[lg policy] Pakistan: How much longer will Urdu have to wait for its official status?

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at gmail.com
Fri Oct 2 15:15:59 UTC 2015

 How much longer will Urdu have to wait for its official status?

   - National <http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/category/national/>

23 hours ago BY APP
[image: 2000px-Urdu_example,jpg]

Since a lot of water has flown under the bridges, the Supreme Court’s
verdict to honour the long neglected national language with an official
status was landmark but its implementation and restoring lost glory still
seems to be a far cry.

Article 251, clause 1 of the 1973 Constitution says, “The National language
of Pakistan is Urdu, and arrangements shall be made for it being used for
official and other purposes within fifteen years from the commencing day.”
However, in this regard, the Constitution has been kept aside by the
successive governments for the last 27 years.

Talking to APP, Spokesperson of National Language Authority (NLA) and
Official Focal Person for implementation of Urdu as an official language,
Dr. Rashid Hameed said, “Urdu is ‘lingua franca’ for Pakistanis, which is
also understood by the largest number of people in the country.” He termed
the previous governments responsible for failing to fulfill this
Constitutional obligation.

He said the NLA has made a three-pronged strategy for implementing Urdu as
‘Immediate Steps’, ‘Medium Term Steps’ and’ Long Term Steps’, adding that
the implementation of Urdu will not affect other regional languages and
gradually the language would be made as medium of instruction in
educational institutions.

A seven-member Federal Cabinet Committee for Implementation of Urdu was
formed for interaction among the relevant departments for language policy
making, planning, development and its implementation.

He said the Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif backed by his Cabinet has
approved the ‘Immediate Steps’ on July 2, 2015, issuing orders to all
government and semi-government departments working under the federal
government to translate their policies, laws, rules, forms, driving
licenses, utility bills, passport, websites, sign boards, and other
documents into Urdu within three months. He said the steps also include
that the president, prime minister and other federal government officials
should make their speeches in Urdu in the country and abroad.”

The Chairman PAL said the implementation of Urdu and formulation of
language policy should be acknowledged as an academic task, which needs
dedicated work and extensive efforts beyond politics. He urged to formulate
policy only through national language commission while keeping in view the
court’s verdict.

During 1986-87, the NLA published numerous books for official use of Urdu
language and translated thousands of forms into Urdu language for making
its use easy in the offices, he added.

Dr. Inam said the NFB has established a cell for offering services in
drafting and translation of Urdu.

Head of Urdu department, IIUI, Dr.Tayyab Munir said, “China, Korea, Japan,
Germany and France have developed their languages to progress and compete
with other international languages. It is very strange to hear that
Pakistan cannot progress without English, he remarked.”


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