‘Shina, Balti should be recognised as national languages’

General Secretary of the SLCPS urges approval of Shina and Balti Language Bill.

Shabbir Mir February 03, 2011

GILGIT: The chief minister and governor of Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) should play their role in getting the Shina and Balti Language Bill passed in the parliament. This was said by Ishtiaq Yaad, the General Secretary of the Shina Language and Cultural Promotion Society (SLCPS), on Wednesday.

“We appreciate the efforts of those who introduced the bill in the assembly and now it is up to those at the helm to get it approved,” Yaad told The Express Tribune.

Pakistan will have eight national languages if the private bill introduced in the National Assembly is passed by parliament as a constitutional amendment. The national languages of Pakistan will expand from Urdu only to include Balochi, Punjabi, Pushto, Shina, Balti, Sindhi and Siraiki if the bill is passed. The bill must be passed by two-third majorities in both the National Assembly and the Senate to become part of the constitution.

Yaad said that public representatives including members of the Gilgit-Baltistan Council, legislators, advisors and lawyers must all play their role and not lose the opportunity that this private bill presents. “All should lobby and support the bill to see it through,” he said.

The SLCPS President Shakil Ahmed Shakil, who is also a recognised linguist, said that the importance of a mother tongue cannot be underestimated. According to Unesco and linguistic experts, early age schooling in the mother tongue increases creativity among children, he said.

The SLCPS has done a lot of research to promote Shina’s use not only in G-B but also parts of Kashmir and Chitral. “We have already published 10 books under the umbrella of SLCPS, while another three books are in pipeline,” Shakil added.

Last year, Karakoram International University (KIU) organized an international conference on languages where world renowned linguists participated. Recently KIU also assured cooperation with SLCPS after it launched “Inner Pain”, the first ever audio album on Shina Sufi Poetry.

Yaad said that if steps towards its preservation are not taken, chances are that future generations will not be able to see it.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 3rd, 2011.


sams | 12 years ago | Reply why leave wakhi
Ajaz Hussain | 12 years ago | Reply Its a great step taken. Shina Balti and Brushki should be included in national languages list.
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