Governor of Pakistan's Punjab province, Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar, has made the Quran with translations a mandatory subject for all university students. On June 15th, as the chancellor of all universities in the province, he issued a notification that read, "Lecturers in all universities of Punjab will teach the Quran with translation to all students." It also mentioned that the Quran would be taught alongside Islamic studies, which is already in the curriculum of university students.
Back in April, the governor made a seven-member committee of vice-chancellors to suggest how to include the teachings of the Quran in the curriculum of all provincial universities. Later in a press conference, post committee meeting, he mentioned that the Quran is a complete code of life, and it will be compulsory for every student to learn the Quran with translations as it will help them win Allah's favor.
Pakistan has already passed legislation to be implemented from August 2021, which introduces a single national curriculum throughout the country that mandates the Quran's teaching from class I to XII. Under the law, it would be mandatory to teach the Quran in Arabic to students from class I to V and the Urdu translations from class VI to XII to ensure the knowledge of the entire book by the end of class XII.
This new legislation has been introduced conveniently after teaching the Arabic language was made compulsory in Islamabad. The school students are burdened with this new addition, as reported by DW News. Most students aiming for different career paths like art or science are feeling pressured to study a bunch of new subjects, including a whole new language, which deems utterly unnecessary to their career.
Under this new legislation in the Punjab province, the notification issued by the governor states that "the Quran course may have equivalent to one credit hour per year (Theory/Practical) as the relevant University feels appropriate. However, the HEC limit of total credit hours in Undergraduate program must be followed." It also adds that "the assessment of the Quran course must require each candidate to pass/fail. The student may be further assigned a grade as in any other credit subject, if University feels necessary/appropriate." As for the non-muslim students, the subject of Ethics will be taught in place of the Quran.
Islami-Jamiat Talaba, the Islamic students' outfit of famous religious group Jamaat-e-Islami, had long been demanding that the government include Islamic studies in the curriculum. Reactions of the people indicated that the governor is trying to appease the right-wing groups with this new legislation. One top official said, "The Quran learning with translation should be made mandatory in the primary school instead of making the university students attend the Quran classes. It seems the Governor Punjab has taken the decision to win support of the Islamic groups which are quite strong in the province."