TIME Pakistan

Attacks in Southwestern Pakistan Kill 12 People

(QUETTA, Pakistan) — Attacks in Pakistan’s troubled southwestern province of Baluchistan, including an assault on the country’s beleaguered minority Shiites Muslims and a suicide bombing targeting a pro-Taliban cleric, killed 12 people on Thursday, police said.

All the attacks took place in the provincial capital of Quetta.

In one attack, near a vegetable market on the city’s outskirts, four gunmen on motorcycles sprayed a minivan carrying Hazara Shiites with gunfire, said police chief Aitzaz Goraya.

Six men died on board the bus while the gunmen chased down another two as they tried to flee and shot them dead, Goraya said. Two other people on the bus were wounded.

Pakistani television broadcast footage from the scene, showing police removing bodies of the dead and helping the wounded as family members of the deceased cried and wailed.

Hundreds of Hazara later blocked a main road in Quetta to protest the killings.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, and Goraya said it was not clear who was behind it. But suspicion is likely to fall on Sunni extremists, who have often targeted Shiites in the past.

In the past, attacks on Shiites were often claimed by the Sunni militant groups Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and the Pakistani Taliban.

In June, the Pakistani military launched an offensive in the country’s main Taliban stronghold in North Waziristan, a tribal region near Afghan border. The Taliban have been waging a war against the state there in a bid to topple the government and impose their harsh brand of Islamic law, and have killed thousands of Pakistanis over the last decade.

Baluchistan is home to Baluch separatist and nationalist groups that have been fighting for autonomy and a greater share of revenues from the region’s natural resources. A suicide bombing earlier in October in Quetta killed five Hazara.

Goraya and another official, Shahzada Farhat, said the Hazara are often given police escorts for security but that those targeted on Thursday were unaccompanied because they had not informed the police in advance of their trip.

Later on Thursday in Quetta, a bomb rigged to a motorcycle exploded near an army patrol, killing two civilians and wounding 10 people, including two paramilitary soldiers. The bombing happened about two kilometers (1.4 miles) away from the site of the attack on the Hazara, said Farhat.

By dusk, a suicide bomber detonated his explosives-laden vest next to a bullet proof car carrying Maulana Fazlur Rehman, the chief of the Taliban-linked Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam religious party, said Baluchistan police chief Amlesh Khan.

Rehman, who had just finished addressing a rally of thousands of supporters in Quetta, survived the attack, which killed two people and wounded several others, Khan said.

The religious party is based in Pakistan but has links with the Taliban in neighboring Afghanistan. Rehman’s religious schools had been one of the main breeding grounds for the Afghan Taliban.

Rehman has previously survived at least two attempts on his life.

“I never know who wants to kill me,” he told Pakistani Geo News TV. “Maybe because I talk against America, or because I work for the enforcement of the Islamic system.”

___

Shahzad reported from Islamabad

TIME Culture

Pakistan Should Embrace Malala

Pakistani rights activist Malala Yousafzai addresses the media in Birmingham, England on October 10, 2014.
Pakistani rights activist Malala Yousafzai addresses the media in Birmingham, England on October 10, 2014. OLI SCARFF–AFP/Getty Images

I feel pity for people who cannot find the grace and class within themselves to acknowledge this young woman

PatheosLogo_Blue

This article originally appeared on Patheos.

It’s a proud moment for Pakistan, but many Pakistanis aren’t embracing it.

Malala Yousafzai — the courageous, 17-year-old young woman who became a global beacon of hope for girls seeking to gain an education — has won the Nobel Peace Prize.

Predictably enough though, it hasn’t taken long for the critics to mobilize.

Since Friday morning when the news broke, much of the response on social media has been favorable. But unfortunately, many reactions have been discouraging and antagonistic. One blogger wrote Yusufzai off as a “loser” who doesn’t deserve to be recognized with such a prestigious award. Another called her a “sellout” who sacrificed her country and principles for fame and glory.

One critic harshly described her as a “tool.” Many others complained that she’s only 17 and questioned whether she even qualifies for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Reading these comments was difficult, not just because they force us to confront the unpleasant side to human nature, but also because they exemplify a growing, disturbing trend of armchair critics who consider themselves qualified to belittle the well-deserved accomplishments of others.

The source for some of the bitterness can be understood. After all, nothing makes us as keen of our own shortcomings than seeing others accomplish great things. That they happen to accomplish them at such a young age — well, that’s just salt in the wound.

