Cancelling I Am Malala’s book launch


Malala Yousafzai is Pakistan’s face of integrity, perseverance and victory against the extremist forces. One could say she is the symbol of all that is anti-Taliban. Therefore anyone who is even in the slightest opposed to the fight she is immersed in can be seen as a Taliban sympathiser. That unenviable title is of late being linked to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) because almost every move it makes is somehow in solidarity with the extremist forces. On Tuesday, the University of Peshawar was all set to officially launch Malala’s biography, I Am Malala. It was an event to commemorate the young activist’s new book and pay homage to her advocacy of female education. However, the event was unceremoniously cancelled due to reported pressure exerted by ministers from the PTI. The reason? Alleged security concerns. However, that is not the surprising thing. It is well known that any event to celebrate Malala Yousafzai comes with its own risks. After all the girl was shot by the very Taliban the state is fighting against. What is surprising is the apparent confusion being voiced by the PTI chief, Imran Khan, who has expressed - on social media networking site Twitter - that he is “lost” as to why the book launch was cancelled. In what seems like damage control, the PTI head is making it clear that he in no way condones this behaviour by his ministers no matter what the reason. 
Is there trouble in paradise? Apparently there is because it seems those PTI representatives who are on the ground in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) are disconnected from the political policies being practiced by the upper echelon of the party. ?One cannot help but sympathise with Imran Khan as it seems that of late his party in KP is going to great lengths to embarrass him. It happened when the whole country felt profound sadness and outrage at the death of 15-year-old Aitzaz Hasan who died at the hands of a suicide bomber in Hangu when he tried to stop him from blowing up his school, saving 2,000 innocent children from a horrible death. To honour this brave child martyr the PTI government in KP did the following: absolutely nothing. The chief minister of the province did not bother to attend the funeral of the boy, inciting much anger from the PTI chief who ordered immediate monetary compensation for Aitzaz’s family. Of course, this was too little too late and the damage had been done. Now we see the same miscommunication and detachment when it comes to Malala’s book launch. We hope the book launch will still go ahead. Meanwhile the right hand of the PTI does not seem to know what the left is doing. It is time thorough lines of communication open up between the party and its head lest we see further disquiet down the road.   *

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