Furthering its ties with China, the Pakistan government, on Monday, February 19, approved a motion making Mandarin an official language in the country.
The decision was reportedly made so that people working on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) could communicate with each other easily, said ANI, citing reports by AbbTakk News.
As China and Pakistan have been working together on several projects, it is being said that Pakistan approving Mandarin as an official language in the country could also strengthen its ties with Beijing. Not just that, Pakistanis are showing a keen interest in learning Mandarin as it may just translate to job opportunities in the east Asian country, according to Dawn.
However, the move has not gone down well with quite a few people, including those from Pakistan itself. Slamming the decision, Pakistan's Ambassador to the US Hussain Haqqani tweeted: "In a short span of 70 years, Pakistan has flirted with promoting four languages that were not the mother tongue of many people in the country - English, Urdu, Arabic, and now Chinese -- ignoring native languages."
Pakistan doesn't recognize languages such as Punjabi, Pashto, and Sindhi even though they are widely spoken in the country.
Since Mandarin was approved in Pakistan as an official language, Twitter has been on a roll talking about how the move doesn't really make sense. Several users have also said Pakistan should, in fact, value its languages, instead of trying to please China.
That's an ultimate example of loyalty ???— Papi Pet (@pet_papi) February 20, 2018
44% Pakistanis speak Punjabi & rest speak Sindhi, Pashto, Balochi & host of other languages. Ignoring all these languages, Pak just declared Chinese (Mandarin) to be an official language of the nation. And no one in Pak speaks Chinese. Pakistan totally respects hard cash.— Kamal K Mishra (@kamalKantmishra) February 20, 2018
Ignoring all languages spoken in Pakistan, Pak just declared Chinese (Mandarin) to be an official language of the nation where no one speaks Chinese.#Pakistan Has Sold It's Soul To #China. They Can Do Anything To Get Money To Fund Their Terror Camps In Dream Of Getting #Kashmir. https://t.co/7DlxDBnl6Q— Vaibhav Khambayat (@V_Khambayat) February 20, 2018
While the move has clearly surprised many, Pakistan's minister for planning and development Ahsan Iqbal had in 2017 said that Islamabad was studying a proposal to replace the US dollar with the Chinese Yuan so that trade between the two countries become easier.
Pakistan and China are known to have close trade ties and also laid a framework for the One Belt One Road initiative last year. The two nations have signed agreements worth over $50 billion that includes the development of the Gwadar port and an airport in Balochistan province. The two nations also intend to upgrade and maintain the railway track between Karachi and Peshawar for trade.