WASHINGTON: Praising Malala Yousufzai as a symbol of courage and determination, the White House has said that it’s committed to working with the Pakistani people for a better future.
In a message on International Day of the Girl, issued on Thursday evening, the White House said the attack on Malala reminded the world of the urgency to work for her cause, education for girls.
“Malala’s courage and determination as a champion for girls’ education and opportunity stands in stark contrast to the cowards who seek to silence her,” the White House said.
“Like so many Pakistanis and people of goodwill around the world, the American people are shocked by this deplorable shooting of a girl who was targeted because she dared to attend school,” the statement said.
“We reaffirm our commitment to working with the Pakistani people towards a future that delivers progress, justice and peace to all its citizens”.
“As we pray for Malala’s recovery, we honour her bravery, we celebrate the accomplishments of girls here in the United States and throughout the world, and we salute the leadership of all those working to advance gender equality”, the White House said.
A day earlier, the White House had offered medical assistance for Malala, if needed. But State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said Pakistan had so far not requested any specific assistance.
In a related development, singer Madonna dedicated a song to Malala during her performance on Thursday night in Los Angeles.
“This made me cry,” Madonna said. “The 14-year-old schoolgirl who wrote a blog about going to school. The Taliban stopped her bus and shot her. Do you realise how sick that is?”
The crowd cheered as Madonna shouted, “Support education! Support women.”
At another briefing, US Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs Mike Hammer said the US had a keen interest in working with Pakistan to address common challenges.
“We feel that working together, we can address concerning issues of extremism and combating terrorism. And we’re always looking for a path forward where our interests meet to see how we can most effectively advance these common interests”, he said.
He noted that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was “very personally involved” in working with Pakistan to advance interests that were important for both countries.