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Languages of Pakistan

Languages of Pakistan

Following are the major languages spoken in Pakistan. The percentage of Pakistanis who are native speakers of that language is also given. Numbers of speakers of larger languages

Language 2008 estimate

1998 census

Areas of Predominance

1 Punjabi

76,367,36 0


"#, 33, 3 1



$ Pashto

$6,6%$,#% 1". 0


$0, 0#,6$ 1". $! 1

Kh ber!Pakhtunkh"a

3 #indhi

$ , 10,%1 1#,661,"7 1 .1$! 1 .10! 0 1



1#,01%,61 13,%36,"% 10. $! 10."3! 0

#outhern Punjab

" $rdu

13,1$0," 0


10,01%,"7 7."7! 6



<t is wi)el. in &astali@ script. <t is a re@uire) su8ject of stu). spoke Persian an) Turkish. (r)u has )rawn inspiration from Persian literature an) has now an enormous stock of wor)s from that language. 8een influence) 8. an) secon)ar. in all primar. Turkic languages an) 9nglish. has 8een enriche) 8. N$O The Fughal 9mperor :urangBe8 :lamgir *16"#K1707/ spoke (r)u *or Ein)ustani/ fluentl. <t 8egan as a stan)ar)iBe) register ofEin)i an) in its spoken form./ is the national language *0123 4567/.. new language in the contemporar.7$ . in (r)u was 8. :ra8ic. schools.. lingua franca an) one of two official languages of Pakistan *the other 8eing 9nglish/.#71 3. sphere an) in the popular me)ia.. <n recent . <t is the first language of most Fuhajirs *Fuslim refugees that fle) from genoci)e an) pograms from )ifferent parts of<n)ia after in)epen)ence of Pakistan in 1% 7/ that form nearl. an) its 8asic Ein)ustani voca8ular.$0 . The first poetr. )eveloping an) has ac@uire) a particularl. :fghanistan an) Dentral :sia ha) on this transitional region. 8oth formall. of the native languages inclu)ing Pashto. (r)u has 8een promote) to promote national unit. use). :lthough onl. ?iraju))in :li Jhan :rBoo in 17 1."%! . Cttoman 9mpire. usuall. man.6 %alochi 6. a8out #! of Pakistanis speak it as their first language. the Persian poet :mir Jhusro *1$"3K13$"/ an) the first (r)u 8ook ILoh FajlisI was written in 17$#M the first time the wor) I(r)uI was use) was 8. <ts intro)uction as the lingua franca was encourage) 8.:ra8ic. the =ritish upon the capitulation an) anne>ation of ?in)h*1# 3/ an) Punja8 *1# %/ with the su8se@uent 8an on the use of Persian. from those languages. #! of PakistanGs population an) is an ac@uire) language.-. as )i) his )escen)ants while his ancestors mostl. almost all Pakistanis. (r)u is a relativel. wor)s from Persian. on the tra)itions of ol)er languages like Persian. for personal letters as well as pu8lic literature. IPakistaniI flavour to it )istinguishing itself from that spoken in ancient times an) in <n)ia.ears. it is spoken an) un)erstoo) as a secon) language 8. the (r)u spoken in Pakistan has gra)uall. sense 8ut has un)ergone consi)era8le mo)ifications an) )evelopment 8orrowing heavil. Punja8i an) ?in)hi in terms of intonation. :s PakistanGs national language. <t is written with a mo)ifie) form of the PersoH:ra8ic alpha8et. in the literar. an) informall." 0 3. :s such the language is constantl. as well as incorporating terminolog. Turkish an) local ?outh :sian languages all of which can 8e foun) in its voca8ular.N3O Provincial languages Punjabi $ . The )ecision to make the language change was to institute a universal language throughout the then =ritish Aaj in ?outh :sia as well as minimiBe the influence of Persia."7! %alochistan &ational language' (r)u (r)u *+.

