Sunday, January 20, 2013

Anti-Torture Efforts in Afghanistan Failed

Intense efforts to halt torture and other harsh coercive methods that are used in some Afghan intelligence and police detention centers have failed to produce any appreciable improvement in the treatment of detainees, according to a report released Sunday by the United Nations, raising questions for the international military coalition here. The report, titled “Treatment of Conflict-Related Detainees in Afghan Custody,” offered a grim tour of Afghanistan’s detention facilities, where even adolescents have reported abuse like beatings with hoses and pipes and threats of sodomy. Despite concerted efforts for more than a year to train intelligence and police officials in interrogation techniques that respect human rights, the United Nations investigation found that incidences of torture by the police had risen. In the case of the intelligence service, the United Nations reported a lower incidence of torture. But it was not clear whether that finding reflected improved behavior as much as it did a decrease in the number of detainees handed over to the intelligence service by the international military coalition. And some detainees have alluded to new secret interrogation centers. The Afghan government rejected the report’s specific allegations but said that there were some abuses, and that it had taken numerous steps to improve the treatment of detainees. The government gave United Nations officials access to those held in all but one detention facility. Among the questions raised by the report is whether the pervasiveness of torture will make it difficult for the American military to hand over those being held in the Parwan Detention Facility, also known as Bagram Prison, as required under the agreement reached last week in Washington between President Obama and President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan. The international Convention Against Torture, which the United States has signed, prohibits the transfer of a detainee “to another state where there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture.” The United Nations did not look at the Parwan Detention Facility, in part because it is not yet wholly under Afghan control. But there could be questions about whether, given the inadequacies throughout the Afghan system, it would violate the torture convention to transfer those prisoners under American control to the Afghans. According to some estimates, 700 to 900 prisoners are still in American custody there. The military is confident that the Afghan section of the Parwan center follows all of the human rights guidelines on the treatment of detainees, said Col. Thomas Collins, a senior spokesman for the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, which is known as ISAF. And although conditions could worsen, or prisoners could be transferred to other facilities where there was abuse, the Americans cannot do anything about that. “We can never completely rule out the chance of torture by the government, but in its own Constitution it prohibits torture, and it is a signatory of the torture convention,” he said about Afghanistan. “What we have to have is reasonable assurances that the people will be treated well and will not be tortured.” But the report underscored just how difficult it is for ISAF to have confidence in the government’s assurances, given the reality at Afghan detention facilities. Even before the report’s official publication, it had considerable impact on Gen. John R. Allen, the commander of international forces in Afghanistan. On Jan. 11, after reviewing an early copy, he ordered a halt in transfers of detainees who had