Malala offered Canadian citizenship

Published October 11, 2014
BIRMINGHAM: Malala Yousufzai pictured with mother Tor Pekai (right), brothers Khushal (left) and Atal, and father Ziauddin here on Friday.—AFP
BIRMINGHAM: Malala Yousufzai pictured with mother Tor Pekai (right), brothers Khushal (left) and Atal, and father Ziauddin here on Friday.—AFP

OTTAWA: Many world leaders paid tribute to Malala Yousufzai on Friday after it was announced that she had been awarded Nobel Peace Prize, but Canadian Prime Minister offered the “ultimate praise” by declaring that she would be granted citizenship of his country.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said that Malala would visit Ottawa on Oct 22 and that she would be granted an honorary citizenship of Canada.

She is only the sixth person to receive honorary Canadian citizenship.

For his part, US President Barack Obama hailed the “passion and determination” of Malala.

Know more: Malala Yousafzai, Kailash Satyarthi win Nobel Peace Prize

“At just 17 years old, Malala Yousufzai has inspired people around the world” with her efforts to ensure all girls can get an education, Mr Obama said in a statement.

“When the Taliban tried to silence her, Malala answered their brutality with strength and resolve,” he said, adding that he and his wife Michelle were “awe-struck by her courage” after a meeting in the Oval Office last year.

President Obama said the honour bestowed upon Malala “reminds us of the urgency of their work to protect the rights and freedoms of all our young people”.

The US leader noted that the two laureates come from different countries, religions and generations but “share an unyielding commitment to justice and an unshakeable belief in the basic dignity of every girl and boy”. “Even as we celebrate their achievements, we must recommit ourselves to the world that they seek — one in which our daughters have the right and opportunity to get an education; and in which all children are treated equally,” he said.

Our correspondent adds: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon congratulated Malala and described her as “a daughter of the United Nations”.

“Malala is a brave and gentle advocate of peace who through the simple act of going to school became a global teacher. She said one pen can change the world and proved how one young woman can lead the way,” he said in a statement.

“With her courage and determination, Malala has shown what terrorists fear most: a girl with a book,” he added.

“Malala is a daughter of the United Nations, from participating in Unicef events years ago to marking the 500-day countdown to the Millennium Development Goals with us at UN headquarters this summer. The United Nations will continue to stand with her against extremism and for the right of girls everywhere to be free of violence, to go to school and to enjoy their right to education.”

Published in Dawn, October 11th , 2014

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