MALALA Yousafzai, the progressive face of Pakistan in general and Swat valley in particular, is fighting the most arduous battle of her life.
With millions of people praying for her life and early recovery, the way she was living in the once militants infested Swat valley without any proper security measures speaks of how we treat our heroes.The government functionaries including the prime minister, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governor, chief minister, federal ministers and others started condemnation of attack on her life by militants, but none of them would accept the lapse on their part.
Why she was not provided security by the government despite the fact that she had assumed international fame because of her outspoken criticism of militants, especially their approach towards female education?This is a question which needs reply from those in power. Similarly, the security forces, who have been administering Swat valley since a “successful” operation in 2009, also need to clarify their position.
The moot question is when security could be provided to the ruling elite including MNAs, MPAs and others then why Malala was left at the mercy of militants. Returning from school without any security guard, she was a soft target for those, who wanted to eliminate her because of her thinking.Threats to her life increased manifold after Dec 2011 when she was got the First National Peace Award from the then prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani. While her services for education and peace were eulogised by the state functionaries none of them realised that she would now need special security.
Local police claimed that they had offered to provide her security but her family turned down the offer. Family sources have, however, refuted this claim.Claiming responsibility by Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan for the attack has once again proved that militants can go to any extent against those, who don’t share their ideology. In the past, they have killed women; pulled out bodies from graves; bombed mosques, schools, funeral prayers and jirgas; beheaded people and displayed their severed heads in public places.Born in Swat in 1998, Malala was also nominated by an international children’s advocacy group, Kids Rights Foundation, among the nominees for the International Children’s Peace Prize.
She is the first Pakistani girl nominated for that award.Her meteoric rise to fame was not because of sheer luck rather it was because of her struggle and her candid views regarding what had happened in Swat valley and how Taliban had inflicted damage on the education sector by blowing up dozens of schools.She first appeared on different television channels in early 2009. She was only 11 when a peace deal was signed between the provincial government and Tehrik Nifaz-i-Shariati Muhammadi in Feb 2009. Like her father Ziauddin Yousafzai, an educationist and social activist, she was also supportive towards that deal and hoped that it would help in restoring peace in Swat valley.
However, the hopes of Malala and millions of other people vanished when militants instead of laying down arms entered the adjoining Buner district and then increased their activities in Malakand and Dir Lower district. Like other people of Swat, she was also displaced with her family.Later on, it also transpired that a famous diary contributed to an international media broadcasting website was in fact written by her with a pseudo name. In that diary, which she wrote with pen name of Gul Makai, she clearly explained the mental state of mind of hundreds and thousands of students like her during the Taliban reign in Swat.
Her interviews were conducted by almost all the famous anchors of different television channels. Similarly, write-ups and features were written in all the major newspapers in the country as well as in international papers.
Tuesday night is critical for the life of Malala. She is in the ICU and millions of people not only in Pakistan but in other parts of the world are praying for her. Hope the prayers of these millions of people would bear fruit and this brave girl would once again be present among her people and striving for the message which she has been preaching for the last over three years. – Dawn