Islamabad: A Pakistani girl Malala
Yousufzai, who spoke out for children`s rights in the restive
Swat valley when it was controlled by the Taliban was on Thursday
conferred the nations new National Peace Prize.
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani announced that
13-year-old Yousufzai would be conferred the National Peace
Prize and a cash reward of Rs 5 lakh.
The government made the decision after Yousufzai was
nominated for the International Peace Prize for Children in
recognition of her services for peace and education.
Though the international award went to a South African
girl, Yousufzai, a student of Class 8, has said she is
determined to campaign for girls` education and children’s
Gilani extended felicitations to Yousufzai and her
family on her achievements.
He directed the Cabinet Division to institute the
National Peace Prize to be awarded every year to children
under 18 years of age for contributions to peace and
Yousufzai was one of five nominees, chosen from 98
children from 42 countries, for the international award.
She came to prominence when, as an 11-year-old, she
wrote about the Taliban banning girls’ schools in the
picturesque Swat valley.
She was a victim of the ban imposed by the Taliban on
education for girls in the troubled Swat region over two years
ago. She wrote about her pain and anguish in a diary for BBC
Urdu. Asked why she started her campaign for girls` rights,
Yousufzai said the violence in Swat had "a huge impact" on her
She said she wanted the rest of the world to stop
describing the people of Swat as terrorists as they were
peaceful and loving.
Her diary entries included discussions with classmates
about the Taliban, who then controlled most of the Swat Valley
and publicly executed dozens of people who opposed them.
In one entry, she described a "terrible dream" about
military helicopters and the Taliban.
The Pakistan government sent the army into Swat to flush
out the militants in early 2009 after the Taliban began
extending their influence to districts located 100 km from
Hundreds of Taliban fighters were captured or killed but
most of the top commanders, including Mullah Fazlullah,
managed to escape.