ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s upper house of parliament on Monday approved the Compulsory Teaching of the Arabic Language Bill 2020 which makes Arabic classes mandatory at all primary and secondary schools in the capital, Islamabad, Pakistani media reported.
The bill, which is to be implemented within a period of six months, was presented by opposition senator Javed Abbasi and approved by all members of the Senate, except Raza Rabbani from the opposition Pakistan People’s Party who gave a dissenting note.
The bill next requires approval by the National Assembly Standing Committee on Education and then by both the Senate and National Assembly to become law.
“We would not go through the problems we are currently facing if we understood the Holy Qur’an,” Abbasi said on the floor of the house while arguing for the bill.
Arabic, the official language of over 25 countries, would open up more job opportunities for Pakistanis in the Middle East and lead to lower unemployment and increased remittances, the senator said.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, Ali Muhammad Khan, concurred with Abbasi, saying that the government “categorically supported” the bill. He added that according to Article 31 of the constitution, “measures should be taken to spend our lives according to the Holy Qur’an and Sunnah.”
Rabbani, however, said the legislation was the state’s attempt to use “Islam for achieving a political agenda,” adding that such moves would eliminate Pakistan’s multicultural and multilingual diversity.