Saturday, October 13, 2012
Editorial By Najam SethiSoon after 14-year old Swati activist Malala Yusufzai was rushed to hospital earlier this week with a life-threatening bullet in her skull, the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan proudly claimed responsibility for the attempt on her life. The next day, when doctors declared that Malala had miraculously survived the attack, and when the world's media began to buzz with the good news, the TTP released another statement: they would target her again because she was a "secular-minded" person who was spreading discord. Imagine the paranoid, illiterate mind set -- a child of 14 spreading discord! The Taliban also quoted chapter and verse from the Quran to try and justify their barbarity, but mercifully, many religious scholars disagreed with their interpretations. Malala's crime was to defy the Taliban's ban on girls' schooling and to write a diary of the siege of Swat for the BBC. Her friendly cooperation with the world's media; her bright, smiling interviews and her beaming confidence, were a threat to the Pakistani Taliban and the way of life they propose, a peculiar conception of "sharia" that can only exist in an atmosphere of total repression, and in total isolation from the rest of the world. A charismatic young girl like Malala, who unabashedly embraces what the world has to offer, embodies the kind of internal resistance, what the Taliban in their paranoia call "fitna" or discord, that inspires confidence in her fellows and always poses the greatest challenge to a fear-mongering regime. So the TTP's response to Malala's miracle recovery, though revolting in the extreme, is perfectly understandable. What doesn't make sense is the head-in-the-sand attitude of Pakistan's decomposing state and society. Every national leader, including the Chief of Army Staff, General Ashfaq Kayani recorded a statement of outrage at the attack on Malala Yusufzai. President Zardari, Mian Nawaz Sharif, Asfandyar Wali Khan and Altaf Hussain all slammed the cowardly assault on young Malala. Imran Khan and his Tehrik-e-Insaf leaders followed suit when they saw the wave of revulsion that swept the entire country but once again, Khan managed to obfuscate the issue by hopping on to his favourite hobby horse, the CIA's drone attacks in Waziristan. But just how many of our leaders have had the stomach to identify the Tehrik-e-Taliban by name, even though the spokesman of the TTP proudly claims responsibility, and to call for a cohesive national policy to defeat them? Very few, and they are mostly from the Awami National Party that has suffered most from the Taliban's bombing sprees and targeted violence. Other leaders' vague expressions such as "inhuman", "barbaric" or "animal" for the attackers, always followed by the remark that such people "cannot be Muslims", may allow Pakistan's spineless power elites to temporarily save their own skins. But it only adds to the general confusion of ordinary Pakistanis, who are already conditioned by their textbooks, Friday khutbas, TV anchors and the state's deliberately opaque policies towards extremists, to try to deduce from such dark innuendo which "foreign hand" has dealt their country the latest blow. Nor, indeed, does it make sense to equate the attack on Malala Yusufzai with American drone attacks in Waziristan. First of all, Malala is not an operator of American drones. Secondly, the fact of girls' schooling, a universal human right acknowledged even by the most repressive "Islamist" governments, and the Taliban's established opposition to it, has nothing to do with America or its drones. And finally, courageous young women like Malala Yusufzai are targeted in large part because they challenge an anciently patriarchal society, a society that has resisted social reform at every stage and now has few ways of dealing with its politically aware, technology savvy, independent-minded young people other than violence. To suggest that Malala Yusufzai was shot in the head because America is raining drones on Waziristan is not just lazy deduction, it is a disingenuous, even dangerous deflection from the real issue, implying that Pakistani girls can't be schooled until American drones are stopped. This is not, of course, to deny the steady brutalization of Pakistani society, a brutalization in which the Taliban and American-operated (and Pakistan-approved) drones are but the latest developments. The "case" of Malala Yusufzai, as it will now be called, exposes several failures of the Pakistani state: the failure to protect its most vulnerable citizens; the failure to overhaul the repressive colonial systems of "governance" that have bred nothing but banditry and warlordism in much of Pakistan's north and west; and the state's failure even to acknowledge, let alone fight, the menace of religious fanaticism, which is claiming its best and brightest one by one. Alas, this is the legacy of a state that has never resolved the contradiction between its "secular" and "practical" aspirations and its cynical deployments of orthodox religion. And so it has come to the point where, for Pakistani politicians, army chiefs and media personalities, to even name the attackers of a 14-year old girl is to touch a nerve, to step on toes, to risk your credibility and even your life. It is our good fortune that Malala Yusufzai lives. But who will take her, and all those Pakistani girls inspired by her, back to school?
