LAHORE: On Monday, the Punjab Curriculum and Textbook Board (PCTB) seized class 7 Social Studies book, published by Oxford University Press (OUP), for having printed Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai’s image among pictures of important figures, with her picture being right alongside Major Aziz Bhatti Shaheed, the 1965 war hero.
On page 33 of the book, pictures of some important figures had been published including the Founder of Pakistan Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, National Poet Allama Iqbal, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, Liaqat Ali Khan, the legendary philanthropist Abdul Sattar Edhi, Begum Raana Liaquat Ali Khan, Nishan-i-Haider recipient Major Aziz Bhatti Shaheed and, right next to the Major, activist and Nobel Laureate Malala Yousufzai.
According to reports, although the books had already started circulating in schools and educational institutes, the PCTB and the law enforcement began an intense crackdown, raiding shops, and whatnot right from the time the report was filed for Malala’s picture having been printed alongside that of Major Aziz Bhatti Shaheed.
Sources state that on Monday, a raid was conducted by an official team in OUP’s office in Mini Market, Gulberg, under an NOC (No-objection Certificate) wherein the entire stock of books was seized.
According to one of the publishers, in 2019, the book was sent for review to the PCTB as well as for an acquisition of an NOC, however, the PCTB did not issue the certificate, rejecting it for publication. Despite that, OUP went ahead. “The Oxford University Press has published the book despite not being issued the NOC,” the publisher stated.
He further went on to state that the law enforcement and PCTB officials visited his store, investigated and questioned about the book, and read the notice regarding its confiscation.
According to the PCTB spokesperson, the book was confiscated due to not having being issued an NOC. The PCTB Managing Director Farooq Mazhar was unavailable for comments.
A hundred textbooks were banned by the PCTB last year, which were considered to contain content that went against the two-nation theory or were simply determined unethical.
Reports state that, according to the PCTB, some books had incorrect information regarding the country, such as incorrect maps, incorrect number of Punjab districts, and inaccurate dates on Quaid-e-Azam and Allama Iqbal.
The book series Infant Mathematics was also banned by the PCTB as it was found to be violating Section 10 of the Punjab Curriculum and Textbook Board Act 2015.
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