WASHINGTON: The US State Department says those that would threaten Shad Begum, recipient of the International Women of Courage award, are “out of step with the aspirations of the Pakistani people.”
The statement came after a Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan leader Ehsanullah Ehsan told Reuters that Shad Begum “works for a secular and infidel system in Pakistan. That is why America has given her this prize” and threatened attacks against her.
Laura Lucas, a State Department spokesperson said, “Begum comes from a long tradition of strong female Pakistani civil society leaders. We have recognised her for the strong and courageous work that she does, which is appreciated by the many communities she has helped, and those who would threaten her are out of step with the aspirations of the Pakistani people.”
Referencing Secretary Clinton’s earlier statement made during her trip to Pakistan, Lucas said the US recognises that “violent extremism has taken a major toll on the Pakistani people. So stopping terrorism is an urgent interest that we share.”
Shad Begum, who hails from Dir, received the International Women of Courage Award on Thursday from First Lady Michelle Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her work on women rights and development.