Peshawar, Dec. 13 (ANI): Hundreds of Pakistani girls staged a protest against the renaming of their college in Swat Valley after teenage activist Malala Yousufzai – who was shot by the Taliban – saying the move would make them a target for militants.
Around 150 students of what is now the Government Malala College for Girls, boycotted classes and tore up and stoned pictures of the 15-year-old, accusing her of abandoning Pakistan by going to Britain for treatment, reports the Daily Times.
The Pakistan government has renamed numerous schools in honour of Malala, who was shot in the head by the Taliban in October for advocating girls’ education in Swat.
The students, at what was previously known as the Government College for Girls, said they had repeatedly asked the principal to remove the plate with the new name, fearing it would invite the attention of militants.
“We came out when the principal finally refused to accept our demand. We feel the college would be the potential target of militants. I joined others who chanted slogans against Malala and pelted stones on her picture because she had left the country to settle abroad. We are poor, we cannot afford it and we will suffer because she has fled to Britain,” said Shaista Ahmed, a student.
Local government official Niaz Ali Khan said the protesting students were “very angry and aggressive” and tore up a portrait of Malala which the authorities had erected on a college wall after the Taliban attack.
“The students ended their protest after we promised to convey their demand to the authorities,” he said.
Another student, Mah Noor, 19, said: “Malala herself is in Britain but other girls will remain in Swat. She will not come back to Pakistan, then what is the need to rename the college after her?”
Malala rose to prominence at the age of 11 when she started writing a blog for the BBC in 2009 wherein she described the atrocities of the Taliban. She is currently recuperating at a hospital in Birmingham following the attack.
Malala’s father Ziauddin Yousufzai, a former teacher and headmaster, was recently appointed UN Adviser on Education. (ANI)