an) Tur)aspur Vistricts of the <n)ian ?tate of Punja8. almost 60! of the population in Pakistan. linguistsM perhaps )iffers from Punja8i. in Punja8. Lhen taking into account Ein)ko. H 1#"7 :. Potho"ari ?poken mainl. The stan)ar) Punja8i )ialect is fromSahore.s the language of Punja8i literature an) music. Punja8i literature was Tujranwala an) ?heikhupura )istricts of the Pakistani Punja8 which was use) 8./. mostl. Tujranwala.V. man. 3 . such as ?araiki. ?araiki. in northern Punja8 in the Potohar Plateau./ an) Ein)vi. Lestern Pahari. Tujrat an) to some e>tant in Whelum Vistrict of Pakistani Punja8 an):mritsar. 8e separate languages.D. :88otta8a) as well as in Furreean) the lower half of &eelum Vistrict an) FuBafara8a). Tarn Taran ?ahi8. The e>act num8ers of Punja8i speakers in Pakistan is )ifficult to ascertain since there are man. Jasur. <n)oH:r. Punja8i )ialects are thus spoken 8. some of which ma. &orthern Bone. Potwari. LaBira8a). ?heikhupura.N O which spans the Sahore. Pahari. Ckara. which some regar) as part of Punja8i an) others regar) as a separate language.V. &ajor Punjabi dialects &ajhi or #tandard Punjabi ?poken mainl. 'indko ?oken mainl. ?ialkot. Laris ?hah *17$$K17%#/ in his famous 8ook Eeer Aanjha an) is also nowa)a. Whelumi. Vialects' Pahari *Vhun)iHJairali/.?ialkot./. Firpuri. Dhi8hali. FuBaffara8a).D. Punja8i is )escen)e) from Prakrit in the Ue)ic perio) *1700 =. )ialects. Dlassifie) un)er Sahn)a languages 8. Fansehra. Se>ical similarit. an) Wammun.Punja8i *421PQR/ is spoken as a first language 8. rich oral tra)ition. H $3$ =. : )ialect chain with Panja8i an) Ein)ko. Dlassification' <n)oH9uropean. 76! to #3! among varieties calle) GPahariG. Pothwari *Potwari/.D. Pahari means Ghill languageG referring to a string of )ivergent )ialects. &owshehra. an) some calle) GEin)koG inFansehra. GPotwariG. <n)oH<ranian. in central Punja8. the Fajhi )ialect is the )ialect of the historical region of Fajha. Cl) Persian an):pa8hramsha in the :shoka perio) *$73 =. in northwestern Punja8 an) southeastern &orthHLest Frontier Province in the )istricts of :ttock. Potohari. &arowal. Pali. :lternative names inclu)e' Potwari. =alakot. spiritual in nature an) has ha) a ver. Pothohari. Dhi8hali. Punchhi *Poonchi/. Sahori an) Fultani in the Fuslim perio) *711 :. more than ! of Pakistanis. Dloseness to western Pahari is unknown. Vhun)iHJairali.

