Mother Languages Literature Festival ends with the message ‘Every language is equally important’

DG PNCA Dr. Fouzia Saeed, Representative of FOSI Ms. Nargis Sultana, Program Head FES Muhammad Anwar and CEO SAMAR Mr. Mazhar Arif sitting on stage during the 5th Mother Languages Literature Festival in PNCA Islamabad. PC: PNCA
Our Staff Reporter

ISLAMABAD: All the languages should be given equal importance and constitutional protection, recognition of all languages will strengthen Pakistan. This was the crux of the second day at 5th Pakistan Mother Languages Literature Festival held in Islamabad. The festival coincides with international mother languages day falls on 21 February, highlights the potential of Pakistan’s linguistic and cultural diversity. More than 150 Writers, intellectuals, artists and activists from up to 20 Pakistani languages took part in this year’s festival.

The second day of the festival organized by Indus Cultural Forum in collaboration with Pakistan National Council of the Arts and other partners was full of literary, cultural and intellectual attractions. Other partners of the festival include Governments of Sindh and Punjab, Foundation Open Society Institute, Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom Pakistan, Alternative Research Initiative, Society for Alternative Media and Research, ECO Science Foundation and Pakistan Science Foundation.

Speaking at a session titled ‘Constitution of Pakistan and Protection of Mother Languages’, renowned human rights activist I A Rehman said the state should ensure that all languages are equal and respected equally. He said constitutional provisions on the protection of languages should put the obligation on the state to protect languages and it should be responsible and not an option. He said demand for respect for mother languages should be part of the central agenda for democratic rights and freedoms.  

Former Chief Minister of Balochistan and President of National Party Dr Malik Baloch said that his government introduced and implemented legislation to provide mother tongue-based education at primary level. He said recognition of all languages will not put any language in danger but it will strengthen Pakistan because every citizen will feel respected and will respect others.

Senator Sassui Palijo of Pakistan People’s Party said she has moved a bill to recognize major languages of Pakistan as national languages during the previous government. She said she continues to struggle for passage of that bill but she feels resistance from those who are centralists and don’t want languages to be recognized.

Former Senator Afrasiab Khattak said that the state of Pakistan will become stronger if all languages are recognised. He said all parties should work together to get equal status for languages. This session was dedicated to Fakhrudin G Ebrahim and renowned writer and educationist Zubeida Mustafa paid tribute to late Fakhrudin G Ebrahim. The session was moderated by Zafarullah Khan.

Other important sessions of the day included the situation of mother languages based education in provinces. Renowned educationist Dr Tariq Rehman spoke about techniques through which mother languages based education can be taught effectively. In other sessions over 30 books of a different mother, languages were launched. A session was also held on how to counter fake news. The situation of the theatre was also discussed in a session.