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The father of Pakistani Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai has said that a purported comment of his daughter about marriage in a popular fashion and lifestyle magazine has been taken out of context, twisted and circulated on social media with sinister interpretations.

In a post widely shared on social media, British Vogue purportedly quoted Malala 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?”

Malala, 23, gave a wide-ranging interview to British Vogue and features on the cover of the magazine’s July issue. She was pictured for the cover wearing a red headscarf. She said her dress is not a sign she is “oppressed”, according to the snippets of the interview released by British Vogue.

She said the headscarf represents her roots as a Muslim of Pashtun ethnicity. “Muslim girls or Pashtun girls or Pakistani girls, when we follow our traditional dress, we're considered to be oppressed, or voiceless, or living under patriarchy,” she added.

However, it was her purported comment about marriage that immediately went viral on social media, inviting venomous criticism. A Peshawar-based influential cleric asked Malala’s father to explain his daughter’s purported comments.

“A news report has been making the rounds on social media since yesterday that your daughter Malala Yousafzai has categorically rejected the institution of marriage and said that ‘partnership’ is better than getting married,” Mufti Shahabuddin Popalzai, the imam and khateeb of Peshawar’s Qasim Ali Khan Masjid, said in a tweet tagging Ziauddin Yousafzai.

“We are all deeply disturbed by this statement. Please explain,” he added.

Replying to Popalzai’s tweet, Ziauddin said that Malala’s interview was twisted and her comments were quoted out of context with sinister designs.

“Respected Mufti Popalzai Sahib, there is no truth in it. The media and social media have taken an excerpt of her interview out of context and shared it with their own interpretations. And that's it,” Ziauddin wrote on his verified Twitter handle.

hat Malala told the magazine is this: “I am aware of the power that is in the heart of a young girl when she has thought and a mission.”

The cleric retweeted Ziauddin’s tweet with his comments. “Malala Yousafzai's respected father made three important points in his explanation: 1.) He denied the statement; 2.) He said the comment has been presented out of context; 3.) The words have been altered and twisted,” he wrote in another tweet.

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