President Zardari felicitates Malala Yousufzai and international community on celebrating her 16th birthday

Islamabad, July 12, 2013 (PPI-OT): President Asif Ali Zardari has felicitated Malala Yousufzai and the international community on celebrating her 16th birthday by inviting her to a special event organized by the United Nations in New York today.

Malala Yusufzai was received today by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and honored to address the special session of the Youth Assembly of the world body to mark her 16th birthday.

“Malala is the symbol of young defiant girls in all climes and all ages wishing to seek education for their emancipation and rejecting extremism, tyranny and militancy”, the President said in his message of felicitations on the occasions.

The event today in the United Nations is also a demonstration of the realization by the international community that the way forward to defeat the forces of darkness and militancy is to equip our girls with education, the President said.

The President said that Malala’s survival and the honor bestowed on her by the international community tells us that extremism can best be fought through collective action.

The President said that getting back on her feet, after being shot in the head, demonstrates that it is indeed a battle between good and evil and that while democracy’s agenda is peace and progress the agenda of the extremists is death and destruction.

He said that the resolve to provide education to all, in particular to the millions of out-of-school girls is the best strategy to defeat extremism. As the UN Secretary General recently remarked that “What makes the extremists fear, is the sight of a girl with a book in her hand” the President called for collective efforts to placing a book in every girl’s hand.

Our great leader Shaheed Benazir Bhutto was keen on girl education for women empowerment the President said and recalled her words “if women are truly to be defined by themselves and their own accomplishments and abilities, they need the level of education that empowers them.”

The President expressed satisfaction that Pakistan recently took a giant leap forward in quest of education and knowledge when all political parties and provinces decided to amend the Constitution and made education for all girls and boys, between 5 to 16 years, as a fundamental right.

We are grateful to God for having spared her life and we also express our appreciation to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, former Prime Minister of UK and UN Special Envoy for Global Education Mr. Gordon Brown and the international community for their support to the cause of girls’ right of education.

The President also called for forging a grand alliance of the governments, donors, politicians, academics, the private and the public sectors for promoting the cause of education and to ensure that every child not only in Pakistan but across the world receives quality education.

On this occasion our thoughts also go to Ms. Shazia and Kainat who along with Malala suffered grievously on that fateful day when the cowardly militants attacked the school van. We also wish to place on record our appreciation of the doctors and para medical staff who helped Malala fight the battle for her life, the President said.

For more information, contact:
Haji Ahmed Malik
Principal Information Officer
Press Information Department (PID)
Tel: +9251 925 2323 and +9251 925 2324
Fax: +9251 925 2325 and +9251 925 2326

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