Punjabi is the most widely spoken language in Pakistan. Punjabi is the provincial language in the Punjab Province of Pakistan. Punjabi is spoken as a native language by over 44.15% of Pakistanis. About 70.0% 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. 86% of the total population of Lahore is native Punjabi and Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan, is 72% native Punjabis at 3rd after Faisalabad where 98.2% are native. There are also large number of Punjabi speakers in Karachi.
In the 1981 National Census of Pakistan the Saraiki, Pothohari and Hindko dialects of the Western Punjabi were accorded the status of separate languages, which explains the decrease of the percentage of Punjabi speakers.
The Majhi ( ) dialect spoken around Amritsar and Lahore is Punjabi's prestige dialect. Majhi is spoken in the heart of Punjab in the region of Majha, which spans Lahore, Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Kasur, Tarn Taran, Faisalabad, Nankana Sahib, Pathankot, Okara, Pakpattan, Sahiwal, Narowal, Sheikhupura, Sialkot, Chiniot, Gujranwala and Gujrat districts. Majhi retains the nasal consonants // and //, which have been superseded elsewhere by non-nasals // and /d/ respectively. The Majhi (and Lahnda) spoken in Pakistan is more Persianized in vocabulary, and the usage of the sounds /z/, /x/ and // is more common. (In the following table, it should be noted that tabbar in both dialects is informal)
In India, Punjabi is written in Gurmukh, a standardised script. The word Gurmukhi translates into 'from the Guru's mouth'. In Pakistan, the Shahmukh script, meaning "from the King's mouth", based on the Persian abjad is used.
At the federal level, Punjabi has official status via the Eighth Schedule to the Indian Constitution. At the state level, Punjabi is the sole official language of the state of Punjab, while it has secondary official status in the states of Haryana and Delhi.
Both federal and state laws specify the use of Punjabi in the field of education. The state of Punjab uses the Three Language Formula, and Punjabi is required to be either the medium of instruction, or one of the three languages learnt in all schools in Punjab. Punjabi is also a compulsory language in Haryana, and other states with a significant Punjabi speaking minority are required to offer Punjabi medium education.
There is a vibrant Punjabi language movie industry in India, however Punjabi has a much smaller presence in television. Despite Punjabi having far greater official recognition in India, attitudes of the Punjabi speaking elite towards the language are ambivalent as they are in neighboring Pakistan. There are also claims of state apathy towards the language in non-Punjabi majority states.