Print options

December 21, 2012

Pakistan's Malala Asks College Not be Named in Her Honor

by VOA News

The Pakistani girl who was seriously wounded by the Taliban says a decision to rename a girls' college in her hometown in her honor should be reversed.

Fifteen-year-old Malala Yousafzai was returning from school in Pakistan's northwestern Swat Valley in October when Taliban gunmen shot her, saying she had spoken out against the militant group and in favor of girls' education.  She is currently recovering at a British hospital.

On Friday, Swat government official Kamran Rehman told news agencies that he spoke to the teenager by phone earlier this week and she has requested that the college keep the old name out of concern for the safety of students.

Last week, several students at the college broke into the Government Degree College in the town of Mingora and tore down pictures of Yousafzai to protest the name change, saying the move would make them a target of militant attacks.

Elsewhere in Pakistan's northwest, security officials say a bomb ripped through the office of local militant commander Maulvi Abbas in Wana, the main town in the South Waziristan tribal agency, killing him and at least two others.

It is unclear who planted the bomb.  The blast took place weeks after another militant commander, Hafiz Nazir, was wounded in a suicide attack in Wana.

Nazir is the main militant commander in South Waziristan, with fighters who reportedly are more interested in attacking U.S.-led troops in neighboring Afghanistan than Pakistan's security forces.  

The militant commander signed a peace accord with the Pakistani government in 2007 and is said to have a contentious relationship with the Pakistani Taliban, which has carried out attacks on Pakistani forces.

Nazir's faction is said to be allied with other al-Qaida-linked militant groups, including that of commander Hafiz Gul Bahadur.

Also Friday, Britain's High Court blocked a legal challenge by a British man to the possible role of Britain's intelligence agency in aiding U.S. drone strikes in northwest Pakistan.  

The father of 27-year old Noor Khan was reportedly killed last year in a drone attack.  The British man had asked the High Court to look into whether British intelligence officials had assisted in the attack and whether they are liable for prosecution.

But British judges on Friday said Khan's real goal was to get the court to publicly condemn U.S. activities in Pakistan's northwest.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.