Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Conspiracy theories about the shooting of Malala Yousafzai

As pashto poet  Masoom hurmaz puts it in his words:
 Tareekh da Pukhtun gora che ye peghly tal jangegi
Yao Malala da Maiwand wa bala paas pa Swat osegi 
( History has consistently witnessed female Pashtun warriors
There was once a Malalai of Maiwand, and now there is one who lives in Swat)

There have been a lot of gossip and rants about the shooting of Malala Yousafzai. When she was shot in the head by the Taliban and they openly claimed responsibility for the attack last year, the electronic media and the Pakistani political parties gave a lot of attention to Malala and condemned the attack on the fourteen year old school girl. But the stand of Pakistani Islamist parties on this incident was ambiguous from the beginning. According to an AFP report, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, the pro-Taliban head of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam party, told a rally in Peshawar that the attack on the 14 year old in the nearby Swat Valley was fake. ". "Pictures shown on social media have shown the whole character as suspicious because there was no sign of injury after the dressing was removed. It shows that the bullet did not hit her in the head”, he said.

Facebook was the  social media to which Maulana  referred and below are some of the pictures which, according to the admin of the page are real.

In this picture they have tried to show her healthy after the dressing has been removed and then mocked it.

When I saw such pictures on Facebook I was shocked, and instantly got in touch with a friend- a doctor who attended her at the hospital in Swat. He was angry when he came to know that such pictures had gone viral and swore that he was an eye-witness that she was severely bleeding when arrived at the hospital. The reality is that all of the doctors who saw her in Saidu Hospital Swat and CMH Peshawar denied the claims that the attack on Malala was fake and confirmed that she had been shot.

The pictures of Malala not getting hit went viral through different sources and in today’s world of Photoshop and other photo-editing softwares, there still people exist who would believe those pictures and not Malala and her father themselves. But, in the end of the day, facts remain facts.

There was an organised campaign against Malala Yousafzai’s mission and to stop people from believing that there did not exist any “good Taliban”. Telling lies about Malala and showing her fake pictures to the masses is only one part of this campaign; others include beheading more than 1000 tribal elders (the people-loving and sincere Tribal elders), blowing up schools, killing human rights activists and baring media organizations to report the realities from FATA and Swat. This is a pre-planned campaign against the Pakhtuns living on this side of the Durand line.

They didn`t stop here but went on comparing Malala’s work with that of social philanthropists, such as Abdul Sattar Edhi’s when the campaign for nominating her for  the Nobel Peace Prize started in the form of signing a petition..

Any person with a sound mind would instantly think  that, although Abdul Sattar Edhi is an honorable Philanthropist and his contributions should be recognized, awarding a Nobel Peace Prize to Malala is not demeaning his and the works of his alikes’. . He has received a number of such International recognitions. Below is the list of his awards:

International awards
1.      Ramon Magsaysay Award for Public Service (1986)
2.      Lenin Peace Prize (1988)
3.      Paul Harris Fellow from Rotatory International Foundation, (1993)
4.      Peace Prize from (USSR former) for services in the American earthquake disaster, (1998)
5.      Largest Voluntary Ambulance Organization of the World - Guinness Book of World Records (2000)
6.      Hamdan Award for volunteers in Humanitarian Medical Services (2000) UAE
7.      International Balzan Prize (2000) for Humanity, Peace and Brotherhood, Italy
8.      Peace and Harmony Award (Delhi), 2001
9.      Peace Award (Mumbai), 2004
10.  Peace Award (Hyderabad Deccan), 2005
11.  Wolf of Bhogio Peace Award (Italy), 2005
12.  Gandhi Peace Award (Delhi),2007
13.  UNESCO Madan jeet sing Peace Award (Paris),2007
14.  Peace Award Seoul (South Korea), 2008
15.  Honorary Doctorate degree from the Institute of Business Administration Karachi (2006).[1]
16.  UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize (2009)
17.  Ahmadiyya Muslim Peace Prize (2010)
18.  Peace Award (London), 2011

