Malala backs peace talks with Taliban

Teenager tells Pakistan news channel conflict cannot achieve peace and repeats her desire to enter politics in her homeland.

Teenager tells Pakistan news channel conflict cannot achieve peace and repeats her desire to enter politics in her homeland.

ISLAMABAD - Nobel Peace Prize nominee Malala Yousafzai has voiced support for ongoing peace talks between the government and the Taliban aimed at agreeing a deal to end the 11-year long insurgency in the country which has left thousands of people dead.

“You cannot end a war through another war. It can only be done through talks,” the Pakistani teenager said in an interview with Pakistani news channel Express News on Thursday.

“Peace cannot be achieved through war or bloodshed. It is possible only through dialogue, therefore the Taliban issue should be resolved through talks,” said Malala, who is currently based in Birmingham, UK,  where she was moved for treatment after being shot by Taliban members in Pakistan in October 2012.

The interview was Malala's first for a Pakistani TV channel since the attack, which came as she was on her way to school by bus in the northwestern valley of Swat, once the stronghold of Maulvi Fazlullah, the current chief of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) -  a coalition of different insurgent groups in Pakistan.

Wearing a green shirt and pink trousers and with her head covered with a chadar (long sheet), Malala said that if the Taliban wanted to replace the current system either with their own or the Islamic one, then they “should renounce violence and opt for the way to democracy”.

“But before that, they should apologize to the families of the victims of terrorism, and then participate in the elections,” she said. “I appeal to the Taliban to lay down arms for peace and adopt the path of democracy."

“If the people of Pakistan vote for them, then they have the right to rule the country,” she added. 

Recalling the memories of the attack in which she and two other colleagues were badly injured, Malala said she wished to go back to Pakistan as soon as she recovered.

She also reiterated her plans to enter the country’s political arena, saying she wanted to be the prime minister of the South Asian nuclear Muslim state.

“You can be a doctor. But by being a doctor, you can only serve a limited number of people. However, if you are a prime minister, you can serve the entire nation,” she said.

Describing the slain Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto as her favorite political personality, Malala expressed her admiration for incumbent premier Nawaz Sharif, the corruption-tainted former president and widower of Bhutto, Asif Zardari, and cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan.  

She also offered her “apology” for some “mistakes” in her autobiography; I am Malala, which earned her fame worldwide but sparked controversy in Pakistan over her remarks in favor of the controversial British writer and author of Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie.

The semi-autobiography, co-written with British journalist and writer Christina Lamb, also led to her being accused of being a tool of the West used to malign Islam and Pakistan under the aegis of the Taliban.

Malala rose to fame in 2009 for her anti-Taliban blog for the BBC published under the byline of Gul Makai (cornflower), when she was just 11-years-old.

However, some people have claimed her diaries were written by her father, Ziauddin, an owner and principal of the school where Malala would study.

Malala was one of three finalists for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2013, which was awarded to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. She has since been nominated for the 2014 prize.

Copyright © 2014 Anadolu Agency