LAHORE, Feb 20: Constitutional, moral, legal and democratic rights of the Punjabi people are being usurped by the establishment, putting the integrity of Punjab in danger.

“Anti-Punjabi language forces within the establishment and anti-Punjabi mindset of the rulers are hampering enforcement of Punjabi as official, academic and legal language in Punjab,” said Punjabi Language Movement convenor Chaudhry Nazeer Kahut at a rally near Shimla Pahari on Sunday.

“The 150 years old undeclared and unofficial ban on basic education in mother tongue in Punjab be abolished and systematic cleansing of Punjabi language in Punjab be stopped. Punjab wants its mother tongue back. Punjabi children should be given basic education in their mother tongue just like the children in rest of the world.

The official discrimination against the mother tongue of 100 million people of Pakistan should be stopped immediately,” said a charged Kahut.

No language could survive without the official patronage and it was time for the rulers to give Punjabi language and people their due rights. Punjab based politicians, religio-political parties and rulers, both dictators and elected ones, played no role to promote the Punjabi language.

“The proposed National Language Constitution Amendment Bill 2011, with its highly divisive nature and controversial contents, is a potential threat to the very existence of the country. It may push the country into an endless and large scale ethnical and lingual conflict.

Integrity of the country will be at stake if the bill is passed in its present form. It is not acceptable to Punjab in its present shape. Sindhi, Punjabi, Pushto and Balochi, being the majority language of the federating units, should be declared national languages of the country,” he said.

Tariq Mahmud Jatala, Dr Dilshad Tiwana, Ghazala Alam, Kausar Tiwana and Umer Mahota called for an end to official discrimination against Punjabi language.

Movement delegates from Jhang, Sargodha, Multan, Sahiwal, Jhelum, Bahawalpur, Mianwali, Khushab, Gujrat, Faisalabad, Rawalpindi, Attock, Bahawalnagar, Nankana Sahib and Dera Ghazi Khan; Punjabi writers and intellectuals and activists of Punjabi Adbi Sangat, Khoj Garh, Khaksar Tehreek,  National Youth Forum, Boli Research Centre, Punjabi Sangat Pakistan, Punjabi Markaz, Sver International, Punjabi Writers Forum, National Students Federation, Punjabi Union, Pakistan Punjabi Adbi Board and Punjabi National Conference attended the rally.