People who do not know Malala have started negative propaganda against her and say she has done nothing except that she survived an attack by the Taliban militants. Why has she become a star in such a short time and was nominated to receive Nobel Peace Prize? I would like to dispel the wrong impression being created by certain people about Malala Yousafzai. Even before Oct 9, 2012 when she was shot in the head, Malala was not an ordinary school girl. When the Taliban started destroying girl’s schools and were against the girls getting education, the BBC Urdu correspondent at Peshawar looked for a girl student who could raise her voice against the Taliban. For this job, they contacted Ziauddin Yousafzai, who was running a chain of schools in Swat district. They selected a girl Aysha who was 4 years elder to Malala, but due to the threats of Taliban, her family declined to help the BBC correspondent Abdul Hai Kakar.
At this stage, Ziauddin Yousafzai offered his daughter Malala for the job who was then just 7th grade student in an English Medium School at Mingora, Swat. In order to provide security to her, they suggested for her to write her diary under a pseudonym “Gul Makai”. Being a talented girl and bright student, she started writing a diary for BBC Urdu service. In Sep, 2008 she addressed the Press Club of Peshawar and spoke very confidently against the Taliban for taking her basic right to education which was well covered by the newspapers and TV channels.
Then she appeared in an interview on a private TV channel where she again spoke on girl’s right to education especially in backward areas like Swat. For her struggle for girl’s education and emancipation of women, she was given National Youth Peace Award by the Prime Minister of Pakistan Yousaf Raza Gilani in 2011. This was a great incentive to her and she accelerated her struggle for girl’s education especially in backward areas of Pakistan defying threats of TTP and Mullah Fazlullah.
The Taliban were on the lookout to silence this girl who was speaking openly against their ideology and was not bother by their threats, but they failed in their efforts. Ultimately, Taliban’s decided to kill her and detailed two of their men for the job. The rest of the story is known to the world. She survived the fatal attack on her in the school bus though she got a bullet in the head. The news of the attack on her by the Taliban spread like wild fire all over the world. Special prayers were held throughout the country for her recovery.
She was flown to UK for advance treatment and surgery. She recovered and now is an icon for the youth with 25 national and international awards. The address in the UN Youth Assembly on her 16th birthday on July 12, 2013 was a memorable speech which she delivered with great confidence. She was a nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize also which was a great honour for Pakistan; she is the youngest ever nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize. We all should be proud of her rather than detesting her.
MUHAMMAD AZHAR KHWAJA,