Three of the 192 citizens who were conferred civil awards by President Asif Ali Zardari on Monday belong to Swat valley. Malala Yousaf Zai, Dr Taj Muhammad and Dr Lal Noor Afridi have made the valley proud for being nominated for the top civil awards of the country, civil society members and locals said.
Malala Yousafzai, 14, who has been nominated for Tamgha-i-Shujaat, was also the first child to be nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize 2011, beating 93 contestants from 42 countries. During the militancy when Taliban banned female education in the district, she kept a diary for British Broadcasting Corporation and wrote about the misdeeds of militants. She also remained a speaker for the Child Assembly in Swat, which works for child rights in the district. Later on, she was awarded the first National Peace Award by the government of Pakistan on December 19, 2011 for rendering courageous services to promote peace during the mayhem.
Dr Taj Muhammad was nominated for his compassion and relentless services in the field of medicine during militancy. He is the chief executive at Saidu Group of Hospitals and principal at Saidu Sharif Medical College Swat. He is credited for running the only medical college of Malakand division amidst threats from militants. Furthermore, his visionary approach not only kept the college running but also helped it earn a name for itself among the best institutions of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
Similarly, the award was conferred on Dr Lal Noor Afridi for his dedication and round-the-clock service during militancy at Saidu Group of Hospitals as medical superintendant. During the mayhem when hundreds of wounded were brought to the hospitals, he worked tirelessly along his team to provide them relief and comfort.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 16th, 2012.