ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – UN special envoy Gordon Brown on Friday, November 9, presented a petition with more than a million signatures in support of shot schoolgirl education campaigner Malala Yousafzai to the Pakistan government.
The 15-year-old is recovering in hospital in Britain after being shot in the head by Taliban militants a month ago in the Pakistan’s northwestern Swat Valley for the “crime” of promoting girls’ right to go to school.
Former British prime minister Brown is visiting Pakistan to call for education for all children and to mark Malala Day — Saturday — a global “day of action” in support of Malala and girls’ education.
Malala thanked people around the world for their support on Friday in a message from hospital passed on by her father.
At a meeting in Islamabad attended by Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, Brown, the UN’s special envoy for global education, said the international community was ready to support Pakistan in its efforts to tackle poverty and ensure all children could go to school.
“Malala and her family believe that there are many many more courageous and brave girls and families in your country who want to stand up for the right of every child, in particular girls, to have the education that they deserve,” he said.
Some 32 million girls around the world are denied access to education, according to UN figures, more than five million of them in Pakistan.
Education in Pakistan is under attack from Islamist militants opposed to secular schooling but also suffers from chronic underfunding: the country spends less than 2.5 percent of GNP on education, according to UN children’s agency UNICEF. – Agence France-Presse