<t is an<n)oH:r. The largest ?in)hiHspeaking cities are Jarachi. a8out $0! of JarachiGs population. Donse@uentl. ?in)hi language has si> major )ialects' ?ireli. over 36 million people in Pakistan. in the Jh. Jarachi is the 8iggest Pashto speaking cit.. #indhi Vialects of ?in)hi ?in)hi *Z‫ڌ‬Q[/ is spoken as a first language 8. remaining there for three . The. There are two major )ialect patterns within which the various in)ivi)ual )ialects ma.ears afterFuhamma) 8in \asim con@uere) it in 71$ :V. in the worl) although the Pashto speakers constitute onl. Eowever. the people of Dhakwal or the Vhanni area in particular )o not speak Pothohari an) are ethnologicall."! of Pakistanis. an) 8. ?ukkur. an) wrote ?assi Punnun an) (mar Farvi. 8e classifie)M these are Pakhto. mostl. Pakistanis from the a)jacent regions of Punja8. <t has a rich literature an) is use) in schools. which is closer to ?hahpuri. areas of the&aseera8a) an) Wafara8a) )istricts of =alochistan. 1". the social fa8ric of ?in)h contains elements of :ra8ic societ.8er Pakhtunkhwa an) in =alochistan as well as 8. Thari. an) is the official language of ?in)h province. Va)u.. Uicholi.(hani The people of Pothohar speak Pothohari )ialect. . 1". The. ?in)h an)=alochistan who are conversant in Pashto an) count it as their secon) language. <t is wi)el. in ?in)h. Pakhto or Pashtohas pro)uce) some great poets like Thani Jhan. mostl. speak a )istinctive Dhakwali or Vhanni )ialect of Punja8i. spoken in the Sas8ela Vistrict of =alochistan *where the Sasi tri8e speaks a )ialect of ?in)hi/. Waco8a8a). The :ra8s rule) ?in)h for more than 1"0 .)era8a). the ?in)hi )iaspora a8roa).. ?in)hi is spoken 8.. an) :ra8ic languages. Jhatir :fri)i an) :mir EamBa ?hinwari. Jhushal Jhan Jhattak *1613K 16#%/ an) Aahman =a8a *1633K170#/ were the most famous poets in the Pashto language. Sarkana an) &awa8shah. not regar)e) as Potoharis. are not inclu)e) in the overall percentage."! *$#H30 millions/ of Pakistanis. tra)itions as well as an oral tra)ition. Pashto Pashto *6XYR/ Pashto is spoken as a first language 8. There are also man. )erive) from ?anskrit. immigrants to the eastern provinces who are often not counte) )ue to census *<n)oH9uropean/ language. The Pashto has rich written literar. ?in)hi literatureis also spiritual in nature.ears to set up :ra8 rule. which is the &orthern *Peshawar/ variet. an) the softer Pashto spoken in the southern areas. <t is written in the :ra8ic script with several a))itional letters to accommo)ate special soun)s. a )ialect spoken in the ?hahpurH?alt Aange area an) also has a slight element of ?araiki an) Pothohari. in his famous 8ook I?hah Wo AisaloI. <n the last part of $0th centur. man. Sari. E. ?hikarpur. ?hah :8)ul Satif =hitaGi *16#%K17"$/ is one of its greatest poets. folk stories. Sasi an) Jachhi.

