ISLAMABAD (AFP) - Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has congratulated teenage education campaigner Malala Yousafzai on winning the Nobel Peace Prize, calling her the "pride" of his country.
"She is (the) pride of Pakistan. She has made her countrymen proud. Her achievement is unparallelled and unequalled. Girls and boys of the world should take the lead from her struggle and commitment," he said in a statement sent to AFP.
Yousafzai, who was shot in the head by the Taliban two years ago, has become a global icon for girls' education and was nominated for the prize last year too.
Sharif was joined in his tribute by residents of her native Swat Valley, the northwestern area that was ruled by Taliban militants from 2007 to 2009.
Ahmed Shah, Malala's school teacher and uncle, told AFP: "Malala is a pride for Pakhtunkhwa and Pakistan," referring to the country's insurgency-wracked northwest province.
"She raised her voice for the injustices in a society where women can't even speak." Ayesha Khalid, who was at school with Malala, added: "It's not Malala alone winning this award, the girls of Pakistan have won it.
"Malala is the light of our eyes and the voice of our heart.
"She has proved that you can't put a halt to education by blowing up schools".