Indian Nobel Peace Prize winner Kailash Satyarthi and Pakistan’s Malala Yousafzai on Tuesday said trust and friendship is key to sustainable peace in South Asia, as they asked the leaders of the two countries to embrace peace.
“Trust and friendship is important for sustainable peace between India and Pakistan,” 60-year-old Satyarthi told reporters here on the eve of annual award ceremony.
“For me, relationship between people of India and Pakistan is more important than the talks between the two Prime Ministers,” said Satyarthi, who shares this year’s Nobel Peace Prize with 17-year-old Malala.
He said he will try in India and Pakistan and even in other countries how the youth and children can together walk on the path of peace.
“Because, peace is not something which can be negotiated on the tables and made sustainable, neither it is something which can be taught in temples and mosques. Peace is every child’s human and fundamental right,” he said.
“Our youth should also realise that with respect, with freedom, with good education and with peace we want to live our lives. And if there comes any obstacle in this path, the youth from India and Pakistan will strengthen the fight for peace under the leadership of our daughters like Malala.”
Echoing Satyarthi’s view, Malala said, “India and Pakistan need to embrace peace.”
“If we teach the children about tolerance, patience and peace, then by God’s grace there will be good relations between India and Pakistan and we will be like brothers once again,” she said.
The teenage child rights activist said that when children of India and Pakistan will get education only then the relations between both the countries will improve.
Malala, the youngest recipient of a Nobel Prize, said it was her wish that Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi attend the award ceremony.
“It is my wish they stand together (here) and talk about peace. It would have been a great thing,” she said.
Satyarthi said that religious leaders can play important role in spreading tolerance in the world.
India and Pakistan have been involved in a war of words after New Delhi cancelled the Foreign Secretary-level meeting in August after Pakistan’s envoy in India met Kashmiri separatists ahead of the talks.
“This prize is very important for millions and millions of children who have been denied their childhood…As I am talking to you there are millions of children who are denied this freedom, we need to work for them,” Satyarthi said.
“There are children who are sold like animals…children who are forced into prostitution.. The children who are made hostages. The children who are made child soldiers,” he said, adding that this Nobel peace prize gives tremendous opportunity in the fight and struggle for children’s rights.
Satyarthi gave up his job as an electrical engineer to run NGO Bachpan Bachao Aandolan (Save Childhood Movement) in India for rescuing children from forced labour and trafficking.
“We have to work towards peace for children and children for peace… We have to create such a world,” he said.
Describing Malala as his daughter, he said she is the bravest child one can think of.
Malala, who survived a near-fatal Taliban attack two years ago with determination advocating education for girls, said she is proud to be a Muslim.
“We strongly believe in Islam. Islam is a religion of peace, but unfortunately there are people who don’t know about this religion,” she said, referring to Taliban militants. Malala said that education is not restricted to a group, it’s essential for everyone. “It is a necessity of life.”
“Why are we fighting for something which we deserve? It is our right to go to school. Why should we fight for something we deserve?” she asked.
“Children don’t ask for iPads, they just want a book and a pen,” the Pakistani child rights activist said. “You have to speak for yourself, learn to fight for yourself,” she said, adding that “when you take a step, raise your voice, then things changes.”
Since 1901, the Nobel Prizes have been presented to the Laureates at ceremonies on December 10, the anniversary of Alfred Nobel’s death.
The Nobel Peace Prize will be presented by the Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee in the presence of King Harald V and Queen Sonja, the government, representatives of Storting — the supreme legislature of Norway — and an invited audience.