Pakistan: A survivor of a major terrorist attack in Pakistan, Ahmed Nawaz, who is just 17 years old and lost his younger brother Harris Nawaz in the deadly APS Peshawar attack in December 2014, has been hailed as a symbol of counter-extremism in the United Kingdom.
Ahmed Nawaz, who never spoke on stage prior to the attack on his school, has now delivered speeches at a range of venues across the globe, including at the UK House of Lords, Oxford University, and above 200 educational institutions in the United Kingdom.
Ahmed Nawaz has been hailed by the current British PM Theresa May in these words: “Ahmed Nawaz has achieved what Britain couldn’t do after spending billions of pounds.”
Ahmed Nawaz closely works with UK’s national counter-terrorism unit on its “Action Counter-terrorism” program to focus de-radicalisation efforts on children aged 11 to 16 to keep them away from extremism. He has also been appointed as the member of the Advisory Board of UK’s National Counter-terrorism Council.
Ahmed Nawaz has received several awards around the world for his hard work, including UK’s and Europe’s Young Person of the Year award and Asia Inspiration Award.
In the coming days, Ahmed Nawaz is scheduled to attend several security conferences around the glove, including a counter-terrorism conference in Portugal, which will include heads and former heads of states as well as Noble Prize winners in the attendance.
Ahmed Nawaz has also proved to be a brilliant student, and has been recently given scholarship in the King’s College, London based on his excellent grades.
Ahmed Nawaz says on the day of the terrorist attack on his school in Peshawar, his younger brother didn’t want to go to school. But he forced his brother to go, telling him that their parents would be very angry if he didn’t go. He says he blames himself for his brother’s death and wishes that he shouldn’t have let his younger brother go to school on that fateful day.
He praises Pakistani doctors and medical staff who treated him after he was severely injured in the attack. He says he remembers hearing the medical staff saying that they would need to severe one of his arms, which depressed him a lot. After some time he found out that he was being shifted to United Kingdom for advanced medical treatment which wasn’t possible in Pakistan. After six operations in Pakistan and five operations in Birmingham, his arm was functioning again.
He says during his time in the United Kingdom, he saw that British society is suffering from a major extremism problem, and many British Muslim parents are very worried about their children adopting extremism. After his speech in the UK House of Lords in 2015, he decided that the best way to thank the British society for getting him back to his feat was to help this country fight extremism by de-radicalising the British youth.
When he met British PM Theresa May in 2016, she said to him: “We want you to continue this campaign. Orders are being sent from Prime Minister House to Home Office to fully cooperate with you. The work you have done so far is very valuable. You have done what we couldn’t do after spending billions of pounds.”
He tells the students he meets that terrorism has taken away his younger brother from him, and many children from their parents. He says many students, after hearing his lectures, approach him and tell him that he has changed their way of thinking.
He says that is his biggest success.
Source: BBC Urdu