KARACHI: Rights activist Malala Yousafzai has invited rape survivor Kainat Soomro with her father to the Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony scheduled to be held on Dec 10 in Oslo, Norway.
Speaking to Dawn over phone, Kainat said she was surprised to receive a call from Malala, who encouraged her to continue to pursue her studies. “Apart from that she asked me to come to Oslo when the prize distribution ceremony takes place,” Kainat added.
She quoted Malala as saying that she would be honoured to have her there.
On receiving the invitation on Oct 18, she said she informed Malala that her family could not bear the travel expenses.
She said the child activist also promised to give all logistics support to them. Subsequently, her flight was booked for Dec 8, she said, adding that she would be back by Dec 13.
Now 21 years old, Kainat was allegedly gang-raped in Mehar taluqa of Dadu district in 2007.
Undeterred by circumstances, she went ahead to pursue the case against the alleged perpetrators, proceedings of which continued till date without achieving any result, according to her. “It’ll be eight years in January 2015, since I took up this case. While I pursued the case, one of my brothers was killed and his case was forcefully shut down by some powerful elements who didn’t want me to go ahead,” she said, adding that they were working towards reopening the case with the help of their counsel.
Her family moved to Karachi eight years back and since then haven’t gone back.
Her father, Ghulam Nabi Soomro, was beside himself with happiness when asked about their upcoming trip to Oslo. “It is a great honour for my entire family to be invited by Malala Yousafzai. She could have taken any name and the organisers would have arranged for them to be there. Rather than taking any big names, she asked for my daughter, which is a moment of pride for us,” he said.
Speaking about the phone call and the ensuing conversation with the rights activist, Kainat's father said: “She appreciated the bravery shown by my daughter in pursuing her case. My daughter’s strength amazes me too. By pursuing the case I, as a father, want to make sure that what happened to my daughter doesn’t happen to anyone else.”
Seventeen-year-old Malala Yousafzai will be receiving the award alongside Kailash Satyarthi, Indian child rights campaigner, at a ceremony to be held in Oslo City Hall on Dec 10, the death anniversary of Alfred Nobel.
Published in Dawn, November 29th, 2014