Stories about Malala Yousafzai

Dear Iran, self-defense is not murder

The world celebrates and praises Malala Yousafzai – a Pakistani girl whose claim to fame was a bullet to her head, her fault being her desire to seek education – and while the world talks of empowering women, the world is perhaps ignorant of the plight of another young woman fighting for her life in neighbouring country, Iran. This brave, young woman happens to be 26-year old Reyhaneh Jabbari who can be put to death any time now, as her 10-day delay in execution ended last Wednesday. Her crime was stabbing a man to death, a man who tried to rape her. It was in ...

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For the West, Malala fits the image of Pakistan but Edhi does not

Let me begin by saying that I like Malala Yousafzai – she is courageous, authentic and has great conviction. But a couple of questions keep dwelling in my mind; why does the West like her so much? What is her appeal to them? And along with these questions dwells the answer as well, which is quite simple; the West is courting her because she represents a side of Pakistan and Islam that suits them. By suggesting this, I am not trying to imply that Malala doesn’t deserve her accolades; she represents hope, valour, defiance and the image of a strong ...

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Gandhiji would have been proud of you, Kailash Satyarthi

Mr Kailash Satyarthi has come a long way since his engineering days at Samrat Ashok Technological Institute, Vidisha, Madhya Pradesh, literally. My father, who was one year senior to this electrical engineering student, vividly remembers him as that shy, reticent, modest young man, from a middle-class background, who would come to the college in his staple kurta-payjama with a muffler tied around his neck. “Simple living, high thinking,” was his philosophy, recalls my father, a civil engineering student in 1970, adding that “he was different”. Mr Satyarthi would be aloof and would rarely mingle with others. One thing was clear to ...

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Today, let’s celebrate Malala Yousafzai

“Live, Malala!” I remember seeing this line somewhere on social media when Malala was shot. I remember sitting anxiously, watching the television, while channels aired the live coverage of Malala being shifted to a hospital in England for treatment. I remember the moment I found out that she was shot. I couldn’t believe my ears. I couldn’t believe the news. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. October 09, 2012 – almost exactly two years ago, she was returning from school when a masked gunman had asked her name and shot her at point blank range thrice. Thrice. She was just 14. There were many ...

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Is it a burden to have four daughters in a Pakistani society?

“Four daughters?” the woman asked, her eyes wide with a mix of horror, pity and fascination. Then, “Mashallah!” A sympathetic smile, followed by, “They are beautiful. May Allah (SWT) bless them with good kismet (fortune)” I can’t count how many times I have heard these sentences being said to my mother. Different women, same words, same connotations each time. For most of my life it did not bother me. I took it in stride. After all, it is a burden to have four daughters in a Pakistani society. To find an educated husband for them, to painstakingly accumulate their dowry, to train them in the art of keeping house; above all to ensure their ...

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Should Malala be blamed for Gaza too?

Consider this: Pakistan is in the midst of a war on terror. Swat is in control of Maulana Fazlullah, who is now the chief of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). Radio is banned, schools have been forced shut and a barbaric (read: Taliban’s) Sharia law has been imposed. In all this, a brave 12-year-old risks her life to tell the world what girls like her are going through. Fast forward two years. Her blogs on BBC and activism for the cause of education infuriates perpetrators of terrorism who attempt to assassinate her. She survives against all odds, and has now won many accolades and awards for her work and ...

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Are we supposed to stop caring about Palestine?

Blood seeps from a man’s face, his features rendered unrecognisable by the beating he took from that merciless iron rod a few days back. A baby is snatched from the arms of his mother and mercilessly killed under the pretence that he might have ended up becoming a ‘terrorist’ in the future. Fathers are slain, brothers are tortured and mothers, sisters and daughters are raped. This is how an average day looks like for a Palestinian. And now, their land is being trampled upon by a bully of an establishment that is bombing it continually and endlessly. What was once a glorious country has ...

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Happy Birthday, Malala

In a recent social media diatribe (the ones where everyone’s faith is fired up or as a friend once put it, ‘angrily typing curses and calls for Jihad from their mothers’ basements in Bradford’, and anyone against these noble agendas is a spawn of the devil), an old friend descended to defend the ‘good Taliban’, opposing drone strikes and how liberalisation is ruining Pakistani people. It’s almost mathematical; the kind of arguments that pile up in this side of the spectrum. Aafia Siddiqui is the daughter of the nation. Kashmir is ours. Taliban don’t really exist – it’s all a smokescreen because America wants to ...

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Why Malala is not a western puppet

I have always heard about how summer days and winter nights are exceptionally long in Norway. However, it was not until I visited the Scandinavian country myself that I understood the magnitude of their duration. A beautiful country on the whole, the drastic differences in the lengths of its days, as compared to Pakistan, took me a while to adjust myself over there. I was invited by the 14 August Committee to visit Oslo and meet Malala Yousafzai, who was also visiting the city at the time. When we reached the Oslo international airport, the other committee members and I were told to wait ...

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Where did Jinnah’s Pakistan go?

On August 11, 1947, certain words echoed in the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan with much emphasis. “You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place or worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed – that has nothing to do with the business of the State.”  These words were proudly stated by none other than the founding father of our nation, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. After 66 years of struggle, sacrifices and long-fought battles to procure democracy in Jinnah’s Pakistan, ...

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