#Malala: the symbol of hope — by Gulmina Bilal Ahmad

Qazi Hussain Ahmed in his latest statement reiterated the same words that were being uttered by many rightwing politicians, analysts and organisations. He was of the view that the attack on Malala and its portrayal on media was being given unnecessary hype and was being used as a justification for an operation in North Waziristan. Similar information is also revolving on the social media for the past few days, most notably through pages managed and administered by right-wingers.
Hizb-ut Tahrir, one of the banned right wing Islamic organisations, which operates around the world, gave an even more bizarre statement. The organisation on its website and through text messages has clearly stated that the alleged ‘Raymond Davis network’ is behind the attack on Malala.
Some pictures revolving around the internet are even showing Malala meeting top US military men. One of the aims behind the dissemination of such pictures is to give rise to a negative propaganda about Malala and her being a stooge of Pakistan or the US military.
Malala, who is only 14 years old, became a symbol of hope for the youth, particularly girls who are not allowed to study or pursue their dreams. Malala was perhaps an ordinary girl hailing from the valley of Swat, but what she was trying to do was not ordinary. She was fortunate to have the support of her family and that is what kept her going. Millions of girls around Pakistan are not given the same treatment by their families and are not allowed to study. Malala is the hope and inspiration not only for all those girls but also for their families.
Malala is also accused of being used by the non-governmental organisations and media to grab more money from international donors, which I believe is as bizarre as the statement of Hizbut Tahrir. If she gave a statement saying that Barack Obama is her ideal or favourite, I believe there is nothing wrong with it. Many among us consider different heads of state as our ideals or favourites. So what if she liked him? A girl so naïve yet so brave cannot understand such tactics that are being blamed on her.
The Taliban were not afraid of the 14-year-old girl, but they were definitely afraid of the support that she had. They were literally frightened even by the idea of a little girl standing against them so firmly, and that is the reason why they attacked and tried to take her life. Everybody seemed to like the way Malala expressed her thoughts and beliefs in her beautiful Pashto-accented Urdu. She raised her voice against the tyrannical rule of the Taliban because they were against the education of girls; getting educated was her dream and she had all the support she needed.
It is definitely true that after her first media appearance she was given many other opportunities to appear on TV channels, but does that mean the girl was acting on someone else’s command, allegedly of media or non-governmental organisations?
As said before, the girl had all the support from her family even before her appearance on media. Her father has his own school and she was studying there with many other girls of the Swat valley. The day her school was shut down by the Taliban, she felt the need to do something about it and so she did it. That is what led to her fame and ultimately her appearance on TV. At least I do not see a connection of a foreign hand, media or an NGO behind her appearance on TV.
According to official figures, only 26 percent of Pakistani girls are literate. But on the other hand, independent sources term these figures as inflated and place the overall literacy rate for girls as low as 12 percent.
Malala was doing a noble job. She wanted all girls to get educated. This was her dream and yet she is being accused of being a media or NGO stooge. This is almost as outrageous as the attack on her life. I believe that all those rightwingers who are building up allegations against her are afraid of the unified stance taken by the whole nation against the mentality that wanted her dead.
According to the last media reports, Malala is in a stable condition and is said to be constantly improving. In the end, I, like many of us, would wish her good health and pray for her long life.
The writer is a development consultant and can be reached at coordinator@individualland.com
Source: Daily Times

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