Under the Cover of Malala Yousufzai?
By Sajjad Shaukat
Debate on the tragic incident of a 14-year-old girl Malala Yousafzai, a female child educator, who was brutally shot in Swat on October 9, reduced in Pakistan. But, under the cover of attack on Malala by the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) which claimed responsibility for this heinous crime, US-led foreign countries have continuously been manipulating the event in one or the other way to distort the image of Pakistan.
While, Pakistan’s civil and military leadership, all the political and religious parties, governmental and non-government institutes and civil society members strongly condemned cowardly assault on Malala Yousufzai, while holding protest rallies against Taliban. And on October 10 (Friday) was observed as a “day of prayer” for her recovery.
Despite it, Malala’s incident has become a tool of external entities to tarnish the image of Pakistan clandestinely. In this context, former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, UN Special Envoy for Global Education, declared November 10 as international day for Malala “to show that we all are Malala…the day can boost the status of female education worldwide.”
A senior American lawmaker on October 24 distributed a letter in the US Congress, urging her colleagues to award the Congressional Gold Medal to Malala Yousufzai. Separately, thousands of people have signed an online petition to nominate Malala for the Nobel Peace Prize which has also been proposed by a famous American actress Angelina Jolie and the UNHCR’s special envoy.
While speaking at a tribute for the schoolgirl, on October 19, the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova praised the bravery of Malala Yousafzai. Besides, France, Australia, Germany, UK etc., and especially US President Barack Obama including UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon have condemned the assassination attempt by protesting against the Taliban.
However, apparently, almost all the US-western countries, their human rights groups, India and their media have appreciated the courage of Malala Yousufzai who stood against the Taliban’s oppressive policies, and has taken her as a ‘symbol of hope’ for moderate elements, and inspiration of education. But under the pretext, these external elements have intensified their campaign against our country because it is the only nuclear state in the Islamic world. Particularly, US, India and Israel are in connivance to destabilise Pakistan. Based in Afghanistan, their secret agencies, CIA, RAW and Mossad have perennially been conducting suicide attacks, bomb blasts, targeted killings, beheadings, assaults on military troops, police stations, sectarian violence at various cities of the country including Karachi and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where these subversive acts have accelerated. Because of its ideal strategic location, Balochistan has become their special target where these agencies are supporting separatist elements to dismember Pakistan.
Meanwhile, barbarous attack on Malala coincided with a number of other anti-Pakistan developments. In this respect, Afghan President Hamid Karzai allegedly stated on October 18 that the shooting of Malala Yousufzai would convince Islamabad that using extremism as a tool against others was not in its interest.
Besides, during the final debate for the US presidential elections, Republican candidate Mitt Romney favoured President Obama about the safe havens of Haqqani network on Pakistani soil holding it responsible for deadly attacks against the US/NATO forces. He also supported Obama’s drone policy.
In fact, US-led NATO high officials have made Pakistan a scapegoat of their defeat in Afghanistan by ignoring the reality that Afghans are fighting for their homeland’s freedom. While in the last two years, heavily-armed militants entered Pakistan from Afghanistan’s side and targeted security forces’ checkposts, killing more than 100 personnel of the army besides destroying infrastructure of various areas.
TTP militants led by Maulvi Fazlullah who had left Swat after military operation have fully established their stronghold in Afghan provinces of Nooristan and Kunar. With the tactical assistance of US, their subversive activities against Pakistan are funded by Indian secret agency, RAW, and Afghan intelligence-National Directorate of Security (NDS). These secret entities have hired the services of many Muslims who have joined the ranks and files of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and other extremist outfits. Pakistan’s civil and military leadership has repeatedly protested against cross-border terrorism from Afghanistan including TTP location there, but US-led NATO and Afghan officials have taken no action.
Recently, Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik has disclosed that the attack on Malala was planned in Afghanistan by the TTP.
These anti-Pakistan conspiracies have given a great incentive to the political and religious parties like PML-N, Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), JUI-F and PTI which are supporter of Taliban, but condemn shooting of Malala and favoure education of women. Their leaders have remarked that the assault on Malala Yosafzai has no connection with the Taliban, but it was conducted to create justification for military operation in North Waziristan, while US drone attacks killed many innocent girls and children which go unnoticed in the West.
Recently, while dispelling speculations of foreign and domestic media, Chief of Army Staff Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani reiterated, “We might, if necessary, undertake operations in NWA as determined only by our political and military requirements including public support. It will never be a result of any outside pressure.” Rehman Malik has also ruled out any such operation.
Despite a division between various parties including media commentators about Taliban after the Malala episode, a majority of people including Pashtuns wants that a handful of terrorist elements must not be allowed to impose their self-created ideology in the country. In fact, through their inhuman acts and subversive events, Taliban are defaming Islam which is the religion of peace, moderation and human rights.
Even, several Islamic scholars issued fatwas (verdicts), terming attack on Malala as un-Islamic by explaining that the assailants’ self-adopted interpretation of Islam was nothing but ignorance and digression from the actual Islamic teachings. They clarified that Islam made it obligatory on every man and woman to seek education—strictly forbids taking life of innocent persons, which is not jihad. Besides, Shia religious scholars also denounced attack on Malala.
Nonetheless, this assault on Malala must be viewed in the larger perspective of international plot against Pakistan. Under the cover of Malala Yousufzai, US and other powers are distorting the image of Islam and Pakistan in the outside world.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations