What is Saraikistan?
Saraik (Saraiki, Punjabi, Urdu: سراییکستان) is a term used by some Seraikis to denote the southern region of the Punjab province of Pakistan, inhabited by Saraiki-speaking people. Many people contest the status of Saraiki as a separate language.. Though, it has overwhelming influence of Punjabi and Sindhi; Seraiki can be called a separate language of Indo-Aryan Family. When compared to its sister languages: Sindhi and Punjabi, Saraiki is far smaller and much behind in literature and in many other ways..Historically speaking, Saraiki, before Independence, never created a sense of separate Saraiki identity particularly in Southern Punjab..Customs and traditions practised by the people of Southern Punjab have largely been similar to those of Punjabis and Sindhis..However, national recognition of Saraiki as a separate language, giving it an official status, a Saraiki province, a Saraiki regiment in Army, establishment of Saraiki radio and television are among primary demands of Saraiki movement.
In 2002, the Saraiki nationalists claimed that there are over 30 million Saraiki speakers in Pakistan, mostly in southern Punjab, and also in the adjacent parts of Sindh and Balochistan provinces, mainly based in the former princely state of Bahawalpur (princely state).
Beginning in the 1960s, Saraiki nationalists have sought to gain language rights and lessen,what the nationalists propagated as, "Punjabi control over the natural resources of 'Saraiki' lands". This has led to a proposed separate province Saraikistan, a region being drawn up by activists in the 1970.The 1977 coup by General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq of Pakistan, acentralist ruler, caused the movement to go underground. After his death in 1988 allowed the Saraiki movement to re-emerge openly with the goals to have a Saraiki nationality recognised, to have official documents printed in Saraiki, a Saraiki regiment in the Pakistan Army, employment quotas and more Saraiki language radio and television.