Malala hometown puts on brave face after Nobel disappointment

By AFP
Published: October 11, 2013
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"Life is bigger than the Nobel Prize and her life is a major award for us," says Malala's classmate. PHOTO: FILE

"Life is bigger than the Nobel Prize and her life is a major award for us," says Malala's classmate. PHOTO: FILE

MINGORA: Friends and supporters of Malala Yousafzai in her hometown of Swat voiced disappointment as she missed out on the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, but the Tailban said they were “delighted” at the news.

The 16-year-old was hotly tipped to win the Nobel after courageously fighting back from a Taliban attempt on her life to lead a high-profile international campaign for the right of all children to go to school.

But instead the Nobel committee honoured the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) for its work to rid the world of chemical arms.

Cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan, head of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party which rules Malala’s home province, said he was disappointed.

“We are proud of this daughter of Pakistan who had to suffer trauma at such a young age… simply because she stood for the right of girls to education,” he said in a statement.

Pakistan’s former ambassador to the US, Sherry Rehman, voiced astonishment on Twitter, writing: “This award too is now loaded with political concerns.”

In Mingora, the main town of the Swat Valley where Malala grew up and where on October 9 last year a Taliban gunman shot her, friends and former schoolmates were philosophical about the disappointment.

“If she did not win the Nobel Prize, it’s not a big deal,” 17-year-old Muhammad Fahad, who studied with Malala, told AFP.

“Life is bigger than the Nobel Prize and her life is a major award for us. She will win many more awards.”

Her cousin Mehmoodul Hassan, 33, an administrator at the school where she studied, said: “Malala herself is an award for us, because she has come back to life from the edge of death.”

The Taliban said they shot Malala for speaking out against them, demanding that girls should go to school, and they have repeatedly said they will try again to kill her.

After the shooting she was flown to Britain for specialist care and made a remarkable recovery, going on to become a global ambassador for children’s rights.

The 16-year-old has written an autobiography, addressed the United Nations and set up the Malala Fund which works to get girls around the world to go to school.

Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesman Shahidullah Shahid told AFP the 16-year-old had done nothing to deserve the Nobel.

“We are delighted that she didn’t get it. She did nothing big so it’s good that she didn’t get it,” Shahid said by telephone from an undisclosed location.

“This award should be given to the real Muslims who are struggling for Islam. Malala is against Islam, she is secular.”

Such suspicion and even contempt for Malala is not uncommon in Pakistan – in contrast to her reception in the West, where she has been courted by politicians and feted by celebrities like Angelina Jolie and Madonna.

“Most people think this attack on Malala was a fake and a staged drama,” Ibrar Khan, a political science student in Mingora, told AFP.

“Her father used this incident to go abroad and get an attractive job.”

College student Myra Khan accused Malala, whose father Ziauddin runs a school in Mingora, of abandoning her roots.

“I will ask a very simple question, what has she done so far for girls education in Swat?” she said.

“She has yet not established even a single institution, nor has established any fund to support education in Swat.”

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Reader Comments (9)

  • OMG
    Oct 11, 2013 - 8:10PM

    Mr Shahidulalh Shahid should be given the Nobel prize as he has destroyed his children’s future by not allowing them to receive the light of education. Your children will definitely thank you Mr Shahid when they grow up.

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  • faizaan
    Oct 11, 2013 - 8:18PM

    This Malala mania needs to subside now.
    At age 16,she has been turned into a living saint.

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  • Globe
    Oct 11, 2013 - 8:47PM

    She is wonderful and bright like a star. I wish every one in the world think like her. Thank you Malala.

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  • Globe
    Oct 11, 2013 - 8:51PM

    Whereever Al Qaeda go, destructions follow. Where ever the fake, sick and criminal jihadists go curse comes. Pakistan is going down in their hands. Hatred on rise! May Malala_like humans come up in masses.

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  • Globe
    Oct 11, 2013 - 8:52PM

    America Sends Al Qaeda and then follows it to that country! In fact America has shot her in the head!

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  • FS
    Oct 11, 2013 - 9:51PM

    “She has yet not established even a
    single institution, nor has
    established any fund to support
    education in Swat.”

    Atleast report responsibly ET. The least could have been done is point to http://www.malalafund.org/

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  • csmann
    Oct 11, 2013 - 10:29PM

    This incident of Nobel Prize will remain as a shame for Pakistan and its Taliban apologists and supporters for their vociferous role in opposing it for Malala,advancing TTP ideology and agreeing with TTP’s position.It is a shame for bigots like IK for not uttering a single word of praise for her when it was due,and Pakistan Government in remaining mum on claiming her.IK now utters 2 words while it is all over, to score points.PM did a drama while he was in the world’s eye at UN, but hasn’t said a word since then about Malala.Malala is still a winner and will remain awinner in the eyes of the civilized blood.Her not winning the Nobel Prize does nothing to substract from her and her struggle.

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  • Raza
    Oct 11, 2013 - 10:36PM

    Well, its not a big deal to lose out on the Noble prize; but while the Malala mania has perhaps exceeded boundaries, there is no reason for a significant portion of mainstream Pakistanis to hold her in contempt either. She is only trying to bring about some positive change, regardless of its effectiveness. If you want to hold anyone in contempt, it should be the Taliban which wants to send us back to the stone age and has nothing to do with Islam. But then I guess that if Pakistanis didn’t have a soft corner for such fanatics, we wouldn’t have this menace in the first place.

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  • M. Emad
    Oct 11, 2013 - 11:26PM

    Over half of Mingora – Malala’s hometown — people prefer Taliban rule.

    But Pakistan – world’s most violent country – hoping for a Nobel Peace Prize through Malala ! Now unrealistic hope for a Nobel falls flat on the face of stupid Pakistanis.

    In 1971, the similar thought process unrealistically hoped to win the East Pakistan (Bangladesh) Genocidal War — which ended with the bangles (handcuffs) wearing 93000 Pakistan Army War Criminals taken into Bangladesh and Indian prisons.

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