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Pakistan : Punjab Assembly approves use of Punjabi language in legislative sessions

This unprecedented decision allows lawmakers to address the House in Punjabi, Saraiki, Potohari, and Mewati, in addition to English and Urdu

Written by  Shefali Kohli -- June 08th 2024 09:42 AM
Pakistan : Punjab Assembly approves use of Punjabi language in legislative sessions

Pakistan : Punjab Assembly approves use of Punjabi language in legislative sessions

Pakistan : In a historic step toward linguistic inclusion, Pakistan's Punjab Assembly has legalised the use of Punjabi and other regional languages in legislative sessions. 

This unprecedented decision allows lawmakers to address the House in Punjabi, Saraiki, Potohari, and Mewati, in addition to English and Urdu.


The modification, proposed by a special committee chaired by Speaker Malik Muhammad Ahmad Khan, represents a substantial shift in the Assembly's approach to language and representation. 

For years, legislators required specific permission to use any language other than English or Urdu, a barrier that frequently hampered productive communication and cultural expressions. This barrier has been removed, allowing for a more authentic and inclusive legislative process.

The amendment aims to improve accessibility for constituents who speak these regional languages, enhancing the representativeness and responsiveness of the legislative body. It also reflects the province's multilingual nature, allowing legislators to engage more effectively in discussions.

Speaker Khan emphasised that recognizing and incorporating regional languages into official proceedings shows cultural respect and acknowledges Punjab's linguistic heritage, thereby strengthening the Assembly's connection with the people.

However, there is controversy over whether Saraiki, Potohari, and Mewati are dialects of Punjabi or separate languages. While speakers of these languages consider them distinct, some hardcore Punjabi speakers regard them as dialects.

This change is particularly significant in a province as diverse as Punjab, where linguistic variety is a testament to its rich cultural tapestry.

- With inputs from agencies

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