Political ambitions: Malala wants to change the face of Pakistan

Published: October 8, 2013
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“Malala is a model, not only for us but for the whole of Pakistan,” said 14-year-old Rehana Noor Bacha. PHOTO: AFP

“Malala is a model, not only for us but for the whole of Pakistan,” said 14-year-old Rehana Noor Bacha. PHOTO: AFP

MINGORA / LONDON: 

Iconic teenage activist Malala Yousafzai on Monday said she wanted to change the face of Pakistan by venturing into politics in future.

The 16-year-old activist has also backed dialogue with the Taliban, despite repeated death threats by the militants. “I will be a politician in my future. I want to change the future of my country and I want to make education compulsory,” Malala told the BBC in an interview.

“If I’m saying that there is no-one who is doing anything for education, if I say there is no electricity, there is no natural gas, the schools are being blasted, and I’m saying no-one is doing this, why don’t I go for it, why don’t I do this?”

Malala said, talking about her ambitions to pursue politics. “The best way to solve problem and to fight against war is through dialogue, and is through peaceful way,” she said.

“But for me the best way to fight against terrorism and extremism is a simple thing – educate the next generation.”

Talking about issues of terrorism and dialogue with the Taliban, Malala said it was not her job, “It’s the government’s job, and not an issue for me,” she said, adding “It’s also the job of America.”

Malala said it was important that the Taliban discussed their demands. “They must do what they want through dialogue,” she told the BBC. “Killing people, torturing people and flogging people – it’s totally against Islam. They are misusing the name of Islam.”

The teenager is also among the favourites to win the Nobel Peace Prize, which will be announced on October 11.

During the interview, Malala said winning the peace prize would be ‘a great opportunity’ but that universal education remained her true goal.

“If I win Nobel Peace Prize, it would be a great opportunity for me, but if I don’t get it, it’s not important because my goal is not to get Nobel Peace Prize, my goal is to get peace and my goal is to see the education of every child,” she explained.

Schoolgirls pray for Malala

In her hometown, school friends hope to see Malala win the Nobel Peace Prize this week – but they dream in secret, under pressure from a society deeply ambivalent about the teenage activist. Peeling off from a group of girls at a high school in Mingora, the main town in Swat, Malala’s longtime friend Safia spoke confidently about her and said she deserves it.

“A bicycle cannot run with only one wheel – society is like a bicycle, with the male education as the first wheel and female education as the second one,” she told AFP.

Safia’s sentiments are shared by many schoolgirls in Mingora, who want their country and their area to be known for something other than the Taliban and bombs.

“Malala is a model, not only for us but for the whole of Pakistan,” said 14-year-old Rehana Noor Bacha.

Education has improved in Swat since the Taliban days. Since 2011, the proportion of girls going to school has risen to nearly 50%, from 34%, while that of boys is close to 90%.

Malala’s rise to stardom in the West, and her frequent appearances in the media, have brewed suspicion in a society that expects women to remain out of sight and is quick to blame foreign powers for its ills. The head of girls’ education in Swat, Dilshad Begum, explained that in Pashtun society “people don’t like to see women in front of cameras”.

Maulana Gul Naseeb, a prominent figure in the JUI-F, was more forthright. “America created Malala in order to promote their own culture of nudity and to defame Pakistan around the world,” he told AFP.

Bizarre theories like this have gained ground on social networking sites, with users declaring themselves shocked to see the West elevate a girl ‘only’ wounded while forgetting Afghan and Pakistani children killed by American bombs.

Safia said even people from Malala’s village had opposed her, but the critics were ‘hypocrites and jealous’.

Safia says she is optimistic and determined, and is doing better after spending three months feeling traumatised by the attack.

This week as the Nobel announcement approaches she will pray for Malala’s chances, but warns it will make little difference if she wins. “It will take at least three generations to make things change here,” she sighed. 

Published in The Express Tribune, October 8th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (18)

  • Umer
    Oct 8, 2013 - 2:49AM

    Dynastic politics fans would be upset now.