Islamist bigots circulating fake pictures of drone victims to deflect attention from Taliban’s attack on Malala
Since the past two days a picture of a young girl has been circulating on facebook and twitter saying that the girl did not get any coverage because she was injured in a drone attack. Majority of those circulating that picture are affiliated with PTI, Jamaat-e-Islami, PML-N and ASWJ-LeJ who are equating Taliban’s attack on Malala Yousafzai with drone attacks on Taliban.A couple of things that need to be clarified regarding that girl. The name of that girl is Laiba and she was NOT injured in a drone attack. She was going for eid shopping in Peshawar with her family & a convoy of FC (Frontier Constabulary of Pakistan Army) passing by opened fire on the car thinking the car belonged to terrorists and as a result 7 year old Laiba lost her leg.The tragic incident was also reported in daily Dawn.
Worst existential crisis everPolitical commentators believe that Pakistan is currently facing its worst existential crisis ever, in the form of the Taliban insurgency taking place in the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and the separatist movement in the western region of Baluchistan. Dr. Naeem Siddiqui from the Aga Khan Hospital in Lahore said that the increase in terrorist activities in the country was one of the main reasons behind people's worsening mental health. "On the one hand, people are becoming violent and insecure," he told DW. "On the other, they are becoming very insensitive. If there’s a bomb blast in the city, people don't ask how and why the blast happened; they ask about which roads are blocked for traffic because of it."He added that serious mental disabilities and social phobias tended to affect Pakistan’s female population. "In Western countries, marriage means stability in a person's life, but in Pakistan it is the contrary," he said. "A majority of mental health patients in Pakistan are married women. They are unhappy with their marriages and not treated well by their husbands and in-laws." He also pointed out that the "family system," which used to provide some stability and security, was breaking down because of changing economic and social trends, thus contributing to a general sense of fear. Siddiqui also criticized the government for not paying attention to people's mental health problems: "For 170 million Pakistanis, there are only 450 trained mental health experts in the country." Moreover, he said that Pakistanis themselves did not take emotional and mental health problems seriously. Often they consulted clerics or occult practitioners in case of depression rather than seeking the advice of mental health experts.
From Reza Sayah, Shaan Khan and Ashley Fantz, CNNThe recovery of a 14-year-old Pakistani girl who was shot in the neck and now breathes on a ventilator hinges on what happens over the next two days. Malala Yousufzai remains in a Rawalpindi hospital after being attacked for simply defending the right of girls to go to school. And police are questioning men with alleged links to the attack. On Friday, an international team of neurological specialists said her condition was stable, but they were watching her closely. Her family waits, and hopes, yet they are afraid to give away where they are exactly. They're terrified that Taliban who would gun down a teenager wouldn't hesitate to come after them. Around the country, supporters gathered for small vigils to pray for her recovery. Government officials in Peshawar, the main city in the northwestern region where Malala is from, were silent for one minute in her honor.Tests on Malala went well, doctors said, and her care at a hospital where she was initially treated was good. She remains in critical condition, but specialists are satisfied with the situation. "The next 36 to 48 hours are important," Major Gen. Asim Bajwa told reporters in Rawalpindi. A Karachi rally is planned for Sunday, and thousands of people are expected to attend. Malala was riding home in a school van Tuesday in the tense and Taliban-heavy Swat Valley when gunmen jumped into the vehicle and demanded to know which girl she was. Her horrified classmates pointed to her, and the men fired. Two other girls were wounded, but not seriously. Brave blogger Malala gained fame for blogging about how girls should have rights in Pakistan, including the right to learn. She spoke out in a region of the country where support for Islamic fundamentalism runs high. "I have the right of education," she said in a CNN interview last year. "I have the right to play. I have the right to sing. I have the right to talk. I have the right to go to market. I have the right to speak up." Malala, whose writing earned her Pakistan's first National Peace Prize, also encouraged young