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Pakistan seizes, blacklists textbook for Malala Yousufzai picture besides war hero – Times of India

Malala Yousufzai

ISLAMABAD: The curriculum and textbook board of Pakistan’s Punjab province has confiscated the entire unsold stock of a Grade 7 social studies book published by Oxford University Press (OUP) for featuring a picture of Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousufzai alongside Maj Aziz Bhatti, considered a 1965 War hero.

Page 33 of the book has pictures of many famous personalities, including Muhammad Ali Jinnah, national poet Allama Iqbal, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, Pakistan’s first PM Liaqat Ali Khan, philanthropist Abdul Sattar Edhi, Begum Raana Liaquat Ali Khan (the first PM’s wife) and Bhatti, recipient of Pakistan’s highest military award Nishan-i-Haider. Malala’s face besides the latter has raised the hackles of the establishment because, unlike in the West, she isn’t quite everyone’s favourite in her native country.

While copies of the book are already in circulation, sources at the textbook board said the police and other agencies were searching bookstores across Lahore to ensure no more copies are sold.

On Monday, a team of officials reportedly first conducted a raid on OUP’s office in Lahore’s Gulberg locality and confiscated the entire stock kept there for distribution. They also handed over a letter to the press, stating that the book had not been issued an NOC yet.

Quoting an anonymous publisher, Karachi’s Dawn newspaper reported that the book had been submitted to the textbook board for a review in 2019 as part of the process of seeking an NOC. “Meanwhile, the Oxford University Press has published the book despite not being issued the NOC,” the publisher said.

He said the board’s officials, police and other agencies visited his shop, inquired about the book and read out the confiscation order.

Last year, Punjab’s curriculum and textbook board had banned 100 books that were deemed to be “against” the two-nation theory, or were found “unethical and illegal”.

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