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Pakistan

Senate approves Compulsory Teaching of Arabic in Islamabad

  • On Monday, the Senate approved the Compulsory Teaching of the Arabic Language Bill 2020, making the teaching of Arabic mandatory in primary and secondary schools in Islamabad.
Published February 2, 2021

On Monday, the Senate approved the Compulsory Teaching of the Arabic Language Bill 2020, making the teaching of Arabic mandatory in primary and secondary schools in Islamabad.

The bill was presented by Senator Javed Abbasi of the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz, and was near-unanimously approved by the other members.

The bill postulates that Arabic will be taught in schools in Islamabad from grades 1 to 5, while Arabic grammar will be taught to grades 6 to 12.

Abbasi mentioned that Arabic is the world's fifth-most widely spoken language and the official language across 25 countries, emphasising that learning Arabic could open up better employment opportunities in the Middle East - subsequently improving remittances.

He also stated that the Holy Quran and daily prayers were read in Arabic and "we would not go through the problems we are currently facing if we understood the Holy Quran.

He added that he was in favour of multiple languages being taught such as Russian, Spanish and English, adding that "No one objected to this [teaching of English] and said that English shouldn't be taught".

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

According to the Minister, learning Arabic was crucial to "become a good Muslim [...] and understand God's message".

However, Senator Raza Rabbani offered a dissenting viewpoint to this decision, adding that the legislation was an attempt by the state to use "Islam for achieving a political agenda", adding that the legislation is trying to eliminate Pakistan's multicultural diversity by "importing Arab culture".

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