The battle for Pakistan
30 October, 2012
National Peace Award winner Malala Yousafzai was deeply wounded along with two other girls in a brutal attack by criminal elements belonging to the Fazlullah-led group of the Swati Taliban. She and the two other girls sustained bullet injuries in the brazen and cowardly attack. Malala was attacked just because she showed the courage to champion the cause of female education and criticise attacks on schools and school going girls. The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the attack on Malala Yousafzai. The TTP spokesman, Ehsanullah Ehsan, speaking via telephone, said, "We carried out this attack. Anybody who speaks against us will be attacked in the same way." It is very unfortunate that the TTP have said they will target her again if she survives because she was a "secular-minded lady".
A battle for the soul of Pakistan is raging in the country. Arrayed on one side are the forces of obscurantism, backwardness and intolerance, which would like to take Pakistan back to the medieval ages. They are opposed by progressive forces, which favour enlightenment, moderation, tolerance and development. The attack on the 14-year old Malala Yousafzai is the latest reminder of the ongoing battle between the progressive and the retrogressive forces in Pakistan. We must tell extremists in unequivocal terms that, under no circumstances, their attempts to impose a retrogressive ideology on the people of Pakistan through the use of violence will be tolerated. It is little wonder that the attempt on the life of Malala has been roundly condemned by the vast majority of Pakistanis and the international community.