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Why 14-year-old girl is important for Pakistan

15 October, 2012

By Mazhar Iqbal


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Malala, 14, is the new face of Pakistan- a country that has persistently been pushed as the hotbed of militant Islam. She is not only the latest victim of an extremely criticised brand of Muslim faith that supports the totalitarian interpretation of Islamic law, but also a new hope for a whole generation of moderate and tolerant Pakistanis.

A segment of local Pakistani and international media has reported that this teenage blogger was attacked for being vocal on women education in a primitive society that does not support women's equal role in society as compared to men. Yet, the Taliban, who attacked Malala has clearly stated that she was targeted because of her pioneer role in preaching secularism and moderation in Muslim society. They have also mentioned that whosoever will commit so in the future he will be targeted . The latest media reports say they have threated the injured girl's parents to kill them.

The Taliban were described as eliminated from this area after the massive clean-up operation by Pakistani security agencies. But, this incident has proved that they were still operating in heavily guarded zone and Pakistan's security apparatus was not fully aware of the situation on the ground.

Over the years, it has been the favourite issue for global media that the Taliban has a popular support among local masses, particularly in Northern Pakistan. Now, some of the media pandits claim that this attack seems to be launched to check the popularity of the Taliban movement in these areas. In fact,  if they were hoping for more populist division in Pakistan with the attack on an innocent girl, they appear to have underestimated.

During last two days, world has witnessed a large-scale protest and anger by all Pakistanis including political parties, civil society and media that shows a different story. Even those who have been vocal and deeply involved in creating confusion about extremely debated blasphemy laws have denounced this appalling incident.

Such a popular and collective sympathy for Malala has slapped on the faces of those who were sceptical about this country's existence as a tolerant society. Now, Pakistan people are confident to ask questions about totalitarian approach in defining political and ambitious aspects of Muslim faith. They are wondering whether it is enough to change deep-seated and orthodox sentiments about the role religion must play in running the affairs of a modern state.

Some of the political faces on the helm of affairs in Pakistan are still endorsing the views that banning women from education, publicly executing those who do not practice Islam in their daily life and killing innocents have something inherent to Islam.

It's so encouraging that mainstream media in Pakistan has applauded Malala's side of the story. It has also been reported that some of the media houses have been put on hit-lists of the Taliban for exceedingly advocating the Malala cause. It is now clear that why the Taliban attempted to silence the voice of 14-year-girl. It was fear, not faith, which drove them to attack this gallant girl. After all, she was writing a blog for BBC about her life under the Taliban and was the recipient of the national peace prize in 2011.

Some of the critics of media have raised objection on not highlighting the critical and sad plight of other girls who were injured with Malala. Yes, they need to be given the best possible care and treatment from the state and they also rightly deserve the prayers and well wishes of millions of Pakistanis as they keep for Malala.

They could be as important as Malala. It is not Malala who climbed heights of national pride and international applaud after a cowardly attack on her life; it is her message that is gaining popularity and showing the accurate face of Pakistan. They all are on streets, on TV screens, newspaper pages and everywhere; all saying Malala, you are not alone. Millions of voices of fellow Pakistanis are with you. They have a shared stance that in the war against terrorism they are not with the Taliban.



The writer is associated with Press for Peace and can be reached at mazhar@pressforpeace.org.uk

Reader Comments:

why all of a sudden media of whole world with all polititions are highliting the storey .wher are those innocents being killed in drone attakes . if they r not humans.killings in iraq syria libia egypt africa who has waged wars and killings all over the globe how many are killed and how many will b killed and for how long it will go who has desighned this game it is any bodys guess

mahmood, - 15 October, 2012

Great article.

When i heard that terrorists in Pak shot a 14yr old girl it shocked me and left me wondering how much a country can stoop.
Who are the people that see a 14 year as a threat??? But after all that has happened it is really heartening to see Pakistan stand behind this brave young girl. It gives hope to not only people of Pakistan but also to us Indians. I hope she succeeds in turning this country around and stand united against those who want to dictate how you should live your life. Wishing Malala a speedy recovery. You probably have no idea what you have managed to do in terms of uniting your country against terrorists but i wish to see you take this further. Get well soon, Pak needs you now.

Rajesh, India - 15 October, 2012

Mazhar Sahib,
Please leave this girl alone. Her parents are stupid enough to allow this underage girl to be in the middle of a global conflict and throwing her into the eye of the storm. I am sure you will have some female relatives (may be your daughter) of Malalas age. May be you should encourge your underage girls to be part of this conflict which has global dimentions. What is wrong with Pakistani people. Why they are sending udnerage girls of others to fight taliban. If all those liberals are that much concerned then they should fight the Taliban themselves. There are millions of liberals who are crying for Malala. My understanding is that active Taliban are few thousands. Why these liberal get up and go and engage the Taliban and eliminate them??

If Malala was my daughter or a daughter of any person with an IQ of 30 or over they would have told her that she need to focus on her studies instead of trowing this girl in front of two warring sides.

agthagola, United States - 15 October, 2012

Attack on Malala is very sad but why is US's top people talking in her favor,like Hilary,Obama,CNN and even Laura Bush(Wife of crusader Bush).Is it not a bait to entice Pakistani nation into pushing its miltiary to do the war of US in NWA?After all 9-11 done from which US reaped all the benfits through waging crusade has been said by some Americans to be inside job?US has history of projecting people and then killing them and dumping their death on their oppenents and thus reaping double benefits.

AS, - 15 October, 2012

The plan hatched in Afghanistan

Pakistanis be careful as this plan was hatched in Afghanistan and done by anti Pak forces supported by big powered hatchers in Afghanistan.

All this is to bring Pak military fight against anti Pak Taliban supported by supporters in Afghan-- big powers involved.

Paks, do not get carried away. The plan is to make Paks start big time fighting within. Already 30,000 innocent Paks including 6000-10000 Pak soldiers have given their lives on foreign prodded troubles within Pak.

The big plan behind is to steal Pak nukes and that will render Pak forces powerless before 11 times edged India in economy and non nuclear might. Then, as the Indians and others are bragging that they will slaughter 100000 Paks a day in the streets of Lahore and other cities in Pak.

Paks, do not shoot yourself in the headby overly crediting something that even by Rehman Malik's account was hatched in Afghanistan with big power plot to destabilize and infight Paks- military against Pashtoons and vice versa.

Paks worry about peace within and protecting nukes, else Pak will be world's mega slaughter house with Pak enemies and pretended friends(really enemies) laughing on self slaughtering and foreign slaughtered lambs akin species.

A.M. Rogers, - 17 October, 2012

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