The KPK government, in a disgraceful display of censorship, decided to stop Malala’s book launch at the University of Peshawar on Tuesday, which was being organized by the Bacha Khan Education Foundation (BKEF). It is unclear as to who was directly responsible for this senseless move, but JI’s Inayatullah Khan and PTI’s Information Minister Shah Farman acted as the government’s mouthpiece by asking Dr. Khaddim Hussain, the director of BKEF to cancel the launch without offering any explanations. On his refusal, the vice-chancellor and the registrar also repeated the request, which was denied once more. This prompted the Campus Peace Corps, operating under the provincial police force to refuse provision of security for the event, which as expected, led to its cancellation.

Imran Khan, the chairman of PTI, was seemingly kept out of the loop in this decision and was quick to condemn this act of censorship, which he claimed his party did not stand for. Nevertheless, since his party controls the provincial government, his words mean nothing and if he really is so adamant to allow free speech, he should urge his party and his Information Minister to not interfere in matters that do not concern them. His lack of awareness with the inner workings of the government also do not do much inspire confidence in him, or PTI as a whole. Shah Farman’s silence was suspicious, and his explanation is not much better. He claims, along with the rest of PTI, except for Imran Khan, that the venue was unsuitable and the event was not banned, merely postponed. He then went on to accuse BKEF of having political motivations and also made baseless accusations of the NGO working for US funds.

His statement has a familiar ring to it, for it sounds like something the terrorists would normally accuse someone of. Shah Farman should be ashamed of himself. Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani. Not an American. Is he not echoing the beliefs of the Taliban, who believe that she is an agent of the West? A man who believes something like this does not deserve to represent the people, let alone as Information Minister of an entire province. Why is promoting a book written by a Pakistani heroine somehow pandering to the US? This move speaks volumes, for it suggests that the KPK government has no qualms against banning any books or ideas that it sees as inflammatory, but more than that, the fact that they think that a girl who was shot in the head by the Taliban is the enemy, and not the terrorists shows how skewed their worldview is. Mr. Farman, your government is supposed to cater to people like Malala; to protect and cherish such individuals, and not to appease those that are looking to silence them.