ISLAMABAD, Oct 12: After witnessing violent protests against the anti-Islam film for about three weeks, people in Rawalpindi and Islamabad on Friday held special gatherings to pray for the early recovery of Malala Yousufzai.
Political parties, religious scholars, lawyers, schoolchildren, civil society activists and non-governmental organisations observed Friday as a ‘Day of prayer’ for the well-being of the 14-year-old. They condemned the attack on the child activist who is now fighting for her life in Rawalpindi.
In educational institutions, one-minute’s silence was observed in the morning sessions to pay tribute to the little girl for her bravery.
During Friday sermons, clerics prayed for the well-being of the schoolgirl and declared that the attack was a conspiracy against the country and Islam. Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf also joined the prayer at the PM House mosque.
In Islamabad, the Child Rights Movement (CRM) held a walk against the attack. Representatives of different NGOs, academia and human rights activists also took part in the walk that started from National Press Club and ended at the Constitutional Avenue. The CRM demanded that the federal and provincial governments should strictly implement Article 25-A of the Constitution which guarantees the right to free and compulsory education for children of five to 16 years of age.
The Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child also carried out a protest demonstration outside the press club and condemned the inhuman attack on the life of the girl. President of All Pakistan Private Schools Association Mirza Kashif Ali said the attack on a daughter of the nation was condemnable.
All federal government schools and colleges in Rawalpindi also offered special prayers. “We have seen the brave girl on TV screens and got inspirations from her courage. We pray for her early recovery,” said Noor Fatima, a student of Gowalmandi Government School.
“She is brave and challenged those who did not allow girls to get education. I love her because she did what we would not do in such a situation,” said Saima Anwar, another student from a government school in Saddar.
“My 10-year-old daughter wants to go and see Malala. She is also fasting for her early recovery,” said Saqib Javed, a resident of the Mall.
The Private School and College Owners’ Association said their institutions would remain closed on Saturday in protest against the attack on Malala. “We arranged prayers and to express solidarity with the girl, we have decided to close our institutions on Saturday,” said Malik Ibrar, the president of the association.
Party Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) arranged a ceremony at the Benazir Bhutto memorial in Liaquat Bagh to offer prayer for the injured girl.
PPP Rawalpindi President Amir Fida Paracha said the party was committed to flushing out terrorists from the country.
Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) also arranged a ceremony at its youth wing secretariat in Liaquat Bagh for the better health of the girl.
ATTOCK: A special prayer session was held in the district coordination office where the participants prayed for the early recovery of the courageous girl. Prayers were also held in all government and private educational institutions. Religious leaders of all sects condemned the attack and offered special prayers for her recovery.
GUJAR KHAN: The assassination attack on Malala is a cowardly act and an assault on the bright future of the entire world. This was stated by Nusrat Ashraf, the wife of Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, at a gathering of PPP women wing here. She said enlightened society and educated generation was symbolised by Malala.
TAXILA: Students in different public and private schools, colleges and universities offered special prayers for the early recovery of Malala.