I Am Malala

Ziauddin Yousafzai Character Analysis

Malala’s father and role model, Ziauddin is an educated, articulate, and charismatic man who passes on to his daughter a passion for freedom, education, and equality. As a child, Ziauddin is afflicted with a nervous stutter, and he also struggles to assert his own personality in the face of Rohul, his articulate, charismatic father. Ultimately, through hard work and perseverance Ziauddin becomes a talented public speaker. As an adult, he uses his rhetorical abilities to organize schools for young women—a measure that makes him a traitor to Islam in the eyes of the Taliban. Despite the Taliban’s threats, Ziauddin continues to run his school and encourages Malala to fight for education and women’s rights. Ziauddin is instrumental in connecting Malala with the journalists and broadcasters who first bring her to national prominence. While Ziauddin is intensely proud of his daughter’s eloquence and single-mindedness, his pride turns to guilt when Malala is attacked by a Taliban soldier. Ultimately, Ziauddin continues to use his talents to fight for equal rights and equal education, and encourages Malala to do exactly the same.

Ziauddin Yousafzai Quotes in I Am Malala

The I Am Malala quotes below are all either spoken by Ziauddin Yousafzai or refer to Ziauddin Yousafzai. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Women’s Rights Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Back Bay Books edition of I Am Malala published in 2015.
Chapter 2 Quotes

School wasn’t the only thing my aunts missed out on. In the morning when my father was given a bowl of cream with his tea, his sisters were given only tea. If there were eggs, they would only be for the boys. When a chicken was slaughtered for dinner, the girls would get the wings and the neck while the luscious breast meat was enjoyed by my father, his brother, and my grandfather. “From early on I could feel I was different from my sisters,” my father says.

Related Characters: Malala Yousafzai (speaker), Ziauddin Yousafzai (speaker), Rohul Amin
Page Number: 29
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 3 Quotes

[My father] believes strongly in freedom of speech. “First, let’s read the book and then why not respond with our own book,” he suggested. He ended by asking in a thundering voice my grandfather would have been proud of, “Is Islam such a weak religion that it cannot tolerate a book written against it? Not my Islam!”

Related Characters: Malala Yousafzai (speaker), Ziauddin Yousafzai (speaker), Rohul Amin
Page Number: 46
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 5 Quotes

Though I felt bad, I was also relieved it was over. Since that day I have never lied or stolen. Not a single lie nor a single penny, not even those coins my father leaves around the house, which we’re allowed to buy snacks with.

Related Characters: Malala Yousafzai (speaker), Ziauddin Yousafzai
Page Number: 71-72
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 6 Quotes

Some of our religious people saw Osama bin Laden as a hero. In the bazaar you could buy posters of him on a white horse and boxes of sweets with his picture on them. These clerics said 9/11 was revenge on the Americans for what they had been doing to other people round the world, but they ignored the fact that the people in the World Trade Center were innocent and had nothing to do with American policy and that the Holy Quran clearly says it is wrong to kill. Our people see conspiracies behind everything, and many argued that the attack was actually carried out by Jews as an excuse for America to launch a war on the Muslim world. Some of our newspapers printed stories that no Jews went to work at the World Trade Center that day. My father said this was rubbish.

Related Characters: Malala Yousafzai (speaker), Ziauddin Yousafzai
Page Number: 86
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 10 Quotes

We don’t have any option. We are dependent on these mullahs to learn the Quran,” he said. “But you just use him to learn the literal meanings of the words; don’t follow his explanations and interpretations. Only learn what God says. His words are divine messages, which you are free to interpret.”

Related Characters: Ziauddin Yousafzai (speaker), Malala Yousafzai
Page Number: 134
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 16 Quotes

It seemed like everyone knew I had written the BBC diary. Some thought my father had done it for me but Madam Maryam, our principal, told them, “No. Malala is not just a good speaker but also a good writer.”

