Ideas are bulletproof. This saying reflects Malala’s struggle for girls’ education in a war-ravaged Swat. She took a bullet in the head for campaigning for girls’ education and embodies the dreams of every girl who wants a better life.
Journalists and civil society members gathered to observe Malala Day, that coincided with Malala’s 16th birthday at Hill View Hotel on Friday. The participants also cut a birthday cake for Malala.
Danish Ambassador Uffe Wolffhechel in his address said, “Malala has set an agenda for discussion on girls’ education as a means to a better future, not only in Pakistan but also the rest of the world.”
Filmmaker and rights activist, Samar Minallah screened a seven-minute version of her documentary, “We are all Malala,” shot in Ghalanai in 2010. Education is our girls’ dream, why is it considered a Western ideology or conspiracy? she asked.
“Pakistan is blessed with thousands of Malalas, whom we need to provide a safe country to prosper and fulfill their dreams,” said Minallah, explaining the aim of the documentary. Kishwar Naheed’s poem, “Woh bachiyon se bhee darr gaye” highlights the gist of the documentary.
The Express Tribune Executive Editor Mohammad Ziauddin said, “Malala is an icon. She has shown a way forward that should inspire the whole nation and aid in dispelling cultural taboos.”
The event was organised by the South Asian Free Media Association.
More funding for girls’ education urged
To commemorate Malala Day, a group of thirty students from the capital presented a resolution to State Minister for Education Muhammad Balighur Rehman at his office calling for girls’ right to education and increase budgetary allocation.
“Pakistan ranks amongst the lowest in terms of girl’s education enrolment, literacy and budgetary allocation, which necessitates the need for concerted efforts to declare an education emergency,” said Plan International Pakistan Country Director Rashid Javed. The students’ visit was arranged by Plan International, a non-governmental organisation.
Out of 2.2 million enrolled students, 42% are girls, according to Pakistan Education Statistics 2010-11.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 13th, 2013.