Islamabad: The nomination of Malala Yousufzai, Pakistani teen activist who was shot in the head by the Taliban for promoting girls’ education, is a huge honour for her and for Pakistan, a daily said Wednesday.
Fifteen-year-old Malala Yousafzai, whose face is now familiar to the world as a symbol of the struggle against the Taliban, is one of the 259 candidates in the running for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, an editorial in the News International said.
The Nobel Institute announced Monday in Oslo that the list of nominees includes 209 individuals and 50 organisations. Though the names of those on the list are not made public for 50 years as per tradition, and the name of the candidate for the award for 2013 will be made public only in October this year, “Malala Yousafzai and former US president Bill Clinton are known to figure on it”.
Malala was shot by a Taliban assassin as she took a bus home from school in Pakistan’s northwest region in October 2012. She was flown to Britain shortly after the attack and was treated at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
“The nomination of Malala is a huge honour – for her and for Pakistan. What is unfortunate is that she suffered a bullet pumped into her skull, its force causing shattered bones, before gaining the recognition she now enjoys,” said the daily.
“Perhaps we should question if fame and a prize are more important to Malala than the health she still struggles for, having lost hearing in one ear among other damage,” it added.
The editorial cited some experts as saying that a Nobel prize gained at such a young age may burden the teenager for life; others disagree arguing she is the front-running candidate, given her multiple contributions – to education, to the battle against militancy and for her bravery.
“…the Malala story should force us to reflect about where we have gone wrong. How have we become a country where school girls are shot for seeking the right to study? And why do we continue to allow militants to unleash such terrible horrors? These are factors we must think about.
“Malala’s courage should help us find the strength to fight the battle she has started to help make our country a place free of fear,” it added.