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Letter to His Excellency Raja Pervez Ashraf, Prime Minister, Islamic Republic of Pakistan

U.S. Senators Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) along with thirteen other Senate women today expressed their outrage to Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf over the recent Taliban attack of fourteen-year old Malala Yousafzai and two other girls after she advocated for and pursued an education for herself and other girls. The Senate women called upon the government of Pakistan to ensure that those who carried out this attack are brought to justice and continue to work to confront extremism and heinous violence against its own children.

"We believe an attack against Malala represents an attack against all women across the world and must not be tolerated," the Senators wrote. "We hope that the Government of Pakistan will continue to work to confront extremism and heinous violence against its own children. We urge you to ensure that the perpetrators of this violence are brought to justice quickly, and that you might also redouble your own efforts to safeguard and advance girls' access to education and opportunities for them to reach their full potential as contributing and productive citizens. Countries that promote education for all their children have higher living standards and economic success for all their citizens."

Senators Mikulski and Hutchison were joined in the effort by Senators Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.).

The full text of the letter follows:

October 18, 2012

His Excellency Raja Pervez Ashraf
Prime Minister
Islamic Republic of Pakistan

Dear Prime Minister Pervez Ashraf:

As the women of the United States Senate, we are writing to express our outrage over the barbaric attack on fourteen-year old Malala Yousafzai and two other girls in a senseless act of violence.

All of us--and indeed the world--are horrified at the brazen nature of this attack, which was carried out by Taliban militants who targeted Malala simply because she advocated for and pursued an education for herself and other girls. Even more reprehensible is the Taliban's promise to try to kill her again should she recover from her critical injuries. We applaud the fact that you and many Pakistani citizens have come out forcefully against these despicable extremists, whose cowardice is matched only by Malala's unflinching bravery, and we hope that the Government of Pakistan can pursue and prosecute those responsible to the fullest letter of the law. We also honor the many activists in Pakistan and around the world who, like Malala, work day in and day out to promote open education for both girls and boys.

As beneficiaries of an open education ourselves, we believe strongly that women and girls shouldn't have to risk their lives to go to school. The attack on Malala is a stark reminder that every day, women of all ages face great obstacles in their pursuit of basic human rights, including the pursuit of an education. Malala's courage and determination to go to school in the face of grave danger to herself and her family make her an inspiring symbol for the millions of girls across the globe who are also desperate to get an education.

We believe an attack against Malala represents an attack against all women across the world and must not be tolerated. We hope that the Government of Pakistan will continue to work to confront extremism and heinous violence against its own children. We urge you to ensure that the perpetrators of this violence are brought to justice quickly, and that you might also redouble your own efforts to safeguard and advance girls' access to education and opportunities for them to reach their full potential as contributing and productive citizens. Countries that promote education for all their children have higher living standards and economic success for all their citizens.

Thank you for your immediate attention to this matter, and we join you in praying for Malala's swift and full recovery from her injuries. As the women of the Senate, we also reiterate our commitment to work with you in continuing the broader fight for girls and women -- in Pakistan and around the world -- to pursue an education without fear of violence, intimidation or indignity.

Sincerely,

Barbara A. Mikulski
United States Senator

Kay Bailey Hutchison
United States Senator

Barbara Boxer
United States Senator

Maria Cantwell
United States Senator

Susan Collins
United States Senator

Dianne Feinstein
United States Senator

Kirsten Gillibrand
United States Senator

Kay Hagan
United States Senator

Amy Klobuchar
United States Senator

Mary Landrieu
United States Senator

Claire McCaskill
United States Senator

Patty Murray
United States Senator

Jeanne Shaheen
United States Senator

Olympia Snowe
United States Senator

Debbie Stabenow
United States Senator

CC: Her Excellency Hina Rabbani Khar, Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs

Her Excellency Sherry Rehman, Ambassador to the United States for the Islamic Republic of Pakistan


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