Senate passes bill mandating Arabic language classes in all Islamabad schools

The bill states that the Arabic language will be taught in schools in the federal capital from grades 1 to 5, while Arabic grammar will be introduced to grades 6 to 12.

On Monday, the Senate approved the Compulsory Teaching of the Arabic Language Bill 2020.

The bill makes the teaching of the Arabic language mandatory in primary and secondary schools in Islamabad.

A student learns Arabic at NUML University’s Arabic department in Islamabad. (Arab News/Sana Jamal)

The bill was presented by the PML-N Senator, Javed Abbasi, and approved by what would have been a unanimous vote by Senate members, if the PPP Senator, Raza Rabbani, had not given the sole dissenting note.

The ministry concerned will enact the bill within six months.

The bill states that the Arabic language will be taught in schools in the federal capital from grades 1 to 5, while Arabic grammar will be introduced to grades 6 to 12.

Abbasi said Arabic is the world’s fifth most widely spoken language and the official language of 25 countries.

Countries where Arabic is used as an official language.

He emphasized that learning Arabic could open up more job opportunities for Pakistanis in the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA) and lead to lower unemployment and increased remittances.

He also said the Noble Qur’an and daily prayers were read in Arabic, and “we would not go through the problems we’re currently facing if we understood the Holy Qur’an.”

He added that he favored multiple languages being taught, such as English, Russian, and Spanish.

“No one objected to this [teaching of the English language] and said that English shouldn’t be taught.”

Ali Muhammad Khan, the Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, concurred with Abbasi, saying that the government “categorically supported” the bill.

He added that as per Article 31 of the Constitution, “Measures should be taken to spend our lives according to the Noble Qur’an and Sunnah.”

According to Khan, learning Arabic was vital to “become a good Muslim” and “understand God’s message.”

The Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (F) Senator, Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, also voiced his support for the bill and said, “The Arabic language is the language of the heavens.”

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Rabbani, meanwhile offering his dissenting note, claimed that the legislation was the government’s attempt to use “Islam for attaining a political agenda.”

He further added that the government was trying to eliminate Pakistan’s multi-lingual and multicultural diversity by importing “Arab culture.”

“The Arab culture isn’t mine, [the] Indus Valley [Civilisation] is my culture.”

Rabbani said that the bill would prioritize Arabic over local languages when, according to him, Arabic had “nothing to do with Islam or the Noble Qur’an beyond being the language it was revealed in.”

“We do not need a certificate from anyone of being a Muslim,” Rabbani said.

Compulsory Teaching of the Arabic Language Bill (2020)

Abbasi earlier moved the bill in a Senate Standing Committee meeting on Federal Education in October 2020.

The committee had endorsed the bill and directed the Federal Directorate of Education and the education ministry to complete tasks related to its implementation within six months.

The bill next needed approval by the National Assembly Standing Committee on Education and then by the Senate and National Assembly.

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  • میرے خیال سے ہمیں اپنی۔ اردو زبان کو ہی فوقیت دینی چاہیے کبھی انگلش سیکھیں کبھی چائنیز سیکھیں تو کبھی عربی ۔کیا کبھی عرب ملکوں نے کہا کہ ہمیں بھی اردو آنی چاہے ؟

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