people to take a stand against the Taliban -- and to not hide in their bedrooms. "God will ask you on the day of judgment where were you when your people were asking you ... when your school fellows were asking you, and when your school was asking you," she said in her CNN interview, "['Why] I am being blown up?'" The Taliban believes no girl should be educated, and they've threatened that if Malala survives, they will murder her. Despite the threat, some Pakistani schoolgirls are saying Malala's shooting won't stop them from continuing their education. "In our society, girls don't have rights and they don't get to study, but I think that's completely wrong," one of the girls told a CNN reporter. "I think we have the same rights as men and we will stand up for our rights. And we will go out and encourage all girls to study." Police make arrests, close in on attackers Police had earlier detained 200 suspects, but released all but three. Those three gave statements pointing to one suspect. Also Friday, police officer Gul Afzal Afridi said that suspect has not been arrested, but investigators said they strongly believe he played a role in the attack. Though many Pakistanis are appalled by the attack, the Taliban have kept up their vicious comments, saying that they figured shooting the teenager would have an impact in the West. "We do not tolerate people like Malala speaking against us," Taliban spokesman Ihsanullah Ihsan said.
'Malala is Pakistan's daughter'Indeed, the attack did stir global debate. Leaders across the world spoke out, including those in Pakistan. The teenager has come to symbolize a battle between freedom and oppression, violence and peace, a young generation and a group that is hell-bent on keeping Pakistan under the grip of Islamic extremism. "Malala is Pakistan's daughter, Pakistan's real face, Pakistan's messenger of love and peace," Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf said. The country is fighting terrorism because it's a "menace." On her blog, Malala often wrote about her life in Swat Valley, a hotbed of militant activity. The valley near the Afghanistan border once attracted tourists to Pakistan's only ski resort, as well as visitors to the ancient Buddhist ruins in the area. But that was before militants -- their faces covered -- unleashed a wave of violence. They demanded veils for women, beards for men and a ban on music and television. They allowed boys' schools to operate but closed those for girls. "We have sacrificed, both man and material and our valiant armed forces, innocent children, citizens, workers and leaders," Ashraf said Friday. "But now the nation is united and we have to unite and stand together to uproot this menace from our motherland and our children." Speaking in Rawalpindi, Ashraf thanked political leaders and others who have stood up in support of Malala. "We would together like to give this message to fight against the mindset that attacked her," he said. 'Education is the best thing' At Islamabad's Khaldunia High School, students hung banners and wrote letters demanding that the government do everything possible to save Malala. Girls look up to Malala, said one female student whose identity CNN isn't revealing to protect her safety. "I was really shocked because she was so ambitious ..." she said. "I pray for her health." "To have the courage to actually go against all that," another girl said. "I think that was quite respectable." A reporter asked if the attack has inspired them and if they planned to speak up even louder. "I want these people who attacked her to learn that women are not all bad," one girl answered. "They are basically afraid of giving women equal rights because they're afraid of what women can do because they know they can do a lot.
GEO TV / DAILY JANG REPORTINGMalala Yousafzai's condition is witnessing steady improvement and as a result the critically injured 14-year old is now being administered less amount of sedatives, said Director General ISPR Maj Gen Asim Bajwa. "Movement has been witnessed in Malala's hands and legs which is a positive development," Maj Gen Bajwa said while giving a briefing on Malala's health here on Saturday. He said the doctors have cut down the amount of sedatives being administered to Malala Yousafzai in view of the steady improvement in her health condition. Her condition is satisfactory, he added. The DG ISPR said the board of doctors have not yet made any decision in connection with taking young Malala abroad. The doctors are constantly busy in taking post-traumatic care of their patient, he said. He, however, said that Malala is still on a ventilator and it would be premature to say anything in regard to the removal of the ventilator. Doctors will decide on removal of ventilator tomorrow morning, he added.
