More than 87,000 people have signed a global petition calling for Pakistani schoolgirl activist Malala Yousafzai to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, campaigners said on Friday.
The 15-year-old is recovering in hospital in Britain after Taliban gunmen in her native northwest Pakistan shot her on her school bus last month for daring to campaign for the right of girls to go to school.
“A Nobel Peace Prize for Malala will send a clear message that the world is watching and will support those who stand up for the right of girls to get an education,” said Shahida Choudhary, a British campaigner involved in the petition.
Choudhary said she wanted British Prime Minister David Cameron and prominent politicians to write to the Nobel committee in Sweden to recommend Malala for the award.
“Malala doesn’t just represent one young woman, she speaks out for all those who are denied an education purely on the basis of their gender,” Choudhary added.
The petition at Change.org originally started by in Canada by Tarek Fatah, a writer and broadcaster.
In Islamabad on Friday, the UN’s special envoy for global education Gordon Brown presented the Pakistani government with a separate petition with more than one million signatures in support of Malala.
At a meeting attended by Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, former British premier Brown said the international community was ready to support Pakistan in its efforts to tackle poverty and ensure all children could go to school.
Malala on Friday thanked her global supporters, one month on from the brutal attack.
“She wants me to tell everyone how grateful she is and is amazed that men, women and children from across the world are interested in her well-being,” said her father Ziauddin Yousafzai.
“We deeply feel the heart-touching good wishes of the people across the world of all caste, colour and creed,” he said in a statement issued by the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, where Malala is being treated.
The hospital on Friday published photos of Malala sitting and reading a book, while others showed her poring over get-well cards.
Armed men in Mingora, the main town in the Swat valley in northwest Pakistan, shot Malala in the head and shoulder on October 9 after stopping the school bus on which she was travelling.
The Pakistani Taliban claimed to have targeted Malala because of her “pioneering role” in calling for girls’ education, and because of her general criticism of the Taliban.