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The Malala moment: 6 Pakistani views on the girl shot by the Taliban

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2. 'We are not Malala'

As the story of the attack grew bigger, Pakistanis moved by the girl's courage began saying "We are all Malala." Leaders from across the political and religious spectrum expressed their support for her, offering a rare show of unity. But writing in the left-leaning Express Tribune newspaper, Saroop Ijaz argues the country's body politic does not uphold Malala's values:

"We are all Malala". No, we are not. Had all of us or even most of been Malala, these medieval thugs could not have attacked her. Had enough of us been Malala, nobody would have dared to make excuses for this murderous assault. By all means, feel terrible about us not being Malala but also feel worse and angry that the one who was Malala is now fighting for her life because of our failure to protect her. Also, assume the liberty of shaming with contempt and rage anyone who tries to make an excuse for this.

Mr. Ijaz goes on to allude indirectly to a controversy over whether cricket star-turned-politician Imran Khan sufficiently condemned the Pakistani Taliban, or TTP, by name. Mr. Khan had recently led a march protesting civilian casualties caused by US drone attacks targeting militants like the TTP. After the shooting, Khan drew an equivalency by condemning not just the shooting of Malala but also the US drone strikes. Ijaz argues against complicating a moment of clarity:

A good thing coming out of this episode is the emergence of challenge to our society in the most overt and naked form. There are those who are trying to inject complexity into the debate and some of them unwittingly are becoming apologists for this mindset of murder and blowing up girls’ schools. Yet, there remains very little room for complexity. It can either be Malala’s Pakistan or TTP’s Pakistan, it cannot be both. This should not be a choice. A Pakistan without Malala and her other fellow girls fighting for education will not be worth living in. I know binaries are supposed to be lazy and not nuanced enough, however, a 14-year-old child is shot in the head for 'promoting secularism'. There is no provision for nuance. One has to set one’s face against this and summon all resources to fight. The debate on drone attacks can and should continue. However it has no bearing on our responsibility to fight these medievalists.

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