PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) – Pakistani police arrested a cleric after a video of him went viral on social media, in which he threatens Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai for his recent comments on the marriage, said Thursday officials.
The cleric Mufti Sardar Ali Haqqani was arrested on Wednesday in Lakki Marwat, a district in the northwest of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, said Waseem Sajjad, a local police chief.
In the video, the cleric threatens to target Malala with a suicide bombing on his return to Pakistan, allegedly because of his comments earlier this month to British magazine Vogue about the marriage which he said insulted Islam .
Yousafzai has lived in Britain since 2012, after the Pakistani Taliban seriously injured her with gunshot wounds. She was only 15 at the time and enraged the Taliban with her campaign to educate girls.
At one point in the Vogue interview, Malala said, “I still don’t understand why people have to get married. If you want to have someone in your life, why do you have to sign marriage papers, why can’t it just be a partnership? “
The remark caused a stir on social media in Pakistan and angered Islamists and clerics like Haqqani. Under Islamic laws, couples cannot live together outside of marriage.
Malala’s father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, defended her on Twitter, saying her comments were taken out of context.
Malala, now 23, received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 for working to protect children from slavery, extremism and child labor. She briefly visited Pakistan in 2018.
It remains very popular in Pakistan but is also widely criticized by Islamists and hardliners.
In February, Malala’s 2012 attacker threatened a second assassination attempt, tweeting that next time, “there would be no mistake.” Twitter will then permanently suspend the account with the threatening message.
The threat prompted Yousafzai to tweet, asking both the Pakistani military and Prime Minister Imran Khan to explain how his suspected shooter, Ehsanullah Ehsan, escaped government detention.
Ehsan was arrested in 2017, but escaped in January 2020 from a so-called safe house where he was being held by the Pakistani intelligence agency. The circumstances of his arrest and escape were shrouded in mystery and controversy.