University halts Malala book launch
Published 28/01/2014 | 16:42
A Pakistani university has cancelled a ceremony launching a book by the teenage activist shot by the Taliban over security concerns.
Sarfraz Khan, director of the Area Study Center of the University of Peshawar, said the ceremony was to launch Malala Yousafzai's book "I am Malala." But campus police told him to cancel the event.
"Last night, first the provincial information minister asked me on the phone to cancel the ceremony. Then, my vice chancellor informed me that the event should be cancelled due to security reasons," he said.
The move angered the organisers.
"We had planned the event to launch Malala's book, but we were forced by police to cancel it," said Khadim Hussain, an official at the Bacha Khan Trust charity, which had planned the ceremony.
He accused the provincial government of influencing the university to call off the event for political reasons.
Shah Farman Khan, the information minister in the capital of Khyber Paktunkhwa province, insisted that the university call off the event because he thought it was being organised at an "improper place."
"The Area Study Centre of the university was not a suitable place for holding this ceremony," he said in Peshawar, which has witnessed scores of gun and bomb attacks in recent years.
The 16-year-old Malala spoke out against the Taliban and was shot in the head in October 2012 while she was going home from school in Mingora, the main city in the north-western Swat valley where militants had a strong base at the time.
She was initially treated in Pakistan, but was later flown to a hospital in Britain, where she now lives with her family.
The girl comes from the same region that was once home to Mullah Fazlullah, the new head of Pakistani Taliban.