LAHORE: Universities of the province have been asked to use Urdu as the official language with immediate effect and provide all communications in it, The Express Tribune learnt on Tuesday.
A notification issued by the Punjab Services and General Administration Department instructed all university administrations to take immediate short-term measures to comply with orders.
According to the letter, the four-point short-term measures include urgently replacing nameplates outside all offices of staff, administration and faculty written in Urdu. The letter further instructed that all ‘public interest’ documents be provided in both languages – English and Urdu. The documents include forms, bills and statements.
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Furthermore, the letter stated that the website of the varsity and its departments be made available in Urdu along with English. “All pages on the website should provide all information in Urdu,” it added.
The final instruction of the letter was that all departments and institutes should provide Urdu translations to their rules and regulations, laws, policies, announcements and government orders. “All translations should be approved by the Punjab Law and Parliamentary Affairs Department,” the letter stated.
Earlier in 2015, a similar initiative was taken by the federal government. It directed all public and private sector universities to use Urdu as the official language in all their correspondence. The instructions were passed through the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training and the Higher Education Commission (HEC), which directed varsities to translate their respective acts, statutes and websites into Urdu. All higher education institutions in the country were asked to implement the order by September 15, 2015.
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According to the HEC letter, “As per the Article 251 of the Constitution of Pakistan, the national language of Pakistan is Urdu and arrangements shall be made for it being used for official and other purposes. The prime minister of Pakistan has approved a framework. The recipients are directed to take appropriate measures for the implementation of the framework.”
The framework, approved by the HEC and attached with the circular, said public and semi-private departments, under the federal government, had been directed to translate and publish their policies in Urdu within three months. The framework also directed public departments to publish rules and regulations and provide forms to the public in Urdu along with the English language.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 1st, 2017.