It’s difficult for some to digest that this young Pakistani girl, with her father’s help, rebelled against and arguably made more progress in dismantling the Taliban’s archaic, un-Islamic traditions than even the world’s most powerful military.

That should be reason to applaud — not begrudge — her.

But rather than chastise the Taliban’s unethical practices that have harmed the perception of Islam and Muslims worldwide, many accuse Yousafzai of being a willing accomplice in justifying what is often perceived to be the West’s war on Islam. They conveniently ignore that she was an innocent schoolgirl who’s passion for learning so threatened adult men that they attempted to murder her on a bus as she traveled to school.

Because she re-located to Great Britain with her family out of concern for her safety, Yousafzai is blamed for turning her back on her country. This, despite frequent affirmations that she refuses to allow threats from the Taliban or any group from dissuading her from one day returning to Pakistan after she completes her education.

Some Pakistanis argue that Yousafzai’s father is using her to advance “his own agendas.” If that agenda includes sending your daughter to school without being killed, well he too should be applauded. Frankly, he is a role model for other men in patriarchal societies that still hold women in low regard.

Others argue that the elder Yousafzai deserves the credit for his daughter’s success. Not she. After all, he manages her engagements and public affairs and ensures she attends United Nations meetings.

Aren’t parents often a major reason for their offsprings’ success? I know mine are. Ideally, all fathers should be so involved and vested in their daughters’ — and sons’ — futures. The fact that he provides guidance and support doesn’t diminish his daughter’s accomplishments; it only magnifies his own esteem.

Yousafzai’s father should be recognized for steadfastly paving the way for her to gain an education despite the challenges that stood in their way. More fathers should follow his example and encourage their daughters to be ambitious, set the bar high and never be afraid to fight for a just cause.

Some complain that because the father/daughter duo allegedly have political aspirations in Pakistan, they must be corrupt. S
eeing the deplorable track record of Pakistan’s elected officials, it’s not difficult to see why one might think anyone who aspires to public office in Pakistan must harbor ill intentions.

Who knows if that’s actually what their plans are, but at the very least, if these two come into power, Pakistan’s literacy rate is bound to increase. If they do have political aspirations though, then I hope they will leverage them to establish a legacy in Pakistan that would make its founder Jinnah proud.

Some of the more cringe-inducing conspiracy theorists hypothesize that Yousafzai must be spying for the CIA or Mossad. They clearly fail to see that the determination and confidence Yousafzai projects in striving towards her goals are influenced largely by her Islamic faith, which makes seeking and acquiring knowledge incumbent upon all Muslims — including women.

I don’t envy the Nobel Peace Prize selection committee the onerous task of having to consider and select recipients.

Let’s face it. For all the horrible people who do evil things in the world, there are many more compassionate, selfless and courageous folks who work tirelessly to improve the condition of humanity.

But I do feel pity for people who cannot find the grace and class within themselves to acknowledge that this young woman — who overcame overwhelming obstacles, stirred dormant consciences, launched a global movement, inspired millions worldwide and who through it all continues to smile and joke with self-deprecating humility — is deserving of such an honor.

Congratulations, Malala. Continue championing the cause for girls’ education and making (most of) Pakistan proud. May your conviction, courage, determination and bravery give rise to a thousand more like you.

Zainab Chaudry is the Maryland Outreach Manager of the Council on American Islamic Relations. CAIR is the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization.

Read more from Patheos:

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME world affairs

Why We Should Send Vets Back to Iraq and Afghanistan

Jake Wood is a Marine veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, CEO of Team Rubicon and author of Take Command. Ken Harbaugh is a former Navy pilot and COO of Team Rubicon.

With over 2 million veterans from these wars, the U.S. is sitting on a reservoir of ready and able humanitarians

When we heard the news of Peter Kassig’s capture by ISIS terrorists, it felt like a punch in the gut. While we don’t know Peter, the organization he founded, SERA (Special Emergency Response and Assistance) is much like our own, Team Rubicon. Since 2010, we have been recruiting, training and deploying thousands of military veterans to serve communities afflicted by disasters. Our members are ideally suited for these missions, bringing such skills as strong leadership, effective decision-making and the ability to operate in austere environments with limited information.

