Malala, 24, announced Tuesday on social media that she had married Asser Malik, a general manager at the Pakistan Cricket Board, in a small Islamic marriage ceremony known as a nikkah.
“Today marks a precious day in my life. Asser and I tied the knot to be partners for life,” she wrote. “We celebrated a small nikkah ceremony at home in Birmingham with our families. Please send us your prayers. We are excited to walk together for the journey ahead.”
Malala moved to Birmingham in 2012 for medical treatment after she was airlifted out of Pakistan’s Swat Valley. The Taliban targeted her after she blogged about her experiences of attending school under their conservative rule.
Far from being silenced, Malala went on to become a household name and global advocate for female education, establishing the Malala Fund in 2013 with her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai. The fund works to champion the right to free, safe and quality education for girls.
Malala won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 at age 17 for her work in the “struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education.” She shared the award with Indian children’s rights activist Kailash Satyarthi.
In her own personal educational journey, she went on to study at Britain’s University of Oxford and graduated in 2020 with a degree in philosophy, politics and economics, following the path of Benazir Bhutto, the first female prime minister of Pakistan, whom she has described as a personal hero.
Her husband Malik describes himself on his LinkedIn profile as an entrepreneur with a history of working in the sports industry. He studied at Pakistan’s prestigious Aitchison College in Lahore, which was also attended by Pakistan’s current prime minister, Imran Khan. Malik graduated from Lahore University of Management Sciences with a degree in economics and political science in 2012.
In a June interview with British Vogue, Malala spoke of her parents having an “arranged love marriage” and teased that her father received unsolicited emails from prospective suitors on her behalf. She also expressed doubts that she would ever marry, sparking a social media backlash in Pakistan — a country where 86 percent of women over the age of 25 are married — with citizens on Twitter and politicians criticizing what they saw as a threat to the institution of marriage.
“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?” she said at the time, adding that her mother had jokingly chastised that viewpoint.