ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court was informed on Friday that the government had declared Urdu as the official language and now heads of the country, including the president, prime minister, federal ministers as well as senior government officials, will deliver speeches in Urdu in the country and during foreign tours.
The court was told that Urdu translations of government departments’ policies and laws will be published within three months.A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Jawwad S Khawaja, heard the constitutional petition of Kokab Iqbal for declaring Urdu as the official language.
During the hearing, Secretary Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Azam Khan informed the court that the cabinet had approved the summary of declaring Urdu as the official language and the prime minister had signed the administrative order on July 6.
Under the said administrative order, heads of the country, including the president, prime minister, federal ministers as well as senior government officials, will deliver speeches in Urdu in the country on national days.
Azam Khan, while submitting the prime minister’s order in the apex court, said dignitaries representing Pakistan during foreign tours will address in Urdu. However, the international audience will be provided English transcript of their speeches.
The secretary information further said that proceedings of the government functions as well as receptions will be conducted in Urdu and this process will be initiated step wise in three months.
During the hearing, Justice Jawwad observed that the province of Balochistan had promulgated the Language Act of six languages besides holding the local bodies elections. While addressing the additional advocate general, Punjab, he said the government of Balochistan had promoted the Punjabi language but Punjab did nothing for the promotion of Punjabi language.
Meanwhile, the court directed that a copy of the report submitted by the federal government be provided to the petitioner and adjourned the hearing till July 22.On the last hearing of the case, the secretary information had told the court that they had sent the summary to the secretary Cabinet Division for approval after giving recommendations for the enforcement of Article 251 of the Constitution.
Since the petition was filed in the apex court, the court stressed the enforcement of Article 251 that specifically relates to the national language. It says, “The national language of Pakistan is Urdu, and arrangements shall be made for it being used for official and other purposes within fifteen years from the commencing day.”
It further reads that “Subject to clause (1), the English language may be used for official purposes until arrangements are made for its replacement by Urdu”. It further elaborates that without prejudice to the status of the national language, a provincial assembly may by law prescribe measures for the teaching, promotion and use of a provincial language in addition to the national language.On June 5, 2015, the court had given the last chance to the federal government for declaring Urdu as the official language after the government submitted a report on the issue.
The News, ” PM, other officials to address in country and abroad in Urdu ,” in The News, July 11, 2015. Accessed on July 12, 2015, at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-38537-PM-other-officials-to-address-in-country-and-abroad-in-Urdu
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