Pakistan went ahead with making Arabic compulsory in schools is what came as a bit of a shocker. Considering the nation has always taken pride in its language, Urdu.
The Senate in Pakistan recently approved the Compulsory Teaching of the Arabic Language Bill 2020 which makes the teaching of the Arabic language mandatory in primary and secondary schools in the country.
The bill, presented by PML-N Senator Javed Abbasi, was approved with almost no opposition by any member of the Senate. The sole person contesting the bill happened to be Pakistan People's Party, Senator Raza Rabbani.
The bill is to be implemented in the next six months, following which Arabic will be taught in schools in Islamabad from grades 1 to 5, while Arabic grammar will be taught to grades 6 to 12.
For jobs or political agenda?
While presenting the bill, Abbasi argued that Arabic is the fifth most widely spoken language of the world and the official language of 25 countries. His reasoning was also embedded in religion as he said the Holy Quran and daily prayers were read in Arabic. "We would not go through the problems we are currently facing if we understood the Holy Quran." Apart from this, he said learning Arabic would open job opportunities for Pakistani youth in the Middle East.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan said the government categorically supported the bill. He cited Article 31 of the Constitution that said, "Measures should be taken to spend our lives according to the Holy Quran and Sunnah." He also said that Arabic was mandatory if one wanted to become a "good Muslim." Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam Senator Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri said, "Arabic is the language of the Heavens," and how it could help in understanding the Holy Quran.
Raza Rabbani,the sole dissenter of the bill, said the state was attempting to use Islam in order to promote a political agenda. He also said the state was trying to stifle the multi-cultural and multi-lingual diversity of Pakistan by importing 'Arab culture.'
Turkish second in line?: Twitter reaction
Strong reactions are usually evoked when there is some clarity about the issue at hand. To be shocked or to be surprised is a tough choice especially when one doesn't know what to make of the news.
Considering Turkish series Ertugrul and Turkish dramas, in general, have a massive fan following in Pakistan, a few questioned, "Why not Turkish?" Or maybe it is next on the cards, as a second compulsory language.