Every country has its own mother tongue or a national language; in Pakistan we have two official languages, Urdu and English. The intensity of language issue can be judged from a tiny and perhaps unnoticed news item, when President Asif Ali Zardari turned down the request of newly elected PM Nawaz Sharif to take oath in Urdu, on the pretext, that he was not well versed in the national language. How paradoxical is that a PM from Punjab, wants to take oath in the national language, and a President from Sindh cannot speak Urdu?

The news of taking oath by MPA’s belonging to Sindh, taking oaths in their mother languages, KPK and Balochistan have also followed. I have nothing against anyone taking an oath in any language, but it is very important that we do not promote provincialism. The country has suffered badly for this reason for the last six decades and we need to bring everyone under the same umbrella. This scenario clearly accentuates the urgency to amend the constitution, and make a homogeneous language policy to satisfy all four federating units or we can declare Punjabi, Pashto, Sindhi and Baloch also as national languages of Pakistan. It is time to learn from history, and never forget, that it was language issue which sowed the seeds of secession in the heart of Bengalis.


Lahore, June 7.