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LONDON: Ziauddin Yousafzai, the father of Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl who has received international acclaim for standing up to the Taliban and surviving an assassination attempt, has appealed to the general public to donate money only to the Malala Fund set up by the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, and the Vital Voices or as per the advice of Pakistan High Commission in London.
Ziauddin’s appeal comes after reports emerged that individuals and organisations were gearing to set up appeals to raise funds in the name of Malala, the 15-years-old brave girl shot in the head by Taliban in Swat.
Ziauddin issued the appeal after a fundraising appeal Malala Education School Project — was launched to build a school in Swat, without seeking consent from Malala or her family.
According to details, several British Pakistani figures visited the hospital where Malala was being treated, posed with Ziauddin and sent out their pictures to media as proof that Ziauddin had approved their efforts but Ziauddin has stated that he has not endorsed any charity and no visitor ever discussed any project with him.
Ziauddin yesterday said: “Many Pakistanis visited and got pictures made with me but nothing was mentioned about fundraising and we thought it was only a visit to ask for Malala’s well-being. I am only endorsing the hospital and the Vital Voices funds set up for education of poor girls.”
The issue first came to surface when Ahmed Shehzad launched the controversial project in the Houses of Parliament in mid-November under the banner of Human Rights Society of Pakistan-UK Chapter.
He claimed that the project had support of Lord Nazir Ahmed, Lord Qurban Hussain and Pakistan High Commission but all have denied knowing the full details of the projects and specifically distanced themselves from any “financial” aspect of the project.
The brochures for Malala Education School Project carry account details and names of at least 25 supporters from British Pakistani community but many of them have said they had no idea their name was being used.
Lord Nazir Ahmed, whose name has been put down as Patron of the organisation, said: “I have nothing to do with any fundraising effort in the name of Malala. I support good causes, run to benefit needy people but I never get involved in financial matters.”
A spokesman at the Charity Commission said that “there is no registered charity under the name of Human Rights Society of Pakistan or Malala Girls Schools Project. From our register it doesn’t look like anyone’s applied for registration using Malala’s name”. Internews