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Pakistan Marks 'Malala Day' As Part Of Global Day Of Action


Malala's Father Thanks Well-Wishers
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WATCH: Malala's father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, thanks well-wishers for their letters of support.

Pakistan is marking "Malala Day" as part of a global day of support for the teenager shot by the Taliban for promoting girls' education.

Demonstrations backing Malala Yousafzai were held in Islamabad, Karachi, the eastern city of Lahore, and Muzaffarabad in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf also saluted her courage.

Earlier this week, the office of the UN special envoy for education declared November 10 a "global day of action" for the teenage Pakistani rights activist.

The day comes one month after Yousafzai was shot in the head and neck by a Taliban gunman in Pakistan's northwestern Swat Valley.

RFE/RL’s Radio Mashaal spoke with Shazia Manzoor, who was also injured in the Swat Valley attack.

“Today is Malala’s day, so at the same time we are happy, but sad too," Manzoor said. "Happy, because on Malala’s day, parents will send their children to school to fulfill Malala’s dream. On the other hand, we are sad because if Malala was with us, it would be great fun. My message to Malala is: I wish you a quick recovery so you can go to school with us.”

The 15-year-old is receiving treatment by specialists in a Birmingham hospital after being airlifted from Pakistan.

People around the world are expected to hold vigils and demonstrations honoring Malala and calling for the 32 million girls worldwide who are denied education to be allowed to go to school.

Malala 'Grateful, Amazed'

The UN education envoy, former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, has visited Islamabad to discuss ways of getting Pakistani girls who are not being schooled involved in the education system.

Brown has presented Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari with a million-signature petition supporting Yousafzai.

In Britain, thousands of people have even signed an online petition supporting Yousafzai for the Nobel Peace Prize and calling on Prime Minister David Cameron to recommend her for the award.

In Birmingham, Yousafzai’s father released a statement through Queen Elizabeth Hospital saying how “grateful” and “amazed” Yousafzai is that people around the world are interested in her well-being.

The statement said, "We deeply feel the heart-touching good wishes of the people across the world of all caste, color and creed.”

The Pakistani Taliban have said Yousafzai was targeted because of her pioneering role in urging education for girls in Pakistan. The Islamist militants are opposed to secular schooling.

According to the United Nations, 5 million children do not go to school in Pakistan, where the official literacy rate is less than 60 percent, and less than half of Pakistani women are estimated to have learned to read and write.

With reporting by AFP, Reuters, and dpa
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