Saraiki is a language of great antiquity in Pakistan. It served as "Lingua Franca" among the people living around i.e. the Bloch and Sindhis, the Pashtoons and Punjabis etc. for centuries. It also remained the language of commerce and trade until recent times. Today over forty million people of Bahawalpur, D.G. Khan, Multan and Sargodha divisions of present Punjab and Dera Ismail Khan speak it as a first language. It is widely spoken and understood as a second language in Northern and Western Sind down to the suburbs of Karachi and in Kachhi plain of Baluchistan.
The vernacular dialects on which Sarāikī is based are native to what is now the southwestern half of Punjab Province in Pakistan, south of the Salt Range of mountains. Sarāikī is also spoken in the north of the neighboring Sindh Province and by a tiny, recent diaspora in Punjab, India. According to the Indian census of 2001, Sarāikī is spoken in urban areas throughout northwest and north central India by a total of about 70,000 people, the descendants of emigrants from western Punjab after the partition of India in 1947. In Afghanistan, Kandahari, a dialect of Multani/Saraiki is a mother tongue of Afghan Hindus.