been picked up on the battlefield to all of the 34 Afghan detention sites that the report cited for abuse. After a United Nations report on torture in 2011, the international coalition suspended transfers of battlefield detainees to 16 Afghan detention sites. ISAF resumed transfers to most of those centers after certifying that they were complying with human rights protocols. Then, in October 2012, the coalition received new reports of torture and abuse and halted some of the transfers that it had restarted only months before, the United Nations report said. The United Nations has briefed ISAF at several points in the course of its research, which included interviews with more than 600 detainees as well as employees of the Afghan intelligence service, the Afghan police, judges and prosecutors. In a letter appended to the report by General Allen to Jan Kubis, the United Nations special representative to Afghanistan, he describes for the first time the enormous efforts that the coalition and he personally have made to stem the abuse. The ISAF approach, which the United Nations praises, includes training, spot checks and the monitoring of detainee treatment. Despite General Allen’s requests over the past eight months that Afghan officials take action in 80 cases — and in some cases asking them to remove individuals accused of abuse — “to date Afghan officials have acted in only one instance,” General Allen wrote. In that case, an intelligence official was merely moved to another province, he said. The Afghan government’s 20-page response, which is included in the United Nations report, rejected all specific allegations, including “beating with rubber pipes or water pipes, forced confession, suspension, twisting of the detainees’ penises and wrenching of the detainees’ testicles, death threats, sexual abuse and child abuse.” The response, written by Rahmatullah Nabil, a former director of intelligence and now the deputy national security adviser, said the government “does not entirely rule out the abuse and ill treatment by staff at detention centers, but this is due to a lack of capacity and sound training of these organs.” The level of torture reflected in the report “is exaggerated,” he said. At the same time, both the Interior Ministry and the National Directorate of Security, the Afghan government’s intelligence service, acknowledged problems in detainees’ treatment, and listed many steps they were taking. But the intelligence service, clearly angry about the report’s findings, also charged that the United Nations had manufactured “facts by making accusations to discredit investigations and judicial prosecution processes.” The United Nations study, which took a year to complete, describes a country in conflict where a prime goal of the security officials is to remove potentially dangerous individuals by detaining them and torturing them until they confess to being involved with insurgents. Torture is hardly new in Afghanistan. When the Communists ruled, the intelligence service, then known as the Khad, was widely feared for its rough treatment of suspects. Changing such an ingrained culture would take an enormous effort, both the United Nations and ISAF officials say. Georgette Gagnon, the United Nations director of human rights for Afghanistan, pointed to a “persistent lack of accountability for perpetrators of torture, with few investigations and no prosecutions for those responsible.” “The findings highlight that torture cannot be addressed by training, inspections and directives alone, but requires sound accountability measures to stop and prevent its use,” she said. General Allen noted that international influence is on the wane as the formal military withdrawal nears. “Solving this problem will take commitment on the part of the Afghans and their leaders, over which ISAF’s influence is limited, and will probably only decline along with our presence,” he wrote.