Feanwhile. in central ?in)h Lari H spoken mostl. :88otta8a). The language is spoken in the areas of the Jh. Aegional languages #araiki ?araiki *4_`a.<t perhaps )iffer more than an. <t 8ecomes more an) more )ifferent as . southern an) western parts of Jhanewal.8er Pakhtunkhwa*inclu)ing EaBara/. ?arha))i is a su8H )ialect of Aakshani. So)hran.I <t is spoken in man. 9astern Eill =alochi or &orthern =alochi is language spoken 8. spoken in southern an) western )istricts of Punja8. close to the Persian itself. an estimate) $.?ahiwal an) Dhiniot. similar to northern )ialects of Punja8i. <t is ver. who set the rules of a structurall. <t is one of the % )istinguishe) languages of Pakistan. ?araiki itself is ?in)hi wor) an) means northern. Fansehra. a )ialect of Punja8i. :ttock. Dhagai Jharani. mostl. &owshehra. Aakshani is the major )ialect group in terms of num8ers.$ to million people. Ein)kowans in Pakistan. :88otta8a) an) Furree an) the lower half of &eelum Vistrict an) FuBafara8a). 'indko Ein)ko language *6hiQ‫ہ‬/ is known as the Ilanguage of the mountains. in =alochistan province. :ccor)ing to glo8al recor)ings languages these are also ?araiki. Earipur. stretches from )istricts Jhanewal to Whang an) inclu)es Faisala8a). Cther su8 H )ialects are \alati. =alochi poets ten) to 8e ver. the language of the masses was refine) 8. Ein)ko is an ancient <n)oH:r. Fianwali. &owshera.Ncitation neededO Vuring the preH=u))hist era in present )a. ?argo)ha. ?wa8i. The name Balochi or Baluchi is not foun) 8efore the 10th Dentur. ?hahpuri.<t is mostl. for scriptures *analogous to Satin in the Lestern worl)/.. <t is 8elieve) that the language was 8rought to its present location in a series of migrations from the Jur)istan region of northeastern <ra@ an) northwestern <ran. an) Fakrani. tongues an) )ialects which sprea) over the northern " .southern parts of =ahawalnagar an) western parts of Jhusha8 )istricts. in southern ?in)h Lasi H spoken mostl. spoken in )istricts of Peshawar. The 9astern Eill =alochi or &orthern =alochi are )istinct )ialects.. as the influence of ?in)hi increases. instea) of merel. Aahim car Jhan.&ajor #indhi dialects       #indhi #araiki H a version of ?araiki regar)e) as a )ialect of ?in)hiM spoken mainl. goo) poets in (r)u as well an) :ta ?haa). =alochi language is ver. :ttock. kachi plain of =alochistan. Prakrit)evelope) into man. ?ince =alochi is a ver. spoken in the central Pakistani Punja8. northern parts of ?in)h. majorit. other )ialect of Punja8i. Tul Jhan &asir an) &oon Feem Vanish are e>cellent e>amples of this. Pakistan. local people of Peshawar Punja8 an) :Ba) Jashmir 8. =ahawalpur. ?arha))i. 8elongs to the <n)oH:r.ou move )own south. some/ is spoken in Pakistani Punja8. of population of Vera <smail Jhan )istrict in Jh. Fansehra. to Persian an) (r)u. rigorous language calle)?anskrit which was use) principall. in northern ?in)h )icholi H consi)ere) the general )ialect of ?in)hi an) spoken mostl. in western ?in)h *hari or *hareli H spoken mostl. the ancient grammarian Pjṇini. =alakot. <t is also spoken 8. an) cities of E. is a su8 )ialect of Aakshani. Whangvi or Whangochi or Aachnavi. )ifferent from the rest. =hakkar. The Jethran language in &orth 9ast =alochistan is also a variant of =alochi. Jhusha8 an) Fan)i =ahau))in )istricts.8er Pakhtunkhwa *. the lower half of &eelum Vistrict an) FuBafara8a) Vistrict of Jashmir. Aakshani is the major )ialect group in terms of num8ers. in the Jutch region in southeastern ?in)h O%alochi =alochi *4]6^2/ is spoken as a first language 8.which comprises Fultan. Furree. Ein)ko.ah.)era8a) an) Jarachi. Johat. in eastern ?in)h Kachhi H spoken mostl. FuBaffargarh.<t is now consi)ere) as a separate language. the vernacular language of the masses. spoken in Fianwali. Cther su8H)ialects are Jalati *\alati/. Vera ThaBi Jhan. a8out ! of 8ranch of <n)oH9uropean.b[/ or Fultani *also Sehn)i 8. Sa. )ialects in the )istricts of Peshawar.6de6X‫ښ‬R bf`g/ province. poetic an) rich language an) have a certain )egree of affinit. DhagaiHJharani an) Panjguri. ?araiki.

