Popularity of hate-provoking literature!

Daily Times, August 13, 2005
Banned literature being distributed in Punjab offices

* Several top govt officials want to continue reading material
* Home Dept says it confiscated such material in its offices

By Ali Waqar

LAHORE: Hate-provoking religious literature is being openly and freely disseminated in government offices including the offices of senior bureaucrats in the Punjab Civil Secretariat, Daily Times found on Thursday.

Even though such banned religious material has been in most government departments, only the Punjab Home Department, announced that they were confiscating the material immediately.

Some unknown person visited the Civil Secretariat on Thursday and freely distributed extremist religious propaganda material, including the latest issues (August 2005) of monthly newspaper Majalat-ul-Dawa published from Lahore, weekly newspaper Ghazwa and another monthly newspaper for women Tayyabaat.

“We don’t know who the person is, but he visits the offices regularly and distributes this material for free,” said a high up who had the material on his table.

“Its well known that the literature is banned. But no one cares and puts this material on the tables in the waiting rooms,” he said casually. Punjab Home Secretary Hasan Waseem Afzal told Daily Times that the department had confiscated all such issues.

He said that there was a strict policy on hate material and 133 publications were banned under Section 99A of the Pakistan Penal Code. “Only literature with genuine religious content will be allowed on stalls. We have recently banned booklet Manzra-e-Khushab on the recommendation of Muttahida Ulema Board, which decided that it contained controversial and hate content.”

However, some of supporters of the literature said they would like to continue reading it, while some questioned why the literature had been banned. “These organisations have a right to publicise their views,” they said. The latest issues of the literature criticise General Pervez Musharraf’s national address on July 21 in which he announced a crackdown on religious militants and banned such extremist literature. “Janab-e-Sadar, it is not enough to be proud of being a syed if your character and action does not convince people on it,” says the editorial of Majalat-ul-Dawa. The editorial panel includes Professor Hafiz Muhammad Saeed.

The monthly defends the Hasba Bill and claimed that Israel was behind the London bomb explosions. It also criticised LK Adavni’s visit to Pakistan and published a story of a Christian who converted into Islam and later was victimised by the Christian community. The women’s monthly paper criticised Mukhtar Mai’s issue. The title page put a question to the readers asking whether they were free in spending a true Islamic life or was Western culture being imposed through a specific agenda?

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