Undaunted courage: 13-year-old Swat girl gets National Peace Prize

Published: November 24, 2011
Premier Gilani directs Cabinet Division to constitute National Peace Prize to be awarded to children on annual basis. PHOTO: FAZAL KHALIQ

Premier Gilani directs Cabinet Division to constitute National Peace Prize to be awarded to children on annual basis. PHOTO: FAZAL KHALIQ

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani has announced the National Peace Prize for Swat resident Malala Yousufzai, who was earlier nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize 2011.

A prize money of Rs500,000 has also been announced for 13-year-old Malala, a student of class 8, who came into the public eye after she raised her voice for girls’ education during the mayhem in Swat.

Gilani has directed the cabinet division to constitute the National Peace Prize to be awarded to children on an annual basis. Children under 18 years of age will be awarded the prize for their contribution towards peace and education.

Earlier, Malala became the first Pakistani to be nominated for the International Children’s Peace prize and beat 93 contestants from 42 countries to earn her nomination. She fell short of receiving the prize by Nobel laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu, which instead went to a South African handicapped girl.

Malala was nominated because she alone raised her voice against the injustice that girls suffered during militancy in Swat, in which girls were not only barred from attaining education but their schools were destroyed as well. According to the UN, 60% of Swat’s schools were destroyed in the two years of the insurgency.

Malala successfully used the national and international media to let the world know about violations of their rights. She fought bravely for girls’ rights in the militancy hit Swat, focusing on their right to education.

But, most of all, Malala credits her father Ziauddin Yousufzai and her teachers for supporting her in her cause. “I realised the importance of peace and education when extremists destroyed our schools. Education is the key to progress and to ensuring peace in the world,” Malala told reporters after the award was announced.

Malala has been outspoken not just against militants but also against the government, but said that she has faith in the army.

“I was enraged at the politicians and authorities for their inaction in the face of lawlessness,”she said. “The operation restored our confidence in the army in Swat.”

Malala, like many other residents of Swat, had to leave her home and remain an Internally Displaced Person (IDP) for around three months during Operation Rah-e-Raast. But unlike those who populate her neighbourhood, Malala is clear on her opposition to those who want a strict brand of Islam in the region.

“The people of Swat should take home a lesson from the last few years and not patronize any religious extremists in the future,” she says.


Published in The Express Tribune, November 25th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (26)

  • narayana murthy
    Nov 24, 2011 - 12:47PM

    Truly inspiring! Good going girl.


  • A J Khan
    Nov 24, 2011 - 12:54PM

    Late Thought Mr PM


  • GandhiJinnah
    Nov 24, 2011 - 1:21PM

    ET! A story on her would be appreciated.


  • Nov 24, 2011 - 1:43PM

    sitting in Kabul then, her stories would bring mist to my eyes which she wrote on international media sites. The brave Pashtoon daughter, a beautiful nation highjacked and portrayed filthily by some fanatics in our own establishment, specially those who have given birth to all the sipah, jesh, jamat and dawah.


  • Hu Jintao
    Nov 24, 2011 - 1:52PM

    way to go. so proud of her


  • Hu Jintao
    Nov 24, 2011 - 1:58PM

    No comments here. not surprised

    all these pseudo-intellectuals here are only for political commentary and negativity.
    If you are honest in intentions to bring prosperity and wellness, at least give props to people who are actually doing it and making name for themselves


  • goggi
    Nov 24, 2011 - 2:08PM

    Pyari Beti Malala, you are the inspiring torch-bearer in the darkness of ignorance.
    As the blossom sends its fragrance, may your love for humanity become all-embracing and inspiring. Like the blazing sun, may your intellect throw lustre on all that you contact.


  • Karim
    Nov 24, 2011 - 2:25PM

    Well done Girl!


  • Nov 24, 2011 - 2:28PM

    Congratulation the doughter of Shangla

    Congratulation the doughter of Shangla Malala Yousafzai and Ziauddin Yousafzai By Faizullah Yousafzai Puran Shangla@Peshawar


  • goggi
    Nov 24, 2011 - 2:36PM

    In the Voice of Malala:

    On Children…………….Khalil Gibran

    Your children are not your children.

    They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.

    They come through you but not from you,

    And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.*

    You may give them your love but not your thoughts,

    For they have their own thoughts.

    You may house their bodies but not their souls,

    For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,

    which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

    You may strive to be like them,

    but seek not to make them like you.

    For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

    You are the bows from which your children

    as living arrows are sent forth.

    The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,

    and He bends you with His might

    that His arrows may go swift and far.

    Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;

    For even as He loves the arrow that flies,

    so He loves also the bow that is stable.


  • Nadir
    Nov 24, 2011 - 2:42PM

    Great Stuff! Now if only urban Pakistanis believed in her cause as much as they do of the Taliban who are only fighting and blowing up schools because America is in Afghanistan!


