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Malala pushes for US support to Afghan women in education

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Pakistani education and women’s rights activist and world’s youngest Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai held a meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and advocated for the right of Afghan women and girls to education and work.

Malala met with Blinken and other officials at the State Department to urge greater focus on the millions of girls in Afghanistan being denied an education.

Her request follows the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in the wake of the chaotic US withdrawal in August.

“Afghanistan is the only country right now where girls do not have access to secondary education,” Malala told Blinken. “They’re prohibited from learning,” she said.

Before meeting, Blinken described Malala Yousafzai before cameras as “truly an inspiration — an inspiration to us, an inspiration to girls and women around the world” and as someone “making a real difference,” particularly when it comes to education. He said she was there to offer ideas as the Biden administration holds gender equity worldwide as a critical issue.

“So, I m very looking forward to talking to her about the work that she s doing, the work that we re doing, and to hear from her, her ideas about how to be more effective at making sure — as we re working for gender equity — that girls and women have access to education,” Blinken said. “Welcome — it s so good to have you.”

Malala, when it was her turn to speak, immediately raised the education disparities currently affecting Afghanistan.

She also said that she has a letter addressed to President Joe Biden from a 15-year-old Afghan girl detailing the school closures affected by the Taliban in Afghanistan, and requested Blinken to pass it on to the US leader.

“We hope that the US together with the UN will take immediate actions to ensure that girls are allowed to go back to this position as soon as possible and all the humanitarian assistance as needed for education is provided,” Malala said.

“We know this has been a challenge and we want more focus to be given to education and teacher salaries.”

Blinken said that he looks forward to talking with Malala about her work and hearing “her ideas about how we can be more effective” in pushing for gender equity.

Malala, the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize winner, survived a 2012 assassination attempt at the hands of a Taliban gunman in Swat, Pakistan, over her advocacy to ensure girls  access to education.

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COAS, Saudi FM discuss matters of mutual interest, regional security

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Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa says the 17th extraordinary session of OIC is extremely important to channelize international efforts and save Afghanistan from looming security and humanitarian crises.

He was talking to Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal Bin Farhan Al Saud, who called on him in Rawalpindi.

Matters of mutual interest, regional security, current situation in Afghanistan and bilateral defence relations were discussed during the meeting.

The Army Chief also emphasized that peaceful resolution of Kashmir dispute is essential for stability in South Asia.

He reiterated that Pakistan wants cordial ties with all its neighbors in pursuit of regional peace and prosperity.

The visiting dignitary appreciated Pakistan’s role in Afghan situation, specially its efforts for border management and its role in regional stability.

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NIH confirms first case of Omicron in Pakistan

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The National Institute of Health (NIH) Pakistan on Monday confirmed the first case of Omicron variant of coronavirus.

“The NIH has been able to confirm (via whole genome sequencing) that a recently suspected sample from Karachi is indeed the ‘Omicron variant’ of SARS-CoV2,” said NIH Pakistan in a tweet.

“This is the first confirmed case but continued surveillance of suspected samples is in place to identify the trends.”

According to the NIH, “The importance of getting vaccinated to protect from serious effects of existing and new variants is therefore highlighted. Please get yourself vaccinated according to guidelines issued by the NCOC.”

On December 9, Pakistan had reported its first “suspected” case of the new coronavirus variant Omicron in a woman, 57, in Karachi.

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PM Imran Khan to visit Lahore today

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Prime Minister Imran Khan will reach Lahore on a day-long visit today (Wednesday). He is scheduled to chair important meetings during his stay in the provincial capital.

According to sources, the Prime Minister is scheduled to hold separate meetings with Punjab Governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar and Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar.

Chief Minister Usman Buzdar will brief the Prime Minister on important issues of the province. The Prime Minister will also address a ceremony in connection with Health Cards.

The Prime Minister will also meet the Vice Chancellors (VCs) and Principals of medical universities and colleges in Lahore. Key senior ministers will also meet PM Imran.

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