Yesterday, Malala Yousafzai made a nation proud as she became the second Pakistani to be awarded the prestigious Nobel prize. Malala also has the singular distinction of being the youngest recipient of the award.
At a time of political instability and rising extremism, Malala reminds us of the very best is Pakistan; The resilience and indomitable strength of its people, and the refusal to cower down in in the face of adversity. Malala represents our hopes for a better Pakistan and the ideals that are worth fighting for.
At the British Pakistan Foundation, we are especially proud for we not only share Malala’s country of origin, but also her adopted homeland. We too endeavour for a better Pakistan, and work towards the development of our country.
And perhaps some of us share something a little deeper, and more unsettling.
Despite being hailed the “Pride of Pakistan” by the Prime Minister, Malala is unable to return to her country of birth. She is not safe there, nor has she ever been. While her efforts and intentions may be directed towards Pakistan, her day to day existence is not.
Perhaps some of us similarly find ourselves sharing in this state of exile; unable to return to our country of origin, for it no longer provides us with the security, stability or the opportunity to realise our potential.
And so, albeit from a distance, we strive towards building a better, safer and more prosperous Pakistan, where receiving an education is not a hazard or a rare privilege, but a birth right.