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Legislation to honour Malala in US planned

January 05, 2013

This photo made available by Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, England shows Malala Yousufzai saying goodbye as she is discharged from the hospital to continue her rehabilitation at her family’s temporary home in the area, Friday, Jan. 4, 2013.  — Photo by AP

WASHINGTON: A US lawmaker, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, is introducing legislation to honour Malala Yousufzai, the girl who earned worldwide admiration for defying a Taliban ban on women’s education. Ms Jackson Lee, Democrat from Texas and chairperson of the Pakistan caucus in the US Congress, wrote a letter to her colleagues on Wednesday and urged them to support the cause for awarding a Congressional gold medal to Malala Yousufzai.

At the State Department, spokesperson Victoria Nuland noted that Malala’s “bravery and courage are just an inspiration for all of us”.

In her letter to other lawmakers Ms Jackson Lee noted that although just 15, Malala “stood against the oppressive policies imposed upon the citizens of Pakistan by the Taliban”. Malala’s stand for education for girls and gender equality resulted in the Taliban calling for her death and later a Taliban gunman tried to kill her, the lawmaker recalled.

Shot in Swat in October, Malala was allowed to go home this week from a Birmingham hospital after recovering from her injuries.

Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack in which two other girls were also injured.

“I am pleased to say that Malala survived the attack. The shooting of this young girl has sent shockwaves through the region and around the world; religious leaders and communities are condemning her shooting, yet the Taliban remain unrepentant.

“Malala has displayed true courage as she continued to fight for justice, even while her life was in danger,” the congresswoman observed.

Congresswoman Jackson Lee said because of her courage, Malala has become a symbol of hope in a country long beset by violence and oppression.

“It is fitting that Malala has become the new face of Pakistan.”