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- Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - From Print Edition


LONDON: An influential Pakistani origin Labour MP has called on the British Prime Minister David Cameron to nominate Malala Yousufzai for the Nobel Peace Prize without any delay.


Khalid Mehmood, the Birmingham Perry Bar Labour MP, led a delegation of academics and campaigners who presented nearly 300000 signatures to Number 10 Downing Street, calling on the government to get Malala nominated for the prize. The signature petition was delivered to Downing Street by Khalid Mahmood MP, Shahida Choudhry, the campaigner who started the appeal, and young campaigners from the Send My Friend to School campaign.


Khalid Mahmood told The News he was in discussion with his own party leader Ed Miliband to support peace prize campaign for Malala and was hopeful that the Labour leader will throw his weight behind the move. Former Labour leader and Prime Minister Gordon Brown is also heavily involved in education campaign and has helped highlight the Malala case, including making a visit to Pakistan.


He told The News: “Recognition for Malala is important. She has done a brilliant job in highlighting the cause of education for Pakistani girls. She is the best ambassador for education and social change that Pakistan needs. She is truly an international asset and her recognition for the right of girls to get decent education will inspire girls of her age all over the world. I call on the government in the UK to recognise her and lead the way.”


Shahida Choudhry who campaigns against forced marriages and rights of women, said she had been mistreated in Pakistan and denied education until she fled the country. She told The News: “I can relate to how sometime it can be very difficult for girls to get access to education in Pakistan, especially in conservative areas. But there are girls all over the world facing situation like the one faced by Malala but rarely could they show the same vision and courage as Malala did. She deserves this award, as it will send a great goodwill message to everyone in Pakistan and elsewhere who stand up for education in Pakistan. A Nobel Peace Prize for Malala will send a clear message that the world is watching and will support those who stand up for gender equality and universal human rights, including the right to education for girls.”