WASHINGTON: Malala Yousufzai is number six on US magazine Foreign Policy’s list of 100 top global thinkers in 2012. She is ahead of US President Barack Obama who is number seven.
The other three Pakistanis on the list are former Pakistani ambassador to the US, Hussain Haqqani, his wife Farahnaz Ispahani and blogger Sana Saleem.
Burmese dissident Aung San Suu Kyi and Myanmar’s reformist President Thein Sein, a former general, top the 2012 list.
Others on the list include US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former US president Bill Clinton and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Teyyap Erdogan.
The Foreign Policy magazine’s Top 100 Global Thinkers list is published annually. It lists people who are believed to have influenced the thinking of the international community in a particular year.
In previous years, Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan and current ambassador to the US Sherry Rehman have also been featured in the Top 100 Global Thinkers lists.
“The Taliban’s most fearsome enemy in Pakistan isn't US drones or the military's tanks: It’s a 15-year-old schoolgirl,” says a one-page introduction of Malala Yousufzai attached to the list.
“Malala Yousafzai's tool of defiance? Her own bravery in speaking out for the simple idea that girls should have access to the same education as boys.”
The magazine points out that even as Pakistan bristles with roughly 100 nuclear warheads, up to 60 per cent of women are still illiterate and two out of every five girls fail to finish primary school.
The magazine notes that the Taliban gunman, who attacked Malala as she headed home after an exam, announced that she must be punished for insulting “the soldiers of Allah”. Then he shot her in the head. The introduction also refers to Malala’s diary published on a BBC blog.
Pakistani internet activist Sana Saleem has been added to the list “for insisting that free speech is not blasphemy.’’