talks with the IMF, Pakistan agreed to depreciate the rupee and the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) would now let the currency exchange rate adjust to market conditions after many months, or years, of resisting expectations.[13] The Pakistani rupee touched a new low of 110.67 against the USD, and on 18 July it touched another record new low of 128.26 against USD.[14] It hit another low of 161.50 against the dollar on 26 June 2019.

Current PKR exchange rates

See also


  1. Hanifi, Shah (11 February 2011). Connecting Histories in Afghanistan: Market Relations and State Formation on a Colonial Frontier. Stanford University Press. p. 171. ISBN 9780804777773.
  2. Munoz, Arturo. U.S. Military Information Operations in Afghanistan: Effectiveness of Psychological Operations 2001-2010. Rand Corporation. p. 72. ISBN 9780833051561.
  3. "Etymology of rupee". 20 September 2008. Archived from the original on 10 November 2013. Retrieved 25 July 2013.
  4. Accessed 8 January 2008
  5. "The News International: Latest News Breaking, Pakistan News". Archived from the original on 24 December 2013. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  6. Rivera, David (15 October 2015). "World Coin News: Pakistan 5 rupees 2015 - New type". Archived from the original on 6 April 2018. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  7. Pakistan 10 rupees 2016 - New type Archived 3 November 2016 at the Wayback Machine World Coin News ( 14 October 2016. Retrieved on 2016-11-01.
  8. Linzmayer, Owen (2012). "Pakistan". The Banknote Book. San Francisco, CA: Archived from the original on 29 August 2012.
  9. Roshaan, Hamid. "A collection of Pakistani Currency Notes". Archived from the original on 13 June 2014. Retrieved 26 May 2014.
  10. "Banknotes and Coins Under Circulation" (PDF). State Bank of Pakistan. Archived (PDF) from the original on 9 September 2008. Retrieved 17 September 2008.
  11. "Pakistan's Banknotes". State Bank of Pakistan. 8 July 2008. Archived from the original on 18 September 2008. Retrieved 17 September 2008.
  12. "Pakistan rupee falls to new low". BBC News. 15 August 2008. Archived from the original on 30 August 2008. Retrieved 17 September 2008.
  13. "Pakistan Depreciates its Currency, Adjusting to Economic Pressures". IndraStra. ISSN 2381-3652. Archived from the original on 26 December 2017.
  14. "BANKS' FLOATING AVERAGE EXCHANGE RATES" (PDF). SBP. Retrieved 16 July 2018.
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