writing an) pronunciation of the :ra8ic language as part of their religious e)ucation. PakistanGs Donstitution an) laws are written in 9nglish. The main <ranian contri8utor to =rahui voca8ular. Persian 6 . moreHorHless. this is. Tilgit.. aroun) 1000 D9. 8ut has 8orrowe) consi)era8le voca8ular. ThiBer. Cther languages +nglish . 9nglish is seen as the language of upwar) mo8ilit. =rahui has 8een influence) 8. Ea)ith an) Fuslim that have 8een lost in other Fo)ern <n)oH:r. Jashmiri retains several features of Cl) <n)oH:r. 9lfen8ein. languages. an) a few parts of Johistan. The Pakistani )iaspora living in theFi))le 9ast has further increase) the num8er of people who can speak :ra8ic in Pakistan. <t shows close affinit. Vrass. it has un)ergone ver. <n 1%1% Teorge :8raham Trierson wrote that oJashmiri is the of ?outh :sia. use) in tongues an) can 8e su8H)ivi)e) into a northern an) southern )ialects. is a western <ranian language like Jur)ish that move) to the area from the west onl. in)icating that Vravi)ian languages were formerl. :mongst the more e)ucate) social circles of languages such as (r)u.N6O Eowever. the age of man. from its neigh8ours. schools. civiliBations at Fehrgarh. universities an)ma)rassahs. relate) to Prakrit. Vue to the geographic isolation of the regions. a pluralit.Vareil. to Punja8i an) the Sahn)a su8Hgroup of <n)oH:r. have evolve) from the original languages of <n)us valle.s in which it is spoken inclu)e :store. ?poken in southern Pakistan. E.s of Jashmir. a mo)ern literature inclu)ing mo)ern 9nglish. colleges an) universities as a me)ium of instruction. There are over $ million Jashmiri speakers in Pakistan.N7O #hina ?hina *1Q`k/ *also known as Tshina/ is a Var)ic language spoken 8. The Fengals are a famous =rahvi tri8e. :ra8ic is taught as a religious language in mos@ues.official language9nglish is one of the official languages of Pakistan *the other 8eing (r)u/ an) is wi)el. of the literature contains pure Vravi)ian wor)s that relate to the languages of ?outh <n)ia. use) in the e>ecutive. Ein)ko is 8elieve) to 8e closel. : majorit. these languages. the incoming <n)oH:r.000 speakers of Tilgiti ?hina in 1%#1. little grammatical corruption. =alochi. Kashmiri Jashmiri *bk l mn/ is an ancient Var)ic language spoken in :Ba) Jashmir.ears. Jashmiri literature )ates 8ack to over 7"0 . ?unnah.religious language:ra8ic *r2bs/ is the religious language of Fuslims. an) its use is 8ecoming more prevalent in upper social circles often spoken alongsi)e native Pakistani languages. <t is also spoken in TureB. in particular Pashto. this i)ea has fallen out of favorM accor)ing to W. the a8sence of :vestan loanwor)s. suggesting that the Vravi)ian languages were more wi)esprea). Arabic . more wi)esprea) 8ut were supplante) 8. colleges. The \uran. 8een taken as a relict population. as evi)ence) 8. The valle. <t is spoken in central an) east central =alochistan.N"O %rahui =rahui *q6‫ھ‬. :roun) 1H1. legislative an) ju)icial 8ranches as well as to some e>tent in the officer ranks of PakistanGs arme) forces. a majorit. Punja8i an) ?in)hi. Dhilas. of PakistanGs Fuslim population has ha) some form of formal or informal e)ucation in the rea)ing. TilgitK=altistan an) Punja8 provinces of Pakistan. Jargil. =rahui appears to have migrate) to =alochistan from central <n)ia after 1000 D9.b2/ is of Vravi)ian origin )espite the fact that a reasona8le amount of the language shares le>ical similarities to =alochi as well as ?in)hi an) Pashto )ue to influence of neigh8oring languages."! of Pakistani population has =rahui as their first language. is taught in :ra8ic with (r)u translation. it ma. of people in TilgitK =altistan of Pakistan. Fost of the Jashmiris in Punja8 province an) Jarachi are refugees an) their )escen)ents who fle) <n)ian invasion an) occupation ofJashmir in 1% #. The =rahui population of =alochistan has tra)itionall. <t is one of the nine )istinguishe) languages of Pakistan. Tangeer. one of the Var)ic languages that has a literaturep. Jarkit =a)gam an) Sa)akh valle. <t is also wi)el. There were 3$1.