Related Characters: Malala Yousafzai (speaker), Madam Maryam (speaker), Ziauddin Yousafzai
Page Number: 193
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 19 Quotes

“Go and ask the manager of the White Palace Hotel and he will tell you what these girls did…”
He put down the paper. “It has no signature. Anonymous.”

Related Characters: Ziauddin Yousafzai (speaker)
Page Number: 229
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 23 Quotes

The first two questions my pen wrote were, “Why have I no father?” and “My father has no money. Who will pay for all this?”

Related Characters: Malala Yousafzai (speaker), Ziauddin Yousafzai
Page Number: 277
Explanation and Analysis:

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Ziauddin Yousafzai Character Timeline in I Am Malala

The timeline below shows where the character Ziauddin Yousafzai appears in I Am Malala. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1: A Daughter Is Born
Women’s Rights Theme Icon
...him a large family tree, showing the sons and fathers of Malala’s family. Malala’s father, Ziauddin, had an unusual reaction when his cousin brought the family free. Instead of accepting it... (full context)
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...child. Only after he married Tor Pekai did he overcome his shame. Tor Pekai and Ziauddin had an unusual marriage, since they married out of love, not social obligation. This is... (full context)
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...as is the Muslim custom. Malala’s father was rarely around when Malala was growing up: Ziauddin was busy writing poetry, organizing literary societies, and taking measures to preserve the environment in... (full context)
Chapter 2: My Father the Falcon
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...get various treatments for his stutter, but none of them worked. Despite his speech impediment, Ziauddin attended the best schools in the valley, a luxury that didn’t extend to his sisters... (full context)
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As a young man, Ziauddin gravitated towards the principle of jihad. He prayed for war between the Soviets and the... (full context)
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As Ziauddin grew older, he learned to be calm, generous, and selfless, thanks largely to his friendship... (full context)
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When Ziauddin was in his early twenties, he stunned his father by signing up for a public... (full context)
Chapter 3: Growing up in a School
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...and couldn’t convince herself that there was any point to learning. After Tor Pekai married Ziauddin, however, she began to regret her decision. Her husband was extremely knowledgeable, and she couldn’t... (full context)
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Malala explains that Ziauddin’s decision to pursue education and poetry as a career disappointed Rohul. Rohul had wanted his... (full context)
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Malala explains that Ziauddin found a way to be happy, despite Rohul’s refusal to pay for his further education.... (full context)
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While Ziauddin attended Jehanzeb College, many important historical events happened. General Zia died in a plane crash... (full context)
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Another important event that occurred while Ziauddin was in college was the publishing of Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses. In Rushdie’s novel, he... (full context)
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Following his years at Jehanzeb, Ziauddin worked as an English teacher at a private college. He was a good teacher, but... (full context)
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As time went on, Ziauddin and Mohammed began to argue. Eventually, Mohammed demanded that Ziauddin give him his share of... (full context)
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Frustrated with the slow pace and tiny size of his school, Ziauddin turned to politics to strengthen education in his community. Using his skills as a speaker... (full context)
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In the midst of his financial difficulties, Ziauddin married Tor Pekai. He kept this information fairly private—in Pakistan, weddings are huge, expensive affairs,... (full context)
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Malala continues describing her parents’ history. Ziauddin, now married to Tor Pekai, set to work improving his new school. Tor Pekai helped... (full context)
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Throughout the difficult early period in his school’s history, Ziauddin remained optimistic. He advertised for his school across the valley. It was during this period... (full context)
Chapter 6: Children of the Rubbish Mountain
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...and she begged her father to offer the girl a free place at his school. Ziauddin agreed—over the years, he’d given away many free places because Malala and Tor Pekai asked... (full context)
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Ziauddin then turned from running his school to preserving the environment in Swat. Because Mingora was... (full context)
Chapter 7: The Mufti Who Tried to Close Our School
