Pakistan to replace English with Urdu as official language

Urdu to be a second medium of language while all official business will be bilingual

Web Desk July 29, 2015
Urdu to be a second medium of language while all official business will be bilingual.

Pakistan has finally confirmed a long-running rumour of dropping English as its official language and switching to its mother tongue, Urdu.

In an exclusive interview with TIME, Pakistan's Minister of Planning, National Reforms and Development Ahsan Iqbal established that the change would come about as a result of a court directive.

However, an exact time frame was not provided.

Passed in 1973, the Constitution of Pakistan under Article 251 specifies that the government under all circumstances, must make Urdu the national language within 15 years; however, the law is yet to be implemented.

Read: President, prime minister to deliver speeches only in Urdu, even on foreign trips

However, Iqbal clarified that switching from English to Urdu does not mean that the prior would be abandoned entirely and would still be taught in schools along with Urdu.

“This means that Urdu would be a second medium of language and all official business will be bilingual,” he added.

While some Pakistanis fear that the change would be a drawback for their children, Iqbal argued that the move will allow Pakistan to become more democratic as it will "help provide greater participation to people who don’t know English; hence, making the government more inclusive."

Though several languages are spoken in Pakistan, English takes the lead among the elite and government ministries.

Read: Mother tongue day: ‘Regional languages and Urdu should join hands’

Further, according to the CIA Factbook, nearly half of Pakistanis speak Punjabi, while only 8% speak Urdu. Several other languages are spoken by a fraction of the population.


Meanwhile, India too has a similar clause in its constitution, however it continues to use English as well as Hindi as its official languages.


This article originally appeared on TIME


ahmed41 | 7 years ago | Reply @pakistani: NOT Arabs but genetically SOUTH ASIANS
Naseem Khan | 7 years ago | Reply @MUNIR hyder shah: Agreed. India didn't bother creating a separate National language and here we did make Urdu as a National Language. They believe Unity is in Diversity and that Diversity should remain for Unity. Over there South Indians, mostly dont speak Hindi.. But still they are the same Indian by hear.. And what is Urdu? Urdu is the language of the 1947 migrants from North India.. Like Lucknow.. It would have been better that Punjabi, Baluchi, Pashtun, Sindhi would have been Official languages at the centre, and not just provincial level, as well.
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