Saturday 25 March 2017

Pupil shot by Taliban rejects honour at former school

Ben Farmer in Islamabad and Ashfaq Yusufzai in Peshawar

MALALA Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl who was shot by Taliban extremists, has asked the country's government to remove her name from a college in Swat valley after pupils expressed concerns that it would make them targets for similar attacks.

The 15-year-old intervened after the school was closed because of violent demonstrations soon after a decision to rename it in her honour.

Pupils at the school in Mingora last week threw stones and ripped up posters of Malala as they complained that the attention would make them targets for gunmen.

Malala became a national figurehead for girls' education when she was nearly killed by Taliban extremists angry at her vocal support for female schooling. They also objected to a blog she kept that exposed extremists' crimes.

After the shooting in October, she was treated at a British hospital and she remains in the country.

She received worldwide attention and a number of schools were named after her.

Kamran Rehman Khan, the district co-ordination officer in Swat, said: "She called me last week and asked that the name of the college be changed and reverted back to its original name or any other name except hers.

"The protesters were not against Malala, but feared that the naming of the college could pose a serious security threat to them as well as their institution.

"I think it was very good of her. There was no threat to the college but she understood the girls' unease and sense of insecurity."

Pupils had demanded the name revert to Saidu Postgraduate College for Girls. The decision now rests with the government, said Mr Khan.

Rehman Malik, the interior minister, has said that he wants her name to remain.

© Telegraph

Sunday Independent

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