By: Chandrashekar Bhat
NOBEL Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, who married a top-ranked Pakistan cricket official last week, said she had concerns about marriage but she was lucky to get a husband “who understands my values”.
The women’s rights activist from Pakistan told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday (14) that she was not against marriage but her concerns surrounded the “imbalance of power” and the customs “influenced by patriarchy and misogyny”.
“I was not against marriage. I had concerns about marriage. That is true about many girls around the world who have seen reports about child marriages and reports of forced marriages… imbalance of power (in marriage), how girls and women make more compromises than men, and how a lot of these customs are influenced by patriarchy and misogyny.
“So you have to question the system you are living in and you have to question the status quo.”
She said, “I am lucky that I have found a person who understands my values”.
Malala, 24, who gained international recognition for her activism against the Taliban’s efforts to stop girls from attending school, said her husband Asser Malik understands her sense of humour and “we have a lot in common”.
Malik, who Malala met two years ago, is the general manager at Pakistan Cricket Board’s High Performance Centre in Lahore.
The couple married at a small ceremony at her home in Birmingham.
Malala’s comments in an interview to Vogue magazine in June had stirred controversy in Pakistan. The Oxford graduate had then said she was not sure if she would ever marry.
“I still don’t understand why people have to get married… If you want to have a person in your life, why do you have to sign marriage papers, why can’t it just be a partnership”, she had said.
When she was 15, she was shot in the head by a member of the Taliban in October 2012 and was flown to the UK to receive treatment.
On Sunday (14), Malala said she was concerned that the Taliban’s block on girls’ education in Afghanistan “will not be temporary, as claimed”.
“I’m afraid that this ban that they have announced right now that they’re calling temporary might not actually be temporary.”
A similar ban in 1996 “lasted for five years”, she pointed out.
After seizing power in August, the hardline Islamist Taliban in September excluded girls from returning to secondary school while ordering boys back to class.
The Taliban have claimed they will allow girls to return to schools once they have ensured security and stricter segregation – but many are sceptical.
“We’re calling on the Taliban to immediately allow girls to have access to their complete education, we’re calling on G20 leaders and other world leaders to ensure that girls’ rights are protected in Afghanistan,” Malala said.