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UK Pakistanis to build Malala girls schools across country

Khalid Khattak

LAHORE: A group of leading Pakistanis, based in United Kingdom (UK), has embarked upon a project to build a school to honour Malala Yousufzai for her vision and courage to promote education.

Ahmad Shahzad, the Chairman of Management Committee of the Human Rights Society of Pakistan (UK Chapter), disclosed this in an interview with The News. He said Malala had become a symbol of girls’ education not just in Pakistan but in the world. “Malala has given a cause to our nation that we can educate our youngsters in order to fight terrorism,” Shahzad, OBE, said while adding that education was the best tool to defeat terrorism. Sharing further details, the former Mayor of Brent, Ahmad Shahzad, said the first school would be named after Malala and it would be built at Malala’s birth town near Swat, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He said his visit to Pakistan was part of the efforts for the project and Pakistan chapter of the HRSP, headed by S M Zafar, had giving a go-ahead for the project which would be a gift to Malala. “We already have pledges for the project,” he said and added, “Once campaign for the project gets mature, it would be expanded with Malala Girls School in different parts of the country.”

He said that Lord Nazir Ahmed and Lord Qurban Hussain were the patrons of the school project, maintaining that leading businessmen, doctors, lawyers and people from different walks of life, living in United Kingdom, had assured him support to the project. He talked about the significance of education and said that Malala had quite courageously highlighted the cause of education, especially girls’ education. Ahmad Shahzad, OBE, said Pakistanis in the UK had very deep concerns about terrorism which, he termed, a war on innocent people by the extremists in Pakistan.

“The overseas Pakistanis have lost many relatives in unfortunate incidents of terrorism in Pakistan,” he said dejectedly.

According to him, the investment by overseas Pakistanis was also suffering and in many cases value of such investments had lowered ever since the terrorism incidents started taking place. “We urge the government to do more and take positive action to control terrorism,” he said and urged the religious groups and parties to come out and condemn those who were attacking their own sisters and brothers and strengthen those who were determined to defeat such forces otherwise terrorism would damage the country beyond repair.

Ahmad Shahzad, OBE, said the HRSP would also build schools and name them after friends of Malala Yousufzai, including Kainat and Shazia, who were injured during the attack on Malala in October. Ahmad Shahzad said the project was also being linked with former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who was presently United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education.

The News