The Punjab Curriculum and Textbook Board confiscated a grade 7 social studies book for printing a picture of Malala Yousufzai alongside Abdul Sattar Edhi and other heroes on Monday.
The book, published by Oxford University Press (OUP), included Quaid-e-Azam, Allama Iqbal, Liaqat Ali Khan, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, Abdul Sattar Edhi, Begum Raana Liaquat Ali Khan, Maj Aziz Bhatti, and Malala Yousufzai in a list of important personalities.
The book had already been circulated in schools when the PCTB, police, and other authorities began raiding shops to remove the book on Monday. The PTCB gave a letter to the press that declared that the book had not been given a No-Objection Certificate (NOC). According to one of the publishers, the book had been submitted to the PCTB for approval in 2019 but had failed to receive an NOC. The publisher told Dawn that the OUP had decided to publish the book without an NOC.
The PCTB has not made any official statement regarding the book and their managing director, Farooq Mazhar, was unavailable for comment.
In 2020, the PCTB banned 100 books it deemed either “unethical and illegal” or that they went “against” the two-nation theory. This included books published by Oxford, Cambridge, Paragon Books and 32 other publishers. They stated that some of the books had inaccuracies like the wrong date of birth for Muhammad Ali Jinnah or incorrect maps, while others were “blasphemous”. Also in 2020, they banned a book called “Infant Mathematics” for violation PCTB Act 2015 Section 10.
In 2013, Malala’s memoir ‘I am Malala’ was banned by a Pakistani private schools association that claimed that it was disrespecting Islam.
This grade 7 book was brought to the PCTB’s attention when users on social media reacted to Malala being published alongside Pakistan’s national heroes.
Many users demanded that the PCTB take action and have the book removed from schools.
However, some users defended Malala's inclusion, saying that she is an ‘icon’, and we have bigger issues to focus on,