LAHORE (Staff Report) – Activists, students, teachers and a large number of civil society members of Punjab have demanded the constitutional right of education in their mother language – Punjabi.
On the International Mother Language Day, a rally of protestors led by Punjabi Parchar organization staged a demonstration outside the Lahore Press Club.
With placards and banners in their hands, they were demanding Punjabi as compulsory subject from Primary to Graduation level.
Article 251 of the constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan binds the provinces to adopt necessary measure for promotion, teaching and usage of regional languages.
“The Punjab government is deliberately making the children of Punjab ignorant through banning the education in their mother language,” said Ahmad Raza, president Punjabi Parchar.
Addressing the rally, Raza said: “After the 18th amendment it is now the responsibility of the provinces to implement this right but Punjab has been committing sheer violation despite repeated requests made to the government.”
He added: “The Constitution of Pakistan has given right to people to learn from their primary schooling in their mother language. But the government has not adopted any measure to teach Punjabi in the schools.
“The right of education in the regional languages has been given to other provinces but in Punjab such a right is still denied by Punjab government.”
“This is the core reason the government is still unable to increase the literacy rate in the province,” he pointed out.
Punjabi Parchar General Secretary Tariq Jatala said the whole world is aware of the importance of mother tongue’s role in early education of Punjab.
“UNESCO also emphasises the importance of mother language at primary level but the Punjab government is deliberately making the children of Punjab ignorant through banning the education in their mother tongue,” he added.
Prominent Punjabi poet and vice-president Punjabi Parchar Farhad Iqbal also called upon the provincial government to follow the orders of Supreme Court about the promotion of Punjabi language. “Teaching of Punjabi language is our fundamental and constitutional right,” he added.
Punjabi activist Afzal Saahir, on the occasion, warned of a hunger strike in front of the Punjab assembly if their demands were not met.
Some other prominent Punjabi activists also stressed the demand of early education in Punjabi and asked the government to take immediate steps to start teaching the language of more than 150 million Punjabis.
Renowned poet Baba Najmi, Ghazala Nizam din, Diep Saeeda, Tohid Ahmad Chatha, Khalil Ojla, Amjad Salim, Rana Abdul Majeed, Shahzad Joya, Biya je, Ziaullah Sara also spoke on the occasion.
Punjabi Saiwaks, poets, intellectuals, lawyers, students and the teachers of different colleges and universities also participated in the rally.
Some participants performed traditional bhangra while others took selfies with the branded cultural truck of Punjabi Parchar organisation.