At the age of 14, Malala Yousafzai,a campaigner for education for girls in Mingora, a town in Swat Valley, in Pakistan’s North Western Frontier Province, was brutally targeted by Taliban militants. Malala was returning home from school when the men attacked; a fellow-student and a teacher were injured as well.
The 14 year-old girl was targeted by the Pakistani Taliban because for the past three years she has spoken out for the rights of all girls to become educated. After the shoting, a Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan, said that his organization considers Malala’s crusade for education rights an “obscenity” and accused her of “propagating” Western culture. If she survives, the group promises to try again to kill her.
This brave lady had been a marked girl since she was only eleven. In 2007, when the Tehreek-e-Taliban overtook the hill district of Swat, a picturesque town that used to attract tourists from around the country, she had kept an Urdu diary for the BBC of life under the Pakistani Taliban. The diary detailed her frustrations with the Taliban’s edict to shut down all girls schools; each word of it conveying the helplessness of a girl eager for an education being thwarted by religious extremism and political forces beyond her control.
Ms. Yousafzai in 2011 was nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize. Later, Yousaf Raza Gilani, the prime minister at the time, awarded her Pakistan’s first National Youth Peace Prize.
Doctors are still undecided whether Malala Yousafzai will be taken abroad for further treatment, according to the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), Geo News reported.
Pakistanis protest against the assassination attempt on Malala Yousafzai in Islamabad on October 11, 2012.© AFP/GettyImages
Malala’s words can give strength and courage to hundreds of thousands of schoolgirls in Pakistan:
“I have rights. I have the right of education. I have the right to play. I have the right to sing. I have the right to talk. I have the right to go to market. I have the right to speak up.”