The Facebook pages (see the link in the second last para) also compared some pictures they portrayed as victims of drone strikes with those of Malala’s. The page viewers are asked  why people don`t talk about victims of drones. They also blame the media of being biased towards the “American Malala” and of ignoring other innocent kids.. The pictures which are shown to be of victims of drone strikes are not of such people, in fact. The first picture is of Barra Khyber Agency operation by Pakistani army. This picture was taken in Lady Reading hospital Peshawar and the kid was not a drone victim, instead he was injured when a misfired mortar was dropped on his house. Half of his family members died in that strike and the rest  were seriously injured. The second picture is of Damadola Mamund Tehsil of Bajaur Agency. This was way before the Taliban explicit insurgency in that area. A  madrassa was attacked in 2006 by the Pakistani Army jets and director of Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) Shaukat Sultan accepted the responsibility for killing 80 people in the attack. My intent here is not to blame the Pakistani army but to show that the pictures used by such Facebook pages were from the above two incidents and not of the victims of drone strikes. The first picture is one of the hundreds of collateral damages of the Pakistani army’s war on terror and the second is, according to Mr. Shaukat , of a militant training school. 

The above picture was the most disturbing but there were  people who responded to them with some research about the realities about Afia Sadiqui.  The below picture states some suspicious activities Sadiqui was involved in.  

There are  pictures of Malala, like the one in which she is shown with deceased US envoy Richard Halbroke, claiming that it was a meeting with agents from the CIA. That picture was taken in Islamabad when Malala was awarded with National Peace Award and many foreign diplomats and other officials including Richard Halbroke were present. Shad Begum, an NGO worker and a women’s rights activist, is shown as Malala’s mother by the conspiracy theorists. In another picture the deceased technology expert Arfa Karim has been compared with Malala. Arfa no doubt was a child genius but she did not contribute to peace and a Taliban stricken society.

Malala Yousafzai is one brave girl and I do not feel any shame to reckon that she was way braver than many of us. I couldn`t dare to speak against the Taliban but she did. No one out of fear could raise their voice for education, not even for male education, yet she fought for female education. As for reference to her diaries is concerned where  she has expressed her fears of seeing the men with long beards and long hair, everyone of the area has almost the same feelings about the Taliban. Once my 9 year old brother Khalid rushed in the house, he nearly fainted because he had seen some men with long hair and beards which he took for the Taliban.

The Taliban will go to any extent to keep Pakhtuns deprived of education. They will kill liberals and those who speak for their basic rights. But the students have a role to play and can contribute by making the parents of kids, who are deprived of education, understand.
If Malala was a CIA agent, she would not have used a local school bus as a means of transport to and from her school. If she was an American agent, she would have not lived in an old house without any security. She was just another normalchild, but a child with guts. . We, the Pakhtuns, are proud of her and will continue her mission of educating our sisters and daughters. We won`t let ourselves and others fall into the conspiracies of some hypocrites. It is time to realize our miseries and speak against those who have pushed us into these miseries slowly over the decades.

Please refer to the link here, which  is the video of Malala after her successful surgery and here  are the photos in which this whole propaganda was launched against her.

I believe that if Malala was from any other part of Pakistan (not a Pakhtun) she would not have been  criticized so harshly.
Majority of the anti-Malala gang on facebook are girls and majority of these girls are non-Pahstoons.
So these non-pashtoon girls who are anti-Malala, would like for them to spend a day in the shoes of a village pukhtanu and live through her daily struggles before throwing out their opinions."

Their (Anti-Malala girls) problem is “if Malala is a daughter of the Nation, who we are then?” Exactly girls who are you? Show your guts, educate yourselves and fight for girl’s education in the areas where all girls’ schools have been blown up e.g. the two Waziristans ( north and south) and Bajaur, Aurakzai , Mohmand and |kurram Agencies.

The article has appeared on www.pashtunwomenvp.com Here