Tariq Rahman got his first doctorate in English literature from the University of Sheffield in 1985. Subsequently he got interested in language politics in Pakistan and took the degree of linguistics from the University of Strathclyde in 1989. After this he wrote the books which have made him an authority on the linguistic history of the Muslims of South Asia namely Language and Politics in Pakistan (1996); Language, Ideology and Power: language-learning among the Muslims of Pakistan and North India (2002) and From Hindi to Urdu: a Social and Political History (2011).
Besides these and other books he has published about a 100 articles in scholarly journals contributed entries to encyclopedias and chapters to edited books. On examination of his published work the University of Sheffield conferred a higher doctorate (D.Litt) on him in 2014. He was the first Pakistani to be honoured by one of Germany’s highest awards for academic research called the Humboldt Research Award. The National Institute of Pakistan Studies at The Quaid-i-Azam University, where he served most of his life and of which he was director (2007-2011), made him a professor emeritus in 2010 and the Higher Education Commission (Islamabad) conferred upon him the title of Distinguished National Professor in 2004 and also gave him the lifetime achievement award in 2009.
The President of Pakistan conferred upon him the Pride of Performance in 2004 and the Sitara-i-Imtiaz in 2013. He was a Senior Fulbright Fellow at the University of Texas at Austin (1995-96) and the first incumbent of the Pakistan Chair at the University of California, Berkeley (2004-05). He was also a research fellow at the Oxford Centre of Islamic Studies (2010) and a fellow at the University of Heidelberg several times from 2010 till 2012. He has been a visiting professor in Denmark and Spain and has lectured or read out papers in conferences in Korea, Nepal, China, the USA, Singapore, Thailand, India, Denmark, France, Germany, the UK, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Switzerland. He is presently working as Dean, School of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences and Acting Dean, School of Education, Beaconhouse National University, Lahore.