as (r)u was originall.ndo!+uropean 7 . from :fghanistan have settle) in Pakistan permanentl. in which =a8ur ha) written his memoirs. ordu meaning army' in Turkish. linguistic minorities inclu)e the languages liste) 8elow.un himself is sai) to have spoken in Persian verse more often than not.ghu  C)wC) r Jhowar ki Johistani  Crmuri  JoliH Jachi      (shojow(sho =agriwUagri Lakhi Laneci ci)gha xangskari Dlassification . in the valle. Euma.N#O       :er =a)eshi =agri =alti =ateri =ha)rawa      Vari  Vameli  Vogri  Vehawri  VhatkiwTha hi  Wa)gali Wan)avra Ja8utra JachchiwJutc ri hi    k  i    =ha. The wor) Urdu is of Turkic origin. nota8l. Persian was officiall..un intro)uce) Persian language an) culture in court an) government. :fter returning from e>ile in ?afavi) Persia in 1""".ara Jalami Johistani  Sasi JalashaHmun   ?in)hi  Soarki H=hil Jalkoti   Farwa  Torwa Jamviri ri li Jati  Femon Jhetrani i Jhojki  (. western Pakistani region of LaBiristan principall.. <t is still spoken an) un)erstoo) 8. : few are highl. the ruling TurcoHFongols *or Fughals/ an) earlier ?ultans of <n)ia man. TheDhaghatai language. a8olishe) from the region with the arrival of the =ritish' in ?in)h in 1# 3 an) in Punja8 in 1# % to minimiBe the influence of the Fughal 9mpire. soon have no speakers at all. from the culture of the courtl. The auto8iograph. language. elite. There are pockets of Turkic speakers foun) throughout the countr. )isappeare) almost entirel. en)angere) languages that ma. an) Fughal emperor :k8ar coul) not speak it. Turkic speaking refugees. calle) Zaban-e-Ordu or language of the Army.a  =rokskat  =urigwPuri   =urushask   Vomaaki  TawarH=ati  Thera  Toaria  Towro  Tujarati  Tojri   Dham8eali *Tujari/ Dhangthan  Turgula Dhilisso Dhitrali  g   <n)us EaBaragi Palula  ?ansi ji  JoliH ?avi  Parkari ?wati   JoliH ?hinaH  La)i. (B8eks an) Turkmens.Persian *4[-1t/ was the language of Fuslims in ?outh :sia 8efore the a)vent of the =ritish an) was the official an) cultural language of the Fughal 9mpire. Persian speaking refugees from :fghanistan have settle) in Pakistan permanentl. mostl. with speakers ranging from a few hun)re) to tens of thousan)s. Fan. &inor languages Cther languages spoken 8. Fan. TuBk =a8ari was also written in Turkish. of Fughal emperor =a8ur. Sater in life..cultural languageTurkic *ubv/ languages were use) 8. *urkic languages . aroun) Janigoram where the =urki tri8e )wells an) in PakistanGs ur8an centres of Jarachi. of whom have settle) in Pakistan. Fughal emperor Euma.s in the countries northern regions which lie a)jacent to Dentral :sia. a few in Pakistan as a literar. Sahore an) <slama8a).

among others/. an) <ranian *inclu)ing Pashto. ?in)hi. are )ivi)e) 8etween two major groups of that 8ranch' <n)oH:r. casin.s in TilgitK=altistan/ is a language isolate with no written script  # . Persian.. inclu)ing (r)u. with evi)ence. an) ?araiki. &agar. civiliBation. has 8een significantl. an)*the majorit. an) <shkoman valle. to 8e linke) to the ancient <n)us valle.ndo!+uropean The following four languages of Pakistan are not part of the <n)oH9uropean language famil. recent immigrant to the area from southeastern <n)ia  The =alti )ialect of Sa)akhi *spoken in an area of southern TilgitK=altistan/ is a Ti8etan language of the Ti8etoH=urman language famil. 8ut oral histor. =alochi.' =rahui *spoken in central =alochistan province/ is a Vravi)ian language. influence) 8. an) linguistic evi)ence in)icates that it is a fairl.N1"O  =urushaski *spoken in EunBa. Ein)ko.Fost of the languages of Pakistan 8elong to the <n)oH<ranian 8ranch of the <n)oH9uropean language famil. The. Punja8i. <ts voca8ular. among others/. <t has 8een suggeste). =alochi. Non!..