Published Date: Dec 6, 2019
We have more than 75 languages in Pakistan but most of them are dying because our young generation is not connected to local languages anymore.”
This was stated by poet and historian Ahmed Salim while speaking at a concurrent session, ‘Endangered South Asian languages in a digital age’ on the last day of ‘Sustainable development in a digital society’ conference on Thursday.
This session was moderated by human rights activist and writer I.A. Rehman, who said barriers imposed on languages should be removed.
Emphasising the need to delink politics with languages, Niaz Nadeem from Indus Cultural Forum said politics had taken its toll on languages especially in Sindh and even private schools do not offer Sindhi as a language course.
Zaman Sagar from Forum for Language Initiatives said parents should teach their children local languages and encourage them to speak.
Moreover, adding local languages in textbooks will also help in preventing ancient languages from becoming extinct.
The role of policy making forums, academia and civil society was unanimously put forth by the panelists.
“Linguistic diversity should be celebrated just like cultural diversity,” said Zubair Torwali from Idara Baraye Taleem-o-Taraqi.
In another session on‘Digital Financial Inclusion: Challenges and Opportunities’ PPP MNA Syed Nadeem Qamar accused banks of discouraging people in using electronic money transfer by imposing high taxes.
He said change in public behaviour is the only challenge in the way of financial inclusion. Founder of Easypaisa, Nadeem Hussain, said there are enough elements in place to make Pakistan completely digital.
Dr Nathalene, Dr Fatima Chemali, Ruwa Altaf, Asma Sherazi and Ruda Bahadur highlighted issues being faced by women at a panel discussion, ‘Role of women in media and a digital society’.
Meanwhile, renowned leaders from different fields paid tributes to the founder of Lahore University of Management Sciences (Lums) Syed Babar Ali at a grand plenary titled ‘Living Legends of Pakistan Plenary: Life and Work of Dr Syed Babar Ali’. Sustainable Development and Policy Institute (SDPI) Executive Director Dr Abid Qaiyum Suleri presented him the ‘Living Legend’ shield in recognition of his meritorious services for humanity.
Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce, Textile, Industry and Production Abdul Razak Dawood, Higher Education Commission (HEC) Chairman Dr Tariq Banuri, former Finance Minister Sartaj Aziz and others appreciated Dr Babar Ali’s work. In another session titled ‘Ease of Doing Business in Pakistan: A Case for Tax Harmonisation’ experts called upon the government to decentralise, devolve and delegate the tax authorities and its administrative functions at district level.