The Schoolgirl and The Taliban

A friend of mine Yasmeen Ali, a lawyer and Professor at Beaconhouse University in Pakistan has recently had her book published “A Comparative Analysis of Media & Media Laws in Pakistan”. I noticed an excerpt on her Facebook page taken from the chapter Social Responsibility of the Media which reads as follows :
“Media must be ‘politically accountable’ too. Can the media ‘take sides’ as a policy? ‘In one’s primary capacity as a reporter of news one must be objective, impartial and as accurate as possible. There is no room for the injection of opinion. Someone reading a news item in a newspaper or listening to it on radio or television should have no idea what the reporter thinks about the story. “It is the reporter’s job to tell the story, not to let people have his opinion on it. Tell the tale properly and let people form their own opinion; never try to tell them what to think. It is patronizing and highly unprofessional.”

So I have taken a story currently in the headlines of world’s press with just that in mind.

International media recently reported an attack on 14 year old Pakistani schoolgirl Malalala Yousasfzai as she sat on a bus with two friends. The Tehreek –e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) have claimed responsibility for shooting the teenager at close range in the head and leg and injuring two of her classmates. They have since released a statement detailing their reasons for the attack.

It is noted in some press stories that Malala from Swat has become a “symbol of resistance for many” campaigning for the right to attend school in her country which led to her being presented with Pakistan’s first National Peace Award. The young girl became known internationally when aged just 11 she began writing an account of life under the Taliban and the difficulty she and others faced trying to continue their education. Malala was recorded in a video interview with IBN/CNN stating, “I have the right to play, I have the right to sing, I have the right to talk, I have the right to go to market, I have the right to speak up”.

The global media is filled with articles of condemnation and outrage from human rights advocates to the White House (though there is no similar outrage from the latter with regard to US killing children as a result of drone strikes). Schools in Swat Valley closed to express their concerns and solidarity with Malala who has now had the bullet to her neck removed. She was described by Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik who visited Malala at a hospital in Peshawar to be “out of danger but she will be kept in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for next 48 hours”. Imran Khan, Pakistan Tereek-e-Insaf  (PTI) also visited, having earlier condemned those responsible in a statement released shortly after the attack and said he was “deeply saddened by this inhumane act”.

Protests have been held across Pakistan. Such is the level of disgust expressed by the public that the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government are offering a reward of RS 1 crore to anyone who helps identify those who attacked the schoolgirl, announced by provincial Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain. Secrecy is offered to anyone coming forward.

Rehman Malik also told journalists that authorities had identified the attackers who shot the 14-year-old schoolgirl and they would be brought to justice. He claimed they had come from the Afghan province of Kunar to Swat to target Malala”.

My questions to the current government of Pakistan would be:-

Do you operate a zero tolerance policy with regard to violence against women in Pakistan, whoever commits such acts?

Does the current legislation support this?

If not what needs to change?

In her Diary for BBC Urdu, Malala had documented her response to a decree by the Taliban to close down her school in Mingora. So let’s look at whatone well educated young Pakistani teacher of English had to say about women and education giving examples from the Quran. As well as women being educated by other women, she states:-

Women can be educated by men.The Prophet sent Umar Ibn al-Khattab to teach the women of the Ansar: It is reported by Umm `Atiyahthaat when the Messenger of Allah came to Madinah, he ordered the women of the Ansar (Muslims of Madinah) to gather in one house, and sent Umar Ibn al-Khattab to them (to convey the teachings of Islam). He saluted them while standing at the door of the house and they returned his greeting. Then he said, `I am a messenger of the Messenger of Allah, sent especially to you.’

And women taught men too, not only the wives of the Prophet but many others later were teachers of men, e.g. Aishahbt.Sa’idIbnAbiWaqqas, who taught the first compiler of Hadith, Malik; and Sayyida Nafisa, granddaughter of al-Hasan, the Prophet’s grandson, who taught Imam Shafi’i, and much later a woman taught Ibn al-Arabi, the famous Sufi thinker and greatly influenced his thought.

I thought about what questions I would put to the Taliban given the opportunity, they are as follows:-

Who ordered the attack on Mala Yousafzai?

Why did you attack a young girl, who is little more than a child?

What are your objections to women’s education?

How does this attack fit into the teachings of the Quran?

How does this attack fit into statements from Mullah Omar not to target civilians?

I was not able to submit the above but did receive a copy of the general statement given by TTP spokesperson via a contact in the region. I am aware that these statements are heavily censored in the press but am presenting the public with the full statement exactly as received.

“TTP successfully targeted Malala Yousafzai in Mingora, although she was young and a girl and TTP does not believe in attacking on women, but whom so ever leads campaign against Islam & Shariah is Ordered to be killed by Shariah.
When its a matter of Shariah, and someone tries to bring fitnah with his/her activities, and it involves in leading a campaign against shariah and tries to involve whole community in such campaign, and that personality become a symbol of anti S hariah campaign, not just its allowed to kill such person but its Obligatory in Islam.
If anyone Argues about her so young age , then the Story of HazratKhizar in Quran that relates that Hazrat Khizar while Traveling with Prophet Musa (AS) killed a child, arguing about the reason of his killing he said that the parents of this child are Pious and in future he will cause bad name for them.
If anyone argues that she was female, then we can see the incident of killing of wife by a blind Companion of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.W) because she use to say insulting words for prophet. And prophet praised this act.
It’s a clear command of shariah that any female, that by any means play role in war against Mujahideen, should be killed. Malala Yousafzai was playing a vital role in bucking up the emotions of Murtad army and Government of Pakistan, and was inviting Muslims to hate Mujahideen.
Tehrik-e-Taliban’s crime wasn’t that they banned education for girls, instead our crime is that we tried to bring Education system for both boys and girls under shariah.We are deadly against co-education and secular education system, and shriah orders us to be against it.
If anyone thinks that Malala is targeted because of education, that’s absolutely wrong, and a propaganda of Media, Malala is targeted because of her pioneer role in preaching secularism and so called enlightened moderation. And whom so ever will commit so in future too will be targeted again by TTP.
After this incident Media pour out all of its smelly propaganda against Taliban mujahideen with their poisonous tounges, they are shouting that Malala has suffered tyranny like there is no else in the country whom is facing same. Were our sister in lal masjid whom were bombed, gassed and burnt to death, were not humans?? and the sinless women and children of Swat , Bajour, Mohmand, Orakzai, & Waziristan whom suffered inhumane bombardments by Murtad army don’t qualify to bestow mercy upon them?

Will the blind media pay any attention to Hundreds of Respectful sisters whom are in secret detention centers of ISI and MI and suffering by their captives? Will you like to put an eye on more then three thousand young men whom are killed in secret detention centers and their bodies are found in different areas of swat, claimed to be killed in encounters and died by Cardiac Arrest??”


Gain Conscious, Otherwise…………

From: Ihsan-ullah-Ihsan
Central Spokesman TTP

I understand that since this statementwas released Taliban have allegedly said they would strike at Malala again. So to refer back to the words of my friend cited at the beginning of the article, “tell the tale properly and let people form their own opinion, never try to tell them what to think. Readers now have the opportunity to do just that and can come to their own conclusions regarding the attack on a schoolgirl.

Carol Anne Grayson has a Masters in Gender, Culture and Development and was Executive Producer of Oscar nominated Incident in New Baghdad and awarded ESRC Michael Young Prize for research 2009.

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The views expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Lahore Times.

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