November 13, 2014 Special Dispatch No. 5883

Pakistani Schools Network Observes 'I Am Not Malala' Day Across Pakistan, Condemns Teenage Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai

November 13, 2014
Special Dispatch No. 5883

An event marking 'I Am Not Malala' day in Pakistan

On November 10, a private school network across Pakistan marked 'I Am Not Malala' Day to condemn the 17-year-old girls' education campaigner Malala Yousafzai, who received this year's Nobel Peace Prize. The Pakistani teenager rose to fame after the Taliban shot her in the head in October 2012 for writing an online diary in which she described how Taliban militants had closed down girls' schools and imposed Islamic sharia rule in Pakistan's Swat valley in early 2009.

Malala Yousafzai lives in Britain, where she was initially brought for medical treatment. She became popular among Pakistani youth, but her autobiography "I Am Malala," written with help from British journalist Christina Lamb, was later criticized by right-wing Pakistani journalists and commentators who questioned her patriotism and accused her of advancing a Western agenda in Pakistan.

Below is the text of a report in the Urdu daily Roznama Jang, which was headlined: "'I Am Not Malala' Day Observed In Private Educational Institutions Across The Country":[1]

"November 10 Will Be Marked In The Country Every Year As 'I Am Not Malala Day'"

A page from Roznama Jang

"Following a call from the All Pakistan Private Schools Federation, 'I Am Not Malala Day' was observed in private educational institutions across the country. On this occasion, seminars, sessions, and walks were organized for awareness about Malala's book 'I Am Malala.' A press conference and a seminar were organized, presided over by Mirza Kashif Ali, president of the All Pakistan Private Schools Federation [APPSF]. Other provincial heads [of the APPSF] Malik Abrar Hussain, Shahid Zhnour [sic], Faisal Rizwan, Abdul Rasheed Kakar, Saleem Khan, and Wajahat Baig were also present on the occasion.

"Mirza Kashif Ali said that November 10 will be marked in the country every year as 'I Am Not Malala Day,' and the ban on [Malala's] book will continue in the private schools. The Federation has decided that the country's private schools will not allow the book to become part of their libraries and syllabi activities. Every year, teachers will bring out the realities regarding the book before the public.

"He [Mirza Kashif Ali] said that it is necessary to tell students what Malala has written in her book, and this point also should be discussed as to why she talked about the right to freedom of expression with regard to her father [i.e. his views] on accursed Salman Rushdie's book ['The Satanic Verses'], and why it is extremely wrong to do so [i.e. to describe it as freedom of expression]; and why Malala feels proud of advocating [in favor of] accursed Salman Rushdie and of becoming the younger sister of accursed Taslima Nasreen [Bangladeshi reformist writer who now lives in exile in India].

"[Mirza Kashif Ali said that] the book ['I Am Malala'] clashes with Islamic teachings and Nazaria-e-Pakistan [the Ideology of Pakistan], and is also against the viewpoints of Quaid-e-Azam [literally: Great Leader, founder of Pakistan M. A. Jinnah] and Allama Iqbal [the Islamist national poet of Pakistan]."


[1] Roznama Jang (Pakistan), November 11, 2014

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