Directions given for the implementation of Urdu as the official language of Pakistan

Supreme Court of Pakistan: Deciding upon the present Constitution petition concerning the issue of implementation of Article 251 of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan which mandates the State to adopt Urdu as the official language of the country, the three judge bench of Jawwad S. Khawaja, C.J., Dost Mohd. Khan and Qazi Faez Isa, JJ., directed the Federal and Provincial Governments, and the statutory, regulatory and oversight bodies to implement the mandate of Article 251 without further delay and take steps to translate the Federal and Provincial laws in Urdu. The Court further directed that the judgments of public interest litigation’s and judgments enunciating a principle of law must be translated in Urdu. Citizens suffering due to the violation of the mandate of Article 251 shall be entitled to enforce their civil rights which may accrue to them on the account of the violation

In the present case, the petitioner Kowkab Iqbal, (appearing in person) argued that the mandate of Article 251 should have been implemented within 15 years from the date of coming into the effect of the Constitution, however there has been intentional delay from the side of the authorities, thus creating a societal and linguistic divide in the country.

The Court, reprimanding the Government for failing to introduce Urdu as the official language despite the existence of a Constitutional mandate under Article 251 and several rulings of the Court on this point, observed that implementation of Article 251 has a practical implication for the Pakistani public, as in the governance of the country, use of English is hardly necessary as majority of the public are not familiar with it. The Court further clarified that the present decision does not aim to belittle English language, for it is the language of international trade and commerce. Mohd. Kowkab Iqbal v. Govt. of Pakistan, 2015 SCC OnLine Pak SC 3decided on 08-09-2015

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