Tuesday Jul 13, 2021
To protest against Nobel laureate and education activist Malala Yousafzai's recent remarks on the institution of marriage, the All Pakistan Private Schools Federation (APPSF) released a documentary titled 'I am not Malala' to mark the 'I am not Malala Day'.
The APPSF is a body representing over 200,000 schools across Pakistan. The association's president, Kashif Mirza, held a press conference, flanked by a few of the the federation's members, where he lashed out against Malala for what he termed as the "promotion of Western values" among the people of Pakistan.
Mirza cut a quixotic figure — dressed in a tuxedo, complete with a bow tie — as he railed against the 'conspiracy' to impose Western values.
His conference, while condemning many other statements by the activist over the years, centered around criticising her remarks on marriage.
In an interview with British Vogue magazine several weeks ago, Malala was quoted as saying: "I still don’t understand why people have to get married. If you want to have a person in your life, why do you have to sign marriage papers, why can’t it just be a partnership?"
He said the purpose of the documentary was to "educate "the APPSF teachers and over 20 million students across Pakistan about Malala's "controversial views on marriage", adding that marriage is a Sunnah while "partnership is adultery".
"We mark this day, July 12, as a black day and in our schools we are teaching our students to shun the ideology of Malala," Mirza said.
According to a press release by the federation, all teachers wore black armed bands during school hours to mark the "black day".
The statement quoted Mirza as saying Malala had "categorically rejected the institution of marriage and suggested that 'partnership' is better than getting married".
He further termed her remarks as an "attack" on the institution of marriage, according to the statement, and said that Islam considers it a "grave sin" for a man and a woman to live together without getting married.
Moving on to her biography "I am Malala", Mirza said that it was co-authored by the "controversial" British journalist, Christina Lamb, who has been "declared persona non grata by Pakistan for her criminal activities and has been deported twice from Pakistan".
"This book is written on the behest of Western forces who have used Malala for their ulterior motives and it is clear she is playing [into] their hands," he alleged.
Referring to a group photo of the Nobel prize winner where she can be seen with Taslima Nasreen, an Indian writer and human rights activist, he went on to allege that "strong ties with an Indian for the Nobel award are enough to explain Malala's designs and the West's agenda".
He said Malala's comments are "attempting to corrupt the minds of young people and to copy Western culture which are against the tenets of Islam" and "also propagating negative ideas" about marriage.
Mirza took it upon himself to declare on behalf of all Pakistanis that they "would never want their children to follow in the footsteps of Malala, even if she keeps on winning accolades and awards".
He said that even if "the gates of White House and Buckingham Palace remain open for her", Pakistani parents would "never want our children to follow Malala".