Teen shot in head doesn’t want col­lege named for her

Fe­male stu­dents de­cry idea, fear­ing Tal­iban reprisals.

Austin American-Statesman - - THE SECOND FRONT - By Sal­man Ma­sood

IS­LAM­ABAD — The Pak­istani teenager who was shot in the head by a Tal­iban gun­man in Oc­to­ber has asked a pro­vin­cial government to re­verse its de­ci­sion to name a col­lege af­ter her, an of­fi­cial said Fri­day. But her re­quest was not im­me­di­ately granted.

The young woman, Malala Yousafzai, 15, who at­tained fame as an ad­vo­cate for girls’ ed­u­ca­tion, made the re­quest out of con­cern for the safety of the school’s fe­male stu­dents, said the of­fi­cial, Kam­ran Rehman, the top civil­ian in the Swat Val­ley. Malala, who was gravely wounded in the Oct. 9 at­tack and is be­ing treated in a Bri­tish hospi­tal, had be­come a sym­bol of re­sis­tance against the Tal­iban in an area where the mil­i­tants held sway un­til a Pak­istani army of­fen­sive in 2009.

Last month the Swat Val­ley government changed the name of the Government Girls De­gree Col­lege to the Government Malala Yousafzai Girls De­gree Col­lege. But ear­lier this month more than 100 stu­dents protested the de­ci­sion, tear­ing down a poster of Malala and throw­ing stones.

“The fe­male stu­dents were feel­ing ap­pre­hen­sive,” Rehman said. They feared “that the change in name might lead to an at­tack on their col­lege and en­dan­ger their lives.”

The col­lege closed af­ter the protest, with the au­thor­i­ties send­ing home the stu­dents early for their win­ter break.

Rehman said Malala called him from Bri­tain on Mon­day “and re­quested that be­cause of the con­cerns of fe­male stu­dents, the name of the col­lege should be re­verted back to its orig­i­nal name.”

He said the Swat gov- ern­ment would con­sider Malala’s re­quest.

Rehman said no mil­i­tants were known to have is­sued threats against the col­lege, which has a stu­dent body of about 1,800. He said po­lice had been de­ployed on the road lead­ing to the col­lege and that se­cu­rity re­mained high across Swat.

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