Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Discrimination against girls in Pakistan, in particular the case of Malala Yousafzai

Delivered in Plenary - 26th October 2012

Mr President

The cowardly attack on Malala Yousafzai was a truly heinous crime. Barbaric violence was visited upon a child of 14, whose only perceived offence was to dare to speak out for the rights of girls to an education.

It is a matter of regret that the Pakistan Government proved incapable of protecting its own citizens from such wickedness. Unfortunately, there is a history of Pakistani people, including Christian ministers and converts, being targeted because they challenge the Talibanís twisted philosophy, including now the threat to kill the medics who are trying to treat her.

It is hard to find the words to condemn strongly enough this sickening attack. However, that condemnation has echoed across the world and it is gratifying that so many voices in Pakistan itself have also been raised in anger and in opposition to Malalaís fate, not least those of many Muslim religious leaders in Pakistan. I am very glad to say that I am proud that she is now making some progress towards recovery with the help of the care and expertise of British doctors in Birmingham.