Sweet 16 For Pakistan Hero New York Post

HER DAY: Malala Yousafzai, an education activist shot by the Taliban, speaks at the UN yesterday.

Malala Yousafzai, an education activist shot by the Taliban, speaks at the UN

UNITED NATIONS — Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teen shot by the Taliban for promoting education for girls, celebrated her 16th birthday yesterday by demanding in her first public speech since the attack that world leaders provide free compulsory schooling for every child.

Speaking at the United Nations to nearly 1,000 youth leaders from more than 100 countries, Malala called for “a global struggle against illiteracy, poverty and terrorism.”

“Let us pick up our books and our pens. They are our most powerful weapons,” she said. “One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world. Education is the only solution.”

Malala, wearing a shawl she said belonged to slain Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, said the bullet that entered the left side of her forehead in October hadn’t dimmed her desire to promote peace, education and prosperity.

She invoked Mohandas Gandhi and other nonviolence advocates, saying, “I’m not against anyone.

“I’m here to speak about the right of education for every child,” she said. “I want education for the sons and daughters of all the Taliban and all the terrorists and extremists. I do not even hate the Talib who shot me. Even if there is a gun in my hands and he stands in front of me, I would not shoot him.”

The UN designated July 12 as Malala Day. She got standing ovations and a round of “Happy Birthday.”

She said, “Malala Day is not my day. Today is the day of every woman, every boy and every girl who have raised their voices for their rights.”