ISLAMABAD — Malala Yousafzai, the teenage Pakistani activist for girls’ education who was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman in October, has asked a provincial government to reverse its decision to name a college after her, citing concern for the safety of female students, an official said Friday.
The Swat Valley government last month changed the name of Government Girls Degree College in the town of Saidu Sharif to Government Malala Yousafzai Girls Degree College in honor of the teenager, who was gravely wounded in the Oct. 9 attack and is being treated in a British hospital. Two other students were wounded in the attack, which drew worldwide condemnation.
Malala, who was 14 at the time of the shooting, has become a highly visible symbol of resistance against the Taliban, advocating access to education for girls in an area where the militants held sway until a Pakistani army offensive in 2009. But on Dec. 12, more than 100 students protested the renaming of the school in her honor. They tore down a poster of her, and some threw stones. The college closed after the protest, with authorities announcing that the winter break would be held earlier than scheduled.