NAUSHAHRO FEROZE: Pakistan is a multilingual country where the question of linguistic prejudices will always hover around. Parents educate their children in the languages of power — Urdu and English — in our country. This attitude has triggered some serious issues. If not resolved timely, this friction will pose serious threats to indigenous languages and precious knowledge related to endangered languages.
Whether or not to use the English language is a big conundrum, especially for children living in rural areas, for whom huge portions of the curriculum in English is often incomprehensible. It is important to fight for everyone’s linguistic rights. Ultimately, all children should have the right to learn subject matters in their mother language. In order to function as a multilingual democracy, Pakistan has designed various language policies. But despite enlightened policies, many languages, both big and small, are under threat. Languages of linguistic minorities and the indigenous peoples suffer most. This is largely because of an education system that is not only poor in quality, but is often also not in the mother tongue. Solutions include: more reliable information on languages in the country; more flexibility in dealing with language disputes; and most importantly, improving the education system.
Mohsin Ali Mahesar
Published in The Express Tribune, February 14th, 2015.