Much ado: School associations slate ban on ‘I am Malala’

Published: November 11, 2013
The book was banned by a little-known All Pakistan Private Schools Federation. PHOTO: PUBLICITY

The book was banned by a little-known All Pakistan Private Schools Federation. PHOTO: PUBLICITY

KARACHI: While the Pakistani government was not even considering to include Malala Yousafzai’s book in the national curriculum and school libraries, a Lahore-based school federation’s statement about ‘banning the book in all private schools’ was declared ‘uncalled for’ by other private school associations across the country.  

The statement issued by the All Pakistan Private Schools Federation President Mirza Kashif Ali that the book, titled ‘I am Malala’, will be banned completely due to its ‘controversial’ contents in all private schools has received wide attention, making headlines across the world.

“This appears to be a publicity stunt when the federation represents only a couple of thousand schools, located chiefly in Lahore,” said Adeeb Javadani, the central president of All Pakistan Private Schools Management Association (APPSMA), which has been functioning since 1982 with over 40,000 registered schools in all four provinces. “The government does not plan to teach Malala’s book in state and private schools, nor does it ask the schools to make it part of their libraries.”

He added that the book was meant for the Western audience and did not receive much appreciation in Pakistan – a fact that had already decided its fate. “But issuing polemical statements will only cause an issue out of a non-issue,” said Javadani.

Sharfuz Zaman, the Private Schools Management Association’s Sindh president, agreed. “I don’t even know about the federation and its president but he has achieved his purpose. He issued an uncalled for statement that has brought him into the limelight.”

The school associations can only prescribe for banning those books from the libraries which are restricted as such by the government of Pakistan, said Syed Khalid Shah, the chairperson of National Education Council, which is considered as the largest educational platform to represent the private educational institutions across the country. “In case of Malala’s book, there is no such restriction imposed by the government and it is a school’s prerogative of whether they decide to keep it or not.”

Meanwhile, Punjab Textbook Board Chairman Nawazish Ali told The Express Tribune that the book carries no relevance as far as the national curriculum is concerned. “We have a set of defined subjects for which the board selects the most appropriate books to be taught at the schools. The book written by Malala, however, is out of consideration.”

Mirza Kashif Ali, when approached by The Express Tribune clarified that his federation did not issue the statement on behalf of all private schools across the country but it was wrongly construed by the media. He added, however, that the decision will be followed by over 152,000 affiliated schools with the federation, out of which 80,000 are located in Punjab only – a claim that was contested and declared ‘ludicrous’ by other associations.

“This is nonsensical, considering the fact that a national-level association like APPSMA, which has been functioning for last three decades, does not have even 50,000 member schools,” Muhammad Furqan, the association’s central vice president, told The Express Tribune from Rawalpindi.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 11th,2013.

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Reader Comments (25)

  • shah
    Nov 11, 2013 - 9:26AM

    Appeasing terrorists certainly is the flavor of the month in Pakistan.


  • Hafiz
    Nov 11, 2013 - 9:32AM

    nonsense pakistanis..grow upRecommend

  • Tom
    Nov 11, 2013 - 10:03AM

    This would be hilarious if it weren’t so sad. Little men arguing over who represents the private schools of Pakistan and why a book written by a young Pakistani woman should be banned or ignored.

    Malala is worth more than all of your self-important, hypocritically pious, self-appointed leaders who pretend that everything is fine. There is a war going on in your country between Muslims and heretics who claim the Muslim faith, but who wish to turn Pakistani women into illiterate, barefoot, child-bearing SLAVES. Tens of thousands of people are being killed every year, not by DRONES, but by suicide bombers and assassins who intend that their heresy shall replace all other schools of Islam in Pakistan.

    Mr. Mirza Kashif Ali, will you also tell all your schools to stop accepting female students because the Taliban say so? Whether this books has the problems you say or not, this girl’s experience is relevant to young women in Pakistan today. Reading the book and teaching about what it gets right and what it gets wrong would likely give your female students a better understanding of what they need to learn than rote memorization.

    Unless you are afraid that they might learn to think…Recommend

  • Sami
    Nov 11, 2013 - 10:19AM

    this is really a good step by private schools association to ban the Book of Malala. The book contains content which is painful for Muslim believer. I hope she stops playing in the hands of the west as a toy..


  • Zini
    Nov 11, 2013 - 10:57AM

    Ban or not, the book is just an insight laced with flavours palatable to westerners…. rather i should say the book is loaded with all that ‘sells’ in west…. Just as our English press is disconnected with the society, choosing to highlight specific few issues…. But one thing is clear, excerpts clearly show it has not been written by Malala….


  • unbelievable
    Nov 11, 2013 - 11:01AM

    Sad when an educational institution bans a book authored by an individual who was almost assassinated because she believed in woman’s right to an education. Classic example of how anti Western bias overcomes common sense.


