Malala hopes to serve Pakistan as prime minister

December 12, 2014

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Oslo: Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg welcomes Nobel Peace laureate Malala Yousufzai for a meeting at the PM office here on Thursday. At 17, the Pakistani known everywhere only as Malala is the youngest ever recipient of the prize she is sharing with the Indian campaigner Kailash Satyarthi, 60, who has fought for 35 years to free thousands of children from virtual slave labour. Their pairing has the extra symbolism of linking the neighbouring countries that have been in conflict for decades.—AFP
Oslo: Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg welcomes Nobel Peace laureate Malala Yousufzai for a meeting at the PM office here on Thursday. At 17, the Pakistani known everywhere only as Malala is the youngest ever recipient of the prize she is sharing with the Indian campaigner Kailash Satyarthi, 60, who has fought for 35 years to free thousands of children from virtual slave labour. Their pairing has the extra symbolism of linking the neighbouring countries that have been in conflict for decades.—AFP

OSLO: Nobel laureate Malala Yousufzai said on Thursday that she could become prime minister of Pakistan in about 20 years.

“I want to help my country, I want my country to go forward and I’m really patriotic,” said the youngest Nobel laureate ever.

“That’s why I decided that I’d join politics and maybe one day people will vote for me and I get the majority, I’ll become the prime minister,” she said.

Asked about her political aspirations during a press conference with Norway’s female Prime Minister Erna Solberg in Oslo, Malala added that “you can become prime minister when you’re 35, not before that, so (it’s) like in many years’(time)”.

The teenager became a global icon after she was shot in the head and nearly killed by Pakistani Taliban on October 9, 2012 for insisting that girls had a right to education.

She said that she was inspired by former prime minister Benazir Bhutto who was assassinated in 2007. “She is an example ... giving this message that women can go forward because in some communities women are not supposed to go forward and become a prime minister,” said Malala, who now lives in Britain.

She is sometimes criticised by her critics in Pakistan, who have accused her of being a puppet for the West.

Meanwhile, Malala has expressed sympathy for a Mexican asylum seeker who jumped onto the stage during the Nobel awards ceremony, and said the incident didn’t frighten her.

She said young people the world over faced problems. “As (he) was from Mexico, so there are problems in Mexico,” she said after meeting the Norwegian prime minister.

“There are problems even in America, even here in Norway, and it is really important that children raise their voices.”

Oslo police said the flag-waving 21-year-old, who has applied for political asylum in Norway, was fined $2,100 for disturbing the peace and sent back to an asylum centre.

Malala told reporters she was not afraid when the intruder stepped out in front of her and co-winner Kailash Satyarthi as they were holding up their award certificates and medals in front of hundreds of guests, including Norwegian royalty and politicians.

“If I don’t get scared at anything else, why would I get scared of this,” she said, laughing.

“There was nothing to be scared of.”

The man was quickly whisked away by a security guard but police were unable to explain how he had managed to enter Oslo City Hall without an invitation amid tight security in the city.

Published in Dawn, December 12th, 2014