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لانگ مارچ کا ڈھونگ؛ انقلاب کے نام پر انقلاب کا سبوتاژ

Written by Lal Khan
ریاست کے کچھ حصوں، سامراج اور حکمران طبقات کے دھڑوں کی جانب سے حقیقی انقلابی تحریک کو دبائے رکھنے اور اسے منقسم کرنے کے لیے تحریک کے نام پر ایک اور ڈھونگ رچایا جا رہا ہے۔ دائیں بازو کے پر جوش خطیب مولا ناطاہر القادری کے ’لانگ مارچ‘ پر کروڑوں نہیں بلکہ اربوں روپے پانی کی طرح بہائے جار ہے ہیں۔ پیسو ں کے ڈھیر تلے دب چکے سرمایہ دارانہ میڈیا پر بہت بڑی مہم شروع ہے جس سے لاہور اور اسلام آباد میں بیٹھے پہلے سے خوفزدہ حکمران ہیجان میں مبتلا ہو گئے ہیں۔ ٹی وی سے شہرت پانے والے اس شخص کے راتوں رات عروج پر سماج میں کئی طرح کی سازشی تھیوریاں اور قیاس آرائیاں گردش کر رہی ہیں۔ ان میں سے ایک مقبول تھیوری کافی دلچسپ ہے۔ کینیڈا کی شہریت اور سامراج سے اس کے تعلقات کی بنیاد پر قادری کا تعلق دنیا میں سونے کی کانکنی کی سب سے بڑی اور کینیڈین کمپنی بیرک گولڈ Barrick Gold سے جوڑا جا رہا ہے، جس کی بلوچستان میں ریکو ڈک سونے کی کان میں اربوں ڈالر کی سرمایہ کاری سپریم کورٹ کی جانب سے 1993ء میں نگران حکومت کے جاری کیے گئے لائسنس کی منسوخی کی وجہ سے خطرے میں پڑ چکی ہے۔ بلوچستان میں بغاوت کی بڑی وجوہات میں سے ایک سامراجی لوٹ مار ہے اور اس تنازعے نے پورے خطے کو بربادی اورکشیدگی میں جھونک دیا ہے۔ اگرچہ مولانا کے 23 دسمبر کے جلسے میں بڑا مجمع تھا لیکن اس تعداد کو قادری کے پیروکاروں اور میڈیا نے جان بوجھ کر بہت زیادہ بڑھا چڑھا کر پیش کیا۔ جو بھی ہو اس جلسے میں شریک تعداد اس پر خرچ کیے گئے بے پناہ پیسے کے مقابلے میں بہت کم تھی۔ شاید یہ اس ملک کی تاریخ کا مہنگا ترین سیاسی جلسہ تھا۔ قادری کے ساتھ ایم کیو ایم کی شمولیت نے کسی کو بھی حیران نہیں کیا۔ ایک ہی وقت میں شکاری اور شکار دونوں کا ساتھ دینا ایم کیو ایم کا پرانا وطیرہ ہے۔ اسلام آباد میں ’شاہراہ دستور‘ کو تحریر سکوائر بنانے کی بات حقیقت سے بہت دور ہے۔ سچ تو یہ کہ قاہرہ کے اس چوک میں طویل دورانیے کا دھرناحسنی مبارک کا تختہ الٹنے میں فیصلہ کن نہیں تھا۔ در حقیقت نہر سویز کے محنت کشوں کی ہڑتال اور اس تجارتی راستے کی بندش کی دھمکی نے اس جابر حکمران کو بھاگنے پر مجبور کیا۔ ایک اور عام غلط فہمی یہ ہے کہ لانگ مارچ انقلابات کا موجب بنتے ہیں۔ 1949ء کے انقلابِ چین میں بھی سرمایہ داری کا خاتمہ کسانوں کی اکثریت پر مشتمل سرخ فوج کے لانگ مارچ سے نہیں بلکہ شنگھائی، نان جنگ، پیکنگ، کانٹون اور دیگر صنعتی شہروں کے پرولتاریہ کی عام ہڑتال سے ہوا تھا۔ کراچی کے محنت کشوں کو انقلابی سرکشی کے لیے اسلام آباد تک مارچ کرنے کی ضرورت نہیں پڑے گی۔ اس ظالم ریاست کو منہدم کرنے کے لیے انہیں کارخانوں اور معیشت پر قبضہ کرنا ہوگا۔ ایک انقلابی پارٹی کی موجودگی میں محنت کشوں اور کسانوں کی عام ہڑتال کے ذریعے قدرے آسانی اور بہت کم خونریزی کے ساتھ پاکستان میں سوشلسٹ فتح حاصل کی جا سکتی ہے۔ لاکھوں اور کروڑوں افراد کا متحرک ہونا ہمیشہ انقلابی کردار کا حامل نہیں ہوتا۔ رد انقلابی، رجعتی اور حتیٰ کے فاشسٹ قوتیں بہت بڑے جلسے کر سکتی ہیں۔ ہٹلر، مسولینی، ایل کے ایڈوانی اور کئی دیگر رجعتی اور فاشسٹوں کے جلسے جلوسوں میں لاکھوں کی شرکت ہوتی تھی۔ کسی انقلابی یا رجعتی تحریک میں بنیادی فرق یہ ہے کہ انقلاب میں عوام شعوری طور پر، جرات، اعتماد اور اپنی مرضی سے نظام اور اور اپنی تقدیر کو بدلنے کی خاطر سیاست کے میدان میں داخل ہوتے ہیں۔ رجعتی تحاریک دیو مالائی لیڈروں کے گرد بنتی ہیں اور سماج کے پسماندہ حصے ان کی جانب مائل ہوتے ہیں۔ اکثر اوقات یہ اس وقت سماج میں پھیلی بے چینی، جمود اور نا امیدی کا جنونی شکل میں اظہار ہوتی ہیں۔ اگر ہم موجودہ وقت میں پاکستان کی صورتحال اور عوام کے مزاج کا تجزیہ کریں تو یہ کافی مدہم دکھائی دیتا ہے۔ عوام کو درپیش سماجی اور معاشی مصائب پر اسلامی بنیاد پرستوں کی دہشت گردانہ خونریزی اور سامراجی جارحیت اور لوٹ مار جلتی پر تیل ہے۔ سرمایہ داری کا استحصال اور ظلم کبھی بھی اتنا شدید نہیں رہا۔ فوج، عدلیہ، سیاسی اشرافیہ، ملاء، منشیات کے سوداگر اور میڈیا مالکان لوٹ مار کے اس ننگے کھیل میں باہم منسلک ہیں۔ اشرافیہ صرف سماجی بے حسی اور لا تعلقی پھیلا رہے ہیں۔ ایم کیو ایم دو دہائیوں سے زیادہ مدت سے اقتدار کے مزے لوٹ رہی ہے اور قادری بھی اسٹبلیشمنٹ اور مسلط کیے جانے والے سیاسی سیٹ اپ کے لیے کوئی نیا چہرہ نہیں۔ انیسویں صدی کے فرانسیسی اشرافیہ کے متعلق مارکس کے ان الفاظ اور موجودہ حالات میں بہت مماثلت ہے کہ ’’پارٹی آف آرڈر نے ثابت کر دیا ہے۔ ۔ ۔ کہ نہ تو وہ حکمرانی کے قابل ہے، نہ محکومی کے، نہ جینے، نہ مرنے کے، نہ ریپبلک کو قبول کرنے کے، نہ اسے رد کرنے کے، نہ وہ اس حالت میں ہے کہ آئین پر آنچ نہ آنے دے اور نہ اس پوزیشن میں کہ اسے پھینک دے‘‘۔ لیکن مولانا کا تضادات سے بھرپور اور حقیقی مسائل سے توجہ ہٹانے والا پروگرام سمجھ سے بالا تر ہے۔ اس کا نچوڑ ’بغیر تبدیلی کے تبدیلی‘ ہے۔ وہ سرمایہ دارانہ نظام کا پر زور حامی ہے۔ ۔ ۔ جو نظام اس بربادی اور محرومی کی حقیقی وجہ ہے۔ یہ شعبدہ باز لینن کے اس قول کی حقیقت سے مفر کی کوشش میں ہیں کہ ’’سیاست مجتمع شدہ معیشت ہوتی ہے‘‘۔ قادری معیشت کے بغیر سیاست کی، حقیقت کی بجائے ظاہریت کی، علت کے بغیر معلول کی اور مادی حقائق کی بجائے افسانوی باتیں کرتا ہے۔ وہ جاگیر داری کے خاتمے کی بات کرتا ہے لیکن سرمایہ داری کے خاتمے پر ایک لفظ نہیں بولتا۔ جبکہ در حقیقت پاکستان میں جاگیر داری کی محض باقیات ہیں اور ملک کے انتہائی دور افتادہ علاقوں میں بھی سرمایہ دارانہ رشتوں کا جبر حاوی ہے۔ دائیں بازو کے دوسرے سیاست دان بھی انقلاب کی نعرہ بازی کرتے نہیں تھکتے جبکہ یہی بے پناہ دولت مند طفیلیے انقلاب کا شکار بنیں گے اور ان کے مال کو ضبط کر لیا جائے گا۔ آفاقی قانون ہے کہ محنت کشوں اور مجبور عوام کے انقلاب سے قبل جمود کے ادوار میں ہر طرح کے نفرت کے سوداگراور عجیب و غریب رجحانات منظر عام پر نمودار ہوتے رہتے ہیں اور پھر فوراً ہی گوشہِ گمنامی میں غائب ہو جاتے ہیں۔ لیکن در حقیقت قادری اور اس جیسے رجعتی کرداروں کو عوام کو گمراہ اور انقلابات کو روکنے کی خاطر تیار کیا جاتا ہے۔ متلون، غیر مستحکم اور بے صبر نفسیات والی پیٹی بورژوازی (درمیانہ طبقہ) بہت جلد ایسے فریب کاروں کے گرد جمع ہو جاتی ہے۔ لیکن یہ سراب بہت جلد ہی تحلیل ہو جاتے ہیں۔ قادری کے پاس تبدیلی کا کوئی ارادہ، پالیسی، پروگرام، طریقہ کار اور لائحہ عمل نہیں۔ سرمایہ داری کے ڈوبنے کے ساتھ بحران مزید گہرا ہوتا چلا جا رہا ہے۔ لیکن تبدیلی آ کر رہے گی۔ اس بے رحم نظام کے ہاتھوں جیتے جی جہنم واصل کروڑوں انسانوں کے لیے یہ زندگی اور موت کا مسئلہ ہے۔ وہ اس درد اور اذیت سے نجات پانے کے لیے بے قرار ہیں۔ ان کا وقت اب بہت دور نہیں۔ پرولتاریہ اپنے اندر ایک طبقے سے اپنے لیے ایک طبقے میں تبدیل گا۔ اورپھر یہ اپنی قوت کو پہچانتے ہوئے پر زور انداز میں بطور طبقہ تاریخ کو بدل ڈالنے کی خاطر تاریخ کے میدان میں داخل ہو گا۔ صرف اس وقت ہی نظام بدلے گا، صرف اس کو اکھاڑ پھینک کر۔

CIA drone strikes will get pass in counterterrorism ‘playbook,’ officials say

By Greg Miller, Ellen Nakashima and Karen DeYoung
The Obama administration is nearing completion of a detailed counterterrorism manual that is designed to establish clear rules for targeted-killing operations but leaves open a major exemption for the CIA’s campaign of drone strikes in Pakistan, U.S. officials said. The carve-out would allow the CIA to continue pounding al-Qaeda and Taliban targets for a year or more before the agency is forced to comply with more stringent rules spelled out in a classified document that officials have described as a counterterrorism “playbook.” The document, which is expected to be submitted to President Obama for final approval within weeks, marks the culmination of a year-long effort by the White House to codify its counterterrorism policies and create a guide for lethal operations through Obama’s second term. A senior U.S. official involved in drafting the document said that a few issues remain unresolved but described them as minor. The senior U.S. official said the playbook “will be done shortly.” The adoption of a formal guide to