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Pakistan: Pakistani girl shot over education activism in Swat valley, claims Taliban


Her efforts were recognised by Pakistan’s prime minister who awarded her the country’s first National Peace award and a reward of around £3,300 after she missed out on winning the International Children’s Peace Prize for which she was nominated in 2011.

Ahmadiyya Times | News Watch | Int’l Desk
Source/Credit: The Guardian | UK
By Jon Boone | October 9, 2012

Malala Yousafzai, 14, attacked for championing education for girls and highlighting Taliban atrocities, says group

A 14-year old Pakistani activist who championed education for girls has been shot in the head by a Taliban gunman.

The attack on Malala Yousafzai, who became famous for highlighting Taliban atrocities, happened as she sat in a bus preparing to leave the school grounds in Mingora, the main city in the Swat valley which was the scene of intense fighting between the army and the Taliban in 2009.

At least one other girl was also hurt in the attack on Tuesday that a Taliban spokesman, Ehsanullah Ehsan, quickly claimed the group was responsible for.

He said the teenager’s work had been an “obscenity” that needed to be stopped: “This was a new chapter of obscenity, and we have to finish this chapter.”

Doctors said the gunshot wounds to her head and neck were serious and that she might have to be moved to a larger hospital in Islamabad or Peshawar.

Fazal Maula Zahid, a member of Swat Qaumi Jirga, a local anti-Taliban group working for peace in the valley, said the gunman had asked which of the girls was Malala.

One of the girls pointed to Malala, but the activist denied it was her. The gunman shot both of the girls.

“An attack on Malala in a highly secured area has sent a shiver down the spine of Swati people,” Zahid said.

“It has also created doubts about the claims of the authorities that militants have been flushed out from Swat.”

Malala won fame in 2009 during the Pakistani army operations to crush a Taliban insurgency that had taken hold in the Swat valley, an area popular among Pakistani tourists three hours drive from Islamabad.

As part of her campaign for girls’ education she wrote an anonymous blog for the BBC about the chaos at the time, including the burning of girls’ schools.

Her efforts were recognised by Pakistan’s prime minister who awarded her the country’s first National Peace award and a reward of around £3,300 after she missed out on winning the International Children’s Peace Prize for which she was nominated in 2011.

She had also spoken of her desire to set up her own political party and a vocational institute for marginalised girls in her area.

But all the publicity displeased the Pakistani Taliban, which had put her and her family on its “hit list” for backing “the imposition of secular” government in Swat.

The attack in the army-dominated Mingora has led some to question government claims that the military has dismantled the militants’ operation in Swat.

“We are holding urgent meeting of our Jirga to chalk out a future strategy,” said Zahid. “We demand of the government to arrest the attackers [otherwise] the confidence of the people in the government will greatly be shaken.”

Zahid Khan, another Quami Jirga activist who was attacked earlier in the year, said the authorities were not doing enough.

“More than 20 people have been killed in militant attacks after the army finished its operations but all the army does is protect itself and government buildings,” he said. “It seems that innocent civilians are once again are at the mercy of miscreants.”

Also on Tuesday a case before the supreme court highlighted other problems faced by women when justices ordered an investigation into the alleged barter of seven girls to settle a blood feud in a remote district in south west Pakistan.

Chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry began proceedings into the allegations, which were first reported in the local media. The alleged trade happened in the Dera Bugti district of Baluchistan province between two groups within the Bugti tribe.

A tribal council ordered the barter in early September, the district deputy commissioner, Saeed Faisal, told the court. He did not know the girls’ ages but local media reported they were between four and 13.

Chaudhry ordered Faisal to make sure that all members of the tribal council appear in court on Wednesday, as well as a local lawmaker who belongs to one of the two subtribes believed involved in the incident.

The tradition of families exchanging unmarried girls to settle feuds is banned under Pakistani law but still practiced in the country’s more conservative, tribal areas.

Read original post here: Pakistani girl shot over activism in Swat valley, claims Taliban

This content-post is archived for backup and to keep archived records of any news Islam Ahmadiyya. The views expressed by the author and source of this news archive do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of Ahmadiyya Times.

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