“CIA behind Malala attack”, “Was Malala a US agent?”, “Is Malala a conspiracy?” – These headlines have replaced “I heart Malala” slogans.
Over the weeks, in stark contrast to the healing wounds of Malala, the incident which brought her these wounds is constantly being rubbed upon and storified with new versions.
Malala was shot in the head inside her school bus by ‘a bearded man’ from the Tehrek-i-Taliban on 9th October in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for being a ‘Secular minded lady’. Her name was in the Taliban hit list of 2011 – after she volunteered to write for BBC Urdu under the name Gul Makai about the Talibanisation of Swat Valley.
The word ‘Education’ which Malala would have wanted to echo in her country is now replaced by Taliban, Conspiracy, US Government, drone attack, Radio Mullah, and celebrities like Angelina Jolie and Madonna. The ‘Malala’ name in itself, which in Urdu means ‘grief stricken’, is now a chant in every lip.
Twitter and Facebook are flooding with Malala Campaigns and Petitions. One of the tweets read, “Malala should be a serious consideration for Nobel Prize”. While Angelina donated 50000$ to support the cause for women education, Madonna dedicated a strip scene to Malala during one of her performances in Los Angeles. Also, her school name has been changed to ‘Malala public high school”.
While voices from all over the world have lashed out against Taliban’s brutal act, there seems to be a little hesitation, a fear of sorts from the Pakistani side. Journalists were slapped with restrictions and politicians chose their words with caution while talking about it.
‘We have local affiliates and supporters. Sure I can give big statements against the Taliban but that would make them [supporters] Taliban targets” said Imran Khan when he had gone to visit Malala. The fact that he feared even to openly accuse the Taliban for their act earned him a blog titled “Shame on you, Mr Khan” in the Express Tribune.
Tehrek-i-Taliban openly claimed the responsibility of the attack. It is alleged that Mullah Fazlullah, aka Radio Mullah who was the brain behind the attack is hiding in Waziristan – a tribal region bordering Afghanistan.
It was 10 days after the incident that a half minded proposal was made by the Zardari government to launch a military attack. Nawaz Sharif, the leader of the opposition completely ruled out the idea of an attack since it will affect the forthcoming elections in March.
The Pakistani Government has always been considerate about the feelings of their fellow Muslim ‘Brothers’. The idea of Muslim attacking Muslims, for them, is unfathomable. They believe that the roots of the attack always are set in the West. Hence without a twitch they assassinated Malala’s character by calling her a ‘US agent’ and claiming that she was a part of US Government’s plan to continue the drone attacks.
Immediately after the attack, the US spokesperson, Victoria Nuland was heard saying that fight against extremism will take place in Pakistan which is “a Silver lining in the tragic incident”. This further convinced their belief of US involvement.
A photo of Malala meeting with American military officers was tweeted by Samia Quazi, a member of women’s ultra conservative party, with provoking captions to show that US government was Malala’s ally and that she had stood as a puppet adhering to their commands. This photo was later found to be from one of the documentaries.
Few conspiracy blogs mentioned that the CIA agents posed as Taliban or the Taliban acted as per the CIA commands. Few others went to the absurdity of quoting that the obscure image of the girl running behind Malala’s stretcher was Malala herself.
The issue of Afia Siddiqui , who served 86 year sentence for her attempts to kill the US agents was sensitised after the Malala attack with these questions.‘ Why Malala alone? Why not a dozen of Pakistani women who die of drones everyday or those who become a sacrifice in terrorist activities? Why Obama has his helicopter on hold for only her? Why prayers are being said for Malala and not for several other daughters attacked and bruised in various terror strikes?’
It pains to see the image of a girl who stood for a good cause being rampaged by the public to vent their anger towards the west, an anger which has been mounting up since the attack on Osama, release of the anti- Islamic movie and the drone attacks.
Was the attempt to kill Malala a pretext which could be used to carry out a military operation against the Taliban in North Waziristan?
One can only wonder.
Now, Taliban wants her dead. Oblivion to this threat, she recovers in her hospital bed consumed in her noble thoughts.
“Democracy is the best rule. This country needs new leaders. I want to study the law and I dream of a country in which education prevails and no one sleeps hungry.” – Malala