OLPC Pakistan/Languages

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National Language


Urdu is Pakistan's national language.More than 90% of Pakistanis can speak and understand Urdu.

Provincial Languages

There are four provincial languages in Pakistan.


Punjabi is spoken as first language by 45% of Pakistanis. It is an important language since Punjabi is spoken by about half of Pakistanis. However, Punjabi does not have any official status in Pakistan. About 70% of Pakistanis know how to speak Punjabi.


Pashto is spoken as a first language by 25% of Pakistanis, mostly in the North-West Frontier Province, Federally Administered Tribal Areas and in Balochistan as well as by immigrants to the eastern provinces who are often not counted due to census irregularities. Additionally, Afghan refugees are often outside the census count, but appear to be largely Pashto speakers from Afghanistan. Pashto speakers are almost 15.42% of Pakistan's population and more than 50% in Afghanistan. Pashto has no written literary traditions although it has a rich oral tradition. There are two major dialect patterns within which the various individual dialects may be classified; these are Pakhto, which is the northern (Peshawar) variety, and the softer Pashto spoken in southern areas.


Sindhi is spoken as a first language by 14% of Pakistanis, in Sindh and parts of Balochistan. Sindhi has very rich literature and is used in schools. Sindhi language contains Arabic words and is affected by Arabic language to a great extent.Sindhi is spoken in Pakistan and is also one of the constitutional languages of India. It is spoken by about 20 million people in the southern Pakistani province of Sindh, and by about 2½ million more across the border in India. In Pakistan it is written in the Arabic script with several additional letters to accommodate special sounds. The largest Sindhi-speaking city is Hyderabad, Pakistan.


Balochi is spoken as a first language by 4% of Pakistanis, mostly in Balochistan, Sindh and southern Punjab and is very close to the Persian language. The name Baluchi or Balochi is not found before the 10th century. It is believed that the language was brought to its present location in a series of migrations from Northern Iran, near the Caspian Shores.

Regional Language


Saraiki is widely spoken and understood as a second language in northern and western Sindh down to the suburbs of Karachi and in the Karachi plain of Baluchistan. It is also known as Derawali in Derajat area. Saraiki is also spoken in North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) and it is third popular language after Pashtu and Punjabi. Saraiki is widely spoken in southern NWFP areas specially in Dera Ismail Khan, Kulachi and in Tank District and also spoken widely in Lakki Marwat. It is mostly spoken in the south of Punjab in Dera Ghazi Khan, Multan, Mailsi, Mianwali, Vehari, Rahim Yar Khan, Rajan Pur and Bahawalpur in Pakistan.


it has been stardised recntly with the first dictibaiory pulished by the famous writer and broadcasterrr sharif shad


The Brahui language, spoken by the Brahui, is a Dravidian language mainly spoken in Pakistan, although it is also spoken in Afghanistan and Iran. The 2005 edition of Ethnologue reports some 2.2 million speakers, 90% of whom live in Pakistan. In Pakistan it is mainly spoken in the Kalat region of Balochistan.


Burushaski is a language isolate spoken by some 96,000 (as of 2008) Burusho people in the Hunza, Nagar, Yasin, and parts of the Gilgit valleys in northern Pakistan and Kashmir. Other names for the language are Kanjut (Kunjoot), Werchikwār, Boorishki, Brushas (Brushias).


Balti is a language spoken in Baltistan, in the Northern Areas of Pakistan and adjoining parts of Jammu and Kashmir. Baltistan - before 1948 - was part of Ladakh province. The language is a sub-dialect of Ladakhi and an archaic dialect of the Tibetan language. Many of the consonants that are silent in most modern Tibetan dialects are pronounced in Balti.


Shina (also known as Tshina) is a Dardic language and is spoken by a plurality of people in Northern Areas of Pakistan. The Valleys include Astore, Chilas, Dareil, Tangeer, Gilgit, Ghizer, and a few parts of Baltistan and Kohistan. It is also spoken in Kargil and Ladakh valleys of India. There were 321,000 speakers of Gilgiti Shina as of 1981, and an estimated total of speakers of all dialects of 550,000.


Khowar also known as Chitrali, is a Dardic language spoken by 453,765 people in Chitral in Northwest Pakistan, in Yasin Valley and Gupis in neighboring Gilgit, and in parts of Upper Swat. It is spoken as a second language in the rest of Gilgit and Hunza. There are believed to be small numbers of Khowar speakers in Afghanistan, China, India, Tajikistan and Istanbul.


Dari (Persian) pronounced [fɒɾsije daɾi]) is the official name for the Persian language spoken in Afghanistan and in some part of Balochistan,Pakistan, and is also a regional language in Tajikistan.