PESHAWAR: A ceremony to launch Malala Yousufzai’s book ‘I am Malala’ scheduled at the University of Peshawar on Tuesday was stopped by the university after intervention by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government.

The Bacha Khan Education Foundation (BKEF), Strengthening Participatory Organisation (SPO) and Area Study Centre had planned the ceremony.

“It is against the spirit of freedom of expression and promotion of education because holding a ceremony in honour of Malala Yousufzai means to scale up awareness about child rights,” Dr Khadim Hussain, director of the BKEF, told Dawn.

He said they had been informed by police late on Monday that they could not provide security for the programme.

“I was stopped by many people, including ministers, the vice-chancellor, registrar and police, from holding the programme,” Area Study Centre’s director Sarfraz Khan said.

Sources in the centre said the director was first contacted by provincial Local Government Minister Inayatullah Khan, who belongs to Jamaat-i-Islami, and then by Information Minister Shah Farman of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), asking him to stop the book launch. But the director made it clear to them that the ASC was an autonomous centre which did not come under the jurisdiction of the provincial government. After that he was approached by the vice-chancellor and registrar and both of them called for stopping the ceremony.

Finally, the head of the Campus Peace Corps, which comes under the provincial police chief, categorically told the director that they were not in a position to provide security, the sources said. When contacted, LG Minister Inayatullah Khan said: “I never spoke to anyone regarding the book launching programme.” Shah Farman was not available for comments.

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