PESHAWAR - Following strong resentment from political and public circles, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has formally removed a controversial lesson about Pakhtun hero Malik Kalu Khan from 9th class English textbook and ordered an inquiry against those who included it in the syllabus.

The KP Textbook Board had published the chapter ‘Snare’ in grade 9th English book wherein an Akbar-era Pakhtun warrior of Yousafzai tribe, Malik Kalu Khan, had been portrayed as a dacoit. This led to an outcry by various political parties, members of civil society and historians of the province.

Pakhtun historians believe Kalu Khan was the chieftain of his tribe in 16th century and fought wars against the Mughals who wanted to subdue Pukhtuns. Following the inclusion of the controversial lesson in the English textbook, a drive was launched, calling the KP government to remove that controversial lesson from the book.

Talking to media persons, KP Minister for Elementary and Secondary Education Atif Khan confirmed the chapter had been removed from the 9th grade English book. “And, now, we will include new lessons in the book about our heroes. We have great respect for our heroes. We will not include anything in syllabus and books, which is controversial, derogatory and insulting,” the minister, said adding an inquiry had been ordered into the matter.

Criticising officials concerned of the KP Textbook Board, Peshawar, Abaseen Yousafzai, a known Pushto-writer, poet and literary figure, said it was the demand of the Pakhtun nation to award severe punishment to those who were behind this crime of portraying a hero as a looter.

“Such officials should be permanently banned by Textbook Board because, as per my information, the controversial lesson about Malik Kalu Khan has been included in the book without the approval of the board’s select and editing committees for the purpose,” he averred.

Atif Khan said, “We are not going to make further changes in the syllabus, but will review course books to make correction wherever there is any mistake.”

It merits mentioning here that Malik Kalu Khan is still remembered in glowing terms locally. There are about four villages named after Malik Kalu Khan, like Kala Dara, Kalu Dhand, Kalu Dher and Kalu Khan as he had stayed in different areas of district Swabi during his life.