Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto
(World Punjabi Conference – 1992)
I am sure the distinguished writers and intellectuals from home and abroad will evolve a methodical framework to achieve the rightful place for the Punjabi language which embodies a wonderful Sufi tradition starting from Baba Farid over seven hundred years ago. The Sufi poets of the region rebelled against the status quo and relentlessly fought against obscurantism, oppression, intolerance and worldly avarice.
I have no doubt that the mother tongue is the strongest vehicles for effective communication. That is why Pakistan People’s Party has always advocated the adoption of mother tongue as a medium of institution at primary level. In fact PPP made this commitment in its election manifesto. This is my considered opinion that languages of the people of Pakistan deserve proper rightful place should be resisted. PPP will always stand by those who are engaged in the preservation of all the regional languages and culture along with the national language and culture.
It is, however, ironic that no one hand intellectuals are putting in prodigious efforts for the promotion of Punjabi language and culture but at the same time the present day political culture in the land of the five rivers is pervaded with corruption, bureaucratic excesses, intolerance and obscurantism. The writers, poets, intellectuals and artists of the province have to resist this canker gnawing at the heart of their culture. They are duty bound to cleanse Punjab of chauvinists and jingoists who are driving wedge between the people of this province and of other provinces.
Linguistic and ethnic polarization has plagued our body politic and are formidable challenges to an effective democratic dispensation. Lets pledge that we will struggle for our rights and will not play in the hands of opportunists whose politics is through and through anti-people. All the languages of Pakistan can achieve their rights in a democratic set-up, under a government which is committed to the poor and the down trodden.
I am confident the day is not far when the oppressed people of this country will be the masters of their destiny and the mother tongue spoken by them will get its rightful place. I wish the distinguished delegates very purposeful deliberations on the problems associated with the development of Punjabi language and culture. I congratulate Mr. Fakhar Zaman, Chairman World Punjabi Conference for organizing this international moot.