The Pakistan Academy of Letters (PAL) is a national academy with its main focus on Pakistani literature and related fields. It is the largest and the most prestigious learned society of its kind in Pakistan, with activities throughout the nation. . It was established in July 1976 by a group of renowned Pakistani writers, poets, essayists, playwrights, and translators, inspired by the Académie Française.
After its founding in 1976 and as of 2016, Pakistan Academy of Letters remains a government-sponsored institution. It works under the jurisdiction of Ministry of Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage (Pakistan).
The poet Ahmed Faraz was appointed its first Director. It is an autonomous non-profit organisation, supervised by its own Board of Governors, receiving support from the Government of Pakistan as the apex national institution.
The Academy maintains several regional offices, and links with other national and international organizations of a similar status. Its agenda includes promotion of literary education, publication and documentation. with a view to promoting and fostering Pakistani literature, literary activities in Pakistan, and systematizing the support mechanism to writers and scholars of Urdu, Punjabi, Saraiki, Sindhi, Pushto, Balochi, English and other Pakistani languages.
Pakistan Academy of Letters was established in 1976 but its Board of Governors were not officially appointed by the Government of Pakistan until 1978, when its objectives and functions were also determined.
The Pakistan Academy of Letters gives annual awards for the best original books (within the literary and critical categories) written in all the major languages of Pakistan. In 1980, Shafiq-ur-Rehman was appointed the Academy’s first Chairman. He has been followed in this fixed-tenure position by a number of writers.
From time to time, the Academy nominates Fellows, and more restrictively some Life Fellows, who earn the privilege of using the post-nominal letters FPAL. The Fellowship of the Academy is highly selective, indicating high distinction in the respective field, and is only awarded to those who are recognized to have contributed extraordinary work to enrich the creation and understanding of Pakistani literature.