At large gatherings attended by President Zardari, Gordon Brown and other world leaders at Unesco headquarters in Paris and London, an incredible round of applause was paid to Malala Yousafzai who was praised for being a symbol of girls’ right to have education. The dastardly attempt on her life could not kill her but instead as in the words of President Zardari, her recovery has become a symbol of resilience of her great nation. The $10 million programme launched with the joint cooperation of Pakistan government and the Unesco would aim for global education but hopefully its focus would be on Pakistan where the girls literacy is extremely low. There is hence hardly any doubt that Pakistan deserves to be the centre stage of this programme. Here, in recent years, thousands of schools have been bombed out by militants. Retrograde forces also target girls’ education by propagating their particular brand of fanaticism. These forces must be defeated if Pakistan is to be taken to an age of progress, prosperity and tolerance.

Although the programme has been announced with much fanfare amid a lot of expectations, greater caution would be required to see to it that once, the funds are given, they are used in a transparent manner. The entire process ought to be seen by a national authority. There is still a long way to go to make girls quality education common and affordable across the country due to a number of factors that have coalesced over the years to deny the people an opportunity of change and enlightenment. The best way to help Malala is to turn this venture into a veritable success.