Pakistan

LAHORE – The Lahore High Court on Wednesday sought a reply from Punjab education secretary over the government’s efforts to promote provincial language, Punjabi.

Accepting a writ petition of Punjabi Parchar President Ahmad Raza Punjabi seeking due status to Punjabi language, LHC Chief Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah directed the secretary to submit his reply on next hearing set on November 28.

The petition was filed by Tahir Mahmood Sindhu advocate on behalf of Mr. Raza, who has been fighting for Punjabi language.

“According to the constitutional amendment of 1973, Pakistan federal government gave provincial governments the right to promote their own language and culture. In the 18th amendment in April 2010, the rights of the provincial governments with regard to promotion of languages were strengthened,” said the activist.

Seventy years after partition, Punjabi is still struggling to get official recognition. The language is not the medium of instruction in schools and colleges in the province.

Other languages like Urdu, Pashto and Balochi have gained prominence across Pakistan. Urdu is the official language in Pakistan despite the fact that it is spoken much less than Punjabi. Pashto and Balochi have also received recognition in the provinces of Baluchistan, Sindhi and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

“Sindh province used this right to promote their languages but Punjab province did not evince any interest, thus relegating Punjabi to non-official language category,” Mr. Ahmed added.

“[The] Article 251 of the constitution of the Republic of Pakistan binds the provinces to adopt necessary measures for promotion, teaching and usage of provincial languages but Punjab government has not taken any step in that direction and has not adopted measures to teach Punjabi in schools,” he said while talking to Daily Pakistan.

Besides Punjabi Parchar, Punjabi Adabi Board and Punjabi Khojgah are also struggling to get official status for the language.