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Pakistan: Textbooks banned for ‘blasphemous’ content

27 August 2020
Image: The logo of the Punjab Curriculum and Textbook Board, Lahore / Picture taken from the board´s Facebook page

 

In July 2020, the Curriculum & Textbook Board of Punjab (PCTB), Pakistan has banned around 100 books taught in private schools for containing “anti-Pakistan as well as blasphemous” content, reported the Hindustantimes.

According to Rai Manzoor Hussain Nasirthe, managing director of the PCTB, they are currently examining over 10,000 books that are being taught in private schools. They are acting under section 10 of the Punjab Curriculum and Textbook Board Act, 2015, which requires an author to seek approval from the Board beofre publishing a book. Moreover, it gives the Board power to ban a publication which contains “anything repugnant to the injunctions of Islam, or contrary to the integrity, defence or security of Pakistan or any part of Pakistan, public order or morality.”

The managing director has set up 30 committees to look through 10,000 textbooks of private schools. Each committee is headed by an “expert” of the subject, whose books are being reviewed, reported The Nation.

Pakistan’s constitution guarantees an individual the right to a fair trial and due process, however, Nasir admitted that he had not invited a single author or publisher, whose book was outlawed, for a chance to be heard.

According to Geo News, Nasir said that “The parameters in the law are very clear about what can and cannot be published,” he said, “So what is there to explain? I can even register a police complaint against a person who does not comply. What I have done is completely and 100 percent genuine,” added Nasir “Books don’t ruin us, bad books ruin us.”

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