Pakistani daily salutes girl who spoke up against Taliban

Last Updated: Thu, Oct 11, 2012 08:10 hrs

Islamabad, Oct 10 (IANS) Pakistani is infected with the cancer of extremism and unless it is cut out the country will slide further into the bestiality that the latest attack on child peace campaigner Malala Yousafzai exemplifies, said a Pakistani daily Wednesday.

The 14-year-old girl, Pakistan's first National Peace Award winner, was shot and seriously injured by gunmen in the country's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province Tuesday. The Taliban has accepted responsibility.

She was on her way home from school when an attacker wearing a police uniform stopped the school bus and opened fire at her. In the attack, the girl was seriously wounded, while two other girls incurred slight injuries.

An editorial in the News International said that Yousafzai "would have known that they were going to come for her one day".

"Yet she carried on despite threats to herself and her family, displaying the courage and stoicism that have marked this young life as so very special. That knowledge became reality when the gunmen who stopped her vehicle on the way home from school verified her identity before opening fire," it said.

It would seem that that the Pakistani Taliban made a determined attempt to kill a "courageous schoolgirl who stood against the barbarism they represent, and fought for the education not only of herself but of all girls in the Swat Valley".

The daily recalled that her interviews have been published since she came to prominence and they reveal a young woman who is modest about her achievements.

"She seeks neither fame nor fortune and carried on her life as normally as she could, except that she was not an ordinary person - she had stood against ruthless murderers who would see every girls' school blown up.

"Malala Yousafzai is in critical condition today, and so is Pakistan. We are infected with the cancer of extremism, and unless it is cut out we will slide ever further into the bestiality that this latest atrocity exemplifies," it added.

The girl received fame in Pakistan and abroad due to her struggle for restoration of peace in Swat area.

When Taliban banned education for females in the district, she not only continued her education but also raised voice for women and children's rights by writing letters to foreign radio stations and newspapers.

The international children's advocacy group Kids Rights Foundation nominated her for the International Children's Peace Prize, making her the first Pakistani girl nominated for the award. She was awarded Pakistan's first National Peace Award in December of 2011.

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