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...the notion of a school for women. “He was right,” Malala notes. Ghulamullah eventually accused Ziauddin of running a haram (blasphemous) school, and of corrupting women against Allah. (full context)
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Ghulamullah held a public meeting to discuss the virtues of Ziauddin’s school. He invited Ziauddin to this meeting, where he accused Ziauddin of perverting the Quran.... (full context)
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...was terrified of these people, because they despised the notion of women’s rights. In 2003, Ziauddin opened a high school in Swat. At first the school was coed, but this quickly... (full context)
Chapter 9: Radio Mullah
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...as a “Robin Hood” figure, restoring power and dignity to good, common Muslims. Malala and Ziauddin were disturbed by Fazlullah’s popularity. (full context)
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...called for all women to wear their headscarves (burqas) at all times. At his schools, Ziauddin didn’t enforce this rule. His friends encouraged him to speak out against Taliban laws. Ziauddin... (full context)
Chapter 10: Toffees, Tennis Balls, and the Buddhas of Swat
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...Taliban also banned various childish games that it considered to be against the Quran. To Ziauddin’s amazement, almost no one spoke out against these injustices, and people were willing to submit... (full context)
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...plan was for Bhutto and Musharraf to cooperate with one another and help the US. Ziauddin was certain that this deal would fail, since Musharraf and Bhutto despised one another. (full context)
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...Taliban’s side. Musharraf responded by sending more soldiers to the area—this was somewhat successful, though Ziauddin warned that the Taliban would “return with a vengeance.” (full context)
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...took the position that Bhutto’s death was a good thing: she’d been profaning the Quran. Ziauddin told Malala that she would have to learn to interpret the Quran herself. (full context)
Chapter 11: The Clever Class
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...a chunk of the Haji Baba High School, not far from Malala’s school. Malala asked Ziauddin if he was frightened, now that the Taliban violence had reached his home. Ziauddin replied... (full context)
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In response to the escalating violence in Swat, Ziauddin joined with a group of elders who wanted to challenge Fazlullah’s interpretations of the Quran.... (full context)
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At school, Ziauddin organized a peace march, in which most of the girls agreed to participate. A local... (full context)
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...girls, a famous institution that had educated women for nearly a century. Following the bombing, Ziauddin gave interviews in which he denounced militant extremists with particular furor. By the end of... (full context)
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Ziauddin allowed his relatives from other parts of Pakistan to stay with him in his house.... (full context)
Chapter 12: The Bloody Square
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...atrocity in Pakistan, because people are afraid that they themselves will be killed. Some of Ziauddin’s friends in Islamabad organize a conference about religious freedom, but almost no one turns up,... (full context)
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...many conspiracy theories. Some believe that the government of Pakistan is secretly encouraging the Taliban. Ziauddin believes that the Taliban have “unseen support,” but he dismisses the idea that the government... (full context)
Chapter 13: The Diary of Gul Makai
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In early 2009, Ziauddin receives a call from his old friend, Abdul Hai Kakar, a BBC reporter. Abdul wants... (full context)
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On January 14—according to the Taliban, the last day Ziauddin’s school will be allowed to run in peace—Ziauddin is in a bad mood. He knows... (full context)
Chapter 14: A Funny Kind of Peace
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Malala’s spirits lift when Fazlullah rethinks his policy on women’s education. Ziauddin’s protests have been more effective than Malala imagined: across Pakistan, people are criticizing Fazlullah for... (full context)
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...the ten-day truce, Malala gives an interview to a famous Pakistani reporter, Musa Khan Khel. Ziauddin has arranged for the interview using the connections he made through Adam Ellick. In the... (full context)
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...her burqa. Malala’s mother reluctantly agrees to wear the burqa in the future. One of Ziauddin’s friends summarizes the problem with Pakistan: “there cannot be two swords in one sheath.” Both... (full context)
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...drive the Taliban away. There is constant gunfire near Malala’s home. Malala is terrified, but Ziauddin insists that the safest thing to do is to remain in the village. Nevertheless, a... (full context)
