In a decision announced by All Pakistan Private Schools Federation President Mirza Kashif, Malala Yousufzai’s recent book ‘I am Malala’ will be banned in all schools across the country due to its ‘controversial’ content. In order to justify the decision, Mr. Kashif stated that the reason behind the ban is to avoid any confusion that the book may cause for students. It bears mentioning that the decision was taken by the private school owners; the government remained neutral toward the development. Furthermore, Mr. Kashif said that the book had little to do with the curriculum in schools and therefore should not be included in the syllabus.

Mr. Kashif’s objections about Malala’s opinions, regarding the need to maintain freedom of speech for Salman Rushdie, and her criticism of deliberate misinterpretation of Islamic laws is misplaced and counterproductive; if anything, Malala’s voice would be a source of social and educational guidance for many students throughout Pakistan. Any kind of intellectual debate in favor or opposing her various stances ought to be meted out in civilized fashion without resorting to polemical tirades against the young girl.

The banning of her book does little to improve education within the country; whether it is private or public schools, the curricula and the mode with which content is imparted is less than optimal. By censoring or completely striking out the option of reading her book in curricular or extra-curricular activities, local schools will only limit the extent of knowledge and opinions students should be aware of. No one from All Pakistan Private Schools Federation is required to endorse every single postulate and perspective stated within Malala Yousafzai’s book. A healthy society is indicated by its diversity of opinions where mutual understanding enables an assortment of views to be aired. Restricting or, worse, erasing views altogether only leads to regression and more regression.