United Nations: UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has expressed "outrage" at the life-threatening attack by the Taliban on a 14-year-old Pakistani rights activist and is writing to her family to offer his support.
    
Malala Yousufzai, who opposed Taliban restrictions on woman education, was in critical condition after gunmen shot her in the head and neck on Tuesday as she left school in Mingora, in the Swat area of Pakistan. Two other girls were also wounded in the attack.
    
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, saying the young girl was 'pro-West' and had been promoting Western culture and speaking out against them.
    
Ban called for the perpetrators of the "heinous and cowardly" attack on Yousufzai to be swiftly brought to justice.
    
The UN Chief's spokesperson Martin Nesirky told reporters here that like others around the world, Ban has been "deeply moved" by Yousufzai's "courageous efforts" to promote the fundamental right to education.
    
"Like so many other people in Pakistan and around the world, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is truly outraged by this attack. To show his support, he is writing to the family of Yousufzai," Nesirky said.
    
Ban "expresses his outrage and strongest condemnation" over the shooting of Yousufzai as well as two other girls who were injured in the attack.
    
Ban expressed his sympathies to the young girl's family at this "very difficult time" and hoped for Yousufzai's full and speedy recovery. He similarly expressed his sympathies to the families of the other two girls. He expressed solidarity with the government and people of Pakistan in their efforts to confront violent extremism, his spokesperson said.
    
Other UN agencies like UN Women, UNESCO and UNICEF joined Ban in condemning the attack on Yousufzai. UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova said guns cannot be allowed to wipe out the right to education or the right to freedom of expression.
    
"I am deeply shocked by the brutality of this attack aimed at killing a 14-year old girl simply because she defends girls’ right to education" Bokova said.
    
"Guns cannot be allowed to wipe out the right to education or the right to freedom of expression – this in attack against the right to dignity, against the right to learn, against the right to make the most of life, and it is unacceptable –it is the responsibility of each and every one of us to stand up against this," she added.

(Agencies)

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