  • kakar
    Nov 24, 2011 - 3:50PM

    After a long time another malali in the history of pakhtoons. Surely she reminded me the mallali on the other side of imaginary boarder. As there is always ups and downs in the history of nations. As we know that each night follows day and each autumn follows spring so there is another spring in the history of that proudly nation. Mallali we feel proud upon you our blessings are with you. We want to see you grooming like a tree with blooming colors. You are really a beacon of hope for this war torn nation.

  • Nov 25, 2011 - 4:40AM

    “The people of Swat should take home a lesson from the last few years and not patronize any religious extremists in the future,” she says.

    Not only the people of Swat, but other Pakistanis should take heed and stop patronizing extremists.

    Such as those who claim the Afghan Taliban are ‘good Taliban’, because of their shared hatred of America, when those exact same Taliban bomb girls’ schools and kill Afghan civilians too, and show hypocrisy when Pakistan becomes the target.

    Such as politicians and political parties that pander and attend notorious sectarian, extremist or militant rallies to garner votes.

    Such as the the Pak army that wants to use some ‘pro-Pakistan’ religious extremist militants pawn assets in Afghanistan and Kashmir/India in their anti-India proxy war ‘national interests’.


  • mirza
    Nov 25, 2011 - 4:55AM

    Western NGOs and Media promoting its own agenda
    why not get a blog from a girl in occupied Kashmir


  • mirza
    Nov 25, 2011 - 4:56AM

    @Saad A:
    what about terror groups created by Afghan Establishment ?

    and JUD has nothing to do with taliban


  • Max
    Nov 25, 2011 - 5:34AM

    Congratulations Kiddo! You are our tomorrow and we are proud of you.


  • asif
    Nov 25, 2011 - 6:01AM

    We are all very proud of her. May my daughter grow up to be brave and intelligent like Malala.


  • Raj - USA
    Nov 25, 2011 - 8:42AM

    One word of appreciation for this brave girl from the Mullas and Military would have made a great difference and set the tone for a New Pakistan. After all the Mullas constantly claim that Islam teaches muslims to gain knowledge, even from China. Even in Fazlur Rahman or Fareed Paracha had said something good and honored this little girl in a pubic ceremony, that would have been a new rising day for Pakistan. I sincerely wish this happens one day.


  • Nov 25, 2011 - 9:07AM


    Western NGOs and Media promoting its own agenda
    why not get a blog from a girl in occupied Kashmir

    Any other interesting conspiracies and suggestions? What’s with the resentment? Do you have a problem with the Swati girl?

    Desmond Tutu is the same ‘Western NGO’ that slammed Israel’s apartheid.

    The ‘agenda’ is being promoted or recognized by your own PM.

    This article is about a girl in Swat, which recently went through a military operation against religious militants who tried to take over Pakistan’s settled area. She stood up against the local religious fanatics who attacked girls’ education, a real and constant problem in Af-Pak, and is now getting a national honour. What about this fact do you feel like is an ‘agenda’?

    By all means, write a blog or ask ET to publish a story on a brave Kashmiri girl or boy. Did you have a candidate in mind? Perhaps MC Kash? Or Rukhsana Kauser? But for the time being, this story is about a Swati girl if you don’t mind.

    Is this deflection because you sympathize with the Taliban or like minded groups or can’t seem to accept that there was indeed a backward attempt by fanatics that reflects poorly on Pakistan and would rather want to not speak of it and instead derail?


  • Raj
    Nov 25, 2011 - 9:35AM

    Where there is will, there is a way. She is a true representative of peaceful people of Pakistan. 99.99 per cent Pakistanis are like her.


  • Nov 25, 2011 - 10:10AM

    Let us all pray for her safety. The PM woke up late but better late than never. He’s too busy dreaming what he’ll wear come the morrow.

    Malala is an intrepid and brave young girl from the most dreaded and ignorant nation on earth. Made so by the half-baked molvis that occupy most of our minds and actions.

    Now the ignoramuses are busy blowing up educational institutions in Khyber. When will they ever learn to be human.

    Salams to Pakistan


  • Ajaz
    Nov 25, 2011 - 11:11AM

    Great Job! Keep it up.


  • Prometheus
    Nov 25, 2011 - 4:05PM

    Inspiring indeed, though to say that 99.99 percent of Pakistanis are like her is factually incorrect. If Pakistanis had realized the importance of education as a tool to free form learning, then we would not have had this episode of religious extremism.


  • goggi
    Nov 26, 2011 - 12:04AM

    Any “Fixation” can be sign of psychological disorder!!!!! Just imagine, you were the father of Malala and has arranged a party at home……..instead of cheering, congratulating and celebrating with your daughter, the visitors start discussions about some hocus-pocus political monomania?

    By the way, Malala is consciously and empirically far ahead then most of us!


  • narayana murthy
    Nov 26, 2011 - 1:21AM

    Dear girl,
    You have an Onus on you. The Onus to prove the rest of your countrymen that you are right.

    God bless you. May you have the strength to turn your country around. Your country needs it desperately.

    I love you, genuinely.


  • Mudassir Afridi
    Dec 20, 2011 - 4:57PM

    Dear all,

    Inspiring indeeded thoughts to say that 100 % Pakistani are like her,Recommend

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