ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday doubled down on the need to speak in the national language and hit out at those who consider knowing English as a yardstick for intelligence.
Addressing the inauguration ceremony of the Hyderabad University in the federal capital, he lamented that despite Urdu being the national language public speakers choose to speak in English.
“Bilawal delivers his speeches in English when addressing the parliament. This is patronising and insulting to the more than 90 per cent of Pakistanis who can’t speak English,” he said.
Earlier in the day, Bilawal delivered a speech in English while addressing party supporters at an event to commemorate the death anniversary of PPP founder Zufliqar Ali Bhutto.
“We know the majority don’t understand the language. Why do we then speak in English on public forums [in the country] despite knowing Urdu?” he inquired.
PM Imran said there was an overriding sense of inferiority among such people who believe they won’t be considered educated unless they speak in English. He said that the trend dated back to the era of Pervez Musharraf as part of his ‘enlightened moderation’ policy. “In that period, we picked up certain western values and habits that are an aberration for our society. We need to change this trend.”
He also lashed out at his rivals for opposing the establishment of the university in Hyderabad. “If you can’t support the idea, at least don’t oppose it as higher education is the need of the hour,” he added.
The prime minister went on to say that his government has had success in improving educational and employment numbers by setting up universities, including Namal College in Mianwali.
“Those studying in Namal College have the drive to succeed and the desire for social mobility. By providing them a nurturing environment, we are helping them achieve their dreams,” he remarked.
Imran added that he was also working for the setting up of a private university near Jhelum, where special emphasis will be placed on the teaching of two subjects: science and sufism.
He said there was a lack of educated scholars on Islam in the country, which resulted in a lack of coherent response in the face of attacks of blasphemous nature. “People will carry out extensive research on the life of the Holy Prophet as well as other notable figures of Islamic history,” he added.
The premier also lauded the efforts of parliamentarians of Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) for their efforts in the establishment of the university as well as their role as members of his federal cabinet. He said that the PTI and MQM-P have similar ideologies and visions.
“I’d say that there are no cabinet members who are more soft-spoken than Khalid Maqbool and Farogh Naseem,” said Imran about the two MQM-P cabinet members. “We might even contest the next election in a coalition,” he added.
Fawad lashes out
Federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry on Thursday said that if the founder of PPP was alive today, he would have announced protest march against the corruption of present day PPP.
He said this in response to the speeches of Asif Ali Zardari and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari at Garhi Khuda Bux in which they called on their supporters to march to the capital and oust the government. “If the PPP respects the courts, then why and against whom have they announced the protest?” he said while advising the PPP to review its own record on corruption.
He said that the PPP was still capitalising on the legacy of its founder and Benazir Bhutto in a way similar to what the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) does with Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. “How long will the PPP leadership use the names of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto for personal gains?”
He said that such speeches and threats could not save them from the accountability process. “If the PPP leaders take to the streets, the nation will still hold them accountable, he said.