Facts about Languages Spoken in Pakistan

Urdu is the national language of Pakistan. English is the official language of Pakistan. English is the lingua franca of the Pakistani elite and most of the government and private offices.

Many other languages are spoken in Pakistan, including Punjabi, Siraiki, Sindhi, Pashtu, Balochi, Hindko, Brahui, Burushaski, Balti, Khawar, Gujrati and other languages with smaller numbers of speakers. Language varies from area to area.


Urdu is the national language of Pakistan. Only 8% of the Pakistani speak Urdu as their first language, it is widely spoken and understood as a second language by the majority of Pakistanis.


Punjabi is spoken as the first language by about 44% of Pakistanis. It is widely spoken in Punjab especially in upper Punjab. Lahore is the largest Punjabi speaking city in the world, which is the capital of Province of Punjab. According to the 1998 Census, 87% of the total population of Lahore speaks a dialect of Punjabi and 68% of the population of Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan, speaks Punjabi.


Pashto is spoken as a first language by more than 15% of Pakistanis. It is mainly spoken in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, FATA, northern Balochistan and ethnic Pashtun communities living other cities or provinces particularly Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi and Islamabad.


Sindhi is spoken as a first language by about 14% of Pakistanis. It is widely spoken in Province of Sindh. It is also spoken in Balochistan and Southern Punjab.


Balochi is spoken as a first language by about 4% of Pakistanis. It is widely spoken in the Province of Punjab.


Kashimri is an ancient language spoken as first language in Azad Kashmir. It is also spoken and understand in Gilgit-Baltistan and Punjab.


Brahui is spoken as first language by about 1.5% of Pakistanis. Brahui is influenced by neighboring Balochi and to some extent by Sindhi and Pashto.


It is spoken in districts of Haripur, Mansehra, Abbottabad, Peshawar, Kohat Swabi, Neelum District and in Muzafarabad. It is almost spoken by 2.2 to 4 million people as their first language. Hindko name is derived from Hindukush mountains.


Saraiki is spoken as first language in most of the areas of southern Punjab including Multan, Lodhran, Bahawalpur, Bhakkar, Mianwali, Layyah, Dera Ghazi Khan, Muzaffargarh and Rahim Yar Khan districts. It nis also spoken in Dera Ismail Khan in KPK, kachi plain of Balochistan, northern parts of Sindh and also in Hyderabad and Karachi. About 18 million people in Pakistan speak and understand Saraiki.


Shina is spoken by about 600,000 people in Pakistan as their first language. It is widely spoken in Gilgit-Baltistan including valleys of Astore, Chilas, Dareil, Tangeer, Gilgit and Ghizer. It is also spoken in Kargil, Karkit Badgam and Ladakh valleys of Kashmir.


Ali Rajput is an entrepreneur and I.T professional from Pakistan who loves to blog about ICT & current Pakistani issues. He is well known in local industry for his consulting services for cooperate computing solutions. He also holds Masters Degree in Advance Computer Science from University of Leicester, United Kingdom. Reach out to him on Twitter @acompk via email at admin [at] web.pk

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