KHOST CITY (Pajhwok): Residents complain they could not read and understand billboards, signboards and banners written in foreign languages in the capital of southeastern Khost province, urging authorities to remove them.
They say they hardly understand signboards written in Urdu and English languages and face problems in finding addresses.
A moneychanger, Mohammad Nasir, told Pajhwok Afghan News he often noticed many individuals entering a wrong place because they did not understand signboards installed outside shops, health centres and others.
He said most people did not understand Urdu and English and if these signs were written in Afghan languages, it would facilitate local residents in finding their required addresses.
“All signboards written in English and Urdu languages should be changed to Pashtu because a majority of Khost dwellers are Pashtuns,” he said, asking the government to take action in this regard.
In the same street, a moneychanger has installed a signboard in front of his shop. The sign reads “Aryana Moneychanger” in English. However, the shop owner did not appear for comments.
Similarly, mobile phone selling shops have also displayed banners and signboards written in foreign languages. One signboard reads: “Tele Link; Behtarin and Mayari Mobile Phone Series” in Urdu.
A resident of Khost City, Mohammad Anwar, told Pajhwok Afghan News that the government, particularly the Ministry of Information and Culture, should take effective steps to remove all signboards, billboards and banners written in foreign languages.
He said such action by the government would be a service to Pashtu language and would enable local residents to understand them.
In the medicine shops market, Karim, who sells food items, has installed a board in English. When asked, Karim said he had no idea at the time that his wish to have a signboard in English would create problems for people.
“The government itself has ignored this culture. If it imposes fines, no one would dare display boards in foreign languages,” he said.
Khost Information and Culture Director Mohammad Amin Shah Ulfat called it a serious problem and said it was his department’s responsibility to remove such signs.
He said they had removed many such signboards last year, but they reappeared over the past few months.
Ulfat said they planned to convince shop owners to use signboards written in local languages through awareness programmes.
“If the awareness programme did not help, we will once again launch a crackdown on such signs in cooperation with police and the municipality,” he said.
The culture director urged the authorities responsible for issuing permits for construction of buildings for shops, health and education not to allow people to erect billboards, signs and banners written in foreign languages.
Besides nearly 12,000 shops, Khost City is home to a large number of health and education centres, dozens of non-governmental organisations offices and private universities.
Citizens say if the government succeeds in replacing all billboards in foreign languages with those written in Pashtu and Dari, it would help strengthen the governance and implement the law.