Why is Pakistan swapping English for Urdu?

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Al Jazeera

Pakistan is to abolish English as its official language in favour of Urdu.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is backing the move, which would mean a range of government documents – including passports, utility bills and websites – will be published in Urdu.

All speeches made at home and abroad, from the president down to state representatives, will also be conducted in Urdu.

The plan is to completely replace English with Urdu for official business within the next 10 to 15 years.

It follows concerns that many young Pakistanis are shunning their national dress and language to adopt a more Western point of view.

Is this part of a cultural and nationalist revival? Or will it lead to a breakdown in communications?

And how does this translate around the world?

Presenter: Richelle Carey


Javed Siddiq – Resident editor at Nawaiwaqt, a leading Urdu newspaper in Pakistan.

Mandana Seyfeddinipur – Director of the Endangered Languages Documentation Programme at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.

Olga Fischer – Professor of English Linguistics at the University of Amsterdam.


Al Jazeera, “Why is Pakistan swapping English for Urdu?,” Al Jazeera, July 16, 2015. Accessed on July 18, 2015, at: http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/insidestory/2015/07/pakistan-swapping-english-urdu-language-150715161454573.html.

The item above written by Al Jazeera and published in Al Jazeera on July 16, 2015, is catalogued here in full by Faiz-e-Zabaan for non-profit educational purpose only. Faiz-e-Zabaan neither claims the ownership nor the authorship of this item. The link to the original source accessed on July 18, 2015, is available here. Faiz-e-Zabaan is not responsible for the content of the external websites.

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