Attack on Malala raises serious questions
By Syed Atiq ul Hassan
Posted Friday, 19 October 2012
Two female students injured in the attack on Malala Yousufzai in Pakistan have told the media that the gunman first asked who Malala was before shooting her. This means the shooters did not know Malala but were tasked with her shooting by others.
According to the American Free Press (AFP), just after the shooting, a spokesperson of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Ehsanullah Ehasan, called an AFP reporter and claimed responsibility. Through AFP the news spread in the Pakistani media and around the world.
According to AFP, Ehsanullah told the reporter that they wanted to kill Malala because she was speaking against the Taliban and calling President Obama her idol.
A representative of the Taliban in Afghanistan, Sirajuddin Ahmed, has declared that they will attack Malala again if she survives. Within hours, a U.S. spokesperson appeared in the media, condemned the attack on Malala, and reaffirmed that the U.S. mission against Taliban will continue in the region. Bear in mind that the U.S. has been forcing Pakistan to do more against the Taliban in Waziristan for some time now.
Of concern to the Pakistan parliament has been U.S drone attacks. In response the Pakistani national parliament had passed joint resolution against drone attacks. The ruling and opposition parties and Pakistani’s are opposed to the drone attacks and have demanded the US to stop the illegal drone attacks inside Pakistan. Yet the U.S. is continuing drone attacks in Pakistani territory.
In recent developments, the international community is increasingly condemning the drone attacks. Many international survey and media polls being conducted show that the U.S. drone attacks are being facing growing opposition from the international community and international human rights organisations. The latter are planning to proceed against the U.S in international courts to have drone attacks deemed illegal.
After nation-wide condemnation the attack on Malala in Pakistan, in her latest statement, Victoria Nuland the U.S. State Department spokesperson, said that the popular opinion against Taliban in cities and towns of Pakistan would help the U.S. continue in their actions against the Taliban. This also means that the drone attacks in Waziristan will continue. After the attack on Malala, and with the Taliban taking responsibility for the attack, the U.S. can justify continued drone attacks in Pakistan territory. The U.S. has become the beneficiary of the attack on Malala.
Malala’s diary, Life under the Taliban, which she wrote for BBC in 2009, inspired people internationally and created a thought provoking movement against Taliban and their activities in the north of Pakistan. That is why, she was added to a Taliban hit list.
But fearlessly Malala continued her campaign for the education of girls. Malala’s mission was inspiring for Pakistani youth in every city and town. Malala’s brave parents decided not to leave their hometown despite the fact that they were a target for the Taliban.
People in Pakistan knew that Malala Yousufzai could become a target of the Taliban, except perhaps the Pakistani government. It doesn’t make sense that one side, the present government of Pakistan awarded the National Peace Prize to Malala for her courageous fight against the most dangerous elements of Taliban and on the other hand the Pakistani law enforcement agencies did not provide any security for Malala.
Was it the responsibility of 14 year-old Malala to acknowledge and ask the government to provide her security or was it the duty of the responsible agencies and their high-profile officers sitting in air-conditioned offices and travelling in bulletproof vehicle to provide her security?
The Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, the Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf Pakistani, the Interior Minister, Mr. Rehman Malik, all are now condemning the shooting of Malala and asserting the will arrest the culprits. But why did it come to this?
Why didn’t Mr. Malik and his ministry realise that the Taliban, who already declared Malala on their hit list, could attack her at anytime? What is the point of making claims now except to divert the attention of the people and gain some support for the failing government?
It’s not only Malala Yousufzai, many girls like Malala are being kidnapped, raped, and killed by criminals. Look what is happening in Karachi every single day, on average one dozen people are either killed or injured. The news of these killings is become a part of routine bulletins in the Pakistani press.
In the last four years or so Pakistan law enforcement and security agencies have failed to capture and punish a single terrorist. On the other hand the speeches, claims, condemnations, and promises of political leaders are empty and misleading Pakistani’s.
The fact of the matter is that regardless of who these killers are, one reality remains: in a country of 180 million people innocent citizens are unsafe.
From local to federal government, and from the President to local parliamentarians who are now showing sympathies and compassion with Malala and asking for national solidarity and unity with Malala, it is little more than an opportunity to be in the media headlines. Where were these government officials when innocent Malala was travelling with others girls without any protection in the most dangerous streets of Swat Valley?
In any civilised society, officials might resign if knowing there existed a risk of harm and they were unable to protect the target. In Pakistan, from the President, Prime Ministers, to the Ministers, it is a shame that only know are they active in helping Malala and ready to provide medical treatment and protection, including media attended presentations of bouquets to Malala’s parents. Yet not one has accepted the responsibility for having failed to provide Malala safety and no politician has resigned.
It is the responsibility of government to provide security to every citizen of the country, especially, to those who are already in the limelight and putting their lives at risk. Malala is now fighting for her life with 180 million Pakistani’s praying for her. Malala doesn’t need kind words from immoral and incompetent political leaders. Rather all Pakistani’s need safety and security.
The attack on Malala has not only saddened the entire Pakistani nation and shocked the international community. There is no dispute amongst opinion-makers that the attack on Malala was the most inhuman act of terrorism; except by those who claimed responsibility.
In the last couple of years, Osama Bin Laden’s end game was plotted in Pakistan. Raymond Davis was freed through a strange overnight court settlement. Terrorists in the heart of Karachi attacked the naval base, Mehran. Politicians however failed to act, claiming the need to establish democracy. But democracy can only survive if the country survives.
The history of Pakistan shows that Pakistani’s are ignorant of what has been happening within the country. That is why time and again we see the same faces making false promises to change the country and the people put votes in their baskets. Pakistan cannot survive if as a nation is continues to be ignorant and let the looters and shooters take the lives of innocent people and ruin the country.
It is now the time for the people of Pakistan to open their eyes, analyse and think who Taliban are. Most importantly who are constantly supplying attacker with dangerous weapons? How come they are spreading from Peshawar to Karachi, kidnapping people, and asking for ransom anywhere at any time? How come the law enforcement agencies have failed to eliminate the criminals operating freely, kidnapping and murdering people in the largest commercial city of Karachi with no one having been arrested and punished?
Malala is only one young girl who has received national and international coverage, but what happens to the millions of boys and girls in Pakistan who are at the mercy terrorists who can launch any attack, anywhere, at any time, in city or town of Pakistan? Law enforcement agencies have failed and cannot stop them.
Now it is the duty of all Pakistanis’ to stand-up and ask those who they vote for, who they politically associate with, and who they believe their leaders are, how long Pakistan can afford this destruction.
What else are the people of Pakistan waiting to see? Will they stand up for change?
As for as Malala’s condition at present, Malala has been admitted to the military hospital in Birmingham, UK, for treatment and and hopefully recovery.
May God bless and cure her completely from her fatal injuries and grant her a safe life, and may he also make the Pakistani rulers able to provide the same kind of treatment to hundreds of other children who are struggling to survive from fatal injuries from US drone attacks and the Taliban’s terrorist attacks in Pakistan.
Now, my question is, after her recovery, will Malala return to Pakistan or launch her political career by staying in England like other Pakistani politicians.
Syed Atiq ul Hassan, is senior journalist, writer, media analyst and foreign correspondent for foreign media agencies in Australia. His email is email@example.com.