Islamabad, March 21 (IANS) Teen activist Malala Yousufzai, who was shot in the head by the Taliban, has begun to attend a school in Britain, prompting a Pakistani daily to laud the “beacon of hope in a country where girls’ education is desperately needed and under siege”.
An editorial in the Dawn Thursday said the last time young Malala was in the news, the images were of her in bandages or on the hospital bed after the attack on her last year.
“That renders all the more welcome the new pictures of Malala in the global media, taken as she and her father headed to her first day at the Edgbaston High School for Girls in Birmingham Tuesday,” it said.
“The courage displayed by the teenager and her family, which has stood staunchly by her side through this ordeal, has been remarkable, and constitutes a beacon of hope in a country where girls’ education is desperately needed and under siege,” it added.
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 daily said that Malala’s “bright smile is a reminder that while the threat from extremist elements is great indeed, the way forward is clear and the power to resist obscurantism still lies with the people. It is to be hoped that she has every opportunity to carve out for herself the future that she wants as an educated woman”.
“Therein lies the challenge for her compatriots – young boys, girls and their families – here in Pakistan. It is obvious that the country needs a committed and aware workforce to help it towards a rosier trajectory. The single most crucial requirement is education, particularly given the manner in which the population is skewed heavily towards the young,” it said.
“While Malala’s bravery at a personal level has been remarkable, she is also now an inspiration for hundreds of thousands of Pakistani children, irrespective of gender,” the editorial added.