Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani education activist and school pupil from the town of Mingora which is in Swat a district of Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhawa province. Born on 12th of July 1997, she is now known globally for her education and women right activism in Swat, where Taliban had at times banned females from attending school and colleges. At the age of 11-12 in early 2009, Malala Yousafzai wrote a blog under a fictitious name for the BBC giving articulate details of her and other girl’s life under the rule of Taliban, and about their attempts to take control of the valley of Swat, and her views on how education for girls could be promoted –that has been the soul of her cause.
The following summer a documentary was filmed about her life as military intervene in a region, culminating in the battle of Swat. Yousafzai came out as a prominence, she gave interviews to electronic and print media in details, and she was nominated for the international children’s Peace prize by South African activist Desmond Tutu.
On 9th October 2012, Yousafzai became the victim of a brutal act of the extremist group Taliban; she was shot in the head and neck in a murder attempt by gun wielding Taliban while returning to her house on a school bus. She remained unconscious and in a critical condition, but later her condition improved enough for her to be sent to Queen Elizabeth Hospital, a famous hospital in Birmingham, the United Kingdom for intense care. On 12 October, a group of 50 Islamic leaders in Pakistan issued a fatwa against those who tried to kill her, but the Taliban reiterate their intent to kill Yousafzai and her father.
The assassination attempt sparked a nationwide as well as global outburst of support for Yousafzai. Deutshe Welle wrote in the month of January 2013 that Malala may have become the most famous teenager in the world. The United Nations special representative for Global Education Gordon Brown launched a UN petition in Yousafzai’s name, the slogan used for this purpose was ‘’I am Malala” and demanding all the children worldwide be in the school by the end of 2015, education is every one’s right. Brown said he would give the petition to the President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari in November. On the April 29th 2013 issue of famous Time magazine, Malala was featured on the magazine’s front cover page and as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. Malala Yousafzai has the honor of being the winner of the first youth peace prize from Pakistan and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize of 2013.
On 16th July 2013, the UN marked Malala’s birthday as International Malala Day. Malala was there at the UN headquarters in New York at the procession and in her historic speech she vows not to be silenced. She said that extremists thought they can stop her but she will continue her struggle for women empowerment and education in Pakistan. She also insisted that she will not take revenge; she said that even if the Taliban who attacked her come in front of her she will let them go. She further said the extremists were and are afraid of books and pens; the power of education. They are afraid of women. She further said one child, one teacher, one pen and one book can change the world.
Malala is now considered a leading contender for the Nobel Peace Prize. Taliban have made it clear however that she remains a target. Gordon Brown, the former British Prime Minister and UN special envoy for education, hailed Malala as “the bravest girl in the world” as he presented her at the UN Youth Assembly in New York. British Prime Minister David Cameron remarked on his Twitter account that Malala had delivered a “powerful message”.
There are always two sides of the story, there are a lot of people in Pakistan who consider Malala as a traitor and think that all this was a staged drama, a planned poison against Pakistan. What should Malala do now? She must remain positive and continue her struggle against the extremism and work for promoting education in Pakistan. Her image in her own country is both bright and dark, she must close those mouths who think that Malala is an agent against Pakistan by virtue of her acts. She is doing a noble job in promoting education for women because getting an education in Pakistan is not an easy thing for most of the women in the remote and tribal areas. For us and many, Malala remains a national hero as she becomes the face of education worldwide and this is a proud thing for Pakistan.
What should be Malala’s next step, as said above her work on education and especially women education is commendable, with all the conspiracy theories revolving around Malala which makes her a traitor and sometimes people call her worse than Taliban, she must prove that she is not the one against the country. Some might suggest she must come back to Pakistan and show the world that she cares about her motherland and that’s why she is back; some suggest to remain abroad as she is still on the hit list of Taliban. All this must be revolving over her head but to bring silence to all the critics, she is facing, one must say that she would have to come back to Pakistan and start all what she planned for education around the world from her motherland.
Pakistan is a country which is badly affected by terrorism and Malala was a victim of a brutal act of terrorism. She must stand strong against all the critics and extremist, and with all new hopes and strength she must fulfill her dream about proper and quality education for women. Our religion backs education not only for women but for everyone. Malala, who is the face of hope for many young girls living in the tribal areas and are oppressed, must become the voice of these women who want to seek education for a better future. Her fight is Pakistan’s fight. She is fighting against extremism and Pakistan is fighting to eject this poisonous root of terrorism from the country. What she said back at the UN headquarters was true that Taliban is afraid of women and book, pen and education. Yes, they are. They can’t manipulate an educated mind or brain wash kids to perform suicide attacks within the country. They say that democracy is the best form of revenge, but in Malala’s dictionary education is the best form of revenge. Way to go girl!
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