Malala Yousafzai has tied the knot almost a decade after she was shot in the head by the Taliban for campaigning for girls’ rights to an education.
The Nobel Peace Prize winner, 24, has married her partner Asser Malik at a ceremony in her Birmingham home.
Malala shared sweet photographs from the wedding day, where she wore a beautiful pink bridal Nikah, to Twitter.
She smiled next to her new husband, who wore a matching pink tie, in adorable outdoor snaps. Another image showed Malala touching her hair as Asser signed the marriage contract.
Malala has previously been ambivalent around marriage, telling a Vogue interviewer in July: ‘I still don’t understand why people have to get married.’
News of her wedding took social media by surprise, but tens of thousands of well-wishers including Jemima Khan, Greta Thunberg and Canadian PM Justin Trudeau sent messages of congratulations to the happy couple.
Malala wrote: ‘Today marks a precious day in my life. Asser and I tied the knot to be partners for life’
Malala shared sweet photographs from the wedding day, where she wore a beautiful pink bridal Nikah, to Twitter
It is not known when Malala and Asser began their relationship, but her husband posted a birthday message from her birthday in July
Malala captioned the photographs: ‘Today marks a precious day in my life. Asser and I tied the knot to be partners for life.
‘We celebrated a small nikkah ceremony at home in Birmingham with our families. Please send us your prayers. We are excited to walk together for the journey ahead.’
Mr Malik is understood to be in his early thirties and was last year appointed high performance manager of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).
He had previously worked as an operations manager for Pakistan Super League (PSL) franchise Multan Sultans.
Mr Malik also runs an amateur league franchise called Last Man Stands in Pakistan, which he has described as an attempt to ‘revive grassroots cricket in Pakistan in an organised and structured way’.
He graduated from the Lahore University of Management Sciences in 2012 with a degree in economics and political science.
It is unknown how long Malala and Mr Malik have been dating but he posted a picture of them together with friends in June 2019, watching England play Pakistan at Edgbaston in Birmingham.
Malala and her new husband Asser Malik pose for a picture on their wedding day with her parents
It is unclear where the couple will make their home. Malala has lived in Birmingham since 2014 while her husband’s job is based in Lahore, Pakistan.
Mr Malik posted a birthday message to his bride in July. He wrote: ‘Happy Birthday to the most amazing @Malala.’
Earlier this year, Malala’s father Ziauddin Yousafzai said he would allow her to choose her own partner.
Her parents had what has been described as an ‘an arranged love marriage’.
Malala has previously expressed doubts about whether she would ever marry. In June she told Vogue: ‘I still don’t understand why people have to get married. If you want to have a person in your life, why do you have to sign marriage papers, why can’t it just be a partnership?’
At the age of 15 Malala survived being shot in the head by a Taliban gunman after campaigning for girls to be educated. She has since become a global icon for women’s rights.
In an exclusive interview with MailOnline nine months ago, Mr Yousafzai, 51, said his daughter was fully independent and should create the life she wants.
Malala and Asser Malik signing the register at their wedding in Birmingham yesterday
Malala and Asser Malik pictured together with friends in June 2019, watching the England versus Pakistan cricket game at Edgbaston.
Asser Malik: The sports manager who married a Nobel Prize winner
Asser Malik is a rising talent in Pakistan’s cricket world and works as a high performance manager of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).
He is a passionate advocate for the sport and has worked to break down barriers for more youngsters to participate in it.
Mr Malik frequently tweets about the progress of Pakistan’s under 18s cricket teams and his belief that ‘sports are more than just competition’.
‘I’m looking forward to the day again where Pakistan ranks with the best at the Olympic Games,’ he tweeted.
He said: ‘In our community, when a girl reaches 23, she is usually married by now and has little say in the matter.
‘To me, tribe or caste does not matter at all. I think the most important thing is that this is her (Malala’s) life. I’m the kind of father who believes in their children’s education and freedom.
‘She has the right to choose her own partner or nobody at all, it’s up to her.’
Having lived in the UK since she was shot in 2012, she has graduated from Oxford, rubbed shoulders with the world’s leading politicians and celebrities and set up a foundation focused on girls’ education.
Her family are Pashtuns, a fiercely traditional and patriarchal community from the mountainous region of Pakistan who are known for arranging marriages for girls at a young age and are reluctant to educate them.
Mr Yousafazi said: ‘I have left these issues up to Malala. She’s very independent. I will be comfortable with anyone that she is happy with.
‘The only thing I would say is that she should go for someone who respects her values, her freedom and her independence. She would be a better judge of that than me, I believe in her wisdom.’
Malala was shot at point blank range in the side of the head as she sat on school bus after defying the Taliban by continuing to go to school.
Miraculously, she survived and was rushed to Britain for medical treatment, and continued with her extraordinary work. It culminated with Malala becoming the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner in 2014, at just 17.
Her passionate beliefs on female equality were shaped by Mr Yousafazi, a former teacher who publicly spoke out against the Taliban and their attempts to close girls’ schools, even before she was shot by them.
Mr Yousafazi admitted his beliefs are ‘extremely rare’ in the Pashtun community and that even when he was in Pakistan, he would rail against forced marriages and stress the importance of girls’ education.
As Malala herself has previously noted on her birth: ‘Welcoming a baby girl is not always cause for celebration in Pakistan – but my father Ziauddin Yousafzai, was determined to give me every opportunity a boy would have.’
Having lived in the UK since she was shot in 2012, she has graduated from Oxford, rubbed shoulders with the world’s leading politicians and celebrities and set up a foundation focused on girls’ education
The family lived in the mountainous Swat district, which at the time of Malala’s shooting, had been infiltrated by the Taliban.
Mr Yousfaafazi, who often had to go into hiding because of death threats from the extremists, added: ‘I would tell parents that the best thing they could do for their daughters is to put a pen in their hands and get them to study and that what the Taliban were doing was not true Islam.’
Malala graduated from Oxford University but then deferred her place at Harvard to focus on running the Malala Fund with her father, an organisation she established that works across the world to implement girls’ education programmes.
But Mr Yousafazi revealed that in between overseeing the work of the Malala fund, she has spent lockdown home schooling her mother, Toor Pekai, 49, who is attending online English classes.
Mr Yousafazi (with his wife and three children), who often had to go into hiding because of death threats from the Taliban
She has also been helping her youngest brother Atal, 17 with his homework. Malala also has another brother, Kushal, 21, who is studying at a university in London.
Mr Yousafazi added: ‘Like so many other British people, Malala has been doing a lot of home schooling and has been helping her mother every day with her English course and Atal with his studies, when he asks her.
‘But unlike many people, she has really enjoyed home schooling. Malala loves education and is one of the most committed and dedicated students I have ever met and that’s what also make her such an excellent teacher.’
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