BACKGROUND: Intake of food low in essential minerals, like zinc (Zn), is one of the major reasons of malnutrition. Development of genotypes with grains enriched in essential minerals may help to solve the issue of malnutrition. In this study, 16 chickpea genotypes (eight each of desi and kabuli types) of Pakistani origin were evaluated for genetic diversity and grain Zn biofortification potential with and without Zn fertilization. RESULTS: A wide variation was noted for agronomic, physiological, agro-physiological, utilization, and apparent recovery efficiencies of Zn in the chickpea genotypes tested. Genotypes also differed for grain Zn concentration (37.5–48.6 mg kg−1), bioavailable Zn (3.72–4.42 mg day−1), and grain yield. The highest grain Zn concentration and bioavailable Zn were noted in genotypes NIAB-CH-2016 (47.1 mg kg−1 and 4.30 mg day−1 respectively) and Noor-2013 (48.6 mg kg−1 and 4.38 mg day−1 respectively) among the desi and kabuli types respectively. The same genotypes were the highest yielders. Cluster analysis showed that all (eight) kabuli genotypes grouped together, whereas most (six) of the desi genotypes clustered in a separate group. There was low to moderate genetic diversity (0.149 for desi and 0.104 for kabuli types) and a low level of genetic differentiation between the two chickpea types (0.098). CONCLUSION: Two populations of chickpea had low to moderate genetic diversity, with consistent gene flow. This genetic diversity in both chickpea types allows the breeding gains for improving the grain yield and grain Zn biofortification potential of chickpea genotypes.