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Malala Yousafzai Book Launch Tour Suddenly Canceled in Pakistan

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By Alexandra Ward   |   Wednesday, 29 Jan 2014 09:49 AM

Malala Yousafzai's book launch event in Pakistan was inexplicably canceled this week but no one has any idea why.

The provincial government in Peshawar reportedly intervened in the planned event to debut Yousafzai's memoir, "I Am Malala," which tells the story of the 16-year-old who was shot in the head by the Taliban in 2012 for promoting education for women.

According to the BBC, police and government officials cited "security concerns" as the reason for the cancellation of the book launch, which was organized by Peshawar University's Area Study Centre in collaboration with the Bacha Khan Education Trust (BKET), a non-profit education network.

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"Two ministers of the [Khyber Pakhtunkhwa] government put pressure on the university administration to call off the program," a member of BKET told the BBC. "Some important state functionaries also made telephone calls to senior professors of the Area Study Centre."

Imran Khan, a former cricketer and member of the National Assembly of Pakistan, tweeted his disappointment in the KP government.

Yousafzai was just 14 when she was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman as she left school in Pakistan's Swat Valley, northwest of the country's capital Islamabad. She was targeted for her activist work that campaigned for women's right to education.

She recovered from the assassination attempt but still receives treatment in the British city of Birmingham, where she now lives with her family. She was not expected to attend Tuesday's book launch event in Pakistan.

Though Yousafzai is considered a national hero in the U.S. and other Western countries, the Pakistani people are generally split on their feelings toward her.

"Her fame highlights Pakistan’s most negative aspect (rampant militancy); her education campaign echoes Western agendas; and the West's admiration of her is hypocritical because it overlooks the plight of other innocent victims, like the casualties of U.S. drone strikes," reporter Huma Yusuf wrote in a July 2013 New York Times article.

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