Heres some more pain, even if you have had enough looking at weeks papers. Rather than going some way forward towards the target of 100% literacy in Punjab by 2015, we are in reverse gear. Expressing concern over this depressing scenario, Dr Allah Bakhsh Malik. Secretary PLPP (Punjab Literacy Promotion Project) has disclosed that the highest number of illiterate people live in Punjab province and this number is actually on the rise. In 2007-08, there were 34 million illiterate persons in Punjab and that number is now risen to 38 million in 2009-2010. While enumerating the factors behind this decline, he probably overlooked the major factor, though; the apathetic attitude of government about introduction of the mother language as a compulsory subject and medium of instruction in primary classes. It is an undeniable fact that the mother tongue as a medium of instruction helps the cause of general literacy. The Secretary PLPP, by the way, did say something to the effect that his department was working on use of mother tongue for basic education and he was also rather hopeful that it would be implemented at some stage. Surely people of Punjab, who have been waiting for this to happen for almost 62 years can wait some more but the period specified for introduction of basic education in mother tongue seems ridiculous. It should be no more than a year and a half. Taking years and years for this would make the job of imparting literacy on a wider scale unrealistic. Literacy, we need to know, is judged globally on basis of the literacy of a people in their own mother language. How an individual, or nation for that matter, be called literate if they cannot read and right in their own mother language?-TARIQ MAHMUD JATALA, Lahore, March 30.