Chapter 15: Leaving the Valley
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In May 2009, Ziauddin makes the difficult decision to take his family out of Mingora. The area has become... (full context)
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...75 percent of the people who came from Swat were sheltered by families in Mardan. Ziauddin plans to take his family to Shangla, the village where he grew up. This requires... (full context)
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...where they reunite with cousins, grandparents, and friends. The family in Shangla is surprised that Ziauddin has brought his family there, since it’s likely that the Taliban will invade Shangla next,... (full context)
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On Malala’s 12th birthday, nobody—not even Ziauddin—remembers the occasion. Malala is hurt, but she understands why: everyone is extremely busy, trying to... (full context)
Chapter 16: The Valley of Sorrows
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...the Taliban have been cleared out of Swat, making the area safe once again. As Ziauddin drives, Malala sees the ruins of her home: houses she used to visit have been... (full context)
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...and the corpses of goats. Clearly, the Taliban has treated the school as a target. Ziauddin is surprised to find a letter inside the school, sent by a Pakistani soldier. In... (full context)
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Shiza Shahid, Ziauddin’s friend from Stanford, returns from Stanford to live in Islamabad. She invites girls from the... (full context)
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When Malala returns to Mingora, she finds that Ziauddin has a major problem: he has no income to pay the teachers at the Khushal... (full context)
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...past, the trees in the valley formed a natural barrier against the floods—now, just as Ziauddin had warned years ago, the trees have been chopped down, and floods are a serious... (full context)
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...up more schools and kidnap people they judge to be dangerous to Islam. Several of Ziauddin’s friends are murdered for protesting the Taliban in print. Malala is frustrated and frightened by... (full context)
Chapter 17: Praying to Be Tall
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...in the Pakistani army, most of whom are stationed in Swat. Many people come to Ziauddin’s house to watch the program in the hopes of gaining information about their missing loved... (full context)
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...others praise the Blasphemy Law, however, and argue that Bibi should be sentenced to death. Ziauddin receives death threats in the mail. Malala is horrified—Pakistan is “going crazy,” she thinks. (full context)
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...was passed on to KidsRights by the great South African leader Desmond Tutu, one of Ziauddin’s heroes. In the end, Malala doesn’t win the award—unlike most of the other nominees, she... (full context)
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...cure it overnight. In the end, the doctor injected Babo with lethal chemicals, killing her. Ziauddin insists that Babo’s story proves that women need to learn to educate themselves and take... (full context)
Chapter 18: The Woman and the Sea
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...named Shehla Anjum, who tearfully warns Malala that the Taliban have threatened to kill her. Ziauddin is shocked by this news, as he didn’t think the Taliban would stoop so low... (full context)
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...family return to Swat, still shaken by the news that the Taliban wants Malala dead. Ziauddin speaks to the police in Mingora, who suggest placing Malala under surveillance to protect her... (full context)
Chapter 19: A Private Talibanisation
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The day after her field trip, Malala has a disturbing talk with her father. Ziauddin has found an anonymous note, addressed to “Muslim brothers.” The note—one of many that have... (full context)
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...days following the circulation of the anonymous notes, Malala’s classmates are terrified to attend school. Ziauddin makes a brave speech in which he encourages them to continue with their studies—nevertheless, Malala... (full context)
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As the year goes on, the school’s attendance shrinks. Ziauddin continues to organize activities for his remaining students: debating competitions, painting projects, etc. Malala turns... (full context)
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...older than Malala—greets Malala one day and tells her that he loves her. Malala tells Ziauddin about Haroon, and Ziauddin becomes very angry. He calls Haroon’s father, and warns Haroon to... (full context)
Chapter 20: Who is Malala?
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In the late summer of 2010, a math teacher at Malala’s school, Miss Shazia, tells Ziauddin that she’s had a nightmare. In the nightmare, she saw Malala walking around with one... (full context)
Chapter 21: ‘God, I entrust her to you’
