Several Indian media outlets incorrectly reported on Monday that Pakistan’s Senate had recognised Mandarin as an official language in the country. The confusion stemmed from a resolution moved in the Senate of Pakistan by senator Khaleeda Parveen on February 16, 2018. The resolution recommended providing Mandarin courses for current and future Pakistani CPEC staff. CPEC stands for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. It includes areas ranging from infrastructure to information technology projects that are currently being developed in Pakistan.
Below is a screenshot of the resolution that was to be discussed on Monday from a document tilted ‘Senate Secretariat Orders Of The Day’ that BOOM was easily able to find. (Click here to view the entire link)
Here ‘courses of the Official Chinese Language should be launched’ was misinterpreted and misreported as making “Chinese” language official.
The resolution was passed on February 19 . A website named CPEC Info which provides information on CPEC activities said the classes were a joint initiative of the Pakistan-China Institute (PCI) and the JS Group.
The misinformation began with a tweet from Pakistan’s Abb Takk; a local television channel with a verified Twitter handle. Abb Takk’s tweet incorrectly stated that (Pakistan’s) ‘Senate Approves Motion to Declare Chinese as Official Language.’
— AbbTakk (@AbbTakk) February 19, 2018
Pakistani Senate approves motion to declare Chinese as ‘Official Language’. Not to forget that regional languages of Pakistan face extinction and Senate wants to impose Chinese because of #CPEC? pic.twitter.com/vQsWj5Julf
— Naila Inayat (@nailainayat) February 19, 2018
This was promptly lapped up by journalists across the border in India. Caustic comments were made about the diplomatic ties between Beijing and Islamabad.
Ne Hao Terroristan! Pak Senate approves motion to declare Chinese as Official Language (now Chinese masters will speak to slaves in the official language of Pakistan) https://t.co/HDHE0OOApN
— GAURAV C SAWANT (@gauravcsawant) February 19, 2018
Meanwhile in Pakistan: China’s juggernaut rolls on. Chinese declared official language. https://t.co/6KBIhxkkOx
— Shekhar Gupta (@ShekharGupta) February 19, 2018
Wires news agency ANI, wrote an entire story citing Abb Takk. ANI’s story also included a tweet by Pakistan’s former ambassador to the United States, who took Abb Takk’s tweet as the final word.
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, & now Chinese —ignoring native languages. https://t.co/6y0zKvK20m
— Husain Haqqani (@husainhaqqani) February 19, 2018
(Correction: This story has been updated to reflect that Hussain Haqqani is a former ambassador)