Languages in Pakistan: A Land of Diversity

Languages in Pakistan

Urdu is the national language of Pakistan and English is the international language. Whereas, there are 5 main languages in Pakistan that have more than 10 million speakers of each language, i.e. Punjabi, Sindhi, Pashto, Sanskrit and, Urdu.

Pakistan is like a home for several languages that have many first-language speakers. Moreover, regional languages have their own importance like; Kashmiri, Brahui, Shina, Wakhi, Haryanvi, Dhatki, Siraiki, Hindko, Burushaski. While, Punjabi, Balochi, Sindhi, Pashto is provisional languages.

74 are total ethnological languages in Pakistan out of which, 8 are non-native languages and 66 are native languages.


English being an international language is very less spoken as a first language in-country. Although, this language is widely spoken throughout the country and second-language speakers of this language prefer to speak it in their professional life. Almost whole education is sought in international language, but this language gives high importance throughout the whole country.


The Urdu language was introduced before the inception of Pakistan. In replacing the Persian language, the Urdu language was introduced in as Lingua Franca in Sindh in 1843 and Punjab in 1849. Urdu is spoken in both ways as formally and informally. It is considered the most civilized and cultured language and so this language is rich in literature.

Only 8 percent of people in Pakistan speaks the Urdu language as the first language. Urdu is spoken by the MUHAJIRS who took refuge in Pakistan after migration from India after the separation of Hindustan in 1947. The rest of the people have other languages as a first language and Urdu as a second language. This language is written in the form of Perso-Arabic Alphabet or Nastaliq script.


Punjabi is one of the most famous languages worldwide. It is the most spoken language in Pakistan. More than 44 percent of people in Pakistan speaks Punjabi language and also it is the most spoken language in the Indian Subcontinent.

While it is 5th most spoken language in Canada. UAE, US, UK, New Zealand, and Netherland have many Punjabi speakers too.  Roughly, it is spoken in the area of Islamabad and Delhi. Siraiki and Hindko recently got included in Punjabi totals. It has different dialects like Majhi dialect spoken in Lahore, Gujranwala, Sialkot or Sheikhurpura districts.


More than 15.42 percent of Pakistanis speak Pashto as the first language, especially in KPK. But surprisingly, besides KPK the city of Pashto language, Karachi has the most Pashtu speakers in the world. Whereas, Afghanistan’s official language is Pashto and is a widely spoken language.


14.5 percent of people speak the Sindhi language in Pakistan is Sindh and in some parts of Baluchistan too. This language is rich in literature and more than 53 million people speak Sindhi in Sindh, 5.8 million in India and 2.6 million in different parts of the world. Mainly in large cities like Karachi, Jacobobad, Larkana, Sukkur, Hyderabad, Nawabshah and Dadu, Sindhi is spoken.


4 percent of people in Pakistan speak Balochi as the first language. It is mostly spoken in Baluchistan. It has a major dialect Rakhsani and others are Sarhaddi, Kalati, Chagai-Kharani, Panjruri.

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