By S. M. Hali

The highly despicable attempt to silence Malala Yousafzai’s 14 your old voice of sanity has been condemned by all and sundry. The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has not only taken credit for the shameful act but is also trying to justify their heinous deed. In a written statements issued by the TTP, they claim that Pakistan’s biased media is commenting that Malala’s only crime was that she wanted to continue her studies and wanted to become a politician to serve her nation. The Pakistani media, according to the TTP, declares that neither Islam permits targeting Malala, nor do Pashtun customs sanction such a deed. The TTP retort that Malala Yousafzai is a disgrace even to her name. They highlight that the original Malalai Maiwand was a daring Pashtun lady, who is revered for rallying the Pashtun army against the British in the Battle of Maiwand in 1880. A number of Pashto poems are dedicated to the Pashtun Jeanne D? Arc: Malalai Maiwand.

The TTP claims that by appearing on the TV screen in interviews and bad mouthing the Taliban, appearing in the public places with strange men, Malala Yousafzai has brought a bad name to the Pashtun traditions. TTP proclaims that Pashtun traditions demand that any woman bringing a bad name to the tribe, be killed by the Pashtun men. The TTP also raises the issue of Malala being a minor, claiming that Malala’s supporters have declared her to be a minor and Islam does not permit the slaughter of minors even in a state of war. TTP pronounces Malala to be an adult despite her 14 years of age. They justify that children, if they engage in acts of war, should be meted with death.

TTP’s rationale for targeting Malala is that people commit crimes and then hide under the blanket of being minors or being insane. They cite the example of Rimsha, the Christian girl suffering from Down’s syndrome, who was falsely accused of blasphemy. The TTP declares that she was faking her condition to avoid the penalty of death while Malala is hiding behind the curtain of being a minor when she is not one. Their reasoning is that if she was really a minor then why did her champions push her in the forefront as a campaigner against the Taliban?

Furthering their warped thinking, the TTP state that indeed Islam does not authorize killing women. Even the Holy Prophet (MPBUH) had forbidden the slaughter of women at the conquest of Makah except for those who had indulged in defamation of Islam and propaganda. They declare Malala to be a spy for enemies of the Taliban and propagandist against Islam thus deserving death. They accuse Malala of indulging in espionage through her blog and sharing confidential information with the Taliban’s protagonists. They again resort to Islamic history, quoting examples of Jewish women, who had spied on the Muslims and were condemned to death on being apprehended. As evidence, they quote Malala’s blog: “Gul Makai’s Diary” as the means of transmitting classified and sensitive information to the Taliban’s enemies. It is not understood that how an eleven year old (Malala’s age when she commenced writing her diary under a nom-de-plume). TTP quotes Qurànic verses which pronounce death in the most horrible form to spies. The pathetic part of the TTP musings is that as usual they are misquoting religious teachings to justify their atrocious deeds. They declare Malala to be a protagonist against Islam. Further logic according the TTP rests on the factor that Malala had declared President Obama, an enemy of Islam, to be her favourite personality. It is strange that an innocent and tender mind, if she is impressed by the personality of President Obama, who was one of the first to inquire of her welfare after the news of her being shot hit the media waves, is being used as evidence to justify her crucifixion. TTP rationalizes that for a Pashtun to learn that his sister declares an enemy of Islam to be her favourite personality, is enough to drive him into frenzy and kill his own sister.

Another motive for targeting Malala by the TTP is she was ravaging Pashtun customs, traditions and mores that women defy being locked up in their houses and go out to study. TTP forgets that Islam is in favour of granting tremendous privileges to women and promotes acquiring education, without discriminating between men and women. If women observe purdah but go to educational institutions to become more enlightened and raise better generations, it should not be forbidden by Islam. The Taliban state that they are not against women acquiring education, if that were so, they would have killed every school going female but they have targeted Malala because of her spreading propaganda. That by itself is fallacious, since the TTP have been blowing up girls’ schools and colleges atrociously.

A very objectionable parable presented by the TTP is that of Hazrat (a spirit) Khizar’s slaying a young boy. This incident took place during one of the travels of Hazrat Khizar and Hazrat Musa (Moses), when they came across a young boy, who was killed by Hazrat Khizar stating that the boy would grow up to be a disbeliever and cause harm to Islam. The TTP claim that Hazrat Khizar could kill a young boy before his misdemeanor became apparent while they targeted Malala, whose misdemeanor is visible.

The story does not end here, by merely deploring the cowardly assault on the torch bearer of female education in Swat. TTP were ousted by security forces from strife torn Swat and finding no safe haven in KPK, they sought refuge in Afghanistan. Joining a few splinter groups of the Taliban, these elements of the TTP have resolved to eliminate soft targets like girls’ schools and hospitals. Maulvi Fazlullah, the defunct leader of the Swat chapter of TTP has established his operations headquarters in Nuristan and Kunar province of Afghanistan and is wreaking havoc in Pakistan and is trying to justify his heinous deeds against humanity through twisted logic.