Pakistan’s cultural and linguistic diversity has never been a much discussed subject in the channels of national discourse either in media, education or academia. However, despite that, Pakistan has continued to accommodate a rich cultural diversity as the society is largely multi ethnic and multicultural.
The Pakistani society comprises various diverse cultures and ethnic communities that majorly involve Punjabi, Sindhi, Baloch, Pashtun, Seraiki, Mohair, Kashmiri, Makrani, and the ancient Wakhi and Burusho groups in the north.
More than 65 different languages are spoken in Pakistan. Here are seven native languages of Pakistan that you probably never heard of.
Khowar, also known as Chitrali, Qashqari and Arniya, is an Indo-Aryan language of the Dardic sub branch. “Kho” means the people of Chitral, “War” means language. It is spoken by the Kho people in Chitral district, Ghizer district of Gilgit-Baltistan (including the Yasin Valley, Golaghmuli Valley, Phandar Ishkoman and Gupis), and in parts of Upper Swat.
Shina is a language from the Dardic sub-group of the Indo-Aryan languages family spoken by the Shina people, a plurality of the people in Gilgit-Baltistan.
Towali is a Dardic language spoken in Kohistan and Swat districts of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. The language is indigenous to the Torwali people who live in scattered hamlets in the mountainous upper reaches of the Swat valley, above the Pashto-speaking town of Madyan up to the Gawri-speaking town of Kalam.
Brahui is a Dravidian language spoken by the Baloch and Brahui people in the central part of Baluchistan province.
Dhatki is one of the Rajasthani languages of the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European language family. It is most closely related to Marwari.
Burushaski is a language isolate spoken by Burusho people in northern Gilgit-Baltistan. It is spoken by people in Hunza-Nagar District, northern Gilgit District, and in the Yasin and Ishkoman valleys of northern Ghizer District.
Wakhi is an Indo-European language in the Eastern Iranian branch of the language family spoken today in Wakhan District, Afghanistan and also in Northern Pakistan, China, and Tajikistan.