ISLAMABAD: Speakers on Saturday demanded for constitutional protection of all languages at the Pakistan Mother Languages Literature Festival.
The mother tongue literature festival is being held at the Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA).
Speaking at a session titled ‘Constitution of Pakistan and Protection of Mother Languages’, renowned human rights activist I A Rehman said that the state should ensure that all languages are equal and respected equally. The constitutional provisions on protection of languages should put the obligation on state to protect languages and it should be responsibility and not an option.
Rehman said demand for respect for mother languages should be part of central agenda for democratic rights and freedoms.
Speaking on the occasion, former Balochistan chief minister Abdul Malik Baloch said effective measures should be taken for protection of the native and mother tongue.
Baloch further demanded the preservation of all languages spoken in the country for next-generation. “How can one make progress without being able to speak his mother tongue,” he said.
The former chief minister said that although all languages spoken around the world were beautiful but expressing emotions in the mother language was unparalleled.
Baloch added that the people were afraid to think in a country whose democratic history was not glorious and constitutional history was also stained. People were afraid of words such as Baloch, Sindhi, Punjabi, and Pashtun, he said.
He said his aim was to strengthen the country when the 18th Amendment was being done in the Constitution however the goal remained unachievable. It was the right of every person to get education in his mother tounge, he added.
Former senator Afrasiab Khattak said that the tale of languages was the tale of democracy. He added that national progress could be achieved through this kind of interactive session.
Khattak said that language was the basis of the disintegration of East and West Pakistan, adding that the one-unit system lasted in the country for 14 years which his party opposed.
“Pakistan is not just Islamabad it is all of its four provinces,” the former senator said, adding that the rights of different languages in the country were infringed. India has 22 official languages, he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 23rd, 2020.
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