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Attack on Malala raises serious questions

By Syed Atiq ul Hassan - posted Friday, 19 October 2012

Two female students injured in the attack on Malala Yousufzai in Pakistan have told the media that the gunman first asked who Malala was before shooting her. This means the shooters did not know Malala but were tasked with her shooting by others.  

According to the American Free Press (AFP), just after the shooting, a spokesperson of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Ehsanullah Ehasan, called an AFP reporter and claimed responsibility. Through AFP the news spread in the Pakistani media and around the world.

According to AFP, Ehsanullah told the reporter that they wanted to kill Malala because she was speaking against the Taliban and calling President Obama her idol.


A representative of the Taliban in Afghanistan, Sirajuddin Ahmed, has declared that they will attack Malala again if she survives. Within hours, a U.S. spokesperson appeared in the media, condemned the attack on Malala, and reaffirmed that the U.S. mission against Taliban will continue in the region. Bear in mind that the U.S. has been forcing Pakistan to do more against the Taliban in Waziristan for some time now.

Of concern to the Pakistan parliament has been U.S drone attacks. In response the Pakistani national parliament had passed joint resolution against drone attacks. The ruling and opposition parties and Pakistani’s are opposed to the drone attacks and have demanded the US to stop the illegal drone attacks inside Pakistan.  Yet the U.S. is continuing drone attacks in Pakistani territory.

In recent developments, the international community is increasingly condemning the drone attacks. Many international survey and media polls being conducted show that the U.S. drone attacks are being facing growing opposition from the international community and international human rights organisations. The latter are planning to proceed against the U.S in international courts to have drone attacks deemed illegal.

After nation-wide condemnation the attack on Malala in Pakistan, in her latest statement, Victoria Nuland the U.S. State Department spokesperson, said that the popular opinion against Taliban in cities and towns of Pakistan would help the U.S. continue in their actions against the Taliban. This also means that the drone attacks in Waziristan will continue. After the attack on Malala, and with the Taliban taking responsibility for the attack, the U.S. can justify continued drone attacks in Pakistan territory. The U.S. has become the beneficiary of the attack on Malala.

Malala’s diary, Life under the Taliban, which she wrote for BBC in 2009, inspired people internationally and created a thought provoking movement against Taliban and their activities in the north of Pakistan. That is why, she was added to a Taliban hit list.

But fearlessly Malala continued her campaign for the education of girls. Malala’s mission was inspiring for Pakistani youth in every city and town. Malala’s brave parents decided not to leave their hometown despite the fact that they were a target for the Taliban.


People in Pakistan knew that Malala Yousufzai could become a target of the Taliban, except perhaps the Pakistani government. It doesn't make sense that one side, the present government of Pakistan awarded the National Peace Prize to Malala for her courageous fight against the most dangerous elements of Taliban and on the other hand the Pakistani law enforcement agencies did not provide any security for Malala.

Was it the responsibility of 14 year-old Malala to acknowledge and ask the government to provide her security or was it the duty of the responsible agencies and their high-profile officers sitting in air-conditioned offices and travelling in bulletproof vehicle to provide her security?

The Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, the Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf Pakistani, the Interior Minister, Mr. Rehman Malik, all are now condemning the shooting of Malala and asserting the will arrest the culprits. But why did it come to this?

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About the Author

Syed Atiq ul Hassan, is senior journalist, writer, media analyst and foreign correspondent for foreign media agencies in Australia. His email is

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