The Punjab Curriculum and Textbook Board (PCTB) seized an Oxford University Press (OUP) social studies book for grade 7 on Monday for including a photo of Malala Yousufzai alongside that of 1965 war hero Maj Aziz Bhatti Shaheed on a list of notable people.
Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Allama Iqbal, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, Liaqat Ali Ali Khan, Abdul Sattar Edhi, Begum Raana Liaquat Ali Khan, Nishan-i-Haider recipient Maj Aziz Bhatti Shaheed, and activist Malala Yousufzai were among the people pictured on page 33 of the book.
Sources claimed the PCTB, police, and other authorities were raiding stores throughout the city even as the report was made to seize copies of the book for putting Malala’s image alongside that of Aziz Bhatti.
A team of authorities raided the OUP office in Mini Market, Gulberg, on Monday and seized the whole supply of the book. They also sent the press a letter informing them that the book had not received a No-Objection Certificate (NOC).
One of the publishers, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told media that the book had been submitted to the PCTB for evaluation and a NOC in 2019. After examining its contents, the board decided against publishing it.
He said that representatives from the PCTB, the police, and other organizations had been to his store, inquired about the book, and read out the orders for its seizure.
Farooq Mazhar, the PCTB’s Managing Director, was unavailable for comments until the publication of this article, but a spokesperson for the organization said the book was seized because it was produced without a NOC.
Last year, the PCTB declared 100 textbooks “against” the two-nation idea, as well as “unethical and illegal.”
It claimed that some of the publications lacked even the proper dates of birth of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and poet Allama Iqbal and that others included “blasphemous material” and inaccurate maps of the country. Similarly, Punjab has 36 districts, although some of these publications only listed 35.
It also outlawed a booklet series called Infant Mathematics, which was reportedly produced without its permission. Section 10 of the Punjab Curriculum and Textbook Board Act 2015 was determined to be violated by the booklet.