Awami National Party (ANP) and civil society members on Friday commemorated Malala Day and asked the international community to stand united against all extremists in order to establish peace and prosperity in the world.
Participants conducted a walk in favour of the young girl from Swat while holding banners and chanting slogans against those who attacked her.
The walk ended in front of the Swat Press Club, where participants delivered speeches condemning extremists and praising Malala and other activists who strove for equality in education. Those addressing the participants said they saluted Malala for her bravery against those who were against education, peace and humanity.
“Today we let the whole world know that Pukhtuns are a peace loving nation,” said former MPA and ANP District President Sher Shah Khan. “People of Swat feel proud when Malala Day is celebrated internationally, as she is someone who fought for female education and peace,” added Khan, saying peace in Swat prevailed after locals, police and security forces made sacrifices.
“The entire world witnessed the role played by Malala,” said ANP District Information Secretary Abdullah Yousafzai. “All Pukhtuns must learn from her character and understand that education is the most important tool for development in today’s life.” Yousafzai added it was important to adhere to ideas of harmony and education in order to keep pace with the rest of the world.
MPA Syed Jaffar Shah said the people of Swat were celebrating Malala Day under the umbrella of the United Nations to show the world they supported education. “She is inspired by Bacha Khan and his philosophy of non-violence, and is a true follower,” said Shah, adding Malala raised her voice for peace at a time when such things were taboo and considered almost criminal.
“Powerful forces had sewed the mouths of several. Malala alone strove to spread awareness regarding the rights of women and girls to every corner of the world,” said Shah.
The participants stressed they were a peace loving nation and a false image of them was being portrayed to the rest of the world. They also asked the international community to unite against extremists.
A statement issued by ANP’s National Youth Organisation (NYO)congratulated Malala on her birthday and for standing up for what she believed in at a time of war. “Malala rose to the occasion in true Pashtun tradition,” read the release. “She deserves congratulations for becoming a beacon of hope and a source of inspiration for the rest of the world.”
The statement went on to say access to education was a fundamental right “regardless of cast, creed, ethnic or religious identities.” It called on Pakistan to take substantial steps in this regard. The statement also expressed concern that Malala’s attackers had not yet been brought to justice. “The NYO calls upon the Government of Pakistan to serve justice to those who pose a danger to our way of life,” it concluded.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 13th, 2013.
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