As effective as Team Rubicon has become at assisting victims of disasters, the service itself has had a profound impact on our members. During one of our missions to Pakistan in 2010, former Marines and SEALs delivering lifesaving aid realized that the villagers they were helping had never before seen Americans in that light. Those veterans were able to return to a part of the world that had taken something from them– a friend, a limb, a notion of innocence–and replace it with something entirely good. We suspect Peter was driven by a similar impulse.

Imagine if, over the coming decades, the United States could shift the mindset of rural villagers in Pakistan or Iraq or Yemen by sending highly skilled aid workers to serve and teach alongside them. Who better than military veterans to fill that role? How much farther could we get with an army of humanitarians than with ever expanding fleets of drones? With over 2 million veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. is sitting on a reservoir of ready and able humanitarians. The challenge is finding a way to re-deploy them not as warriors, but as peacemakers.

To start with, the broader public should know that 92% of returning veterans want to continue serving their country. Tapping into this talent is a no-brainer. Privately funded organizations like Team Rubicon are a good start. With nearly 20,000 members, we have deployed to more than 70 disasters across the globe. But any comprehensive solution will require government support. To that end, agencies such as the Peace Corps and USAID should create fast-track programs that enable military veterans to transition seamlessly into humanitarian positions.

We understand the risks involved. One of us, a former Navy pilot, served as a human rights advocate in Afghanistan upon leaving the military. The other, a former Marine sniper who led teams in both Afghanistan and Iraq, helped lead combat medics and doctors down to Haiti four days after the earthquake. As veterans who served during wartime, and chose to return to the front lines as humanitarians, we appreciate better than most that our military is the world’s largest disaster response organization. More importantly, we know that we carry those skills into civilian life.

Every member of Team Rubicon signed up because of his or her time in uniform, not in spite of it. They too know the risks, but still ask “If not me, then who?” Peter Kassig did the same. His bravery and compassion bear witness to an entire generation of veterans who wish to serve humanity. We, his brothers in arms, long for the day when all might answer as he did, “Send me.”

Jake Wood is a Marine veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, CEO of Team Rubicon and author of Take Command. Ken Harbaugh is a former Navy pilot and COO of Team Rubicon.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Opinion

The Harry Potter Generation Has Been Waiting for Malala

Malala Yousafzai acknowledges the crowd at a press conference at the Library of Birmingham after being announced as a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday.
Malala Yousafzai acknowledges the crowd at a press conference at the Library of Birmingham after being announced as a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday. Christopher Furlong—Getty Images

Why Malala Yousafzai's story sounds so familiar

Everybody knows the story: A chosen child. A powerful enemy. A flash of light. A forehead with a scar.

Sound familiar? It should. Nobel Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai’s story sounds like a non-magical parallel version of the Harry Potter story. She was a persecuted child who found refuge in education. She survived a death sentence to become the most famous kid in the world. She uses that fame to fight evil and protect schools. And now that she has a Nobel Peace Prize under her belt and political aspirations in her future, Malala is poised to become the first world leader from Generation Potter.

The tale of a 17-year old Pakistani schoolgirl sharing the Nobel Peace Prize for her work on behalf of girls’ education would bring a tear to anyone’s eye. But something about her resemblance to the most beloved character in Millennial culture makes Malala especially resonant with a generation of young Westerners who were weaned on Butterbeer.

It would be glib to call Malala’s very real fight for justice and Harry Potter’s fictional quest a case of life imitating art. It’s not even clear that Malala has read the entire Harry Potter series — she recently told the New York Times that books were so scarce in Pakistan that she read only seven or eight books before she moved to England. But even if Malala herself might not have been absorbed in the world of Hogwarts (she’s a little busy, after all) the generation she represents is responsible for buying more than 450 million copies of Harry Potter books, making it the most popular book series in history. The people who hear her story have probably read Harry’s, or seen the films, and even if they don’t consciously make the connection, the subliminal echoes are there. Of TIME’s 25 Most Influential Teens of 2014, Malala has been voted most influential by far: just a few hours after the poll was launched, 54% percent of respondents said she was the most influential teen of the year, more than all other candidates combined.

Of course there’s nothing magical about Malala’s fight to educate girls, and if there were a spell against Islamic extremism, the Pentagon would have used it by now. Malala herself seems painfully aware of the lack of easy solutions, writing in I am Malala: “Once again, I prayed for a magic wand to make the Taliban disappear.” But in awarding the 2014 Peace Prize to Malala Yousafzai and Indian child-rights activist Kailash Satyarthi, the Nobel Prize Committee made a statement about the power of youth, one that Dumbledore would surely endorse. “It is a prerequisite for peaceful global development that the rights of children and young people be respected,” the committee said Friday when they announced the award. “The violation of children leads to the continuation of violence from generation to generation.”

