ISLAMABAD: Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari will visit the United Kingdom today to meet 14-year-old peace activist Malala Yousafzai, who is being treated at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital, sources said.
Foreign office officials, terming the visit as an unprecedented gesture by President Zardari, said that because the president did not have any diplomatic engagements in UK other than meeting Malala.
President Zardari who is accompanied by Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar will meet Malala following a visit to Iran, a source privy to the president’s travel itinerary said.
Malala, who was shot while riding a school bus on October 9 in the Swat Valley, became the symbol of resistance against the Taliban, advocating access to education for girls in an area that has been one of the Taliban’s main strongholds in the country.
Over the past months, the teenage activist has received messages of support from across the globe with some suggesting a Nobel Peace Prize for her. However, back at home certain right-wing elements accused her of being part of the US conspiracy to push Pakistan for a fresh military offensive in the tribal areas.
In a special message, President Zardari said Malala stands tall as a symbol of girls’ education and of defiance against those who wish to impose their obscurantist agenda behind the facade of religion.
Pakistani Taliban recruits via Facebook
PESHAWAR: The Pakistani Taliban has set up a page on Facebook to recruit enthusiasts to write for a quarterly magazine and to edit video, a spokesman confirmed yesterday.
The Umar Media TTP page, which has more than 270 likes, appears to have been created in September and has just a handful of messages written in English.
“Umar Media is proud to announce online jobs oppertunities (sic),” says the first post on the networking website, written on October 25.
“Job description is video editing, translations, sharing, uploading, downloading and collection of required data,” it says, giving an email address and asking readers to “plz spread it. This fb account may be deleted.”
Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan confirmed by telephone yesterday that the faction was “temporarily” using the page “to fulfil its requirements” before launching its own website.
US-based organisation SITE Intelligence Group says the TTP uses Facebook as “a recruitment centre”. Agencies