Freedom of the press

After declaring Sir Isaac Newton woman, Pakistani textbook board seizes book for printing Malala’s pictures

Lahore: After confusing Sir Isaac Newton with a woman, The Punjab Curriculum and Textbook Board (PCTB) on Monday confiscated the social studies book for grade 7 published by the Oxford University Press (OUP) for printing the picture of Malala Yousufzai, Pakistan’s leading English daily reported on Tuesday.

This happened months after, Dr Ayesha Razzauqe, an education researcher and consultant, shared an interesting story about the professionalism of Punjab Textbook board in her column for Daily The News.

She wrote, “A publisher submitted a science textbook to the Punjab Curriculum and Textbook Board (PCTB) for review and approval for use in schools. On one of the pages was a picture of Sir Isaac Newton next to a tree, depicting the scientific legend of the moment an apple fell from the tree that would inspire him to discover the law of gravitation. In that picture Newton was shown wearing a long garment and maybe long hair or a wig, as was fashionable for that era. One of the comments from the PCTB’s review of this book was that the ‘lady’ in the picture be edited to add a scarf on her head, so as to observe proper purdah. True story.”

Citing unnamed sources, Dawn reported that PCTB, police and other agencies were conducting raids on shops across the city even at the time the report was filed to confiscate copies of the book for publishing Malala’s picture besides that of war hero Major Aziz Bhatti.

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