European Journal of Law Reform

Artikel

Linguistic Disharmony, National Language Authority and Legislative Drafting in Islamic Republic of Pakistan

Keywords National Language Authority, National Language of Pakistan, Legislation in Urdu, Plain Language Movement, Urdu Language
Authors Mazhar Ilahi
Author's information

209447 Mazhar Ilahi
The author is a Solicitor qualified in England & Wales currently working as an Associate Research Fellow and Director of the Legislative Drafting Clinic at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London. Previously, he has worked as a Civil Judge/Judicial Magistrate and is practicing as Advocate of High Courts in Pakistan. He is also country (Pakistan) representative of ‘CLARITY’, International Association Promoting Plain Legal Language. The author acknowledges the research facilitation provided by the IALS in writing this article.
  • Abstract

      It is quite interesting to note that first, the first language of most of the population of Pakistan remains different in different geographical regions. Secondly, Urdu, which is the second language of most of the population of Pakistan though declared to be the sole constitutional and official language, is not so accepted by all the communities resident in Pakistan. As a result, and thirdly, the laws of Pakistan are drafted in a non-native language, English, which is mostly the third language of a small fraction of the country’s population . This situation runs counter to the theme of the Plain Language Movement for writing of laws (PLM), which strives to make the laws understandable for its subjects. The problem, in reality, owes its genesis to different ethno-lingual and political issues. However, without going into much detail of these ethno-lingual and political elements, this article aims to analyse the question of the need for linguistic harmony, the main causes of lack of focus upon the same and the role of the National Language Authority (NLA) in the context. In addressing these issues the author concludes that lack of political will to handle the natural ensuing issues of the multilingual features of the Pakistani society and the (English) linguistic hegemony of the ruling elites (civil and military bureaucracy) are the two main causes of the failure of the NLA to administer Urdu as a sole national/official/legislative language of Pakistan.

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