Moral tremble with the cover of a book

Jamal Safi

BANNING and burning books is a manifestation of a culture that is afraid to face the reality. It is ignorance of the book’s message or the fear of the latter that is often the reason for someone trying to ban a book. We have a long history of suppressing dissenting views perceived as posing a threat to the prevailing order. Not only have books been banned, writers too have been persecuted. The space for reason and freedom of expression is further shrinking thanks to growing authoritarianism and rising bigotry in society.

In the course of history Pakistani establishment has been very reluctant with such books which are critic of their policies,
we shall take a leaf from one such book and treat you to a little taste of history.
BOOK NAME: With the Quaid-i-Azam During His Last Days
AUTHOR: Lt. Col. Ilahi Bakhsh
PUBLISHER: Maktaba-Tul_Maarif – Lahore
The following excerpt has been taken from Pages: 104 — 114
This booklet contains an account of reminiscences of Col. Ilahi Bakhsh, who treated the Quaid-i-Azam during his last days. He has depicted this account of his conversations with the Quaid-i-Azam, together with his diagnosis and treatment. Col. Ilahi Bakhsh was sent for during the second half of July, 1948 when the Quaid-i-Azam’s health suddenly took a turn for the worse. Ever since he came to Ziarat, Col. Ilahi Bakhsh toiled ceaselessly and left nothing to be desired in his treatment of the Quaid-i-Azam. The recovery that manifested itself during the initial stages of his treatment did not endure for long. But as far as the medical experts were concerned, they rendered sincere and yeomen services and did everything to arrest the disease, but God willed otherwise.
This book was banned from 1949 till 1976.

The second attempt of banning such book which had worried the elite of Pakistan was in 1955 when a book of 89 pages had not allowed for the reader

In zia era The first piece of writing that came out of prison after Bhutto’s arrest was titled ‘My Pakistan’; it was published in July 1979 in London, after ZAB had been hanged. Both the English and Urdu versions of this book were banned in Pakistan.

This book gives us an insight into how the regime of General Ziaul Haq used repression and manipulation to get the ‘positive results’ that the general often talked about. During the murder trial against Bhutto, there was worldwide condemnation and protest highlighting the injustices committed in the name of justice in Pakistan.

Now the recent casualty in the list is Sohail Warraich column based book Named Ye Company Nahe Chaly Ge (this company wouldn’t work) which came underfoot due to its cover and about 5000 copies were taken into custody.