‘Drones Kill So Malala Can Live’. Holding a banner to protest the terrorist group, Taliban, and their atrocities in the North-West Region of Pakistan (SWAT Valley), one of the many elites of Pakistan found a justification to the merciless drone strikes during the Obama years, signaling it was for the greater good. The elites weren’t completely off the mark, for only a couple of years ago, in October 2012, a Taliban-backed militant had shot Malala in the head, leaving her to die. She survived, went to the United Kingdom, got treated, settled, and made it to the list of Times’ influential people for three consecutive years. She was the co-recipient of the Noble Peace Prize with India’s Kailash Satyarthi, and within half-a-decade, became a global voice for a number of issues, most of them pertaining to child and women rights.
The now 19-year-old (15-year-old when shot in the head) also condemned India’s take on Kashmir, calling for the restoration of fundamental rights of Kashmiri people after years of repression. Now, one doesn’t expect a 19-year-old to be a know-it-all, or to understand that Kashmir already lives under a different constitution, or that there is not a difference between the man who shot her and the militants who thrive on Kashmir’s blood, unless the 19-year-old in question is strongly influenced by the forces around them, or are a mere pawn in the game of chess being played by those forces.
Was Malala Yousafzai a pawn of the West in retrospect?
There have been numerous claims in the past, questioning the authenticity of the attack on Malala Yousafzai, but none of them have been as open as the one by Tehreek-e-Insaf’s MNA Musarrat Ahmad Zeb – a member of Swat’s royal family who happens to be the member of the party chaired by former cricketer Imran Khan. In a series of tweets, she claimed that the attack on Malala was staged by activists and sympathizers of the West in order to justify their interests and pursuits.
Back in 2009, Malala Yousafzai, just 12, starting blogging for BBC Urdu. According to her Wikipedia page, she used to scribble the notes, have them scanned, and then mailed them to the editor. For a region infected with the virus of Taliban, one can’t help but be skeptical as to how she survived writing for BBC Urdu for 2-years, without being threatened by the Taliban, given she was blogging about the harshness of life under Taliban.
If Ahmad Zeb is to be believed, Malala Yousafzai did not even know how to read and write during the years she supposedly blogged for BBC Urdu. Indicating that the forensics and other medical examinations were all ploys of the government in a much larger plot, she claims that there were other students too apart from Malala who chose to carry on with their studies. Addressing the ‘Drawing Room Warriors’ in her tweet, she claimed that Zarmina Wazir, who had secured the first-rank in the Central Superior Services (CSS) Exam from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) this year was no Malala Yousafzai, and shouldn’t be used to further the interests of the elites.
(CSS is India’s UPSC equivalent in Pakistan)
However, this is not the first time someone has questioned the authenticity of Malala Yousafzai’s story. Back in 2013-14, many people questioned the validation for attacks, with a majority of them wondering how someone could survive after being shot in the head. Local citizens in the Swat Valley claim that Malala, even after garnering global attention, did nothing for her counterparts back home. Even today, not many locals, children and adults alike, are willing to associate themselves with Malala for they believe she was an agent of the West. Some local workers from the realm of education felt that the threat from Taliban had been exaggerated by Malala Yousafzaifor over 30,000 students had started school back in 2013 itself.
However, this cynicism from the locals was downplayed by some leading media houses in the West as the fear of Taliban or even prevailing jealously amongst the locals.
Musarrat Ahmad Zeb may term this sudden reveal as an act of conscience, but given the global attention that surrounds Malala Yousafzai already, it might be too little too late. The West, especially in the Obama years, has wrecked the prospects of a peaceful Middle East with its continuous drone strikes, with Pakistan being one of the many recipients of this tool of Westernized Democracy. Soon, another media report shall downplay this claim, and the 19-year-old Nobel Peace Prize Winner will have nothing to stop her movement, individual or backed by some elite forces in the West. Turns out, the ploy has worked wonders for/if someone had set it up.
All said and done, one wonders, if there will be any global attention for the rest of the Malala Yousafzai(s) killed by US Drone Strikes and Taliban, or was this a one-time-show?