http://www.brecorder.comAround 5.2 million children below the age of five-year will be administrated polio drops in different parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the National Immunisation Days (NIDs), drive formally be started from October 15th (Monday). Following detection of polio positive cases, the three-day anti-polio drive has been designed to cover entire 25 districts of the KP, said Dr Janbaz Afridi, Deputy Director KP Expanded Polio Immunisation EPI programme while speaking at inaugural ceremony here at Peshawar Press Club on Friday. He informed that a total of 15,84 teams have been constituted under the supervision of more than 2,949 areas in-charge to carry out polio eradication campaign in benefiting manner. "We are still fighting against the crippling disease of polio due to influx of people from restive agencies and migration from neighbouring countries," he maintained. He, however, said that efforts were being made at level to defeat the fatal disease from country, particularly in this region. Other speakers including Dr Jamil, Dr Obaidullah, Dr Rohullah and Saiful Islam Saifi highlighted the importance of polio drops, which can helpful to safe the future generation from life time disability. They urged the media and Ulema to play their effective role for sensitising general public, and parents about benefits of the polio vaccines. Addressing as chief guest at inaugural ceremony, the PPP KP President, Anwar Saiful regretted that most of polio suffering of Muslim countries in which Pakistan is more venerable situation. He added that the combating polio was a daunting task for government in Khyber Paktunkhwa and Fata as most of polio cases are being reported in this region, which was basic reason of influx of Afghan refugees and internally displacement from restive tribal agencies. PPP provincial president urged the Ulema, tribal elders and religious scholars to play their due role for sensitising people regarding significance of polio drops, which could safe future of their children. He admitted that it was greater responsibility lay upon elected representatives to play effective role for creation of awareness in their respective constituencies to helpful for complete elimination the crippling disease. He informed that PPP K Pakhtunkhwa would also launch a special masses sensitisation campaign to highlight the importance of Polio vaccination in the province. "I would extend any possible support from party platform to complete eliminate the fatal polio disease from the province", he assured. Later, Anwar Saiful administered two drops to kids to inaugurate their day polio eradication drive in the province.
Bahrain still volatile as police break up a protest using tear gas and stun grenades. Jessica Gray reports
DAWN.COMCalling for zero tolerance towards child marriage, a latest report of the United Nations has feared that the number of girl child marriages will increase dramatically over the next 10 years and more than 142 million girls are at risk of this human rights abuse. The number of children marrying each year will grow by 14 per cent from 14.2 million in 2010 to 15.1 million in 2030 if current trends continue, warns the report titled “Marrying too Young: End Child Marriage” released by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). In South Asia alone, the number of child brides is likely to increase from 24.4 million (4.9 million per year) in 2010 to 27.9 million (5.6 million per year) in 2030. South Asia has the highest prevalence of child marriages with 46 per cent followed by sub-Sahara Africa with 37 per cent. In Pakistan, the report says, about 5,000 new cases of obstetric fistula occur every year, with young girls disproportionately affected. The UNFPA launched a fistula repair project in Pakistan as part of an overall program to improve maternal health and now it is launching another program with focus on ending child marriage and early pregnancy. In Punjab, the UN agency supported the formulation of a youth policy which addresses child marriage and early pregnancy. Youth networks raised awareness in their communities about the danger of child marriage, the report said.
The Express TribuneDoctors were hopeful as 14-year-old child activist Malala Yousufzai, attacked by the Taliban, felt pain – a sign of recovery for someone who is on a ventilator – on Saturday, Express News quoted hospital sources as saying. Since Malala is under medication, her senses were not active and this development was welcomed by doctors. “(The) health condition of Malala continues to remain satisfactory. Her vitals are okay and she is still on ventilator,” the military said in an update. “A board of doctors is continuously monitoring her condition,” it added. After Malala was shot in the head by the Taliban, the doctors who performed surgery on her had expressed fear of a possibility of slight brain damage. However, all of her medical reports came out clear. Earlier, doctors had said that Malala had a 70 per cent chance of survival and despite improvement, was seriously ill.
