Banning is a new trend in Pakistan. Few weeks ago we were discussing a ban on games and social sites. This now seems ironic. On Thursday 23rd July Punjab Curriculum and Textbook Board (PCTB) Managing Director Rai Manzoor banned 100 books which were being taught in private schools. Rai Manzoor claims that books carried blasphemous and anti-content i.e. against “Two-Nation Theory ”. PCTB has banned 31 publishers including Oxford and Cambridge. District Education Authorities (DEA’s) will be visiting private schools too to check if banned books are still taught. PCTB MD said FIRs will be registered against publishers for violation under PCTB Act 2015. Books carried sayings of Mahatma Gandhi instead of Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Allama Iqbal.
To conclude, the problem is that PCBT have implied that they can register a police complaint against a person who does not comply with the publishing board which under section 14 of PCTB Act 2015. Banning and imprisoning persons for publishing a book the Board has a difference of opinion with is complicated and can lead to different circumstances. There should be a course related to spiritual/religious studies , rather than a specific strict belief system course, if we need our youth to be impartial, open minded and reasonable individuals when they grow up to add to the prosperity of all mankind. The PCTB should reconsider its recent decisions, and it does not provide an avenue for those whose publications are prohibited to appeal or even to defend their case to the Board. The Banning of books is a serious matter, which ruins our international image. The board is empowered so it must have strict checks and a review body accountable for this act.