Provincial languages of Pakistan
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The provincial languages of Pakistan are a set of languages that are spoken and used in the five Provinces of Pakistan (Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit–Baltistan, and Balochistan). However, provincial languages have no official status in Pakistan, except Sindhi in Sindh, given the fact that Urdu and English are the official languages of the country. Shown below are the main languages of each the provinces:
- Punjab: The languages of the province of Punjab are Punjabi, English,Urdu and Saraiki. Punjabi is the most common spoken language in Pakistan, with the fact that 44% of the people of Pakistan speak Punjabi as either their first or second language and for some as their third language. Lahore, the capital of the Punjab Province of Pakistan, is the largest Punjabi-speaking city in the world. 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.
- Sindh: The provincial language spoken in the province of Sindh is Sindhi, English and Urdu. Sindhi is the third most common language spoken in Pakistan (after Punjabi and Pashto) and is the only regional. This language is used and spoken mostly by the Sindhis, along with several other languages indigenous to Sindh such as lasi, Kutchi, Thari and Sindhi Saraiki.In Sindh's capital Karachi there are about 7.2 million Pashto speakers.
- Balochistan: Balochi, Urdu, Pashto, and Brahui are the provincial language of Balochistan. It is the main language spoken in Balochistan, apart from Brahui, Hazaragi, and the Balochi dialects of Pushto.
- Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa: The provincial language of Khyber-Pukhtunkhwa is Pashto, Urdu and English. This language is also spoken widely in adjacent regions of Afghanistan which borders the province. Other languages of the province include Chitrali, Kohistani, and Hindko.
- Gilgit–Baltistan: The provincial language of Gilgit–Baltistan is Urdu. Shina, Balti are also widely spoken. Other minor languages includes Pashto (in western districts of Gilgit Baltistan i.e Ghizer and Daimere).
- Azad Kashmir: The official language of Azad Kashmir is Urdu. Kashmiri, Shina and Balti are also spoken, Pothohari or Mirpuri are also spoken in this area.
Urdu is spoken and understood by nearly all Pakistanis, as it is the national language and is officially used in formal governmental, educational purposes, etc. It is the symbol of muslim identity and unity.