Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Amidst CPEC push, Pakistan makes China’s Mandarin an official language



The Pakistani senate has passed a motion declaring Mandarin as one of the official languages of the country, in a bid to enhance communication in projects like the big-bang China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

The move also points to Pakistan increasingly slipping out of America’s ambit and getting closer to China.

The move, which is reportedly aimed at helping people connected with CPEC to communicate easily, brings India’s two hostile neighbours Pakistan and China closer together.

According to the motion moved in Pakistan’s senate, the step was necessary in view of the country’s ties with China and it would help people connected with CPEC to communicate easily.

In Pakistan, Punjabi is widely spoken in Punjab province while Pashto and many other native languages are spoken in other provinces. These have not been declared official languages of the country. Instead the country is promoting languages other than native languages.

“In a short span of 70 years, Pakistan has flirted with promoting four languages that were not the mother tongue of many people in the country – English, Urdu, Arabic, and now Chinese – ignoring native languages,” Pakistan’s former ambassador to the US Hussain Haqqani tweeted.

Pakistanis are more interested in learning the Chinese language than ever before as they expect that knowing Mandarin would mean more job opportunities in Pakistan and China, according to the Dawnnewspaper.

China has been lending heavily to Pakistan of late with the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) lending around $1 billion, including a$500 million loan contracted a few days ago.

The new borrowing from the Chinese financial institution has also helped support a strong rupee against the US dollar and finance the trade deficit, according to reports.

It was the second loan that the ICBC has given to Pakistan to support its diminishing foreign currency reserves, which are largely used to defend a strong rupee and finance the trade deficit.

The ICBC had also given $500 million in October last year.

Meanwhile, intelligence agencies in the US have warned President Donald Trump that Pakistan is increasingly slipping out of America’s grip and getting closer to China.

Meanwhile, US intelligence agencies have warned Congress that Pakistan will continue to slip out of America’s influence and enter China’s orbit by 2019, becoming a threat to Washington’s interests in the South Asian region, according to a report in the Dawn.

The agencies warned Pakistan will continue to threaten US interests by ”deploying new nuclear weapons capabilities, maintaining its ties to militants, restricting counterterrorism cooperation, and drawing closer to China.”

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