  • Saeed Ahmed
    Nov 11, 2013 - 11:02AM

    We Need Your’s Help?


  • Saeed Ahmed
    Nov 11, 2013 - 11:03AM


  • goggi (Lahore)
    Nov 11, 2013 - 11:26AM

    Once again a fatwa against a book, written and published in United Kingdom, is perceived as an indecent exposure and a threat to the barbarian culture.


  • chico and the admi
    Nov 11, 2013 - 11:45AM

    But why would this be needed in syllabus when we read about realities everyday ?
    Might as well prescribe Satanic Verses.


  • Zen
    Nov 11, 2013 - 11:51AM

    What will be my outcome if I was to land at one of Pakistan’s airport with a book ‘I am Malala’ in my hand?


  • Aschraful Makhlooq
    Nov 11, 2013 - 12:03PM

    Why Malala is being taken as an exaggerated issue till now in Pakistan and how & why foolishly Malala’s book “I am Malala” is trying to include the schools’ courses?????
    Please leave this issue now and concentrate on the other important,core and burning issues than Malala……


  • Qasim
    Nov 11, 2013 - 12:36PM

    No doubt we are poor and third world country!!


    Nov 11, 2013 - 1:22PM

    More fame for her = More hate for her.


  • Pakistani bloach
    Nov 11, 2013 - 2:52PM

    why givr importance to book which nobody is willing to read or buy anyway?? nobody in pakistan cares about so stop putting such nonsense on to make people read.


  • Akhatr
    Nov 11, 2013 - 4:50PM

    I have read this book throughly, to be honest there is nothing to teach in this book at school level. Then who has the stake to introduce this book in Pakistani eductaional institutions and why? Moreover, it is controvercial and not depicted 16 yeras old Girl’s views.So the promoter must read it just to get the idea. This book is not for PakistanRecommend

  • Nishant
    Nov 11, 2013 - 7:23PM

    I havent read the book so cant comment on it
    but shouldn’t these schools be banning the biased and half baked truth and hateful comments against non muslims in the school curriculum ?


  • Nov 11, 2013 - 8:33PM

    When Malala Yousufzai was shot in the head by Taliban gunmen simply because she wanted to gain an education it sent shockwaves around the world.

    Straight away the Western media took up the issue. Western politicians spoke out and soon she found herself in the UK. The way in which the West reacted did make me question the reasons and motives behind why Malala’s case was taken up and not so many others.

    There is no justifying the brutal actions of the Taliban or the denial of the universal
    right to education, however there is a deeper more historic narrative that is
    taking place here.

    This is a story of a native girl being saved by the white man. Flown to the UK, the Western world can feel good about itself as they save the native woman from the savage men of her home nation. It is a historic racist narrative that has been
    institutionalised. Journalists and politicians were falling over themselves to
    report and comment on the case. The story of an innocent brown child that was
    shot by savages for demanding an education and along comes the knight in shining armour to save her.

    The actions of the West, the bombings, the occupations the wars all seem justified now, “see, we told you, this is why we intervene to save the natives.”

    The truth is that there are hundreds and thousands of other Malalas. They come from Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and other places in the world. Many are victims of the West, but we conveniently forget about those as Western journalists and
    politicians fall over themselves to appease their white-middle class guilt also
    known as the white man’s burden.

    Gordon Brown stood at the UN and spoke words in support for Malala, yet he is the very same Gordon Brown that voted for the war in Iraq that not only robbed people of their education but of their lives. The same journalists that failed to question or report on the Western wars in an intelligible manner now sing the praises of the West as they back Malala and her campaign without putting it in context of the war in Afghanistan and the destabilisation of the region thanks to the Western occupation of Afghanistan.

    Malala’s message is true, it is profound, it is something the world needs to take note of; education is a right of every child, but Malala has been used as a tool by the West. It allows countries like Britain to hide their sins in Afghanistan and
    Iraq. It allows journalists to report a feel good story whilst they neglect so
    many others, like the American drone strikes that terrorise men, women and
    children in Pakistan’s border regions.

    The current narrative continues the demonization of the non-white Muslim man. Painting him as a savage, someone beyond negotiating with, beyond engaging with, the only way to deal with this kind of savage is to wage war, occupy and use drones against them. NATO is bombing to save girls like Malala is the message here.

    Historically the West has always used women to justify the actions of war mongering men. It is in the imagery, it is in art, in education, it is even prevalent in Western human rights organisations, Amnesty International’s poster campaign
    coinciding with the NATO summit in New York encouraged NATO to ‘keep the
    progress going!’ in Afghanistan.

