LAHORE (Sarfraz Ali) – Intelligentsia, students, teachers and members of Punjabi Parchar held a protest demonstration here the other day in front of Lahore Press Club against the step-motherly treatment being meted out to mother language Punjabi by the government.

Mazhar Tirmizi, Parveen Malik, Tariq Jatala, Farhad Iqbal, Diep Saeeda, Khalil Ojhla, Afzal Sahir, Jamil Ahmad Paul, Tauheed Ahmed Chattha and Bilal Kahloon were among those present on the occasion.

They urged the government to begin teaching the language at schools across the province.

They held banners inscribed with slogans calling for the promotion of use of Punjabi.

“The importance of mother tongue is recognised universally,” Punjabi Parchar President Ahmad Raza Punjabi said.

He said Punjabi, on the other hand, had been languishing across all levels.

Addressing those present on the occasion, he said making mother tongue the medium of instruction across primary schools was the need of the hour.

Punjabi alleged that the government had been deliberately striving to render the children of the province ignorant.

He said the right to education in mother tongue was afforded in all other provinces.

The Punjabi said the government had failed to give the same right to the people of the province.

Other speakers on the occasion said the works of some of the great mystics of the nation were in Punjabi.

They said youngsters were unaware of their works as the language had not been taught to them in schools.

The protestors said they would stage a sit-in before the Provincial Assembly and fast onto death if they were not accorded the right.

They said Article 251 of the Constitution made it binding on provinces to take adequate steps to promote regional languages.

The demonstrators said the government had not been fulfilling this constitutional obligation.

They said it had also been repeatedly ignoring their pleas in this regard.