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...Malala’s shooting spreads very quickly, and within only a few minutes, a local has called Ziauddin with the news that his daughter’s school bus has just been attacked. Ziauddin—not yet aware... (full context)
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...a large bandage over her head—she’s unconscious. Nevertheless, she has survived the Taliban soldier’s attack. Ziauddin tearfully embraces her, and calls her a brave and beautiful daughter. Seeing Malala in the... (full context)
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While Malala lies in her bed, still unconscious, the doctors tell Ziauddin about Malala’s injuries. Miraculously, the soldier’s bullet didn’t damage Malala’s brain at all. Two other... (full context)
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...Junaid, who introduces himself as a neurosurgeon, tries to find the bullet in Malala’s body. Ziauddin is initially reluctant to entrust Malala to Junaid, because he seems young and inexperienced. Later,... (full context)
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...brain to swell in response to the shards of bone. For the next several hours, Ziauddin and Tor Pekai wait for news. Eventually, Colonel Junaid emerges from the operating room, saying... (full context)
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As Malala slowly recovers, Ziauddin refuses to leave the hospital. Nevertheless, he also continues to communicate with journalists and politicians... (full context)
Chapter 22: Journey into the Unknown
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...treatment. Reynolds strongly urges that Malala be moved to a superior army hospital in Rawalpindi. Ziauddin agrees to allow Malala to be moved, though he’s worried that she won’t be able... (full context)
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Malala is taken to Rawalpindi by helicopter. She’s barely conscious. Ziauddin notes that the Taliban could be planning another attack on his daughter’s life—nevertheless, Malala is... (full context)
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While Malala is placed in intensive care, Ziauddin worries about the danger to his sons, Khushal and Atal. Ziauddin has received threats to... (full context)
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...America and the UK, since they want to “save face.” As the days drag on, Ziauddin and Tor Pekai have no idea that these arguments are occurring. (full context)
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...reliant on the Western world. Unfortunately, the U.A.E’s offer doesn’t extend to Malala’s family. Only Ziauddin is allowed to accompany Malala to England. Ziauddin refuses to abandon his wife and sons,... (full context)
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Furious and greatly saddened that he’s not accompanying Malala to England, Ziauddin remains behind with his family. He approaches General Kayani about traveling to England to visit... (full context)
Chapter 23: A Girl Shot in the Head, Birmingham
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...that the government of Pakistan will pay for Malala’s treatment. Malala is nonetheless terrified that Ziauddin could be dead. She continues to believe that he’s trying to find a way to... (full context)
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Back in Pakistan, Ziauddin continues to worry about his daughter’s well being. Pakistani government authorities inform him that Malala's... (full context)
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...now in control of her own voice, talks to her parents over Dr. Kayani’s phone. Ziauddin is greatly concerned about her health, but Malala tells him that she’s recovering. (full context)
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...transportation to England soon. Tor Pekai’s threat is surprisingly effective, and officials have her and Ziauddin moved to Islamabad overnight. In Islamabad, however, Tor Pekai is disappointed to learn that she’s... (full context)
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In all, it takes ten days for Ziauddin and Tor Pekai to fly to England. In the meantime, Malala enjoys talking with Dr.... (full context)
Chapter 24: They Have Snatched Her Smile
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...she last spoke to her parents, she’s traveled to four hospitals across thousands of miles. Ziauddin and Tor Pekai are equally emotional. Malala is also glad to see her brothers, who’ve... (full context)
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...the United Arab Emirates). The politicians aren’t allowed to visit Malala, but they meet with Ziauddin. They tell him that the Taliban soldier who shot Malala is Ataullah Khan. The plan... (full context)
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...also arrange for an apartment for Malala’s parents in the center of Birmingham. Zardari offers Ziauddin a position as an education attaché for the nation of Pakistan. Ziauddin eagerly accepts this... (full context)
Epilogue: One Child, One Teacher, One Book, One Pen
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...encourages her to stay, recover, and educate herself at English schools. Malala grudgingly admits that Ziauddin is right—she should be taking full advantage of her time in England, reaping the benefits... (full context)