Provincial government halts Malala book launch

January 29, 2014 - 6:58:26 am
PESHAWAR: A launch ceremony for education activist Malala Yousafzai’s book at a university in her native Pakistan was cancelled after pressure from the provincial government, organisers and officials said yesterday.

Malala, now 16, survived a Taliban assassination attempt in the country’s restive northwest in 2012 and has become a global champion for the struggle for all children to go to school.

An event to launch her memoir “I am Malala” at the Area Study Centre of Peshawar University on Monday was called off after police refused to provide security, organisers said.

She had not been due to attend in person.

“We were forced to cancel it. We were pressurised by provincial ministers and university vice chancellor,” Sarfaraz Khan, the Area Study Centre director, said.

“When I refused to follow this illegal order (to cancel the event) police refused to provide security.”

Peshawar is the capital of the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which has borne the brunt of Pakistan’s bloody homegrown Islamist insurgency.

Sarfaraz Khan said he received numerous phone calls from two provincial ministers, followed by the university vice-chancellor, registrar and senior police officers.