PESHAWAR: Celebrating the International Mother Language Day, representatives of different political parties and civil society organisations on Saturday urged the government to work for promotion of regional languages and set up a regional languages authority for the purpose.

In this connection a seminar titled ‘inclusion of all languages of KP in public education’ was organised by a coalition group regarding regional languages at Peshawar Press Club here where adviser to chief minister, Abdul Haq, was chief guest.

Members of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly, including Jaffar Shah of ANP, Saleem Khan of PPPP and Mohammad Ali of Jamaat-i-Islami, participated as keynote speakers. Representatives of over 27 regional languages, languages’ activists, educationists, researchers and people belonging to ethno-language communities from across the province attended the event.

The CM’s adviser said on the occasion that the provincial government was taking steps for promotion of regional languages. He agreed with proposals for promotion of regional languages in the province.

Seminars held to mark International Mother Language Day

Other speakers said that culture had fallen prey to the government policies of prioritising English at the expense of indigenous languages. Ignoring those languages has severed ties between indigenous youth and their ancestors, damaging the confidence of people, they said.

Jaffar Shah said that progress could only be made through promotion of regional languages. He said that despite the passage of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Promotion of Regional Language Authority Act 2012, the provincial government failed to establish the authority for promotion of over 27 regional languages in the province.

He lamented that the KP government had allocated Rs60 million for establishment of regional language authority, but no practical step was taken in this regard. He said that political leadership was not sincere to protect own culture and traditions.

MPA Saleem Khan said that the lack of indigenous education would continue to keep the youth away from own cultures. He underscored the importance of educating youth in their own cultures along with using indigenous languages to educate them.

MPA Mohammad Ali asked the government to take pragmatic steps for promotion of regional languages and educating youth on their culture, traditions and norms.

On this occasion, a resolution was unanimously adopted by the participants, calling for immediate establishment of KP Regional Language Authority.

Another function was held at the QWP central secretariat with the party’s provincial chairman Sikandar Sherpao in the chair. The participants demanded national status for all mother languages and inclusion of Pakhtun heroes in textbooks. Members of different civil society organisations also held demonstrations outside the press club and demanded due official status for their regional languages.

In Karak, speakers at a function in connection with the mother language day said that the Pakhtun history, culture, national distinctions and traditions should be made part of the syllabus to inform the young generation about the history of Pakhtuns.

District president and general secretary of Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party Rafiullah Khattak and Dr Ishaq Khattak also spoke at the function. They said that the regional languages had been ignored since the creation of the country. They demanded that Pashto should be given the status of national language in the land of Pakhtuns. They said that the education syllabus should also be prepared in Pashto language.

The speakers said that all other regional languages spoken in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa should also be promoted.

In Chitral, speakers at a function asked the provincial government to equally treat all the local dialects and avoid promoting one language at the cost of others.

The speakers, including Inayatullah Faizi, Prof Mumtaz Hussain and others, criticised the government for shelving a number projects for the promotion and preservation of regional languages initiated by the former government.

In Khar, a seminar was held on Saturday in connection with the mother language day where speakers urged the government to make Pashto a medium of instruction in government schools of Fata.

Bajaur Pashto Adabi Karwan organised the seminar at the press club where Anwar Nigar, Bakht Zada and Mohammad Jan highlighted importance of the mother language day.

Published in Dawn, February 22nd, 2015

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