ISLAMABAD: The federal government told the Supreme Court on Friday that the prime minister had issued directives to grant official status to Urdu language, after which the president, the prime minister, federal and provincial ministers, and government employees will deliver speeches in Urdu — whether inside or outside the country.
Appearing before a three-member bench headed by Justice Jawwad S Khawaja, Federal Secretary for Information and Broadcasting Mohammad Azam said following orders from Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, websites for government institutions, utility bills, driving licences, passports and other documents will carry text in Urdu as well.
Earlier, the federal government had asked heads of departments to implement a cabinet decision to gradually introduce Urdu as the official language.
According to a circular, heads of government departments have also been asked to propose ways through which Urdu could replace English as the official language.
On May 14 this year, the cabinet decided that Urdu would replace English as the official language as stated in Article 251 of the Constitution.
Article 251 of the Constitution
(1) The National language of Pakistan is Urdu, and arrangements shall be made for its being used for official and other purposes within fifteen years from the commencing day.
(2) Subject to clause (1), the English language may be used for official purposes until arrangements are made for its replacement by Urdu.
(3) 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.