Global acclaim for Malala Yousafzai means little to the rightwing ideology embedded in Pakistan.
Barring carefully worded editorials in Pakistan’s English-language press, there was little praise for Malala Yousafzai being declared the youngest ever U.N. Messenger of Peace in her homeland. Yousafzai, possibly Pakistan’s most famous personality is persona non grata here; there is significant risk that if she ever returns, she could be killed. In this, her life mirrors that of Pakistan’s first Nobel laureate, Abdus Salam, who also couldn’t live in his native land for fear of death. In Pakistan, it seems, the hero to defend is U.S. terrorism convict Dr. Aafia Siddiqui.
The would-be killers of Malala Yousafzai issued the following statement to justify their 2009 attack on her:
1) in the war on “kufr” (unbelief) she was on the side of those who prefer “nudity, lewdness, and Westernization”;
2) she was not a child but had crossed puberty at 15 and was responsible for her deeds;
3) is the killing of women allowed in Islam? Yes! After the conquest of Mecca, [Islam’s] Prophet had personally ordered several women to be killed, including by stoning to death;
4) was Malala guilty? Yes! This so-called innocent “child” actually wrote a diary under the false name of Gul Makai, and daily “criticized us” in it. She called Obama her ideal, and preferred the secular education of Lord Macaulay to Islamic education;
5) was Malala unarmed? No! She was armed with the pen, a weapon sharper than the sword, with which she daily defamed Islam and Muslims. She portrayed the Taliban as beastly savages. This is why “we rightly punished her.”
The statement concluded by condemning Pakistan over its refusal to protest against “the strip-searching and incarceration of the daughter of Islam,” Dr. Aafia. Unfortunately for Malala, many Pakistanis appear to share the Taliban’s view on her life and work.