Jan 29, 2014 08:23 AM EST
Peshawar University Cancels ‘I am Malala’ Book Launch Amid Security Fears
Peshawar University has decided to call off an event that aimed to promote the memoir, 'I am Malala' by Malala Yousufzai, the 16-year-old advocate of women's education, amid security fears and possible retaliation from the Taliban.
Even though Malala was not scheduled to appear in person for the event, university officials cancelled it as the safety of the students and staff was at stake.
The Pakistani girl, who was shot in the head by Taliban extremists, is seen as a threat to the Islamist militant group as she has become a global icon for girl's education. Last year, the teenager became the youngest ever nominee for the nobel peace prize and was honored with Harvard University's Humanitarian of the Year. She also received the 2013 Sakharov Prize at the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
Malala's autobiography, 'I Am Malala', which was published last year, talks about her journey from being a school girl advocating education for girls to surviving an assassination attempt by the Taliban.
The book has a limited access in Pakistan, especially in the conservative northwest. The event was held to formally launch the book in the region.
Shah Farman, the minister of information at the provincial government, and other higher authorities ordered officials at the university's Area Study Center (where the event was to be held) to cancel the event. The government said that it cannot provide the required security for the event. Taliban extremists threatened to attack any book store that tries to sell it.
According to media reports, police received information about the event recently. They claimed that they cannot provide security on such short notice, Mirror reports.
Ex-cricketer Imran Khan, whose Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party runs Peshawar province, was disappointed with the cancellation of the event. Khan said that he fails to understand the organizer's decision.
I am at a loss 2 understand why Malala's book launch stopped in Peshawar. PTI believes in freedom of speech/debate, not censorship of ideas.
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) January 28, 2014
Defending the decision, Farman said, "The issue was of a suitable platform and security. Malala's book is an autobiography, and it has nothing to do with the Area Study Center, or any educational institution for that matter," NY Times reports.
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