The family of Malala Yousafzai said they “cannot express their happiness” after the 17-year-old schoolgirl was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday.
Malala’s first cousin Mehmood ul Hassan, who is the administrator of Khushal Public School where Malala studied before she was shot, said: “The whole family is very happy. We cannot express the level of our happiness in words.
“I just spoke to Ziauddin (Malala’s father), and her mother. I also spoke to Malala, and they are all very excited and happy about this. Malala told me that Allah has blessed her with this award and she hopes this peace prize will help her cause [of educating girls], which is what she is focused on,” he said.
“I am already in touch with school staff and we will organise a little ceremony here to celebrate this achievement,” he said.
He said Swat Valley, where Malala was shot in the head by militants in October 2012, was “jubilant” about the honour.
Malala is the youngest ever Nobel winner. She was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman two years ago for insisting that girls also have the right to an education.
Malala’s classmates in the Swat Valley said the Nobel Prize would encourage other schoolgirls in the area.
“The news that Malala Yousafzai has been awarded Nobel Peace Prize is extremely encouraging for the people of Swat district,” Majida Bibi, her classmate said.
Muhammad Rafiq, a Swat-based teacher, said: “Many people distributed sweets to celebrate the occasion as Malala has brought fame to the country at the international level.” She has been an inspirational force for the female students of Swat, he added.
One of Malala’s teachers, Shumaila Khan, said she was very proud of her former pupil. “I have never seen a brave girl like her. She challenged the Taliban at a time when all men didn’t have the courage to oppose them,” she said.
Her schoolmate Rukhsar Shah said: “I want to salute here on this occasion. She is the pride of the whole nation.”