Pakistan’s Nobel Laureates – united by the tragedy of militancy

My article for Scroll.in today about how “Takfiri” thinking drove physicist Abdus Salam out of the country, and keeps Malala Yusufzai away from her home. 

Malala: "I decided that I would speak up. Through my story I want to tell other children all around the world they should stand up for their rights"

Malala: “I decided that I would speak up. Through my story I want to tell other children all around the world they should stand up for their rights”

There is no escaping the irony that the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize for 2014 has gone jointly to two child rights advocates from Pakistan and India – 17-year old Malala Yousafzai and 60-year old Kailash Satyarthi — while the armies of their countries trade bullets and kill innocents across the Line of Control in Kashmir. Continue reading

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To Taliban: “I want education for you, for your children” – Malala on the Daily Show

Malala on Daily ShowMalala Yousufzai’s conviction and sincerity shines as she speaks, even as the after-effects of the attack on her are still evident in the slight disfigurement of her facial muscles. And the youngest ever Nobel Peace Prize nominee recently speechless even the satirical TV host Jon Stewart when she talked about her thoughts about the Taliban. Asked when she first learnt she was a target of the Taliban, she says it was through a visitor who told her to put her name in Google search.

“I just could not believe it, I said no, it’s not true,” she said. “We thought the Taliban were not that much cruel that they would kill a child – I was 14 at the time.” She was initially more afraid for her father but when she began thinking about it, she thought that if  attacked she would hit the Talib with her shoe – a comment that raised a laugh. Continue reading

Malala and Absurdistan, Mazariland, Cuckooland… We are sorry, Bhooro Bheel. Taliban bhagao, mulk bachao

malala-yousafzaiMy two bits on the muddied narrative in Pakistan on Malala Yousafzai, a favourite for the Nobel Peace Prize being announced on Oct 11:  Those who so easily buy conspiracy theories about Malala being a “US agent” or who go against Malala are usually the same people  you will find justifying the murderous, criminal acts of the Taliban (who are fasadis not jihadis, in my mind) in some way, absolving them of responsibility by terming it a response to the US invasion of Afghanistan or the drone attacks. These people conveniently forget that the mindset that attacked Malala is the same as the one that was attacking women NGO workers and teachers and girls’ schools in the western border areas BEFORE 9/11. It’s the same mindset that was target killing Ahmadis and Shias since the 1990s. It was not just the Taliban’s bullets that targeted Malala and all that she stands for – it is this mindset that the United States, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia cultivated and developed in the 1980s in order to counter the Soviets in Afghanistan. Continue reading

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