World, Asia - Pacific

Pakistan school massacre survivor rises to lead Oxford debate society

Nawaz, who was shot at by terrorists in 2014 attack on Army Public School, says his term will focus on youth empowerment

Riyaz ul Khaliq   | 28.06.2022
Pakistan school massacre survivor rises to lead Oxford debate society @Ahmadnawazaps


Ahmad Nawaz, who survived a school massacre in Pakistan, has assumed the role of president of the prestigious Oxford Union.

“In my time as president, I look forward to having world leaders debate the most pressing issues, empowering young people through this platform and upholding freedom of speech!” Nawaz said on Twitter about his new role at the Oxford for which he is “immensely proud.”

Nawaz, 21, was shot at point-blank range by terrorists in December 2014 during an attack on Army Public School, a Pakistani military-run institution in Peshawar, the capital of northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

At least 141 students and staff members were killed and dozens of others were injured. Nawaz was flown to the UK after being initially treated in a Peshawar hospital.

Nawaz’s brother Harris was one of the victims of the brutal incident in Pakistan’s tumultuous history.

He won the elections last year to lead the renowned debating society and assumed the role last week.

Founded in 1823, the Oxford Union Society, or the Oxford Union, is a private debating society in Oxford, England.

Its members are primarily drawn from the University of Oxford, but it operates independently of the university.

“A long way to go…,” Nawaz said of his new journey.

Pakistan’s top leadership showered praise on Nawaz for “reflecting determination.”

“Our biggest hope are youth of Pakistan,” said the country’s President Arif Alvi, greeting Nawaz.

“We must register that despite all setbacks Pakistan will keep on shining and rising,” he said on Twitter.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said Nawaz has an “inspiring journey fueled by determination and sheer willpower.”

Nawaz has “set an example worthy of emulation by our youth,” said Sharif, adding: “Pakistan is proud” of him.

Pakistan's popular cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan said Nawaz has made all Pakistanis proud with his “spirit and determination” reflected in his “continuing achievements.”

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