A Critical Analysis of the Language Planning and Policy (LPP) in Pakistan and its Impact on Indigenous Languages of Pakistan

Furrakh Abbas
School of Languages, Civilisation and Philosophy (SLCP), Universiti Utara Malaysia, Kedah, Malaysia & Department of Linguistics, University of Okara, Pakistan
Siti Jamilah Bidin
School of Languages, Civilisation and Philosophy (SLCP), Universiti Utara Malaysia, Kedah, Malaysia
Keywords: language planning and policy (LPP), indigenous languages, Pakistan, ethno linguistics


A well-devised formulation of language planning and policy creates a sense of ownership among speakers of all languages. At the same time, its absence may lead to asymmetrical power relations among speakers of different languages. This article aims at presenting a critical analysis of language planning and policy (LPP) in Pakistan and its impact on the indigenous languages of Pakistan. The research draws on secondary sources of data such as the policy documents, the research articles written on language planning and policy in Pakistan and the views of the language critics. The data shows that the language policies devised at various times in Pakistan have failed to prove fruitful as the multilingual language profile of the country was not taken into deep consideration. Critics argue that the policy practices at the national level patronized the use of Urdu and English at the cost of indigenous languages. Language planning and policy (LPP) reflects an ambivalent attitude as some provinces paid attention to it as a sensitive matter; others ignored it altogether. Overall, language planning and policy (LPP) shows traces of colonial imprints. The promotion of the English language resulted in its emergence as a power and status symbol, while that of Urdu resulted in ethnolinguistic resistance. Therefore, there is a dire need to build solidarity with all the languages, acknowledge them, and provide them equal growth opportunities through effective LPP. The implications of the research highlight that equal growth opportunities must be provided in practice to all indigenous languages. It is recommended to overhaul language planning and policy in Pakistan. If the situation of unequal growth persists and the existing deep sense of deprivation suffered by local ethnolinguistic groups is not alleviated, it may lead to devastating consequences.

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