LAHORE - Students, teachers and a large number of civil society members have demanded the constitutional right of education in their mother language - Punjabi.

They staged a rally on Saturday outside the Lahore Press Club to press for their demands. Article 251 of the constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan binds the provinces to adopt necessary measure for promotion, teaching and usage of regional languages but despite of continuously repeated requests Government of Punjab has not taken any step in this direction and has not adopted measures to teach Punjabi in the schools, they stated.

The rally was headed by Ahmad Raza Punjabi, the president of Punjabi Parchar. Addressing the rally, he said that whole of the world is aware of the importance of mother tongue’s role in early education of Punjab. UNESCO also emphasise the importance of mother language at primary level but the Punjab government is deliberately making the children of Punjab ignorant through banning the education in their mother tongue, he added.

“This is the core reason the government is still unable to increase the literacy rate in the province,” he pointed out. The right of education in the mother language has been given to other provinces, but in Punjab such a right is still denied by the government,” he added.

Some other prominent Punjabi activists also stressed the demand of early education in Punjabi and asked government to take immediate steps to start teaching the language of more than 150 million Punjabis. They warned that if the right of education in mother language will not be given, a hunger strike will be staged in front of Punjab assembly till the fulfilment of such constitutional demand.

Tariq Jatala, Farhad Iqbal, Deep Saeeda,,Khalil Ojla, Afzal Sahir, Jamil Ahmad Paul, Mazhar Tirmizi, Mushtaq Sufi, Biya je, Tohid Ahmad Chattha, Bilal Shaker Kahaloon and other prominent Punjabi activists attended the rally.