Girls’ rights champion aims to be premier

Malala Yousafzai
Malala Yousafzai
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A 16-year-old Pakistani schoolgirl shot by the Taliban for championing girls’ rights to an education has said she wants to be prime minister of her country.

Malala Yousafzai, who, despite being widely tipped, missed out on the Nobel Peace Prize, was speaking during a television interview on a visit to the US.

The teenager was left for dead in a failed Taliban assassination attempt after being shot in the head as she travelled on a school bus in the Swat Valley in October last year.

Malala touched on public rumours that she might win the peace prize, announced yesterday, and said it would be “a great honour and more than I deserve” to win, but felt she needed to do more before she could truly deserve the accolade.

“I need to work a lot,” she said.

In an interview with news network CNN, she also said it was her hope to one day become Pakistani prime minister, admitting that she had previously considered becoming a doctor but felt she could help more people by going into politics.

Sitting next to her father Ziauddin – founder of a girls’ school in Pakistan – she earned applause and laughter when she then said: “I can spend much of the budget on education.”

In a wide-ranging interview, Malala, who now lives with her family in Birmingham, recalled the shooting which nearly took her life but also restated her determination not to give in to fresh threats on her life by the Pakistani Taliban.

“I’m never going to give up,” she said.

“They only shot a body but they cannot shoot my dreams.”

She was so badly injured in the point-blank attack that her father was advised to prepare his daughter’s funeral.

However, she made what close friends have called a miraculous recovery while her global profile has soared, with her first book, I Am Malala, becoming a bestseller after its release earlier this week.

At the start of the year she set up the Malala Fund, which awarded its first grant in April to put 40 girls in Pakistan into schooling.