One is at a loss for words to condemn the deplorable act on the part of the ANP government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to expunge from text books an essay on founder of Pakistan Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. That this has happened in the backdrop of the devolution following the passage of the 18th amendment, only provides grist to the mill of those who allege that the constitutional move was driven by ulterior motives. It also lends credibility to all those pointing a finger of accusation at the ANP setup for being still reluctant to reconcile itself to Pakistan’s ideology particularly the veritable miracle that Quaid-i-Azam had performed of creating a separate homeland for Muslims of the sub-continent.

This disrespect to the founder of the country cannot be condoned under any circumstances that the party might argue caused it to do so. It must be mentioned that the ANP first changed the title of the essay, “Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah in Sarhad” to “Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa” when it came to power in the province. Even this constitutes an unpardonable offence because a change in the name of the province -- even though through a constitutional amendment -- does not necessarily mean that a historical literary piece mentioning that very name should also be changed. It is quite disturbing that this has happened under the officer who also holds the chairmanship of the Bacha Khan Trust. The worrying thing that it could set a dangerous precedent whereby other provinces might also start following in the footsteps of the KP government. The consequences of consigning the founder of the country to this wilful amnesia are a foregone conclusion. In the wake of the step taken by the ANP government the fear that each province would start glorifying its own leaders – no matter how much parochial and secessionist – is not misplaced. Already we are well aware of the polarisation prevailing in the society. While Balochistan is the biggest victim of this harmful tendency, there are several other regions that are currently clamouring to be turned into new provinces. Ultimately, we must realise that this inclination can only act as a catalyst for dismemberment of the federation.

It was only after a long struggle that we were able to achieve independence. The federal government as well as all the concerned quarters in the education sector must swing into action to take notice of this glaring act. Devolution of the education ministry is in no way a passport to take chapters and essays detailing achievements of the founder of the nation out of the text books.