The provincial legislative assembly has unanimously passed Punjab Curriculum and Textbook Board (Amendment) Bill 2020, approving recommendations from a group of Ulema on publication of any religious content in the textbooks.
According to the bill, any textbook or part of the curriculum which includes part of Islam, such as, Islamiyat, Islamic History, Pakistan Studies, Urdu, or any other book, will undergo screening from the Muttahida Ulema Board, Punjab. An approval from the board will be required to publish any Islamic content, the new legislation approved.
Currently, the board of Ulema is mandated to recommend a ban on any book or part of the curriculum that contains objectionable material. However, the amendment now enables Ulema to give prior approval.
The bill tabled by PML-Q MPA lawmaker Khadia Umar was unanimously adopted. Legislators from opposition and treasury benches congratulated each other over its adoption.
On occasion, Speaker Punjab Assembly, Chaudhry Pervez Elahi said that the provincial government has put an end to the practice of spreading wrong messages in the name of Islam through different tactics in children’s’ books.
We wanted to protect the coming generations. This country came into existence in the name of Islam and we cannot compromise on controversial content.
Earlier, during the assembly proceedings, Speaker Pervaiz Elahi expressed displeasure over the absence of Senior Food Minister Aleem Khan from the session. Aleem was called upon to answer concerns related to wheat shortage and the increasing prices of the floor across the province.
It’s not my fault that the minister is in Islamabad, he should have been in the House.
He stopped Parliamentary Secretary, Rai Zahoor Ahmed, from answering questions on his behalf and deferred it until the return of Aleem Khan, saying that only the minister concerned would reply to the queries.