KARACHI, Pakistan — Tens of thousands rallied in Pakistan's largest city Sunday in the biggest show of support yet for a 14-year-old girl who was shot and seriously wounded by the Taliban for promoting girls' education and criticizing the militant group.From The Hindu:
One of the exceptions is the political party that organized Sunday's rally in the southern port city of Karachi, the Muttahida Quami Movement. The party's chief, Altaf Hussain, criticized both Islamic and other mainstream political parties for failing to organize rallies to protest the attack on Malala.
He called the Taliban gunmen who shot the girl "beasts" and said it was an attack on "the ideology of Pakistan."
"Malala Yousufzai is a beacon of knowledge. She is the daughter of the nation," Hussain told the audience by telephone from London, where he is in self-imposed exile because of legal cases pending against him in Pakistan. His party is strongest in Karachi.
Many of the demonstrators carried the young girl's picture and banners praising her bravery and expressing solidarity.
When gun-toting men stopped their school wagon in Mingora last Tuesday around 12.45 p.m. asking for Malala Yousafzai, none of the three girls inside spoke. This, despite the terrorists threatening to shoot all of them if they did not identify Malala.From the CBC:
Today, stirred by the braveheart, who dared to stand up to the Taliban, and her friends, Shazia and Kainat, who refused to identify her even under threat, girls across Pakistan are saying ‘I am Malala.’
This is happening not just on the social media – which offers a degree of anonymity and security – but also on television and on the streets; some with their faces uncovered. ‘I-am-Malala’ has been trending not just in Pakistan but also in Afghanistan where girls’ education is equally at risk from the very same elements.
On Saturday, the Afghanistan Education Ministry organised a nationwide prayer for her at schools. She is being likened to ‘Malalai of Maiwand,’ the ‘Afghan Joan of Arc’ who rallied the Pashtun army against the British in 1880.
In an echo of the Pakistan People’s Party pet slogan kitne Bhutto maroge, har ghar se Bhutto niklega (how many Bhuttos will you kill, every house will produce one), the refrain across the country is “how many Malalas will you kill?’’ As daily vigils are being organised to pray for the speedy recovery of Malala and her friends, girls were coming forward; willing to stand up and be counted. Her classmate from the Khushal Public School in Mingora, asserted: “Every girl in Swat is Malala. We will educate ourselves. We will win. They can’t defeat us.’’
Even the country's top military officer — a man who rarely makes public statements — condemned the shooting and visited the Peshawar hospital to check on the teenager.From TheStar.com
"In attacking Malala, the terrorist have failed to grasp that she is not only an individual, but an icon of courage and hope who vindicates the great sacrifices that the people of Swat and the nation gave, for wresting the valley from the scourge of terrorism," Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani said in a statement.Malala Yousafzai rose to fame for speaking out against militants.Malala Yousafzai rose to fame for speaking out against militants. (Hazart Ali Bacha/Reuters)
Across Pakistan people are holding prayer vigils for Malala Yousafzai, the courageous 14-year-old girl who was shot and gravely wounded by a Taliban gunman for daring to believe that young women deserve an education. Schools have been shuttered in her honour. People have donated blood. Rallies have been held to condemn her attackers.From ZeeNews:
In Parliament, Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf hailed the young peace and education activist and blogger as “Pakistan’s daughter.” Military chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani called her “an icon of courage and hope.” And people voiced their revulsion at the attack on the Internet, in newspapers and on television.
The sheer outpouring of rage, grief and praise for Malala should cause those who are tempted to write off Pakistan as a hopelessly polarized “failing state” to think again. The shooting has appalled Pakistanis across their political, religious and communal divides. Progressives can only hope that the savagery of the attack will mobilize moderates and undercut what support Pakistan’s Tehreek-e-Taliban and like-minded zealots still retain among the deeply traditional rural poor and marginalized.
Islamabad: Special prayers and vigils were held at mosques and educational institutions across Pakistan on Friday for the recovery of teenage rights activist Malala Yousufzai, who was shot in the head during an assassination attempt by the Taliban.Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown:
The attack on the 14-year-old who led a campaign for the education of girls has triggered anger and revulsion across Pakistan, and even some right wing politicians perceived as being soft on the Taliban have said that the incident went against Islamic ideals.
Students prayed for Malala's recovery during the morning assembly at schools and educational institutions.
The governments of Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa provinces urged people to observe the day as "Youm-e-Dua" (day of prayer).
Special prayers were also offered after the Friday 'namaz' at mosques across the country and clerics condemned the attack on the teenager, who is on ventilator in an intensive care unit in a military hospital in Rawalpindi. Malala was airlifted from Peshawar to Rawalpindi yesterday after doctors removed a bullet that was lodged near her spine.
By denigrating Malala’s campaign for women’s education as “an obscenity,” the Taliban have provoked worldwide revulsion that has now led to a global petition demanding new rights for girls. In the last few days Pakistan has seen a prayer day, a lawyers strike, and hundreds of “chains of hope” formed in city-by-city support of Malala.The Taliban have seriously miscalculated. It is incumbent on us EVERYWHERE to change the world.
Political and military leaders have flocked to Malala’s bedside. And I have just been invited by the Pakistani government in my role as U.N. special envoy for global education to bring a delegation of education leaders to meet President Asif Ali Zadari on Nov. 10 to discuss how Pakistan can achieve education for all. Demonstrations for Malala have spread out of Pakistan—not just to Bangladesh, India, and Afghanistan, but around the world. Offers of support have poured in to guarantee not only schooling but also security to Pakistani girls like Malala, so that they are no longer deprived of their right to education.
Malala is fast being adopted as every child’s sister and every parent’s daughter. For one Malala shot, there are now thousands of even younger Malalas ready to come forward. We may not yet be seeing a 2012 Asian autumn led by children to mirror the Arab spring, but the spontaneous wave of protest we are witnessing shows that children are more assertive of their right to education than the leaders who promised to deliver it. Indeed the protests reveal a world no longer willing to tolerate the gap between the promise of opportunity for all and the reality of 61 million boys and girls shut out from even the most basic of primary schooling.