Pakistan bans 100 books saying they contain ‘anti-national and blasphemous’ content
The Curriculum & Textbook Board of Punjab, Pakistan’s largest province in terms of population and its number of schools, has banned around one hundred books being taught in private schools on grounds that they contained “anti Pakistan as well as blasphemous” content.
Board Managing Director Rai Manzoor Hussain Nasir told a press conference in Lahore that these books had distorted facts about Pakistan and its creation, shown Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Allama Muhammad Iqbal in a negative light and also in some instances carried blasphemous content like using pigs to explain concepts.
Most of the banned books were either imported or locally printed by foreign publishers. Nasir said that in some books “Pakistan was portrayed as an inferior country to India while Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK) was also shown as part of India in maps in some of these books.” He said that this was unacceptable and that it was a conspiracy to poison the minds of children in Pakistan.
He added “instead of including sayings of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Allama Muhammad Iqbal, etc. one of the books carried sayings of Mahatma Gandhi and some unknown people.” He noted that it was not right to glorify Gandhi on the one hand and to downplay Pakistan’s national heroes on the other.
In a book of Mathematics, counting concepts were being explained to the young students showing pictures of pigs, which was unacceptable. In another instance, he said one of the books tried to promote crime and violence among the students based on unemployment in the country.
The textbook board had started a critical review of 10,000 books being taught by private schools across the province and in the first phase had banned 100 books from 31 publishers.
For this purpose, it had formed 30 committees after which 100 books had been immediately banned and the publishers had been directed to stop publishing and selling the books.