Linguistic recommendations


Misplaced priorities


The notion that introduction of Arabic as a language course in schools will help curb terrorism is ridiculous and that this view has been presented as a bill in the National Assembly is worrying. A JUI-F MNA moved the bill and was not even present to debate on it. It nonetheless got support from mainstream parties including PML-N and PTI.


Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Libya – just to name a few – are all Arabic speaking countries that have been torn apart by the menace of terrorism. Therefore the argument that knowing how to read, write and speak Arabic will automatically result in a more liberal and peaceful interpretation of the Quran is an oversimplification and a disservice to the actual debate that should be taking place – what to do to effectively combat this latest wave of terrorism.


In the same week the Lahore High Court (LHC), with reference to a 2015 Supreme Court decision, has ordered that the CSS exam be taken in Urdu rather than in English. Although this transfer will not be possible in 2017, a committee is hard at work to implement it by next exam season.


For decades the syllabi from primary school all the way to higher education comprises of suggested course material that is in English. Course books for the CSS exam are also in English. In case this backward thinking has to be implemented no matter what then firstly all course material from the beginning of a child’s education will have to be translated into Urdu except language subjects.


Will the Urdu language be updated to incorporate words that don’t exist but are common in the English language? What about the complex terminology that makes up most of the literature in scientific subjects? It simply is neither realistic nor fair to abruptly demand students to conform to this lunacy.


A plethora of undecided cases are present in the LHC. Similarly plenty of issues that should be debated in the National Assembly ranging from social to economic are ignored. Instead both these branches of government repeatedly display how misplaced their priorities really are.