Washington: A Pakistani teenager shot by the Taliban called on Barack Obama to invest in education rather than drones when she met the President on Friday.
Malala Yousafzai, 16, an advocate for girls' education, was a front-runner to win the Nobel peace prize on Friday and was in Washington to speak at two events. She missed out on winning the award, which instead went to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
Malala reveals political aspirations
The Pakistani teenager shot by the Taliban, Malala Yousafzai, tells the BBC "I want to be a politician in Pakistan".
''I thanked President Obama for the United States' work in supporting education in Pakistan and Afghanistan and for Syrian refugees,'' she said of her meeting.
''I also expressed my concerns that drone attacks are fuelling terrorism. Innocent victims are killed in these acts, and they lead to resentment among the Pakistani people. If we refocus efforts on education it will make a big impact.''
Malala called for greater co-operation between the governments of the US and Pakistan. She met the President in the Oval Office, where he signed a proclamation to mark Friday as the International Day of the Girl.
The proclamation says in part: ''on every continent, there are girls who will go on to change the world in ways we can only imagine, if only we allow them the freedom to dream''.
As the Nobel announcement was made on Friday, Pakistanis gathered around their televisions and computers, hoping to watch Malala become only the second Pakistani in history to win a Nobel prize.
''There is disappointment, no doubt,'' said Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao, a moderate political leader from north-western Pakistan who has also been targeted by the Taliban. ''There were a lot of expectations … Pakistan has been lagging behind, and this was one way of reassuring the people and the public, and this would have encouraged a lot of women on the whole.''
Security officials feared the media's focus on the teenager this week could trigger new attacks from Taliban militants.
In her home town of Mingora, where she grew up before her family fled to Britain following her shooting, there was a heavy police presence for much of the day.
Mahmood Hassan, Malala's cousin and a school principal, said he was relieved she didn't win. ''I was worried for Malala as a Nobel peace award winner because it would have attracted more threats to our school and other problems,'' Mr Hassan said.
The importance of the international recognition for Malala was not lost on other students.
''We are feeling pride that Malala, a little girl from Swat, was nominated ,'' said one 10-year-old girl who attends a local private school. ''This is really a moment of joy for us.''
Before meeting with Mr Obama, Malala called for the World Bank to make education its top priority.
She made the call as the bank's president, Jim Yong Kim, announced a $US200 million ($211 million) donation to the Malala Fund, which helps girls around the world go to school. Malala says by focusing on universal education, organisations can also fight child labour, child trafficking, poverty and AIDS.
AP, Washington Post