ISLAMABAD – The Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday issued notices to chief secretary Punjab, speaker Punjab assembly on a petition seeking implementation of Punjabi language in Punjab province.

A three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar took up the case regarding implementation of Punjabi language in Punjab for hearing today.

After hearing the arguments, the top court admitted the petition for preliminary hearing besides issuing the notices to Chief Secretary Punjab, Speaker Punjab Assembly, and Secretary Cabinet Division.

The petition was filed by Syed Kareem, a local citizen. On October 19, 2017, Punjabi Parchar President Ahmad Raza Punjabi filed a writ petition seeking due status to the Punjabi language.

Mr Raza has been fighting for Punjabi language for past five years.

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 the promotion of languages were strengthened.

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, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

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

According to the 2017 Census of Pakistan, 110 million people live in Punjab.