|Dear Andy,On Tuesday 9 October, Malala Yousufzai boarded her bus to school in Swat Valley, north-west Pakistan. Shortly afterwards Taliban fighters opened fire, leaving her two friends – Shazia Ramzan and Kainat Ahmed – injured and Malala fighting for her life. Take action: protect human rights defenders
Malala has since been airlifted to a Birmingham hospital. As we await news of her recovery, we have been collecting your beautiful, heartfelt messages of support for the girl you call an inspiration to all of us, a heroine in our house and a beautiful star may you continue to shine brightly – which we plan to pass on to her family soon.
We are in awe of Malala and her great courage in speaking out. Northwest Pakistan is a very dangerous place to speak up for human rights, particularly if youre a woman. In the past year alone, two activists who campaigned for girls education Farida Afridi and Zarteef Afridi – have been killed in a wave of targeted attacks by the Taliban and other groups.
No more attacks on activists call on the Pakistan authorities to support human rights defenders
The Taliban left us in no doubt that they intended to kill Malala, saying: She is a Western-minded girl. She always speaks against us. We will target anyone who speaks against the Taliban.
Chillingly, they added that if she returns home she will not be spared, and reiterated their intention to attack her friends, family, classmates and other activists.
So please, for Malala and all the other Malalas present and future who must not be scared into silence by the likes of the Taliban, call on the Pakistan authorities to protect human rights activists