targeted killing marks a significant — and to some uncomfortable — milestone: the institutionalization of a practice that would have seemed anathema to many before the Sept. 11 , 2001, terrorist attacks. Among the subjects covered in the playbook are the process for adding names to kill lists, the legal principles that govern when U.S. citizens can be targeted overseas and the sequence of approvals required when the CIA or U.S. military conducts drone strikes outside war zones. U.S. officials said the effort to draft the playbook was nearly derailed late last year by disagreements among the State Department, the CIA and the Pentagon on the criteria for lethal strikes and other issues. Granting the CIA a temporary exemption for its Pakistan operations was described as a compromise that allowed officials to move forward with other parts of the playbook. The decision to allow the CIA strikes to continue was driven in part by concern that the window for weakening al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Pakistan is beginning to close, with plans to pull most U.S. troops out of neighboring Afghanistan over the next two years. CIA drones are flown out of bases in Afghanistan. “There’s a sense that you put the pedal to the metal now, especially given the impending” withdrawal, said a former U.S. official involved in discussions of the playbook. The CIA exception is expected to be in effect for “less than two years but more than one,” the former official said, although he noted that any decision to close the carve-out “will undoubtedly be predicated on facts on the ground.” The former official and other current and former officials interviewed for this article spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were talking about ongoing sensitive matters. Obama’s national security team agreed to the CIA compromise late last month during a meeting of the “principals committee,” comprising top national security officials, that was led by White House counterterrorism adviser John O. Brennan, who has since been nominated to serve as CIA director. White House officials said the committee will review the document again before it is presented to the president. They stressed that it will not be in force until Obama has signed off on it. The CIA declined requests for comment. The outcome reflects the administration’s struggle to resolve a fundamental conflict in its counterterrorism approach. Senior administration officials have expressed unease with the scale and autonomy of the CIA’s lethal mission in Pakistan. But they have been reluctant to alter the rules because of the drone campaign’s results. The effort to create a playbook was initially disclosed last year by The Washington Post. Brennan’s aim in developing it, officials said at the time, was to impose more consistent and rigorous controls on counterterrorism programs that were largely ad-hoc in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks. Critics see the manual as a symbol of the extent to which the targeted killing program has become institutionalized, part of an apparatus being assembled by the Obama administration to sustain a seemingly permanent war. The playbook is “a step in exactly the wrong direction, a further bureaucratization of the CIA’s paramilitary killing program” over the legal and moral objections of civil liberties groups, said Hina Shamsi, director of the American Civil Liberty Union’s National Security Project. Some administration officials have also voiced concern about the duration of the drone campaign, which has spread from Pakistan to Yemen and Somalia where it involves both CIA and military strikes. In a recent speech before he stepped down as Pentagon general counsel, Jeh Johnson warned that “we must not accept the current conflict, and all that it entails, as the ‘new normal.’ ” The discussions surrounding the development of the playbook were centered on practical considerations, officials said. One of the main points of contention, they said, was the issue of “signature strikes.” The term refers to the CIA’s practice of approving strikes in Pakistan based on patterns of suspicious behavior — moving stockpiles of weapons, for example — even when the agency does not have clear intelligence about the identities of the targets. CIA officials have credited the approach with decimating al-Qaeda’s upper ranks there, paradoxically accounting for the deaths of more senior terrorist operatives than in the strikes carried out when the agency knew the identity and location of a target in advance. Signature strikes contributed to a surge in the drone campaign in 2010, when the agency carried out a record 117 strikes in Pakistan. The pace tapered off over the past two years before quickening again in recent weeks. Despite CIA assertions about the effectiveness of signature strikes, Obama has not granted similar authority to the CIA or military in Yemen, Somalia or other countries patrolled by armed U.S. drones. The restraint has not mollified some critics, who say the secrecy surrounding the strikes in Yemen and Somalia means there is no way to assess who is being killed. In Yemen, officials said, strikes have been permitted only in cases in which intelligence indicates a specific threat to Americans. That could include “individuals who are personally involved in trying to kill Americans,” a senior administration official said, or “intelligence that . . . [for example] a truck has been configured in order to go after our embassy in Sanaa.” The playbook has adopted that tighter standard and imposes other more stringent rules. Among them are requirements for White House approval of drone strikes and the involvement of multiple agencies — including the State Department — in nominating new names for kill lists. None of those rules applies to the CIA drone campaign in Pakistan, which began under President George W. Bush. The agency is expected to give the U.S. ambassador to Pakistan advance notice on strikes. But in practice, officials said, the agency exercises near complete control over the names on its target list and decisions on strikes. Imposing the playbook standards on the CIA campaign in Pakistan would probably lead to a sharp reduction in the number of strikes at a time when Obama is preparing to announce a drawdown of U.S. forces from Afghanistan that could leave as few as 2,500 troops in place after 2014. Officials said concerns about the CIA exemption were allayed to some extent by Obama’s decision to nominate Brennan, the principal author of the playbook, to run the CIA. Brennan spent 25 years at the agency before serving as chief counterterrorism adviser to Obama for the past four years. During his White House tenure, he led efforts to impose a more rigorous review of targeted killing operations. But he also presided over a major expansion in the number of strikes. CIA officials are likely to be “quite willing, quite eager to embrace” the playbook developed by their presumed future director, the former administration official said. “It’s his handiwork.” Brennan’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee is scheduled for Feb. 7.

Obama: Americans must "demand" gun control

President Obama has unveiled the most sweeping gun control package in generations. But, as Major Garrett reports, Mr. Obama warned that it will not be easy to implement without the help of voters.

