Feb 04, 2011

Gilgit Baltistan: Shina Language Must Be Promoted

The Shina Language and Cultural Promotion Society urges the recognition of the idiom as national language. Its General Secretary champions the approval of Shina Language Bill.

Below an article published by The Express Tribune 

The chief minister and governor of Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) should play their role in getting the Shina and Balti Language Bill passed in the parliament. This was said by Ishtiaq Yaad, the General Secretary of the Shina Language and Cultural Promotion Society (SLCPS), on Wednesday [2 February 2011]

“We appreciate the efforts of those who introduced the bill in the assembly and now it is up to those at the helm to get it approved,” Yaad told The Express Tribune.

Pakistan will have eight national languages if the private bill introduced in the National Assembly is passed by parliament as a constitutional amendment. The national languages of Pakistan will expand from Urdu only to include Balochi, Punjabi, Pushto, Shina, Balti, Sindhi and Siraiki if the bill is passed. The bill must be passed by two-third majorities in both the National Assembly and the Senate to become part of the constitution.

Yaad said that public representatives including members of the Gilgit-Baltistan Council, legislators, advisors and lawyers must all play their role and not lose the opportunity that this private bill presents. “All should lobby and support the bill to see it through,” he said.

The SLCPS President Shakil Ahmed Shakil, who is also a recognised linguist, said that the importance of a mother tongue cannot be underestimated. According to Unesco and linguistic experts, early age schooling in the mother tongue increases creativity among children, he said.

The SLCPS has done a lot of research to promote Shina’s use not only in G-B but also parts of Kashmir and Chitral. “We have already published 10 books under the umbrella of SLCPS, while another three books are in pipeline,” Shakil added.

Last year, Karakoram International University (KIU) organized an international conference on languages where world renowned linguists participated. Recently KIU also assured cooperation with SLCPS after it launched “Inner Pain”, the first ever audio album on Shina Sufi Poetry.

Yaad said that if steps towards its preservation are not taken, chances are that future generations will not be able to see it.