All primary and secondary schools in Islamabad are required to introduce the Arabic language as a compulsory subject after the Senate approved the Compulsory Teaching of the Arabic Language Bill 2020 on Monday.

The bill presented by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Senator Javed Abbasi was endorsed by all members of the upper house, except Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Senator Raza Rabbani who wrote a dissenting note. The bill will be implemented within six months.

As per the bill, Arabic will be taught in schools in Islamabad from grades 1-5, while Arabic grammar will be taught in grades 6-12.


Senator Abbasi said Arabia is “the fifth most spoken language in the world”, adding that it would also open up more job opportunities for Pakistanis in the Middle East. According to the senator, the Holy Quran is in Arabic and “we would not go through the problems we are currently facing had we understood the Holy Quran”.

Parliamentary Minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Ali Muhammad Khan also agreed with Abbasi. He said the bill was in line with Article 31 of the Constitution that says: “Measures should be taken to spend our lives according to the Holy Quran and Sunnah.”

According to Khan, learning Arabic was crucial to “become a good Muslim […] and understand God’s message”.

However, PPP’s Rabbani said that legislation to make Arabic a mandatory language in schools was an attempt to “use Islamic for political purposes”. He further termed this an attempt to erase the diversity of Pakistan by imposing the foreign Arabic culture.

“The Arab culture is not mine, [the] Indus Valley [Civilisation] is my culture,” he said, adding the Arabic language has nothing to do with Islam or Quran beyond being the language it was revealed in.

In a response to The Current’s story on Instagram, PPP Senator Sherry Rehman said that contrary to the media reports, the PPP opposed the said bill.