Zardari: All political forces to be consulted on interim govt

Radio Pakistan
President Asif Ali Zardari has assured that all allies‚ opposition‚ and political forces will be consulted on forming interim government to arrange general elections. According to News channels‚ he was talking to PML-Q President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain on telephone. He said the promise made with the masses for holding free‚ fair and transparent elections will be fulfilled at all costs. The President said unity of political forces for strengthening democracy is a victory of the people. He said the PPP and PML-Q will jointly contest the next elections. Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain said PML(Q) will continue to support the government for strengthening democracy in the country.

Will Malala's influence stretch to Europe?

Malala Yousafzai may be the most famous teenager in the world. Just out of hospital three months after a brutal attempt on her life, the young Pakistani girl could become a role model for girls around the world. Malala Yousafzai was 11 when she first ruffled feathers in Pakistan with an address to a national press club she titled, "How Dare the Taliban Take Away My Basic Right to an Education." Not long after, the BBC's Urdu service asked her to keep a diary using a pseudonym. But her notoriety and her activism for the sake of every Pakistani girl's education nearly cost Malala her life. Today she lives, temporarily at least, in Birmingham, England, close to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, where specialists and caregivers are helping her recover from a Taliban bullet. She has far to go on her recovery but her influence has already been felt in the UK and all around the world thanks to extensive domestic and international media coverage.
The Taliban and Malala
Malala's differences with the Taliban over the rights of girls became clear soon after the Taliban swept into her beloved Swat Valley near the border with Afghanistan. A Taliban spokesman reportedly called her activism an "obscenity" and a "symbol of Western culture...she was openly propagating." So on October 9, 2012, the Taliban called upon one of its assassins to step onto a busload of terrified schoolchildren and shoot Malala in the head. "Let this be a lesson," a Taliban spokesman said. Pakistani doctors were able to remove the bullet from Malala's head and saved her life. They then sent her to the hospital in Birmingham where British soldiers are often sent for recovery from catastrophic head wounds. Malala was released from the hospital earlier this month to her family - her mother, father and two young brothers, all now staying in Birmingham - but only for a couple of weeks because she's due back soon for cranial reconstruction surgery, hospital doctors said.
A role model beyond Pakistan?
Malala Yousafzai's recovery and stay in the UK means she may well become an influential figure beyond her Pakistani roots. Not coincidentally, Malala's father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, an educator and education advocate himself, was last month given a diplomatic post by the Pakistani government at its Birmingham consulate. That will allow Malala and her family to remain in the UK for three to five years. Maryam Duale, the former head of Young Muslims UK, already envisions Malala speaking at UK schools, mosques and community centers. "She is a source of hope," said Ms. Duale, who sees a potential impact on girls like her very own 13-year-old sister. "She absolutely hates reading. I can believe [Malala] would be a massive inspiration for them and help them understand there are some people in the world who have to literally give their lives for education," Ms. Duale added. Najhabur Haq, a first-year economics student at Queen Mary University, believes the most conservative Muslim families may see Malala as a threat but also, perhaps, as an inspiration. "Islam actually says everyone should get the education they want," Ms. Haq said. "She can be a great role model for girls."
Changing social attitudes
Maleiha Malik, a professor at London's King's College, too, thinks Malala will have influence on girls. But Malik thinks more broadly including consideration for the men who head up male-dominated Muslim families. "We have to think strategically about how we shift the behavior and the social attitudes of men within these families," Malik said. On that count, Malala may have help from her father, Ziauddin Youfsafzai. His potentially behavior-shifting role, not only for the Pakistan government, but as a special envoy for the United Nations on global education, could carry weight from Birmingham throughout Europe and back to his - and Malala's - home country. Pending Malala's recovery, Ziauddin Youfsafzai expects to keep his family in the UK for at least three years before a likely return to Pakistan, he has said, so he and Malala can help to further the educational opportunities for every young person, no matter their gender.