Or, as Dumbledore put it in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: “Age is foolish and forgetful when it underestimates youth.”

Both Malala and Harry became powerful because of their enemies’ attempts to kill them. “They thought that the bullets would silence us, but they failed,” Malala said at the UN in July 2013, in her first public appearance since the Oct. 2012 shooting on her way to school. “And out of that silence came thousands of voices. The terrorists thought they would change my aims and stop my ambitions. But nothing changed in my life except this: weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage was born.”

If the Taliban had read Harry Potter, they might recognize that in trying to kill Malala, they created a powerful threat. “In marking you with that scar, he did not kill you, as he intended, but gave you powers, and a future,” Dumbledore told Harry in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

But Malala and Harry share more than their badass scars. They’re both motivated by the belief that schools cultivate the forces for good that are necessary to combat forces of evil, and that justice grows out of the classroom. Harry Potter’s quest to destroy Voldemort is also a quest to save Hogwarts. Malala’s crusade to ensure that every girl has an education is also aimed at eradicating terrorism. Both see education as the antidote to fear. (More after the jump)

The most powerful narratives are often the ones that remind us of stories we’ve heard before. That’s why Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy are compared to the floods in Noah’s Ark, the “Miracle on Ice” hockey upset at the 1980 Winter Olympics was considered a “David-and-Goliath” story, even Will and Kate’s Royal Wedding had an whiff of Cinderella to it. True stories that resemble fictional ones have a feel of mythicism to them, a blurring of the line between reality and legend that allows us to amplify our humble times into something worthy of fable. “Mythology,” wrote Joseph Campbell in his 1949 treatise The Hero With a Thousand Faces, “is psychology misread as biography, history, and cosmology.”

But when you’re just a kid, that kind of mythology can be hard to shoulder. Part of Harry Potter’s appeal comes from being just a regular 11-year old struggling to live up to the legend of the Boy Who Lived. “Famous Harry Potter,” taunted Draco Malfoy in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. “Can’t even go to a bookshop without making the front page.” Malala will surely know what that’s like. While her classmates in England may have gone to field hockey practice or to the movies after school on Friday, Malala accepted the Nobel Peace Prize.

This young woman will grow up freighted with unimaginable challenges and elevated by her uncommon courage. And like Harry, she’s proved that you don’t have to be an adult to change the world. As he puts it in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. “Every great wizard in history has started out as nothing more than what we are now, students. If they can do it, why not us?”

Read next: Malala Yousafzai Wins Nobel Peace Prize 2 Years After Shooting

TIME Nobel Peace Prize

Malala: I Feel ‘More Powerful’ After Nobel Win

Peace Prize laureate said she and co-winner Kailash Satyarthi will use the shared award to strengthen the relationship between India and Pakistan

Updated 2:19p.m. ET

Pakistani education rights advocate Malala Yousafzai said Friday her Nobel Peace Prize would motivate her to redouble her efforts on behalf of girls’ education and children’s rights.

In a short speech reacting to the award, the 17-year-old Nobel laureate also said that she and Indian co-winner Kailash Satyarthi would use the shared award as an opportunity to build peace between India and Pakistan.

“I felt more powerful and more courageous, because this award is not just a piece of metal… its really an encouragement for me to go forward and to believe in myself,” Malala said. “This is not the end of the campaign I have started. This is only the beginning.”

“I want to tell children all around the world that they should stand up for their rights, they shouldn’t wait for someone else,” she continued. “This award is for all those children who are voiceless, whose voices need to be heard.”

Malala also said that she and Satyarthi, an advocate against child labor, had spoken on the phone after winning the award, and had discussed working together to fight for the rights of children in both India and Pakistan:

We are the two Noble award receivers, one from Pakistan, one from India, one believes in Hinduism, one believes strongly in Islam. It gives a message to people, it gives a message to people of love between Pakistan and India, between different religions. If we both support each other it does not matter the colour of your skin, what language you speak, what religion you believe in. It is that we should all consider each other human beings and respect each other and we should all fight for our rights, the rights of children, or the rights of women and the rights of every human being.

She said they also agreed to request that their respective Prime Ministers, Narendra Modi of India and Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan, attend the Nobel Prize Ceremony in December, in order to build a stronger relationship between the two nations.

