Fears blight 'Malala Day' in schoolgirl's hometown
MINGORA, Pakistan (AFP) - Pakistan marked "Malala Day" on Saturday on a global day of support for the teenager shot by the Taleban for promoting girls' education, but in her home town security fears meant her schoolmates could not honour her in public.
Taleban hitmen shot Malala Yousafzai on her school bus a month ago in Mingora in Pakistan's north-western Swat Valley, in a cold-blooded murder attempt for the "crime" of campaigning for girls' rights to go to school.
Miraculously the 15-year-old survived and her courage has won the hearts of millions around the world, prompting the United Nations to declare Saturday a "global day of action" for her. People around the world held vigils and demonstrations honouring Malala and calling for the 32 million girls worldwide who are denied education to be allowed to go to school.
Demonstrations backing Malala took place in Islamabad, Karachi, the eastern city of Lahore and Muzaffarabad in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, and Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf saluted Malala's courage. But in Mingora, the threat of further Taleban reprisals cast a fearful shadow, and students at Malala's Khushal Public School were forced to honour her in private.