Islamabad - Representatives of civil society and human rights activists on Tuesday gathered in front of National Press Club for celebrating the Nobel Peace Prize for teenage activist Malala Yousafzai.

A cake was cut, candles were lit and poetry was recited to mark the occasion as the jubilant crowd chanted slogans. Pigeons were set free to express joy and solidarity with Malala’s mission. The participants were holding placards inscribed with messages of pride and celebrations for Malala, expressing greetings for the girl who made history by winning the prestigious award at such a young age. The gathering was organised by Aurat Foundation along with Women Leaders’ Group and Citizen Action Committees.

“Nobel Peace Prize for her is a matter of great joy and pride for us. On this occasion, we would like to reaffirm our commitment for peace and rights of all women and girls around the world,” said Chief Operating Officer Aurat Foundation Naeem Ahmed Mirza. He said if two important sectors including education and law enforcement are completely given to women, there will be peace and prosperity in the country.

“This award has reaffirmed my belief that the next century belongs to women. In recognition of their services, women of Pakistan have excelled in every sector including sports, art and literature, education and information technology,” he said.

On this occasion, eminent human rights activist Tahira Abdullah conveyed the message of Malala’s family. She said that the family is overjoyed with happiness but they sob as they miss Pakistan and their people on this occasion. “They said that it was because of the love, honour and recognition they got in Pakistan long before Malala was attacked which gave her international recognition.”

Tahira said that the nation should not forget Dr Abdus Salam on this occasion. “I am proud to be a Pakistani who has seen the country winning two Nobel prizes,” she said.

On this occasion, renowned poet and human rights activist Kishawar Naheed read her famous poem “Wo jo bachion say bhi darr gayay” (Those who are afraid of girls).

Analyst and human rights activist Haris Khaliq said that Nobel peace prize for Malala is not an award for an individual but it is for all champions of women and girls rights. “It is proved that the way women and girls have brought awards for Pakistan, men and boys have not been able to do that.”

Chief of Party Gender Equity Programme and rights activist Simi Kamal said that she really believes in youth of Pakistan, in particular the young girls. He said, “We have seen how they have crossed boundaries and made name across the board whether it be commerce, business, entrepreneurship, literature, poetry, academic excellence, sports, development or empowerment. Young girls are living empowerment. Who could be the better example than Malala Yousafzai? We are proud of her.” Director Advocacy Aurat Foundation Rabeea Hadi said that Pakistan is proud of the fact that during past two years, women of Pakistan have won most prestigious awards of the world like the Oscar, Asian Cricket Cup and Nobel Peace Prize for the country.

“This award has given us the message that we should educate our girls,” she added.