By: Sabir Shah
LAHORE: Believed to have been killed Tuesday, prominent Pakistani Taliban Commander Adnan Rasheed had expressed his regrets over the fact that that he had not warned the teenage Swat girl Malala Yousafzai before the October 2012 attempt on her life.
Referring to Adnan Rasheed’s letter addressed to Malala, the July 17, 2013 edition of the widely read online American blog “Huffington Post” had stated: “The letter from Adnan Rasheed, however, didn’t apologize for the October attack that had left Malala Yousafzai gravely wounded. Rasheed, who has close relations with Taliban leaders, only said that he found the shooting “shocking” and wished it hadn’t happened.”
This online blog, which has an active community that posts over one million comments every month, had quoted the recently killed Taliban stalwart as opining six months ago that he would leave it up to God to decide whether the outspoken activist for girls’ education should have been targeted or not.
It quoted Adnan Rasheed’s letter written after Malala’s July 2013 speech at the United Nations: “You have said in your speech that pen is mightier than sword, so they attacked you for your sword not for your books or school.”
The “Huffington Post” had further written: “Rasheed said the letter received by “The Associated Press” had expressed his own opinion, not that of the militant group. “The Associated Press” spoke to another Taliban commander who confirmed the letter, written in English, was authentic.”
The blog, quoting Adnan Rasheed, had said the Taliban did not attack Malala because she was a proponent for girls’ education, but because she was critical of the militant group when it took over much of Swat in 2008 and 2009.
The online publication had maintained: “That mirrors what some militants said at the time of the shooting. Rasheed, who Taliban broke out of prison last year, said the militants supported both boys and girls going to school as long as they received an Islamic education and didn’t study what he called a “satanic or secular curriculum. Rasheed said Taliban only blow up schools that Pakistani soldiers use as hideouts.
Teachers and activists say this is only partly true. Some were targeted because they were used by the military, but many of the attacks were motivated by the Taliban’s opposition to girls’ education and schooling that doesn’t follow their strict interpretation of Islam, the teachers and activists say.”
According to the “Huffington Post,” Adnan Rasheed had also justified the attacks in Pakistan on health workers providing children with polio vaccinations, claiming the West was trying to sterilize Muslims. Adnan Rasheed could not live much after having made good his escape some nine months and seven days ago from the historic Bannu Central Jail.
He had remained behind bars for eight years and four months.Adnan Rasheed was awarded death sentence by a Field General Court Martial on October 3, 2005 at Chaklala Base of Pakistan Air Force for carrying out the 2004 life attack on former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf.
Six other Air Force men were also given a similar punishment.At the time of his conviction Adnan Rasheed was locked at the Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi, but was later shifted to the Bannu Central Jail.
The district Swabi-born Rasheed was freed in an eyebrow-raising jailbreak operation on April 15, 2012 when around 200 Taliban militants armed with guns, grenades and rockets had attacked the high-security Bannu prison in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and had managed to get 384 prisoners released.
It is imperative to note that the TTP spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan had subsequently declared on April 20, 2012 that the jailbreak operation was chiefly meant to get Adnan Rasheed freed.Meanwhile newspapers archives reveal that while he was on a death row in 2010, the very recently killed Taliban Commander Adnan Rasheed was allowed to tie a marital knot in the jail.
The union behind the bars had later resulted in the birth of a daughter for the high-profile Taliban stalwart and his wife.In jail, this former junior technician of the Pakistan Air Force, was also allowed to use social networking sites such as “Facebook” to keep in touch with friends and give interviews at will, a few local and foreign publications had claimed.