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Can Malala change the future of Pakistan Politics?

Can Malala change the future of Pakistan Politics?

“They only shot a body but they cannot shoot my dreams.” – Malala Yousafzai.

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Malala Yousafzai is known for human rights advocacy, especially education of women in her native Swat Valley in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, northwest Pakistan, where the local Taliban had at times banned girls from attending school. Her advocacy has since grown into an international movement. She was particularly inspired by her father's thoughts and humanitarian work.

Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani teenage activist for female education and the youngest Nobel Price receiver. Known for her human rights advocacy, especially for women in her home, Swat Valley in Khyber Pathtunkhwa, the Nothern Pakistan. On 9 October 2012, at 16, she was attacked by a gunman on a school bus, who had previously banned girls from attending school. From that point onwards, she has made it her core mission to fight against prevention of women who want to study. Her work has now grown into an international movement, having received international acclaim.

Malala, when 11 or 12, was into writing blogs at the time of early 2009, where she chronicled how the ban had affected her and her classmates, detailing the events of the Taliban occupation of Swat Valley and about her thoughts on the ongoing crisis and everyday life. On 9th October of 2012, she was injured by a Taliban who attempted to murder her. After her critical situation and unconsciousness stabilized a little, she was sent over to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, United Kingdom. This murder attempt quickly took a toll over the internet and sparked a national and international outpouring of support for Malala, condemning the Taliban attacks. She was even called the “Most famous teenager in the world,” by Deutsche Welle by 2013 while Muslim clerics in Pakistan were busy introducing fatwa’s against those who tried to kill Malala.

Since then, she has become a prominent education activist, launching a Malala Fund, a nonprofit and in 2013 a co-authored I Am Malala, an international bestseller. In 2012, she was the recipient of Pakistan's first National Youth Peace Prize and the 2013 Sakharov Prize. Former British PM Gordon Brown arranged for Yousafzai an appearance before the United Nations in July 2013. By October 2014, when she was just 17, she was the co-recipient of the Nobel Peace prize for her struggles against suppression of children and for the right of all children to have proper education. Yousafzai has been a subject of interest since 2015 when a documentary “He Named Me Malala” about her was short-listed for the Oscars. She was listed as the most influential people in the globe 3 times consecutively in 2013, 2014 and 2015. From 2013 till present date, Malala was a pupil at an all-girls’ High School in Birmingham, she had been given an honorary Canadian citizenship and gained her place by August 2017 at Oxford University straight after A-levels for her bachelor’s degree in PPE - philosophy, politics and economics.

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Malala – Pakistan’s future Prime Minister?

“As our politicians are doing nothing for us, nothing for peace, nothing for education, I want to become prime minister of my country,” Malala said in a BBC interview on 7th October 2013,

“I will be a politician in my future. I want to change the future of my country and I want to make education compulsory,” she added, “I want to serve my country. It is my dream to see my country develop into a successful nation, where every child is able to receive education.” She further said that she was inspired by assassinated former premier Benazir Bhutto. “If I can help my country by joining the government or becoming the prime minister, I would definitely be up for this task.”

At home situation:

Since Malala took up great fame from the years of 2013, she has always been a subject of interest for her home country population, where debates are ensued and everyone has opinions on how Malala should and should not do her work. While there are avid supporters of the Nobel Peace Prize winner, some people say that she is a “pawn” of the western media or simply a “distraction” or a “conspiracy” giving reasons for such words as very well-thought-out critique of how foreign governments treated Malala as a martyr, giving her benefits like a house and money while women from her village were suffering attacks by the Taliban as retribution. Some international articles have said that the people of Pakistan have a complicated relationship with Malala. The ultimate problem, it appears, is the inability of Pakistanis to distinguish between Malala’s brave resolve to fight for what she believes in and the Western accolades she has received for displaying this courage. The segments of Pakistani society that hate her are the ones that are willing to divorce themselves from her because their anti-West sentiments disallow them to trust her. Their base logic is that the enemy’s friend is my enemy.

That being said, the claim that she is widely hated in Pakistan is incorrect. When she was first nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2013, more than 2,000 people were asked their opinion about the nomination, and 44 percent of respondents said they were pleased, 44 percent were on the fence, and only 11 percent were displeased.

Malala’s views and messages to the world:

Malala realizes the fact that she will be asked about all issues, sensitive for her personal life and the controversial topics. When asked about terrorism, she said that’s “not an issue for me, that’s the job of the government ... and that’s also the job of America”. When asked about her views on the general society, she said, “The bad thing in our society and in our country is that you always wait for someone else to come. 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?”

“The terrorists thought they would change my aims and stop my ambitions,” she said. “But nothing changed in my life except this: weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage was born.”

She defines herself as “a woman who is fighting for children’s rights of education, equality and women’s rights.” She urged governments worldwide to provide free education to every child, declaring education as the key to a peaceful future “…let us wage a glorious struggle against illiteracy, poverty and terrorism, let us pick up our books and our pens, they are the most powerful weapons. One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world. Education is the only solution. Education first.”

“We realize the importance of our voices only when we are silenced.”

After her PPE at Oxford University, the world awaits what Malala does next with her footsteps.

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Eisha.Mehtab

Author: Eisha.Mehtab

Eisha Mehtab is currently in college completing her A levels, holds an avid interest in psychology & philosophy and lives by the motto to "do a little bit of everything."