By: MASOOD HAIDER
NEW YORK: “I don’t want to be known as the girl whom Taliban tried to kill, but as a girl who fought for her rights,” said Malala Yousufzai at a reception hosted in her honour at the house of Pakistan’s ambassador to the UN here on Saturday night.
Malala expressed her will and determination to continue her struggle “for a right to live in peace, for a right to go to school”.
As she did in her stirring address at the United Nations on Friday, Malala told the crowd at the Pakistani envoy’s house: “I want to work hard, I want to sacrifice my whole life for the education of girls. The attack on Oct 9, 2012 was just a part of my life.
“If we work together, we will soon see that there will be many schools created in Pakistan and Afghanistan and developing countries, and we will see that every woman and every girl will have the same rights as men have.”
Malala is expected to return to New York for a summit on education on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly of world leaders in late September.
Pakistan’s Ambassador Masood Khan in his welcome address highlighted Malala’s dignity and compassion, and remarked: “Malala is the true face of Pakistan. She is the true face of Islam.”
The ambassador’s remark was greeted with thunderous applause from the large gathering that included Gordon Brown, former British prime minister and now United Nations Special Envoy for Education.
Mr Brown in his remarks said Malala’s UN speech was one of the best he had heard in his life. He said: “Malala’s speech was just the start of a momentous push for change in the run-up to 2015, to deal with the education emergency.”
Getting all children into primary school by 2015 was one of the ‘Millennium Development Goals’ agreed at a world summit in 2000.
AFP adds: Malala, considered a strong candidate for the Nobel peace prize, reaffirmed her message that the Taliban and other extremists “do not understand the importance of education”. The Taliban were among “people who think that when a woman goes to school she will be empowered, and they are afraid of it,” she said.
“They are still targeting schools, they are still killing innocent children,” she said, referring to recent attacks both in Pakistan and Nigeria.