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Pakistanis Blame Taliban, Government For Attack On 14-Year-Old Malala Yousafzai

Arooj Khalid /


The girls’ campus of the Crescent Model Higher Secondary School in Lahore, Pakistan. The school offers classes from first through 12th grade and is considered one of the best in the city.



By Waleed Tariq
KARACHI, Pakistan – People interviewed here
recently expressed sorrow and anger over the Taliban’s assault on 14-year-old
Malala Yousafzai last week.
“Honestly I think this is nothing but a
cowardly action by the ruthless self-appointed guardians of religion who consider
even a [teenage girl] as a threat,” said Fatima Zehra, who is in her final year
of studying the social sciences at SZABIST in Karachi.
“I’m really depressed on this incident; we are
already suffering from target killings and bombings, but this time, they
attacked a girl who was harbinger of hope and change,” said Andeel Ali, a young
social entrepreneur based in Karachi.
Yousafzai, who was an outspoken proponent of education for girls in Swat, the area of Pakistan where she lived, was shot in the head on her way home from school on October 9. The Taliban said it targeted her because she spoke up about education. 
She was moved Monday to a hospital in the United Kingdom, the BBC reported and is in serious condition.
“Fundamentalists and extremists want to impose
their way of Islam and ideology,” said Riaz Shaikh, who heads the Social Sciences
Department at SZABIST.
The Taliban, he added, want to eliminate
logical, rational debate in society.


Riaz Shaikh


“They want to take back everyone to primitive
ages. Such actions are affecting us negatively; girls and women are already
facing discrimination and the Taliban have already demolished their schools,”
Shaikh said. “There is an urgent need to handle this menace with iron hand now,
else, they will go out of control.”
Ali and others said Pakistan’s government
deserved some of the blame for failing to keep people safe.
“I’m disappointed from my government as they
have failed to improve the educational as well as the security situation of our
country,” said Ali. “They themselves are secure but their voters and taxpayers
are suffering.”
Shahmir Ahsanullah, a young filmmaker from
Karachi, put the onus squarely on Islamabad.
“All this is due to the inefficient law and
order situation in our country,” Ahsanullah said. “Since last 11 years, not
even a single terrorist is given death sentence. The only solution is to
activate military courts, otherwise, killings in Pakistan will continue.”
Yousafzai’s actions – standing for the cause
of education for girls – are commendable, Zehra said.
“Malala is a courageous girl!” said Zehra. “It’s
sad we couldn’t protect her. May she recover soon.”