She was precocious. She raised the voice for education and peace at a time when everybody else was afraid even to speak out and chose to keep a low key stance in order to avoid a stray bullet of the so called God’s soldiers hitting his neck or even going past grazing it. Gifted and talented as Malala was, she had a great future ahead of her. But all this did not sit well with the heavenly curse clamped on our society called Talibans. I don’t blame Talibans as they have appeared in the form of divine scourge to punish us for our innumerable misdeeds heaping up from the past. Alternately, I can recount the agony of Muhammad Shah Rangeela after Delhi was sacked and pools of human blood, formed as an aftermath of the pogrom, were at places said to be knee-deep to the horses of the invading warriors. The unfortunate Mughal king then tried to mitigate his failings by hiding behind the cliché “Shamat-e-a’mal-e-ma soorat-e-nadir grift”. Our position vis-a-vis Talibans is no better than that of the hapless Mughal king. So, whatever the Talibans are inflicting on us are the just deserts of our own deeds.
The man who trained his gun on Malala and fired the almost fatal shot must have been a barbarian who never saw in his life the light of the civilized world and ipso facto could not possibly have been expected to do anything better that would be worth the human dignity. After all, this is how they have been trained and convinced to indiscriminately kill the young and old alike and then gatecrash into the paradise and enjoy the company of extraterrestrial damsels.
Malala has become a living legend in such a tender age. The entire country had a vigil praying for her immediate recovery. God has answered their prayers and, at the time of writing these lines, she is responding well to the treatment showing encouraging signs on her way back to recovery. She has, in fact, been evacuated from Peshawar and moved to Rawalpindi. Readers, imagine, how hard it is to heal and how easy to kill! However, what disappoints me is the vacillation of Imran Khan to denounce outright the blatant murder attempt on the life of an innocent girl still in her teens. His journey to the promised-land and his cries in the wilderness on the way to South Waziristan have gone unnoticed when he chose to go soft on clearly denouncing the Talibans who are a group of uninformed and untaught religious fanatics hell-bent on militancy which is helping no one. They don’t realize that if the shedding of human blood comes so naturally to them, why do they undergo the training to kill? Whenever they feel like enjoying, they can just take potshots and kill the people.
In summary, this was precisely the time when Imran and the religious leaders must have spliced together and come out categorically declaring the impious elements of Taliban insurgency as social evils. Alas, this was not to be. If they can storm the roads and streets of this country on a minor political issue why can’t they do so over such a horrendous crime?
I don’t think any trek to Waziristan by anyone is of any major value when it is intended to score points politically in order to enhance the chances of a swelling ballot during the course of the elections very much on the horizon already. It has become imperative now for everybody, especially Imran Khan and religious leaders, to lay their cards on the table and declare where their sympathies lie – with the Talibans or with the people who are being butchered without remorse. As for the tough time the Talibans are facing because of the reversals in their fortunes, it should be understood that they have been fighting a proxy war for long and were rewarded well for their efforts and if the tide has turned against them because of the change in the priorities of their former masters they should live with it. Does not the situation look pathetic? Just imagine a teenager returning from school with her schoolmates and surprised by an activist of the religious hooligans in such a cruel way? The would-be killer was, by all means, a human being and not a junkyard dog and he must, therefore, have shown due regard to the innocent child. Are we living in a human society or it is a wasteland where criminals have taken roots?
Notwithstanding the above, the time has come that the great Khan and the religious patriarchs like Fazal-ur-Rehman, Sami-ul-Haq, Tahir Ashrafi etc. should clarify their position as to where they stand – with the killers on the rampage or with the society of civilized people who want peace and education for the children to flourish? If they are pro-life supporters and have no hangover of an erstwhile implicit and think-alike association with these insurgents they should tell the people of Pakistan without mincing the words. Do not use the drone attacks to justify the killing of innocent people and attempting to lynch a teenager who dreams of nothing but a better future for the children of her clime.
Targeting the child named Malala was a murder attempt by a human being on a human being and should not be let pass. Or, we can say, it was an atrocity in the name of God. People kill others in the name of religion only when they are unsure of their own dogma and dispensation being correct and standing to reason. Those who resort to violence are people of low intelligence and are nurturing uncalled for notions. Their defective knowledge can be seen where they try to draw parallel between the attempt on Malala’s life and the story of Moses and Khidhar in which the later killed a child and stopped Moses from asking questions. Are not they too self-righteous and elevating themselves to the level of prophets? They also monopolize to interpret the faith to fit their own vague ideas.
Where has General Hamid Gul gone by the way? He has always subsisted over the achievements of Talibans. Why has he not offered any comments? May be he took to the safety of his dugout to avoid the public notice instead of getting involved in the raging controversy. The time has come that he must weigh in decisively on either side i.e. either laud the crime perpetrated by Talibans or censure them for their reckless behavior. He cannot get away with a detached position. As for Qazi Hussain Ahmad and Hafiz Saeed, they can be excused for being people of the primus aevum. Hafiz Saeed will be better advised to stick to taking over mosques by force and posting his gunmen to scare away the people whose religious views run counter to his perceptions.
In the end, let me advance my own opinion. We can not let our resolve against militants be limited to TTP alone and no change can ever take place nor there will be an apocalypse to hold the evil-doers to account unless the people come out to bring the revolution or the drastic change themselves. People are power and if they decide to bring the change, and cleanse the society of the unruly elements, they can do it otherwise we will always remain at the mercy of the ruthless and wanton killers.
The writer is in his mid 70s and has to his credit a vast experience of working with national and international business executives. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org