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2013: The year of Malala

KARACHI: Malala, the name which reminds us of the struggle for education and for the rights of the women, has now become a global icon with numerous awards on her credit. This much count of national and international awards has been on the credit of a very few Pakistanis.

But this young girl from a small town Mingora of Swat, realizes us of the fact that yes we can change our destiny provided if we have enough courage, will power, consistency and passion.

Born on July 12, 1997, Malala Yousufzai was a common school goer who had passion for learning, until 9 October 2012, when she was shot in the head and neck in an assassination attempt allegedly by a Talib hitman while on her way back home in a school bus.

Malala remained unconscious and in critical condition in the days following the attack, but later her condition improved enough for her to be sent to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, England, for intensive rehabilitation. On 12 October, a group of 50 Islamic clerics in Pakistan issued a fatwā against those who tried to kill her, but the Taliban reiterated their intent to kill Yousafzai and her father ever if they get a chance to execute their plans.

The assassination attempt on this young girl sparked a national and international outpouring of support for Yousafzai.

The year 2013 brought many such events for her. At one such instant Deutsche Welle wrote in January 2013 that Yousafzai may have become "the most famous teenager in the world".

United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown launched a UN petition in Malala Yousafzai's name, using the slogan "I am Malala" and demanding that all children worldwide be in school by the end of 2015 – a petition which helped lead to the ratification of Pakistan's first Right to Education Bill.

In the 29 April 2013 issue of Time magazine, Yousafzai was featured on the magazine's front cover as one of "The 100 Most Influential People in the World". She was the winner of Pakistan's first National Youth Peace Prize and was nominated for the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize.

Though Yousafzai was widely tipped to win the prize, however it went to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Malala yet reserves the title of being the youngest person (aged 16) and the first ever girl nominated for this prize.

On 12 July 2013, Yousafzai addressed the United Nations (UN) and called for worldwide access to education.

In September 2013 she officially opened the Library of Birmingham.

Yousafzai is the recipient of the Sakharov Prize for 2013. On 16 October 2013 the Government of Canada announced its intention that the Parliament of Canada confer Honorary Canadian citizenship upon Yousafzai.

Moreover, the University of Edinburgh awarded the degree of Master of Arts to Malala on October 19 2013, in recognition of her efforts to improve educational opportunities for children around the world, while a book written by Yousufzai was also published with the title of 'I am Malala'.

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