President Obama, who won the award in 2009, congratulated the winners in a statement. “In recognizing Malala and Kailash, the Nobel Committee reminds us of the urgency of their work to protect the rights and freedoms of all our young people and to ensure they have the chance to fulfill their God-given potential, regardless of their background, or gender, or station in life,” he said. “Even as we celebrate their achievements, we must recommit ourselves to the world that they seek ­— one in which our daughters have the right and opportunity to get an education; and in which all children are treated equally.”

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: October 10

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

1. With U.S. support, El Salvador is using community policing to address skyrocketing gang crime.

By Jude Joffe-Block in Fronteras

2. A new tool designed to flag bogus stories online might help combat rampant misinformation.

By Alexis Sobel Fitts in the Columbia Journalism Review

3. A multimillion dollar new high rise in Los Angeles exclusively for the city’s sick and vulnerable homeless residents reflects a powerful truth: we can’t ignore poverty away.

By Gale Holland in the Los Angeles Times

4. The CDC is using mobile phone data to track and stop Ebola in West Africa.

By Aliya Sternstein in NextGov

5. “Education is the most important right. When we get education, then we can bring change in our society.”

By Malala Yousafzai addressing the Aspen Ideas Festival

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME world affairs

In Photos: 2014 Nobel Peace Prize Winner Malala Yousafzai

Two years and one day after she was shot in the head by the Taliban, the 17-year old education activist becomes the youngest person ever to win the Nobel Peace Prize. (She shares the honor with Kailash Satyarthi, who has long been campaigning against child exploitation in neighboring India)

TIME India

Military Action, Diplomatic Threats Between India and Pakistan in Kashmir

Villagers sit on the debris of their house after it was damaged during the recent exchange of fire between Pakistan and India at the Pakistani border town of Dhamala Hakimwala
Villagers sit on the debris of their house after it was damaged during the recent exchange of fire between Pakistan and India at the Pakistani border town of Dhamala Hakimwala on Oct. 8, 2014 Faisal Mahmood—Reuters

Border skirmishes are common between the South Asian neighbors, but the weeklong confrontation is the most serious such escalation in nearly a decade

India and Pakistan exchanged multiple warnings and even subtle hints of a nuclear retaliation on Thursday, as military action from both sides continued on the Kashmir border in what is the worst standoff between the two countries in nearly a decade.

Heavy shelling on the border over the past week has resulted in the deaths of at least eight Indian and nine Pakistani civilians, and thousands of villagers have been forced to flee their homes, according to Reuters.

Tensions between India and Pakistan, who have fought three wars since the former was liberated and the latter created in 1947, have long convulsed South Asia. Border skirmishes between the nuclear-armed neighbors are relatively common in spite of a 2003 cease-fire agreement, but a sudden escalation of violence, stronger-than-usual posturing from both governments, and a departure from the usual methods of resolution are what sets the current conflict apart.

“This conflict is different first of all in that it’s prolonged and escalating, and secondly in that civilians are getting killed,” says Radha Kumar, director general of the Delhi Policy Group. “It’s never gone on for this long in the past 10 years.”

In August this year, there were cease-fire violations along the Indian-Pakistan border in Jammu, Indian-administered Kashmir’s winter capital. Some civilians were killed and around 2,000 villagers fled their homes to ramshackle camps. Toward the end of the month, a flag meeting was held between the two forces and peace had prevailed, only to be shattered early this week.

Pakistan’s Defense Minister Khawaja Asif, in response to his Indian counterpart Arun Jaitley’s warning that Indian forces would render any “adventurism” by Pakistan “unaffordable,” said Islamabad has the ability to counter Indian aggression, followed by what could be perceived as a veiled threat. “We do not want the situation on the borders of two nuclear neighbors to escalate into confrontation,” Asif said on Thursday.

The border standoff marks a downturn in India-Pakistan relations under new Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose invitation to Pakistan’s embattled Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for his inauguration ceremony in May sparked hopes of closer ties between the historic adversaries. The recent flash floods in Kashmir, which claimed hundreds of lives on both sides of the border, also saw exchanges of support and goodwill between the two leaders.

Shuja Nawaz, director of the Washington, D.C.–based Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center, says the current conflict is fairly typical in terms of the force used by either side and that civilians have been caught in the cross fire. However, “what makes it different is that you have two new governments and they are not following the standard operating procedures of resolving this at the military level,” he tells TIME.

