Malala questions ‘silence’ of Pakistani leaders on terrorism

New Delhi: Questioning the ‘silence’ of Pakistani leaders on terrorism, 18-year-old Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai said she harbours the hope of becoming the Prime Minister of her country.

Malala, who was jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize with New Delhi-based child rights activist Kailash Satyarthi last year, also expressed her desire to visit India.

Malala, who survived an extremist attack on her in Pakistan’s restive Swat valley for promoting education, said she will continue her activism and termed slained former Pakistan premier Benazir Bhutto as a major inspiration.

“Many people denied that a woman can be a leader. She (Bhutto) has shown that a woman can be a leader,” she told India Today TV channel in an interview.

Asked if like Bhutto she would like to become the prime minister of Pakistan, she said, “Hopefully, if people vote. But my dream is to help children to get education.”

However, she also added that “there are more ways to bring change in society”.

“Why are they (Pakistani leadership) silent if terrorism is happening in Swat valley? Why are they silent if girls are denied education or women are flogged on the streets?” she asked.

The good thing about India, she said, was that people don’t care about her religion or from where she belongs adding that she’s big fan of Bollywood and praised Salman Khan starrer ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’ for delivering message of “peace” between India and Pakistan.

“I am very surprised and happy that people in India love me a lot…People stand with me knowing that I am doing a good work. This is what is good about India and I would love to visit India. I would love to see Delhi, Mumbai and other places,” she said.

Malala, whose life is the subject of an upcoming film, further said that she cannot tolerate women being denied the right to have an identity and girls being denied education.

Recounting the fateful day of attack in October 2012, she said, “When I was targeted, I was a little afraid. But I realised on that day no power in the world can stop my fight for education. This fight for education will continue.”

Malala said she is saddened that some of her friends have “stopped going to school and got married” while expressing hope that “some of them will still continue their education.”

“Yes, I talk to my friends, especially on Skype and phone and they keep me updated about what is happening there (Swat),” she said.

Empowering the future generation against terrorism would require investments in education, she said. “The weapons that we need are our books and pens and our voice that is the most important thing.”


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