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Exclusive: Malala's Father on Peace Prize

  • VOA News

Pakistani schoolgirl activist Malala Yousafzai observes as her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, meets U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at U.N. headquarters Aug. 18, 2014.

Pakistani schoolgirl activist Malala Yousafzai observes as her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, meets U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at U.N. headquarters Aug. 18, 2014.

The father of Malala Yousafzai, one of this year's two Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, tells VOA he is proud his teenaged daughter has emerged as a voice for peace from a region affected by terrorism and extremism.

Ziauddin Yousafzai told VOA's Deewa service that he wants his 17-year-old daughter to focus on her education. He said Malala was in her chemistry class at school when the news that she had won the Nobel Peace Prize was announced.

He said his daughter is happy to have won the prize, but feels the burden of responsibility that comes with it. He says Malala will continue to work for girls' education and peace.

The Pakistan-born Malala is the youngest ever Nobel Peace Prize winner. She said Friday she accepted her award on behalf of "all those children who are voiceless."

U.S. President Barack Obama said in a White House statement Friday that Malala has inspired people around the world. “When the Taliban tried to silence her," he said, "Malala answered their brutality with strength and resolve.”

Malala was shot in the head by the Taliban on her school bus in 2012 because of her efforts to promote education for girls in Pakistan.

She was quick to praise her co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, Indian child rights advocate Kailash Satyarthi. Sixty-year-old Satyarthi has spent more than three decades at the forefront of a movement aimed at freeing children from slave labor. He is the first Indian-born winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.

In an interview with VOA's Urdu service, Satyarthi said the award is a recognition of the pain and suffering of millions of children working as bonded laborers.

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