The Indian Express reported that India’s Border Security Force has refused to engage in another flag meeting with Pakistani officials, instead asking the Ministries of Home and External Affairs to use diplomatic channels to resolve the conflict.

“All our efforts to secure peace and tranquility on the Line of Control and the Work Boundary have elicited no cooperation from the Indian side,” said a statement from Sartaj Aziz, National Security Adviser to Prime Minister Sharif. On Friday, the Pakistani leader called on New Delhi to honor the pre-existing cease-fire agreement.

Certainly, the steadily escalating conflict could not come at a more inopportune time for Sharif, as he faces widespread protests over allegations of corruption that have rocked his government for over two months amid rumors of a potential military coup. “He is trying to show that he and the military are on the same page,” says Nawaz.

However, analysts are split on the long-term consequences of the current escalation. According to a high-ranking Indian army official in Kashmir, who spoke to TIME in August on condition of anonymity, border confrontations with India will only increase as political instability deepens in Pakistan.

“The fact of the matter is that Nawaz Sharif is not in charge, he’s not even in charge of the capital,” agrees former Indian diplomat G. Parthasarathy, who served as the high Commissioner to Pakistan between 1998 and 2000. “The [Pakistani] army is primed to see how the Modi government will react to this infiltration.”

But Hamayoun Khan, a lecturer in the Strategic Studies Department at Islamabad’s National Defence University, says that Indian politics have just as much of a role to play in the conflict, pointing to upcoming state-assembly elections in Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. Khan says the border situation works to the advantage of nationalist parties like Modi’s BJP, which is not shy about courting anti-Pakistan views to get votes. “Once they are over, once the rhetoric from the other side stops, this conflict will abate,” he says. “They [India] will mellow down and so will we.”

Khan also disagrees with claims that the Pakistani Prime Minister has no control of his government. “The political situation that has been going on for over 60 days has put Nawaz Sharif under a lot of pressure, but he’s bearing the burden of that pretty well and is pretty much in control,” he says.

The question of the possibility of rapprochement, meanwhile, is yet to be answered. “My fear is that the escalation ladder is very steep, particularly in Kashmir. You can go quickly from exchanging words to exchange fire,” says Nawaz. “It’s not in the best interests of either government to let this issue fester.”

— With reporting from Nilanjana Bhowmick / New Delhi

TIME Nobel Peace Prize

Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi Win Nobel Peace Prize

The prize was awarded to them for their efforts in the education of women and against the exploitation of children respectively

Exactly two years and a day after Taliban gunmen shot her in the head for daring to speak up for the rights of a girl to get an education, Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan was awarded the Nobel Peace prize Friday. She shares the award with veteran children’s rights campaigner Kailash Satyarthi, 60, from neighboring India.

Both Yousafzai and Satyarthi were lauded “for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education,” according to the Nobel Committee’s statement. Though it may not have been intentional, the joint award evokes certain symmetry: Yousufzai, who has since moved to England to continue her education in a safer environment, is at the beginning of a life she has repeatedly said will be spent furthering her cause. Satyarthi is looking back on a career studded with achievements and dedicated to protecting children from exploitation. His work on developing international conventions for children’s rights is what enabled Yousufzai to launch her own campaign, first in her native Pakistan, and then around the world.

That the two come from rival countries and oft-clashing faiths only strengthens the message that the need for children’s education trumps both nation and creed. “The Nobel Committee regards it as an important point for a Hindu and a Muslim, an Indian and a Pakistani, to join in a common struggle for education and against extremism,” said the Peace Prize statement.

For Yousufzai, who continues to receive threats from the Pakistani Taliban who attempted to silence her demands to be educated two years ago, receiving the Nobel Peace Prize offers no better, and no louder, rebuttal.

TIME People

Malala Yousafzai Wins Nobel Peace Prize 2 Years After Shooting

A brief history of her life and work

Update: Oct. 10, 7:06 a.m. ET

Pakistani youth activist Malala Yousafzai was awarded the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, an honor she shares with Kailash Satyarthi, who has long been campaigning against child exploitation in neighboring India. But until about two years ago, Malala was just a 15-year old blogger on a school bus with her friends. It was Oct. 9, 2012, when armed Taliban men boarded Malala’s bus and shot her in the head, transforming her from a minor Internet celebrity into an international symbol.