    Recommend

  • Masood
    Oct 8, 2013 - 2:58AM

    We need Aafia to be the new PM of Pakistan!!

    Recommend

  • Anonymous
    Oct 8, 2013 - 3:14AM

    Salute to this Brave girl. Pakistan needs more of this.
    I just listened her speech and was spell bound.
    …from an Indian.

    Recommend

  • Vakil
    Oct 8, 2013 - 4:09AM

    Very sweet …. yet very naiive …. dear o dear… if this is the way Pakistan would go forward then the whole world would become a PROPER paradise …. but can it ??? Lets be real, please!

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  • Waseem
    Oct 8, 2013 - 4:11AM

    oh please…………

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  • Umer
    Oct 8, 2013 - 4:14AM

    @Masood:

    We need Aafia to be the new PM of Pakistan!!

    Hasn’t she caused enough trouble and embarrassment already?

    Recommend

  • csmann
    Oct 8, 2013 - 4:55AM

    Maulana Gul Naseeb, a prominent figure in the JUI-F, was more forthright. “America created Malala in order to promote their own culture of nudity and to defame Pakistan around the world,”
    This shows the warped mind of Maulanas. Where does America come into the picture?She is in Britain.Unless this bigot is concerned only about Aafia.Where does nudity enter into the picture in discussing universal education,and right of women?.How is she defaming Pakistan?Unless criticizing Taliban is defaming Pakistan(which she has done much less than the world anyway,and hardly needs her help).Everybody knows that these Maulanas are the strongest supporters of Taliban,and although there are exceptions,all the people who are criticizing her the apologists for Taliban and supporters of terrorism.

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  • Naseer
    Oct 8, 2013 - 5:59AM

    All of the world press is broadcasting the new death threat issued by the Talibans today. ET, have you joined PTI or PML(N)? I do not see any news related to new threat.

    I don’t care what Malala can do but I do care that she is taking a firm stand for women education unlike most of other Pakistanis.

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  • Nargis
    Oct 8, 2013 - 6:01AM

    I am a Pakistani woman and deeply proud that this country produced an iconic hero like her. Malala has provided a counter narrative for a Pakistan that is characterised by crazy men, men in flowing beards and shalwars, holding Ak-47s and killing people. That this society can still produce a heroine like Malala shows its resilience. Please ignore the men of Pakistan..like the ones commenting in this section. Their minds have been twisted by power and testosterone.

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  • anwar kamal
    Oct 8, 2013 - 7:55AM

    Politics is not smooth,it is very slippery.Politics become ugly and dirty.In the name of politics there is terrorism.There is risk of life here.You not yet adult.so before do politics,you have to think once again.

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  • hmm
    Oct 8, 2013 - 8:00AM

    Politics for bringing about change or for power? Nobody will vote for you apart from small section of upper middle class or upper class. Why? because you’ll return to Pakistan after 10-15 years, that too before elections, & by then you will be regarded as a British national.

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  • mindhunter
    Oct 8, 2013 - 8:09AM

    then come back to pakistan and change it don’t talk from there like bhai

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  • anonymous
    Oct 8, 2013 - 9:52AM

    pretty great impressive this girl is taking a stance against oppressive peopel who don’t want women’s education but I don’t know hardly a country like Pakistan will change.Recommend

  • csmann
    Oct 8, 2013 - 9:52AM

    @hmm:
    Not really;she won’t come back because Pakistan is going to be ruled by Taliban by then.

    Recommend

  • JD
    Oct 8, 2013 - 11:15AM

    Politician of our future.. already in the wings of Americans and the British. The classic example of how they plant ‘their’ people in our system.

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  • zain
    Oct 8, 2013 - 11:31AM

    has to be corrupt first

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  • woman for freedem
    Oct 9, 2013 - 12:42AM

    Lets here it women: ” I am Madela” Shout it out. Free us from oppressive men.

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  • Melkanie Duh
    Oct 15, 2013 - 5:53AM

    Malala is doing very great for fighting for her self and us!❤️Recommend

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