PARIS: “A country with talented, skilful and educated people is the real superpower and not the one with tonnes of soldiers,” said education campaigner Malala Yousafzai at a ceremony where she was given the European Union’s Sakharov Prize for freedom of thought on Wednesday.
She is the first Pakistani to be awarded this honour.
Malala was shot by Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) gunmen last year for promoting girls’ education. She now lives in the UK after she was flown there for medical treatment.
Dedicating the award to Pakistan’s unsung heroes, she urged that the “fittest among us should struggle for the survival of the weak.”
“If we leave the disadvantaged one behind, even the fittest can’t survive,” she added.
The Sakharov prize
The Sakharov Prize for freedom of thought has been awarded by the European Parliament each year since 1988 to commemorate Soviet scientist and dissident Andrei Sakharov. Malala was chosen on October 10 by a vote among the heads of all the political groups in the 750-member parliament.
Past winners include South African anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela and former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan.
Three jailed Belarussian dissidents, along with Edward Snowden, were shortlisted for this year’s Sakharov prize.
Last year’s award went to detained Iranians, lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh and film-maker Jafar Panahi, to honour those “standing up for a better Iran.”
Source: The Express Tribune