Language is closely connected both to the power-structure and ideology in Pakistan. It is used as a marker of ethnic identity in a multilingual and multi-ethnic country with at least five major language groups contending for power. It is also symptomatic of the vertical social divide in a country in which English, the former colonial language, is still used in the domains of power and is therefore the key to power, prestige and wealth at least as far as the modern domains are concerned. Out of the other indigenous languages only two (Urdu and Sindhi) are used at the lower level in the domains of power. In short, English, the preserve of the rich and powerful, remains the most empowering language in Pakistan.

The state uses language textbooks, along with those in the social sciences, to make children support its overall policies of nationalism and militarism. Despite all this some people, without being formally taught, learn their indigenous mother tongues through old fashioned, pre-modern chapbooks which are available in the market.