Who Is Malala Yousafzai A Patriot Or Traitor

Noor ul Huda


Malala! Who was a 15 years old girl in Swat district of Pakistan became too much famous rapidly in the whole world that some kind of controversy has built against her? Malala who is the youngest Noble prize laureate now has become an influential personality in the world but Pakistanis show some resent about her like she is an agent of US. I will try to describe her real story and how she became so famous.

Malala was born on 12 July 1997 in the Swat district of Pakistan, northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Malala was educated mostly by her father Ziauddin Yousafzai who was a poet, school owner and an educational activist himself, running a chain of private schools known as Khushal public school. Malala was inspired to become a doctor but later her father encouraged her to become a politician. Inspired by Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, Malala started speaking about educational rights when her father took her to Peshawar to speak at the local press club. Malala asked her audience in a speech covered by newspapers and television channels “How dare the Taliban to take away my basic right to education “. In late 2008, Aamer Ahmed Khan of BBC Urdu website came up with a novel way of covering the Taliban’s growing influence in Swat. They decided to ask a schoolgirl to blog about her life there. They were in touch with local school teacher Ziauddin Yousafzai but could not find any students willing to do so as it was considered too dangerous to them and their families. Finally, Ziauddin suggested his own daughter 11 years old Malala who was in 7th grade at the time.

Taliban militants led by Mullah Fazal Ullah were taking over the Swat valley, banning televisions, music, girl’s education and women from going shopping. Bodies of beheaded policeman were being displayed in town squares. On 3 January 2009, Malala first blog was posted to the BBC Urdu blog. The blog records Malala thoughts during the first battle of swat as military operation take place, fewer girls show up to school and finally Malala’s school shuts down. Taliban destroyed several more local schools. On 24 January 2009, Malala wrote “our annual exams are due after the vacations but this will only be possible if the Taliban allows girls to go to school. We were told to prepare certain chapters for the exam but I do not feel like studying.”

As Malala became more recognized, the dangers facing has increased. She began to receive threats. On 9 October 2012, a Taliban gunman shot Malala as she rode home on a bus after taking the exam. She was 15 years old at the time.

When 100% treatment was not available in Pakistan, Malala travelled to the UK for further treatment. The murder attempt received worldwide media coverage and produced an outpouring of sympathy and anger. Political leaders, international organizations even singers, actors stood up to support her as a very brave in standing up for the right to education for girls.

On 12 July 2013, Malala 16th birthday, she spoke at the UN to call for worldwide access to education. It was her first speech since the attack with an audience of over 500 young education advocates from around the world. She said

“The terrorists thought that they would change my aims and stop my ambitions but nothing change in my life except this: weakness, fear, and hopelessness died and strength, power and courage was born”

On 10 October 2014, Malala was announced as the co-recipient of the 2014 Noble peace prize. Having received the prize at the age of 17, Malala is the youngest noble prize laureate and a second Pakistani to receive a noble prize after 1979 physics laureate Abdus Salam.

 There was praise but also some disapproval of the decision. Reception of Malala in Pakistan is mostly negative. Malala statements conflict with the view that militancy in Pakistan is a result of western interference and conservatives and Islamic fundamentalists describe her ideology as anti-Pakistan and anti-Islam.

In 2015, the all Pakistan private school federations banned I AM MALALA (book by Malala) and the president Mirza Kashif Ali released a book I AM NOT MALALA. The book accuses Malala of attacking the Pak army under the pretense of female education, describes her father as a double agent and denounces the Malala funds promotion of secular education. Conspiracy theorists state that she is an agent of American central intelligence agency. Many Pakistanis view her as an agent of west due to her noble prize and as a Jewish agent. However, Malala does have some support in Pakistani media and is seen as courageous by some Pakistanis.

In another aspect, in Pakistan, upward mobility is a very tall order. The poor struggle very hard to reach prosperity. According to the 2015 study of OXFAM and LAHORE UNIVERSITY OF MANAGEMENT SCIENCES, 40% of Pakistani children are in the lowest economic condition and expected to remain there for life. Nearby 60% of Pakistan poorest kids are not in school and 70% of Pakistani rural poor are landless. Pakistan has few rags to riches tales. Climbing all the way up the ladder to the ranks of upper class remains a highly difficult feat to pull off. Yet Malala bucked off the trend and rose to the very top from a school teacher’s daughter to the embodiment of global elite. Pakistanis are not used to seeing this type of transformation especially one that happens so quickly and this reality provokes a range of responses. For some it’s admiration, for others it’s a fit of jealousy, for still others its skepticism and suspicion.

On her visit to Pakistan first time, after the attack on her, on 29 March 2018,  the APPSF, group of private schools in Pakistan organized ” I am not Malala day” on 30 March. Malala responded by saying 

“I am proud of my religion and I am proud of my country”

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