It’s hard to believe that she’s accomplished so much — including recovery from her injuries — in only two years, but Malala’s story actually started long before the assassination attempt that launched her to worldwide fame. She was born in the Swat valley in Pakistan, in 1997, to parents who encouraged her love for education from a young age. Her father, Ziauddin, opened a private school for boys and girls, partly to fight against gender discrimination in Pakistan. “My father educated my brother and me, but he didn’t send my sisters to school,” he told The Guardian. “I thought it was an injustice.” When Malala was born, he named her after a Pashtun heroine and never curbed her ambition.”Don’t ask me what I did, ask me what I did not do,” Ziauddin said in a TEDtalk about his daughter that quickly went viral, “I did not clip her wings.”

As a toddler, Malala would sit in classrooms in her father’s school and follow lessons for 10-year olds. Aryn Baker wrote in her 2012 profile of Malala for TIME:

By the time she was 2½, she was sitting in class with 10-year-olds, according to a close family friend and teacher at the school founded by Malala‘s father. The little girl with the huge hazel eyes didn’t say much, but “she could follow, and she never got bored,” says the teacher, who asked to remain anonymous for fear that she too might become a Taliban target. Malala loved the school, a rundown concrete-block building with a large rooftop terrace open to views of the snowcapped mountains that surround the Swat Valley. As she grew older, she was always first in her class. “She was an ordinary girl with extraordinary abilities,” says the teacher, “but she never had a feeling of being special.”

In 2008, everything changed. The Taliban gained control of the Swat region, banning DVDs, dancing, and beauty parlors. By the end of the year, over 400 schools were closed. Ziauddin took Malala to Peshawar, where she made a famous speech in front of national press titled “How Dare the Taliban Take Away My Basic Right to Education?” She was only 11.

In early 2009, Malala started blogging anonymously for the BBC about what it was like to live under the Taliban. Just a few days after she started, all girls schools were closed.

In retrospect, some parts of Malala’s blog seem like ominous foreshadowing: “On my way from school to home I heard a man saying ‘I will kill you’,” she wrote on Jan. 3, 2009. “I hastened my pace and after a while I looked back if the man was still coming behind me. But to my utter relief he was talking on his mobile and must have been threatening someone else over the phone.” But there are also humorous parts that remind us that, at the time, she was only 11: “My mother liked my pen name ‘Gul Makai’ and said to my father ‘why not change her name to Gul Makai?’ I also like the name because my real name means ‘grief stricken’.”

In December 2009, Ziauddin publicly identified his daughter, even though her real name has been widely suspected for months.

That proved to be a dangerous move. “We did not want to kill her, as we knew it would cause us a bad name in the media,” Sirajuddin Ahmad, a senior commander and spokesman for the Swat Taliban, told TIME for the 2012 magazine profile. “But there was no other option.”

In 2012, armed men boarded the converted truck that Malala and her classmates used as a makeshift school bus. “Which one is Malala?” one of them asked. “I think we must have looked at her,” Malala’s classmate Shazia Ramzan told TIME’s Aryn Baker. “We didn’t say anything, but we must have looked, because then he shot her.” Malala took a bullet to the head.

She endured a traumatic operation in Pakistan that left her with a (temporary) metal plate in her head while they stored a piece of her skull in her abdomen, to reattach when she’s healed enough. She was then airlifted to a hospital in Birmingham, England, where she had more medical treatment and extensive rehabilitation.

The rest of her story has played out in the public eye. Nine months after she was shot, Malala gave a now-famous speech at the UN. “They thought that the bullets would silence us. But they failed,” she said. “And then, out of that silence came thousands of voices. … Weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage was born.”

Now relocated to England, Malala goes to Edgbaston School for Girls. She’s continued her high-profile campaign for girls’ education with The Malala Fund, which raises money to promote girls’ education. She’s used the fund as a platform to confront Barack Obama about drone strikes, help Syrian refugee children and demand the return of the Nigerian girls kidnapped by Boko Haram. And this September, she announced a $3 million multi-year commitment to partner with Echidna Giving to support girls education in developing countries.

Malala won Pakistan’s National Youth Peace Prize in 2011, before she was shot, but the prize been since renamed in her honor; it’s now the National Malala Peace Prize. She was shortlisted for TIME’s Person of the Year in 2012, and was one of the TIME 100 in 2013. She won a Mother Teresa Memorial Award for Social Justice in 2012 and the 2013 Simone de Beauvoir Prize for international human rights work on behalf of women’s equality.

Read more: “There Are Thousands of Malalas”

 

 

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