Lahore: While hailing the UN decision to declare November 10 as Malala Day, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has called upon the government and the people of Pakistan to rise to the challenge the worldwide tribute to the young girl from Swat presents them with. They must make a solemn pledge to devote their energies to guaranteeing their children, girls especially, their right to education. In a statement issued here today the commission said:
“The people of Pakistan have reason to take pride in the fact that today (Saturday, the 10th of November) the whole world will be joining them in a tribute to Malala, who has been accepted as a symbol of girls’ aspiration to receive education and of their courage to stand up for this right. But the distinction the brave girl from Swat has won for her country brings with it serious challenges to the Pakistani state and its society both. Their task, in one sentence, is to ensure that all of their children, girls in particular, will have equal opportunities to acquire quality education, free upto the level constitutionally required to be free, and at affordable cost otherwise. What this demands in practical terms is a redoubled effort not only to realize the Millennium Development Goals related to education and girls’ other rights but also the launch of imaginatively drawn-up and workable plans to implement Article 25-A under which the children’s right to universal and free schooling has at last been accepted.
“One wonders whether the attack on Malala and the entire play of forces leading to that cowardly act could have been avoided if the state had not been guilty of ignoring children’s education decade after decade. Today Pakistan has to take a vow that it will make every effort, and bear every sacrifice, necessary to ensure that that each of its girls will be enabled to share Malala’s dream and convictions and escape the pain and suffering that have fallen to her lot. If this cannot be done the Malala Day will only be an occasion for Pakistanis to invite condemnation as a horde of hypocrites determined to destroy their future.”