News / Asia

    Taliban Shooting of Girl Shocks Pakistan

    Malala Yousufzai, a 14-year-old schoolgirl, who was wounded in a gun attack, is seen in Swat Valley, northwest Pakistan, in this undated file photo.
    Malala Yousufzai, a 14-year-old schoolgirl, who was wounded in a gun attack, is seen in Swat Valley, northwest Pakistan, in this undated file photo.
    Pakistanis are reacting with shock to the shooting of a teenage activist. A girl shot in the head by the Taliban for her “western” ideals remains in critical condition.
     
    By Wednesday, a team of Pakistani doctors had removed a bullet from Malala Yousafzai, but Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari vowed to send the 14-year-old girl abroad if doctors in Pakistan recommended moving her.
     
    Interior Minister Rehman Malik said Wednesday Yousafzai was in stable but critical condition.

    [He later said the Taliban gunman who shot Yousafzai has been identified and will soon be arrested.]

    The daylight attack shocked the country. Yousafzai, a young Muslim student, gained international and national fame for a blog documenting Taliban atrocities while her hometown in the northwestern area of Swat Valley was under the militants’ control in 2008-2009. She remains an outspoken supporter of girls' education and rights.

    Wednesday, hundreds of people rallied in Islamabad in support of the teenage activist. Political and religious leaders, students and teachers across Pakistan swiftly condemned the shooting.

    University student and fellow Swat Valley resident Jawadullah Khan expressed his disgust. “The attack on Malala was a coward’s act," he said, "because she was advocating for girls and education in Swat. It is an attack on Pakistan’s youth,” Khan stated.
     
    Taliban leaders claimed the assassination attempt in northwest Pakistan was in response to Yousafzai’s “pro-West” ideology, her speaking out against the Taliban, and calling U.S. President Barack Obama her idol.
     
    The attack was front page news across Pakistan on Wednesday, with one English daily giving it the headline “Hate Targets Hope” and another newspaper describing Yousafzai as a “peace icon”.
     
    Local TV channels also dedicated much of their coverage to the case, showing pictures of the young girl surrounded by doctors with a bandage wrapped around her head.
     
    International Crisis Group analyst Samina Ahmed says the government’s inability to rein in militant groups was resulting in a spread of violent extremist attacks across the country, the most recent being that of Yousafzai.

    “Unless the weight of the law is thrown at these violent extremists, unless the state takes action, and it has to be across the board, then these groups will become far more dangerous, even more dangerous than they are now,” Ahmed added.

    The Taliban led a violent campaign of control of the Swat area in 2008-2009, marked by beheadings and attacks on girls’ schools. It was that violence that then 11-year old Yousafzai wrote about in her blog published by the BBC under the pen name of Gul Makai.
     
    Pakistan’s military in 2009 pushed the Taliban out of Swat. But militants have been returning to the region and further west, close to the Afghan border.
     
    Yousafzai won Pakistan’s National Peace Award in 2011, and was nominated for the prestigious International Children's Peace Prize.

    Sharon Behn

    Sharon Behn is a foreign correspondent working out of Voice of America’s headquarters in Washington D.C  Her current beat focuses on political, security and humanitarian developments in Iraq, Syria and Turkey. Follow Sharon on Twitter and on Facebook.

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Kintercept from: USA
    October 12, 2012 7:34 AM
    I don't understand why this action by the Taliban would "shock" Pakistan.

    by: john from: german
    October 11, 2012 9:40 PM
    Murder and bled are very common in islam world, and we can do nothing to prevent them. How tragic they are ,living in a true hell. As long as the islamist exist, there will be no modernization and civilization for them. I pray our god can save those people.

    by: ese homes from: USA Texas
    October 11, 2012 6:05 PM
    I pray for this brave human being's recovery. The crimes against the weakest human citizens have always been perpetrated by their own governments Children are murdered in the USA weekly by its police forces. Inocent people who seek peace through their religious beliefs do not bear arms, but are convinced to fight for their power hungry leaders.
    True Christians died rather than to fight. Now we all hate each other and can no longer be called true believers in anything but worldly possesions.
    Lord have mercy on us all.

    by: sr from: california
    October 11, 2012 3:42 PM
    Shocking and sad, shows the true form of Taliban. One wonders though how come Pakistanis did not get shocked by the killing by these militants of children in India during the Mumbai and other raids and the constant killing of children in Afghanistan by these same groups.

    by: Peace Be Unto You
    October 11, 2012 10:59 AM
    God save this angel. Pak is living in dark ages. Govt is complicit with the Taliban. Everything passes in the name of Allah and Islam.Where are the so called moderate Muslims? Moderate Muslims are a smoke screen for the Taliban. They are the haystack in which these cowards hide and vanish. Can we see a thousand Muslims quitting Islam to protest this?

    by: Haris from: Hong Kong
    October 11, 2012 1:33 AM
    Its a disgrace that the Pakistan Government can allow this to go unpunished, but I find it even more of a disgrace that people use this kind of adversity to promote "anti abortion and Religion". Abortion is directly related to Religion and religion is the most common cause of war and hatred.

    by: Ali Mak from: San Francisco
    October 10, 2012 8:50 PM
    Gender Equality... may more women speak out against violence, or die fighting. -abort male babies...seriously. taliban to hell

    by: Aqsa Mayor
    October 10, 2012 5:12 PM
    OUR HEARTS CRYING GOD BLESS THIS BABY DOLL MALALA :( PRAY SHE GET WELL SOON A VERY PRECIOUS GIFT OF GOD FOR WHOLE UNIVERSE BUT VERY FEW HAVE KNEW THE VALUE OF SUCH EXTRA ORDINARY ASSET CULPRITS MUST BE HANGED TO DEATH The United Nations has said INDIA is the most dangerous place to be a girl.USA REPORT India's 2011 census shows serious decline in the number of girls under the age of seven - activists fear eight million female foetuses may have been aborted in the past decade.The BBC's Geeta Pandey in Delhi explores what has led to request Every reader to pray for this child for a speedy recovery. Malala Yousafzai, a peace ambassador of extremely northern tribal regions of Pakistan, highlighted and exposed the atrocities and crimes that were committed in the name of Taliban assumed religion/ideology. They torture, kill women, children and set fire on girls¿ schools. They want to live in the Stone Age and won't let anyone else to progress either. They need eliminating as they are a major threat to Human Race. The 14 years old child exposed the heinous crimes of Taliban¿s against women, children and non bearded individuals. She wrote for the BBC and used the pseudonym of Gull Makee. She was interviewed by the World Media and was awarded a Civil Award of Courage by the Pakistani Govt.

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