It's great that the whole world stands united with a courageous Pakistani teenage girl who not only challenged the evil forces of Taliban under a volley of bullets but continued to defy their nefarious philosophy to confine the women to their homes. UN held a special Youth Assembly on July 12 to celebrate Malala Yousifzai' 16th birthday. She was the keynote speaker at the assembly to talk about millions of children, especially girls, who face denial of their rights to education. Powerful evil minds find all sorts of excuses in religious and tribal traditions to justify their hateful acts.

Her petition to the UN, already signed by hundreds of thousands across the globe, asks the world body' help to get all the children to schools by 2015. It's a wishful target, as we all know that millions of children are suffering especially in the conflict zones. In Pakistan alone, 995 schools and 35 colleges were bombed by Taliban in last few years. They have resorted to throwing acid and poisoning the water supply to keep the girls from going to school in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

As we congratulate Malala on her birthday, we assure her she is not alone, we all stand united with her --- in her ambitious programs to promote girls education in Pakistan and elsewhere. She is an icon of girls education,  determination and dedication; a pride for Pakistan.

MASOOD KHAN,

Saudi Arab, July 12.