By Abdus Sattar Ghazali
16 October, 2012
On October 7, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader, Imran Khan, led an anti-drone march to Waziristan to draw the world’s attention to the destruction and sufferings caused by the US drone attacks in Pakistan’s tribal regions. Imran Khan, who is sometimes dubbed as Taliban Khan by his opponents, was perhaps right to tell the marchers in the town of Tank that he had succeeded in conveying the message to the world community, the job the government and other political parties failed to do.
Imran Khan’s anti-drone march was joined by, among others, American and British peace activists. American delegation was led by Media Benjamin of CODEPINK who apologized to the people of Pakistan for their sufferings at the hands of the policies of the American leaders while speaking to the marchers.
Two days later, on October 9, Malala Yusufzai, school girl who was the main character of the US produced documentary Class Dismissed (2009), was attacked while returning from her school. She was critically injured with at least two other girls. Suddenly Pakistan’s print and electronic media unleashed an extensive and inflated coverage of this tragic attack that was reportedly claimed by the Pakistani Taliban.
As the US-client Zardari government focused all its attention to mobilize the fiercely anti-American masses against the Taliban, the Spokesperson of the US State Department, Victoria Nuland said that the US is encouraged with popular opinion against extremism in Pakistan after attack on Malala Yusufzai. However, she refused to answer a question about Imran Khan’s drive against drone attacks in Pakistan and his announcement to take it to the next level in the US. “We respect the right of peaceful protests, but I am not going to comment at all on intelligence matters,” Nuland remarked.
Many people are wondering why media is so selective and gave so much coverage to Malala while 100s of innocent Malalas and women have been killed by drone attacks but we don’t even find their names.
Tellingly, Jamiat Ulema Islam-Fazal group chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman said that he condemns the attack on young Malala Yusufzai, but who will protest the deaths caused by drone strikes. “Why the attack on Malala is being blown up so much?” he remarked, adding that the attack on Malala Yousufzai was the result of wrong policies of the government.
He said that blood of humanity is dripping from the hand of those condemning this incident. Maulana said that people were protesting against the attack on Malala just because it was a pro-American stance. He urged the government to correct its policies and stop supporting the’ US stance’.
Leader of another leading political party, Jamaat-e-Islami, Syed Munawar Hasan, said that the power behind the attack on Malala Yuusufzai was the same as had been pressing Pakistan to launch military operation in the North Waziristan.
Addressing the Friday congregation at Mansoora mosque in Lahore, he likened the Malala attack to the fake video on stripping a Swat woman that became the basis for military operation in Swat. He said the western media was projecting the Malala incident in the same manner and even the US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton had issued a statement on the matter.
Syed Munawar Hasan said the attack on Malala was most condemnable, but added that hundreds of innocent people were being killed in drone attacks and bomb blasts but the media generally ignored these.
Syed Munawar Hasan said that in fact, the US and several other powers were trying to destabilize and annihilate this country achieved in the name of Islam, and the military operations were a means to achieve the end by widening the gulf between the masses and the armed forces of the country.
He said that most of the schools demolished in Swat had been destroyed during curfew but Interior Minister Rehman Malik placed the responsibility on the Taliban. The things in the country could not be improved by following the US agenda, he added.
Lahore Times said there is a clear link between Peace March of Imran Khan to Waziristan (in which many foreign journalists participated) and attack on Malala. Peace March to Waziristan started worldwide new debates on drone attacks.
Malala Yusufzai came to lime light when she was profiled in Adam B Ellick’s 32-minute documentary – Class Dismissed – produced by the New York Times in 2009.
Malala was only 11 year old when this documentary was made. In the documentary she acts mature beyond her years. The documentary, which can be seen at the New York Times website and YouTube, shows her, along with her father and mother meeting with the late Richard Holbrooke, President Obama’s special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan. The documentary indicates that Malala played vital role in anti-Taliban military operation in Swat.
In 2011, Malala was nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize. Later, Yousaf Raza Gilani, the prime minister at the time, awarded her Pakistan’s first National Youth Peace Prize. In recent months, she led a delegation of children’s rights activists, sponsored by Unicef, that made presentations to provincial politicians in Peshawar.
Abdus Sattar Ghazali is the Chief Editor of the Journal of America (www.journalofamerica.net) Email: asghazali2011 (@) gmail.com