Almost everyone knows that Pakistan has four main languages. There are many more, but they are unimportant due to lack of development and education. Urdu is considered a national language (both by majority and minority), but it is not recognized as an official state language.
It was not until 1973, when there were educational reforms in Sindh, that a Sindhi language board was established. Therefore, impose Sindhi as a compulsory subject in schools.
Today, the four main languages of Pakistan are Urdu, Punjabi, Saraiki, and Sindhi. But the people of Pakistan also speak other languages. These are some of the main languages of Pakistan.
1. Urdu – National Language
The standardization of the national language is completely dependent on the people from the northern regions who speak Hindi and it is also known as Hindi. The national language was not recognized in the early days of Pakistan.
However, today it is spoken by almost 20% of the population. It is the official language used for communication between all the provinces and countries of the world. In fact, if you know Urdu, it will be easier for you to find work in Pakistan.
2. Punjabi – The Language of Punjab
About 90 million people speak Punjabi as their first language and of the total population living in Pakistan, 43% are native speakers of this language. In fact, if you were born and raised in Punjab, then your native language would be Punjabi.
Punjabi is similar to Urdu, but there are some differences. For example, the word for mother is “maa” in Punjab and “main” in Sindh.
3. Saraiki – The Language of South Punjab
Most of the people living in southern Punjab province speak Saraiki as their mother tongue. It is a very sweet and melodious language full of lush greenery and beautiful flowers. The languages of the world, even those belonging to African countries, are influenced by Saraiki due to its rich vocabulary and unique style of speaking.
4. Sindhi – The Language of Sindh
Although not as widely spoken as Punjabi or Urdu, Sindhi is the official provincial language of Sindh. It is an ancient language with a rich cultural heritage. If you are looking for literature in this vein, look no further than Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai, whose poetry has been regarded as one of the best works of Sindhi literature.
5. Pushto – The Language of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Pushto (Pashtu) is the provincial language of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Most of the people who speak Pashto are in Afghanistan; However, the shepherds living in Balochistan also speak this language. The word “Pushtun” has its roots in the ancient Persian word “Pahlavani”, which meant a person who could speak the Pahlawan language. Pushto is mainly used in eastern Afghanistan and western Pakistan.
6. Balochi – The Language of Balochistan
The provincial language of Balochistan is divided into two languages: North Balochi and South Balochi. The difference between the two is that the former is written in Arabic, while the latter is written in Persian Arabic. Although they are considered a single language, most people use a different script for each.
7. Hindko – Also a Language of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Hindko is part of the Indo-Aryan language family and is spoken in the northern regions of Pakistan. Most Hindko speakers do not live in Pakistan, as most migrated to the Punjab region during British rule between 1849 and 1947. In fact, Hindko has been listed as one of the endangered languages by UNESCO because its native speakers are dwindling day by day.
8. Kashmiri – Provincial Language of Azad Kashmir
As there are many dialects in the Kashmir province of Pakistan, the provincial language is divided into two areas: North and South. Most of the people who live in both areas speak this language, but it is spelled differently depending on which side you are on. For example, northern Kashmir is written in Devnagri, while southern Kashmir has its own alphabet.
9. Bruhai – A Unique Language
Brahui is a rather unusual language in the Indo-Iranian community. It is spoken in Pakistan and in the farthest corners of Iran. Brahui is also spoken in Iraq, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates by expatriate Brahui communities. Since there are very few people who speak this language, it is considered a minority language in many countries.
10. Potohari – Also a Language of Azad Kashmir
In Pakistan, there are around 25 million people who speak this language. Despite its popularity, it is still underused in literature. However, several popular radio shows are broadcast in Potohari.
Pakistan has a rich culture and this includes having a variety of regional languages. Here, we have talked about the common languages, while there are many regions that speak more than one language.