On the 9th of October 2012, the Pakistani channels blared with the news of a girl being shot by the Taliban by the name of Malala Yousufzai. Within the next couple of years of her maiden significant appearance on the international media, the world saw her at almost every major international conference and congregation – until this moment when she finally holds up a Nobel Peace Prize along with an Indian counterpart in Oslo.
Though almost everyone knows about the prologue of this girl, little has been discussed about how she has had been brought up. The earliest evidence tells us that she was a pretty ordinary girl living in the Swat Valley of Pakistan, when one fine day, she apparently bumped into some anonymous Taliban ‘clerics’ who forced her to ‘restrict her pro-academic practices’. Upon resistance, she was met with a few gunshots on her head. As a matter of her vicissitudes of fate, she somehow survived the ‘wound’ on her head and neck – until 3 days later, when she was admitted into a prestigious hospital in the UK, where she was treated and discharged within a week or so. Since then, she has travelled across the world delivering speeches about women literacy and empowerment, meanwhile demeaning the face of Pakistan, vicariously.
Here, in her homeland, people from almost all spheres of lives have thwarted Malala’s rationale. She has become the face of an anti-junta, pro-feminist Pakistani society, rather than being an epitome of courage or an academic reformer.
Whatever the case, I believe that in order to fully understand the things from a Pakistani perspective, one needs to reciprocate what this nation has been through within the last few years, particularly within the field of education.
Though backed up by lofty claims of reforming the educational policy (particularly during the elections), little have politicians done anything to improve the educational education sector as soon as they have risen to power. Though a lot of schools were built or made operational under the Musharraf’s regime (under ‘Parha Likha Punjab’), most of these setups were shut down or bombed up by heinous, diabolical forces including the American drones, the Taliban or the corrupt government that followed up after military era.
During those times, the meekest of efforts made in the name of education or social reform would have been amplified into major voice for the nation. However, in a quagmire of nuisance into which Pakistanis have been pummelled for the past 60 odd years, supplemented by the government’s erratic policies, forged to satiate the bottomless avarice and appetite of the corrupt bureaucrats, there was little media attention, that those who did good to this nation, could ever get.
When Malala ‘rose her voice for the cause of education’, it was, at this point in time, when the societal values of Pakistanis grappled with the public policy. In a society, where thousands of civilian kids have been bombed up by American drones till date, the double standards of the governments across the world, particularly in the US, have pricked up the senses of majority of Pakistanis. Many people were, and have been convinced of the ‘invisible’ forces, involved during the process of the uprising of Malala and her ascension from a “mundane Swati girl” to “one of the most influential women of 2013″.
I strongly believe that for as long as we don’t unite as a nation; for as long as we continue to succumb to the wills of our kleptomaniac politicians, things are not going to change. People who are not the actual representation of Pakistan would continue to deface it front of the media as long as we continue to bolster their activities through our votes, our moral corruption and our silence.
But for now, I believe, this nation has some important things to do: Attend dharnaas, jalsaas and grapple for power in the name of nationality! Keep sleeping Pakistanis.
Questions? Please tweet them on @mustaali_