Thursday, July 23, 2020
LAHORE: The Punjab Assembly on Wednesday passed the Tahaffuz-e-Bunyad-e-Islam Bill 2020 which gives the Directorate General Public Relations (DGPR) powers to visit and inspect any printing press, publication house, book store and confiscate any book, before or after printing.
The new law bars the printing and publication of objectionable material and also bars the publisher, editor or translator from printing or publishing any book and material that consists of photographs or pictures of suicide bombers, terrorists, except as required by law enforcing agencies for purposes of investigation.
The new law has also made it mandatory that “the blessed name of Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) shall be preceded by the title Khatam-an-Nabiyyin or Khatam-un-Nabiyyin followed by ‘Sallallahu alaihi wasallam’ (darood) in Arabic text.
The new law also states that “every publisher of books shall be bound to provide memoranda of all books, published by him, to the authorised officer, after every three months with other details.”
It adds, “Every importer of books shall be bound to provide memoranda of all books imported in the province by him, within fifteen days of import of books to the authorized officer.”
The “book” according to the law includes "every volume, part or division of a volume, and pamphlet, in any language and every sheet of music, sign, map, chart or plan separately printed or reprinted or reproduced, lithographed or produced in any soft form, disc or any other similar device etc., used for digital or electronic storage, other than a newspaper, magazine, journal, newsletter and the textbook defined under the Punjab Curriculum and Textbook Board Act.”
The law also gives the DGPR power to refuse permission to import, print or publish a book “if it is prejudicial to the national interest, culture, religious and sectarian harmony.”
As per the bill, the authorised officer will get four copies of the book, on its printing day with the relevant text and maps.
"The publisher on the same day of printing of a book shall provide four copies of every edition of a book, together with all maps, prints or other engraving belonging thereto finished and coloured in the same manner as the best copies of the same, to the authorized officer concerned or to such officers and at such place, as the Government may notify," read the bill.
The punishment for failing to comply with the law would result in imprisonment of either descriptive for a term which may “extend to five years and with fine which may extend to Rs500,000.”
Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi after the passage of the bill said, “This bill will prove to be a milestone in the protection of Islam and its supremacy. The federation and provinces should follow us in this regard.”
He added that a bill like this should be passed by Centre and provinces and should be enforced all over Pakistan. “The Section Number 3/F of this bill should be Article 295 of Pakistan Penal Code 1860,” the speaker said.
The speaker also praised Hafiz Ammar Yasir as well as opposition leader Hamza Shahbaz, provincial education minister Murad Raas and other MPAs who played their full role in the passage of this bill. “About a year back, the matter of three such books came into notice in which filthy and blasphemous language was used.”
“At that time our party member Hafiz Ammar Yasir moved a resolution in the Punjab Assembly in this regard which was unanimously approved. I constituted a special committee headed by Law Minister which did very good work,” he added.