The Punjab Curriculum and Textbook Board banned the sale and printing of 100 textbooks on Thursday for having anti-Pakistan and anti-Islamic content.
At a press conference, the board’s managing director Rai Manzoor Hussain said the books were being used at private schools.
More than 10,000 books have been seized from the institutions and the matter is being further investigated, he said.
The board has formed 30 committees to investigate the books. They have been printed by 31 publishers, including Oxford University Press Pakistan. They have been ordered to halt their publishing and sale.
According to Hussain, the banned books contained ‘blasphemous’ and ‘anti-Islamic’ content against the caliphs. The birth dates of Quaid-e-Azam and Allama Iqbal in the books were incorrect and Azad Kashmir was shown as a part of India in the maps.
The books also contained incorrect saying by Mahatma Gandhi and other people.
Hussain added that it was sad that children were being taught incorrect things at schools. The committees formed will visit private schools across the province again and check if the books are still being used. Violators will be punished.
On Thursday, the Punjab Assembly passed the Punjab Tahaffuz-e-Bunyad-e-Islam Act, 2020. It states that Lahore’s director -general of public relations will have the power to visit and inspect any printing press, publication house, book store and confiscate any books before or after printing.
Publishers have been obliged to provide four copies of their books published to the authorised officer the day they are published.
The DGPR can refuse permission to import, print or publish a book “if it is prejudicial to national interest, culture, religious and sectarian harmony,” it added.
The odiousnesses of this aside, this is unconstitutional. DGPR can’t ban a book without a right of hearing to the publisher and without a reasoned order under Article 10-A of the Constituon. Idiotic draftsmanship. https://t.co/1rkppP5Z6m— Reza Ali (@RezaAli1980) July 23, 2020
Well this is a god awful development. Only hope is that the government fails to implement this in the same way they fail to implement so many other things. https://t.co/5pJhR35MeB— Shaheryar Mirza (@mirza9) July 23, 2020
Why don’t they just ban the alphabet? https://t.co/g2DLqkLVFc— Atif Mian (@AtifRMian) July 23, 2020
Following this, people took to Twitter and other social media platforms to criticise the law calling it “unreasonable”.