Punjab bans 100 books for carrying blasphemous, anti-Pakistan content
Islamabad - Critical review of the books revealed 'distorted facts about Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Allama Iqbal'
The curriculum board of Pakistan's Punjab province has imposed an immediate ban on at least 100 books with a plan of banning many more being taught in private schools for carrying blasphemous and anti-Pakistan content.
The Punjab Curriculum and Textbook Board's (PCTB) Managing Director Raj Manzoor Hussain Nasir, took the decision on Thursday, stating that it had been reviewing at least 10,000 books being taught by private schools across the province.
"In the first phase, PCTB has banned 100 books of 31 publishers including Oxford and Cambridge for blasphemous, immoral and anti-Pakistan content," he said.
"The PCTB has formed 30 committees for this purpose."
Nasir said that critical review of the books revealed that "distorted facts about Pakistan and its creation, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Allama Muhammad Iqbal were being taught to the children", while many books also contained "blasphemous content".
One important part of the review revelations by PCTB was that many books portrayed Pakistan as inferior to India while Pakistan-administered Kashmir was shown as part of India in maps of some books also.
"Instead of including sayings of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Allama Muhammad Iqbal, one of the books carried sayings of Mahatma Gandhi" said Nasir.
"One of the books by Cambridge tried to promote crime and violence among the students on the basis of unemployment in the country."
Taking immediate notice of the matter, at least 100 books have been banned immediately with publishers directed to stop publishing and selling them books.
Moreover, District Education Authorities (DEAs) across the province have been directed to visit private schools (after reopening) to check if the banned books are still being taught.
"First Investigation Report (FIR) will be registered against publishers for violations under provisions of Punjab Curriculum and Textbook Board Act 2015," he said.
The step taken by the Punjab government is likely to be implemented by other provinces in the country in the coming days as Pakistan looks forward to challenge the curriculum structure of big names like Oxford and Cambridge. Critical review of at least 10,000 books is in process, which would increase the number of banned books a lot higher in the coming days.
Educationists have said that PCTB should have had a mechanism of scrutiny of books in place before letting them be published as 30 committees, along with DEA visits to over 97,000 schools in Punjab province, would be a very time consuming task.