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September 24, 2020

‘Differences within linguistic groups harmful for country’

Islamabad

September 24, 2020

Islamabad : Rahat Saeed, founder of Irteqa Institute of Social Scientist, Karachi, has said that differences within linguistic groups, sects and social strata are harmful to the province of Sindh as well as the country and we should strive to put an end to it.

Mr Rahat was speaking at a seminar on ‘Role of languages for promoting political harmony and peace among the people of Pakistan’ organised here by Senior Journalists Forum at National Press Club Library. Eminent social scientist Dr Nazir Mahmood was in the Chair.

Mr Rahat said that differences were created between people speaking different languages in Sindh.

He said that Karachi was detached from Sindh to make it the capital of the new country. But after the formation of One Unit, the issue subsided. He also referred to the separation of East Bengal during British Raj.

He said that Centre is still controlling many functions in Karachi like access to seaport. He said apart from linguistics, the difference also erupted between rural and urban areas in the country. He called for ending the hatred between followers of different languages, ethnicity, and sects. He said that Pakistan is a country of many nationalities coming together.

He said that urban areas in big cities like Karachi could not get the opportunity to understand the history of Sindhi civilisation but smaller cities like Nawabshah and Sukkur got to know this. The people who live in Sindh should work for Sindhi and improve the situation from wherever they came and whatever language they speak which include Punjabis, Balochis, Pathans and Tharis.

He urged residents of Karachi and Hyderabad to do not pay heed to powers that have vested interest in divide and rule. He emphasised the creation of a Sindhi Yekjehti Forum to work for the unity of all segments of society to get united and try to achieve the objectives of unity in Sindh.

In the question hour, a journalist raised the issue of jobs and the distribution of wealth. He said that Urdu speaking people take the urban/rural quota system an issue that is used to divide the people. He said that the religious divide is also complicating the situation as one sect is more in Urdu speaking while Pashtoons in Karachi are supportive of another sect. He denounced MQM recruiting people on linguistic grounds during their rule and now PPP following the suit. He expected from Bilawal Bhutto to handle the situation in a better way. He said that PPP can do some improvements as it has a host of intellectuals who can try to solve these issues.

In reply, Mr Rahat said that if we take on political issues, this may lead to polemics in the start so we want the would-be forum to take along all sections.

Nasir Zaidi, General Secretary, PFUJ, said that all issues erupted due to the building of a negative narrative in the past during Muslim League rules. He said that the resulting Fascism will be anti-language, anti-culture, and anti-democratic.

He said that State narrative is the biggest problem that started soon after Independence with the “Urdu only” mantra.

A lady participant said that people equated the arrival of a linguistic group from India to locust invasion but we should ignore such things. She called for preserving local and provincial languages and we should support the demand of declaring provincial languages as national languages.

Dr Nazir said that we can change our religion but not language. He said that now the trend is on first language, the language your children are most exposed to. Many in Pakistan have English as first language of their children. Mother tongue is in the background now and one reason for this state of affairs is economics.