The status of Balochi language in Pakistan

13 Feb

  The Constitution of Pakistan (1973), states that “any section of citizens having a disticnt language, script or culture shall have the rifht to preserve and promote the same and, subject to law, establish institutions for that purpose”, and “a Provincial Assembly may by law prescribe measures for the teaching, promotion and use of a provincial language in addition to the national language”.

In 1989, Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto gave permission for the use of local languages (Balochi, Pushto, Brahui) in primary education in Balochistan, however there have been several problems associated with this program of mother-tongue education, namely: other language groups also seeking to have their language taught; the lack of teachers who are capable of implementing the program; and the fact that many parents want their children to learn Urdu and English, not a language that will be of little use outside of the immediate community. There is a Balochi Studies section at the Balochistan University in Quetta which teaches and researches the Balochi language and literature. In addition there is a Balochi Academy, also located in Quetta, which both publishes literary works in Balochi and supports the work of literary organisations. The Academy receives limited government funding. There are several Balochi language publications in Pakistan, the two most prominent being Balochi (published in the provincial capital, Quetta) and Labzank (published in Karachi).

The problems of language policy in Pakistan are described by a Baloch student:

“Go and visit all the schoosl in Lyari [an area of Karachi inhabited by many Baloch] and give a language test to the children. You will find that they cannot speak good Urdu or good English. It is due to their mother tongue. If you get education in your mother tongue, you can understand everyhthing. If you don’t, you cannot understand anything.” (Titus, 1996)

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Posted by on February 13, 2011 in Balochi Language Status


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