Islamabad: A Pakistani daily has sought the purging of school curricula for hate material after a panel pointed out that books contain material that would entrench prejudice against religious minorities, distort history and foment the conspiratorial mindset.
An editorial in the News International Tuesday said that in today`s Pakistan, "plagued as it is by extremism and inter-religious, ethnic- and sectarian-based tension, there are plenty of occasions to justifiably accuse the state of doing little to stem the black tide threatening to engulf the country".
The National Commission for Justice and Peace, which undertook a content analysis of the books for primary and secondary schools published by the Punjab and Sindh textbook boards, has found the curricula to be hate-filled.
The report finds that these books contain material that would create and entrench in students` minds prejudice against religious minorities, both within Pakistan`s borders and elsewhere, distort history and foment the conspiratorial mindset that is at least part of the reason why this country has come to the current pass.
"What`s worse, while textbooks have been revised over the past three decades, it seems that hate content has increased manifold over time," said the daily.
"...whatever efforts Pakistan may make to curb extremism in society in general, they are destined to be eroded by school curricula that send poisoned minds out into the world," it added.
The daily asked whether it should remain this way, given that reviewing and cleaning up textbooks is technically amongst the easiest of changes to achieve?
"There is no shortage of experts who can provide sound advice in this regard, and plenty of examples that can be followed. Purging school curricula of hate material would not be a politically divisive matter.
"All that is required is a state with the will to do what needs to be done. And yet, such a place is Pakistan that it remains a moot point whether that will can ever be mustered up.”