LAHORE -  The 3rd International Sufi Conference on similarities between Persian and Punjabi language was held at the Punjab Institute of Language, Art and Culture on Tuesday.

Dr Muhammad Saleem Mazhar, writer Fakhar Zaman, president of Piam-e-Noor University, Iran Dr Mohammad Reza Zamani and Minister for Information and Culture Punjab, Fayyaz-ul-Hassan Chohan were the speakers on the occasion.  Speaking at the seminar, Fayyazul Hassan said: “Pakistan and Iran have very strong historical relations. The bilateral relations between the two countries are anchored with very strong foundations. Both the states have deep religious, ethnic, cultural and linguistic bonds. Iran and Pakistan have enjoyed a close and mutually beneficial relationship and our friendship is a pacesetter for amicable relations between countries.”

Speaking about the importance of Punjabi language, Sukhi Bath, who came from Canada, said: “One of the modern era’s recent trends in the sphere of social-political and lingo-cultural affairs is the global campaign for the promotion of mother tongues, particularly in regard to educational and academic perspectives. It would not be wrong to say that the Punjabi-speaking community in Pakistan is unique in the world for unlike the general psyche of the people and ethnic-lingual societies, it does not bracket together any symptoms of pride, emotional foray, national prestige or social-cultural survival with its language.”

He continued: “I am a businessman in Canada. I have signed 50 MOUs with different universities in the world to promote our Punjabi language. This is my second visit to Pakistan and whenever my country needs me I will surely come.”

PILAC Director Dr Sughra Sadaf said: “Special thanks to all honourable panelists for taking out time and speaking on this topic, which is always neglected in our society. Punjabi literature and history enjoy deep-rooted foundations and are very rich intellectually and aesthetically. Baba Fareed Ganj Shakar, Baba Guru Nanak, Hazrat Shah Hussain, Hazrat Waris Shah, Khawaja Ghulam Fareed, Hazrat Sultan Bahu and Mian Mohammad Bakhsh are some of the most prominent stars on the horizon of Punjabi Sufi and classic literature. It is highly ironic to discern that the most people of this, otherwise, the most developed and educated province of the country are illiterate according to the basic definition of ‘literacy’ that declares a person who can read and write in his mother tongue ‘literate’.”