Urdu as official language: Supreme Court to hear contempt pleas against PM

Published: January 24, 2016



The top court will soon take up two contempt petitions against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for not notifying Urdu as the national language, despite explicit court orders.

The three-judge apex court bench headed by Justice Mushir Alam will hear the petitions on January 28.

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Mehmood Akhtar Naqvi and Mian Zahid Ghani have taken the premier to court for violating its September 8, 2015, verdict and delivering official speeches in the English language on several occasions.

The bench will also take up the Punjab government’s review plea to revise its judgment only to the extent of obligating the respective governments to translate all available laws from English to Urdu within three months.

In September, the Supreme Court had asked the government to consider and implement Urdu as the official language within three months.

This means the translation to Urdu of all the competitive examinations at the federal level besides the judgements in cases relating to public interest and judgements according to Article 189.

Similarly, in the court cases, the government departments should make all reasonable efforts to submit their replies in Urdu to enable citizens to enforce their legal rights effectively.

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The court had said if subsequent to this judgement, any public bodies or public officials continued to violate the constitutional commands of Article 251, citizens who suffer a tangible loss directly and resulting from such violation shall be entitled to enforce any civil rights.

The petitioners claim the Punjab government has already completed the translation of around 150 different laws, which now have been uploaded on the official website. Expression of interest has also been floated in daily newspapers for outsourcing of translation of laws of Punjab.

The provincial government has also received proposals against the expression of interest and the process of consultant selection is likely to be completed soon.

The review petition, however, states it is humanly and practically impossible to adhere to the time span of three months suggested by the top court for the translation of laws from English to Urdu — considering the vast reservoir of laws on different subjects.

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“It is on account of this inconsistency and problem that the provincial government is constrained to file this review petition,” the petition reads, adding the court should consider extending the three-month condition to a reasonable period.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 24th, 2016.

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Reader Comments (20)

  • Sodomite
    Jan 24, 2016 - 10:53AM

    This happens when a country goes to the dogs . Recommend

  • Malik Bhaijan
    Jan 24, 2016 - 11:57AM

    Urdu is the mother tongue of around 8 million mahajir people. It was enforced upon us by the generals in the name of “national identity.”
    Pakistan can never learn. Never.Recommend

  • Ali
    Jan 24, 2016 - 1:34PM


    Yess it’s about 8 millions butt we have to find our identity not be Punjabi,Pathan,muhajir etc etc
    First to be a Pakistani and then ethnic! Recommend

  • Sajjad Ali
    Jan 24, 2016 - 1:37PM

    Well! He is very good in English by the way Lol :)
    An English man cannot understand his high level english hahahha.Recommend

  • rex minor
    Jan 24, 2016 - 3:16PM

    @Malik Bhaijan:
    The so called Urdu speaking muhagirs should be assisted to integrate into the indigenous communities and be taught local language. The state should pay for the costs.

    Rex minorRecommend

  • Parvez
    Jan 24, 2016 - 3:44PM

    We are trying to run even before we are able to walk……. the SC is being unrealistic. Recommend

  • Rex Minor
    Jan 24, 2016 - 4:13PM

    Yess it’s about 8 millions butt we have to find our identity not be Punjabi,Pathan,muhajir etc etc
    First to be a Pakistani and then ethnic!
    You do not find an identity for 8 millions urdu speaking migrants by making urdu as the official language for punjabi, sindhi or pashto majority thereby restricting the further development of indigenous Natins? Pakistan is neither America nor Australia or Canada all relying on immigrants from foreign Nations, but a country made up of several Nations with their unique cultures and traditions. .

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • Feedback
    Jan 24, 2016 - 4:51PM

    I feel sorry for this man, he has got a fauji boot on his head and SC boot on his tail. The PM with no powers at all, being dictated all the time. Recommend

  • shazada malik
    Jan 24, 2016 - 4:53PM

    Urdu is essetial.if.Pakistan is.to.make.progress. Malik.bahijan is.an idiot.and does.not understand.the value of being educated.Recommend

  • Haji Atiya
    Jan 24, 2016 - 5:06PM

    If Urdu, then in that case move the capital and federal government back to Karachi !Recommend

  • Malik Saab
    Jan 24, 2016 - 5:53PM

    @shazada malik: For the progress we do not need any enforced language. We need science, technology, innovation, tolerance and acceptance. Let us accept the diversity and let us not enforce anything. Also English is the language of Science and Technology and we should stick with it. Also kindly elaborate that how lack of acceptance of difference of opinion makes you more educated than others?. Recommend

  • Salim Khan
    Jan 24, 2016 - 6:24PM

    Why Urdu? Its an Indian language. We must use English as a language of communication. That way we will progress faster.Recommend

  • Raj - USA
    Jan 24, 2016 - 7:53PM

    Take out Urdu from Pakistan, there is no Pakistan. Pakistan’s linguistic identity, not just within Pakistan, but throughout the world is Urdu only and not any other language. That being said, it is not wise for Supreme Court to rake up this issue at this time now. Recommend

  • Rationalist
    Jan 24, 2016 - 8:35PM

    Urdu is the official language in a country where the majority populace is compromised of Punjabi, Pashtun, and Kashmiris…what kind of democracy is this? Urdu is a modern invention imposed on us by the Mughals.Recommend

  • muhajir
    Jan 24, 2016 - 11:58PM

    We should continue with English as the official language.. The language which needs to be given attention and taught should be Arabic Recommend

  • Al Kemal
    Jan 25, 2016 - 3:53AM

    Please pl, Let’s not open up a new Pandora Box of URDU as national language.
    It was accepted from the day one unanimously that, Urdu would be national language of Pakistan and that other regional languages, Baluchi, Panjabi, Pasto, Sindhi would progress side by side in their respective regions and there is no reservation or after thought what so ever. The living example is that, in interior Sindh most of the government business performed in Sindhi since last so many years………… Recommend

  • Asad
    Jan 25, 2016 - 5:00AM

    Has anyone ever seen Chinese,French or Turkish Prime Ministers addressing in English? No,because they are proud to speak their national language unlike British obsessed Pakistanis.Speaking your national language is a strong sign of patriotism.No question about this.Recommend

  • Khwaja
    Jan 25, 2016 - 5:20AM

    Nawaz sahab why don’t you take the middle ground…let’s go for Arabic and switch our sabbath from Sunday to Friday. Uncle Zia’s soul would rest easy. And if course you would own the super intelligent masses. Recommend

  • Rex Minor
    Jan 25, 2016 - 6:31AM

    Has anyone ever seen Chinese,French or Turkish Prime Ministers addressing in English? No,because they are proud to speak their national language unlike British obsessed Pakistanis.everl lnguages as

    And what is your National language Sir? English is a lingua franca which is adopted by all those who do not have a National language. One could have more than one National languages in which case one does not require a lingua franca like in switzerland.

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • tariq
    Jan 25, 2016 - 6:32AM

    I am not sure why Urdu should be the official languange, it is clearly not the language of the people of the land, the local languages are Punjabi, Sindhi, Pushto etc. Urdu is an imported languange imposed upon Pakistan, might as well have Arabic or Persian Recommend

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