Malala Yousafzai has been very outspoken in her advocation for the education of women and girls, but she’s been keeping a closely guarded secret about her personal life.
On Tuesday, the 24-year-old announced on social media that she had gotten married — something she once thought would never happen for her.
Yousafzai’s story of adversity and triumph is well-known by many, gaining public attention after the fateful attack in 2012 when she was shot in the head by Taliban gunmen.
She used her platform to bring more awareness of the disparity between men and women’s educational rights in her home country of Pakistan — but as her influence grew, her message did, too, and she has become synonymous with a worldwide endeavor to give women and girls better access to education.
In 2014, Yousafzai, then 17, became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, which she was awarded for her activism.
She continued her own education as well, graduating from Oxford University in 2020 with a degree in philosophy, politics and economics, according to NDTV.
Earlier this year, she told Vogue that she had long eschewed the idea of marriage, preferring a mutual agreement to coexist over being granted legal and formal permission by more traditional means.
“I still don’t understand why people have to get married,” Yousafzai said. “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? My mum is like … ‘Don’t you dare say anything like that! You have to get married, marriage is beautiful.'”
“Even until my second year of university, I just thought, ‘I’m never going to get married, never going to have kids — just going to do my work. I’m going to be happy and live with my family forever.’
“I didn’t realize that you’re not the same person all the time. You change as well and you’re growing.”
Perhaps part of that growth was the traditional Muslim wedding she announced this week, surprising many with her apparent change of heart and the beau she seems to have kept quiet about.
Asser Malik, 31, is reportedly the general manager of the Pakistan Cricket Board’s High Performance Centre as well as being an entrepreneur.
“Today marks a precious day in my life,” Yousafzai posted, along with a series of wedding photos taken at her home in Birmingham, England.
“Asser and I tied the knot to be partners for life. Please send us your prayers. We are excited to walk together for the journey ahead.”
Internet sleuths have since found evidence of Malik and Yousafzai being around one another at least since 2018, evident in posts and photos that show them in the same place at the same time.
A wonderful day all around 🇵🇰 https://t.co/hLgPDeXTfS
— Asser Malik (@MalikAsser) August 8, 2018
Malik shared his own thoughts about their special day on his Twitter account.
“In Malala, I found the most supportive friend, a beautiful and kind partner — I’m so excited to spend the rest of our life together,” he wrote.
In Malala, I found the most supportive friend, a beautiful and kind partner — I’m so excited to spend the rest of our life together.
Thank you all for the wishes on our Nikkah. In following our cricket team’s tradition, we had to do a victory cake cutting. pic.twitter.com/KSGQOHsY64
— Asser Malik (@MalikAsser) November 10, 2021
“Thank you all for the wishes on our Nikkah. In following our cricket team’s tradition, we had to do a victory cake cutting.”
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