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Pakistani schoolgirl and education activist Malala Yousafzai missed out on the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday with the award going to a little-known chemical weapons watchdog now overseeing the destruction of Syria’s arsenal.
The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, that shot Malala in the head on her school bus in October last year for speaking out against them, said they were “delighted” and repeated their threat to attack her. “The Taliban will not lose an opportunity to kill Malala Yousufzai and those found selling her book will be targeted,” its spokesman Shahidullah Shahid said by telephone from an undisclosed location.
Malala, 16, won the European parliament’s Sakharov rights prize on Thursday. Feted by world leaders and celebrities for her courage, she has addressed the UN, published an autobiography — I am Malala — this week, and would have been the youngest ever Nobel Peace Prize laureate if she had won.
Malala has dismissed the threats to her life and repeated her desire to return to Pakistan from the UK, where she was flown for treatment and now goes to school. On Friday, she said she hoped to be the prime minister of Pakistan some day.
But there is also a girlish side to this global youth icon, which her autobiography brings out — she is a fan of pop sensation Justin Bieber and the Twilight vampire romance novels.
Malala was the hot favourite to land the peace prize but the Nobel committee, in a surprise move, chose to honour the UN-backed Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. The OPCW began work in 1997 and has overseen the destruction of 57,000 metric tonnes of chemical weapons, mostly leftovers from the Cold War.