The Malala debate
There is a groundswell of sympathy for Malala and also a strong demand for the Pakistani state to do something about the issue. Much of the discontent is directed toward the Pakistani Taliban, the extremist group that has claimed responsibility for the shooting and declared it has vowed to kill Malala if she recovers from her injuries.
Also, it has issued fresh threats to another girl Hina Khan of Islamabad who is also known for her female rights activism and pro education stance. This threat comes two weeks after the Taliban shot Malala. Hina is originally from the Swat valley but was forced to move with her family to Islamabad in 2006 after she publically criticised the Taliban’s atrocities.
The Malala incident has renewed the attention on the plight of women in Afghanistan. Twenty one year old Afghan activist Noorjahan Akbar, who has been leading a fight for women’s rights in Afghanistan, has articulated that Malala’s case will strengthen her and others fight for girl’s rights. Cofounder of a non profit group called Young Women for Change; she has been instrumental in organising trailblazing efforts such as the first Afghan march against street harassment, radio campaigns about gender equality and street posters against child marriage and abuse. This year, her group opened a women’s Internet cafe in Kabul, providing a forum for women to gather and share ideas.
Although women in Afghanistan are for the cause of Malala and support her fight but there are many other women activists like Akbar who are fighting for the same cause and not getting the support they deserve. No doubt, Malala’s case is more horrifying as she is young and nobody would look at her as a threat as a 14-year old girl promoting education, no one has heard about Hanifa Safi women activist who was killed this summer. Fifteen girls had acid thrown on their face a couple of years ago but no public protest was held. More than 300 girls were poisoned in Afghan schools...
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