Malala praises husband Asser as ‘best friend and companion’


The youngest Nobel Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai showered praises on her husband Asser Malik, calling him “a best friend and companion”.

He expressed it during an interview with a popular magazine, British Vogue, days after marrying the General Manager High Performance at the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).

The couple shared pictures from their simple nikkah ceremony while requesting prayers on November 9.

Several prominent public figures from Pakistan and around the world including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Chelsea Clinton, Priyanka Chopra, Katrina Kaif, Meesha Shafi, Mira Sethi, Zara Noor Abbas, Muneeba Mazari, Aima Baig, Shehzad Roy congratulated the duo on their marriage.

Amid congratulatory messages, Malala faced criticism for her choice of marrying early. Social media users also shared her previous views on the marriage.

During her previous interview with the same publication, he had said: “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?”

In her recent interview, she clarified on her previous view on marriage and revealed what had changed her mind.

“‘I do not want to get married… or at least not until I’m 35.’ I heard myself blurt out those words – reactionary, half-consciously – many times over the last few years when asked about the relationship.” Malala penned for the outlet. “I wasn’t against marriage, but I was cautious about its practice. I questioned the patriarchal roots of the institution, the compromises women are expected to make after the wedding, and how laws regarding relationships are influenced by cultural norms and misogyny in many corners of the world. I feared losing my humanity, my independence, my womanhood – my solution was to avoid getting married at all.”

She added, “I couldn’t call myself a feminist if I didn’t have reservations.” Malala then added some facts, backed by sources, where 12 million girls aged under 18 get married every year. “For most of these girls, marriage is not a fulfilling partnership – it is servitude. Growing up in the north of Pakistan, girls were taught that marriage was a substitute for an independent life. If you don’t study, get a job and build a place for yourself, you must get married soon. You fail your exams? You can’t find work? Get married!”

Recalling growing up with girls her age being married off before she had even given a chance to decide how she wants her life to be lived, Malala added, “Some girls dropped out of education because their families could not afford to send them to school; some started school but didn’t do well enough to meet their families’ expectations. Their parents decided their education was not worth the cost. For these girls, marriage means their lives are deemed a failure.”

Speaking about her partnership comment, the Nobel peace prize winner said, “When Sirin Kale asked me about relationships in my British Vogue cover story last July, I responded like I had so many times before. Knowing the dark reality many of my sisters face, I found it hard to think of the concept of marriage. I said what I had so often said before – that maybe it was possible that marriage was not for me.”

Malala also shared how she met Asser at Oxford. “In the summer of 2018, Asser was visiting friends at Oxford and we crossed paths. He worked in cricket, so I immediately had a lot to discuss with him. He liked my sense of humour. We became best friends,” she continued. “We found we had common values and enjoyed each other’s company. We stood by each other in moments of happiness and disappointment. Through our individual ups and downs, we talked and listened to each other. And when words failed, I sent him a link to our horoscope compatibility, hoping the stars could help reinforce our connection.”

Heaping praises on her husband, she said: “In Asser, I found a best friend and companion. I still don’t have all the answers to the challenges facing women – but I believe that I can enjoy friendship, love and equality in marriage. So, on Tuesday, 9 November, we celebrated our nikkah at home with our families and closest friends in Birmingham.”

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