The Chairman's speech

The initiative to teach Bilawal Urdu and Sindhi is praiseworthy as it will enable him to connect with people better.

Suha Jafri December 15, 2011
After reading a recently published article about Bilawal Bhutto Zardari being made to learn Urdu and Sindhi before leading the Pakistan Peoples Party, I began wondering how important language is to culture and politics in Pakistan. Is Bilawal any less worthy of leading the PPP if he is not fluent in Urdu or Sindhi? Is language an important factor in determining whether one is capable of being a good leader?

In a culturally diverse country such as Pakistan, language is definitely an important factor for everyone because the majority of the population cannot speak or understand English, which is listed as Bilawal’s first language. He may possess qualities that every good future leader must have, but if he cannot connect with his people, the chances of his success look slim. It is a widely accepted fact that language binds a community together and forms part of one’s identity.

People across the globe find it easy to get acquainted with people who speak the same language as they do and often they feel a sense of pride in the language they speak and the culture they represent. Pakistan is home to five major languages and various other regional languages. Most people in the country are bilingual since the national language, Urdu, is understood and spoken by at least 90% of the population. It is interesting to note that Urdu is the first language of only 8% of the population. The language is said to be a symbol of unity because it emerged as a combination of the many languages spoken in the subcontinent region.

Just as language binds people to others and gives people a sense of belonging, the people also look for a connection to the leaders of their country. The person representing us must be one of us too. Which is why I think the initiative to teach Bilawal Urdu and Sindhi is praiseworthy. But it would be even better if he could speak more than one provincial or regional language of Pakistan. Why stop at Sindhi? Why not aim to be fluent in Punjabi, Pashto and Balochi as well and prove to Pakistanis everywhere what he is capable of.
Suha Jafri A sub-editor at the national desk at The Express Tribune who is a recent graduate from The University of Manchester.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


ahsan | 12 years ago | Reply he cant even say bhutto properly
Taha Ceen Tayyab | 12 years ago | Reply First of all a nice write up after a long time I have come across a blog that is balanced and the writer despite of being opinionated has successfully been able to put the bias on leash. Now as for Bilawal he is simply white trash inside a brown skin. It doesnt get worse than that. But he will one day rule our country for sure and we wont be able to do anything about it. So hail Bhutto and hail Pakistan!
Replying to X

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

For more information, please see our Comments FAQ