Senator Muhammad Javed Abbasi raised the bill titled “Compulsory Arabic Language Education in Islamabad, Bill, 2020. The bill was introduced by Senator Rahila Magsi, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the federal education, vocational training, national history and literary heritage and approved by the Senate. The current government of Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has decided to make the Arabic language compulsory from level I to XII in the territory of the capital of Islamabad, including educational institutions affiliated with the Federal Council for Middle Education and secondary throughout the public sector. institutions owned and controlled by the federal government. In the meantime, it will be further extended to acquire knowledge of the Holy Quran with translation in schools, colleges and universities across Pakistan to better understand the ocean of knowledge embodied in the Holy Quran.
In addition, according to a new education system, students have to memorize the verses of the Holy Quran to gain an in-depth insight into the Holy Book. In addition, these reforms in the education system of Pakistan consist of the Arabic language as compulsory in schools in Islamabad. Meanwhile, the current government of Pakistan gives the logic of the policy that it will help the students to understand the Holy Quran not only in Arabic but also the translation into a more understandable and easier language. Likewise, learning the Arabic language will open up opportunities for Pakistanis throughout the Middle East region.
As for the critics, they keep an anti-perspective on the new Arab education system in the country. Such as distinguished scholar and educator, Parvez Hoodbhoy, shared his perspective on the new policy of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government that it is not just Islamization but rather the Islamization of the space of forehead. In addition, he explains that Islamization during the reign of Prime Minister Imran Khan is much faster than the reign of General Zia-ul-Haq, who started the trend of infusing religious education in the country. According to him, this is propaganda by certain entities for political purposes. Further, he explained that the government of Pakistan is ruining the future of the country through its children by introducing a unique national program that would bring Islamabad back to the dark ages.
Meanwhile, Senator Raza Rabbani, a leader of the secular Pakistani party called the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), maintains that cultures cannot be artificially promoted. Further, he explains that “the state of Pakistan has tried to impose an artificial culture to end diversity within the country by denying its status as a multiethnic, multilingual and multicultural country.” Likewise, Rabbani prioritizes culture by saying that “Arab culture is not mine, Indus Valley civilization is my culture.
Coming to research and scientific study on mother tongue and foreign language as well as other languages, study favors mother tongue over another language. Research shows that the mother tongue is of crucial importance for cognitive, psychological and personality development, education and learning. The mother tongue plays a key role in shaping an individual’s personality and their thought process. In this regard, a prominent scholar Vygotsky explained that infants are born with abilities such as attention, sensation, perception and memory; therefore, the first language has an important role in shaping our personality, our thoughts and our lives. In addition, Professor Alice Mado Proverbio said that a direct connection between heart, brain and language is made when speaking in the first language.
Additionally, Proverbio explained that the mother tongue triggers a series of associations in the brain because the mother tongue is the language one uses to think, dream and feel emotions. Likewise, several studies based on psychological, social and educational experiences show that mother tongue learning is deeper, faster and more effective. Additionally, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) conducted a study in 2004 and found that “immersion programs can be successful in teaching students to decode words in language. dominant language, but it can take years before they discover the meaning of what they are reading. “In this regard, students score higher on tests and higher levels of comprehension and stay longer at the school when taught in the language they speak at home.
When it comes to respect and reverence for the Arabic language, not only Muslims living in Pakistan but also all Muslims living in any part of the world give great respect and importance to the language in which the Holy Quran is also revealed. because it is the mother tongue of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW). Meanwhile, each country and region has its own culture, language, traditions and geography according to which it must behave, develop policies and take actions that prove most appropriate and beneficial to its people. While, logically, scientifically, rationally, philosophically as well as religiously (if taken correctly and rationally), the mother tongue is considered to be the most effective and appropriate language in which a child’s cognitive ability operates. better and could discover the hidden talent of the children in which they want to proceed. It is the mother tongue in which a child understands and explores the multiple perspectives of life better than a foreign language or another language.
Therefore, one wonders what could be the reasons for the decision of the current government to make the Arabic language compulsory first in the capital and then throughout the country? If we take a look at Pakistan’s problems regarding economy, finance, society, politics as well as religion, we find multiple issues in which the current government has failed to address the results expected by Prime Minister Imran Khan in front of his government. Likewise, many leaders throughout history have used multiple strategies to hide their ineffectiveness and incompetence in order to distract people’s minds from real issues. Moreover, these types of issues have mostly political reasons and ends and are brought up by leaders who fail to respond. In this regard, they try to raise sensitive issues to divert people’s minds and minds to other issues to mask their ineffectiveness and poor governance as people remain strangled in such issues which do not exist but are created. by them.
So, this could be one of the reasons why the current government wants to distract people’s minds from real problems by generating artificial problems like compulsory teaching of Arabic language in Islamabad, Bill, 2020.
* The writer teaches in the Department of Defense and Strategic Studies at Quaid-i-Azam University in Islamabad, Pakistan.