An estimated 16 million people in Pakistan speak Saraiki as their first language. Saraiki is the fourth most popular regional language of Pakistan and the second most popular in Punjab. Multan is said to be the mother of all Saraiki areas as before partition all Saraiki areas in South of Punjab were part of Multan and were broken to several areas during the long course of history.
The main areas where it is spoken are of Southern Punjab, some areas of Sindh bordering with Punjab and some areas of Khyber Pakhtoonkhawah mainly Tank and Dera Ghazi Khan. The main areas where Saraiki is spoken include: Multan, Bahawalpur, Rajanpur, D.G. Khan, Bhakkar, Mianwali etc.
The efforts of developing a standard written language had started as earlier as 1947 and in 1960’s Saraiki nationalists under Riaz Hashmi started efforts to for Saraiki to gain official language status and efforts for a new Saraiki province out of Southern Punjab were started. This movement however died down during General Zia-ul-Haq’s era and reemerged only after his death. This time the goals were to have Saraiki language recognized and to have official documents in southern Punjab printed in Saraiki along with a few other demands like a Saraiki radio and television channel.
Saraiki is known as the sweetest sounding language to ears in Pakistan and is often quoted to be a lovers language. Saraiki songs and Saraiki poetry gained national acclaims with poets like Khuwaja Ghulam Farid, Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai and Sachal Sarmast, who used the language to spread the message of love, peace and harmony all around. Saraiki language offers diversity of expression and that is why the poetry in Saraiki language has been welcomed by non Saraiki people equally as well.
The non Saraiki speaking people call it the sweetest language ever heard and at times the language of love, Saraiki without any doubt is a rich language which should be promoted properly.