    Shazia Ramzan and Kainat Riaz were also shot along with Malala, the media and politicians seem to have forgotten about them. Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi – how many of the Western politicians and journalists know about this name? She was the 14-year-old girl gang raped by five US soldiers, then her and her family,
    including her six-year-old sister were murdered. There are no days named after
    her, no mentions of her at the UN, and we don’t see Gordon Brown pledging his
    name to her cause.

    I support Malala, I support the right to education for all, I just cannot stand the hypocrisy of Western politicians and media as they pick and choose, congratulating themselves for something that they have caused. Malala is the good native, she does not criticise the West, she does not talk about the drone strikes, she is the perfect candidate for the white man to relieve his burden and save the native.

    The Western saviour complex has hijacked Malala’s message. The West has killed more girls than the Taliban have. The West has denied more girls an education via their missiles than the Taliban has by their bullets. The West has done more against education around the world than extremists could ever dream of. So, please, spare us the self-righteous and self-congratulatory message that is nothing more than propaganda that tells us that the West drops bombs to save girls like Malala.
    Iftikhar Ahmad
    London School of Islamics Trust


  • I am a Khan
    Nov 11, 2013 - 8:42PM

    from what I have heard of the contents of this Book, it unfortunately seems that this teenage girl is indeed a pawn of the enemies of Islam.


  • Visionist
    Nov 11, 2013 - 8:55PM

    Book name should be “I am father’s Chatterbox”


  • naeem khan Manhattan,Ks
    Nov 11, 2013 - 8:55PM

    When we don’t allow or encourage critical thinking in the schools then we produce bigoted people who can not and will not tolerate dissent and the net result is that we see today, a minority is forcing their brand of ideology and religion the nation of Pakistan. Burning books was a norm in Nazi era and the result of that indoctrination caused WW2, we are also seeing the narrow thinking in schools which in turn inhibits the tolerance for others who has different views and religion. I believe that all the libraries should have this book and let others read it if they want to. It reminds me that dictator Zia was visiting Pakistan Consulate in New York and instructed the librarian to destroy or get rid of Z A Bhutto’s book on the shelf, did it really made any difference, I believe it did not. it only reflected his myopic view of the world at large.


  • Vlad Singh
    Nov 12, 2013 - 1:09PM

    If you want to ignore someone then take it normally and if you want to make someone important then act in hyper mode . The whole Pakistan is really acting in hyper mode to this very talented girl who have more courage than whole of Pakistan put together. What most of people don’t realize that in Malala Pakistan has got golden opportunity to be part of global community instead Pakistan is drifting away more and more from being civil society . In coming times no country will fight with other country , there will be fight between fanatic and liberal society .


  • Blackjack
    Nov 12, 2013 - 2:50PM

    Ban private and public schools too while you are about it. If everybody is illiterate there will be no need to ban books. No head, no headache!


  • nemomil
    Nov 16, 2013 - 1:28AM

    @I am a Khan:
    Why don’t you try actually reading the book instead of taking other people’s words for what’s in it ?


  • Nov 16, 2013 - 8:56PM

    This grand exhibition of Malala by the west is simply their way of telling the world…..”this is what we are going to nurture for the coming years to control the new Pakistani generation”. It does not take an idiot to realize that they are simply nurturing western puppet who would then enter Pakistani politics with boats loads of cash and other assets from the west to win in Pakistani politics to simply do the west’s bidding.

    This happened before, they are doing it again, and we are still stuck with the same primitive mind set akin to sheep. Malala was groomed by the PR firms to speak in un. someone is spending a lot of cash to promote her crap autobiography.

    The bullet that Malala took was from TTP (CIA sponsored group) and Malala is also a West sponsored “agent in the making”. Someone explain to me as to how a common school girl of Swat; where almost all students speak sub-standard English; at the age of 14 can write exceptional English which resulted in the Daily Diary that Malala used to write during the TTP occupation of the city? This diary that has ever since been so heavily sponsored by western media that it was almost obvious as to their agenda. This girl is being used by the Anti-Pakistan actors. Everybody knows Islam is for women’s education. So, that’s that.

    There are numerous people in Pakistan fighting for human rights and women rights and gay and lesbian rights for ages and all having their bits of success. Why haven’t they been picked up as a role model? Many have even dies for such rights. What about them? What makes Malala so unique? Is the bullet they intended to plant in her brain??? Its a big game and she is the star puppet that is to be used so as to control Pakistan. I see it happening at least 10-15 years down the line.

    My uncle went to Quaid-e-Azam university in Islamabad more than four decades ago. He said at that time there were between 20-30 girls in the class and about 3 or 4 boys. I visited a few universities in Pakistan in 2010, and majority of students were girls. My village is in a very remote part of northern Pakistan, and all girls in my village go to school without any problem. There are many problems in Pakistan, but girls not being able to get an education is not one of them. I think the media is lying. Islam is for girl’s education. Malala is just a tool, 4 months from now people will forget her and nobody will care.


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