Malala's father calls for free, fair polls in Pakistan
London: The father of Malala Yousufzai, the schoolgirl shot in the head by the Taliban, has called for free and fair elections in Pakistan.
Ziauddin Yousufzai, who was appointed as the United Nations' special adviser for global education in the wake of the attack on his 15-year-old daughter, appealed for a level playing field for all political parties in the elections.
"It is the right of every Pakistani party, liberal or otherwise, to campaign without any insecurity or coercion. True democracy can only be established if it is not engineered but allowed to grow naturally," he told 'The News' from Birmingham, where his family is now based.
"The cold blooded murder of (Awami National Party candidate) Khattak and all others is condemnable. This underscores that all political parties should establish a joint political front against terrorist groups who want to eliminate democratic political parties by use of terrorism because they don't have arguments," he added.
Yousafzai had been appointed education attache at the Consulate of Pakistan in Birmingham after his daughter was airlifted to the UK for treatment last year.
Malala, who returned to school in Birmingham in March after a series of surgeries, has agreed to her first television interview with popular 'ABC News' host Diane Sawyer in the US.
The interview is scheduled to be aired in October, which marks the first anniversary of the attack on her in Swat Valley and will also coincide with the release of her autobiography 'I am Malala'.
In the UK, she will be interviewed by BBC anchor Mishal Husain around the same time.
Last month, Malala announced a USD 45,000 grant to a fund that was set up in her name in aid of girls' education in the Swat Valley.
"We are going to educate 40 girls, and I invite all of you to support the Malala Fund," Malala said in a video that was played at the Women in the World summit in New York.
On July 12, her 16th birthday, Malala will speak to the United Nations on the issue. Since her shooting, she has become the face of girls' education around the world.
She has also been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, and last year she was selected as a runner-up for 'Time' magazine's Person of the Year but lost out to US President Barack Obama.