نن په خيبر پښتنونخوا کې وکيلان پر ملاله يوسفزۍ د بريد غندنې له پاره احتجاجي مظاهري کوي.
The Express TribuneA day after the nation observed Yaum-e-Dua for an early and full recovery of Malala Yousafzai, the Afghan government has announced that prayers will be held across the country on Saturday (today) for the 14-year-old girl, the Afghan embassy said on Friday. The Afghan ministry of education announced that prayers will be offered for Malala in schools across Afghanistan, as Afghans were also shocked at the attack carried out by the Taliban. Shams Zardasht, the Afghan embassy spokesman, told The Express Tribune that in light of the brutal attack on her, the Afghan government has decided to express solidarity with the people of Pakistan and Malala’s family. He referred to the statement and the phone call from Afghan President Hamid Karzai to his Pakistani counterpart, Asif Ali Zardri on Wednesday, in which he strongly condemned the attack. The ministry added that prayers will be offered in nearly 15,500 schools across the country in special functions. Education Minister Farooq Wardag will visit a girls’ school in Kabul to mark the beginning of the functions, a ministry statement, which was sent to The Express Tribune, said. Wardag will join the students in their prayers for Malala, it added. It added that those against education had carried out the attack. Describing Malala as a hero who promotes education, the ministry stated her name would forever be remembered around the world. “Afghanistan, which has suffered from the destruction of its education system for years, now feels the pain of the attack on Malala. We are confident that such attacks will not hinder the promotion of education in Pakhtunkhwa and any other region,” the Afghan ministry claimed. It said the ministry viewed the attack on Malala and other students across the world as an assault on humanity. The Afghan Embassy in Islamabad also issued a statement to strongly condemn the attack. “The Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in Islamabad strongly condemns the cowardly attack on Malala Yousafza, girls’ education and rights activist from the Swat valley of Khyber- Pakhtunkhwa,” the embassy said. “Malala has very courageously raised her voice in a militancy hit environment against ignorance and strived for the very right of education for her fellow females,” the statement continued.
FRONTIER POSTThe Secretary-General
GEO TVMalala Yusufzai Saturday morning is still on ventilator in the intensive care unit (ICU), Geo News reported. The father of Malala Yusufzai urged the nation to continue praying for her full recovery soon. 'According to neurosurgical and intensive care specialists, health of Malala Yousafzai is satisfactory but next 36 to 48 hours are critical," said the DG ISPR while briefing the media-persons regarding health condition of 14-year school girl, who was targeted by militants in a Swat town on Tuesday. However, he said that Malala has been placed on ventilator but the team of doctors have described her health condition as satisfactory. She was flown by an air-ambulance from Combined Military Hospital (CMH) Peshawar to the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology (AFIC), a health unit of CMH Rawalpindi on Thursday. A team of specialists also accompanied wounded Malala on her way to Rawalpindi, while another team of specialists headed by Surgeon General of Pakistan Army received her here, he said General Bajwa said Malala was shifted to Rawalpindi on the advise of the doctors panel treating her as there are better intensive care facilities as compared to CMH Peshawar. All the medical sketches and pathological investigations of Malala were carried out afresh in AFIC, according to which all her vital organs are well intact and working properly, he said. The DG ISPR added that a special medical team had been constituted, headed by a Major General, and that the decision to send Malala abroad would be taken by the medical board. Answering a question regarding composition of the medical team, he said it includes specialists from abroad, senior specialists from civil set up and senior doctors from Pakistan Army. This team will keep vigil on her health round the clock and will take decisions according to her health needs till her complete recovery, he added. He appealed the nation today being Friday offer special prayers for her early recovery and ISPR will keep abreast all about her health condition from time to time through media.