Thursday, October 11, 2012

Malala Yosufzai: A Ray of Hope for Pakistan, by Arshi Hashmi

The courageous young girl Malala Yosufzai* is the ray of hope for most Pakistanis, especially girls. She not only stood up against Talibanization, but through her writings and speech convinced other girls that they can also dream of education and freedom of expression without any fear. It is so unfortunate that the Taliban attacked her while she was on her way back home from School. They confirmed her identification and then shot at her, which shows that it was clearly a targeted attack. Soon after the attack, Taliban issued a statement and sent it to the media saying that Malala "provoked" the people against the Taliban, which is why she is targeted. The attackers were successful in targeting her, but they had perhaps not realized that their act would create huge resentment and protest in the country. TV channels, newspapers, and the highest authorities, including the chief of army staff Gen Kiyani, visited her at the hospital condemning the attack. Major political parties, both conservative and liberal, held huge prayers for her recovery. School, colleges and universities all had a moment of silence and prayers for her. The more Taliban wanted to create fear in the society, the more people have come up against the act. In Swat,where the attack occurred , common people who were interviewed by private TV channels spoke against the attack. Pakistanis are sad , they are ashamed of not having protected the girl who is confident, full of hope and action for change. This is an important moment, if we as a nation let this pass without any stern action against the Taliban then nobody will ever be able to stand against violent extremism and terrorism in the name of God. Let's hope that the society will continue to speak up against this insanity and break the culture of silence that has been benefiting the extremists. 

*Malala Yosufzai is a 14-year-old women's rights and counter terrorism activist from the Swat Valley who advocated for access to education for girls in the region. Malala's writings have been featured on the BBC and she was the focus on a New York Times documentary; in 2010, Malala was awarded Pakistan's first National Peace Prize.

On October 9, 2012, Taliban shooters boarded the bus carrying her home for school, asked for her by name, and then shot her in the neck and head. She survived the shooting and is currently recovering in a hospital.

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