LONDON: Malala Day was observed throughout the world on Saturday (November 10) under the banner of the United Nations.
Different ceremonies were held to honour the bravery of the child peace activist, glorifying her stance against extremism and for women’s education.
A 17-year-old schoolboy presented a petition in support of Malala Yousafzai to the Pakistan High Commission on the global day of action for girls’ education which saw the whole world uniting behind Malala.
Sunderland student David Crone, a UN and Plan UK Youth representative, handed in the documents which call for every child to have the right to go to school as part of a drive led by former prime minister Gordon Brown.
The document said: “This is a really important cause - all young people are entitled to the same level of education and no young person should be excluded because of threats or their gender. If girls are to receive a good level of education they also need the solidarity of men and boys around the world to achieve it.”
On the “Malala and the 32 million girls day”, Pakistani organisations in the UK held events to express solidarity with the injured student who is receiving treatment at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham. Several events to express solidarity with her have been planned in the coming days.
Pakistan’s High Commissioner to the UK Wajid Shamsul Hasan revealed that President Asif Ali Zardari was getting reports on Malala’s recovery every day and had instructed the High Commissioner to provide every facility to the Yousufzai family who are in Birmingham with her.
Hasan told The News: “Malala is an inspiration for the whole nation and a symbol of Pakistan’s determination to carry on its struggle to empower women and less privileged, especially the right of Pakistani girls to modern education. She is a symbol of national unity and following the path nurtured by the blood of Shaheed Mohtarama Benazir Bhutto. President Zardari is personally involved in her case and gets update regularly. He has asked us to look after Malala’s family and keep them in comfort and do everything possible so that she gets the best treatment.”
Gordon Brown’s office in London issued a statement which quoted him as saying: “The president of Pakistan has agreed to work with the United Nations to ensure urgent delivery of education for all and to get Pakistan’s five million out-of-school children into education for the first time. No bombs, bullets, threats or intimidation can deter the international community, working in partnership with Pakistan, to ensure we build the schools, train teachers, provide learning materials, and ensure that there is no discrimination against girls.”
Cambridge University Pakistani students organised a vigil on Saturday to pay tributes to Malala. Cambridge Union President Arsalan Ghani said: “The real struggle in present times to demand the right of education includes demanding better and free education for all. Malala bravely fought on all ends. We should take inspiration from her; and struggle, and put forward our demands to the state authorities to make education better and totally free for all people.”
Human Rights Society of Pakistan UK Chapter announced it will build a Malala Girls School in Pakistan in order to show Pakistani community’s determination to fight terrorists with tool of education.
Ahmed Shehzad said: “Malala is known as a campaigner for girl’s education in Pakistan and has become an international symbol of right to education for girls. We support the Malala’s name and the cause of education for girls.”
The Association of Pakistani Lawyers hailed Malala Day in a special session of its body in Rochdale. Barrister Amjad Malik said: “Nothing ever can justify an attack on a child and. Pakistan’s sons and daughters are defeating radicalisation and militancy of mind and are promoting tolerance which Quaid-I-Azam preached at the time of inauguration of the state in 1947.”
Agencies add: In his message in Malala Day, Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf said that Pakistan joins the world community today to pay tributes to Malala Yousafzai, the daughter of Pakistan, on her bravery, courage and unflinching determination and her passion for education.
He said the very fact that the day is being celebrated across the globe under the banner of the United Nations demonstrates the universal appeal and impact of her message.
He said attack on Malala Yousafzai was not merely an attack on an individual, rather, it was an attack on our values, our culture, our traditions and our way of life.
The prime minister said Malala is a voice of those who stand for women’s education, a right guaranteed under the Constitution of Pakistan and ordained by Islamic teachings.
In his message of support for Yousafzai and girls’ education, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said: “Malala Yousafzai is a global symbol of every girl’s right to an education.”
He said citizens from across the globe are speaking out for Malala and on behalf of the 61 million children who do not go to schools.
“I am adding my voice to the messages from over one million people across the globe. Education is a fundamental human right. It is a pathway to development, tolerance and global citizenship,” Ban said in a brief video message posted on the UN website.
He called the international community to join the UN campaign to put education first “for Malala and girls and boys throughout the world.”
Meanwhile, Foreign Office said Pakistan welcomes the voices of solidarity with Malala Yousafzai and video message of the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in her support and education of girls.
Foreign Office spokesman in Islamabad said Pakistan firmly believes that education promotes the values of tolerance and paves the way for progress and prosperity.
He said the tragic attack on Malala has further strengthened the resolve of the people of Pakistan to fight extremism and terrorism.
The spokesman said the government is committed to make utmost efforts to bring perpetrators of the heinous attack on Malala to justice.
Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain welcomed UN decision to celebrate Malala Day and urged Pakistani people to light candles in her support.
“Malala was a source of illumination in these bleak times and we should all support her,” Hussain said in a statement.
The Awami National Party (ANP) arranged a special function here at Bacha Khan Markaz in connection with Malala Day and thanked the UN for arranging the events across the globe in honour of the brave daughter of the Pukhtun nation who stood against terrorism.
Various other demonstrations backing Malala were also held in Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore and Muzaffarabad.
Our correspondents add: In his message on Malalah Day, PML-N President Mian Nawaz Sharif said that Malala Yousafzai is the pride and identity of the nation and the entire world recognised her efforts for peace.
Nawaz Sharif said the entire nation was proud of Malala and prayed for her early recovery.
Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, in his message, said Malala has won laurels for Pakistan all over the world by playing a leading role at such an early age.
Praying for early recovery of Malalah, the chief minister expressed the hope that, after recovery, she would be among us soon.
Meanwhile, Malala Zindabad Convention held in Islamabad appreciated the UN declaration of November 10 as Malala Day. The convention was arranged by the International Human Rights Observer (IHRO) Pakistan which member organisation of the United Nations in Islamabad.
IHRO chief Dr Khalid Aftab Sulehri said that this is historical day and initiative and would help to promote education, especially female education in Pakistan.
He also appreciated the messages of the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zadari on Malala Day.
Former Federal Minister for Human Rights Syed Mumtaz Alam gillani said that Malala is a great example to wash the terrorism from the face of the nation. Renowned women rights activist Dr Farzana Bari said that Malala is a name of the love, peace and ambassador of education for each and every child in the world now.
Many other speakers said that we all united to promote the mission of the Malala Yousafzai and all appreciate the initiative of the United Nations.
Many resolutions were also passed by the participants including name of National Commission for Human Development must be replaced with Malala Commission for Human Development, United Nations must recognise the Malala International Day every year as a official day.
All participant and organisation also passed a resolution to establish “Malala Education Foundation” to support every single child of the Nation to get education. The participants also raised the slogans ‘Malala Zindabad, Pakistan Panidabad’.