New Delhi: The provincial government of Punjab in Pakistan has banned 100 textbooks that were found to be “against” the two-nation theory and whose contents were “blasphemous and objectionable”. The province is currently led by Prime Minister Imran Khan’s party, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI).
The Punjab Curriculum and Textbook Board (PCTB), led by managing director Rai Manzoor Husain Nasir, told the press Thursday that the books “had blasphemous and anti-Pakistan content”, with some of them showing “Azad Kashmir (part of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir) as part of India” .
“The government will not tolerate this objectionable content to be taught to Pakistani children. We will conduct a complete inspection of other textbooks within the next six months and will not allow these books and material against Islam and Pakistan to be taught,” Nasir said.
Thirty committees under the PCTB are currently reviewing 10,000 books being taught in private schools because the curriculum had not previously been checked. Oxford and Cambridge publications are among those now banned.
Move widely criticised
Punjab is Pakistan’s most populous province and reportedly also has the highest number of schools.
Nasir alleged the books printed the incorrect birth dates of ‘Quaid-e-Azam’ Muhammad Ali Jinnah and national poet Allama Muhammad Iqbal. Some were also found to be “against” the two-nation theory, which was proposed by Jinnah and underlies India’s Partition in 1947, he said.
He also alleged the banned books carry “factual errors” such as misreporting the number of districts in Punjab and printing an incorrect map of the country.
One of the banned books quoted Mahatma Gandhi, while another illustrated a mathematics problem with pigs — an animal considered haram in Islam.
The announcement has evoked widespread criticism from Pakistani social media users who took to Twitter to express their disagreement.
Books getting banned for quoting Gandhi & using pigs in math word problems. Am I the only one who feels like they’re trapped in a dystopian nightmare & is just waiting to wake up? https://t.co/mNNrxlb5S4
— Nida Kirmani (@NidaKirmani) July 24, 2020
I’d heard of a Banana Republic, but this is just a Ban-a-Republic.
100 books banned in Punjab for profane, anti-Pakistan content https://t.co/bGHU5DyLiw
— Amber Rahim Shamsi (@AmberRShamsi) July 24, 2020
Pakistan has banned books, is looking to ban all outlets of self expression, and is getting more dangerous by the minute. That’s it.
— Sabah Malik (@sabahbanomalik) July 25, 2020
So not only is Punjab's new Book-Burner-in-Chief a hypocritical pervert, he's also a racist bigot & a raging misogynist who polices women's morals online. What a surprise.
I think we need to demand a review of whatever "book evaluation" process there is being led by this man. pic.twitter.com/TXR34UMj8K
— Ammar Rashid ☭🌹 #RedistributionNow (@AmmarRashidT) July 25, 2020
In 2017, Nasir won the Pakistan reality contest Integrity Idol, which seeks to highlight upright government officials, for cracking down on corrupt land reforms. He recently recovered from Covid-19.
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