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President in Paris to attend UNESCO moot on Malala

* Pakistan to provide seed money for special ‘Malala Fund’ for girls’ education

PARIS: President Asif Ali Zardari arrived here on Sunday afternoon to attend an important conference titled “Stand up for Malala-Stand up for girl’s right to education” which is jointly being organised by Pakistan and UNESCO, at the latter’s Paris headquarters.

The president came to Paris from London, where he visited Malala Yousufzai at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, to see for himself her health condition. President Zardari was received warmly at the Orley Air Port by Pakistan’s Ambassador to France Shafqat Saeed, French Ambassador to Pakistan Philippe Thiebaud and officials of the French government and UNESCO. The event will pay tribute to Malala Yousufazi, a 15-year-old girl who survived an assassination attempt for her determined efforts to defend girls’ education in Pakistan, after the Taliban outlawed schools for girls in her native Swat Valley.

A special “Malala Fund” will be established on this occasion to raise funds for girls’ education throughout the world, and Pakistan will announce to provide seed money to establish this fund.

The event coincides with International Human Rights Day and it will bring together representatives of governments, UN partners, international and bilateral organisations, foundations, donors, civil society, academics, religious leaders, eminent personalities and other stakeholders. French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Aryalt, UN Special Envoy for Global Education and former prime minister of UK Gordon Brown and many other leaders will also attend the conference. During his visit to Birmingham the president inquired about the health of Malala from the hospital administration.The president was informed that she was steadily progressing and had made great progress on way to full recovery. The president, accompanied by Aseefa Bhutto Zardari, remained with Malala for sometime. This was the first ever meeting of Malala with anyone outside her immediate family. Malala was overjoyed and overwhelmed by the president’s special visit. Aseefa presented a shawl to Malala on the occasion.

The president expressed satisfaction and congratulated Malala over the steady progress she had made on way to full recovery. Ziauddin Yousufzai, the father of Malala, was also present on the occasion. Zardari said that taking care of Malala was a national responsibility and it was reassuring that the government machinery rose to the occasion. He also congratulated Ziauddin on fast recovery of his daughter and assured the government’s continued support to Malala and her friends Shazia and Kainaat.

Daily Times

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