Malala asks Pak authorities not name girls' college after her

Teenage rights activist Malala Yusufzai, the target of an assassination bid by the Taliban two months ago, has asked Pakistani authorities not to go ahead with renaming a girls' college after her following protests by students.

15-year-old Malala, currently being treated in a British hospital after being shot in the head, asked authorities to retain the original name of the college at Saidu Sharif in Swat Valley to allay the fears of students, who had claimed they could be attacked by militants if the institution was renamed.

The teenager took up the issue with officials in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province after learning of recent protests by 1,800 girls studying in the Degree College for Girls in Saidu Sharif.

During the protest on December 12, the students stoned pictures of Malala and tore up her posters. Kamran Rahman, the head of the administration in Swat district, told the media that Malala had telephoned him on Monday evening and requested that the old name of the college should be retained.

He said Malala had thanked him for the government's decision to rename the college after her but made it clear that such a move would not augur well for the security of students.

Rahman said Malala's father Ziauddin Yusufzai too spoke to him and requested that the authorities should retain the old name of the college. "I think it was very good of her... There was no threat to the college but she understood the girls' unease and sense of insecurity," he said.

Malala had become a symbol of resistance to the Taliban after she began writing a blog about the atrocities of the militants when they controlled the Swat Valley in 2009.
The government later launched a massive operation to flush militants out of the region.

The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility for the attack on Malalal, saying she was targeted for promoting education for girls and for backing secularism and "Western values". Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Ameer Haider Khan Hoti had named the college after Malala following the attempt on her life.

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